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Old 10-22-2005, 10:36 PM   #1
blk323bimmer
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Want to start racing, How much $

I would like to start racing, and don't know where to start. I want to autocross or something like that. I have a 2000 323i, but that is my every day car and really don't want to race it.

I have a friend that owns a 1995 325i with about 120,000 miles. It is a 4-door / 5-speed, in great condition. Would this be a good car to make into a race car. It runs well, but stopped working when the fuel pump went bad. He is willing to sell it to me for $1000, because he doesn't have time to fix and wants to get rid of the car.

So my question is: should I buy the car, would it make a good starter race car. Also how much on average would all of the up grades cost to mod the car to race?

Thanks

Last edited by blk323bimmer; 10-22-2005 at 10:41 PM.
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Old 10-23-2005, 01:53 AM   #2
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If you have to ask how much it costs to run a dedicated car for "racing", you can't afford it. I raced AMA with a team out of Florida for four years, it cost $$$ and that was just bikes! I would suggest running your daily car in autocross events/track days. It'll run you a little more than what its costing you for regular maintainence.
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Old 10-23-2005, 03:55 AM   #3
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$1000 for a 95 325i with 120k is a good price, but then again its not running. keep in mind that 95 325i's are slow. i wouldnt take it out on the track unless you swap the motor for an s50. if its just for auto-x then i guess its fine. look to spend about $5000 +/- when upgrading the suspension.
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Old 10-23-2005, 09:08 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by SLEEP3R
$1000 for a 95 325i with 120k is a good price, but then again its not running. keep in mind that 95 325i's are slow. i wouldnt take it out on the track unless you swap the motor for an s50. if its just for auto-x then i guess its fine. look to spend about $5000 +/- when upgrading the suspension.
Um, no. Bad advice.

The E36 325i is a very good race car and with the current classification in SCCA Improved Touring it is by far the dominant car currently.

The purchase price is good, but unless you not only know what you are doing but have a really good reason for building your own car rather than buying one that is aleady built, don't do it. Building a race car is far more expensive than buying one someone else built.

If you truly want to go racing, look for an ITA Mazda RX-7. They are not the fastest in their class, but they are dead reliable and there are a gazillion of them. They usually can be had pretty cheaply.

What is the cost to go racing? I race on the cheap. Dirt cheap. Minimum for a race weekend is over $500 and often over $1,000. And that is usually either with no hotel or a very cheap one ($60 in College Station). If you decide to build the 325i you will likely spend a bare minimum of $10k and if you want to be the least bit competitive you'll spend about $20k. That is with doing all the work yourself. And if you want a race winning enginen from Sunbelt, add another $10k. But a decent effort to get it on the track can be done for $10-15k if you do all the work yourself.

If you really want to go racing, buy a car that is already built.
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Old 10-23-2005, 10:00 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geo31
Um, no. Bad advice.

The E36 325i is a very good race car and with the current classification in SCCA Improved Touring it is by far the dominant car currently.

The purchase price is good, but unless you not only know what you are doing but have a really good reason for building your own car rather than buying one that is aleady built, don't do it. Building a race car is far more expensive than buying one someone else built.

If you truly want to go racing, look for an ITA Mazda RX-7. They are not the fastest in their class, but they are dead reliable and there are a gazillion of them. They usually can be had pretty cheaply.

What is the cost to go racing? I race on the cheap. Dirt cheap. Minimum for a race weekend is over $500 and often over $1,000. And that is usually either with no hotel or a very cheap one ($60 in College Station). If you decide to build the 325i you will likely spend a bare minimum of $10k and if you want to be the least bit competitive you'll spend about $20k. That is with doing all the work yourself. And if you want a race winning enginen from Sunbelt, add another $10k. But a decent effort to get it on the track can be done for $10-15k if you do all the work yourself.

If you really want to go racing, buy a car that is already built.

Thanks again Geo, you saved me a lot of typing
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Old 10-23-2005, 04:44 PM   #6
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these guys probably know more than i do but when i test drove 325i's i thought they were really slow and i kept thinking to myself when the hell is vanos gunna kick in.
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Old 10-23-2005, 08:52 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by SLEEP3R
these guys probably know more than i do but when i test drove 325i's i thought they were really slow and i kept thinking to myself when the hell is vanos gunna kick in.
Thats why you race other cars within your class.
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Old 10-24-2005, 08:28 AM   #8
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Thanks for all of your suggestions. I am only 18 and really have no desire to become a professional racecar driver. I don't have a millon dollars to spend, nor do I want to race my 2000 323i since it is my everyday driver. It just so happened that this deal came up and the car is cheap and in good condition. I think I want to autocross, but don't know much about it, and am going to have to research it.

As to building vs buying a racecar: My dad has been drag racing for 25 years, and built many race cars, mostly old chrylers. He knows everything about cars, so he can help me turn this bmw into a race car. I own a 1970 plymouth cuda', which we were in the middle of restoring, but I started to like bmw's and lost interest in the cuda'. I am debating whether or not to sell the cuda and use the money to put into this bmw to start racing. If I decide to keep the cuda' I still will probably buy this car and build it little by little as I save up money.

Thanks
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Old 10-24-2005, 09:06 AM   #9
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As you are only 18, just go auto crossing in your 323 - there is no reason not to just to see if you like it. Then you'd need to see how much you want to jump into autoX if you really want to get serious about it. Then you look at what class you want to run in, etc. etc. The first spluge if you want to just do it in your 323 is a set of track tires and wheels. The only concern would be the rear subframe, which you should check and watch.

