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      02-25-2021, 10:18 PM   #1
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What should my next track car be?

The M3 CS lease will be up at the end of the year, and it's time to get a new track car to replace it. As much as the F80 checks so many boxes, I'm on my second one, so I'd like to try something new. I'm not too worried about lap times since I'm not that fast in the M3 CS anyway, so if a less powerful car is easier to drive and I can learn more, I'm all for it. A GT4 is really what I want, but I think the price is going to get in the way of me really getting to explore my limits on the track. Also, I don't like the G80, so that's out. So far the options in ranked from most to least considered are as follows:

E46 M3
981 CS/GTS
GR Supra
S2000
Toyota 86
ND Miata


E46 M3:

Right now the E46 M3 is the top contender for smiles per mile. The relatively low cost won't make me feel as bad if I get it into the gravel or nudge a tire wall etc. Anyone track with them previously? I've never actually even driven an E46 M3 so any info appreciated. My biggest concern is the handling.

Pros:
Less expensive
More money for mods
Less worried about biffing it into a tire wall
Cheaper to insure
I've always wanted an E46 M3 (but I've never driven one)
Lighter than the M3 CS(~3200 lbs, is this accurate?)
Plenty of cargo room for track gear and wheels

Cons:
Only 0.89 G on the skid pad, needs some work for handling
Heaviest on the list
Possible high upfront cost for repairs
Reliability issues
Not as powerful
I've never driven one


981 CS/GTS

I love the look, I love the mid-engine layout, and I love the fact that it's a sports car from the ground up. I've always wanted a Porsche I also love the GT4 and this is as close I can get on this list.

Pros:
Great handling
Great engine
Great sound
Light (~3100lbs)

Cons:
Not as powerful
Expensive for a used car ($50-70k used)
Expensive to repair



GR Supra

My biggest complaint about this car is the lack of a manual. I really want a manual this time since they will likely be extinct.

It's just a tad heavy for what I want. My ideal track car is <3300lbs, >300hp, but with a manual this would be at the top of my list.

Pros:
Most powerful on this list
Very low CG
High I6T tuning potential
Cheaper and faster than the 981 (not counting depreciation)

Cons:
Automatic
A tad heavy



Toyota 86

Overall I think just the lack of power is preventing me from getting this. I'm a bit spoiled by the F80, but maybe I'm wrong? I also see a lot of these on the track, and a part of me wants a car that's a bit unique and not as common as the 86.

Pros:
Proven chassis
Handling

Cons:
Not as powerful
Common



S2000

Pros:
Cheap
Slightly faster than the 86 and Miata

Cons:
Not as sharp handling as the Miata or 86?
Not as powerful as the E46 M3 nor the GR Supra


ND Miata

Pros:
Love the looks
Handling
Proven track toy
Lightest car on the list

Cons:
Least powerful
Miata stigma outside of the track



Other possible considerations:

M2 Competition
997 C2
981 stripper
E36 M3
CTR
NA1 NSX
944 Turbo

Thoughts?
Please feel free to make new suggestions!
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      02-25-2021, 11:04 PM   #2
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Stripper 981 Cayman GT4.
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      02-25-2021, 11:04 PM   #3
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E36 M3 solid at the track, and tires and brakes considerably cheaper than any of the newer stuff.
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      02-25-2021, 11:11 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ABenChod View Post
Stripper 981 Cayman GT4.
LOL is there even such a thing?!
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      02-25-2021, 11:18 PM   #5
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      02-25-2021, 11:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
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LOL is there even such a thing?!
Yea. Last gen Cayman GT4 (lightly optioned, no leather, iron brakes and comes in a manual too).
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      02-26-2021, 06:51 AM   #7
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Depends what you are looking to prioritise, a lot of your listed cars are great for cheap track miles. Coming from a CS I expect you may be frustrated by the lack of power particularly for overtaking. CS is also nice newer car, doesn't break etc. If you can trailer something there are more options.

Assuming you are driving to/from the track I'd look at -

C7 Grandsport
Shelby GT350
SS 1LE
E92 M3
Lotus Evora

I'm biased but if you really want a GT4, get a GT4 😉
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      02-26-2021, 10:13 AM   #8
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Do you need to be able to drive the car on the street? Do you have interest in class-based racing, or just HPDE?

I assume based on your choices that you just want an HPDE car/street car. In that case, if a 981 GT4 is too expensive then maybe grab a 981 S or GTS? I imagine they've suffered some massive depreciation at this point, looks like $40k gets you a 981 Cayman S.

Another consideration if you want to stick with BMW is the E92 M3, think you can get a sorted one for $30k-$35k? Drops the cost of a track incident a bit vs the CS or GT4, not a huge degradation in performance potential.

