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Anyone here do any form of track racing?


Taylor

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Hi guys,

Just wondering if anyone here does any kind of track racing? Lotus maybe or hatchback.

If so I have a bunch of noob questions like:

- Whats a the cost to run a season? Very open-ended question and I know will vary depending on what series.

- How much time do you need to dedicate to it? Full weekends, weekdays, how many race weekend etc

- Do you maintain the car yourself or have a mechanic / hire sevices of a race team?

- Any other tips, hidden costs, things you've learned etc etc.

 

Just curious to see if there are any experts here for some very early on advice.

Cheers

P.S Found this pick of a cracking looking Evora Track Car. Love the design.

IMG_9145.JPG

IMG_9146.JPG

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That was the Lotus Evora Type 124 in its first version (still under MJK management). Gosh I love that clean rear bumper and the mirrors look so right.

Step 1: would be getting a national racing licence.

Step 2: determine where you want to race the rest of your questions will be answered.

We have a few club racers here but the forum has also seen bonafide GT4 level semipro racer posting in World Challenge go ask them.

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  • 2 months later...

- Whats a the cost to run a season? Very open-ended question and I know will vary depending on what series.

entirely open ended. How to make a small fortune in racing? Start with a big one...

I race an Esprit, Not the easiest car to set up initially, cage is difficult to make and expensive. (3500 quid roughly) Race licence, helmet, suit boots gloves undies and Hans are expensive but you can work it down to a budget if you aren't a fashion queen. (500-600 for the clothes 250-300 for the hans roughly)

Tyres are super expensive, I constantly hunt for surplus or end of series tyres... wets too, have found some bargains but try to find similar fr and rr impossible...

clutch will probably need uprating, brakes certainly, new pads after 2 to 3 races? Surprisingly easy on tyres though. Extra servicing, shortened life of parts> manifold anyone?

Then the series and fees, £330 a race this year, or £500 for the Intermarque!!!

Friday to pick up hired trailer, with a hired tow vehicle of course! Accomodation at the circuit? I camp often in the car/tent on trailer ok if the sun is out...

usually finished by Sat eve, sometimes sunday afternoon. Then the drive back, drop the car off then the trailer. From Anglesey or Oulton or -yikes!- Croft, you are looking at 5-8 hrs driving. Not so bad from Silverstone, Rockingham, etc. Castle Combe is half an hour. When does the series race at Combe? Never...

food, fuel, red bull for the 60 mph motorway trudge, adds up to about 7-800 for the weekend (plus fuel for tow vehicle sometimes 150-200 quid) but thats once the car is ready, fuelled tyred licenced and I can get the friday off...

our series is 4 race weekends, Intermarque is 6 iirc.

work is done at a specialist an hour away. Get the car there and back? Mot it or trailer it. Both equally expensive.

I have learned that unless you have a 3 day week, a huge salary an easy supply of parts and upgrades and that your mechanic will jump to your help at a moments notice, forget it!

 

It is however great fun, thrilling and you get to play a risky game of jousting like Hunt, Senna, Mansell, Lauda etc on all the circuits they raced on. 

Nothing like it, when the lights go out and it's 'Go, go go!' from Murray Walker in your head...

- How much time do you need to dedicate to it? Full weekends, weekdays, how many race weekend etc

- Do you maintain the car yourself or have a mechanic / hire sevices of a race team?

- Any other tips, hidden costs, things you've learned etc etc.

Edited by qwerty123
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Just noticed this post. Worth looking at the Caterham Academy if you want a good start to motorsport -23k gets you the car (to keep), a completely level playing field of novice competitors (you can't have held a licence before), ARDS, exclusive test day, 2 sprints and 5 races, full race support and an absolutely brilliant introduction to racing. They also guarantee you at least 3 further years with the car for about 3k per season with minor upgrades to the car each year.  

i did the academy last year, now have 50 great new friends and am racing 40 of them this year. 

Improved my driving 10 fold. 

