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Last Post 10 Apr 2013 11:23 PM by  duster066
Street-legal race cars: noob questions.
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CARacer
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21 Feb 2011 05:01 PM

    Some questions from a noob. Thanks in advance for your patience and time.

    I want to do some club racing, but I don't have the money or space for a truck and trailer, so I'm looking for a street-legal racer that can drive itself to the track. Everything else being equal, my preferred class would be Spec RX-7, but I've been told that a street-legal car in that class would be hopeless. I do know that people race street-legal cars in SSC and SSB.

    Questions:

    Do people race street legal cars in IT? In what other classes is it possible to be somewhat competitive and be street-legal?

    What happens to all the SS cars when they turn 13? Do they go to IT?

    Why the age limit for SS?

    Grintch
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    24 Feb 2011 03:29 PM
    What do you mean by street legal? I know a guy with an old GTU RX-7 that has a tag and is registered, but its not something he drives to work everyday.

    Some states may require an emissions inspection than most race cars would fail (or any car that meets would have a disadvantage on track). Some supposedly don't like (wont register) cars with a roll cage and race harness. Insurance companies also often have a problem with them (insurance is manditory for a street driven vehicle in most states). Any highly tuned race car is not going to be comfortable to drive on the street.

    Most people will tell you to not drive a car on track (especially in wheel to wheel racing) that you can't afford to crash. If it is your only car, you certainly can't afford to crash it. Maybe you should consider getting your feet wet in Solo, PDX, or TT before jumping into racing.

    Ex-showroom stock car do tend to be converted to another class, most often IT but sometimes production.
    I think the age limit is intended to make the cars relevant to what you can buy in the showroom. The was a period when the new cars were getting beaten by older cars out of production (the Mazda Rx-3 springs to mind), and I think this lead to the "Sunset rule".
    CARacer
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    25 Feb 2011 10:43 PM

    Thanks for the response.


    The race car will be neither my only car nor my daily driver. I intend for the car to sit in the garage between races. All the local SCCA races are within 200 miles of me, so it only has to do one 400-mile round trip once a month while packed with tires, tools, and power bars :-) I don't expect it to be comfortable. If the car is damaged at the track then, yes, I'll have a problem, but I'll figure something out.


    I know people do this in SSC and SSB. Examples:

    http://www.sccaforums.com/forums/fo...cope/posts

    http://www.sccaforums.com/forums/fo...cope/posts


    The IT rules for my region say that a car has to meet the state's emissions standards. As far as I know, in most places only liability insurance is required, and the type of car doesn't matter for that. If a car is street legal, it's insurable.


    PDX sounds like a track day, which I've done several of. Solo and TT don't seem to offer enough seat time to interest me.


    I think maybe what I'm eventually getting at: I'm reluctant to buy an SS car that's going to be ineligible ("sunsetted") in just a few years, so I'm wondering if when my street legal SS car gets sunsetted, I can then race it in another class without doing a lot of mods and without making the car not street legal.


    I've found some more good info on this topic in these forums, but of course I'm still interested to hear experiences of people racing street legal cars, especially if anyone's pulled it off in Spec RX-7.

    mcolangelo2005
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    25 Feb 2011 11:58 PM
    Well, there are race cars that are truly street-legal and then there are cars that are registered (but not really street legal). ;-)

    Seriously, it's been done by quite a few people. My Spec Miata (basically an IT car) was registered and occasionally driven on the street to get to a shop or a track or just to check things out. But on less than smooth roads, that firm suspension was murder on my butt! I drove that car from Seattle to Portland International Raceway (150 miles each way) and vowed never do to that again! But it did spare me the hassle of towing.

    Rally cars must be registered since they need to transit on public roads during most stage rallies.

    If you do drive your race car on the street, you probably won't be wearing your helmet. So make sure that you use good rollcage padding on all parts of the cage that your head and limbs may contact the cage during an accident (or even bumpy road). I used the dual-density rollcage padding in my rally car. Soft padding outer shell with a harder inner padding (http://www.safedrives.com/proddetai...%2DDDpad). Good stuff!

    Having driven both a Spec Miata and a rally car on public roads, I think a Showroom Stock car would be fine for driving on the street on your way to/from a track, to the alignment shop, etc. Stock springs, stock ride height, much of the stock interior, etc.
    Kai Noeske
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    10 Mar 2011 10:18 AM
    Hi CARacer,

    I am one of the few people who currently drive their racecar to the track, for the same reason that makes you consider it: no space (and time to take care of) a truck and trailer.

    I got an SSC car, 99 Civic Si, caged. It can be inspected and registered in Maryland where I live, with a few tweaks (needed to reinstall rear belts, stock steering wheel, a basic muffler). These tweaks, and street legality, will vary by state and likely how race car friendly your inspection shop is.

