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What Should I Buy to Kickstart My ChampCar Career?

Illustration for article titled What Should I Buy to Kickstart My ChampCar Career?
Photo: Grant C. (Wikimedia Commons)
CountersteerYour true stories of good and bad things that happen in cars.

I’ve decided it’s about time I put my money where my mouth is. I can talk all kinds of trash about race car drivers, but I don’t exactly have a ton of experience myself. So I’ve decided I’m going to kickstart my ChampCar career—and I want y’all to tell me what car I should buy.


The goal here is to have fun—safe fun—while I learn the ins and outs of actually competing. Basically, I just need race experience.

My husband is of two minds: He wants me in something small and light so I can learn how to handle speed, or something big and heavy so I can learn how to handle, generally. I would personally prefer something smaller because I am a mere blogger and not a lumberjack with big beefy wood-choppin’ arms.


Personally, I’d love something like a Miata or an RX-7. I’m an unashamed Mazda fan—I have a Mazda 2 as a daily driver, and I’d ideally love to start racing in the family of cars I enjoy. That said, I’ve also been sent a Toyota MR2 and an absurd looking race-used Volkswagen Beetle for my consideration, and I did not hate what I saw.

Basically it’s going to come down to whatever is cheapest, to be quite honest—but I’d love to hear from those of you with experience. What cars worked for you? Are my choices completely freakin’ absurd for a beginner?

That means I’m also on the hunt for safety equipment, too—if you’ve got any recommendations on that front, I won’t turn ‘em down!

Correction: This article originally listed the racing series as ChumpCar. The series name has been changed to ChampCar. This post has been updated. We regret the error.

Weekends at Jalopnik. Managing editor at A Girl's Guide to Cars. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.

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Morgan ATX

Miata. And not because miata is always the answer


cheap parts. cheap to buy. tons of pre cut roll cages. tons of suspension parts. tons of wheels to choose from. tons of brake packages. tons of knowledge for reliability improvements. tons of used parts. tons of racing series (champ, lemons, Spec Miata NASA, Spec Miata SCCA). Front engine and REAR WHEEL DRIVE. miserly tire usage. miserly brake usage. And this is a big factor: there will *always* be someone else in the pits also running a miata (see also: knowledge, spare parts on hand). And you can sell it easily.

If you are on a budget and want a ton of track time and a softer learning curve, then there is no other reasonable answer.

There, I said it. Miata. It is the answer.

oh, and I know someone selling a caged miata. fresh paint....