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Search for RWD Track/Weekend Car (70k Budget)

victorofhavoc

Drag Racing Champion
Thanks, that is the direction I am headed. Right now its a toss up between E36 M3, 2008-09 Cayman S, Miata, and a Lotus Elise/Exige.
Fwiw, the lotus are crazy cheap to run in comparison to others until you get into a minor fender bender and have to buy a new clam that takes months to get delivered and requires donating 3 kidneys and a testicle to find someone that can work on fiberglass properly.

Also, look at a boxster instead of cayman... Same car basically but boxster has more race homologation and support in case you decide to go that route. My mechanic sold a spec boxster last year for 16k that included a spare engine (ims fix already in place), extra rotors, extra wheels and tires, and other spares. That's a REALLY reasonable price for that car, and typical running costs of a spec boxster would be about 400$ more per weekend than the gti. My friend's cayman s (last H6 model year) is about 600$ more per weekend.

Of course costs can vary wildly based on what you're doing, how fast you are, and whatnot. The numbers I listed reflect MY estimated cost based on similar run spec to the gti. For example, one guy I know gets 6 weekends out of his re71r on his cayman, another guy gets 2 in his, and yet another guy in an M3 gets one. In my gti I got basically 2 weekends out of re71r and 1.5 out of a052. The guy getting two weekends went to Hoosier and now he's getting 4 weekends out of them...
 

tpellegr

Go Kart Champion
Find a 987.2 Cayman S with the DFI engine, suspension, tires, exhaust. You don't need a ton of power. I've been tracking two different Caymans since 2015 and they are/were both phenomenal.

Our old 987 S and our current 718 S with about 400whp View attachment 186221

View attachment 186222
Thanks for the guidance. Still doing my homework on Porsche model years, will search for something in the 09-12 range if I decide to go that route. Any know issues or track considerations for the 987.2s?

Fwiw, the lotus are crazy cheap to run in comparison to others until you get into a minor fender bender and have to buy a new clam that takes months to get delivered and requires donating 3 kidneys and a testicle to find someone that can work on fiberglass properly.

Also, look at a boxster instead of cayman... Same car basically but boxster has more race homologation and support in case you decide to go that route. My mechanic sold a spec boxster last year for 16k that included a spare engine (ims fix already in place), extra rotors, extra wheels and tires, and other spares. That's a REALLY reasonable price for that car, and typical running costs of a spec boxster would be about 400$ more per weekend than the gti. My friend's cayman s (last H6 model year) is about 600$ more per weekend.

Of course costs can vary wildly based on what you're doing, how fast you are, and whatnot. The numbers I listed reflect MY estimated cost based on similar run spec to the gti. For example, one guy I know gets 6 weekends out of his re71r on his cayman, another guy gets 2 in his, and yet another guy in an M3 gets one. In my gti I got basically 2 weekends out of re71r and 1.5 out of a052. The guy getting two weekends went to Hoosier and now he's getting 4 weekends out of them...
Yeah the Lotus' are super fragile cars (they also recommend you upgrade the rear toe-links if you are running sticker than OEM tires) and ridiculously quirky... but they are just so goddamn good looking. I've always secretly wanted to own one since I first played NFS Hot Pursuit. Haha. If I bought a Lotus, I'd also probably be tempted to register it so that I could drive it around town when its nice out.

 
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bentin

Autocross Champion
I'm not ready to share just yet, since I'm still working out details with the guy who owns it currently :).

I will say, 6spd, 320whp, under 3k pounds, rwd, 50:50 weight distribution, NO TURBOS!, and stuffs a 315 tire out back easily. Not many cars that can fit that description ;)
C6Z/GS or Z4MC? That would be a serious diet for a C6.
 

Petey T

Go Kart Newbie
Porsche solved the oil starvation issue that plagued the 996/986 and the early 997/987’s when theintroduced then new DFI engines in 2009. No more IMS bearing failures either. PDK was all new as well but if you enjoy manual you may not find a better six speed box than in a Porsche.

On my note about the power, you don’t need 500+ horsepower or tons of torque for a track car. Something as balanced as a Cayman will stay high in the rev range when properly driven so torque isn’t an issue. If you can find one with PDK and the Sport Chrono package that’s a great start. Add two price brakes from Girodisc or Brembo, pads, SS lines, GT3 brake duct spoilers, and adjustable control arms and you’ve got a capable weekend warrior. It’s such an easy car to drive fast. I can guarantee you wouldn’t be disappointed in one. Just pick your transmission. I learned how to properly drive on the six speed 987 but our PDK 718 S is absolutely incredible. I use the paddles but Sport Plus is insane on track.

