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Cost of being a Chumper


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Howdy,

 

Just looking in to all of this stuff, and want to get a team together. I am just wondering what the intro cost would be. For instance, say I have a car already, but it is bone stock. No cage, fire suppression, etc. Just a stock coupe. How much would it cost me to have everything installed, and how much for all of the safety equipment, drivers fees and membership dues, and whatever else I may need.

 

Side note - I have found a very cheap, almost running 1987 Jaguar XJS V12. It is a coupe, and has a 5 liter v12 front engine rear wheel drive, 4 seater coupe. would this make a good car? Only considering bc it is very cheap, but it is likely heavy, and only made about 270 hp when new. Any other suggestions on car selection?

 

Thanks and Gig 'Em

JKane

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Buy a built used chumpcar with spares for 4k.  Put 1500 into it.

 

Get personal safety year including a head and back restraint for 1k.

 

Pay entry fee, gas, hotel, food, BEER, for the weekend can be roughly 2k.

 

So yea, budget 10k to get started and depending on your consumables, 1k per race per person.

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I think anyone would be hard pressed to build a car for under $5k now unless you can do all your own cage work and that's still doing a ton of work yourself and starting with a free-$500 car.

 

By far, the cheapest way to get started is an existing car in good shape.  Plus, you can sometimes work in a package deal that includes all the other equipment you're gonna need/want (radio, spares, etc etc). 

 

IMO, 4-6cyl cars are where you want to be unless you really know what you're doing.  An 80s British V12 race car would be akin to waterboarding.

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Howdy,

 

Just looking in to all of this stuff, and want to get a team together. I am just wondering what the intro cost would be. For instance, say I have a car already, but it is bone stock. No cage, fire suppression, etc. Just a stock coupe. How much would it cost me to have everything installed, and how much for all of the safety equipment, drivers fees and membership dues, and whatever else I may need.

 

Side note - I have found a very cheap, almost running 1987 Jaguar XJS V12. It is a coupe, and has a 5 liter v12 front engine rear wheel drive, 4 seater coupe. would this make a good car? Only considering bc it is very cheap, but it is likely heavy, and only made about 270 hp when new. Any other suggestions on car selection?

 

Thanks and Gig 'Em

JKane

 

If you have not yet, go to a Chumpcar race and wander around the garage area and see "what's popular" and make a list and start there for a car. 

 

Then there is the build VS buy - pro's and con's to each.... I agree with the other sentiments already said. I'd say for an "average" build you will be in the 5k range depending on how much work you and your friends can do. 

 

For a per-race budget, I'd say $800-$1200 per driver is "average" to cover the costs if you are doing a 14 hour with 4 drivers - the price can only go up from there depending on how the race goes :)

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 I have to apologize for dissing the Jag.   If you know your way around it  and think that you can get it to stop, by all means build it .  We Chumps ran off another(Famous  Jag racer) Jag guy  by  abuse.  We need the car diversity  tho.  

 

Coming from a guy that built a Ford ranger .

 

 My Chumpcar parameters are still ; 200+HP, 18gal or more fuel, BA brakes, easy parts.  

MM 

Edited by flyinglizard
I dont see how you can get any brakes on the rear. The hubs dont have any mounting areas and running them stock will boil tthe diff oil
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Jag with a V12....  Cool car.  Looks awesome. Sounds awesome.  I think that is where the compliments end though.  I have seen one at a race, they spent more time in the pits trying to work out timing issues (or vacuum lines, or fuel injection, or whatever it is that is really common with those engines) than they did on track.

 

With a bit of searching, you would be able to find plenty of better cars for similar cheap prices.  if you look hard enough you can find pretty much anything for $500.  And you are much better to look for something that is lightweight as it will save you fistfuls of money in gas and tires and brakes in the long run.  Plus, searching craigslist is half the fun!  I would send out daily updates to my team of all the ridiculous ads I came across (like: "the car is worth $700, but you have to pay the impound fee so im giving you a deal at $500").

 

All of the other cost estimates above are about right. 

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If you have a good group of guys with some skills the build can definitely be as much fun as the actual racing, assuming very understanding wives who don't care to spend any substantial amount of time with you!

 

But the Jag is terrible place to start - I know absolutely nothing about them but when was the last time you walked in to O'Reilley's and they had a great selection of Jaguar parts on the shelf?? You are going to get to know the counter guys at your closest parts store better than your children if you decide to build a car.

 

Great advice to go out to a race and look around and ask questions, preferably at check in the day before.  Never heard of guy in this series who didn't want to talk nearly endlessly about the merits of the car they chose as long as its not in the heat of a race.  Then volunteer to help the next day if you can.  Can't get any closer to the action and understand how a race weekend actually works.

 

We have built 3 cars in 3 different models and still really don't have any clue what we are doing. 

 

Last comment would be safety first.  Cage, seat, harness, fire suppression and personal gear is not the place to save money.  It has been said many times here but if you can't afford high quality personal gear then this isn't the right place for you.

 

If you happen to end up building most any Ford we will be glad to provide an extensive list of things NOT to do! 

 

Good luck and welcome to the asylum!

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There is a Ford Probe GT Chumpcar  for sale on the forum.  That is a fantastic platform at a great price.   Think of the 2.5L Probe engine as 1/2 of the Jag V12 and  the body as 1/2 the weight of the Jag.  Paint it British racing green, talk with a fake English accent,  and go for it!!

 

I'm on my third chumpcar and all have been bought  from other teams.  Usually require a bit of fine tuning at minimal cost but LOTS cheaper than  building from scratch - especially if you have limited mechanical/fabrication skills.

