Track/road car under 3k to buy...

Track/road car under 3k to buy...

Author
Discussion

Mr MXT

7,692 posts

284 months

Wednesday 30th March 2022
quotequote all
CABC said:
there really is only one answer unless you'd be happy with a very high maintenance and upgrade budget.

the mx5 is great out the box and teaches real car control. then you can upgrade for reasonable cost later. at least after upgrades you'll have a 200hp balanced track weapon, if you wanted.

there's a troll above saying mx5s are mobile chicanes. clearly not a track day regular. it's normally heavy German stuff rolling through the corners holding people up. most 5's are driven pretty well and pull to right along the straights to let the squirt heroes by.
Agreed. Im a huge advocate of the MX5 and having a standard ish track day MX5 has made me a much better track driver in the Westfield. I think we're up to 5 of my Westfield track day groups that have now bought MX5s to replace / go alongside.

(My Westfield likely to be for sale soon)

anonymous-user

55 months

Wednesday 30th March 2022
quotequote all
When you only have £3k, and no money for coilovers or upgrades, an MX5 is great for the first couple of track days then it’s slow and hugely underwhelming. I bought some good track tyres but that was it, I just couldn’t afford to buy upgrades to make it faster. The insurance, tax and general MOT/servicing was £1k per annum,then add in the cost of track days, fuel used getting there etc etc.

It’s just not feasible to say “get an MX5” then buy some upgrades because then it’s not a £3k budget. You might as well keep saving. For £3k, a Clio 182 is still the better choice.

C70R

17,596 posts

105 months

Thursday 31st March 2022
quotequote all
pablo said:
When you only have £3k, and no money for coilovers or upgrades, an MX5 is great for the first couple of track days then it’s slow and hugely underwhelming. I bought some good track tyres but that was it, I just couldn’t afford to buy upgrades to make it faster. The insurance, tax and general MOT/servicing was £1k per annum,then add in the cost of track days, fuel used getting there etc etc.

It’s just not feasible to say “get an MX5” then buy some upgrades because then it’s not a £3k budget. You might as well keep saving. For £3k, a Clio 182 is still the better choice.
At 3k, the OP is either looking for a cheaper car that already has some mods, or a standard car that's good fun out of the box.

CABC

5,605 posts

102 months

Thursday 31st March 2022
quotequote all
pablo said:
When you only have £3k, and no money for coilovers or upgrades, an MX5 is great for the first couple of track days then it’s slow and hugely underwhelming. I bought some good track tyres but that was it, I just couldn’t afford to buy upgrades to make it faster. The insurance, tax and general MOT/servicing was £1k per annum,then add in the cost of track days, fuel used getting there etc etc.

It’s just not feasible to say “get an MX5” then buy some upgrades because then it’s not a £3k budget. You might as well keep saving. For £3k, a Clio 182 is still the better choice.
love the 182 and had many a drive in a prepped one my BiL had, but not quite as rewarding as a 5 though. agree, excellent choice and engine is strong out the box. sure it was faster but the mods to the 5 are easy to equal it. The std 182 engine is pretty much as far as you can go.

I think there's a difference in how people get their fun. some like to be in control and master the art of driving and others like to have the stimulation done to them, via acceleration and cars that behave like grown up scalextric. Like the difference between abseiling or waterskiing and sitting in a rollercoaster.

egor110

16,925 posts

204 months

Thursday 31st March 2022
quotequote all
pablo said:
When you only have £3k, and no money for coilovers or upgrades, an MX5 is great for the first couple of track days then it’s slow and hugely underwhelming. I bought some good track tyres but that was it, I just couldn’t afford to buy upgrades to make it faster. The insurance, tax and general MOT/servicing was £1k per annum,then add in the cost of track days, fuel used getting there etc etc.

It’s just not feasible to say “get an MX5” then buy some upgrades because then it’s not a £3k budget. You might as well keep saving. For £3k, a Clio 182 is still the better choice.
Couldn't afford upgrades to go faster or wanted easy speed rather than you getting trained better as a driver ?

