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Purchasing a track only car?

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  • Purchasing a track only car?

    I am planning to purchase a track (road course) only vehicle for the up coming season. Would like to get some idea/advise from you guys, to start, I have the following questions:

    1) Do I need a licence for the vehicle if I am towing the vehicle to the track?

    2) If answer is no in 1), I suppose the vehicle would not be required to complete the emission test (after the change of ownership) later?

    3) I am hunting for a decent condition RWD car, which narrowed down to a couple of choices.

    - 87-93 Turbo RX-7 (reliability issue)
    - Nissan 240 (lack of power in stock form)
    - 92-95 Miata ($$$)

    There are pros and cons in these choices but would like to see what you guys recommend or advise, or what's your experience with the above mentioned car for track usage?

    I am still brain storming at the moment but also keeping a close eyes on the market at well. Any other details or things that I overlooked/ should aware of?

    Also, I am looking for good condition vehicle in other provinces as well. Anywhere I can get more information regarding the regulations on purchasing vehicle across the provinces?

    thanks in advance for all the help.


  • #2
    1) no, you don't need to license it as long as you never plan to drive it on public roadways.
    2) no, it doesn't need to pass emissions (this only applies to road going vehicles)
    3) I've never bought a car out-of-province, but presumably you'd get stuck with Ontario taxes and not the taxes in the province of purchase since you'd be registering the vehicle here in Ontario.

    All three cars you're considering make terrific track day choices. Personally I'd opt for the 240SX for it's excellent suspension design and upgradeability to the popular Japanese SR20DET engine that can make 300 horsepower on stock internals very easily. 300 horsepower is good

    Miatas have bulletproof engines and are a lot faster than the horsepower level would lead some to think, not to mention they're just tons of fun to drive on the track. I'm just not a big convertible guy when it comes to track cars is all. I like something that protects me a bit more in case of a rollover.

    The one 2nd gen RX-7 I'm familiar is very quick considering it has a basically stock drivetrain. I can get you in touch with the owner of this car (he's a Solo 1 guy) if you'd like to pick his brain about 2nd gen RX-7's.

    Or just go with a DC2R like your name would suggest
    The bearded weirdo from Speed Academy


    • #3
      I agree!!! There is no problem with either emissions or anything else so long as the car is only used on the track.

      As far as your car choices, any of them would be good for lapping although I would go with the 240. It wouldn't take much to make it a much faster car. Although speed should not be your primary concern in your first year; focus on being smooth first and foremost...speed will come later. Once you are smooth and consistant, then you can build up the engine, suspension and brakes to give yourself added speed.
      Shaun de Jager


      • #4
        i am a bit biased...but would go for the 240sx

        cheap....comes with a 2.4l iron block..that you can boost the heck out of....good handling..small..nimble..lots of cheap parts..and they look good...

        i race a 300hp+ one in solo 1

        miata...nice nimble...but convertable....

        rx7...not a rotary fan....
        Former CCC member, and shit disturber

        winner of a bunch of different classes over many years

        breaker of parts, burner of engines



        • #5
          If you're worried about the convertible Miata, just add a rollbar and a hardtop, both of which can be had for relatively low prices (roll bar ~500, hard top ~800).


          • #6
            Great, thanks for the info.

            So, so looks like there is no need for the licence/insurance (my guess here) for a track only vehicle. So how does the transfer of ownership work? At the Ministry of Transportation?

            Sorry for such newbie in questions cause I am not too familiar in purchasing used car.

            My personal perference is leaning toward a stock form Turbo 2nd Gen Rx-7 (FC), from all I can read on the internet, ( reliability seems to be a major concern. (but then, it's not a daily driver so...)

            240 is definitely a good choice as well but I haven't looked into difficulty of aftermarket force induction (more importantly, the cost for FI), should look into that.

            Miata... again, convertiable as a track car... hummm... also, it would sort of having the same "problem" as the 240. lack of power (for the 1st gen), I have been on a few FI Miata, total sweet experience, but the car plus the cost of FI kit is some what over my budget.

