Topic: First car build to run both Lemons and ChampCar

Hello all,

Looking at some input as to car selection for running both ChampCar and Lemons for our first build. ChampCar runs my home track of Road America (20min drive) twice a year. Currently I'm looking at a Ford Focus ZX3 or a mid-late 90's Miata. See lots of Miatas on both grids along with BMW E30 series. What are some of the pros and cons for any of these vehicles? Anyone run Ford at all? FWD worse than RWD for endurance racing?

Much appreciated,
Jesse

Re: First car build to run both Lemons and ChampCar

CobraGuy24 wrote:

Hello all,

Looking at some input as to car selection for running both ChampCar and Lemons for our first build. ChampCar runs my home track of Road America (20min drive) twice a year. Currently I'm looking at a Ford Focus ZX3 or a mid-late 90's Miata. See lots of Miatas on both grids along with BMW E30 series. What are some of the pros and cons for any of these vehicles? Anyone run Ford at all? FWD worse than RWD for endurance racing?

Much appreciated,
Jesse

word of advise, we run both series... don't bring a True Lemons car to Chump/Champ car. You won't have fun. Not a knock on either but they are  different. Almost ALL Champ cars are fast, I mean real fast. You cannot compete in Champ with a true Lemons car. If you just want to go have fun, like we do knock yourself out. The points have been lowered so much in Champcar it is almost impossible to build a slow car no matter the platform. For me... there are WAY to many BMW's and Miata's in Champ. Do something different. The new  "thing" is a Thunderbird,...all the good stuff of a Fox body plus a big gas tank. We run a Gen III F-body (Firebird) Good luck. FWIW this is our old (RIP) 84 Trans Am at a Lemons race...we are mid-pack in Champ. New car will be a tad faster.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpZHzZYXhJQ&t=5s

"get up and get your grandma outta here"

Re: First car build to run both Lemons and ChampCar

Thanks Mr. Yuck, My co-captain and I are both blue oval guys. So we wanted to do a Ford. We have also talked about a V8 SN95 Mustang GT. But were concerned about the milage and fuel costs for the V8s. Anyone run V6 mustang's or isn't it worth it and just go for the V8?

Re: First car build to run both Lemons and ChampCar

CobraGuy24 wrote:

Thanks Mr. Yuck, My co-captain and I are both blue oval guys. So we wanted to do a Ford. We have also talked about a V8 SN95 Mustang GT. But were concerned about the milage and fuel costs for the V8s. Anyone run V6 mustang's or isn't it worth it and just go for the V8?

Those things only count if you care about winning. A v8 is a LOT more fun.

1992 Saturn SL2 (retired) - Elmo's Revenge -  Class B winner, Heroic Fix winner x2
1969 Rover P6B 3500S(sold) - Super G-Rover - I.O.E Winner, Class C Winner
1996 Saturn SW2 - Elmo's Revenge (reborn!), Saturn SL1  Dazzleship
1974 AMC Javelin - Oscar's Trash heap - "Organizer's Choice" and "I got Screwed" award winner

Re: First car build to run both Lemons and ChampCar

CobraGuy24 wrote:

Thanks Mr. Yuck, My co-captain and I are both blue oval guys. So we wanted to do a Ford. We have also talked about a V8 SN95 Mustang GT. But were concerned about the milage and fuel costs for the V8s. Anyone run V6 mustang's or isn't it worth it and just go for the V8?

T-bird gets you more tank which is better for Champ. they have a 2+ gallon rule. You aren't gong to compete in Champ with a V6 Fox body I don't think. I'm a Mopar guy but you can't build one for 1/3rd of what you can build a GM, and the GM handles much better. FWIW we can do about 1 hour 30-40 minutes on a tank (15.6 gallons) but we run a 305 not a 350.

"get up and get your grandma outta here"

Re: First car build to run both Lemons and ChampCar

We run a Lemons only Fox T-bird 5.0. Maybe $60 or so a 1.5 hour stint in gas. And keep in mind the Fox T-bird is a mix of Fox and SN95 parts, so huge parts catalog.