Take a passenger lap with the guys who race mx5's or in the puma cup and then you begin to understand quite how much corner speed they carry and how they get there lap times down .

thetapeworm

11,287 posts

240 months

Thursday 31st March 2022
quotequote all
They went race car rather than track car so the costs were higher but even with little power I suspect it's lot's of fun and cheap to run / repair.



I tracked a whale of a Supra so maybe that's made me go to the other end of the spectrum here.

CDP

7,465 posts

255 months

Thursday 31st March 2022
quotequote all
Cambs_Stuart said:
I've seen a few tatty Audi TT's on track, so there may be something in the faster VAG group cars (Cupra, Golf GTI, Octavia VRS etc).
When my wife did her ARDs at Cadwell a few years back she used her 2002 TT.

I drove it round for a bit after she'd passed. Don't bother with a TT on trackdays, my diesel 2001 Vectra felt more agile.

It was great for the NC500 where you're driving 7/10ths and want to be comfortable on the way there but as soon as you dial up the speed it's a barge.

Gorgeous car, well made, comfortable, secure but nothing like a sports car. My MR2 or MG TF let alone an Elise will absolutely run rings round it.

C70R

17,596 posts

105 months

Thursday 31st March 2022
quotequote all
egor110 said:
pablo said:
When you only have £3k, and no money for coilovers or upgrades, an MX5 is great for the first couple of track days then it’s slow and hugely underwhelming. I bought some good track tyres but that was it, I just couldn’t afford to buy upgrades to make it faster. The insurance, tax and general MOT/servicing was £1k per annum,then add in the cost of track days, fuel used getting there etc etc.

It’s just not feasible to say “get an MX5” then buy some upgrades because then it’s not a £3k budget. You might as well keep saving. For £3k, a Clio 182 is still the better choice.
Couldn't afford upgrades to go faster or wanted easy speed rather than you getting trained better as a driver ?

Take a passenger lap with the guys who race mx5's or in the puma cup and then you begin to understand quite how much corner speed they carry and how they get there lap times down .
I think it's more a case of reality biting.

Casual trackdayers who go out a few times a year don't really have the time (or money) to spend honing their car or driving skills to extract the last 0.5s out of a laptime. That's quite literally what separates them from racers.

Additionally, it's very rare that you get the opportunity for those '101% commitment' laps on a trackday. You'll invariably end up waiting to pass something slower, or pulling over to get passed by something quicker, or having to slow for someone who's had an off etc. etc..

So I don't judge the kind of person who buys a car to give them some thrills at 70-80% commitment. For some that's a car that flatters in the bends - for others it's something that pins them in their seat on the straights.

Trackdays aren't about pretending to be a racing driver, or trying to set/beat a laptime - that's racing. Trackdays are for people to have fun on a track, however the individual defines fun.

C70R

17,596 posts

105 months

Thursday 31st March 2022
quotequote all
thetapeworm said:
They went race car rather than track car so the costs were higher but even with little power I suspect it's lot's of fun and cheap to run / repair.



I tracked a whale of a Supra so maybe that's made me go to the other end of the spectrum here.
Having been on track with a few of these guys testing, I think you'd need a fairly high level of commitment and talent (as they do) to avoid being a mobile chicane.

BOM spent £10k+ on that car, and it still only had ~70bhp, which would mean hugging the side of the track on most straights.

A nice idea, but something with a tiny bit more poke would be better for a beginner.

HustleRussell

24,770 posts

161 months

Thursday 31st March 2022
quotequote all
I think that small hot hatches and MX-5s are the archetypal trackday cars. I view the trackday arms race as a regrettable phenomenon which probably deters a lot of the type of people which trackdays were for in the first place.

Too many people treat it as if it is racing, or half way to racing.

If you have a warm hatch or a standard MX-5, or indeed anything milder, you should not be deterred from doing a trackday. Despite what some are saying, trackdays are for you and your car is suitable.

braddo

10,594 posts

189 months

Thursday 31st March 2022
quotequote all
Agreed.



And I don't find MX5s being mobile chicanes at track days.


C70R

17,596 posts

105 months

Thursday 31st March 2022
quotequote all
HustleRussell said:
I view the trackday arms race as a regrettable phenomenon which probably deters a lot of the type of people which trackdays were for in the first place.
Absolutely.