            Dave: thanks for the offer with your friend who own a FC, it would be really helpful if he can shred some light in regarding puchase of a Rx-7, issues that he might have encounted.

            I have some experience on the road courses with my car, ITR, it's fun and all but I've always wanted to move onto a RWD. Point well taken from de Jager, as I believe to switch from a FF to FR, it would be a whole new experience, which power would not be my major concern at the moment.

            Also, there is a local good deal with a N/A 88 RX-7. how does this compare to 240 (power wise?)


            • #7
              All the above vehicles have a great aftermarket, so in that sense, they'd all be great imho. I love the miata, personally, and if the car was to be a street car too, I think I'd suggest that. For a track car though, the extra chassis rigidity of a hard top would be good. (How stiff is the 240 btw?) The NA RX's respond VERY well to modifications afaik: probably better than a NA 240. If you're the DIY type, careful port work will transform the car, and the Rotaries are very sensitive to exhaust flow efficiency. I like the rotary, but they require a 'special' kind of owner. It's up to you to decide that for yourself.
              The 240 offers a bulletproof engine in stock form, which is plenty strong for 250whp with FI (same goes for the pre-99 1.8 Miata for that matter). The SR20DET is nice, but for the cost I think I'd recommend sticking with the 2.4 (parts are more easily available, displacement is always good, turbo or not, etc. etc.).

              2012 Grand Caravan
              1991 911 C4
              1997 Miata


              • #8
                Power is not everything... well it is but I can't afford much of it!

                My '90 240SX has a pretty much stock motor with bolt on's: I/H/E. It should be a fairly reliable NA powerplant... with low maintenence. I don't need/want to eat my race budget up maintaining a fickle turbo motor... reliability is key.

                Instead I've focused my attention to safety (roll bar & 5pt harness), suspension (higher spring rate, adj. shocks, stiffer roll bars), and brakes. Add some Toyo RA-1's and that's about it.

                All of this nets me GT3 classification. It should be quite a bit of fun to drive.
                - Philip Agnoletto
                '08 Nissan Rogue SL


                • #9
                  DC2R, James Mewett is our local 2nd gen RX-7 guru. He's very knowledgeable about these cars. His e-mail address is:
                  The bearded weirdo from Speed Academy


                  • #10
                    I raced a turbo FC for a little over a year, and it was quite reliable. It was running on 14 psi of boost, and probably put out 280 to 290 bhp at the flywheel. It was a quick car, and handled really well (despite our lousy suspension... I am a firm believer that good tires and power are more important that suspension mods). If we had a lighter flywheel (say 12 lbs instead of 28!!), the thing would have been super-fast at shannonville.

                    The thing with the FC is that I found that even though you can have a fast car with a few mods, you can go so much farther with it. Key mods include (in my opinion):

                    -raise boost (10-12 psi would be safe for the internals with stock injectors... uprate the injectors or add a third injector for anything beyond 14 psi, and then the stock turbo is good for about 17 psi. Then you can move up to a bigger turbo, but that's out of my scope of knowledge, so talk to a pro about that).

                    -big front-mount intercooler. It's the only performance upgrade I can think of that makes things easier on your motor. For a super-cheap upgrade, see if you can snag a Volvo 740 Turbo intercooler, and then perhaps move up to something thicker.

                    -large diameter exhaust all the way to the back. don't want any back-pressure after the turbo!

                    -strip it to the bone. cheapest mod you'll make, with nice gains. those doors are soooooo heavy. if you feel bad about ripping them apart, finding a spare set of doors would probably be a good idea. Also, if it's winter, leave your car in the cold for a while, and chip out all the sound-deadening material. I swear we took out a good 35-40 lbs of that stuff. The colder it is, the easier it comes out (if it's warm, it's soft and gooey... ie. impossible to get out).

                    -you'll want to look into good pads. the stock brakes are very good themselves... we ran brembo rotors (surprisingly low cost from KVR in Ottawa) and they were bullet-proof. I loved them. More than once we ran pads to the backing plate, and barely seemed to scratch the rotor. They were also cross-drilled, yet barely heat-cracked at all (not enough to worry about). There are lots of pads out there that you can try. Try a few sets and see what you like best.

