Autocross Buying Guide – Select the Right Car

In my experience, autocross can be a quite enjoyment and enjoyable sport. I have participated in several occasions in my community area. I located the hobby to be incredibly addictive as effectively.

Out of all my other hobbies, I consider this a person is the most effective “bang for the buck” as much as thrills go with your car. Most people can participate. Just about every car or truck (some clubs have exceptions to this even though like no SUV’s, no Vans) can race. The good detail about this form of race is that you are competing towards other people in your class normally defined by the SCCA, even so, you are on the program alone so there is small prospect of hitting other automobiles.

The hardest part about autocross (aside from finding out how to race) in my belief is finding the appropriate auto. Guaranteed, you can use a each day driver, but that is not recommended if you are likely to participate in many activities a year. Autocross can generate use on the tires and other factors quite quickly and can get pricey pretty rapidly. I would propose to get a automobile that you can use for autocross. This can be a “trailer vehicle” or a car that you can nonetheless travel on the highway, but use only for this passion.

There are 4 important elements to look at when picking a car or truck for autocross:

1) What variety of car or truck to get
2) The Selling price of the motor vehicle
3) The in general issue of the motor vehicle (if utilized)
4) Aftermarket updates/modifications


For autocross racing, some folks would think that the car or truck has to be extremely effective, little, 2 doors and modified. This is not fully precise. When that form of automobile would be great, it is not demanded to be competitive in autocross.

Bear in mind that most autocross events and golf equipment have the cars and trucks grouped in to some type of class. The club I participate with stick to the SCCA Course rules. The courses assistance team the cars and trucks so the identical “amount” of motor vehicles can keep on being aggressive inside of each class.

This is finished to keep away from the “greatest and fastest is finest” point out of believed. It would be unfair to set a heavily modified Porsche GT3 up towards a inventory Ford Concentrate. This is why they do that.

So, to pick the suitable car for autocross, you would probably want a coupe or convertible Very first if probable. Sedans can operate well much too, but some sedans are not geared for modifications, although, the sport sedans of currently are actually starting up to choose in excess of.

Manual transmission would be encouraged, on the other hand, if you have an computerized that is Ok also. You may well want to consider trading it for a handbook in the foreseeable future to remain competitive. Yet again, there are however “sport change” form automatics out there that are obtaining far better and much better each individual day.

Preferably, you would also want a rear-wheel drive motor vehicle for autocross. RWD vehicles generally give superior handle and dealing with in most instances. I know some enthusiasts out there will disagree with me, but that is Okay. On the other hand, I have applied many front-wheel generate autos that run with the finest of them.


The price of acquiring a automobile for autocross is normally the variable for me. I, like several some others, can not afford to pay for an highly-priced car or truck for autocross. There are, nevertheless, those that can afford to pay for it and cost is however some thing for them to take into account.

The $-$5000 vary:

This is the vary most of us newbies want to start off. Of system, free is Great, but consider the 3rd part (general issue) when this choice comes to head. Several automobiles that can carry out well and have a lot of upgradable choices are the adhering to:

1989-1997 Mazda Miata – Pretty pleasant electricity to excess weight ratio. It is Quite common at autocross. 1979-1991 Mazda RX7 – Fast small automobile, handles well. Several upgrades obtainable. 1989-1998 Nissan 240sx – Many aftermarket upgrades, handles very nicely. 1990-1999 BMW 3 Series – Extremely functional automobile. You can come across really pleasant models in this variety now. 1988-2000 Honda Civic/CRX – I have noticed various designs contend effectively in autocross. 1984-1999 Toyota MR2 – Small middle of gravity, wonderful effectiveness, mid motor. 1990-1999 Mitsubishi Eclipse/Eagle Talon – Several upgrades, some versions Turbo AWD. 2000-2007 Ford Concentrate – Extremely aggressive cars and trucks. SVT models obtainable in price tag assortment. 1997-2003 VW Golf – Hatchbacks generally like autocross. VR6 models obtainable in vary. 1990-1999 Acura Integra – Like the Civic, extremely competitive with a lot of updates out there.

