After recent excursions, it’s been on our minds that having a dedicated track day car could be fun. But it would have to be cheap. We’re talking under £3k here, ideally well below that too.
It would also need to be a fine handling car, with smallish wheels to keep tyre costs down, a good availability of spare parts and be able to drive to and from a track day under its own steam. Do such things exist?
Of course they do. In fact, when you think about it the choices are so obvious it’s in danger of making this a borderline boring post:
HONDA INTEGRA TYPE R: Ok, so this is top end of the budget and likely to be bottom end of the quality levels for used ITRs… but then you don’t need an immaculate one for the track. If there’s a chance to get that V-TEC engine and sublime front wheel drive chassis within the budget then you’d have to grab it.
BMW E30: Plenty have been used as track cars now so you might even find a readily prepped but tatty one for the money. Even the smaller 4-cylinder engines would be entertaining, especially a model like the 318is with limited slip diff as standard. A decent 325i Sport would likely be too expensive, but remember they raced 2.0-litre versions of these cars.
CITROEN SAXO VTR/VTS: Peanuts. Seriously, some owners will probably accept peanuts as payment. The proliferation of these cars back in the late 1990s/early 2000s means there are loads for sale nowadays and you can pick up a VTR for as little as £500. May not be rocket-ship quick, but still fun and there are plenty of owners who have stripped the interiors and enjoyed many a track day. Similarly a Clio 172/182 would be a fine choice if you could spend more money or need more power.
MAZDA MX-5: It was a toss-up between the obvious MX-5 or the less obvious Toyota MR2. The latter, in turbo form, would be a serious piece of kit for trackdays, but it’s the popularity of the little Mazda that gives it the edge. Not only can a decent one be picked up for a grand, there’s also plenty of parts out there to tighten up the chassis and add a little extra power. Plus, they’re pretty bulletproof, which is always a bonus.
SUBARU IMPREZA TURBO: Power, reliability and stability. At the top end of the budget you could get a pretty mint classic shape Impreza, but if you’re willing to go for an import and have a wagon model you could pay as little as £1500. Fuel might disappear quickly, but this is a hell of a lot of track day machinery for the money. And you get that engine burble for free.
Kind of makes you want to go and trawl through eBay right?