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Discussion Starter #1
I am going to get into racing, its inevitable (spelling?). I know there are a couple of people who run in IT, and I am just looking for extra opinions. Do you think it is better to build or buy? I know everyone has there own opinion, but i just want to know if you built your car, how much did it cost in the long run. I don't need to know exactly how much you have spent, its none of my business, just like a ball park. I have my SE-R and I kinda want to build it, but I am just not sure if I would rather buy one and put a little bit of money into it and maybe just run a different class. If it means running ITC just to race, I will do it. Nothing is getting done for at least another year, unless I get help from the bank of Dad, and I really don't want to do that, so any opinions would be appreciated. Thanks
 

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DILLIGAF Racing said:
I am going to get into racing, its inevitable (spelling?). I know there are a couple of people who run in IT, and I am just looking for extra opinions. Do you think it is better to build or buy? I know everyone has there own opinion, but i just want to know if you built your car, how much did it cost in the long run. I don't need to know exactly how much you have spent, its none of my business, just like a ball park.
Wow, this is a long one.

Usually it is cost effective and certainly expedient to buy a race car rather than build one. If you buy a race car, be sure to get one with a log book, preferably a current one. If you don't get a current log book, you run the risk of the car being outdated as it relates to the rules.

I personally prefer to build my own car. Why?

1) I don't want to buy someone else's mistakes or problems.
2) I know exactly how every part of the car is put together.
3) I know what is fresh on the car and what is suspect.

If you build your own car, figure out how long you think it will take and how much it will cost and double both figures. That should give you some realistic expectations.

If I were to buy a car, the first thing I would do is strip it down and go through every part. I would probably end up redoing many things, if not most of the car. I would probably repaint it. For me, in the end, I don't think buying a car would save me a significant amount of time. It would save me the cost of the cage, however I much prefer to design my own cage rather than buy someone else's design.

If you build your own car you need to have sticktoitiveness. Don't start something if you don't have the attention span to see it through. In my own case, I sometimes get tired or frustrated and walk away from the car. But, I always come back to work on it. Part of my plan accommodates this activity. I'm building the car for my own enjoyment. I enjoy the process as much as enjoying the having. I believe I can build a car that is better designed and prepped than the average bear's.

Remember that you don't have to build a world killer for the first time you hit the track. Grover's ITS SE-R started racing in IT in very nearly Showroom Stock trim. Now, 3 years later, it is getting were it needs to be. It will probably need another year or so to be fully prepped. In the next year it will get Koni racing dampers, welded cage (to replace the bolt-in), spherical bearings, air dam, and most likely some racing 3-piece swaybars. It still is just running an untouched engine. After everything else is finished, it will get a proper IT race engine.

I planned on building my car in a year. That looks like it's going to be almost two. I planned on spending about $5k. Looks like it will be closer to $10k when all is said and done. The car was so cheap, you may as well consider it free. I'll probably have about $6k into it when it first hits the track and that's with doing virtually everything myself and designing and building most of the development parts. Oh, and so far more than half of what I've spent (I'm not keeping track) has been spent on eBay, so I'm building it a lot cheaper than most.

I would suspect that you could put a decent SE-R on the track for about $5k, not including an engine build. Here is what I am figuring:

$2.0k - coilovers
$0.2k - rear adjustable swaybar
$0.2k - ES bushings
$1.0k - welded cage (can easily become more)
$0.8k - one set of Panasport wheels or two sets Borbets
$0.4k - FIA homolugated racing seat
$0.4k - header
$0.2k - 5-point belts and window net
$0.1k - POP Charger

Things to add later:

Proper IT engine build
JWT ECU
Spherical bearings
Quiafe or Nissan Motorsports clutch LSD
Gauges

To this you would have to add a number or miscellaneous expenses. Oh, and a car. ;)

As you can see, it is often cheaper and quicker to buy a built car. If you build your own car it should be because you are fully committed to doing it yourself and learning along the way. Be realistic about your goals, including for money and time.

Don't be discouraged. You can do it if you are sure this is the route you want to go.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply, I fully didn't expect one that long. I figured it would start some sort of war of buying VS. building. I have the SE-R. I bought it to be a beater, with the expectations of doing something with it eventually, granted the body holds up (no visible rust). Anyways, I am going about this with a realistic frame of mind, knowing nothing will get done until at least the 2004 season. I am in no rush, just really want to do it. I also have one MAJOR bonus, I can get most stuff I would need for cost, except like the specialty stuff. So, I guess I am going to start saving my pennies, and do some drivers eds and what not just to get the seat time. Thanks!
 

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DILLIGAF Racing said:
I also have one MAJOR bonus, I can get most stuff I would need for cost, except like the specialty stuff.
That will really help. If you have access to MOMO or Sparco at dealer cost, you will be way ahead. ES bushings and the header are off the shelf. Most other items are specialty however.

If I were you and starting with a sound, running car, I'd strip the interior and do the cage as soon as you take the car off the road (you really shouldn't drive with a cage on the street. It's actually rather dangerous). Until then, work on the suspension. Get the ES bushings and the adjustable rear swaybar. Get a MOMO or Sparco FIA homolugated seat and steering wheel. For suspension, you can start with GCs and AGX. When you go racing, you'll want to get some better dampers, although AGX will get you started. You can of course get a header now, but don't bother with a CAI as they will be illegal in ITS at the end of the year and you have to cut the coachwork to install one and that hole will have to be repaired before you can run in ITS.
 
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