Hey there. So, I'm a 23 year old who's straight out of college and want to get into Autocrossing. I live in SoCal and went to the Hotchkis autocross back in June at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. It was a great event and I had some fun out there. I'm currently driving a stock 2011 Scion tC as my daily driver, but frankly it's not very fun on the street or during Autocross. I had traction control issues (there's no way to turn it off completely without pulling a fuse) and obviously it's not really built for that kind of event. I started off the day running a 49 second lap and by the end of the day I was down to 40.2 seconds a lap (about 10 runs total). I just tried to beat myself instead of wondering how everyone else was doing. I'd like to find a car that could be a reliable daily driver, yet fun on the autocross course. Obviously I have to improve on my driving skill before I get competitive. I've been doing a lot of reading on the rules and classes and I'm unsure of what I should look into to potentially replace my tC.
I know the typical answer for most is, "buy a Miata." The only problem is I'm 5'7" tall and weight roughly 245 lbs (I have a slight hip problem and have large thighs) so I tend to have difficulties fitting in smaller/lower cars. I drove my friend's S2000 a couple times, and although it was pretty fun to drive, my shoulder, arm, and leg were practically lying on the door panel and my thighs were almost in contact with the steering wheel. It's not very fun to get out of multiple times a day. I'd like to find something that cost about the same as my Scion (around $10k or less), has a manual transmission (yes, I drive in SoCal traffic everyday with a manual), and isn't a total gas guzzler. My main focus is to have fun, I'm not set on being super competitive just yet. Do you have any suggestions?
Just to let you guys know, I'm a mopar guy at heart, but am open to most other options. I also tend to like vehicles that are unique or taboo. I've thought about a Dodge Neon as they're dirt cheap, lightweight, and are practically like Legos; however, if I understand correctly they're in the same class as E36 BMW's and I will probably be blown away against the extra 2 cylinders (or so my coworker who used to race an ACR many years ago told me).
I'm currently building a '68 Dart that I'd like to run in CAM-T very soon. I'm almost done putting it together. It's got a Hotchkis TVS, 1.06" torsion bars, Hotchkis adjustable shocks, 3.55 gears, an Eaton TrueTrac, 18 x 9" wheels, and 255/40/18 Michellin Super Sports on all 4 corners. The problem with it now is that it's got a very tired 273 engine and 3-speed auto. So, it's going to have to come apart again when the engine and trans finally go out or I crave more horsepower and a 3rd pedal. Since this car seems to be running for 6 months and down the other 6 months, I'd like something where any weekend I could just go in and race.