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AlexD

Car Suggestions

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Hey guys,

 

I'm hoping to gain some insight into road racing. Now that the Ice racer is fully operational, much like the death star, I'm going to set my sights a little farther down the road. I'm looking to get involved in Road Racing this year and was looking for opinions on what type of car would be my best bet. The idea would be much the same as the Ice Racer... find a cheap old trade in from work and then convert it over.

 

Any suggestions on what to look out for?

 

Thanks!

 

Alex

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Something cheap to buy, mod and easy get parts for (at the NAPA in Gimli for example).

I'm not a believer in following mainstream (ironically since I have since 2010).

There is a benefit to this though, if someone has the same car, they may have a part to lend you to get you back on the track that weekend (thanks Bill!)

 

The most important thing to note is that if you plan on using the car as you buy it, make sure it was someone's daily driver. Don't start with a basket case.

Otherwise, find the cleanest shell you can and start from ground up.

 

I'm sure that I will get yelled at and lots of poopoo comments for this but..here goes:

 

Third Gen Camaro <-- Millions made and there are companies that make products to make them turn. the gen 1 small block has been around since dirt was invented and parts are CHEAP and you can buy them anywhere. They came in 4, 6 and 8 cylinder and all parts are interchangeable (if you buy 4cyl, V8 stuff bolts in). Very light when gutted. LS1 engines fit with ease. Update and backdate compatible. Tons of go-fast goodies for cheap. 350hp crate engines go for $2500. But...its hard to find a clean shell to start build but they are out there. (NASA American Iron Class). Prefab Cages for these exist.

 

Fox Body and SN95 Mustangs <-- All comments above apply (incl LS1) but likely cheaper to buy. Some parts are cheaper too. Easy to find clean shell to start with. Cheap engines, can turn with right mods (NASA American Iron Class) Prefab Cages for these exist.

 

For a toyota trade in: Fourth or Fifth Celica GT-S and GT-Four or 2000-2005 Celica GTS. The 3S engines in the older models are stout and easy to find parts for as they found their way into other cars made by toyota. Lots of upgrades available and decent out of the box handling cars. Newer models are ok too but towards the end of the generation, they went to DBW throttle bodies and there are no computer upgrades for these w/o going EMS (what I did with Sarah's S/C Matrix). Celica GT's of this era have a great engine too but have oil consumption issues in 2000 and 2001 models, Also have drum brakes in rear. Lots of power to be had with factory TRD supercharger upgrade.

 

Honda Civic - Although there are a lot of good things with these, there are bad things too. To start with, they are FWD. Its a personal preference thing. for EF, EG and EK models, they are getting harder and harder to find in good shape. Most require a lot of rust repair and body work. Parts are cheap(er) but for older models, less and less likely to have them in stock. Update and Backdate compatible. Lots run at the track so spare parts are somewhat easier to come by if you need it "Right Now!"

 

To be honest, the most fun I've had around our track was in a Miata. They aren't cheap to buy but they are a rewarding car to drive. they are robust little machines and if you get in with the right crowd, Mazda will actually put up prize money if you win. There is a Spec Miata class and the performance package is inexpensive. They are no slouches by any means! Prefab Cages for these exist.

 

Cheers,

Darin

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It appears some ice racers use the same cars for road racing in the summmer.

 

Why not swap out the weldded diff transmission in the Iceracer for an open or LSD unit and try that?

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Camaro? Mustang? Poopoo, HA!

 

Hi Alex, you will have fun in anything you run in road racing. One part to consider is the classes rather than the vehicle and try to find something that will work with others that are playing in the same class. What I mean: of course it would be cool to have a race-prep'd Corvette and rip up the course although if there is nobody to race with then you're just doing hot-laps with some slower cars.  

 

The entire part about road racing is clawing, digging, massaging door-to-door and if you have a bullet for a car then you're basically drag racing with corners at the end.

 

Darin is right about the Miata, I've raced against them (not driven one) and I'm shocked how well they perform in our W's and also the corners. I was completely shocked.

