Last year I wrote an article about choosing a track day car for a small fictitious budget of €/£2500. it turned out to be quite popular so I thought i’d write another one. This time I upped our imaginary budget to £/€10k and returned to the hallowed pages of Pistonheads, Racecarsdirect and DoneDeal.In the last article we covered the pro’s and cons of front wheel drive, rear wheel drive and 4 wheel drive track day cars, so we wont go into that again. However, the car you buy will probably fall into to one of three categories. It will either be:
- Category 1: A practical-ish daily driver that can perform well on track in standard tune
- Category 2: A hardcore track biased car that is more suitable for occasional road use
- Category 3: A full-on track weapon, race or rally car, possibly non road legal
- BMW E46 M3
- BMW E39 M5
- Audi RS4/RS6
- VW Golf R32
- Ford Focus RS
- Subaru Impreza
- Mitsubishi Evo 5/6/7/8/FQ300
- Honda Civic Type R
- Renaultsport Clio
- Vauxhall Monaro VXR 6.0
The B5 Audi RS4 Avant would probably be the car i’d go for if I didn’t have to worry about road tax, it offers exclusivity, masses of practicality and It has a 2.7 litre twin turbo V6 which sounds awesome and comes with 375bhp as standard. Being turbocharged a quick remap will have you well over 400bhp in a flash. The downside is the weight and 4wd handling, whilst great for every day road use, on track the BMW would be more fun to drive and probably faster
The Evo would be a sensible choice if road tax is an issue (like here in Ireland where anything over 3 litres will cost €1400 a year to tax) It does pretty much what the two cars above will do but with a tax friendly 2 litre engine. The real-world, day to day performance of the Evo is probably more usable than the other two as well. On the downside, the soundtrack from the 4 pot turbo isn’t exactly sonorous and it does look a bit of a hooligan – that may be a good or a bad thing depending on your persuasion. The range of ‘go faster’ bits available for the Evo far exceeds the other models here due in part to their popularity as rally cars.
The Renault Sport Clio 197 is also an awesome, fun and fast little car and you’d have change to boot. It would be a sensible option, good on fuel, cheap to tax, cheap to run, practical….but if you had 10 grand in your back burner and all the choices above would you go for the Renault? I’m not sure.
And the less family friendly options….
- Porsche 911
- Porsche Boxster s
- Nissan 350Z
- Honda S2000
- Lotus elise
- Vauxhall VX220
- Nissan Skyline R32 GTR
- TVR Cerbera
The S2 lotus Elise is achingly pretty and even more so in the metal. It’s a tiny car and despite being 14 years old the design still looks completely fresh. For me it would be a toss up between the Elise and the 911. The Elise is widely considered to be one of the finest handling cars in the world and even though it only has 122 bhp it still makes a terrific track machine. There are loads of bolt-on goodies you can buy to make it go faster as well. The little 1.8 litre engine makes a lot of sense from a tax a fuel consumption point of view too. Bolt on a supercharger kit and you’ll have power to match the handling as well.
Category 2: A track biased car for occasional road use.
In this category we can forget tax, fuel consumption and practicality. I’m looking at track day cars that are track focused and are likely to get minimal use other than driving to and from the track or occasional weekend hooning about. Most of them will be highly modified already and some will be producing big BHP figures…..or you could go down the classic car route. Something like the completely restored and competition prepared MGB pictured below would be a nice alternative and well within budget.
- Subaru Impreza (modified)
- Mitsubishi Evo (modified)
- Nissan S14 (modified)
- Mazda RX7 (modified)
- Westfield 7 Zetec
- MGB / MG Midget
A tidy Ek Civic or Integra is well within budget if front wheel drive is your thing and should be extremely reliable as well as pretty quick
In my opinion, a lot of the modified Impreza’s you see on the roads today suffer from a bit of an image problem. Because they’ve got so cheap they’ve fallen into the hands of the chav’s who have gone and done what they always do, make them loud, low and drive like shite. You’d want to know your stuff before buying one. An Impreza rally car, like the one pictured below is in my opinion a different kettle of fish. it’s an altogether more honest machine and this one is for sale at the time of writing for 7 grand so you can go burbling through the forests just like Colin McRea used to.
According to the ad this car was completely re-built a year and a half ago from a Turbo 2000 Shell and features:
- TEGSport Built Engine, serviced every 2 events
- OMP Bolt in Roll Cage
- OMP seats (in date)
- TRS Belts (in date)
- Kevlar Tank guards
- OMP Alloy Sump Guard
- Peter Lloyd Diff Guard
- KW Coilover suspension
- Uprated clutch fitted by TEGSport 1 event ago
- Also comes with 3 sets of wheels, 2 sets of gravel tyres and 2 sets of tarmac tyres
- Radical Clubsport
- Westfield Megabusa / turbo
- VW Cup car
- Mini Cooper Cup Car
The Radical Clubsport would be my number 1 choice. It’s the predecessor to the incredibly popular SR3. It’s a bespoke racing car with a rear mounted 1100cc motorbike engine and sequential gearbox. They look a bit like a miniature Le Mans prototype and are extremely quick. Check out the video below from a track day at Oulton Park, you’ll notice it doesn’t get passed by anything…
The other type of car on my shortlist is quite far removed from the 2 above and is a much more user friendly proposition. There are loads of ‘one make’ racing series across the UK and Ireland such as the VW cup and Mini Cooper Cup that have eligible cars up for sale. The cars that compete in these series are usually professionally built to a very high standard, will have all the safety gear, top spec brakes and suspension, you might even get a sequential gearbox and will offer a huge grin factor for very reasonable money, you could definitely get change from your 10K with one of these. Unlike the cars above you’ll get a roof, windscreen, windows and even doors! You might even be able to drive it to the track.