I work for Porsche so if you have any questions shoot me a PM

Thanks for the guidance. Still doing my homework on Porsche model years, will search for something in the 09-12 range if I decide to go that route. Any know issues or track considerations for the 987.2s?
 

tpellegr

Go Kart Champion
Porsche solved the oil starvation issue that plagued the 996/986 and the early 997/987’s when theintroduced then new DFI engines in 2009. No more IMS bearing failures either. PDK was all new as well but if you enjoy manual you may not find a better six speed box than in a Porsche.

On my note about the power, you don’t need 500+ horsepower or tons of torque for a track car. Something as balanced as a Cayman will stay high in the rev range when properly driven so torque isn’t an issue. If you can find one with PDK and the Sport Chrono package that’s a great start. Add two price brakes from Girodisc or Brembo, pads, SS lines, GT3 brake duct spoilers, and adjustable control arms and you’ve got a capable weekend warrior. It’s such an easy car to drive fast. I can guarantee you wouldn’t be disappointed in one. Just pick your transmission. I learned how to properly drive on the six speed 987 but our PDK 718 S is absolutely incredible. I use the paddles but Sport Plus is insane on track.

I work for Porsche so if you have any questions shoot me a PM
Super helpful, thank you. Will likely reach out as I move forward with the search. Much appreciated!
 

GIACUser

Master Wallet Mechanic
I cry myself to sleep at night thinking about how I could have a track prepped cayman for the amount of money I've put into a gti 😭😭😭😭😭😭


Granted my Gti is a ton of fun and I can keep up with Caymans most of the time
I feel your pain and having owned both Corvettes and 911's previously if I had it to do over again I should have bought a used C6 Z06 and life would have been much simpler at the track.
 

2015WhiteGTI

Go Kart Champion
I've been track driving for 11 years and have my SCCA and BMWCCA comp licenses for eight years.

To go really fast costs lots of money and there will always be someone with more money and will go faster LOL!
Most of the time, it's the driver mod that makes the biggest difference in lap times (especially if you're at a weekend "drivers school" like BMWCCA has or lapping days). You'll find plenty of "fast" cars not going much quicker than our modified little GTI's. Put those same cars in the hands of someone who can drive really well and you'll never see them on the track.

That being said, what is your ultimate goal with this car? Just to do lapping days or would you like to get into some sanctioned racing like SCCA or NASA or AER etc?

For your budget, I'd recommend you get yourself a tow vehicle and purchase a used race car. You'll save a TON of money buying a used race car rather than building it from scratch. Most of the great track/race cars can be found used (www.racingjunk.com). REMEBER: No matter who built the car, it's all about the maintenance and upkeep by the current owner that makes the difference. If Bimmerworld built a 330 and it's been neglected for the last five years by its current owner, it won't necessarily be a good buy.
A fantastic race car is a Spec E46. They punch way above their weight with a fantastic suspension and maintenance is relatively low since it's an E46 330. They are very predicable and easy to handle. They're also pretty light weight and you can find very well built cars for in the low to upper $30's. You can find various well built BMWs (E36 and E46) for less than $35K too.
A spec E36 would probably be a bit boring for you. They are SO easy to drive and a fun/cheap car to run, but just a bit gutless and slow compared to an E46.
I've spent the vast majority of my racing time in a 2008 335i. It has a Dinan tune so it makes about 400hp, but no aero or real weight savings (3,300lbs). It's great on bigger tracks, but difficult to keep up with the lighter cars with aero through the turns. We usually run endurance races in either SCCA or AER.

Spec Miata is a VERY good car to learn and pretty cheap to run as well. It's more about the competition amongst themselves rather than all out racing. They can be pretty quick (newer build and setup correctly), but I'm not sure if that's what you're looking for based on your first post.

P-car tax is pretty steep when it comes to running costs. Yes, Porsche has "fixed" the issue with IMS, but you can run into bore scoring and it an engine does let go, you're in for at least $10 - $15K for a replacement. Plus the consumables are pretty expensive too. I know plenty of guys running Porsches and they do spend quite a bit more than we do on the 335.

In the end, If I were you, I'd get a dedicated track car ($30K), enclosed trailer ($10K) and tow vehicle ($20K) and have money left over for some real fun. It's the best way to have fun on the track without having to worry about wrecking your daily driver or fun street car.
 

tpellegr

Go Kart Champion
I've been track driving for 11 years and have my SCCA and BMWCCA comp licenses for eight years.

