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  • No budget, but still trying to go racing

    As a husband and father in a middle-class household, it’s difficult to justify throwing money away on cars. Without a lot of discretionary income or savings, mods and driving event money competes directly with what I spend on — or allow to be spent by — my daughter, my wife and myself.

    Track days and driving schools are held nearly every weekend throughout the year in the southeast, but I haven’t attended a DE event in over seven years. I attended three autocrosses last season, my first since getting married.

    I’ve always wanted to go wheel-to-wheel racing, but so far the expense of getting my racing license, buying/building and maintaining a dedicated race car, and traveling to compete at events is simply beyond my means.

    How do you guys do it?

    Before you think I’m getting all emo, I’ve joined a team which competed in last year’s 24 Hours of LeMons event at the Carolina Motorsports Park and which plans to race both CMP events in 2009. Their driving roster is full for the spring event, so I’ll be helping wrench on the car and crew the April race, but I intend to co-drive a second car we plan to prep for the fall race. I’m budgeting about $500 to run in that event. Team info can be found at http://kudzukommandos.tumblr.com.

    I think the LeMons races are a great way to get newbies like me off the bench and into their first wheel-to-wheel race. Without being loaned a car (for free!) I could not even qualify for a SCCA license for what this team spent to built their car and have six drivers race at last year’s LeMons event. For the uninitiated, the 24 Hours of LeMons is a weekend-long race for cars purchased, fixed up, and track-prepped for total of $500 or less. Find out more at http://www.24HoursOfLeMons.com.
    '99 Miata w/ AVO Turbo, '99 BMW M3

  • #2
    Originally posted by nderwater View Post
    As a husband and father in a middle-class household, it’s difficult to justify throwing money away on cars.


    Thats why I dont do it. I allow my car hobby to pay for itself...and always have.

    Racing is an 'expensive' hobby that for amateurs does NOT pay for itself, so if youre going to do it there is a cost involved. Thats about all there is to it. :)
    sigpic

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    • #3
      There is no "cheap" way to go W2W. Miatas are probably the cheapest way to go racing but it still ain't cheap. I think the biggest problem is not so much the car which isn't all that cheap but you have to factor in a trailer and tow vehicle.

      A good friend of mine does it but he owns his own construction business so he needs the truck and trailer and can write it off as business expenses.

      I can't even afford to share the costs with him and share the car right now because I have a daughter in college and a son going in another year. Not to mention the economy sux.

      I really will need to wait until after that before I can think about going racing.


      I feel your pain, trust me.

      I even thought about getting some guys going in together to share the cost but it is hard to make that work.
      2020 Jet Black Mica GT RF

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      • #4
        How do we do it? We are all RICH! Welcome to the MX5Atlanta cocaine cartel! Don't tell anyone, k?

        Kidding - I'm also a racer with aspirations bigger than my budget. Depending on what your definition of racing is, it doesn't have to be a terribly expensive hobby. I started out autocrossing, but have moved more towards track events. Here are a few suggestions:

        1) Street tires - as fun as race tires are, street tires will last a lot longer, are typically less expensive, and don't necessitate an extra set of wheels (and/or a trailer).

        2) Work to Race - I found a club a few years back that puts on an annual event. I volunteer for half the day as a course worker (2-3 hours work) and get 5-6 20 minute track sessions in return. Free! Free!

        3) Find Low Cost Options - a lot of groups will put together TGPR days for ~$100 per car. I went a few months ago with a group of 12 cars and had a blast...we had the track to ourselves all day. The SCCA PDXs at Road Atlanta are usually only $125 or so (compared to $400+ for a weekend with NASA)

        Hope this helps!

        Nick
        sigpic

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        • #5
          Originally posted by nickt93 View Post
          How do we do it? We are all RICH! Welcome to the MX5Atlanta cocaine cartel! Don't tell anyone, k?

          Kidding - I'm also a racer with aspirations bigger than my budget. Depending on what your definition of racing is, it doesn't have to be a terribly expensive hobby. I started out autocrossing, but have moved more towards track events. Here are a few suggestions:

          1) Street tires - as fun as race tires are, street tires will last a lot longer, are typically less expensive, and don't necessitate an extra set of wheels (and/or a trailer).

          2) Work to Race - I found a club a few years back that puts on an annual event. I volunteer for half the day as a course worker (2-3 hours work) and get 5-6 20 minute track sessions in return. Free! Free!

          3) Find Low Cost Options - a lot of groups will put together TGPR days for ~$100 per car. I went a few months ago with a group of 12 cars and had a blast...we had the track to ourselves all day. The SCCA PDXs at Road Atlanta are usually only $125 or so (compared to $400+ for a weekend with NASA)

          Hope this helps!

          Nick
          Bingo!

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          • #6
            A number of clubs will trade track time you spend instructing, but I'm not at that level yet. What club trades corner working for track time? I also didn't know that the SCCA PDX events were as affordable as they are.

            I have yet to head out to TGP because it means missing work - but I've decided that I'm okay with that and hope to go sometime over the next six weeks.

