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Old 01-03-2009, 03:10 PM   #1
chimchimm5
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Default Why choose an Impreza as a dedicated track car?

Besides sponsorships or it being "the car you already have", why would one buy a STi (or even a WRX) as a DEDICATED track car?

Don't get me wrong, I love Subies. I do a variety of car related activities (which have opposing goals) so my less-than-ideal WRX wagon works well for me as a jack of all trades; but clearly FAR from being an ace of any of them.

My question: if someone wanted to buy a DEDICATED car to track, what would the motivation be to get an STi (or a WRX) when so many "better suited" cars seem to be out there?

Miata - cheaper to run, RWD, better balance, fun to drive
350Z (or other Z) - RWD, similar cost, lighter
Corvette - way more power, better "track" chassis, RWD, (more expensive but corvette buyers won't care)
BMW M series - great balance, RWD, etc
...(not a complete list)

My point with DEDICATED track car is that the other "multipurpose" factors are eliminated.
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Old 01-03-2009, 03:22 PM   #2
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I think one thing is, that besides the problems that sti's and evo's share (understeer at the limit, camber roll over.) These cars can be INSANELY fast on the tracks, which is a reason it might be "better suited" if you're looking for quick lap times.. they wont have the same feeling as a rwd.. and will need to be driven differently, but that doesn't nec. mean that they arent a good dedicated track car.

Not to mention how beefy the sti bits are, they can handle quite a bit of abuse.

one thing.. i cant agree with the 350z on your list... they're trash in my opinion.. (just my opinion, flame suit on) the new one is prob a different story.

On my local tracks, its always STi's, Evo's, and s2k's that pull the fastest lap times.
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Old 01-03-2009, 03:26 PM   #3
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I can't really see a motivation to run the WRX/STi as a dedicated track car. Too expensive, fragile, and not fun enough on the track.

The value of the WRX comes for me as a multipurpose car, with the primary focus on the street. If I want a track stud, I'll get a vehicle MUCH better suited to it.

I noticed the list you have above (Vette, M3, 350Z etc) are all street cars. Why not look for a REAL dedicated track car? Spec Racer Ford, Sports Racers, etc.
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Old 01-03-2009, 03:36 PM   #4
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honda s2k is an awsome car to track is light its fast but they to are expencive and the handeling on the track is good but not as supperb as subbies or evos i agree with
MattNJ2.8 a dedicated track car is best.
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Old 01-03-2009, 03:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattNJ2.8 View Post
I noticed the list you have above (Vette, M3, 350Z etc) are all street cars. Why not look for a REAL dedicated track car? Spec Racer Ford, Sports Racers, etc.
That's true too... once you have to trailer your non-streetlegal "track car", you might as well go as you said.

There is that group who have "dedicated track cars" (like a Miata) that need to drive it to the track on it's own.

Or some people just want to drive "street derived" cars because it's what they are familiar with. (Which is why Touring Car race series is popular, I imagine)
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Old 01-03-2009, 05:08 PM   #6
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Brand new STi - ~$36k (?)
Mods to become dedicated track car: $15k (?)
rough total: ~$51k

Brand new FSCCA/FMazda/FAtlantic: ~$70k+

Only thing is resale value. A hard driven STi track car will maybe still pull $25k if it's a race/TT winner. Fxxxx will still easily pull $50k after 3yrs of racing.

this is assuming brand new, spec/formula cars used can be had far cheaper, but are still quite expensive. I've been looking at atlantics in the back of sportscar for over a year trying to figure out how to get one
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Old 01-03-2009, 05:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalseance View Post
Brand new STi - ~$36k (?)
Mods to become dedicated track car: $15k (?)
rough total: ~$51k

Brand new FSCCA/FMazda/FAtlantic: ~$70k+

Only thing is resale value. A hard driven STi track car will maybe still pull $25k if it's a race/TT winner. Fxxxx will still easily pull $50k after 3yrs of racing.

this is assuming brand new, spec/formula cars used can be had far cheaper, but are still quite expensive. I've been looking at atlantics in the back of sportscar for over a year trying to figure out how to get one
Brand New FSCCA (spec series) is 50K and used but just as good can be found under 40 and some have recently sold for 30K and less.

Competitive FA cars can be had for under 50k as well there are currently no 'new' FA cars although there may be a new chassis coming in the next year from Stohr. Pro Mazda is north of 70K but the club FM cars (also no longer produced) are under 20K.

Brand New SRF assembled is about 30K and used can be found for under 20K.

Competitive top level national FF can be found for under 30 as well as FC new would be about 50-60K.
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Old 01-03-2009, 05:29 PM   #8
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When you say Impreza, which one do you mean.

