All you need is to believe that it’s possible. If you’ve always been looking for an excuse to buy a “track car” consider that you may already have one in your driveway. You know, if you have a car, and it goes on track, it’s a track car. That’s how simple it is. Of course, not every car will be fun on the track, but with a few choice modifications you can make it fun. Yes, even a Prius.
Jake Stumph was just the guy to test that theory. After picking up a former taxi-fleet Prius for very little cash, he set about fixing what ailed it and modified it for light track duty. Over the course of a few videos, he fitted the car with some aerodynamic modifications of dubious effectiveness, a nice set of coilovers, and ridiculously wide track-day rubber.
So, how did all of that work change the character of the Prius for track use? Well, with less body roll and significantly more camber and grip, it was nearly 10 seconds a lap quicker on track at the Streets of Willow in California without adding any power. That’s what happens when you take an economy car and fit it with 245 mm front tires, a stiff set of coilovers and a good alignment.
I’m a sucker for a cheap project car punching well above its weight class, and this definitely fills that niche. When Jake first took the Prius on track, it was practically undrivable with the traction control cutting out and the fuel saver tires giving hardly any grip at all. With that remedied, it’s actually pretty competent.
I mean, no, it won’t be keeping up with Miatas any time soon, but given that it’s much less of a rolling chicane this time around, I’d call that a success. The moral of the story here is that you don’t necessarily need to buy a second or third car specifically for track use. If you like to go to the track and you want to make yourself a better driver, maybe slamming a set of coils and a nice lightweight wheel and tire package on your family sedan isn’t the worst option.