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Thread: Track day drivers - what would you recommend for a beginner?

  1. #1
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    Track day drivers - what would you recommend for a beginner?

    So, over the Bank Holiday weekend, I ended up at Donington watching drivers take their own toys round the track, and of course, now I want to do it. The cars being used varied enormously, from GT3s to MK2 escorts. The question I have, preferably to those with experience, what would be a good choice of car to start with? I’d be happy to buy and tow a trailer if necessary. Budget up to, say, 5k. Something that could be easily/cheaply upgraded and modified, fast and fun on a budget. A few of the Fiestas blasting round looked like good fun, as did the Clio’s (the 197 sport look good value circa £2500). I know MX5s will be mentioned too . Anything else I should look at?

    Thanks in advance,

    Steve.

  2. #2
    Craftsman Integrale's Avatar
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    Clio 197
    Cheap as chips
    Many out there already modified and ripe for trackdays
    No need for a trailer either
    As a first track I'd consider Bedford autodrome or Blyth if up North
    Both easy with plenty of space and run off
    Go to an msv novice day. No fast intimidating stuff or people around. Consider an instructor for a session early on in the day. Money well spent
    Best legal high you'll ever have!

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Integrale View Post
    Clio 197
    Cheap as chips
    Many out there already modified and ripe for trackdays
    No need for a trailer either
    As a first track I'd consider Bedford autodrome or Blyth if up North
    Both easy with plenty of space and run off
    Go to an msv novice day. No fast intimidating stuff or people around. Consider an instructor for a session early on in the day. Money well spent
    Best legal high you'll ever have!

    Sent from my SM-G950F using TZ-UK mobile app
    Thanks for the reply. There is a very nice Clio 197 for sale very local to me. Problem is, it’s a very tidy low miler and probably too good to be ripped to pieces. I’m in the midlands, not too far from Donington but Bedford wouldn’t be too far either.

  4. #4
    Grand Master Foxy100's Avatar
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    Join some of the MX-5 pages on Facebook or MX5nutz forum and have a look at some of the track cars you can buy for not a huge amount of money. For £5k you could pick up a properly sorted Mk1 with either a turbo (240bhp, around 950kg but probably less) or throttle bodies, sorted brakes, adjustable dampers, roll cage, Sparcos or better and so on.

    It depends though if you are going to be comfortable in a RWD car or if you want FWD. Actually, if you're asking on here you probably only need a standard MX-5 with cage, dampers and brakes, you may not need to waste all that money on a faster one.

    Bedford is great for beginners, and great for MX-5s (lots of corners) and the marshals are good.
    You can live in your car but you can't drive your house.

  5. #5
    Craftsman Integrale's Avatar
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    Try cliosport.net
    Wealth of advice and experience. Plenty of cars for sale. Probably the best bang for your buck.
    An mx5 will be too slow and you'll get frustrated. Would need to spend a bit to get a modified one with decent power and suspension.
    If your budget stretches to an elise/exige or vx220 that's ideal. Hold their value to move on like a professional Rolex.

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  6. #6
    Stripped out old 3 series BM, or Clio 172/182/197

    To start with don’t go open pit lane

  7. #7
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    A customer of mine is selling a track prepared E30. Happy to enquiry further if it's of interest.

  8. #8
    Part of the fun of trackdays is catching "better" cars in something basic.

    I'd suggest a cheap 172/182 too. After a few goes remove some weight, better springs and dampers and some sticky tyres and you'll have as much fun as those who've spent tens of thousands on GT3s.

  9. #9
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    Forget speed, it's easier said than done but if you want to have the most fun you should keep the budget and grip low.

    Mx5 on road/sport tyres will be nice and loose on the back end and you'll have a blast floating the car around bends.

    When the power and tyres get more serious the fun doesn't go up, just the bills (unless you want to 'win' at trackdays).

    Front drive the Clio is a good bet, but if you are happy to strip a car then look at heavier stuff.