Mistake By The Lake Racing (MBTL)
88 Thunderbird "THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!", Ex Astris, Rubigo / Semper Fracti
A&D: 2014 Sebrings at Sebring (NSF), 2014 NJMP2 Jurassic Park (SpeedyCop), 2012 Summit Point J30 (PiNuts)
2018 Route Sucky-Suck Rally Miata, 2019 World Tour Of Texas 64 Newport

Re: First car build to run both Lemons and ChampCar

I have been planning my Triumph GT6 to run both series.   

I just checked and a Ford Explorer has only 150 points..   Champ doesn't seem to care about weight reductions, so you could really strip it out, swiss cheese the frame, etc. get a smaller 2-door gen2 with a v8 and 5-speed and 20-gallon tank.   That might even work.  Could afford the points for an engine swap..215hp for the v8 stock, maybe add a supercharger.  Big brakes already   I like the challenge to be different.   Miata, well of course.  Focus?  Sure.

Re: First car build to run both Lemons and ChampCar

The rusty cougar was originally a Lemons car and has done pretty well at chump races, methinks.

Silent But Deadly Racing- Chief cook and bottle washer, Former Flyin Turd Race Team Captain 
Ricky Bobby's Laughing Clown Malt Liquor Thunderbird Turbo Coupe, Datsun 510, 87 Mustang (The Race Team Formerly Known as Prince), 72 Pinto Squire waggy, Parnelli Jones 67 Galaxie, Turbo Coupe Surf wagon.  (The Surfin Bird)
Besmirching race tracks in the Eastern US since 2001

Re: First car build to run both Lemons and ChampCar

We have run Champ and Lemon with our TDI Beetle and the new Audi TT with a TDI Just build a clean car and lay out both rule books keep a eye on the cage build and you will be fine. Just email both tech teams with pic on any thing you are not shore on. You got to finish to win it !
https://i.imgur.com/29GAEGZ.jpg

Re: First car build to run both Lemons and ChampCar

I would argue it is easier to get a “legal” Lemons car to win a Champ race than a “legal” Champ car to win a Lemons race.

We ran the Road America race last fall and were leading it 4 hours in.  Leaking rear main seal lead to a 5th place overall for us.  There were 3 cars with a faster “fastest lap”, but really only one that was significantly faster. 

The fast cars in Champ are legit $30K spec built race cars.   They have optimized every “stock” part and there are no rules on spending money (even though the rules suggest they are written to prevent checkbooks from winning). 

Champ limits stint length to two hours.  Their cars aren’t usually built to run longer stints.   They aren’t used to running really slow traffic with 100 car fields.   I would argue the fast teams have well run teams with very good drivers, but would need to adapt over a few races to be competitive in Lemons. 

On the contrary a fast Lemons team can compete immediately in Champ, but may find it hard to get within the rules.  Creatively inexpensive engine swaps and other things are huge penalties in Champ.

E30’s don’t have enough HP to compete for an overall.  Neither do Miatas. Unless there is enough attrition.   Guys have found “loop holes” with car models that start with too low of points.  Altimas and Maximas with 260HP.  JDM cars with built “stock” motors, E36s, etc. 

We are going to build another car with such a goal to run in Champ, WRL and Lemons.   We have our plan within the BMW family... guess we’ll see.

It appears WRL is becoming AER though... so that ship may have sailed.

LemonAid - Changing kids lives one lap at a time.

Re: First car build to run both Lemons and ChampCar

We run a Fox body and are also 20 minutes from Road America! Where are you located?

Re: First car build to run both Lemons and ChampCar

We're working on a new build and I am trying to be compliant with as many groups as possible. From a safety standpoint it's doable. From a competitive standpoint, it's harder.

Fuel capacity is a big factor. Lemons lets us run up to 24 gallons plus long stints.

Generally speaking the faster you go the more fuel you burn. This has resulted in some weird rules like WRL has a within 115% OEM rule or for GPO Class (US gal) = (HP*.037)+9

Troy

#35 LRE
1973 Datsun 240Z

Re: First car build to run both Lemons and ChampCar

Troy wrote:

We're working on a new build and I am trying to be compliant with as many groups as possible. From a safety standpoint it's doable. From a competitive standpoint, it's harder.

Fuel capacity is a big factor. Lemons lets us run up to 24 gallons plus long stints.

Generally speaking the faster you go the more fuel you burn. This has resulted in some weird rules like WRL has a within 115% OEM rule or for GPO Class (US gal) = (HP*.037)+9

The 2 hr stints for the other series seem to be built around what a E30 BMW can do on a full tank of gas.