 

Darin is also correct about getting a car that parts are readily accessible. No point in bringing some kind of hybrid that you can't get parts easily.

 

I would look at the classes and points standing from last year and you'll see how many cars are in which class so you have someone to run with. Our IT3 class is very competitive and has many cars and you can run FWD and RWD.

 

Finally: In My Humble Opinion it should either be a Honda Civic , Honda Civic or possibly a Honda Civic. Although I'm a bit biased.

 

It's a long learning curve for the Gimli track plus it's hard on tires. Pick something cheap that you can beat on and have fun with and toy with and you will have a good time. It does take a while to get used to the old girl (Gimli) but you will have a good time. 

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It appears some ice racers use the same cars for road racing in the summmer.

 

Why not swap out the weldded diff transmission in the Iceracer for an open or LSD unit and try that?

 

I thought about it. I want to run studded next year and was planning on dropping in a Starlet motor to bring the power up to the class limit. It would make for a fun road racing car I'm thinking. The only issue is the pre-fab cage isn't to spec for road racing :(

 

Truth be told, I think I'm leaning towards a Civic just because of the sheer number of cheap parts available for them. I would love something Toyota just for the work affiliation, but as I found with the echo, a lack of aftermarket support tends to make things more expensive than necessary. Miatas were on the short list as well, but I wasn't sure how many race in a class where a Miata was allowed. Also, Miatas are either really expensive or really rotten. There doesn't seem to be an inbetween haha

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I suggest the kinds of cars that line up to grid sunday afternoon for the last race of the weekend. The reliable ones will have the highest fun factor since you are on the track all weekend, not wrenching in the pits or leaving saturday with a broken car. I am biased like Jordan though. Honda and Mazda seem to be most common on the track.

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Get something in the biggest class. Racing is more fun when you've got more people to race with and learn from. You learn fast when you are in a pack. Good things mean you stay with or advance in the pack. Bad things mean you see them pull away.

Wasn't someone selling a F Vee? That looks like a fun class!

Doing laps on the same track over and over when there's no one else to dice with is fun, but it's called SoloSprint. That can be done cheaper.

Corey <-- Has done every WSCC discipline except road race, yet is offering advice on road racing. LOL! ;)

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 Corey kicks ass too !!! 

 

IT3 in a Honda civic. This is the biggest class and is growing. FV if you want open wheel. If we all have the same vision it should look like this. I can get you a chassis running or not caged or not. Don't wait too long.

https://www.google.ca/search?q=honda+michelin+series&biw=1257&bih=679&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=rZy0VPCTI4ObNqeqgGA&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAQ#imgdii=_&imgrc=ixX9TZLthRdgoM%253A%3BMB7T9jevyCcdYM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.tractechracing.com%252Fhondamichelin-1.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.tractechracing.com%252Fabout.htm%3B300%3B178

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Another thing to do is to look for somebody selling an already built race car. You'll usually get something that has been debugged and lots of equipment for a cheap price. Make sure that the car is a "turnkey ready".
Spec Miata cars can be bought at a relatively cheap price from racers in the states. Again you get a car that has all the equipment and is well sorted in most cases.
Do not decide to build 1000 hp car from scratch for your first race car. Experiences showed if you do this you will spend most of your first season at the side of the race track with a broken car and not getting much racing time. If you decide to build a race car from scratch for your first year build something with a moderate tune the will be reliable. Is more important that you get as much time on the track for your first year because you are on a very steep learning curve and you need something that will run reliably for your first year at least. After that you can build your thousand horsepower killer racer.
Either way, hope to see you trackside the summer.
Dino.

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Subscribed for learning. Good thread. Lots of good advice here. :)

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You will have to at least like the car you are going to race or you will grow to hate it.

 

I'm in that boat. I race it because I had it (and my RX7 was done)...But ultimately it is too small for my 6'4" 250lb frame.

 

Don't know how you do it either Jordan!  ;)

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Darren made a good point in regards to picking something you like and want to race although it's funny how a Honda Civic will grow on you.  

 

 

But ultimately it is too small for my 6'4" 250lb frame.