    I have a VX220 supercharged which is very fast and fun if you want to chase GT3's, but I also own a share in a stripped out Leon Cupra which is a total riot and cost peanuts!

  10. #10
    Master Argon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pete-r View Post
    When the power and tyres get more serious the fun doesn't go up, just the bills (unless you want to 'win' at trackdays).
    Wise words.

  11. #11
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    Thanks for all the advice.

    Im just looking for something to have fun in, nothing competitive. My eye has been caught by a Mini Cooper S that has already been stripped out and had suspension and brakes uprated. Might be a good starter pack, although nobody on here has mentioned the Mini thus far.

  12. #12
    I have used my megane r26 on the track a few times, and it is my daily driver. You can pick up a nicely modified one for £5k or less, circa 290 bhp / 300 lbs. You can't push the mk2 engines past 300 lbs without going fully forged, this costs a lot so most people stop around 290/300 which is mostly tuned back to be safe.

    Mine runs at 284/300 as I opted for a sports cat rather than de-cat and I love it. Done cadwell twice in the last few years and it kept up / was faster than most cars. Especially when mine in just a road car and not a tracked car like most other cars I was with. If you went fully track car, you can strip out a lot of weight, track tyres and it would fly. I just took out the kids car seats and put in my track pads and that was my preparation. It is a wonderful little car.

    Like others have said clios are a good shout, cheap to tune and fix.

    Mx5, may handle well but don't have the speed.

    I saw a few civic type R's, (the one 2 versions ago - squared design) that ran well.

    Look for anything with a 2.0 turbo as they are the easiest / cheapest to tune and get quick gains. A standard R26 is 225 bhp spend £400 on a map and its around 250bhp. Whilst on a NA car you can spend £400 a struggle to get 10bhp increase

    Brakes are the most important part, get a decent set of pads and fluid (don't forget the fluid!!), OEM stuff will fade so much within a few laps and will ruin your day. Discs just go for some HC plain discs. Once brakes are sorted, some track tyres would be a huge advantage, you can buy some race scrubs cheap that may only have covered a few laps, or get new if you will track a few times a year. Then go sensible with the power, stage 1-2 tuning is relatively cheap after that you spend a lot for a little gain. Stripping the car of any excess weight will help with handling and speed, if it wont be used as a daily car just get rid of anything that's not the front seat(s), I would leave in the AC and radio tho, on a hot day its nice to run the AC before heading out so you don't get overly sweaty!! Doing 10-15 laps around cadwell in 30+ degrees makes for a very hot car.

    Little things to also do, never put your handbrake on after a session, always do a warm up and cool down lap, and a few hot laps - don't push number of laps, better to go out often for a short period than long periods. Reduce your tyre pressure to around 26psi cold maybe less and monitor during the day.

    Just have fun, I have done days on my bike and car, bikes are way more fun but cars are still a great way to spend a day.
    Last edited by NikGixer750; 8th May 2019 at 10:05.

  13. #13
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    Have done track days for years in the Elise - not so much in recent times. Personal preference would be for something rear-wheel drive (MX5 or stripped out 3 series as mentioned above)
    But whatever the car - I highly recommend spending a bit on tuition to help you get the most out of the car and the day. Most track-days have instructors available to hire for £20 or so

  14. #14
    Master yumma's Avatar
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    Friends of mine run a Clio 172 they bought with an MOT for £500! TBH that's a great starting point car and nippy enough. I used to own one myself and they are giant slayers on track. Obviously a 182 would be better still and so on and so forth for 197's/200's but I still think a 172/182 is the sweet spot for track day fun. As others say speed and power doesn't necessarily equate to fun. That's why I love MX5's and am taking my new ND 5 to its first track day later this month. If you like RWD I'd say get a Mk2 (NB) MX5 1.8 VT Sport (LSD being why to get the Sport model), possibly even a "well built" Mk Indy/Westfield or other similar Seven esq Kit car but you'd not get a Caterham at that money. RWD might be a bit of a handful whereas FWD will offer safer handling. You could even consider an R52/53 Mini Cooper S, great handling, 163bhp, wailing supercharger, not much to dislike!

