Anyone changed to a slower car and not regretted it?

Anyone changed to a slower car and not regretted it?

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dunc_sx

Original Poster:

1,252 posts

157 months

Wednesday 16th September
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I've considered changing track cars a few times but never gone through with it, can't help thinking I'd end up regretting it.

My current car is a radical PR6 (lightweight single seat version with central seating position, no driver aids, slicks, sequential manual). It's awesome but too fast for track days in term of having anyone to play with. I do race it occasionally but find it to be expensive and time consuming (a lot of travel for me). Also not really enough seat time then there's the inevitable expensive crash which is bound to happen at some time.

Realistically is there anything I could trade into and still get the same buzz? I reckon the car is worth 20 to 25k, and the trailer maybe 6k. Road registered would be ideal to drive to track and back and get rid of the space consuming trailer. Could probably stretch budget a bit, roof would be nice.

Mid engine and low maintenance would be best, I'm a bit spoiled currently as the running costs have been extremely low thus far.

Would be interested in hearing suggestions or advice from anyone who has made a similar change.

Thanks,

Dunc.

Edit: Just read this post, it's a bit of a ramble. Fancy a change but don't want to be disappointed basically smile

Edited by dunc_sx on Wednesday 16th September 08:05

NGRhodes

856 posts

32 months

Wednesday 16th September
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How about a motorbike ?

RedAndy

683 posts

114 months

Wednesday 16th September
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if you want to keep tracking, keep the radical and fit thinner crappier tyres to it. that'd keep your speeds down so you can play with someone else!

or buy an exiige/elise and only play against Ferraris/Porsches etc. You'll feel great passing so many"better" cars, even if you're not exactly going as fast or hard as the Radical?

or I second a bike. i did my CBT on a 125 scrambler thingy and it was phenomenal sensory battering. I cant imagine what a proper bike would be like.

If like me, bikes aren't for you, change sport - instead of clipping the last tenths off a lap in a radical on smooth tarmac, try rallycross? different sensations? Try offroading. it's slow, but some of the things you can make a cheapo L200 with big tyres do is astounding.

LaurasOtherHalf

18,457 posts

156 months

Wednesday 16th September
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Loads of times...

M3 CSL to Megane R26.R
Mini GP2 to MX5
Z4M Coupé to the GP2 as well actually.

Top and bottom of it, the difference in the dynamics were what made the difference and they all proved to be enjoyable changes.

Only one was a bit of a problem and that was the MX5. I absolutely loved driving that thing but it just lacked the power at the Nurburgring. It was sublime handling wise but on the big hills and straights you were swamped by cars that weren’t as well driven but could mince you with power.


upsidedownmark

1,939 posts

95 months

Wednesday 16th September
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Interesting. I'd *love* to drive a radical for a few days, play at proper racecar and downforce, but I suspect that the running costs might be a bit high (always thought they need engine rebuilds periodically etc).. and more significantly they always look like an exercise in frustration on a mixed track days, so much faster I'm not sure you'd ever get a clear lap?

In terms of the actual question - Mk1 Boxster S -> mk1 mx-5 -> caterham. Not regretted any of the moves; the MX5 was far more playful than the boxster, a bit slow in a straight line, but had fun surprising people and it was decidedly easier to play with. The caterham is a whole other level, and pretty cheap to run. Coming down from a radical might be difficult, but I can't think of a much better answer than a caterham for me personally, plus it does sunny day pub trips, and has 2 seats (Mrs loves it).

Can't immediately think of anything track biassed and mid engined, unless atom?
Actually that's an idiot statement. Lotusses and plenty of others.. although something like a 3-eleven would be pretty close to a radical?

Edited by upsidedownmark on Wednesday 16th September 11:48

Mark83

634 posts

161 months

Wednesday 16th September
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I'm currently driving an M4, 450bhp and the weight of a small moon and I think my S2 Exige S was a happy medium. 220bhp and sub 1000kg. Easy on consumables and fast enough down the straights but it did struggle a little up Kesselchen although no where near as bad as my MX5 where I could listen to an audiobook.

dunc_sx

Original Poster:

1,252 posts

157 months

Wednesday 16th September
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NGRhodes - Bikes are not my thing. Had a few when I was young but the car bug caught me harder. I think a new challenge is in order so I agree with you in that respect.

RedAndy - I don't think I'd neuter the rad like that. It's made for big speed on slicks. I see where you are coming from though.

I've had an exige before (non-s) and it didn't quite make it into my all time favorites list. I like them though and the v6 I drove was nice.

I think you are right by a new challenge, depending on what it was I could keep hold of the rad.