    The problem with SS expiring after 12 yrs will hit me end of this season. Yes, most (if not all) SS cars can become IT cars. The problems with this are:
    1) A make and model that is competitive in its SS class may not be favorably classed in IT - example is my 99 Si that was one of the cars to have in SSC in its heyday, but is classed ITS in IT, and some people say it will not be very competitive against typical ITS cars (RX7, for example). IF you are considering this avenue, you should ask around what people think is a car that is both good for SS and IT. However, see below.
    2) Converting an SS car to a (moderately competitive) IT car costs money - you need, at least, an engine build, full racing suspension, maybe an LSD, usually new wheels & tires, some other minor mods. This will set you back as much or more than it would be to buy a competitive, ready-built IT car - not counting the time and own labor you would invest in an IT build. Quite possibly, these mods could nix your car's street legality. I *am* considering converting my 99 Si into an ITS car, but some people think tht is not a good idea.
    3) A SS car with a few years eligibility would obviously be less of a worry, but, frankly, SS has not been doing so well in car numbers recently. I was the only SSC car at a big racing weekend on the east coast. Not sure how well CA is doing - you better check. Possible that SSC is doing worse than SSB. Ask the guys over at the SSC/SSB forums what they think before going SS. There is a possibility that the new BSpec cars may rejuvenate SSC, but people currently wait and see.

    Re. the problem of the car possibly not being drivable after a race: Most of my tracks are within 1.5 - 2.5 hrs driving from where I live. I checked how much it would be to rent a U-Haul truck with a dolly or trailer to get the car home, and found that even if I have ot do that once or twice per season, it will be cheaper than all the costs involved in keeping a truck and trailer. Also, I bought AAA premium. For $128 a year, this gives you up to 5 tows per year up to 100 miles to anywhere you want (!), and one up to 200 miles (!). Curious how that will work first time I need it...!

    There is a ton of free beginner info on Dave Gran's webpage (SCCA recommends this as novice lecture) including a free senior-racer mentor program:

    http://www.goaheadtakethewheel.com

    You can read about my adventures driving a racecar to the track on our blog:

    http://www.goaheadtakethewheel.com/blog/grassroots-driving-your-racecar-to-the-track/

    Kai

    Kai Noeske
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    10 Mar 2011 10:18 AM
    ***duplicate post removed - sorry, was fighting flaky airport wifi***
    Kai Noeske
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    10 Mar 2011 10:22 AM
    ***duplicate post removed***
    Kai Noeske
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    10 Mar 2011 10:22 AM
    ***duplicate post removed***
    CARacer
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    01 Apr 2011 08:12 PM

    That's great information, Kai. I'd actually read your blog article before. It's one of the first things I found that made me think this scheme was doable. I will also most likely be in contact with you again for more questions, if that's ok, and I'm interested to hear how your IT plans come along.

    I'll look into AAA. Sounds like a good setup.

    Also good info from mcolangelo2005.

    Kai Noeske
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    05 Apr 2011 12:48 PM
    CARacer wrote:

    That's great information, Kai. I'd actually read your blog article before. It's one of the first things I found that made me think this scheme was doable. I will also most likely be in contact with you again for more questions, if that's ok, and I'm interested to hear how your IT plans come along.

    I'll look into AAA. Sounds like a good setup.

    Also good info from mcolangelo2005.

    Very welcome! :) And yes, contact me with questions.

    Cheers, Kai

    DowningRacing
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    17 May 2011 09:44 AM

    "Do people race street legal cars in IT? In what other classes is it possible to be somewhat competitive and be street-legal?"

    I'll also say that you should check out your local region(s) and see what the competition is like in the different IT classes. The term "somewhat competitive" is kind of a funny target to hit. It all depends on the area you are running in and what the competition looks like. Around me, there is a large gap from Joe Moser (ITA) to the back of the (ITA) pack. But there are plenty of folks to race with from first to last and moving closer to the front takes better driving and more $ in the go-fast parts for the car.

    The thing to remember is that this is all just for fun. The odds of moving up the chain and someday getting paid to be a driver are slim (at best). Most of us are here having a good time doing something we love. Having FUN should be the #1 goal (just my .02¢).

    Good luck to you!

    DowningRacing
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    17 May 2011 09:44 AM
    Love the 2x post... Dupe removed.
    dubya
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    17 May 2011 10:27 AM

    Consider going to school in an arrive and drive rental.

    The owner usually will take care of the car and help with the basics of club racing and you can concentrate on learning to race.

    My guess is it will also answer many questions about what you will choose for a race car.

    anon
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    02 Jul 2011 05:08 PM
    Hi every body. I am here through searching the google. I wana get new info from here. Thanks to all the forum members for their nice and useful comments.
    duster066
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    10 Apr 2013 11:23 PM
    I'm returning to racing after about a 9 year lay off. During that time I completed a car, but sold off the tow rig. I don't intend to replace it. For the few events I can run a year it makes no sense. I'm going to rent a hauler. It doesn't sound cheaper at first, but when you consider the expense of a rig, insurance, storage and maintenance it makes perfect sense.
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