Apocalyptic Racing - Occupy Pit Lane racing
Racing the "Toylet" Toyota Celica powered by Chevrolet Ecotec.
24x Loser with the Celica. 16x loser in other fine machines
Overall winner Gingerman 2019

Re: First car build to run both Lemons and ChampCar

Brett85p wrote:
Troy wrote:

We're working on a new build and I am trying to be compliant with as many groups as possible. From a safety standpoint it's doable. From a competitive standpoint, it's harder.

Fuel capacity is a big factor. Lemons lets us run up to 24 gallons plus long stints.

Generally speaking the faster you go the more fuel you burn. This has resulted in some weird rules like WRL has a within 115% OEM rule or for GPO Class (US gal) = (HP*.037)+9

The 2 hr stints for the other series seem to be built around what a E30 BMW can do on a full tank of gas.

I never understood how their now departed Great Leader insisted that a 2hr fuel limit increased strategy.  If two cars both have to stop every 2 hrs but one is 10 seconds/lap slower albeit with better fuel mileage exactly what "increased strategy" exists to allow the slower car to make up those 10 secs/lap? 

And while I've stopped looking over in the land of Chump as a viable alternative, there was a time when it was very clear that only BMW/Miatas need apply.  Hopefully their Animal Farm equalization rules have put an end to that.

1990 RX7 "Mazdarita" 
1994 Jaguar XJ12 (Winner C-Class 2013 Sears Pointless)
1964 Sunbeam Imp (IOE 2013 Sears Pointless)
1980 Rover SD1 (I Got Screwed 2014 Return of Lemonites) (Sold -> Houston.  Gone and forgotten)

Re: First car build to run both Lemons and ChampCar

cheseroo wrote:
Brett85p wrote:
Troy wrote:

We're working on a new build and I am trying to be compliant with as many groups as possible. From a safety standpoint it's doable. From a competitive standpoint, it's harder.

Fuel capacity is a big factor. Lemons lets us run up to 24 gallons plus long stints.

Generally speaking the faster you go the more fuel you burn. This has resulted in some weird rules like WRL has a within 115% OEM rule or for GPO Class (US gal) = (HP*.037)+9

The 2 hr stints for the other series seem to be built around what a E30 BMW can do on a full tank of gas.

I never understood how their now departed Great Leader insisted that a 2hr fuel limit increased strategy.  If two cars both have to stop every 2 hrs but one is 10 seconds/lap slower albeit with better fuel mileage exactly what "increased strategy" exists to allow the slower car to make up those 10 secs/lap? 

And while I've stopped looking over in the land of Chump as a viable alternative, there was a time when it was very clear that only BMW/Miatas need apply.  Hopefully their Animal Farm equalization rules have put an end to that.


Chump (now Champ) as a 2+ limit on fuel cells, Not he 24 here. So if you say have a 1988 Firebird it has a 15.9 factory tank, you can go up to 17.9. That WILL not get you 2 hours. So it is a game you play.  Granted the car will be much faster but you will need to stop one more time per event. And the racing in that series is 2x what this is so you are on it all race...not bashing, just different.

"get up and get your grandma outta here"

Re: First car build to run both Lemons and ChampCar

Mr.Yuck wrote:
cheseroo wrote:
Brett85p wrote:

The 2 hr stints for the other series seem to be built around what a E30 BMW can do on a full tank of gas.

I never understood how their now departed Great Leader insisted that a 2hr fuel limit increased strategy.  If two cars both have to stop every 2 hrs but one is 10 seconds/lap slower albeit with better fuel mileage exactly what "increased strategy" exists to allow the slower car to make up those 10 secs/lap? 

And while I've stopped looking over in the land of Chump as a viable alternative, there was a time when it was very clear that only BMW/Miatas need apply.  Hopefully their Animal Farm equalization rules have put an end to that.


Chump (now Champ) as a 2+ limit on fuel cells, Not he 24 here. So if you say have a 1988 Firebird it has a 15.9 factory tank, you can go up to 17.9. That WILL not get you 2 hours. So it is a game you play.  Granted the car will be much faster but you will need to stop one more time per event. And the racing in that series is 2x what this is so you are on it all race...not bashing, just different.