If its 02+, I wouldn't chose an Impreza as a dedicated track car. Too expensive, too heavy, understeers, etc.

pre-02, definitely. They can be had for cheap (got mine for $3k). Condition doesnt make a huge difference, you just need to make sure whatever you arent going to be getting rid of is in good condition, or easily fixed. That and they start out lighter, with many more heavy parts that can be removed or lightened (specifically the steel hood that the newer Impreza switched to aluminum). Other than that though, they are about the same. But its the price that makes it much more worthwhile.
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Old 01-03-2009, 05:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colorado_sport View Post
honda s2k is an awsome car to track is light its fast but they to are expencive and the handeling on the track is good but not as supperb as subbies or evos i agree with
MattNJ2.8 a dedicated track car is best.
Are you kidding me about the handling of s2k?
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Old 01-03-2009, 08:33 PM   #10
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I think my wrx is incredibly fun on the track, and its a dedicated track car. Best option? No. A stock evo is such a great handling car on the track from what i've found.

A dedicated track car depends on what you want out of it and if you are doing track days, time trials or race group. The car has to fit into a classing for anything but HPDE.

Miatas are cheap, proven and lots of fun because they handle so well. I also like the spec 944 cars for the same reason, or the E30's.
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Old 01-03-2009, 08:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Are you kidding me about the handling of s2k?
I have a few friends that track s2ks and are very experienced drivers. They are a handful on certain tracks and depending on their setup. I've seen far more spins in an s2k than a suby at track days!
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Old 01-04-2009, 12:11 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cooleyjb View Post
Brand New FSCCA (spec series) is 50K and used but just as good can be found under 40 and some have recently sold for 30K and less.

Competitive FA cars can be had for under 50k as well there are currently no 'new' FA cars although there may be a new chassis coming in the next year from Stohr. Pro Mazda is north of 70K but the club FM cars (also no longer produced) are under 20K.

Brand New SRF assembled is about 30K and used can be found for under 20K.

Competitive top level national FF can be found for under 30 as well as FC new would be about 50-60K.
Thanks for the correction. I was ballparking everything. The atlantics and/or continentals are my long term goal...we'll see how that plays out...
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Old 01-04-2009, 12:30 AM   #13
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in all honesty, despite the fact i love subarus, they wouldnt be the wisest choice if you were planing to have a DEDICATED track car. the replacement parts are expensive, the handling isnt great compared to what you could have out there (rx7, miata, s2k, etc), and it is extremely hard and expensive to maintain and build up for power. however, the STi does have a few advantages over other cars due to: awd, extremely stiff chassis, and light (for what it is suppose to be), durability. (won't have to worry about your rotary blowing an apex seal or your audi 2.7biturbo blowing a hose).
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Old 01-04-2009, 02:20 PM   #14
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Lots of headroom and great visibility form the drivers seat.

I can fit a lot of crap in the back and drive it to the track - 4 wheels/tires if need be.

Fun to drive -

Safe to drive fast/hard

Safe in general

I can fix much of it myself - and have contacts that can do the rest reasonably cheaply.
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Old 01-04-2009, 02:25 PM   #15
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Because Sport Compact Car said so back in 2001, duh!
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Old 01-04-2009, 03:33 PM   #16
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I thought it was a great idea a few years back when i started turning my street car into a dedicated track / race car... cage, fancy safety bits, bling suspension etc... Sure the car is quick, but the money and time needed at the moment to get it to the next level is just not worth it to me. For the same amount of money needed to have a nationally competitive st2/1 or T2 car i can pick up a used t1 vette. Since somebody mentioned formula cars, for a tad bit more money then a used T1 vette you can also pick up a slightly used FE or f1000. Given the current state of the economy and the amount of people selling used turn key cars, the odds of me finishing my car are slim to none.
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Old 01-04-2009, 04:17 PM   #17
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The reason I bring this up is because it's WAAAY too easy to mod your car into being non-street legal. Once that happens... it's a trailer queen. Once it must be trailered to the track... it doesn't matter what car is on that trailer.

Also... serious tracking means you want a roll cage... which completely destroys the DD usefulness of the car... which again kills the "multiuse" value which I think is a Subaru strength.
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Old 01-04-2009, 10:39 PM   #18
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My gal wants to turn her CS Miata into a mild track car, basically just add a roll bar, run at Streets of Willow and maybe Buttonwillow ... while her new '09 D.D. WRX will become the solo car ... eventually. She really wants a used Vette to track ... but is scared of the higher price of tires.
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Old 01-04-2009, 11:01 PM   #19
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I doubt that many track-only Subarus were bought specifically for that purpose. My guess is that most evolved through various stages of mods and a gradual shift in the balance of DDing/tracking.

Sure, at some point you could decide to sell the car, but that probably means all the work to put it back to stock and sell off the performance parts. You can expect to take a loss on the money invested, plus the effort you've put into learning the car. Then you have to find a track car for sale and hope it isn't a big mess waiting to suck more money from your wallet. Better the Devil you know, as they say.
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Old 01-04-2009, 11:20 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chimchimm5 View Post
The reason I bring this up is because it's WAAAY too easy to mod your car into being non-street legal. Once that happens... it's a trailer queen. Once it must be trailered to the track... it doesn't matter what car is on that trailer.