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  • Technical Advisory Committee

With the current rules I would suggest a 1993-1995 BMW 325i or similar. You could be on the track, and potentially on the podium for a build of around $5,000. You can literally cage this car, perform general maintenance, put aftermarket lowering springs on the car and have a podium capable car.

 

charlotte_marketing_agency.jpg   

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Any other suggestions on car selection?

 

Recommend you define your requirements by asking yourself somef questions ...  there are so many things to consider when running a team:

  • Ideally what's your build budget? To give a spectrum, cheap is ~$5K, average is $10 - 15K, and $20K+ can put you into baller-status around here.  
  • What's your goal?  Finishing a race running is a win or are you gunning for the podium?  Former can be cheaper, latter is far from it. 
  • How many events per season?
  • What's your event budget?  Events expenses should be separate from the build.  Pricing vary depending on a number of factors.  Be sure to account for all expenses including registration, driver fees, race fuel & consumables, tow vehicle fuel & consumables, spare parts, accommodations, food, etc. etc.
  • Driver roster?  Do you have a set group of drivers or do you intend to rent to strangers?  Drivers, particularly renters, expect a car that's reliable enough to finish a whole event.

About car selection, there's also lots of things to consider including:

  • Will you build and repair the race-car yourself?  For race failures you'll want to turn-around repairs track-side so you should be mechanically capable
  • Are you mechanically familiar with a particular make/model? Old wisdom was to pick a car you know ... if you want to be "competitive" (whatever that means) current wisdom is to pick the most competitive car that you're most capable of maintaining.  BMW E30/E36, Honda EG/EK with swap, and the like seem to do well.  Check results of races for ideas.  

As others have said that Jag is a bad idea.  It's unreliable, heavy, probably a gas guzzler, and probably not cheap or easy to fix.  The Easy-Button is to buy a pre-built ChumpCar, they can be excellent value if you're versatile enough to learn to repair a Probe or Neon or whatever's available.  Otherwise, don't buy a "cheap" donor car.  You're gonna be putting a lot of time and money into it, start with a clean example (e.g. no rust-buckets) that will be a pleasant to work on and spend money on.  

 

Good luck!

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If you have not yet, go to a Chumpcar race and wander around the garage area and see "what's popular" and make a list and start there for a car. 

 

Then there is the build VS buy - pro's and con's to each.... I agree with the other sentiments already said. I'd say for an "average" build you will be in the 5k range depending on how much work you and your friends can do. 

 

For a per-race budget, I'd say $800-$1200 per driver is "average" to cover the costs if you are doing a 14 hour with 4 drivers - the price can only go up from there depending on how the race goes :)

 

This is how we started 4 years ago.  About $5k into the car for the first race, although we've been improving the car and ourselves ever since.  The price per driver per weekend is accurate as well assuming 4 drivers. 

 

We even ran our first race on the stock 125K mile shocks.  Not a good idea. 

 

 

With the current rules I would suggest a 1993-1995 BMW 325i or similar. You could be on the track, and potentially on the podium for a build of around $5,000. You can literally cage this car, perform general maintenance, put aftermarket lowering springs on the car and have a podium capable car.

 

charlotte_marketing_agency.jpg   

 

The BMW e36 is the easy button.  It has worked well for our limited mechanical ability team. 

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Our first car...E36 donor street car for $1,500 and 15K later we had a car teched and starting a race at Sebring. We have built two from the ground up and purchased one already built. I prefer building as we know what is and will go in. Not buying some else's half-assery. It costs more but will run better and as long as you have a single and knowledgeable mech or DIY you are on solid ground. Both builds were at or above $15K.

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Our first car...E36 donor street car for $1,500 and 15K later we had a car teched and starting a race at Sebring. We have built two from the ground up and purchased one already built. I prefer building as we know what is and will go in. Not buying some else's half-assery. It costs more but will run better and as long as you have a single and knowledgeable mech or DIY you are on solid ground. Both builds were at or above $15K.

 

For us 4 years later we still don't have $15K into our car, heck we have $300 into the suspension.  Your mileage may vary. 

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Depends on what your skill set it, but if you want to go and race and get experience then buy an already prepped car, get your safety gear and go.  Once you find out what car combo works the best for your skill set and your driving style then starting building something while you still race.  I started with a $1,000 Dodge Shadow that I put another $1500 in the race and we worked on it during the first event we went to.  I sold it right after that event, I should have lit it on fire and walked away.  Currently have a 1989 BMW 325i that I don't want to start counting the receipts for to determine how much money I've put into it.  Here is a good place to start for cars:

 

Here is a good option:

 

Some other options.

 

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We budgeted and made it through the first race, all in at $10k. That bought a crappy miata, roll cage, some stock parts to refresh, brake pads, tires, seat, harnesses, fire system, registration, fuel cans, radios, transponder, a wagon and tent for the pits, etc... We finished that first 12 hour race, a huge success, 26th out of 60 cars.

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 I have to apologize for dissing the Jag.   If you know your way around it  and think that you can get it to stop, by all means build it .  We Chumps ran off another(Famous  Jag racer) Jag guy  by  abuse.  We need the car diversity  tho.  

 

Coming from a guy that built a Ford ranger .

 

 My Chumpcar parameters are still ; 200+HP, 18gal or more fuel, BA brakes, easy parts.  

MM 

Toyota Solara? 225 HP, 5 speed, 22 gallon gas tank. Relatively cheap at $1000-$2000 on Craigslist for a decent one.

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