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Taylor, you are in the exact same boat as me. Let me know how you get along but as LF1 said (he recommended this to me in another thread) the Caterham route is one that is really interesting me. I am planning on getting some 1-2-1 tuition from a few pro drivers over the next 12-18 months in the exige and then starting via that route. If the caterham option is too much up front then have a look at https://www.msauk.org/Get-Started/Costs/What-can-I-do-for-10000 - they have different price options on the page before, probably best to either go along to a local race and speak to some owners on costs etc or call up an owner in the classifieds and ask them what running costs to expect and what spares the car will come with. Good luck and do keep us updated. 

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However you do it racing is expensive. If you are wanting to compete on a level playing field and see how good a driver you are then single make series are the best option - otherwise it's all about who has the fastest car and can spend the most. I looked at great length a few years ago. MX5 looked good at about £1500 for a car you could race, but in reality you need another £20k to really be competing. Caterham looks like a lot up front - but you're not going to be beaten by someone with more cash (generally they do worse). And at the end of the season if you don't like it you can sell the car for about £18k - when you break down the cost of the remaining 5k for the year it is remarkable value. Just don't crash. Sorry to sound like a Caterham marketing person on a Lotus forum but it really is as good as they make out. I have repeatedly told Lotus they should be doing the same thing rather than the pants academy they used to run but does not seem to interest them.

All said and done though, unless you are bored of track days I would not even think about racing, different organisers run different rules so you can build up the challenge. Then consider doing a few test days (which are more fun than the races in my experience), then get into racing.

 

 

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22 hours ago, LF1 said:

 Just don't crash. 

 

 

This is the key point. One of my colleagues is doing the Caterham academy this year (am very envious), a few of his fellow competitors have already crashed at least once during pre-season track or test days. Also probably need to factor in the additional track days or test days and tuition that most people do in order to improve.

I'd love to do it, but I haven't got the funds or, more importantly, time for now.

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Yea, people crash a lot in it. Pretty sure one of this year's lot crashed on their own drive into a tree first time they started it. New chassis. A few others have crashed a few times on testing and track days. However it is worth remembering these people are pushing hard and spending a lot on tuition. Neither of which is necessary to do well as last year proves - and remember there are 56 cars doing it so you are always going to get some real horror stories. A lot of it is down to the individual - one guy in our year hit an MX5 first corner, first lap on the first time they'd ever driven on track. With a bit of track experience you can easily spot who to avoid ;)

Top 3 in both groups last year all did virtually no tuition.

Who's your mate that's doing it?

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I am not sure I want to name him on a public forum! He finished midfield in the green group on the Aintree sprint and hasn't crashed yet (so far as I am aware!)

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41 minutes ago, Gashead1105 said:

I am not sure I want to name him on a public forum! He finished midfield in the green group on the Aintree sprint and hasn't crashed yet (so far as I am aware!)

That actually narrows it down significantly ;)

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It's costs as much money and time as you're prepared to throw at it basically. If you have plenty of both before you start racing then you'll soon find that you won't have once you do...

What you don't want to do is make the mistake of spending thousands of pounds to get yourself kitted out and in a car and you find out that you either don't like it (some people's idea of racing couldn't be any further from the reality) or you've picked the wrong type of car/class to race in after dishing out all the money.

If you're a complete novice to racing then you will ultimately make mistakes. Some you'll manage to get away with, others will cause damage to the car which equals more costs and time involved... Race long enough it happens to the very best of them, but the likelihood is even more so when you're just starting out!

From my experiences, it doesn't matter if you go round at an average speed of 120mph in a formula car or 15mph on the back of a racing lawnmower. The race craft/technique that you need to learn to be good at it is all the same.

Before shelling out thousands on something you're possibly unsure of, you'd be wise to look towards your local go-kart track. Most of them will have an annual championship which they'll run on their hire karts. Usually 1-1.5hr events once a month at a cost of £60-70 per event. Don't be fooled into thinking 'they're only crappy hire go-karts'... there are some excellent drivers who enter these competitions who have far more skill behind a wheel than some of the guys who get to race in ferraris and lambo's et al... just they don't have the means to do so. What you'll learn in terms of race craft in one year of doing one of these types of champioships would be worth 3yrs of racing on the larger circuits when you only get 20-30minute races at 10-20x the cost to enter.

