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post #1 of 30 Old 08-16-2009, 12:39 AM Thread Starter
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I need help.

This is really a squirrely question but here goes.

I went to an HPDE with my SVT Focus.

I had a blast, I'm hooked. The drag car is for sale.

I know someone that wants to trade his 99 Cobra for my car, but I was actually looking for a 325IS E30, or an M3 E36.

I know the M3 is a pretty awesome track car.

Are the Brakes and IRS on the Cobra enough to offset the usual performance gap, or should I still keep looking for a BMW?

The car will be track use only, is going to run on street radials and will stay stock for a long time.

Thanks for the info.

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post #2 of 30 Old 08-16-2009, 02:19 AM
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The Cobra brakes help a lot, but the IRS doesn't fix the fact that the Mustang's front suspension is pretty crappy. If the car is truly going to stay stock then the M3 is going to be faster, I would think, because the Mustang's front end isn't going to go where you want it to go.


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post #3 of 30 Old 08-16-2009, 07:24 AM
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Also, the fact that you "want" a BMW, but would "settle" for a Cobra.....leads me to believe you wouldn't be happy with the Cobra in the long run.
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post #4 of 30 Old 08-16-2009, 10:27 AM Thread Starter
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What I really "want" is a track only car that I can use to learn how to drive. The Cobra deal presented itself, and I love my Fords, but all my buddies are giving me the same responses.

If anyone has any additional input let me know. The deal is open for a couple weeks.

Thanks,

Randy
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post #5 of 30 Old 08-16-2009, 10:55 AM
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Then you should just go find you a cheap C5 Vette and you'll beat the stock M3 and the race car Mustangs.
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post #6 of 30 Old 08-16-2009, 11:21 AM
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Then you should just go find you a cheap C5 Vette and you'll beat the stock M3 and the race car Mustangs.
And so starts this weeks Mustang vs Vette vs M3 Thread..

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post #7 of 30 Old 08-16-2009, 11:24 AM
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And so starts this weeks Mustang vs Vette vs M3 Thread..
Isn't there supposed to be a Porsche in the mix, too? Maybe an Elise? Perhaps a Bugatti?
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post #8 of 30 Old 08-16-2009, 01:27 PM
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I should start a diversionary "How can I make my Mustang handle better than a corvette for less than $5,000" thread ;-)
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post #9 of 30 Old 08-16-2009, 03:17 PM
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I should start a diversionary "How can I make my Mustang handle better than a corvette for less than $5,000" thread ;-)
Please do, it's already been a week or so since the last one.

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post #10 of 30 Old 08-16-2009, 03:47 PM
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Sell the drag car and come back when you have a solid budget in mind. There are a LOT of potential cars that would give you a huge ####-eating grin, but having a solid budget would narrow the list a good deal.


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post #11 of 30 Old 08-16-2009, 04:33 PM
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If its in the budget I'd go with a C5

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post #12 of 30 Old 08-16-2009, 05:53 PM
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Not what you asked, but what about using the Focus as a track car and using the money to buy a tow vehicle/daily driver. NASA even has a series for them, but I don't know how popular it is.

When I thought I could afford to move into track, I'd was looking at used Focus models because I thought it was useful having the "spec" parts support.
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post #13 of 30 Old 08-16-2009, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by PNYEXPS View Post
What I really "want" is a track only car that I can use to learn how to drive.
A Miata is the best learn how to drive car. After a couple years if you're still hooked then get the M3 or whatever else you're lusting after at that time.

I say that because I learned on a nearly stock Mustang. Friends who started with Miatas seemed to learn faster/better than I did. I think it's easier with lower power, but more importantly with a more neutral cornering car.

At this point your learning is more important than what car you're driving.

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post #14 of 30 Old 08-16-2009, 09:29 PM
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Miata may be a good choice, assuming you can fit. And don't mind the gay jokes.

All kidding aside, seems like if you learn to drive a Mustang, anything you step into after that should require a lot less manhandling.

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post #15 of 30 Old 08-16-2009, 10:55 PM
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Miata may be a good choice, assuming you can fit. And don't mind the gay jokes.

All kidding aside, seems like if you learn to drive a Mustang, anything you step into after that should require a lot less manhandling.
That's actually a strike AGAINST the Mustang. As a new driver, you've got enough on your plate without dealing with a car's handling woes.

Other ways a Miata stacks up against a Mustang:
  • Parts Availbility -- Draw. Both car's consumables are readily available at local parts stores, unless you start replacing factory systems like the brakes with aftermarket systems.
  • Power -- The Miata wins here and not for obvious reasons. One thing you MUST learn as a novice driver, is to preserve your momentum. In a high-powered car, it's very tempting and far too easy to crawl through the corners and blast down the next straight and still cut a decent, if not stellar, lap time. You simply cannot do that in a low-powered car like a Miata. You MUST drive the car well to lay down a decent lap time.
  • Tires -- Miata. Miata tires are a fraction of the cos tof a Mustang's. And they tend to last longer for beginners.
  • Aftermarket Support -- Miata. Non obvious choice for the little beast. The Mustang's aftermarket is HUGE and there are a lot of compating companies making more-or-less the same parts that perform with varying degrees of succfess from terrible to fantastic. Sorting the wheat from the chaff either takes the advice of someone who's been there before (if you can find a guru who's willing to give out that sort of information,) spending a lot of money re-doing the screwups, or buying a car that's already been sorted out. Miata's aftermarket has been driven primarily by ONE rqace series -- Spec Miata. the aftermarket is much smaller and focused on one kind of motorsports -- Spec Miata. There's much less confustion when making your choice of aftermarket parts.
  • Engines -- Miata. Like the aftermarket in general, the engine market for the Miata is driven primarily by the Spec Miata series. Need a motor? Call Flyin' Miatas and order their spec engine. You will pay a set price and get a VERY well-sorted and reliable motor. It'll also be cheaper tha a Mustang's engine.
  • Reliability -- Draw. Both cars are as tough as iron.
  • Resale -- Miata. IMHO, the used race car market for Miatas is bigger than for track Mustangs.

