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What’s it cost to go vintage racing? More and less than you think

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Vintage races are a key part of Monterey Car Week | Andy Reid photo

I attended my first vintage racing event in 2001. It was the Jefferson 500, hosted at the Summit Point Raceway in Virginia by Brian Redman. Although I was racing in NASCAR at the time, I went in initially as a journalist — on my first magazine assignment for Victory Lane.

That weekend more fun than I could have imagined. On the first day I found myself being fitted for a Zinc Formula Vee racing car, driving the car in practice, shooting a large number of photographs of the event, helping out as a corner worker, meeting racing champions Redman and Bobby Rahal, and making some friends that I have to this day.

At the end of the weekend, while talking to Bobby and Brian, I remember saying that if I had known anything about vintage racing before I decided to race in NASCAR, I doubt that I would ever have run in the professional series.

Vintage races are a key part of Monterey Car Week | Andy Reid photo

Vintage racing is a way to see the cars of the past being used in the way in which they were intended. Instead of being displayed at a concours on a golf course somewhere, a vintage race is a moving concours that happens on racing tracks around the world.

The first thing you need to know about getting involved in vintage racing is that it is addictive. There is something magical about these cars on track at speed. The sights and sounds are a virtual time machine to days and eras past.

The next thing you should know about vintage racing, if you have an idea that you would like to be a driver, that like every other form of motor racing, it is expensive. If you are going to run, say, a small bore British car, it will be cheaper than say a Shelby GT350R, but vintage racing will never be cheap.

I spoke to my friend and former boss Tim Suddard from Classic Motorsports magazine about this. Classic Motorsports is the best magazine that I know of for fans of vintage racing. Suddard races a 1957 Triumph TR3 very successfully and offered some interesting insights into the sport from a driver’s perspective.

ven before you start burning your way through $10 per gallon racing fuel, it takes time and money to prepare for a vintage racing weekend, as Tim Suddard explains | Classic Motorsports photos

1957 Triumph TR3 | Classic Motorsports photos

1957 Triumph TR3 | Classic Motorsports photos

1957 Triumph TR3 | Classic Motorsports photos

1957 Triumph TR3 | Classic Motorsports photos

1957 Triumph TR3 | Classic Motorsports photos

“The cost for race car fuel is close to $10 a gallon,” he noted. “With a car like my TR3 you will go through between 10 to 50 gallons on a weekend, depending on how many sessions you run, if you run an enduro, and the length of the track. A V8 powered car might burn twice that much fuel.

“In a car like my TR3, one of the cost savings is tires. A set of tires can last me 4 to 6 race weekends. That is a lot different to racing a V8 powered car, as a set of tires might last a weekend at best.

“Entry fees depend on the event and can vary anywhere from $400 to $4,000 per event.

“Another question regarding costs is, are you paying to be with a shop for the event or going it solo with just yourself or a friend or two to help out. Going with a vintage racing prep shop is definitely easier, but when doing this a racing event weekend can cost from $10,000 to $15,000.

“Also, don’t forget travel costs such as transport and hotels. Is it two- or three-day weekend? How far away is the event?

“All in you can spend anywhere between $5,000 and $50,000 a weekend, it all depends on where you are racing.”

Corner workers

Corner workers

If this number is a bit too high but you still want to be involved in vintage racing and not just as a spectator, there is another avenue to pursue that can be just as rewarding, and at times you even get paid. Consider working in Flagging and Communications, or what is known as becoming a corner worker.

During a racing weekend, corner workers are possibly the most important part of a race, doing everything they can to insure that the racing is as safe as possible. They display signals to the drivers by flags depending on course conditions and they communicate with race control to let everyone know about potential dangers such as debris or oil on the track or rough or illegal driving maneuvers.

They are positioned around the track and are dressed in all white. At many racing events corner workers are invited as a group to attend banquets and to take part in other festivities during event weekends.

Corner workers

Corner workers

Corner workers

Corner workers

To start down this road, you need to join the Sports Car Club of America ($95 membership fee) and go thru the free Flagging and Communications training. Once trained, and having purchased a couple pairs of white pants and a few long-sleeve white shirts, you are able to work events as a full corner worker.

Finally, if you just want to see these incredible cars up close and being used on track as they were intended you can simply spectate at a vintage race, the only costs associated are the cost of a ticket and you travel to a track near you.

You are not involved in the moving parts of the weekend, but I guarantee that if you are a serious fan of classic sports and racing cars and have not attended a vintage race, it is a eye-opening and very addictive experience.

Most events have car corrals for those who drive road-going sports cars to the track, you often can visit the cars in the paddock, and there is much fun to be had just by sitting back and enjoying the show.

This article, written by Andy Reid, was originally published on ClassicCars.com, an editorial partner of Motor Authority.

What’s it cost to go vintage racing? More and less than you think

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1990 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo IMSA GTO race car for sale

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1990 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo IMSA GTO race car (Photo by Bring a Trailer)

Nissan scored some of its biggest racing successes in the late 1980s and early 1990s, competing in the IMSA GTP prototype class and racing the Z32-generation 300ZX in the GTO class. One of those 300ZX IMSA GTO race cars is now for sale on Bring a Trailer.