    Good luck, updates when you are sorted please!

  15. #15
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    I wouldn't go for a 197. The gearbox is a know weak spot, and the hub bearings aren't a cheap consumable. A 172/182 is a better starting point

    And don't spend any money on anything but brakes and tuition initially.

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    MR2 roadster shouldn't be discounted. In standard guise, they're much more fun than an mx5. With a few gentle mods, they go like a baby Elise. I had one that owed me less than 3.5k. Ended up with coilovers, power steering delete, Elise driver's seat, updated brakes. Was a riot.

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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by stefaulkner View Post
    So, over the Bank Holiday weekend, I ended up at Donington watching drivers take their own toys round the track, and of course, now I want to do it. The cars being used varied enormously, from GT3s to MK2 escorts. The question I have, preferably to those with experience, what would be a good choice of car to start with? I’d be happy to buy and tow a trailer if necessary. Budget up to, say, 5k. Something that could be easily/cheaply upgraded and modified, fast and fun on a budget. A few of the Fiestas blasting round looked like good fun, as did the Clio’s (the 197 sport look good value circa £2500). I know MX5s will be mentioned too . Anything else I should look at?

    Thanks in advance,

    Steve.
    What do you drive day to day?

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  18. #18
    Grand Master Foxy100's Avatar
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    I just had a look on mx5nutz and here's something for sale for about £4k (or less). Things to note:

    1. These never run properly on the base map. There are a few places that tune MX-5s, most notably my local bunch, Skuzzle (they tuned mine from 106bhp to 140bhp after I had my plug-and-play ECU fitted). The Megasquirt MS2 is a standard aftermarket plug-and-play ECU for MX-5s.
    2. 195bhp in a car that weighs about 950kg is, I think, enough power to start with for something with so little weight.
    3. It has the correct bits - Meister Rs are the business, I have them on my car and they're superb (pop the bonnet and boot, adjust by a click or two, close bonnet and boot, drive off, adjust as easily as that); TR Lane rollcage, Elise seats, lightweight wheels and so on.

    It's not perfect, but can be made better or just used as a track car for not much cash.


    Mazda Eunos Roadster 1.8 J2-LTD with Jackson Racing Supercharger kit

    I've owned this for 6 years but it's time to let someone else enjoy it. I've always been far too tall for it (i'm 6'8) and now a bad back means i'm not folding myself into it to drive it any more. It's the most fun car which i will be very sorry to see go.

    It's a J2-LTD model so is one of 800 in 1994. They came in yellow with a TorSen limited slip diff.

    Overall condition is reasonable for the year however please expect marks, wear and tear associated with its 25 years. It has a folder of historical receipts and info from its import (2004).

    Mileage has just clicked over 170,000 KM so not far over 100,000 miles.

    This one has some extras including...

    JRSC kit
    Front mounted intercooler
    TDR crank pulley (A better option than smaller pulley to begin with)
    Megasquirt MS2 enhanced PnP ECU
    Innovatre LC1
    RX8 Yellow injectors
    K&N filter box with cold air feed to the scuttle area.
    Heat blanketed 4-branch and stainless twin outlet exhaust system (also comes with a sports cat)
    Alloy radiator
    Spare JRSC crossover pipe (for if you were to remove the intercooler)

    New Meister R CRD coilovers fitted around 300 miles ago and very highly regarded!
    Fully polybushed wishbones
    OMP corsica 330mm steering wheel
    Lotus Elise 1S seats. The drivers seat is bolted to the floor with humps removed - if you're under 5'10 we may need to swap the seat back for now - or bring a cushion! Can come with original seats instead if prefered.
    TR Lane GPD rollbar and harness bar
    Oz superleggera 15x7 super lightweight alloy wheels (tyres are low but still legal, rainsport 2's)
    MK2 hood with integrated glass screen (condition average, one small patch to a small split)

    The car comes with the parts to convert back to non-supercharged and some other bits and pieces I have accumulated.