LaurasOtherHalf - What was your favorite out of the ones listed out of interest? Don't think I'd go back to mx5, you never know though.

upsidedownmark - Caterham's do look fun on track, easy enough to slide about as well I assume? They tick many boxes.

Correct engine refreshes are required but you might be surprised how little track hours you do in a year (well most people anyway). There's also a different refresh recommendation for track use than race use which most people don't realise.

Mark83, as above I've previously owned an Exige (non-s though). Perhaps I need to give them another go?

Appreciate all the responses, all good for thought.

Dunc.



Tim.C

328 posts

157 months

Wednesday 16th September
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Out of left-field: Darrian T9?

Dynion Araf Uchaf

2,606 posts

183 months

Wednesday 16th September
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there's a lot of fun to be had having one of the slowest track cars on a track day, driving it well and embarrassing many a faster one. Takes all the pressure off, and generally are more reliable and will pound around forever.

Also if you are at the limit it is fun anyway, and I doubt you'd get to the limit in a radical, which in turn probably means you won't be that faster driver.

Buy a Clio 197 smoke around in that and see how you get on, or if it has to be RWD then a Beemer of some sort. Set your self the challenge of taking those scary corners in a radical, flat out in a Clio.

LaurasOtherHalf

18,457 posts

156 months

Wednesday 16th September
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dunc_sx said:
LaurasOtherHalf - What was your favorite out of the ones listed out of interest? Don't think I'd go back to mx5, you never know though.
The Megane R26.R.
No one ever believes you but they truly are up there with a GT3 RS for out and out track fun. Cheap consumables, reliable, able to keep up with cars worth 5 times as much and sticking one in the Armco while not insignificant, isn’t likely to be a life changing loss. They also hold their value so you could realistically try one for a year or so and not really cost you anything.

The MX5 was brand new so I didn’t want to modify it too much, I had a spare set of wheels with track rubber and did the suspension. It was so good and an open top for summer sunny evenings. It was bliss at the nurburgring but as another poster says, so slow up the hill from Adenauer it was beyond a joke really.

I’ve been tempted plenty of times by a BBR SUPER 220 package but I honestly it’ll still just be a tad too slow. Maybe their turbo package would be better?

Then the more it gets away from standard the less suitable it is for sunny sundays on British roads. There’s still that pleasure in giving an MX5 death and not being in the position to lose your license.

Anyway, I know if I built an MX5 it would just be a mission to make it perform as well as the R26.R so in reality I’d just be as well buying one of those.


Evoluzione

4,602 posts

203 months

Wednesday 16th September
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To be blunt, It depends on how lazy or untalented you are really. A lesser car will require you to pedal a lot harder.
I took an MX5 NC and put some money into it to make it into a proper track car. The Mk3 lends itself very well as it has the 1.8 or 2.0 Duratec engine in it, but you can fit a modded NA 2.3 or 2.5 as externally they are the same so bolt straight in.
Power output is governed by your wallet, 200, 250, even 300bhp is possible.
Turbo ones are heavy and unreliable on track unless you pour a heck of a lot of money into them and that won't make it lighter.

braddo

7,256 posts

148 months

Thursday 17th September
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What about a Ginetta G40R? Very focussed, <900kg but with a roof and aircon. From what I read they're not as playful as a MX5 but I'm sure the geo could be set to any preference.

The biggest issue with a Caterham is whether you'll be happy driving it for a couple of hours to/from track days. I do it (with earplugs) but it will depend on the person as to whether it's too much of a chore.

Mine is on standard soft suspension and R888r tyres so it has good cornering speeds without being at all snappy. It's a step down in pace compared to my GT3 but no less fun (and obviously loads cheaper to run).

TheMuu

83 posts

151 months

Thursday 17th September
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Yeah deffo, lots to be had from squeezing every drop out of something slower

V6todayEVmanana

335 posts

104 months

Friday 18th September
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As you already have a trailer how about the KaEnduro or the C1/Aygo race series.

Could be a lot of fun and the engines are all the same so overtaking will be down to drivers skill.

My local garage have a Citroen C1 which they enter. Seems like a cheap way into racing fun if track days no longer exciting.

Regarding slower cars, I was on a Aerial Atom experience, the instructor in charge of the Atom got chatting, his own track day car is a mk1 Mazda, I assumed it was supercharged like the Atom but no, he just tries to make it as sticky as possible and get fast laps that way.

NGRhodes

856 posts

32 months

Friday 18th September
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What about something "classic", those chaps at Goodwood seem to have jolly fun sliding around on their skinny tyres

QBee

17,903 posts

104 months

Sunday 20th September
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You need something that handles, reasonably light weight, and that you can chuck around and carry speed through the corners.
I have taken my TVR Chimaera (1060kg) on track for the last 8 years, and have made many friends through this.
It's a reasonably quick car and is fun to drive fast, has shed loads of torque from the 4.6 litre V8, but is not the best chassis out there.