            What club memberships do you guys recommend? I'm a BMW club member and have been thinking about joining the PCA because their autox events are in my back yard. Are SCCA and NASA memberships worth the cost?
            '99 Miata w/ AVO Turbo, '99 BMW M3

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            • #7
              Rent my car, show up and drive, cheap and fun!

              SCCA trades working for track time (PDX) but it's only $100 in the first place.

              I race, and I afford anything from sponsors and saving. I'm also 20 so I have no family to support. I have gotten some great support for this season which will allow me to move up some, do some enduros, and hopefully one Koni Challenge race late season.

              SCCA membership is cheap, as is NASA, I have it to do PDX and NASA this year HPDE and time trials. Chin Motorsports also offers KILLER track days...real hardcore group lol.

              I started autocrossing when I was fifteen but never took it too seriously as my goals have always been in road racing.

              JUST REMEMBER, YOU CAN ALWAYS RENT A RACE CAR CHEAPER THEN BUILDING ONE. DON'T LISTEN TO PEOPLE TELL YOU IT'S NOT. UNLESS YOU WANT TO JUST HAVE FUN.

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              • #8
                Track days are less expensive than W2W but it on average still costs about $100 per hour of track time. I have done many of them with various groups. The PDX with SCCA costs $100 but you only get two 20 minute sessions during the quiet time on Sunday of a race weekend.

                I ran with Chin but the cost for the weekend is much higher total but still comes out to about the same per hour.

                The cheapest route is going to Little Talladega for the day with a group and it is fun but a small track.

                W2W racing is a different ball game in costs and intensity.
                2020 Jet Black Mica GT RF

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                • #9
                  Simon, I hear you about renting the car. It is a good idea but what happens if the renter balls it up? What is the cost then?

                  No one intends to do that but on a race track **** happens. Even if you are driving less than 10 10ths stuff can happen. Ask me how I know.
                  2020 Jet Black Mica GT RF

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                  • #10
                    im sorry but as far as W2W racing goes, miatas are FAR from cheapest if youre trying to be competitve at all. people spend upwards of 30k building the car alone, not to mention fuel, tires, transportation to and from events for you and the car, entry fees, and fixing any damage done to the car (in spec miata, you dont race a 100% clean race, especially if youre a front runner.)

                    if i was gonna try to go racing for cheap, i would buy an EF civic or a crx. quick, reliable, cheap and easy to fix, and cheap to run. theres plenty of competition in the lower IT classes, but not quite as much banging going on.

                    just my 2 cents though.
                    DIE WHITE GIRLS

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jesseealexander View Post
                      im sorry but as far as W2W racing goes, miatas are FAR from cheapest if youre trying to be competitve at all. people spend upwards of 30k building the car alone, not to mention fuel, tires, transportation to and from events for you and the car, entry fees, and fixing any damage done to the car (in spec miata, you dont race a 100% clean race, especially if youre a front runner.)
                      There are plenty of guys that are competitive and have fun for a fraction of 30k.
                      Dont be fooled by Fowlers prices. :lol:
                      sigpic

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by metalman View Post
                        There are plenty of guys that are competitive and have fun for a fraction of 30k.
                        Dont be fooled by Fowlers prices. :lol:
                        im just going by what the real front runners usually pay, and 25-30k is about right. i know the pombos spent WAYYY more back when they were still in it.
                        DIE WHITE GIRLS

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                        • #13
                          I did not say anything about being competitive. I am only speaking of basic costs and expenses from an average spec Miata. However a buddy of mine bought his car for around 7K and virtually is on a shoestring budget. He regularly podiums in SCCA and NASA. He is a very good driver though.

                          Average costs for an actual race weekend including entry fees etc will usually run from 1200 to 2000 bucks. For that money is surprising how little actual track time you get.
                          Normally you get a practice run and a sprint race Sat and Sun. which all total is only about 80 minutes on the track unless you doing an enduro.
                          2020 Jet Black Mica GT RF

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                          • #14
                            There's a small oval dirt track near me which hosts races every Saturday night. Entry fees are low because the event draws plenty of spectators. Many of the car classes are fairly inexpensive to build and maintain (by sports car racing standards, anyway). Why doesn't anyone try this model for road racing?

                            Imagine a small, simple track (somtehing like TGP) with less than a dozen cars on track at a time in ten minute heats, followed by a 15 minute feature race. Multiply this by five or six classes, and you have a pretty solid Saturday event which could be held once a month or as often as every weekend. The larger the fields, the lower the entry fees are per competitor and the more draw there is for spectators. Why isn't anyone doing this?
                            '99 Miata w/ AVO Turbo, '99 BMW M3

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                            • #15
                              For rentals, pay damage if you wreck, still cheaper lol. Depends who you run with what what damage insurance they have.

                              I built my ITC Civic when I was fifteen for probably 2k, but had tons of support.

                              I could make my Miata ITU legal or something and have fun for cheap, I'd even run on street tires haha.

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