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Last Post 06 Aug 2015 01:43 PM by  SpitfireHP
Newbie, car advice and questions
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New Member

New Member

04 Aug 2015 12:48 PM
    Hey all, I would like to participate in some club racing and have some questions;

    I recently acquired a BMW 318Ti (e36 hatchback). This car was free and didn't run. It runs now and I am fixing it up. Initially I was thinking it would be the perfect budget track car, but the more I read I am questioning the 318's usefulness for track days and club racing. I have done a bunch of reading and I understand "Miata is always the answer", so I ask is it worth fixing up this 318 and race it, or should I dump it in lieu of some other track beater?

    Just a quick overview of my goals;
    I have participated in autocross casually and I have participated in track days on a motorcycle. I also drive a C6 corvette but I didn't really want to beat it up on the track especially since they have oiling issues and lots of other reasons. I also feel my driving needs lots of improvement so I think something with a smaller engine may be in order so my skills can really sharpen up. This 318 landed in my lap and I thought "perfect"

    I'm looking for CHEAP rear wheel drive, fun, less than 250HP, and a good 'beginners car'. I know the 318Ti has semi-trailing arm rear suspension which is moderate crap due to camber and toe changes, obviously the miata is double wishbone, but a good miata will cost significantly more than this 318 did (~$3,000 for a 1.8L first gen). I am also considering trading up for an E46 330Ci as those are getting pretty cheap (can be had for about the same as the miata). Again the goal is cheap and to learn, so a car that is easy on consumables is a must.

    So is this 318 worth spending some money on to fix up the suspension and everything else? Or should I sell it and go with a miata or a 330? (or something else entirely?)

    I plan on upgrading the suspension which will put the car in another class. But the suspension as it drives right now is worn out and just generally crap so this is a must have.

    Lastly, Is it possible to be competitive without spending a huge amount of money?

    I will start with a few track days and get some instruction in before I join SCCA but I figured this would be a good place to ask questions.

    Thanks for reading.


    New Member

    New Member

    06 Aug 2015 01:43 PM
    It would seem that if you want to go budget club racing with a 318 or a Miata, you'd be smart to start in ITA. Not being an IT racer, I'm not sure if there are 318s being raced or if they are competitive, however, looking at the specs in the GCR, it has to run heavier than the 1.8 Miata even though it has the same size engine. As you state, it won't handle as well as a Miata. Not sure any car has the aftermarket support of the Miata. It's also nice to have so many Miata racers to use as support.

    With that said, I'm sure you could make a 318 reasonably quick and it would be a good car on which to learn and have fun. I wouldn't put a ton of money in it to make it competitive because it might be difficult to get it back when you sell it.

    If you want to do more mods, you could write a letter to get the Ti classed in F Production. I see there are other 318s already classed there.

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