See how you get on committing 2hrs on a Saturday once a month and learn some racing skills while doing it. If you decide you like it you'll hit the ground running if you go on to race something bigger (and more expensive) and you'll not make all the silly mistakes in it that you would have done had you not learnt some race craft...

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

The first couple of laps had me on the edge of my seat!! 

What flew off the car at 19.50? It looked like a right handful from then in the rain too! 

88 Esprit NA, 89 Esprit Turbo SE, Evora, Evora S, Evora IPS, Evora S IPS, Evora S IPS SR, Evora 400, Elise S1, Elise S1 111s, Evora GT410 Sport

Evora NA

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Most of the front guys you can be confident have seen you. Its more a case of trying to keep speed up as all the cars are identical. The tow made it impossible to break away. Spa seems to amplify it. There was a 3 - 4 second difference between a lap time with a decent tow and one without. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Joe,

I've been helping people get into motorsport for the past 12months, passing on my knowledge and using my contacts in the industry to help people enter motorsport correctly, and avoiding the mistakes I made when I joined!

As mentioned above there are a number of different options avalaible, all with different amounts of commitment, financially and time wise.

Tom mentions the Caterham series which provides excellent value for money and places with similar experienced drivers so that you all learn together and there is a naturaly progression through the Caterham ranks! Similar series exist with other British marques such as Radical and Ginetta so you have quite the choice of entry level series with progressive levels, car types and the majority of the set up created for you (i.e. championship, car, support etc)

I personally think this is the prefered way into motorsport as it is about the driving, not how well the car is prepared, how much money is spent on it, and every car is of a different spec which makes it difficult to gauge yourself as a driver which, in my mind, is what everyone gets into motorsport for! Obviously if you're inclined to build your own car etc etc there are plenty of run what you brung championships that you can build a car to!

Any questions, please don't hesitate to ask :)

David
www.davidpittard.co.uk

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Hey Guys. Thanks for all your responses.

After doing a number of track days with Track Group in the Lotus Elise race prepped car and even the Cup R with the rather expensive Flappy paddle box I am toying with the idea of maybe doing an arrive and drive package with them next year in the Lotus Cup UK championship.

The cost for arrive and drive for the 8 championship rounds including Friday test days will come out to about 30k. That includes renting the car, pit team, consumables, insurance. All in basically.

Is there anyone here who competes in this? Any tips or advice for entering this particular one?

Website here: https://www.lotuscupuk.com/

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Re LCUK - I considered the same a couple of years ago. But when I really researched the regs it seems that the car plays a big part and for the 30k you'd have nothing at the end hence why I ended up with Caterham. The identical car thing was the appeal.

You can get the car transported and prepped (Caterham/BookaTrack and some teams all charge about 4k for the season of storage, transport and prep) too and with insurance that would be about £34 (inc testing - although for that you'd get Thursday and Friday) comparing like for like. But you'd have a car worth at least 18k at the end of the year and 3 further years for £8k ish/year including insurance (1/2 that - I've not bothered this year). 

If you really feel confident jump straight to Roadsport where it's 7 weekends and you can pick up a car for 16 - 18k. Races cost 3800 then it's just insurance and transport if you really nead it. Would work out about the same and you'll have a car that won't lose any money over the year.  

I'll probably do LCUK or LCE in the next couple of years. Seriously considering a round towards the end of this year arrive and drive. 

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You don't have to do arrive and drive with LCUK. You can buy cars from their classified section from people leaving the sport and you'll py around 15-20k for one ready. Then its £4,000 for the entire championship for entry fee's including tickets for family and friends and hospitality (food etc).

It's probably similar to Catherham Allbeit slightly more expensive.

I really like the idea of it and after hiring from the Track Group lately for track days I feel I'm really improving with the Lotus Elise and Exige Cup.

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Yup - I bought and Elise 220 Cup with spec from factory to compete in LCUK

Race weekends with catering, etc are about the same. We pay something like £1k for Caterham team support which covers all labour at the track to get you back up and running for any other races that weekend. 

Personally, I think it comes down to whether guaranteed identical cars across the grid and single class racing or not. That's what made my decision. However, I believe the 220 Cup is the favoured car in production LCUK.

You mentioned insurance which is why I added. It's about 4K for the season. But really depends on the cover you are after. 

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