I suspect many are put off by sharing a track with loads of Dazzas in their credit-card-build, Instagram-account-owning 'Clubsport'/'Ring-spec' M3s.

phazed

21,847 posts

205 months

Thursday 31st March 2022
quotequote all
Don't forget that a lot of TD'ers track as a hobby and enjoy the time off track slowly upgrading their project car, I do.

Without going mad on performance or spending, a little remap here, suspension upgrade there followed on by a few careful upgrades to keep the car on its toe's and to protect the engine.

For me personally, take a standard low mileage vRS which was remapped and had I/C fitted, £500 coilovers, ARB and rack mods, wheels and tyres, baffled sump, seats and harnesses, LSD. Loads of other little things. A lot sourced on Ebay or secondhand.

Total for a very usable TD car that should run all day, every day without breaking the bank and could go back to a fast standard car in a few hours.

Total cost to date, around £4,200 doing all work myself.

Point is, spend £2-3K on something similar and when and if the time comes, add to it if that is your thing and you are really enjoying TD;s.

HTH.

Here's the old girl again, 245 bhp of Germany's/Czechoslovakia's finest smile




egor110

16,925 posts

204 months

Thursday 31st March 2022
quotequote all
C70R said:
egor110 said:
pablo said:
When you only have £3k, and no money for coilovers or upgrades, an MX5 is great for the first couple of track days then it’s slow and hugely underwhelming. I bought some good track tyres but that was it, I just couldn’t afford to buy upgrades to make it faster. The insurance, tax and general MOT/servicing was £1k per annum,then add in the cost of track days, fuel used getting there etc etc.

It’s just not feasible to say “get an MX5” then buy some upgrades because then it’s not a £3k budget. You might as well keep saving. For £3k, a Clio 182 is still the better choice.
Couldn't afford upgrades to go faster or wanted easy speed rather than you getting trained better as a driver ?

Take a passenger lap with the guys who race mx5's or in the puma cup and then you begin to understand quite how much corner speed they carry and how they get there lap times down .
I think it's more a case of reality biting.

Casual trackdayers who go out a few times a year don't really have the time (or money) to spend honing their car or driving skills to extract the last 0.5s out of a laptime. That's quite literally what separates them from racers.

Additionally, it's very rare that you get the opportunity for those '101% commitment' laps on a trackday. You'll invariably end up waiting to pass something slower, or pulling over to get passed by something quicker, or having to slow for someone who's had an off etc. etc..

So I don't judge the kind of person who buys a car to give them some thrills at 70-80% commitment. For some that's a car that flatters in the bends - for others it's something that pins them in their seat on the straights.

Trackdays aren't about pretending to be a racing driver, or trying to set/beat a laptime - that's racing. Trackdays are for people to have fun on a track, however the individual defines fun.
But by sitting in with the decent drivers in the low hp cars you see how late they brake and then try it on your own .

Unless your happy to just rely on flooring it on the straights and dawdling around the corners wink

CABC

5,605 posts

102 months

Thursday 31st March 2022
quotequote all
egor110 said:
But by sitting in with the decent drivers in the low hp cars you see how late they brake and then try it on your own .

Unless your happy to just rely on flooring it on the straights and dawdling around the corners wink
I take your point, but I'm wary of some guys in their 1.5 tonne fast cars following my braking points!
Snett is a great example where 2 good, well matched drivers hurtle down Bentley, one can brake at the 3rd board the other needs to at the first.

anonymous-user

55 months

Thursday 31st March 2022
quotequote all
C70R said:
egor110 said:
pablo said:
When you only have £3k, and no money for coilovers or upgrades, an MX5 is great for the first couple of track days then it’s slow and hugely underwhelming. I bought some good track tyres but that was it, I just couldn’t afford to buy upgrades to make it faster. The insurance, tax and general MOT/servicing was £1k per annum,then add in the cost of track days, fuel used getting there etc etc.

It’s just not feasible to say “get an MX5” then buy some upgrades because then it’s not a £3k budget. You might as well keep saving. For £3k, a Clio 182 is still the better choice.
Couldn't afford upgrades to go faster or wanted easy speed rather than you getting trained better as a driver ?