    Other points to note :

    The car is currently only running a base map on the ECU. This is due to my old ECU dying and me replacing it with a better one - it was running 195bhp before the swap. It drives well but will sometimes stall coming up to junctions etc. I've driven around this for a while and it just wants a rolling road session to optimise.

    The passenger sill will want attention before the next MOT having a small hole at the rear of it, the drivers side may want doing in the next few years (repaired around 3 years ago). I have bought the correct inner and outer repair panels which are included - i simply haven't got round to doing them. The underneath/wishbones etc are in great condition for the year and the arches has escaped rust unlike most.

    The passenger side front wing was dented by a fallen fence which has also broken the paint slightly.

    I've hopefully included everything but will add in if i remember anything further.

    Located near Plymouth or can bring it to Totnes a few minutes walk from the train station for collection if easier in the week.

    photos hopefully in the link below

    https://drive.google...T0E?usp=sharing




    £4250 or sensible offer
    You can live in your car but you can't drive your house.

  19. #19
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    Another option is to hire a track car for a day. I've done a couple of Caterham Slalom experience days, which were great fun. They also do a track-experience day. They provide the car, helmet, instructor, fuel, mechanics etc. and you just turn up. and drive. They are not cheap - but they are great days and they really encourage you to push on https://www.caterhamcars.com/en/experience

  20. #20
    Master yumma's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=And don't spend any money on anything but brakes and tuition initially. [/QUOTE]

    ^^^ Sound advice indeed

  21. #21
    Reading this thread is interesting, the two most important things for track are, make sure the car is in good mechanical condition and use the best tyres you can afford.

    Tyres are more important than brakes, if you always brake in a straight line and only brake like you mean it (no confidence dabs) you wont overheat the brakes, trail braking wont do you any favours, if you are able, do an Andy Walsh/Car limits day first, it will be a far better investment than spending money on the car.


    https://www.evo.co.uk/advice/20151/b...erformance-car
    Last edited by adrianw; 8th May 2019 at 16:37.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by adrianw View Post
    Reading this thread is interesting, the two most important things for track are, make sure the car is in good mechanical condition and use the best tyres you can afford.

    Tyres are more important than brakes, if you always brake in a straight line and only brake like you mean it (no confidence dabs) you wont overheat the brakes, trail braking wont do you any favours, if you are able, do an Andy Walsh/Car limits day first, it will be a far better investment than spending money on the car.
    I don't think I'd have got as much as I did from the car limits day as a newbie.

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  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by WarrenVrs View Post
    I don't think I'd have got as much as I did from the car limits day as a newbie.
    Did you do the drain thing? it usually surprises people

    This makes me smile, it was deliberate. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJtttCF65yQ
    Last edited by adrianw; 8th May 2019 at 16:33.

  24. #24
    Master amnesia's Avatar
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    Anything cheap (under £1k) and RWD and a trackday at Keevil will have you grinning from ear to ear

    Strip out the interior if you're going to trailer it... the lighter it is, the less you'll spend on consumables.

    The best way to go faster is to be able to stop better.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by amnesia View Post
    Anything cheap (under £1k) and RWD and a trackday at Keevil will have you grinning from ear to ear

    Strip out the interior if you're going to trailer it... the lighter it is, the less you'll spend on consumables.

    The best way to go faster is to be able to stop better.
    Why would you want to stop on a race track?

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by adrianw View Post
    Did you do the drain thing? it usually surprises people

    This makes me smile, it was deliberate. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJtttCF65yQ
    Yes, amazing how little steering effort is actually needed to get through the corner!

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  27. #27
    Talking of Andy Walsh / Carlimits, they do an "activity day" that's about £40 and lets you do various coned courses and throw a car round the high speed bend. Lot's of fun for virtually no money.

    And when choosing a track car remember "only a fool breaks the one ton rule".

  28. #28
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    I'd also commend a bit of tuition from Andy Walsh.

    If on a coned circuit remember where the corners are.

