Club series for the beginner?

Club series for the beginner?

Author
Discussion

jevans82

Original Poster:

10 posts

4 months

Sunday 23rd August
quotequote all
hi all,

I've been doing some looking into some club racing.

I would like to buy a car that I can use solely for the track, trailered to events, that will be reasonable on consumables. I want to spend plenty of time doing track days and then move into a race series with tight controls on the technical side of things.

I need to bring the trailer and car in for under 10k (cheaper the better) and then can spend on consumables and race entry as and when.

I've limited track experience having done a few track days in my old imprezas. I have a c63 and am loving the rear wheel drive so ideally would like to look at something rwd. I would like the car to take me through more track days and perhaps into some open racing (track day trophy style) before entering into a series. The more series the car can enter, the better but im not keen to keep chasing performance through lots of money.

I spent an interesting day at Thruxton yesterday watching the bmw compact series, lots of caterhams and then the fun cup series. I think the caterhams and fun cup are too expensive for me, however, I did really like the look of the compact cup. I have tried to look for a race prepped bmw 1.8 compact but my initial internet searching hasn't turned up too many leads.

I will be attending most of this on my own so ease of getting car prepped at track would be useful.

Very happy to hear of other series and cars that people would recommend. The rwd is a preference but not an absolute deal breaker.

Many thanks,

John

Nampahc Niloc

534 posts

38 months

Sunday 23rd August
quotequote all
Have you looked at the Caterham Graduates? Much more affordable than the official series.

frodo_monkey

641 posts

156 months

Sunday 23rd August
quotequote all
116 Trophy maybe?

andy97

4,032 posts

182 months

Monday 24th August
quotequote all
I would also very strongly recommend a Caterham. They are brilliant cars to drive and actually quite cheap to run due to their low weight - low wear rates of tyres, brakes etc, low fuel consumption for a race car and even low tow car fuel usage. Spares and knowledge are also easily available.
Yes, they may seem to a bit more expensive to buy BUT you can buy K Series engined race cars from the Graduates series at reasonable prices. I paid circa £9k for mine and it was in good condition and road legal. Depreciation is probably negligible, too. All this means that the “through life costs” of a Caterham are very reasonable, and of course they can be used in a number of club series. It is only the much newer and/or higher powered Caterhams that are expensive to buy.
Finally, I would recommend the CSCC Magnificent 7s race series - it is very novice friendly, has excellent track time at each one day event and crucially has very good driving standards. PM me if you want more info or help.

Edited by andy97 on Monday 24th August 07:34

Matt W

134 posts

198 months

Monday 24th August
quotequote all
Another vote for Caterham Graduates here. My tidy Sigmax (Sigma Supersport) cost £12k last winter and will depreciate very slowly. Slightly over your budget, I know, but you'll save on consumables due to the car's low weight. It's a much, much cheaper way to get into racing than the Caterham Academy.

The Graduates have several novices most years, and are a very supportive and friendly bunch of racers.

ol

2,183 posts

168 months

Monday 24th August
quotequote all
Have you looked into anything from the 750MC?



I race in (and helped set up) the new MA7DA series. It's an offshoot of the popular Locost series, but with MX5 1800 engine and gearbox, and sticky tyres. We have got standalone grids this year, and working towards championship status next year.

There are already around 25 cars entered, and this will grow to full 40 car grids by next year.

Our lap-times are quicker than Caterham Graduates (Brands: MA7DA - 54 seconds, Grads - 57 / Anglesey MA7DA - 1.18 seconds, Grads - 1.22 / Castle Coombe MA7DA - 1.17 seconds, Grads - 1.21)

Parts are way cheaper than Grads too - front arches £15 each, Rears £35, Nosecone £65 etc.

You'll get a car and trailer for under £10k, and it will hold value.

They are very easy to work on, and the racing is close and competitive. There are a few teams who do arrive and drive, or prep and transport cars.

They can also be used in other series such as Sports Specials, or even Mag sevens.

Can't recommend it enough, and the paddock is more like a group of friends than a race meeting. Come along to a round and have a chat, or feel free to PM me about it.

Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/750MCMa7da/

My YT channel with loads of videos:

https://www.youtube.com/user/olnorth

CanoeSniffer

786 posts

47 months

Monday 24th August
quotequote all
If you can afford it, Caterhams are probably your best option and I can also vouch for the CSCC Mag7s being a friendly bunch with a nice race format, you can split your weekend costs with a mate if you go that route.

For super cheap, the 116 trophy is up and coming and looks like decent fun though I can’t imagine the cars being a thrill to drive.

MX5s, MR2s attract great grids and are good cars to drive. Available for c£5k depending how lucky you are on what’s for sale. Some people are trying to shift cars from these series on for five figures, I can’t see the value in that personally as the regs should make modification quite restrictive so a cheaper car would represent better value, as long as it’s straight and not hanging out it’s arse. When I was looking to buy my race car I had a choice of 3 or 4 mk1 MX5s and 2 MR2s for less than £5k, straight from racecarsdirect.

As you own a C63, I might as well bump my own series as it might be right up your alley. I race with the JEC Saloons & GTs for Jaguars, something a bit different and pretty spectacular with straight sixes / V8s / V12s. Cars are pretty cheap, I got my XJ40 for £3k which is an ex championship winner with all the right bits, in the region of 300hp and 1400-1500kg with driver and fuel. Cars aren’t easy to find from outside the ‘circle’, as it’s mostly older chaps who don’t do t’internet, but there’s always something available. But the last few cars I’ve seen listed for sale to give you an idea of price:

Fully prepped but not extensively modified XK8 was up for £4K. Would be competitive in class.

Modified with all the right bits XJ-S was up for £5.5k. Modifications put it in big boy class but revert a few bits and it’s a very competitive car in lower class.

Supercharged XJR recently sold for an unknown amount, but I would expect to have been around £10k. One of these runs at the front, 550hp and 1350kgs!

Our grids are dwindling a bit in the region of 15 cars, used to be 20+ consistently and that’s what we’re trying to get back to. The racing is ridiculous and spectacular, it’s a bit different and worth a mention as you can have yourself a big RWD muscle car ready to go and competitive for £5k with 300+hp and a surprising amount of potential.

PM if you’d like any more info.

ETA: having seen the above post, I’ll vouch for MA7DAs, great series! I’m also amazed that my huge old Jag is apparently as quick round Brands Indy as a Caterham grad, I run 57s! eek

Edited by CanoeSniffer on Monday 24th August 10:37


Edited by CanoeSniffer on Monday 24th August 10:43

Kraken

1,567 posts

160 months

Monday 24th August
quotequote all
If I was looking for a cheap RWD car that is eligible for a cost effective series I wouldn't be looking much further than this - https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/60606285...

jevans82

Original Poster:

10 posts

4 months

Monday 24th August
quotequote all
Some really useful insights, thank you.

I had a ride in a 69 plate 360 r today and it was absolutely intoxicating. Although the acceleration numbers are in the ball park of my merc, this felt absolutely brutal. Loved it.

Point taken about the initial hit on caterhams but not losing much over the course of a couple of years. I will certainly have a look at the other recommended series. I think I am slightly daunted by the closeness and high standard of racing that I saw at the weekend. I don't think i'm totally sh!te but it looked like a good standard.

The 750 locost was one of the top of my list. I'll have a nose around facebook and see if I can make a meet (if there are any left this year). Having had a blast in the caterham

Thank you for the input on the other series. Big saloons sound awesome, I will want to come and see that. I must admit that if I was thinking about a saloon track car my heart will always say impreza.

Very appreciative of the feedback, ideas and knowledge.

J

Matt W

134 posts

198 months

Monday 24th August
quotequote all
ol said:
Our lap-times are quicker than Caterham Graduates (Brands: MA7DA - 54 seconds, Grads - 57 / Anglesey MA7DA - 1.18 seconds, Grads - 1.22 / Castle Coombe MA7DA - 1.17 seconds, Grads - 1.21)
I'm sure the Ma7da series would be great but I should point out that the Graduates lap times above are the Classic class which will be discontinued at the end of this season. The other classes are all at least as quick as Ma7da. Sigmax Graduates lap records are Brands - 52.5s, Anglesey - 1:15, Castle Combe - 1:14.