There may be a couple additional autos that I missed that drop below this price assortment. The method I use to hunt for vehicles can range based on the type I am seeking for. I will use community categorised ads, Craigslist. I will also use the larger auto lookups and grow my typical “searching” place. I have successfully discovered fantastic cars and trucks utilizing VEHIX, AutoTrader as well as Govt Auction Internet sites.

But what about the autocross automobiles previously mentioned the $5000 vary? Effectively, I am glad you are believe that since I am about to checklist them below.

If you have some income to operate with and want to get something more recent, you can contemplate the subsequent automobiles:

The $5,001-$20,000 array:

This range can contain newer autos as perfectly as pre-owned autos that are no much more than a couple of years outdated. Keep in mind, vehicles usually depreciate pretty quickly, so as the several years go by, some of the more recent cars can be in just achieve for considerably less funds and are good for autocross. The automobiles beneath arrive to head in this selection:

1998-Recent Mazda MX-5 – Nonetheless exact fundamental motor vehicle, but a lot more energy as they acquired newer. 2003-Present-day VW Golf – Even additional modified than the prior versions, compete properly. 1992-1997 Mazda RX7 – 3rd Gen is twin-turbo and can contend in autocross. 1992-2006 BMW M3 – M3’s are intended for racing. Some more recent styles will slide in this assortment. 1998-2003 BMW M5 – M5’s are really effective and compete in their class nicely. 1994-Present-day Ford Mustang/Cobra – Incredibly flexible car or truck. Competes properly in course. 1994-2002 Camaro/Firebird – Competes effectively in course. Numerous autocross updates. 2007-Present Mazda Mazdaspeed3 – Turbo, hatchback, competes nicely in autocross. 2003-2008 Nissan 350z – Terrific autocross car, extremely well known on the monitor. Distinctive Autocross Kit vehicles these kinds of as the V6 Stalker tumble in this range as properly.

Now, this cost assortment can differ in autos. A large amount of these vehicles are even now new and could call for financial loans to order them.

The $20,001 spectrum will consist of some of the recent-day products as perfectly as the noticeable “tremendous cars and trucks” we all respect these types of as the Corvette, Viper, Porsche, Ferrari, Lotus and many others. I will not include a checklist for people simply because if you are purchasing a single of those for an autocross automobile, you did your investigation.

Total Issue OF THE Car (Utilised):

When buying a next vehicle for autocross, take care of it like when you are getting your day by day driver car or truck. You want the automobile to be comparatively free of main complications. Autocross racing can put pressure on the car’s frame, the suspension, the brakes, the tire and the total overall body of the auto.

You want to be certain that the car has not been in any main accidents. Frame maintenance or frame problems can be extremely unsafe combination when you autocross. That is the MOST important thing to examine for when shopping for a automobile for autocross. I have experienced and utilized the provider by Experian termed AutoCheck. They offer an limitless selection of VIN checks for a single of their provider possibilities and the selling price is way far better than the other expert services out there. I have used it when purchasing and will come in very useful when you are examining the historical past of a car.

The future significant merchandise to check out on the car or truck is significant ingredient problems this kind of as smoke coming out of the back again of the exhaust, main oil leaks (small leaks are envisioned on most utilized cars and trucks) slight/main overheating of the engine. Autocross is outdoors and you push the car or truck to the restrict. You want the major elements to be in the best condition they can be. The talked about problems can go away you stranded at the keep track of if you do not seem out for them.

I usually have some expectation to do minimal fix or preventive repairs on my autos when I am getting to autocross them. As I stated above, tiny oil/fluid leaks are “Okay” and can ordinarily be preset quite very easily. Smaller leaks inform us that the car is just employed and may well not be suffering from the leak as a result. Big/main leaks convey to us the auto may well have been neglected by the former owner and might have residual issues unseen at the second. When looking at a vehicle, commence it up, generate it around with the A/C engaged (even if it does not do the job). When you are finished with the examination generate, go away it idling though you stroll all over the automobile continuing to examine it. If the motor vehicle has an overheating dilemma, generally this is the time it will exhibit. This suggestion has aided me stay away from numerous attractive autocross cars and trucks that had an overheating problem.