                    Anyway, I am sure the 240 would also be an excellent choice, but I couldn't say a thing about them with any credibility. I have never driven one, although they do seem to handle well from what I have seen and heard. I still loved my old FC though...

                    edit: oh yeah, the stock turbo would last about 1 year at 14 psi of boost, and about half a year at 17-18 psi. A "year" consisted of 12 race weekends, with an hour-long race, with about 35-40 minutes of practice and qualifying as well. I think you could get two years out of a stock turbo at 10 psi... but I am not 100% sure. A bigger aftermarket turbo would last a lot longer at much higher boost levels (and also probably have a much higher efficiency, as well as less boost creep, etc...).
                    Last edited by malcolm; 03-24-2004, 03:02 PM.


                    • #11
                      I'm in the same position, but I just bought a house so I may wait until next year.

                      In addition to the 240sx I've been looking at BMW 328/325s though I am leaning towards the 240.
                      Sam (MaxRPM)


                      • #12
                        I just went through all this about 3 months ago, and decided on a BMW 325. Great starting platform, and lots of support, but it's not the cheapest option.

                        Sam, if I see you at some of the lapping days, we can chat about my decision vs yours ... I'd like to hear your opinion!
                        Arek Wojciechowski
                        8legs Racing, SPC #77


                        • #13
                          I find this amusing because the reason I don't have a track only car is that I have to buy a house with a bigger yard and garage before I'll have space for a track only car, tow vehicle and trailer.

                          Originally posted by maxrpm
                          I'm in the same position, but I just bought a house so I may wait until next year.
                          Jeff Graves

                          Ongoing Miata project


                          • #14
                            ha, I just bought in the city on a fairly small lot, (25x100) and it once had a detached garage but it's gone now. Apparently there are no coverage limits in the city now so I should be able to build a two car garage. But my catch 22 is that the garage will probably cost 20-25 which would be the cost of the track car and all the nice stuff that goes with it minus a trailer.

                            I can't do both (plus closing, furniture, home theatre etc) in one year so something has to or garage? The smart thing to do would be to wait until next year for both but after watching that video of myself I posted yesteday I getting all anxious....

                            I need to big raise or win a lottery.....

                            Originally posted by JGraves
                            I find this amusing because the reason I don't have a track only car is that I have to buy a house with a bigger yard and garage before I'll have space for a track only car, tow vehicle and trailer.
                            Sam (MaxRPM)


                            • #15
                              '86 to '92 N/A 13B's can't be ported, generally. You can do an exhaust port, but intake porting will likely get you into the water jacket and FUBAR the housing.

                              Checkout Mazdatrix for excellent info on all RX-7's.

                              If you decide to go for an N/A, get the GXL, since it uses 5-bolt wheels, so pads and rotors will be readily available. The GXL also has the ribbed transmission case and LSD. BTW, the peripheral port motor from Mazdatrix makes about 310 hp to 315 hp.

                              Mazdatrix claim you can get about
                              28% more hp with their dual exhaust system.

                              The turbo chassis is stiffer, and you can easily push 260 hp with exhaust mods and fuel cut defenser.

                              Losing the cat will get you big power.

                              The rear hatch is bloody heavy. The windshield must weigh a tonne. The side windows aren't affected by gravity. Lose the DTSS as soon as you get the car, or it might take you forever to be quick. Get electric cooling fans. Vent the engine bay to extract the massive heat and maintain power.

                              Apparently you can't get the $2500 rebuilt motors from Mazda anymore, only the $6000 ones.
                              Last edited by Greg F; 03-24-2004, 07:15 PM.
                              Even Senna confessed he occasionally went too far, as was the case in qualifying for the 1988 Monaco Grand Prix, where he became a passenger on a surreal ride into the unknown. Already on pole, he went faster and faster and was eventually over two seconds quicker than Prost in an identical McLaren. "Suddenly, it frightened me," Ayrton said, "because I realised I was well beyond my conscious understanding. I drove back slowly to the pits and did not go out anymore that day."