    On a day's "one to one" with Andy many moons ago I forgot a right hander then remembered a bit too late , attempted the turn and put us both into a field of neeps backwards at about 60 mph.

    The farmer was concerned , Andy was not. Top bloke!

  29. #29
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    I used to have a Westfield fitted with a slightly modded Red top, went like stink, stuck like poop to a blanket and pound for pound was hard to beat, round the short tracks was one of the quicker cars bar the real exotic stuff

    Had a lesson in it once where the teacher drove me round in it for a flying lap and scared the bejesus out of me, did things I never knew a car was capable of, all for £5k albeit 7-8 years ago and we used to drive it to and from the track and on weekends, also for the most part kit car people are decent helpful people, learnt loads on local meet ups


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  30. #30
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    Clio 172 has to be one of the best for the money. I’m still not sure why they’re so cheap as they’re popular as track car’s too. £1k would probably get you a decent one or maybe a couple £k on one already caged up.

    The engines are bullet proof if looked after and the steering and handling is really impressive for such a basic car.

    I have a 2003 172 I got for next to nothing (was payment for a couple of jobs) and I’d intended to sell it straight away, 2 years later I still have it! Mind you it just seems crazy selling as it’s worthless and the car is bog std, has all its original paint, supplying dealer plates etc. What else could I do with the £1k or so it’s worth!

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by J3w3ll3r View Post
    Had a lesson in it once where the teacher drove me round in it for a flying lap and scared the bejesus out of me, did things I never knew a car was capable of, all for £5k albeit 7-8 years ago and we used to drive it to and from the track and on weekends, also for the most part kit car people are decent helpful people, learnt loads on local meet ups
    Interesting when that happens right! I was taken out in my old pulsar GTI-r by a rally driver once, never again. We were talking and I’d relayed how bad the handling was on them (notorious for understeer) and he said he’d take me out to show me what it could do. It was genuinely terrifying and he was right, it was a whole lot more capable than the internet “they understeer’ comments.

  32. #32
    Grand Master Foxy100's Avatar
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    I've never had tuition (but if I do get my MX-5 to the point where I want to do some track days it's a very good recommendation, Adrian) but have been incredibly lucky to have been driven by some very very good drivers, and I've spent most of my time watching them. One particularly memorable drive was back from Le Mans very late at night in the pissing rain after the practice day one year, with someone who'd spent the day driving an LMP1 prototype round. He was completely smooth, let the car do all the work (never went hard on the throttle, always used the grip that was there without pushing it, left the car in as high a gear as possible and so on) and it never felt like he went close to abusing the car or being uncomfortable, and we hit some pretty impressive speeds. On-track I've been round with drivers who are equally as smooth, and I've been driven on airfield tracks with incredibly wide tarmac and drivers using every inch available, not unsettling the car at all, feeding in the throttle so the power matches the grip, using no more effort than they might driving a Fiesta to the shops.

    On the road I often take a bit too long to shift to fifth, mainly because I learnt to drive in four-speed cars, but I also used to have incredibly underpowered cars and used to rag them everywhere, both things I've had to unlearn, although having more powerful cars helps with the sticking in a higher gear! I've driven fast stuff on-track but had a lot of fun taking round my two previous MX-5s and my 924S track car (£2,250, with the right tyres, uprated brakes and dampers, a little less weight and 165bhp from its standard engine it was faster round track than a lot of cars it shouldn't have been). It must be said I've had the most fun on-track in a Caterham R300, although the last one I did in my old MX-5, with Yoko Parada 2 tyres that were brilliant in the dry and gripless in the wet and brakes that failed quite quickly (important to check your brake pads and fluid and tyres before going on a track day!), on a track that started out wet was hilarious. Until I decided the brakes really weren't good enough and I shouldn't be there anymore and went home.

    You could really take anything on a track day, the problem is if it's something standard or slow you'll end up spending too much time worrying you're in everyone else's way. You just have to not abuse it, not overstep your or the car's limits, build up to it. Lots of track days have drivers there who'll give you tuition for a not unreasonable fee.