 

Don't know how you do it either Jordan!  ;)

 

It took a loooong time to set that seat up. Seriously. I bet it was 6 hours from start to finish with two guys. But now it feels like a part of me when I climb in there. A couple of weeks ago I was sitting in the Road Racer, grinning and whispering to myself "Daddy's Home".... 

 

250lbs???? Suuuuuuure you are..  :P

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Another thing to do is to look for somebody selling an already built race car. You'll usually get something that has been debugged and lots of equipment for a cheap price. Make sure that the car is a "turnkey ready".

 

 

Sorry Dino, I have to say this is a bad idea unless under a strict set of circumstances.

 

Think of all the people in the recent past who have been burned by purchasing someone's built race car...(yes some have lucked out!)

 

The only way this would work is if you have intimate knowledge of the car or know the individual well enough to KNOW your not getting someone's problems.

If you are looking to buy a built and tested race car, ask around for history and not just the owner's log book.

 

Unless of course its a screaming deal and you can afford to take the risk...then fill your boots!

 

 

It took a loooong time to set that seat up. Seriously. I bet it was 6 hours from start to finish with two guys. But now it feels like a part of me when I climb in there. A couple of weeks ago I was sitting in the Road Racer, grinning and whispering to myself "Daddy's Home".... 

 

250lbs???? Suuuuuuure you are..  :P

 

Yep. Always the fat kid in the class!

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Another thing to do is to look for somebody selling an already built race car. You'll usually get something that has been debugged and lots of equipment for a cheap price. Make sure that the car is a "turnkey ready".

 

Dino does have a good point that if you start with something proven it could save you a pile of the painful labour parts getting things setup. Although in my case it did not work out very well.

 

I did buy a 5 year old Gimli Road Racer that all I had to do was add seat and belts and go but it didn't work. Turns out I had to spend much more time (and money) turning the car back in to what it should be. In hindsight I should have started off with an un-molested vehicle and build it from the ground up which is exactly what I'm doing for 2015.

 

If you're shopping for a donor car for Road Racing, here's my list to start off with:

 

- No Rust. Check everything you can to make sure it's as clean as possible. Rockers are very important structurally in our little tin cans and the cars do flex. In some classes you are not allowed to seam weld so factory strength is important. Also check the welded body lines on roof and around windshield to make sure it's clean.

 

- If you have access to an alignment or frame machine I would get the potential car on it immediately to see if there are any surprises in the chassis and stance. Don't just check the alignment itself to make sure it's true; also check the rake in the care on the rockers and the stance to the fender lines to make sure it's not twisted. A good frame or alignment guy could tell you in a few minutes if it's clean and make sure it's clean, clean, clean. No sense in starting off with a bent car and battling with it all season; I'm speaking from experience (unfortunately).

 

If the car is straight and minimal rust then you got yourself a starting point then all that is left is 'everything'. Make sure you utilize this forum as much as possible so you can avoid many of the goofy mistakes we all made over the years. No question is a stupid question so ask away. Newbies tend to overlook the smaller (important) details to move on to the cool stuff, like I did, but the smaller details need to be addressed properly for less pain in the long run.

 

The crew that road races are a great group of guys and even though we're competitive bunch we will also be the first ones to lend you a part at the track.

 

You know that rush you are getting in Ice Racing doing door-to-door in a corner? Wait until you try it on Road Racing! 

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I suggest the kinds of cars that line up to grid sunday afternoon for the last race of the weekend. The reliable ones will have the highest fun factor since you are on the track all weekend, not wrenching in the pits or leaving saturday with a broken car. I am biased like Jordan though. Honda and Mazda seem to be most common on the track.

 

Are you thinking of selling your Car Jim? I think it's been sitting for almost 5 years now? Sounds like you could have a potential buyer here. 

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It appears some ice racers use the same cars for road racing in the summmer.

 

Why not swap out the weldded diff transmission in the Iceracer for an open or LSD unit and try that?

 

(I'm not spamming this thread, just answering different questions in different posts)

 

I'll add my 2 cents on this point from personal experience.

