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JonathanW

Has anyone campaigned a mid 90s Corolla?

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Hi all, I'm new on the forum.  For the past few years I've been getting my race car kicks dumping fuel and consuming breakfast burritos as part of Logdog's team at Watkins Glen, Pittsburgh, and Gingerman.  This first post is just to help satisfy my curiosity.

 

I've seen a number of Civics, Neons, and even a couple Saturns, at the races but I can't recall seeing any of the little Toyotas.  There's one sitting (no title) in the back lot at work and every time I see it I wonder if it has any potential, at least as a reliable and cheap to run mid pack car.

 

So... are they just not a common platform because swapped Civics are a better/easier fwd racecar or can anyone say if there is some fatal flaw that would render them impractical for endurance racing?

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We ran an '87 FX16 with a Silvertop 20V.  Fun car.  

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Hello.  You are right where I was in 2011. 

 

There are a couple things to think about.  The first is what is your objective?  If you want to put together a car and make laps on track then this car is probably as good as any to start.  If you want to win races with the first car you build, this may not be the best place to start.  The second is can you get spares for this car?  If other similar vintage Corollas are in the junkyard or available cheap on Craigslist you can acquire spare engine/ transmissions fairly cheaply.  You can also expect that Corollas in the junkyard have a lot of miles and may have been neglected but probably not raced.

 

As to why you don't see them (or for that matter many non-standard platforms):  There are several strategies teams use when they choose a car.  One is to take a platform they have raced (spec E30) and make an endurance race car.  Another is to read the rules, scour makes and models to find some combo that provides favorable characteristics (hp to weight, gas tank size, handling ability, etc) and build from there.  A third is to see what is running up front and build that.  The path I chose is none of those.  We went with FWD (new drivers racing in the rain at night), 5 speed, independent rear suspension and DOHC as our primary requirements.  Eight years later we are still racing the same Saturn, but there are very few of them out there since they don't meet the first three strategies.  As far as getting faster, we chose to keep improving the same platform rather than start from scratch.

 

Edits: 

I have a 2015 Corolla stick shift.  It reminds me a bit of the Saturn, though it is slower mostly I believe due to all the extra weight it carries being just a bit bigger but also having all those creature comforts. 

 

Also worth noting is investigating availability of aftermarket performance parts.  There are practically none for the Saturn (e.g. for a good set of plug wires I had to adapt from another application).

 

Edited by mostmint
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11 hours ago, SonsOfIrony said:

The first question to be asked before any Champcar build begins should always be....  How big is the fuel tank?

 

Ah, I guess I should plan to race my Oldsmobile wagon then. Heh.

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16 minutes ago, JonathanW said:

 

Ah, I guess I should plan to race my Oldsmobile wagon then. Heh.

 

A big tank won't make a sucky car great, but a tiny tank will make a great car suck, and will make a decent car a waste of time.

 

Since there's no way to increase fuel capacity beyond the +2 gallons a cell allows, factory fuel tank size is one of the main limiting factors in champcar.

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the number one reason people built horrible cars is because they can get it for free or cheap.   the cheapest thing to buy in champcar is the car that you start with, so don't let what's just sitting around drive your decision.

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Yeah, I think the only reason to start with a 20+ year old platform is if you've already got the infrastructure (knowledge/speed secrets, spares/speed parts, wheels, the car is already prepped)  Eventually you are going to write off a chassis, and then you face the decision (if you can find a replacement tub), of staying with the platform (because you have the infrastructure) or moving on to something else.

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On 6/22/2019 at 2:40 PM, JonathanW said:

Hi all, I'm new on the forum.  For the past few years I've been getting my race car kicks dumping fuel and consuming breakfast burritos as part of Logdog's team at Watkins Glen, Pittsburgh, and Gingerman.  This first post is just to help satisfy my curiosity.

 

I've seen a number of Civics, Neons, and even a couple Saturns, at the races but I can't recall seeing any of the little Toyotas.  There's one sitting (no title) in the back lot at work and every time I see it I wonder if it has any potential, at least as a reliable and cheap to run mid pack car.

 

So... are they just not a common platform because swapped Civics are a better/easier fwd racecar or can anyone say if there is some fatal flaw that would render them impractical for endurance racing?

Not a Corolla but a fair number of parts are shared IIRC

 

'95 Celica GT

OEM_CELICA_20180817.jpg

 

Edited by BollingerChump
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^ pretty sure we were pitted next to that car at Gingerman last year.

 

On the subject of Celicas, what about the last gen. Celica? Not heavy, could come with up to something like 180hp stock, low center of gravity, probably pretty aerodynamic, and the internet says 15 gal. tank which isn’t terrible. Seems like it would have a lot going for it out of the box.

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16 hours ago, JonathanW said:

^ pretty sure we were pitted next to that car at Gingerman last year.

 

On the subject of Celicas, what about the last gen. Celica? Not heavy, could come with up to something like 180hp stock, low center of gravity, probably pretty aerodynamic, and the internet says 15 gal. tank which isn’t terrible. Seems like it would have a lot going for it out of the box.

 

On 6/24/2019 at 9:03 AM, tommytipover said:

Yeah, I think the only reason to start with a 20+ year old platform is if you've already got the infrastructure (knowledge/speed secrets, spares/speed parts, wheels, the car is already prepped)  Eventually you are going to write off a chassis, and then you face the decision (if you can find a replacement tub), of staying with the platform (because you have the infrastructure) or moving on to something else.

 

If you want to win you will need to pick an older car, since these have the largest fuel tanks per their chassis weight. 80s cars and some 90s are the highwater mark for this, think 944/rx7/e30/sc300.....

 

In the middle on fuel are Miatas, some Hondas, later german cars and 80s cars that are not fuel barges. These have a shot at some of the tracks, as they can make it 2 hours with some planning at moderate fuel burn tracks.

 

As mentioned before, you might be able to get vpi changes on a poor platform to allow it to be competitive from a laptime standpoint, but the culture is not there to allow a car with a very small tank to have an equal share of fuel at any point penalty. Only take on this burden if you plan on running even hour races (like dual 7), smaller low fuel burn tracks or dual purpose it in one of the other series that allow fuel equity. You will have to run the car without a fuel cell, making use of the tricks of the trade to get the useable fuel higher than the oem +2 gal limit on a cell. If you are a team that will only run with a cell, this could be a deal breaker.

 

The 95 corolla has 13.2 gal for is 23xx lbs weight, about a gallon better and hundred lbs lighter than my Neons oem specs. This car will be in the "medium" fuel capacity range, newer ones i bet go the wrong way on fuel to weight. (15 gal but more weight)

Edited by Black Magic

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