Also... serious tracking means you want a roll cage... which completely destroys the DD usefulness of the car... which again kills the "multiuse" value which I think is a Subaru strength.
maybe in Cali, but in other parts of the country its pretty easy to stay street legal if you want to. The only thing that would get in your way are door bars, which unless you're racing you dont really need
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Old 01-05-2009, 12:06 AM   #21
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Interesting question, and a discussion that I've had with a lot of good friends. I suppose it depends on what you mean by track car - the fact that you didn't mention a specific class or series leads me to believe that you want a fun thing for track days. A very good friend of mine swears by E36 M3s as a track or even dual-purpose car. He's probably right, but I've managed to try everything else in search of the "answer." I had an 02 WRX that I ran at a few track days, followed by an 05 S2000 followed by a switch to a decent DD (varies) and a dedicated track car (E30 BMW).

The WRX was a great car, and by far the fastest car of the bunch in a straight line. Very easy to make power out of the box, but then things get expensive (bigger turbo = new injectors, fuel pump, etc., then you get into intercooling and engine cooling modifications). Fun to drive, but you really felt the weight in tight turns, and understeered badly if not tuned right. Some of the greatest sounds I've ever heard come from an automobile came from that car though...just fantastic.

The S2000 was a blast to drive. Yes, people spin them easier than WRXs, but I've also seen two WRXs/STIs hit the wall front bumper first. Suppose that's the difference in the handling of the two chassis - one oversteers one understeers. The thing I liked about the S2000 was that it was very responsive...it's the kind of car that will make you a very good driver if you stick with it because it doesn't cover your mistakes. The thing that I didn't like about it was low end torque...blow one shift/end up one gear too high and you might as well stick your index finger out the window while the engine catches back up. The power band coupled with the lively suspension mean you always have to be alert. IMO it's easier to go fast in a WRX than an S2000.

I bought the E30 as a dedicated track car - it's simply a toy that's there for fun. It's been a lot of fun to build, and I've been able to take the time to do things right because it doesn't have to be back on the ground running again on Monday. It's cheap, it's responsive and makes enough power to be fun to drive. If I had to do it all over again, though, I wouldn't strip the doors off. Nice to be able to roll a window up when it's 30 degrees outside! Great thing about the E30 (or Miata or similar popular track car) is that parts are easy to come by and inexpensive. You can also find tons of r-compound tire take-offs in the sizes they use.

So, all that to say I suppose it's a highly individualized answer.
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Old 01-05-2009, 10:02 AM   #22
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A couple of nights ago I spent the evening with a number of amateur SCCA and NASA road racer, plus the SCION factory driver that won the NASA National Championship for his class last year. He spends a lot of time testing at Button Willow ... which he claims is the only really decent road course in Southern CA. All of the tracks here see a lot of Track Day type events. They remarked that it seems like almost every track day sees one fairly major accident. Fairly recently a STI went off at one of the fastest parts of Button Willow. It was completely balled up. The only thing that saved the driver (a policeman) and his passenger was a full roll cage. How many of you actually install a full roll cage?! This SCION driver has driven STI's and knows that they can be faster then his full on race car. When building up a Track car, it's tempting to put all of ones money into performance parts, but ... Safety First.



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Old 01-05-2009, 12:03 PM   #23
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The STi can be made ito a VERY fast track car as mentioned, but it is comparitively expensive to do so. For another car that runs in the same class, the 350Z, though it doesn't have the ultimate top speed, is a lot easier to drive, and is a lot easier on parts. The biggest maintainenece expense on the 350Z that I have worked on in the last few years has been tires, and the drivetrain is pretty bulletproof in T2 trim.

For a street based car, IMO the Corvettes are the best speed bang for the buck, but they are more expensive to run than the 350Z, and run in a different SCCA class.
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Old 01-05-2009, 12:21 PM   #24
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My reason is because here in the pacific NW, AWD is an unfair advantage when it rains.

Even in the dry though, it gets out of corners so much quicker than the comparable competitors. Which up here for me is mostly E36's, 944's, 968's, Mustangs, etc. They can all out brake me, but I can normally get a run at them off the corners and down long straights.
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Old 01-05-2009, 12:45 PM   #25
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Quote:
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A couple of nights ago I spent the evening with a number of amateur SCCA and NASA road racer, plus the SCION factory driver that won the NASA National Championship for his class last year. He spends a lot of time testing at Button Willow ... which he claims is the only really decent road course in Southern CA. All of the tracks here see a lot of Track Day type events. They remarked that it seems like almost every track day sees one fairly major accident. Fairly recently a STI went off at one of the fastest parts of Button Willow. It was completely balled up. The only thing that saved the driver (a policeman) and his passenger was a full roll cage. How many of you actually install a full roll cage?! This SCION driver has driven STI's and knows that they can be faster then his full on race car. When building up a Track car, it's tempting to put all of ones money into performance parts, but ... Safety First.
THAT frequent? Sheesh. Every group I've been with in Norcal (about 5 different groups) all say they usually don't have incidents. Of those 5, only 1 had an incident while I was attending. Are Norcaler safer drivers than Socalers?
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