Clayton Cunningham racing built seven factory-supported cars, which raced between 1989 and 1995. This car—chassis 004—debuted in 1990 and raced in 1991 as well, with wins at Road Atlanta and Watkins Glen, seven pole positions, two fastest laps, and a 93% finishing record, according to the listing.

Power is provided by a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-6, coupled to a 5-speed manual transmission with rear-wheel drive.

1990 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo IMSA GTO race car (Photo by Bring a Trailer)

Carbon-fiber bodywork vaguely resembles a stock 1990 Nissan 300ZX, but underneath is a bespoke chromoly tubular space frame. Chassis 004 debuted an extended-wheelbase layout intended to help cure handling ills with the first three cars.

After 14 races, chassis 004 was retired at the end of the 1991 season. It was used as a backup car, before being sold in 1997 to a Canadian owner. That owner left the car unused before returning it to Clayton Cunningham Racing in 2003 for reconditioning, according to the listing. The car then sat idle again until it was sold in 2017 to an Oregon owner, who entered it in vintage races. It was refurbished a second time before being acquired by the current owner in 2020, according to the listing.

Its worth noting that a similar car, chassis 002, built for the 1989 IMSA season, went unsold after being listed by Stratas Auctions last year. That car has at the same twin-turbo engine as chassis 004, but the earlier short-wheelbase chassis. It also never won a race; its best finish was third at Mid-Ohio.

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How to choose 35-inch or 37-inch tires

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2021 Ford F-150 Raptor

The 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor will be available with 35-inch or 37-inch tires when it hits dealerships this summer, and the choice really depends on how you plan to use the Raptor, according to Muscle Cars & Trucks.

Based on interviews with Ford engineers, the website advises that the 35-inch tires are better for high-speed off-roading, while the 37-inch tires are better for driving over large obstacles at slower speeds.

Both 2021 Raptor tires are from the BF Goodrich K02 series. The truck comes standard with 35-inch tires; the 37-inch tires are a $7,500 option. They’re also the largest tires available from the factory for a half-ton pickup truck.

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor

The bigger tires come with various hardware and software changes, which should avoid the ride and steering issues that often come with simply bolting bigger tires onto a truck, Adam Busack, Ford Performance feature engineering supervisor for the 2021 Raptor, said in an interview with Muscle Cars & Trucks. Those changes include repackaged suspension, and calibration changes for the steering, powertrain, and anti-lock brakes.

Other notable features of the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor include first-ever coil-spring rear suspension, increased suspension travel (now 14 inches in the front and 15 inches in the rear), and Fox internal-bypass shocks. The Raptor also moves to the current-generation F-150 platform, which brings increased structural rigidity and a new infotainment system, among other features.

Under the hood, the Raptor gets a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6, teamed with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Output hasn’t been announced, but we expect it to surpass the previous generation’s 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. Ford has confirmed that an upcoming 2022 Raptor R will get a V-8, but hasn’t released any other details.

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Autos

2022 Genesis G70, 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS, 2022 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: This Week’s Top Photos

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Electric Porsche Macan development

Genesis this week kicked off its European launch with the reveal of a sexy G70 wagon. It’s based on the updated 2022 Genesis G70 sedan, and sadly we won’t see it in the United States.

Electric Porsche Macan development

Porsche plans to offer an electric Macan alongside an updated version of the current gas-powered model. While we’ve previously spotted the updated gas model, Porsche this week provided a glimpse of the new electric Macan for the first time.

2023 Porsche Cayenne Coupe facelift spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2023 Porsche Cayenne Coupe facelift spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

Another Porsche out testing was an updated Cayenne. Porsche’s Cayenne range is about to undergo its mid-cycle refresh and the changes look to be more substantial than normal. Our latest spy shots show a prototype for the more dynamically styled Cayenne Coupe.

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS production at plant in Sindelfingen, Germany

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS production at plant in Sindelfingen, Germany

Mercedes-Benz reached a major turning point with the start of production of its first dedicated electric vehicle, the 2022 EQS. The big sedan is due in showrooms this fall with a 108 kilowatt-hour battery, or enough for 400 miles of range.

2021 Lexus IS350 F Sport

2021 Lexus IS350 F Sport

Lexus has a new generation of its IS sedan on its hands, one that boasts bold styling and a sport-tuned chassis. The car is more of a heavy update of the outgoing IS than a true redesign, and this becomes evident after a quick drive.

2021 Acura TLX Type S

2021 Acura TLX Type S

An alternative to the IS is Acura’s new TLX, which comes in sporty Type S guise. The TLX Type S is serving as the official pace car at this weekend’s Mid-Ohio round of the 2021 WeatherTech Sports Car Championship, ahead of the showroom appearance later this month.

2022 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2022 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

Chevy engineers were spotted testing a hotter version of the mid-engined C8 Corvette, and it’s likely the new Z06. We hear it will run a naturally aspirated V-8, and some video footage of the tester seems to confirm it.

2022 Ineos Grenadier prototype

2022 Ineos Grenadier prototype

The Land Rover Defender-inspired Ineos Grenadier is undergoing durability testing ahead of the start of production in 2022. That’s about a year later than originally planned, but a lot has changed in the past year, and that’s before you factor in the disruptions caused by the coronavirus.

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