Anything as light as a Caterham or Ma7da will be great fun to race (especially with awful aero that gives a massive slipstream) and way cheaper on consumables than heavier machinery.

andy97

4,032 posts

182 months

Monday 24th August
quotequote all
jevans82 said:
Some really useful insights, thank you.

I had a ride in a 69 plate 360 r today and it was absolutely intoxicating. Although the acceleration numbers are in the ball park of my merc, this felt absolutely brutal. Loved it.

Point taken about the initial hit on caterhams but not losing much over the course of a couple of years. I will certainly have a look at the other recommended series. I think I am slightly daunted by the closeness and high standard of racing that I saw at the weekend. I don't think i'm totally sh!te but it looked like a good standard.

The 750 locost was one of the top of my list. I'll have a nose around facebook and see if I can make a meet (if there are any left this year). Having had a blast in the caterham

Thank you for the input on the other series. Big saloons sound awesome, I will want to come and see that. I must admit that if I was thinking about a saloon track car my heart will always say impreza.

Very appreciative of the feedback, ideas and knowledge.

J
I assume that you went to watch the “Official” Caterham series races?
It is true, i think, that the racing here can be VERY close and that there is a good market for replacement front and rear cycle wings. However racing in Graduates and CSCC Magnificent 7s is better behaved. Close still, Quick, and accidents can occur but i think the participants are largely more respectful because they know that they are doing it for fun, and that no one is going to offer them a works drive in anything!!! Just my opinion.
The clubs are also run for the benefit of the members and not the factory so take a dimmer view of poor driving standards.

andya7

140 posts

176 months

Monday 24th August
quotequote all
Bear in mind that the Caterham ‘Supersport’ (~2009-2014?) is the ‘Graduates Sigmax’ once you put Yokohama tyres on...

If you put Toyo R888R’s in then it is eligible for the 7 Race Series.

Their format of either mixed grids (420R & 1600’s) or separate grids (depending on circuit grid capacity) is proving very popular.

Opening round at Snetterton had a full grid (45 cars plus three reserves) and Silverstone had 57 on the grid... one short of full.

If you end up being a reserve then there is no entry fee (yes, free racing!!) on the basis that if you ‘fund’ getting yourself there and are prepared to wait and see if a space appears then you are not charged a an entry fee. All three reserves managed to get at least one race for £0 at Snetterton.

Snetterton had 30mins practice, 20mins qualifying, a 20mins race and 2 x 30mins races... entry fee of £650 (inc vat).

By comparison in the 420R class, Caterham Motorsport had 7 cars at Cadwell and 10 at Thruxton, compared to 7RS’s 31 at Silverstone... with the same spec car (save for tyres)

The 7RS usually has the ‘better’ circuits in the UK; Silverstone GP, Donington GP, Brands Hatch GP and then invitation races later in the year; Le Mans, Portimao and Estoril.

Same car is also eligible for Mag 7’s (also at Le Mans this year) on their mixed grid, be it the 1600 or 420R spec, although the 420R is going to set you back £25-35k.

7RS entry fees (£/min) are comparable across them all, but naturally the likes of Pembrey, Mallory, Croft, etc. are cheaper to rent by the minute than ‘premier’ circuits.

Last couple of years has seen the 7RS race at Imola (twice), Catalunya, Spa, Ascari (private event), Jarama, Jerez and Vila Real street circuit (not for the faint hearted..!!!)

Overseas events are located at easy to get to locations, so get a company to transport your car to Jerez/Portimao/Estoril (approx £1500 for all three in one trip) and fly in on budget airlines.

A Supersport/Sigmax is about £10-12k and you can use it in Graduates, CSCC Mag 7’s or 7 Race Series.

Bottom line is, choose the right spec of Caterham and you could be racing ‘anywhere’ in the UK or Europe, via several different choices in which Series/Championship you join.