To go really fast costs lots of money and there will always be someone with more money and will go faster LOL!
Most of the time, it's the driver mod that makes the biggest difference in lap times (especially if you're at a weekend "drivers school" like BMWCCA has or lapping days). You'll find plenty of "fast" cars not going much quicker than our modified little GTI's. Put those same cars in the hands of someone who can drive really well and you'll never see them on the track.

That being said, what is your ultimate goal with this car? Just to do lapping days or would you like to get into some sanctioned racing like SCCA or NASA or AER etc?

For your budget, I'd recommend you get yourself a tow vehicle and purchase a used race car. You'll save a TON of money buying a used race car rather than building it from scratch. Most of the great track/race cars can be found used (www.racingjunk.com). REMEBER: No matter who built the car, it's all about the maintenance and upkeep by the current owner that makes the difference. If Bimmerworld built a 330 and it's been neglected for the last five years by its current owner, it won't necessarily be a good buy.
A fantastic race car is a Spec E46. They punch way above their weight with a fantastic suspension and maintenance is relatively low since it's an E46 330. They are very predicable and easy to handle. They're also pretty light weight and you can find very well built cars for in the low to upper $30's. You can find various well built BMWs (E36 and E46) for less than $35K too.
A spec E36 would probably be a bit boring for you. They are SO easy to drive and a fun/cheap car to run, but just a bit gutless and slow compared to an E46.
I've spent the vast majority of my racing time in a 2008 335i. It has a Dinan tune so it makes about 400hp, but no aero or real weight savings (3,300lbs). It's great on bigger tracks, but difficult to keep up with the lighter cars with aero through the turns. We usually run endurance races in either SCCA or AER.

Spec Miata is a VERY good car to learn and pretty cheap to run as well. It's more about the competition amongst themselves rather than all out racing. They can be pretty quick (newer build and setup correctly), but I'm not sure if that's what you're looking for based on your first post.

P-car tax is pretty steep when it comes to running costs. Yes, Porsche has "fixed" the issue with IMS, but you can run into bore scoring and it an engine does let go, you're in for at least $10 - $15K for a replacement. Plus the consumables are pretty expensive too. I know plenty of guys running Porsches and they do spend quite a bit more than we do on the 335.

In the end, If I were you, I'd get a dedicated track car ($30K), enclosed trailer ($10K) and tow vehicle ($20K) and have money left over for some real fun. It's the best way to have fun on the track without having to worry about wrecking your daily driver or fun street car.
Thanks for this post. Lots of good information here. At this point I'm not planning to do any wheel to wheel racing. Simply looking for a fun weekend car/track toy that I can drive to and from the track for ~10-12 HPDE a year. If I we're going wheel to wheel, would almost certainly go for a spec Miata or E36 M3 and probably throw it on a trailer.

Right now, I'm leaning toward an s2 Lotus Elise or Exige. Planning to purchase sometime early next year (since our track season is almost over here) as a second car and keep the GTI as a more practical grocery getter.
 

2015WhiteGTI

Go Kart Champion
Thanks for this post. Lots of good information here. At this point I'm not planning to do any wheel to wheel racing. Simply looking for a fun weekend car/track toy that I can drive to and from the track for ~10-12 HPDE a year. If I we're going wheel to wheel, would almost certainly go for a spec Miata or E36 M3 and probably throw it on a trailer.

Right now, I'm leaning toward an s2 Lotus Elise or Exige. Planning to purchase sometime early next year (since our track season is almost over here) as a second car and keep the GTI as a more practical grocery getter.
Ah, got it.

If you're going the drive too/from route, definitely go with the Exige with a supercharger. You're "safer" with the roof on the top (although it can be removed if you really want to), plus it's better suited for the track.
You can get some nicely prepped cars too. Look during the winter months when people want to move cars and it's not the season for sports cars.
Also, invest in a small tag along trailer and use dedicated track tires (R-comps) as they'll make your time at the track MUCH more fun.
GL!
 

tpellegr

Go Kart Champion
Ah, got it.

If you're going the drive too/from route, definitely go with the Exige with a supercharger. You're "safer" with the roof on the top (although it can be removed if you really want to), plus it's better suited for the track.
You can get some nicely prepped cars too. Look during the winter months when people want to move cars and it's not the season for sports cars.
Also, invest in a small tag along trailer and use dedicated track tires (R-comps) as they'll make your time at the track MUCH more fun.
GL!
Great idea with the tag-along trailer. Definitely leaning toward the supercharged Exige. Will keep you all updated on the search!
 

2015WhiteGTI

Go Kart Champion
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