If you want to get on a real race track, go to some racing schools first. If you really want to get into racing from there, there are plenty of "arrive and drive" programs where you rent a car for the weekend - from spec Miatas, to Spec Racer Fords, on up to Formula Mazdas etc. And, some of the racing schools have series as well in thier own cars like the Panoz Racing School. It's a lot cheaper to rent a ride when you start out to see if you have the talent, as well as desire and time to really make your own investment in a car, trailer, tow vechile, spare parts, etc. etc.

Hook up with some local SCCA people as well - they can help you find your way............. Don't go investing in a car until you know exactly what you want to do, and what you are committed to doing.
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Old 10-24-2005, 11:54 AM   #10
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Do you want to race or just drive your car fast legally? I thought about it a while back and I have to concur, if you have to ask, you can't afford it.

I can't afford it and I fit more into the person that want to drive fast without worrying about cops so I do a lot of DE. The cost for that is no more than $400-500 including gas, maintenance, hotel and meals. Pretty cheap for a weekend of "racing"
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Old 10-24-2005, 01:53 PM   #11
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You basically have 2 options.......auto-xing or DE's with that kind of budget. Even amatuer racing (SCCA, BMW CCA, NASA) is going to cost you atleast a grand a weekend.
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Old 10-24-2005, 02:24 PM   #12
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I figure a two day DE costs me between $1000 and $1500 these days when you figure tire wear (accelerated street tire wear, or amortizing track tires and wheels), brakes, entry fee, and misc expenses not counting hotels or any real travel costs. However, both tires and brakes which become the big $$ costs are very track dependent, and dependent on how hard you actually drive, and a newbie won't put that much wear on either for a while

If you "invest" in track tires / wheels, they may pay for themselves over a period of time - It appears that I'll be at break even if my tires last for 4 weekends, and I've talked to people that have gotten a lot more than that out of a set of RA1s.

Brakes are similar to track tires - if you do your own brake work, and pull your street pads and rotors off and put on track pads and rotors, you might save some $$, however, if you pay someone else to do this, you'll kill yourself on labor and it will never pay off. At this point, I don't see the return for the hassle - I put on new pads / rotors after a DE and use them on the street and then kill them on the track. I may even get day to day driving and 2 DEs out of a set, but not recently. However as I noted, it can be very track dependent (Road Atlanta can kill your brakes, Barber Motorsports Park is farily easy on them) as well, and simply how aggressive you are driving. \

But in any case, DEs are certainly a way to play without the big costs of door to door racing. It's my choice for high speed fun!

Down through the Esses at Road Atlanta !
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Old 10-24-2005, 02:41 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by TwoE46s
I figure a two day DE costs me between $1000 and $1500 these days when you figure tire wear (street tires, or amortizing track tires and wheels), brakes, entry fee, and misc expenses not counting hotels or any real travel costs.
Let me type out loud my personal expenses:
$200 entry
$50 gas
$150 tires(of initial purchse price according to wear....a guesstimate)
$100 brakes
__________
~$500 for a 2 day DE. Owning almost everyone in your run group in a stock 330, priceless.
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Old 10-24-2005, 02:55 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by vaio76109
Let me type out loud my personal expenses:
$200 entry
$50 gas
$150 tires(of initial purchse price according to wear....a guesstimate)
$100 brakes
__________
~$500 for a 2 day DE.

Here's where I'm at for Road Atlanta:
$325-$375 entry
$250 for tires (that would be my break even on the track tires over 4 - 2 day DEs. It could be a lot lower depending on how many days I get - maybe even $100 if I get the wear one of the instructors got on his RA1s. But, last year, I killed a set of street tires over 3 DEs so that was $800)
$50 for tech
$400-$800 for brakes & brake flush or bleed (I pay someone else - one of these days I need learn to do this and feel comfortable with it, but the least I can see these days as a DIY would be $150-$200 for pads alone, plus that for rotors).
$80 for gas at $3 a gallon.

I could get as low as maybe $750-$850 if I did my own brake work and didn't need rotors every time..........and a point by from an E46 M3 priceless edit - before I get flamed - this doesn't happen very often which is why it's priceless!!!!!!!,
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Old 10-24-2005, 03:10 PM   #15
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One of these days ill move up to track pads, HAHA. But right now im just still working on my neverending brake ducting project. Now I also have to buy new mirrors and a bumper so im gonna be strapped for cash.

Bumper=my fault
mirrors=not my fault
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Old 10-24-2005, 03:18 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by vaio76109
Bumper=my fault
mirrors=not my fault
On the track or street? You're not punting people are you!!??
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Old 10-24-2005, 03:25 PM   #17
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This weekend someone knocked off my driver side mirror while I was parked on the side of the street.

A couple of months ago I fell asleep while driving(stupidest thing ive ever done, but i learned my lesson) and hit a small tree which lightly ****ed up the driver side of my bumper.

I now call my car the 330Ci lightweight with aerodynamics package... or the ghetto mobile.

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Old 10-24-2005, 07:58 PM   #18
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DIY will definitely shave off a lot of $$ on the labor.

I just corner-weighted and re-aligned my car today. Paid someone else to do it. I think even this will be a DIY-er someday.
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Old 10-24-2005, 08:03 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Mr Paddle.Shift
DIY will definitely shave off a lot of $$ on the labor.

I just corner-weighted and re-aligned my car today. Paid someone else to do it. I think even this will be a DIY-er someday.
What did that cost you? Something I need to have done when I get my coilovers.
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Old 10-26-2005, 01:15 PM   #20
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$272 out the door. This place charges by the job not by the hour. I have camber plates hence a little more expensive. Otherwise $245.

What coils are you planning?
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