You could pick and choose events as you wish and then, if the urge takes you, enter either Graduates or 7RS for a full Championship (Mag 7’s is non-champ.

As others have said, depreciation at this age is negligible and wear and tear on a 550kg car is far less than your average car.

(yes, I have a vested interest in the 7 Race Series, but have raced and been involved in the Graduates since 2002-2017... and both offer similar but different options for drivers)

Mr Tidy

12,671 posts

87 months

Tuesday 25th August
quotequote all
I was at Thruxton on Sunday too and really enjoyed watching the Compact Cup series with such a full grid!

But the main attraction for us was that my mate knew someone running a BMW Z4 in the Project8Racing series, and he got 2nd in his class in the first race and 1st in his class in the second race.

And as I've had 3 Z4s in the last 6 years my mate knew I'd be up for going!

There were loads of Caterham races too, and while I'm sure Caterhams may be much better to drive we had lost interest and left before the last race as we didn't find them nearly as exciting to watch.


jevans82

Original Poster:

10 posts

4 months

Tuesday 25th August
quotequote all
andya7 said:
Bear in mind that the Caterham ‘Supersport’ (~2009-2014?) is the ‘Graduates Sigmax’ once you put Yokohama tyres on...

If you put Toyo R888R’s in then it is eligible for the 7 Race Series.

Their format of either mixed grids (420R & 1600’s) or separate grids (depending on circuit grid capacity) is proving very popular.

Opening round at Snetterton had a full grid (45 cars plus three reserves) and Silverstone had 57 on the grid... one short of full.

If you end up being a reserve then there is no entry fee (yes, free racing!!) on the basis that if you ‘fund’ getting yourself there and are prepared to wait and see if a space appears then you are not charged a an entry fee. All three reserves managed to get at least one race for £0 at Snetterton.

Snetterton had 30mins practice, 20mins qualifying, a 20mins race and 2 x 30mins races... entry fee of £650 (inc vat).

By comparison in the 420R class, Caterham Motorsport had 7 cars at Cadwell and 10 at Thruxton, compared to 7RS’s 31 at Silverstone... with the same spec car (save for tyres)

The 7RS usually has the ‘better’ circuits in the UK; Silverstone GP, Donington GP, Brands Hatch GP and then invitation races later in the year; Le Mans, Portimao and Estoril.

Same car is also eligible for Mag 7’s (also at Le Mans this year) on their mixed grid, be it the 1600 or 420R spec, although the 420R is going to set you back £25-35k.

7RS entry fees (£/min) are comparable across them all, but naturally the likes of Pembrey, Mallory, Croft, etc. are cheaper to rent by the minute than ‘premier’ circuits.

Last couple of years has seen the 7RS race at Imola (twice), Catalunya, Spa, Ascari (private event), Jarama, Jerez and Vila Real street circuit (not for the faint hearted..!!!)

Overseas events are located at easy to get to locations, so get a company to transport your car to Jerez/Portimao/Estoril (approx £1500 for all three in one trip) and fly in on budget airlines.

A Supersport/Sigmax is about £10-12k and you can use it in Graduates, CSCC Mag 7’s or 7 Race Series.

Bottom line is, choose the right spec of Caterham and you could be racing ‘anywhere’ in the UK or Europe, via several different choices in which Series/Championship you join.

You could pick and choose events as you wish and then, if the urge takes you, enter either Graduates or 7RS for a full Championship (Mag 7’s is non-champ.

As others have said, depreciation at this age is negligible and wear and tear on a 550kg car is far less than your average car.

(yes, I have a vested interest in the 7 Race Series, but have raced and been involved in the Graduates since 2002-2017... and both offer similar but different options for drivers)
Thanks for the details here. It helps me to think more clearly about the opportunities for a car that it is eligible for multiple series.

I will do some more looking around at specs etc. The 420 r is going to be beyond my reach.

Thanks



jevans82

Original Poster:

10 posts

4 months

Tuesday 25th August
quotequote all
Mr Tidy said:
I was at Thruxton on Sunday too and really enjoyed watching the Compact Cup series with such a full grid!

