Simplest Track Day Car Β£3k Non MX5

Simplest Track Day Car Β£3k Non MX5

Author
Discussion

BeirutTaxi

Original Poster:

6,505 posts

159 months

Monday 10th June
quotequote all
Hi guys,

What is the best starter/simplest track day car for £1k to 3k?

I'm somewhat against the Mx5 as they're total rustbuckets. I'm looking to do some of the work myself - e.g. Brake discs, oil etc and I'm also trying (and failing) to find someone more experienced who can supervise me with the more difficult jobs e.g. suspension work.

Current line up is:
Z3 1.9
MGF VVC
MGTF
R53 Cooper S
Celica 190/140
MR2
3 Series Compact

Looking to buy later this year when my job situation is a bit more certain.

Rwd is preferable, however not totally necessary. Emphasis is on simplicity from a maintenance and driving point of view. Good condition of car is a must - no rust boxes.

What do you reckon?

Many thanks

Matt


Dakkon

7,715 posts

198 months

Monday 10th June
quotequote all
Clio 182?

BeirutTaxi

Original Poster:

6,505 posts

159 months

Monday 10th June
quotequote all
Never owned a French car.. How risky is it in terms of ownership costs and reliability?

LondonTom

71 posts

159 months

Monday 10th June
quotequote all
Compact with an M52B28 conversion.


E-bmw

5,072 posts

97 months

Monday 10th June
quotequote all
FWIW, I have a Cooper S R53 with 220bhp & the usual brake/suspension/seat/harness mods & while it is a fantastic track & back road car it does not fill the "simple" part of your brief.

The only REAL answer to your brief would probably be st150 Fiesta for £1.5k & suspension/brake/engine mods to 200 bhp & "corner like a house-fly" handling.

sideways man

689 posts

82 months

Monday 10th June
quotequote all
I’d go MGTF.
It’s mid engine, revvy, handles well. Job jobbed.

Tri_Doc

533 posts

79 months

Monday 10th June
quotequote all
Clio 182 cup are prolific on track for a reason.

E-bmw

5,072 posts

97 months

Monday 10th June
quotequote all
Alas, going by the brief above they aren't really simple are they?

I am thinking along the lines of minimum £500 for cambelt/dephaser etc (every 5 years IIRC) and monster expense if it fails.

akadk

773 posts

124 months

Monday 10th June
quotequote all
EP3

towelie

267 posts

115 months

Tuesday 11th June
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Mx5 is the ideal car out of that list though. Rust is cheap to fix, I’ve had mine for 9 years and spent £180 to fix a sill for rust.

CacheMonet

37 posts

31 months

Tuesday 11th June
quotequote all
A scruffy EP3, a nice enough 182, or a 325ti would all be good contenders.

EP3 would be a good shout, however K20 gearboxes are not unknown to syncro issues if they've not been cared for. They can be had for cheap though if you get a scruffy looking one. Plus the dead steering puts a lot of people off.

Clios are surprisingly bulletproof if maintenance is kept on top of, like anything. The best part is you can get hold of track prepped examples for not a lot more than your budget. As mentioned above, there is a reason they are at every track day.

325ti would be good contender, however IMO you would need to have slightly deeper pockets to get it where it needs to be for track use.

a mk6 Fiesta ST might be worth a punt, but if we're talking about small chuckable hatchbacks with 2.0 NA engines see the 2 cars above. biggrin

foggy

865 posts

227 months

Tuesday 11th June
quotequote all
E-bmw said:
I am thinking along the lines of minimum £500 for cambelt/dephaser etc (every 5 years IIRC) and monster expense if it fails.
I’d say that if £100 extra a year maintenance is a particular concern maybe trackdays aren’t a hobby you should be considering... By the time you spend on track day fees, fuel, tyres, brakes, getting there, B&B the night before etc. running a standard spec car before upgrades commence you’ll be well past that! You either go into it eyes open with a cheap and disposable car or invest in maintaining whatever breaks on a more expensive machine.

JB!

5,249 posts

125 months

Tuesday 11th June
quotequote all
E36/46 3 series.

JB!