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post #16 of 30 Old 08-16-2009, 11:07 PM
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There are certainly lots of advantages if it works out for you. I don't fit it one very well. I'm kind of a long torso guy. For a while I thought I could talk the wife into one so that I could drive "the wifes car" at autocross occasionally. She laughed in my face when I brought it up, she said very nicely that they are too soft.

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post #17 of 30 Old 08-17-2009, 07:37 AM
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Aftermarket Support -- Miata. Non obvious choice for the little beast. The Mustang's aftermarket is HUGE and there are a lot of compating companies making more-or-less the same parts that perform with varying degrees of succfess from terrible to fantastic. Sorting the wheat from the chaff either takes the advice of someone who's been there before (if you can find a guru who's willing to give out that sort of information,) spending a lot of money re-doing the screwups, or buying a car that's already been sorted out. Miata's aftermarket has been driven primarily by ONE rqace series -- Spec Miata. the aftermarket is much smaller and focused on one kind of motorsports -- Spec Miata. There's much less confustion when making your choice of aftermarket parts.
Out of curiosity, does that "less confusion" translate to less bang for your buck?
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post #18 of 30 Old 08-17-2009, 08:01 AM
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It translates to "not fun" for me. I respect the cars for what they are and how they perform, but "my" only use for one would be as a bumper-car.
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post #19 of 30 Old 08-17-2009, 09:44 AM
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Out of curiosity, does that "less confusion" translate to less bang for your buck?
Not at all. Spec Miata is still a low-budget series at the regional level (at the national level, it's an entirely different story!)

And since the series is so competitive, inferior products have a very tough time surviving. It your stuff sucks, you'll be out of business soon. Sadly, that's not true for the Mustang aftermarket.

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post #20 of 30 Old 08-17-2009, 09:48 AM
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It translates to "not fun" for me. I respect the cars for what they are and how they perform, but "my" only use for one would be as a bumper-car.
Everyone's entitled to their own opinion, of course, but most of the REALLY good driver's I've seen have come up through relatively low-powered cars. They really know how to avoid scrubbing off speed in the corners, and if you can come out of a corner with .5mph more than the other guy, then you'll have 3-4mph more than him at the end of the straight. That's HUGE.

Anyone can be fast in a Viper or a Corvette. It takes a really good driver to be fast in a Miata.

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post #21 of 30 Old 08-17-2009, 11:23 AM
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My advice is track the SVT Focus for 4 or 5 events, no mods, just be sure that brakes are ok... The more you visit the track the better idea you will have of what you want; you are going to be able to jump in several cars at the track.. ask people how much they spend at the track...

If anyone asks me whats the best bang for buck at the track? C5Z06. What do i track? A Mustang. And that's from someone who owns a Miata... which might see some track time soon..

Hector
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post #22 of 30 Old 08-18-2009, 02:37 PM
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I guess I blazed right by the part about the SVT Focus. I agree with Hector - do some learning with the Focus. It's a very capable car, and entry level costs for consumables should be pretty low. There's no need to jump to your "final" track day car when you've just started learning.

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post #23 of 30 Old 08-18-2009, 03:09 PM
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M3!

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post #24 of 30 Old 08-18-2009, 03:37 PM
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I guess I blazed right by the part about the SVT Focus. I agree with Hector - do some learning with the Focus. It's a very capable car, and entry level costs for consumables should be pretty low. There's no need to jump to your "final" track day car when you've just started learning.
I'm not saying the Focus is a bad choice (actually, I think it's a pretty good one,) but be mindful that FWD and RWD cars drive a little differently on the track. Responding to oversteer and understeer is going to be different between the two.

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post #25 of 30 Old 08-18-2009, 06:15 PM
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Whoever said Miata hit the nail right on the head. Seriously, they're dirt cheap, super reliable, easy to fix, and they handle like gokarts. If you want to learn how to drive, Take the money you were going to spend on an e36 M3, put that into a early 90's NA miata, use the rest for track time. You'll be tracking MORE in a car that handles better and will teach you how to drive better.

I miss my miata something fierce
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post #26 of 30 Old 08-18-2009, 07:23 PM
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What about a c4? They aren't the prettiest thing around but the latter models have a good suspension and 300+ hp. They can be had for decent money.

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post #27 of 30 Old 08-19-2009, 07:48 AM
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Unless you buy a stinker like a buddy of mine, who bought the car in March and hasn't gotten to drive it more than a couple of days between cooling issues and air pump issues and other stuff.
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post #28 of 30 Old 08-19-2009, 08:25 AM
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Yea, i've heard the C4's run a lil' hot.
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post #29 of 30 Old 08-19-2009, 08:37 AM
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There is world of difference between a C4 and a C5. Honestly... if you want to do a C4, unless is very well modified you are better off with a Miata or a small bimmer.

And about driving different kind of cars, i think is what it makes you a better driver, i've driven under powered rwd cars and over powered rwd cars at the track but I am not even close of a good driver as a couple of friends that drive FWD cars for shops and they also track their RWD cars.

Hector
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post #30 of 30 Old 08-19-2009, 08:58 AM
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Car choice is important when it comes to speed, but for someone getting into it, the most important is to actually get into it. The more seat time you get the more chances you have to learn, no matter what the car is. Make sure you leave room in your budget to actually pay for the track time. Other than that, get a car that you will be happy to drive and feel proud of on the track; that will make you want to go out and use it as much as possible (even when you run into issues like all track cars do).

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