Or just go full racecar, Spec Miata, GTS2/GTS3, or whatever class is popular in your region, and get the joy of wheel to wheel racing
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      02-26-2021, 01:39 PM   #9
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This should be pretty affordable.
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      02-26-2021, 01:46 PM   #10
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981 GTS but not gonna lie, been looking at them recently in 6 spd, and they are still pretty pricey (surprisingly so). Maybe it's just COVID pricing in combination with the current Porsche hype.

https://www.sanfranciscosportscars.c...ts-gts-c-1014/

Low miles, stripper like option list but geez 71k??
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      02-26-2021, 02:12 PM   #11
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981 GTS but not gonna lie, been looking at them recently in 6 spd, and they are still pretty pricey (surprisingly so). Maybe it's just COVID pricing in combination with the current Porsche hype.

https://www.sanfranciscosportscars.c...ts-gts-c-1014/

Low miles, stripper like option list but geez 71k??
I was looking at that one! $9k away from a lower priced GT4 wven with CCBs. The GT4 will likely depreciate less too. I just hope my ass fits in GT4 seats.
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      02-26-2021, 02:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
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I was looking at that one! $9k away from a lower priced GT4 wven with CCBs. The GT4 will likely depreciate less too. I just hope my ass fits in GT4 seats.
If it helps, I was pretty comfortable in Montaver's GT4 even with COVID bulk.

6'2 205 lbs-ish when I sat in it.
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      02-26-2021, 02:41 PM   #13
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Quote:
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I was looking at that one! $9k away from a lower priced GT4 wven with CCBs. The GT4 will likely depreciate less too. I just hope my ass fits in GT4 seats.
Seriously. Even then, I've seen 981 GT4s still priced at $90-100k... there's a brand new 718 GT4 @ McKenna listed for $106k
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      02-26-2021, 04:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RugbyBro View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmg View Post
I was looking at that one! $9k away from a lower priced GT4 wven with CCBs. The GT4 will likely depreciate less too. I just hope my ass fits in GT4 seats.
Seriously. Even then, I've seen 981 GT4s still priced at $90-100k... there's a brand new 718 GT4 @ McKenna listed for $106k
At that point I should embrace the GT4 and rule out the GTS altogether or get an S for $50k and save a bunch of money for mods and track days.

What is surprising is how close the GR Supra is in numbers to the GT4. It's right between the M3 CS and GT4 in weight. Has the same HP but more torque than the GT4 and they have similar 0-60 and 0-100, skid pad etc. At $20k cheaper the Supra seems like a good alternative with a weight and no manual trade-off. It's such a shame they don't just have it come in a manual.
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      02-26-2021, 09:13 PM   #15
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What's your local track? If it's small and favors momentum vs power then you can't beat an ND miata or 86. I've done a handful of days at Lime Rock (very tight) in a spec miata. Driving at 10/10 is thrilling. A
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      02-27-2021, 10:52 PM   #16
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Had an E46 M3 that I tracked for about 2 years or so. You really can't beat the feel of the car and it makes the perfect amount of power in such a linear fashion which ups the send factor on track for sure. If you want to get better at racetrack things it's such a good platform. I wouldn't worry about the handling haha that G number probably comes from some magazine review prior to the tire compound revolution. I assure you that you can easily get the car up over 1.00g on street tires haha. Unfortunately the downside of the car is you really have to wring it out to get it moving so around town you will miss that instant hit of boost from the F8X that makes you grin.

I've been following the GR Supra pretty closely and the 2021 is just an absolute animal, it has a faster time than the M2C (on the same tires mind you) at Lightning Lap and you get all the feel of the BMW in what I think is a better all around package with more curb appeal. Not sure if you know of Jackie Ding but he has turned one into probably one of the 3 fastest "Street" Time Attack cars in the Nation in only like 2 years of development. Also, they look soooo good with aero...



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      02-28-2021, 04:00 AM   #17
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I wouldn't worry about the handling haha that G number probably comes from some magazine review prior to the tire compound revolution. I assure you that you can easily get the car up over 1.00g on street tires haha.
You are right, I keep forgetting how far tires have come in just the past few years.