5,249 posts

125 months

Tuesday 11th June
quotequote all
foggy said:
E-bmw said:
I am thinking along the lines of minimum £500 for cambelt/dephaser etc (every 5 years IIRC) and monster expense if it fails.
I’d say that if £100 extra a year maintenance is a particular concern maybe trackdays aren’t a hobby you should be considering... By the time you spend on track day fees, fuel, tyres, brakes, getting there, B&B the night before etc. running a standard spec car before upgrades commence you’ll be well past that! You either go into it eyes open with a cheap and disposable car or invest in maintaining whatever breaks on a more expensive machine.
Also this.

I started out with a disposable civic, still cost a bomb to do TDs and sort a few snags.

ali_khl

115 posts

148 months

Tuesday 11th June
quotequote all
Panda 100hp:

I'm running 5-6 trackdays a year with mine, including at the Nordschleife, and it has held up great. Very easy on brakes, tires, and gas (18-20 MPG on the ring, flat-out!).

The car drives very well with the following tweaks, very adjustable on the throttle and brakes:

1. Bilstein B12 Set (B8 dampers, Eibach springs) - About 350 quid new
2. DNA rear anti-roll bar - About 140 quid
3. McGill Motorsports custom front ARB-links - about 70 quid for the pair
4. Nankang NS2R 195/50 tires - About 50 quid each
5. Stainless-steel 4-2-1 exhaust manifold - About 240 quid new (made in Germany)
6. Ferodo DS2500 pads - About 140 quid for the front pair
7. EBC front discs - About 120 quid
8. Fast road/ track front Geo (about -1.3 deg camber, slight toe-out) - About 50 quid
9. Custom-tuned ECU (Redline 7500 RPM, + 7-8 BHP with 100 Octane)


CacheMonet

37 posts

31 months

Tuesday 11th June
quotequote all
ali_khl said:
Panda 100hp:

I'm running 5-6 trackdays a year with mine, including at the Nordschleife, and it has held up great. Very easy on brakes, tires, and gas (18-20 MPG on the ring, flat-out!).

The car drives very well with the following tweaks, very adjustable on the throttle and brakes
it's worth mentioning that these drive great out of the box! A mate had one of these and it was a cracker. An NA Abarth 500 without the pricetag or exhaust racket

Car-Matt

1,923 posts

83 months

Tuesday 11th June
quotequote all
Some kind of n/a fiesta, and forget about power, it’s one of the least important things on a track car

AshVX220

4,023 posts

135 months

Tuesday 11th June
quotequote all
I'm in a similar situation, but (hopefully) with a slightly higher budget.

My current contenders are Mk2 MR2 (because I prefer the look) or a Tiger Kit car.

Currently the MR2 is winning, because having seen '7 type' cars at track days, they do look quick and fun, but just seem so flimsy and I'd be using whatever I get to get to the track and back.

My current thinking is a decent MR2 about £2.5-£3k. The in order;
Give it a thorough service
Upgrade Brakes (discs, pads, braided lines and fluid)
Upgraded Strut Braces
Adjustable shocks, stiffer anti-roll bars (if I can find them)
Also a nice to have would be some decent seats and harnesses.

and gradually during this period look at stripping it out.

If I were to go straight down the Tiger route, then in the main they have all the track toys already and it would just be a case of making sure it's all in good order.

TartanPaint

1,421 posts

84 months

Tuesday 11th June
quotequote all
I ran a Mk2 MR2 N/A for a while, and it was absolutely loads of fun on track. Do it!

For your budget I got a good UK Rev 4 T-top with leather seats (very comfy) in overall great condition, fixed a few blemishes in the paintshop, gave it a nice new Momo steering wheel, Janspeed exhaust, K&N cone, and a full service/plugs/leads at roguemotorsport.com. After that, it was just consumables, and not many of those.

RWD, cheap bits, not so slow you'll be getting in the way too much, utterly bombproof engines, and a real, not electronic, drift mode (just add damp track). What's not to like?

egor110

11,748 posts

148 months

Tuesday 11th June
quotequote all
BeirutTaxi said:
Never owned a French car.. How risky is it in terms of ownership costs and reliability?
As risky as the mini and mg .