Take a passenger lap with the guys who race mx5's or in the puma cup and then you begin to understand quite how much corner speed they carry and how they get there lap times down .
I think it's more a case of reality biting.

Casual trackdayers who go out a few times a year don't really have the time (or money) to spend honing their car or driving skills to extract the last 0.5s out of a laptime. That's quite literally what separates them from racers.

Additionally, it's very rare that you get the opportunity for those '101% commitment' laps on a trackday. You'll invariably end up waiting to pass something slower, or pulling over to get passed by something quicker, or having to slow for someone who's had an off etc. etc..

So I don't judge the kind of person who buys a car to give them some thrills at 70-80% commitment. For some that's a car that flatters in the bends - for others it's something that pins them in their seat on the straights.

Trackdays aren't about pretending to be a racing driver, or trying to set/beat a laptime - that's racing. Trackdays are for people to have fun on a track, however the individual defines fun.
Exactly. It’s the balance between getting the maximum potential lap time out of any car whilst driving at 90% commitment. I could commit more, go faster and carry more corner speed, to shave a second or so off my lap time (at a non-competitive event!) but that just increases the risk of an accident.

What I’d like to have done, is gone faster both round the corners and on the straights whilst still at 90% commitment, because that’s all I’m willing to drive at on a track day. So If I had a Caterham for example, I’d could go much faster than the MX5 and still be well within the capability of both the car and my own driving skills. An standard MX5 is great for driving quite fast on a track day in almost complete safety, they are very predictable even at 90% commitment.

So I’m buying a superkart.

Edited by anonymous-user on Thursday 31st March 22:21

braddo

10,594 posts

189 months

Friday 1st April 2022
quotequote all
CABC said:
I take your point, but I'm wary of some guys in their 1.5 tonne fast cars following my braking points!
Snett is a great example where 2 good, well matched drivers hurtle down Bentley, one can brake at the 3rd board the other needs to at the first.
Ha, braking distances are what I find most astounding about Caterhams et al. It's surreal how late you can brake compared to, well, pretty much everything!

Light weight is key to enjoyment on track days and even more so on a tight budget. It's a big part of why MX5s and the 172/182 Clios are top of the pile for cheap track day cars.

Cambs_Stuart

2,905 posts

85 months

Friday 1st April 2022
quotequote all
braddo said:
Ha, braking distances are what I find most astounding about Caterhams et al. It's surreal how late you can brake compared to, well, pretty much everything!

Light weight is key to enjoyment on track days and even more so on a tight budget. It's a big part of why MX5s and the 172/182 Clios are top of the pile for cheap track day cars.
It's the reason there are so many clios and MX5s at every track day. They're fun, cheap to buy and run, relatively tough, with plenty of support and go faster options.
I've just done my 12th track day in my 172. I could get something faster, but then the running costs start to go up. I've had 10 track days out to the brake pads and tyres (Admittedly, the pads are about 90% done now, but the tyres are only 50% done). Engine oil changes every 2 track days, gearbox and brake fluid once per year. Spark plugs every two years, which is about 6k miles, then suspension and bushes as and when they need replacing. On any given track day, including driving there and back I get about 25Mpg.
I rarely drive at 90% for any length of time, as benefit of those extra few seconds per lap are greatly outweighed by the risk of going off. On a sunny day on a fast circuit I do have to watch my mirrors, but it was a wet and snowy day at cadwell yesterday, and I wasn't being passed by much.

C70R

17,596 posts

105 months

Friday 1st April 2022
quotequote all
Cambs_Stuart said:
fun, cheap to buy and run, relatively tough, with plenty of support and go faster options.
Perfect criteria for a starter/first track car.

DocSteve

Original Poster:

718 posts

223 months

Friday 1st April 2022
quotequote all
Well, here it was in action at Anglesey. A full 102bhp of fun and for a charitable cause. Apart from a noisy front wheel bearing that will be sorted soon it was a great track car - consistently hitting just over 100mph before the rocket corners.

Edited by DocSteve on Friday 1st April 12:48