Quote:
Originally Posted by F80Speed77 View Post
I've been following the GR Supra pretty closely and the 2021 is just an absolute animal, it has a faster time than the M2C (on the same tires mind you) at Lightning Lap and you get all the feel of the BMW in what I think is a better all around package with more curb appeal. Not sure if you know of Jackie Ding but he has turned one into probably one of the 3 fastest "Street" Time Attack cars in the Nation in only like 2 years of development. Also, they look soooo good with aero...
I mean, it's hard to argue with results like that. Maybe my desire to drive a manual isn't as important as it should be. Still, a manual would seal the deal. Hopefully they will announce a manual for the 2022 to generate some buzz... right in time for me to get one.
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      02-28-2021, 06:10 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmg View Post
E46 M3
981 CS/GTS
GR Supra
S2000
Toyota 86
ND Miata

M2 Competition
997 C2
981 stripper
E36 M3
CTR
NA1 NSX
944 Turbo

Thoughts?
Please feel free to make new suggestions!
You're all over the place with your choices. Based on the list alone, it seems to me you don't know what you want and you've not given much information as to what the duty for you track car is going to be either.

You've been driving automatic FR cars for the past few years.
- Are you getting bored of front-engined, rear-drive cars or do you still want to keep mastering your skills with this layout?

Do you want to use your left leg?
- It seems to me you do. A car without auto rev-match and with great pedal placement would be ideal for perfecting your heel-toe downshifts.

What's the purpose of the tracktool?
- Most of the cars on your list are modern street cars. Want a race car you drive to the circuit? A capable DD (again)?

What are the tracks you go to?
- Slow, fast, long sweepers, tight bends?

You've been leasing your cars.
- Do you want a brand new car with warranty that you won't be able to modify extensively or an older car you can (i.e. will have to) wrench on?

The third point is crucial because some of the suggested cars are old and will require lots of attention. Maintenance and mods.

1. Base 981 and 997 didn't have LSD as standard and vast majority were not optioned with them. Mod$ needed, then.
2. 944 is an old dog that I would not touch even with a 6ft pole.
3. Old NSX is a garage queen that shall not be abused.
4. CTR - specify which gen? And it's a FWD hatch. All your other cars are RWD.
5. E36 M3 - would look for an already track-prepped specimen to abuse
6. M2C - not very dissimilar to your F80, is it?

Stock E46 is not 3,200 lbs, it's more like 3,500 lbs... So you'd probably feel the need to get it on a diet. Stock suspension components will be tired if you don't find a clean track-prepped car. That brings us to my third point - do you wanna wrench and/or pay a shop to work on your 20-year old cars?

Supra and 981 CS/GTS are to me very nice dual-duty cars that I'd take to the track a couple times a year whilst keeping mostly stock. Something you've been doing with your F80. Not something I'd call a track car, really.

Miata and S2000 are rag tops. All your other choices are coupes.

if I were you, I'd look for a lighter, cheaper vehicle you can modify to suit your needs. S2000 is an amazing raw car that can bite you hard on the limit. From the cars listed, though, a used BRZ/86 would be the choice. It's pretty new yet simple. More of a momentum car as opposed to your current torque monster. Then supercharge it once you feel like you've outgrown the car. Or an already-modified E36 if you wanna go old school.
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      02-28-2021, 03:38 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by swagon View Post
You're all over the place with your choices. Based on the list alone, it seems to me you don't know what you want and you've not given much information as to what the duty for you track car is going to be either.
I'm trying to keep my options open. Here's what I see with this car:

Not daily driven
Two or three high performance driving events a month (one track day, 1 or 2 autocrosses)
It will be my 4th car in my garage
Driven to and from the track, not trailered
Some curb appeal for Cars and Coffee and canyon runs with friends



Quote:
Originally Posted by swagon View Post
You've been driving automatic FR cars for the past few years.
- Are you getting bored of front-engined, rear-drive cars or do you still want to keep mastering your skills with this layout?
The ultimate goal is to have fun, so if I move to a new setup that's fine. I prefer FR cars, but I would like to try out MR for a few years. FF is the least desirable but the CTR is quite impressive so I can't deny it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by swagon View Post
Do you want to use your left leg?
- It seems to me you do. A car without auto rev-match and with great pedal placement would be ideal for perfecting your heel-toe downshifts.

What's the purpose of the tracktool?
- Most of the cars on your list are modern street cars. Want a race car you drive to the circuit? A capable DD (again)?
I want to get away from having to trailer the car, so a car that can be driven to and from the track is ideal. If I decide to get into racing slicks then the wheels would have to fit in the back/trunk/roof etc.

The M3 CS was initially going to be driven to work a few times a week and perhaps fit my family for some weekend getaways, but I no longer commute, and after modding, my wife says it's too loud and too rough (lol) so the 4 door is no longer a requirement. I no longer need a capable DD, a coupe is fine, and now I am open to racing seats and even more aggressive suspension etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by swagon View Post

What are the tracks you go to?
- Slow, fast, long sweepers, tight bends?
All kinds. I try and go to 1 track day a month, plus an autocross or a small local kart track that does time trials for cars twice a month. So every other weekend I'm doing some kind of high performance driving with my M3 CS.