 

We did try this with my brother's car and it didn't work out very well and here's why:

- Much different suspension setup between Ice and Road = much more labour time and swapping parts and extra spares

- The Diff is a good point although you can run open diff on Ice as well as Road racing

- In some Road Racing Classes you have to run rear factory glass and hatch whereas in Ice Racing you need to run Lexan all around (less windsheild)

- In some Road Racing Classes you need the factory interior/exterior IE; dash, Door panels, bumper skins, smooth lines

- In Ice Racing the cars tend to get beat up even though contact is frowned upon whereas the body contact in Road Racing is usually much less

- In some Road Racing classes there is zero engine mods whereas in Ice Racing you can play a bit.

- In some Road Racing classes you have to meet a minimum weight (add weight to the car) whereas in Ice Racing you want it super-lite.

 

We personally found it much more work to keep the same car doing both circuits properly than it was to have two cars setup different.  

 

That being said Al Marcoux has successfully ran his Ice Racer on the Road Race course in prior years although he wasn't able to go in the properly class because of lack of dash, rear glass, etc.  

 

Also to add one more point; I would run your Ice Racer on the Road track if you don't have another option as doing some Road Racer is better than no road racing. 

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I suggest the kinds of cars that line up to grid sunday afternoon for the last race of the weekend. The reliable ones will have the highest fun factor since you are on the track all weekend, not wrenching in the pits or leaving saturday with a broken car. I am biased like Jordan though. Honda and Mazda seem to be most common on the track.

 

Are you thinking of selling your Car Jim? I think it's been sitting for almost 5 years now? Sounds like you could have a potential buyer here. 

 

 

No, I have plans of fixing it. I doubt i will get to it this year though. That being said; everything is for sale for the right price!

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I suggest the kinds of cars that line up to grid sunday afternoon for the last race of the weekend. The reliable ones will have the highest fun factor since you are on the track all weekend, not wrenching in the pits or leaving saturday with a broken car. I am biased like Jordan though. Honda and Mazda seem to be most common on the track.

 

Are you thinking of selling your Car Jim? I think it's been sitting for almost 5 years now? Sounds like you could have a potential buyer here. 

 

 

No, I have plans of fixing it. I doubt i will get to it this year though. That being said; everything is for sale for the right price!

 

 

Seriously an IT3 car in decent shape should be worth at least $4,000 to $4,500. Your car has a blown engine which means someone will need to find a D16, machine it, supply proper parts which equals around $1700 on a budget. Plus yours has a 4.9 Final Drive which adds some value.

 

That being said; if you were going to find as virgin spanky 1990 Honda Civic in great shape then:

- Cost of the car at ???????

- Cage: $2,500 to $2800+ now that's it's DOM

- Final drive: $600

- Fresh engine $2,000 to $2500 (yours is blown)

- All the other suspension goodies could be $500 to $2500. 

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Back to the options Darin mentioned, Alex I'd seriously look at a Celica (00-05).

They can be had cheap and the aftermarket support for the 2zz (gts) is damn good.

I guess it also plays to how long you see yourself at Toyota. Having access to manuals and parts is golden.

I've watched 3 celicas go at autopac recently and the last one was a second write off with a dent in the 1/4. Sold for $500 at auction (150km)

I feel it would have been a solid racer.

Also a rx8 with 110km sold for $850 as a second writeoff. (Dent in rear door). Both were in Thompson so itd mean a tow or a long boring road trip.

Lots of potential, keeping an eye out is the important part.

Besides what I said, the spec Miata is awesome and the Hondas are like Lego and bullet proof

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Damn! I've been looking for a RX8 to LS swap! oh well

That one was parts only. Would have become a track only toy.

I'm not a fan as I cant sit in it with a helmet on, unless I'm doing a major gangster lean.

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Damn! I've been looking for a RX8 to LS swap! oh well

That one was parts only. Would have become a track only toy.

I'm not a fan as I cant sit in it with a helmet on, unless I'm doing a major gangster lean.

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