    Clio or MX-5, both are cheap, it's down to personal preference - FWD or RWD. Or an MR2, there just aren't as many around. I've just remembered my completely stripped Renault 5 someone gave me with full cage, Sport Spider seat, turbo wheels, decent dampers and all. It looked the part... and had something like 50 bhp. Took decades to get up to speed, out-handled almost anything once it got there, and all the fun was not losing any precious momentum. I still have the Safety Devices cage, if anyone fancies stripping a standard 5 and going on a track day...
    You can live in your car but you can't drive your house.

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Foxy100 View Post
    I've never had tuition (but if I do get my MX-5 to the point where I want to do some track days it's a very good recommendation, Adrian)
    Clio or MX-5, both are cheap, it's down to personal preference - FWD or RWD. Or an MR2, there just aren't as many around. I've just remembered my completely stripped Renault 5 someone gave me with full cage, Sport Spider seat, turbo wheels, decent dampers and all. It looked the part... and had something like 50 bhp. Took decades to get up to speed, out-handled almost anything once it got there, and all the fun was not losing any precious momentum. I still have the Safety Devices cage, if anyone fancies stripping a standard 5 and going on a track day...

    Let me know if you do, I live five minutes from North Weald,

    I have a whole Sport Spider :-)

  34. #34
    Grand Master Foxy100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adrianw View Post
    Let me know if you do, I live five minutes from North Weald,

    I have a whole Sport Spider :-)
    Sounds good!

    And the Sport Spider - sure you're not missing a seat? If you ever decide to disassemble it to build a R5 track car you know where I am for the cage. I'm now wondering if the seat would have fitted in my MX-5, sadly it was bolted into the 924S when I sold it.
    You can live in your car but you can't drive your house.

  35. #35
    Master yumma's Avatar
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    This may be of help, I have already commented but I was doing some research and stumbled upon this whilst doing some research as I have my first track day coming up in my own car.

    https://www.evo.co.uk/advice/20055/h...-track-driving

    Again, I'll be MX5'ing my way around the Track; although if there is torrential rain I may bottle it and nick the Wife's Mini Cooper S Works 210 instead - she doesn't know yet!

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Foxy100 View Post
    Sounds good!

    And the Sport Spider - sure you're not missing a seat? If you ever decide to disassemble it to build a R5 track car you know where I am for the cage. I'm now wondering if the seat would have fitted in my MX-5, sadly it was bolted into the 924S when I sold it.
    I built it for sprinting, did Porlock Hill in the south west championship and a couple of sprints at Curborough and that was it, I sometimes get it out on hot sunny days, It weighs 720kg and has a 260bhp race F4R engine, its great fun a proper go kart.

  37. #37
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    My Track Day Background

    I did my first track day in a BMW 330i back in 2007, realised I wanted to do more, so bought a 2nd car to do it, a Porsche 944 S2. Sold it a few years later, and did one track day in my Z4 M but it was worth £20k at the time and I feared binning it so it wasn’t as much fun. 8 years later I decide I want to give it a try again so I bought an MGZR 160 for £575 and used that, still in road spec. Then I upgraded to an R53 Mini Cooper S, again in road spec, which I sold recently. In all cases I had a regular car for commuting etc.

    My Thoughts
    Personally I wouldn’t commit anything until you know you really enjoy it. Track days can be immense fun, but they are a drain on time, money and potentially personal well being. I, for example, always get motion sickness even when I am driving for the first 30 minutes. It always passes but that’s not always true for everybody. So, if you have a reasonably competent daily I’d do a half day/evening event in it at one of the safer tracks (e.g. Bedford) and check whether you like it. Or, hire a track car with a mate for a day and see how you get on. What you don’t want is to invest £5k in a track optimised car, do a track day, realise you don’t like it and then have to sell out. I keep an eye on track cars via eBay etc and they don’t seem to sell very quickly in general – it’s still a niche choice.