Big Willow & Fontana are fast tracks with a big sweepers
Buttonwillow is a good all around track with fast corners, one medium sweeper and some tight bends
Streets of Willow is a bit more technical than Big Willow
Adams Motorsports Park is slow with tight narrow bends, similar to an autocross
I also do autocrosses

Quote:
Originally Posted by swagon View Post
You've been leasing your cars.
- Do you want a brand new car with warranty that you won't be able to modify extensively or an older car you can (i.e. will have to) wrench on?
Can I have the best of both lol? I like not having to worry about my M3 CS, but at the same time I would have liked to do a bit more to it without paying a premium for a new car under warranty and the depreciation of a purchased new car. That's a whole other discussion though, leasing vs owning a car you track. The M3 CS didn't need a lot of work or mods to get on the track, so it was kind of perfect.


Quote:
Originally Posted by swagon View Post
The third point is crucial because some of the suggested cars are old and will require lots of attention. Maintenance and mods.

1. Base 981 and 997 didn't have LSD as standard and vast majority were not optioned with them. Mod$ needed, then.
2. 944 is an old dog that I would not touch even with a 6ft pole.
3. Old NSX is a garage queen that shall not be abused.
4. CTR - specify which gen? And it's a FWD hatch. All your other cars are RWD.
5. E36 M3 - would look for an already track-prepped specimen to abuse
6. M2C - not very dissimilar to your F80, is it?

Stock E46 is not 3,200 lbs, it's more like 3,500 lbs... So you'd probably feel the need to get it on a diet. Stock suspension components will be tired if you don't find a clean track-prepped car.
All such good info, thanks!


Quote:
Originally Posted by swagon View Post
That brings us to my third point - do you wanna wrench and/or pay a shop to work on your 20-year old cars?
I have the time and capability for the simple things for now: brake jobs, oil changes, simple repairs, simple installs, but anything that takes more than 5-6 hours of labor I will probably just farm out to a shop just because I would rather spend my time with my family on my days off.


Quote:
Originally Posted by swagon View Post
Supra and 981 CS/GTS are to me very nice dual-duty cars that I'd take to the track a couple times a year whilst keeping mostly stock. Something you've been doing with your F80. Not something I'd call a track car, really.
I would be open to getting more aggressive into mods with a 981 as I stated earlier in this reply, seats, suspension, light to moderate weight reducing. Whatever I can get away with while still being street legal and have fun modifying the car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by swagon View Post
Miata and S2000 are rag tops. All your other choices are coupes.
I've always wanted a convertible, which is why those are in there. I might be open to a Boxster, but honestly I like the 981 couple look much much more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by swagon View Post
if I were you, I'd look for a lighter, cheaper vehicle you can modify to suit your needs. S2000 is an amazing raw car that can bite you hard on the limit. From the cars listed, though, a used BRZ/86 would be the choice. It's pretty new yet simple. More of a momentum car as opposed to your current torque monster. Then supercharge it once you feel like you've outgrown the car. Or an already-modified E36 if you wanna go old school.
Thanks, all good recommendations.
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      02-28-2021, 06:10 PM   #20
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All understandable.

If it's a fourth car and there's no commute, I'd go all in then. Half cage (wouldn't do full cage as you'll be street driving), proper seats, etc.

Since you're open to a lot of options, maybe you could have a look on Turo and see if there any of the cars available for rent for, like, a day? Will definitely get a feel for the car on your local roads. And at a track day, ask someone to get a ride.

At my last event, people were hopping from one car to another! I'm an awful passenger and I don't trust strangers so I definitely missed out on some cool cars...

Belive the schtick with the BRZ at launch was that it fits four tires. E36/E46 would fit a set too, I believe. Those cars would also be ideal for your canyon runs with mates. Look up "garagewelt" on IG, the two dudes running this small apparel biz drive S54 E36s and one of them owns an F80 alongside an E46 M3 in a Clubsport spec. I'm sure they'd be happy to give you a ride or some info straight from the hourse's mouf regarding those chassis.

🤙🏻
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      03-01-2021, 03:01 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmg View Post

Big Willow & Fontana are fast tracks with a big sweepers
Buttonwillow is a good all around track with fast corners, one medium sweeper and some tight bends
Streets of Willow is a bit more technical than Big Willow
These three right here say do a Supra add aero, wheels, suspension, tune, and send it. You'll save a ton of money vs any new M car or Porsche and have something that will turn a ton of heads at C&C and be an absolutely capable track car.

Also Hoosiers are overrated just run A052 or RT660.
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      03-02-2021, 02:18 AM   #22
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Lol, I'm going through this dilemma as well.
Up until now I had decided on a 718 GT4, but these are very nice options.
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