But the main attraction for us was that my mate knew someone running a BMW Z4 in the Project8Racing series, and he got 2nd in his class in the first race and 1st in his class in the second race.

And as I've had 3 Z4s in the last 6 years my mate knew I'd be up for going!

There were loads of Caterham races too, and while I'm sure Caterhams may be much better to drive we had lost interest and left before the last race as we didn't find them nearly as exciting to watch.
There is something exciting about watching bigger chunks of metal racing. That's why the jag saloons that were mentioned earlier sound like lots of fun and I really enjoyed the compact racing. I didn't see the project 8, sounds like fun

dhutch

7,885 posts

157 months

Tuesday 25th August
quotequote all
CanoeSniffer said:
....Cars aren’t easy to find from outside the ‘circle’, as it’s mostly older chaps who don’t do t’internet, but there’s always something available....

....Our grids are dwindling a bit in the region of 15 cars, used to be 20+ consistently and that’s what we’re trying to get back to.....
I think ive found the issue for you!

dhutch

7,885 posts

157 months

Tuesday 25th August
quotequote all
Mr Tidy said:
I was at Thruxton on Sunday too and really enjoyed watching the Compact Cup series with such a full grid!
I've never raced on track, only track days and autotest events, however I did have a E36 compact for a bit and it was a hoot to drive. My tame breaker said the championship was hoovering up all the m-tech bumpers at an alarming rate, in part due to the requirement.have the car look presentable as it was filmed for tv (?) but otherwise it looked good. I don't know if like the MX5 lot they will with time move to a grid of E46 compacts, or leaf frog into a 1serise or something, but presumably parts and cars are currently still reasonably available.

Whats I like in terms.of weather for the Ma7da championship etc? Whenever I book a trackday in the Westfield (and it's fairness it's been a while now). I'm always twitchy about what the weather will be like. Not due to grip particularly but spray, which then gets into the car and onto the screen which has awful wipers.
Presumably if race cars people have worked out various things the work maybe? Get the door/sidescreens to seal properly? Good wiper setup? Deflectors on the cycle wings/screen? Full cage, so no roof?

Daniel

Bertrum

430 posts

183 months

Tuesday 25th August
quotequote all
dhutch said:
Whats I like in terms.of weather for the Ma7da championship etc? Whenever I book a trackday in the Westfield (and it's fairness it's been a while now). I'm always twitchy about what the weather will be like. Not due to grip particularly but spray, which then gets into the car and onto the screen which has awful wipers.
Presumably if race cars people have worked out various things the work maybe? Get the door/sidescreens to seal properly? Good wiper setup? Deflectors on the cycle wings/screen? Full cage, so no roof?

Daniel
The unofficial solution is a bit of rag or similar taped to a stick and hidden in the passenger compartment so the officials don’t spot it.

Rain ex also helps.

fat80b

1,105 posts

181 months

Tuesday 25th August
quotequote all
Bertrum said:
The unofficial solution is a bit of rag or similar taped to a stick and hidden in the passenger compartment so the officials don’t spot it.

Rain ex also helps.
Love it - in the Escort rally car we do the same - I have a chamois sponge taped to a stick that lives in the boot (as the boot prop) and doubles as the screen clearer when it is super wet.....


hilts uk

27 posts

50 months

Tuesday 25th August
quotequote all
I started Caterham Academy this year and was at Thruxton yesterday. The upfront cost is steep - £30k but that covers your ARDs, tution, a test day and 6 races plus race day support. At the end of the season the car can be sold for about £21k or you upgrade to roadsport and go up the ladder. So its £9k for your first season. You can finance the cost of the car on a monthly fee I think. Extras will be a trailer, track and test days and parts (not labout) for any damage.

I had zero experience on track and hadn't even carted before, but have slotted in towards the middle of the pack. There is a wide range of abilities and two grids of 25 cars so there always people your level. The comradeship is excellent and probably the main reason why I decided to go for a novice only series.

While the racing might not look so exciting from a distance, the feel in the car is unbelievable. It feels like a single seater and the crap tyres we have to use mean the car slides easily so you are on the limit very quickly.