Without doubt my enjoyment is increased in direct proportion to the number of other TVRs that are there on the day.
We chase each other around and enjoy the closeness in performance of the cars. E are also competitive with the Elises, Caterhams, the more powerful MX5s etc. So more people to have fun with. I have never seen the point in going any faster, but I am not competitive.

A very good TVR friend has finally sold his 5.5 litre 400 bhp car fro personal reasons unconnected with the car, and has bought a 2010 Boxster S, one of the special editions with a bit more power. So around 300 bhp.
He reckons he would be just as quick in that car as in his TVR, because it handles so sweetly and will carry speed through the corners better.
And it's a great road car too, from shopping to open road driving, electric everything, comfortable etc etc.

He and I both agree that the best circuits are the ones with lots of corners, plus a couple of decent straights in order to get past the mobile chicanes we all meet on track days. So no need to lunatic top speeds. It's not what track days are about for us

So I would be recommending a Lotus, Caterham, Noble, Boxster or Cayman, or even a Ginetta if you can find one. And be happy with having loads of others to play with.

dunc_sx

Original Poster:

1,252 posts

157 months

Monday 21st September
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Tim.C - Wow that is an unexpected shout! I remember seeing these at sprints, are many of these road legal? What would they be like to run? I've had a look around and they do seem pretty rare.

Dynion Araf Uchaf - I do agree I've had many slower track cars in the past, not all of them will pound around forever and be relaible though (the Radical does both these things). For a start I've always found tyres go off on production road based cars even with track focussed geometry, that takes the fun out of things.

Just because someone is in a fast car doesn't mean they are not at the limit smile I understand what you are saying though, even to keep up with others in a slow car you need to be at the limit.

I don't think I'd go back to a clio or BMW for track stuff, both cooked tyres and brakes on track. Saying that if I got something cheaper I would be happy spending more on serious upgrades, not FWD though - It doesn't keep my attention for long enough to be honest.

Laurasotherhalf - Thanks for the additional info, R26.R does sound like a hoot but the FWD is the deal breaker for me there.

Evoluzione - I'm not bothered about my speed vs others at track days, I keep that for the racing. I like to think I'm a 100% effort in whatever I'm driving type of guy. If I was going MX5 the std engine would be fine for me, thinks for the info - There's loads of MX5 fans here!

Braddo - Now there's an interesting one, I had previous contacted the factory to order a new one going back a few years but never went through due to a 1 year wait. I ended up buying a s2 exige (N/A) but didn't fall in love with it due to the suspension on the road, on track it was decent but at the time I remember wishing I was in the Rad.

V6todayEVmanana - Maybe something like this is what I need, perhaps mx5 championship? My racing so far has been mainly sports prototype and a bit of classic racing.

NGRhodes - Agreed, that stuff looks fun for sure. I've done 24h 2CV racing and it was genuinely amazing fun (hilarious in fact), I think something RWD and old would be good, realistically the car would have to be already sorted and RWD. Not sure what the options are?

QBee - Your recommendations are real close to my current thinking. I'm thinking road Cayman with track upgrades or exige (S2 or S3), since these would be road cars I could keep the radical for the big adrenaline but mixed in with the Cayman/Exige for perspective and a different type of fun on road and track. I've got a 997 I'm pretty bored of so will be looking to swap that for said cars smile

Thanks for all, my current line of thought is in my last response there - fingers crossed I can find something smile

Dunc.

Boggo

45 posts

14 months

Monday 21st September
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Caterham is the answer surely?

Personally I'd go looking for a Roadsport race car (or 270 if you don't want to use it on the road) and keep the trailer. Caterham running costs are seriously cheap compared to racing a radical - but its still single make series so really really tight racing.

Plenty of other caterhams on track to play with, but still the super raw experience of driving a car with no abs, power steering etc etc.

Or go buy a 420 road car and track that - seriously quick!

LaurasOtherHalf

18,457 posts

156 months

Monday 21st September
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dunc_sx said:
T
Laurasotherhalf - Thanks for the additional info, R26.R does sound like a hoot but the FWD is the deal breaker for me there.
That's what everyone who hasn't spent some time behind the wheel of one says wink Mate still has his alongside his GT3 RS, occasionally he'll even admit the R26.R is more fun!

dunc_sx

Original Poster:

1,252 posts

157 months

Thursday 24th September
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Boggo - They are a massive temptation, I'm going to research them. Are the roofs actually any good for wet running out of interest?

LaurasOtherHalf - Cool, appreciate the responses ?
smile