    I would struggle to justify a true track car because with work and family commitments the most I’ve ever managed was six track days a year. Having a car just for those and no other driving doesn’t make sense so I’ve always kept my cars in road trim so they aren’t unbearable on the road. Ripping out your aircon to save 10kg might make sense when you’re chasing lap times, but on a track day I’d rather be second or two slower but a lot more comfortable (in summer)

    The single biggest difference I’ve seen is using decent track orientated tyres, like R888s, AD08s, Nankang NS2Rs on a spare set of wheels etc. On my MG ZR this made a massive difference, and I could drive them hard safe in the knowledge that I could then swap back to the road wheels for the journey home. The second biggest difference was brakes, proper pads on the MG and bigger brakes (from a 2nd gen Cooper S) and proper pads on the Mini. I’d do either of those before stripping an interior as you can remove them and sell the car as standard if/when you need to sell on. Also having your own well fitting helmet makes a big difference too. Obvious when you think about it, but it hardly ever gets mentioned.

    As for your car choice, I’ve noticed something about track days and the types of car that turn up. Ten years ago maybe half the field was regular cars where people were there to explore their car’s and their limits, so you could have some good fun running with people at a similar pace. More recently it seems that there are many more “track optimised” cars which always feels like bring a gun to a knife fight to me. Or you get people who turn up in the latest Focus RS/Golf R/M3/Cayman and obviously they are savagely quick. One of my worst track days was in the MG at Goodwood, as they only let a small number of cars out at the time and everybody else was in one of those two camps. I did see a standard looking GT86 but it turned out to be supercharged. So after a lap they’d all be ahead of me and I’d never saw them again for the session and instead got to drive in total isolation. That may be good for some, but for me I just found it boring. Contrast that with my best day which was with the MG owners club at Castle Coombe, where most cars were evenly matched performance wise and it was really great fun with lots of other comparable cars to run with. So you either need some firepower to keep up, or you need to be happy to be constantly overtaken.

    All that said, if you know you’ll love it buying a car that is optimised for the track is almost always cheaper than doing it yourself and of course you’ll be “competitive” from the go. Clios remain popular for good reason and they were always faster than me in my Cooper S. I am surprised nobody has mentioned the Civic EP3 Type-R though as they are cheap, very capable and there’s lots to choose from. I’d have one over a Clio but that’s because the driving position in the Renault just feels odd to me.

  38. #38
    Master yumma's Avatar
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    As JamesG just said, Civic Type R EP3's are epic, ideal for the track. Defo change the brake pads as a minimum as I did get mine to fade when I had one new in 2002, it was the only slight weakness in what was a superb hot hatch of that era.

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by adrianw View Post
    Why would you want to stop on a race track?
    I suspect this is tongue in cheek but the serious answer is because if you can stop better, you can go faster until you need to slow down - there is a saying “brakes make you faster” and it’s true.

    Loads of good advice here already I will just say:

    1. Rent before you are sure you want to buy - e.g. Bookatrack Caterham/Ginetta

    2. Tuition is worth 10x the same money spent on mods

    3. Don’t go to Bedford it’s the most god awful boring track in the world ... ;)

  40. #40
    Master
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    Thanks for all the input and advice guys. I have found, and put a deposit on, a car that should suit my current needs, and is sort of mentioned in the EVO mag article mentioned earlier in this thread.

    It’s one of the last R53 Mini Cooper S. Already has some work done to it, suspension, wheels, tyres and brakes. No power mods so it should suit me and I can develop it as and when I feel ready. I will spend a few quid on a cage, seats and harnesses first of all. I think these are a wiser investment than power gains at the moment.

    Here’s a couple of pics;





    The seller started building it into a road/track car but his personal circumstances changed. I think they are @ 170bhp stock, so plenty enough for me at this point. Reading around, there is plenty of scope for upping this figure over 200 fairly easily, so it ticks a lot of boxes for me.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  41. #41
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by stefaulkner View Post
    Thanks for all the input and advice guys. I have found, and put a deposit on, a car that should suit my current needs, and is sort of mentioned in the EVO mag article mentioned earlier in this thread.