Belts and hoses are my most repeated “preventive” repair service I do, even if they are not a issue. It is constantly best to know when an crucial ingredient has been replaced instead than to “guess” and have confidence in the past operator. H2o pumps, as well, drop in this class in some cases.

A person point people constantly check out when purchasing a utilised vehicle are the tires. Sure, this is critical for an autocross motor vehicle, but not to see how “great” the tires are, but to see if the auto demands an alignment. Autocross is about managing and you have to have to be guaranteed the car’s stock “handling” ability is in which it should really be.

Why not stress about the tires? Effectively, tires need to be just one matter to look at purchasing for your autocross car to start out with, so the existing tires should be taken out anyway. Tires are likely the most acquired put on item an autocross member will purchase. A good deal of autocross racers will deliver a set of tires for racing, one particular for driving house (individuals who do not use a trailer) and some will even convey spares for the racing tires. This is so frequent that Tire Rack delivers tires just for autocross. I have applied them and they are the greatest area to get tires for this.


If you ever glimpse into the aftermarket globe of the car field, you know that there are literally 1000’s of destinations to look and invest in. I will record a several places that most individuals do not imagine to glimpse, but incredibly have matters for the autocross enthusiasts.

First and foremost, autocross automobiles do NOT generally have to have big updates to be aggressive. A driver can use a stock car or truck and contend in opposition to fellow stock motor vehicles and keep on being competitive. As soon as you get started to modify or upgrade greatly, you may start out to transfer into different courses and compete with other cars that are equally modified. Preserve that in head when you want to modify something.

Usually, I say modify the uncomplicated items initial: Consumption, exhaust and normal tune ups. Most autocross drivers do not go considerably from that. These should really be the to start with points you try to update although you take part in autocross to get the most efficiency out of your motor vehicle.

If you come to a decision to go even more to be much more competitive, my upcoming advice would be suspension and human body roll modifications. Remember to try to remember, sure upgrades in this space may adjust your course. Be absolutely sure to verify your club or teams rules with these modifications.

Commonly, the fastest update to an autocross vehicle would be front and rear strut tower bars/braces. They are usually reasonably priced to invest in and uncomplicated to set up. They are also incredibly modular that means that when you invest in these, they will work with other suspension elements in place (typically). This modification helps stiffen the car’s suspension and body and can help with cornering.

The following modification advice would then be the entrance and rear sway bars and one-way links. These pieces also assist the body roll although cornering and managing and can at times be modular to the suspension technique as a full.

The final suspension up grade is commonly the most high-priced: The struts (shocks/springs). This improve ordinarily will work perfectly with the over items, but adverts more stiffness, a lot more reaction to the dealing with and occasionally lower the automobile over-all for a reduced center of gravity.

Once you have modified the complete suspension, my upcoming advice would be to enhance the brakes (at least the pads). This will aid your halting capacity for people moments wherever a tap of the brake is wanted throughout a lap. You should hold in head that substantial functionality brake pads ordinarily don a great deal a lot quicker than OEM.

One of the past things I endorse to enhance is the tires. Now, I’m not indicating that you need to not Initially acquire new tires when you autocross, but I am stating not to Update them to an autocross/race tire just nonetheless. Most autocross enthusiasts will convey to you to get used to the stock/frequent tires on your automobile very first.

The moment you get utilised to inventory kind tires, modifying them to a race tire or softer tire will really improve your lap times (that’s the theory in any case).

A single previous note. I endorse replacing the fluids in your vehicle with as quite a few synthetics as you can. Synthetic fluids have larger heat resistance and can just take the intensive times you will be placing on the vehicle throughout the autocross laps.