    It’s one of the last R53 Mini Cooper S. Already has some work done to it, suspension, wheels, tyres and brakes. No power mods so it should suit me and I can develop it as and when I feel ready. I will spend a few quid on a cage, seats and harnesses first of all. I think these are a wiser investment than power gains at the moment.

    Here’s a couple of pics;





    The seller started building it into a road/track car but his personal circumstances changed. I think they are @ 170bhp stock, so plenty enough for me at this point. Reading around, there is plenty of scope for upping this figure over 200 fairly easily, so it ticks a lot of boxes for me.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Lovely. Lohen aren't far from you iirc. I used 1320 for my r53, and tbh I'd make the trip down that way again if I had another. Mine was running over 200bhp and was a riot.

    You did get one with the LSD, right? If it had the chilli pack, it will have one.

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A6003 using Tapatalk

  42. #42
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    Chassis first, engine last is always the best way to tune a car. Anyone who says otherwise is plain wrong...

    When you can drive it like Juha Kankkunen look at the power train.

    Car looks great, I know a few people running RSR rubber and are very complimentary about both wet and dry grip which is important. I run Avon ZZRs on my car and in the wet it's lethal and to be honest not much fun on a motorway.

  43. #43
    Master yumma's Avatar
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    Great looking car. Loved my original BMW Mini, fantastic chassis straight out the box. Enjoy!

  44. #44
    Master
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    Yes, it has the Chilli pack with LSD. Has the great supercharger whine aswell, which is not so evident on the later cars.

    Not picking it up for a few weeks though. He’s putting it in for a fresh MOT soon and I have a holiday to look forward too first

  45. #45
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    Looks great, I'm sure you'll enjoy it.



    I didn't really rate the Mini as a road car, but as an occasional track car it was fantastic.

    Do check that the low speed fan is working. Almost always the resistor burns out and then you only have the high speed fan, which only comes on when things are already very hot.

  46. #46
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamesG View Post
    Looks great, I'm sure you'll enjoy it.



    I didn't really rate the Mini as a road car, but as an occasional track car it was fantastic.

    Do check that the low speed fan is working. Almost always the resistor burns out and then you only have the high speed fan, which only comes on when things are already very hot.
    I'll look out for that, thanks James.

    The Mini itself wont be used as a daily runabout, just for a bit of fun when i get the time. The interior will be stripped and with the roll cage, new seats etc, it wont be very practical as a daily driver, I dont think.

  47. #47
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    Did you just mention roll cage?

    You can live in your car but you can't drive your house.

  48. #48
    Master
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    Looks pretty cool, I’ve always fancied a cooper s. Are they decently reliable to beat on for track stuff? Seen a lot of grief with the NA ones and the heads corroding away, do the SC ones not suffer this?

    I’m tempted myself to have a change about and get one.

  49. #49
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    Good choice. We bought an ex-Knockhill Mini Challenge car for Stiglet jr to cut his teeth on before the fast stuff.

    Great fun to drive and tough as nails


  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by jameswrx View Post
    Looks pretty cool, I’ve always fancied a cooper s. Are they decently reliable to beat on for track stuff? Seen a lot of grief with the NA ones and the heads corroding away, do the SC ones not suffer this?

    I’m tempted myself to have a change about and get one.
    I can only speak of my experience, but I did 4 track days in 9 months and 5k miles and had no issues. The supercharger needs servicing at 80k ish and this is often missed as it involves a decent amount of the front end removing but there are a few other jobs one can do at the same time to make it efficient. It's not hard from the YouTube videos I've seen. The cam chain tensioner can fail with disastrous consequences but you'll have months of start up rattle as a warning before that happens.

    Reading in to your username I now also own a WRX (late 2008 hatch with EJ255 engine) and compared to the Mini it feels like I am sitting on a ticking time bomb. I reckon it wouldn't be very good on the track either due to being very softly sprung so I've stayed away.

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