Everything I've had would run over or very close to 2hrs on stock tanks even the XJ12 and RX7 so it's still not clear to me how it increases strategy when most of the cars can make it 2hrs.  Particularly so when they only run 7hr days which even for a car that only goes 1:45 still means the same number of stops as someone who can go the full 2hrs.  We have the same issue in Lucky Dog who also has a 2hr limit.

1990 RX7 "Mazdarita" 
1994 Jaguar XJ12 (Winner C-Class 2013 Sears Pointless)
1964 Sunbeam Imp (IOE 2013 Sears Pointless)
1980 Rover SD1 (I Got Screwed 2014 Return of Lemonites) (Sold -> Houston.  Gone and forgotten)

Re: First car build to run both Lemons and ChampCar

Well built Miatas and E30’s on stock tanks with good drivers have almost no chance to win a Champ or Lemons race without significant attrition.

LemonAid - Changing kids lives one lap at a time.

Re: First car build to run both Lemons and ChampCar

TeamLemon-aid wrote:

Well built Miatas and E30’s on stock tanks with good drivers have almost no chance to win a Champ or Lemons race without significant attrition.

Ok, but how are they on the reliability and the 'fun to drive / cost/pain of repairs' scales? Do they generally finish the race?

Re: First car build to run both Lemons and ChampCar

TeamLemon-aid wrote:

Well built Miatas and E30’s on stock tanks with good drivers have almost no chance to win a Champ or Lemons race without significant attrition.


You know a LOT more about what it takes to win overall than I do. That said, since I'm being argumentative: OK, then what's the answer? E36 or go home?

My perspective is skewed, in AZ I've seen camaros, Volvos, E34s, all sorts of things contending for victory. And at Sonoma I just expect a Cerveza win and that's that

#111 Tradewinds Tribesmen VW Passat Inde ‘20... shhh, the Benz is napping!
#888-Hong Kong Cavaliers Benz S500: formerly known as OMG Racing #140...
Judges Choice and Regional Award winner! Chuckwalla '12, Buttonwillow '13, BFE GP '15, Miller '14 & '15, Sonoma '13,'14,'15,'17, '18. Inde '16,'17,'18,’19. Other foolishness: Finisher of Hell on Wheels (Jaguar) IOE (Humber)

Re: First car build to run both Lemons and ChampCar

I'm just amazed nobody has figured out how to actually win in a C4 vette yet. It seems like it should plaster Chump.

Mistake By The Lake Racing (MBTL)
88 Thunderbird "THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!", Ex Astris, Rubigo / Semper Fracti
A&D: 2014 Sebrings at Sebring (NSF), 2014 NJMP2 Jurassic Park (SpeedyCop), 2012 Summit Point J30 (PiNuts)
2018 Route Sucky-Suck Rally Miata, 2019 World Tour Of Texas 64 Newport

Re: First car build to run both Lemons and ChampCar

Guildenstern wrote:

It seems like it should plaster Chump.

No clue why, but the ones presenting themselves in Champ, have neither the durability or handle to do well.

Homestead Chump 5th-Sebring 6th-PBIR Lemons 9th - Charlotte Chump  CrashnBurn 9th
Sebring 6th again -NOLA Chump 1st -PBIR Chump Trans Fail 16th
Daytona 11th - Sebring 6th - Atlanta Motor Speedway 2nd - Road Atlanta Trans Fail 61st-Road Atlanta 5th
Daytona 13th - Charlotte 9th - Sebring 2nd-Charlotte 25th broken brakes - Road Atlanta 14 10th-Daytona 14  58th- Humid TT 19th Judges' Choice!

Re: First car build to run both Lemons and ChampCar

Shame, so they still haven't learned the secret of "lower your redline"

Mistake By The Lake Racing (MBTL)
88 Thunderbird "THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!", Ex Astris, Rubigo / Semper Fracti
A&D: 2014 Sebrings at Sebring (NSF), 2014 NJMP2 Jurassic Park (SpeedyCop), 2012 Summit Point J30 (PiNuts)
2018 Route Sucky-Suck Rally Miata, 2019 World Tour Of Texas 64 Newport

Re: First car build to run both Lemons and ChampCar

Guildenstern wrote:

Shame, so they still haven't learned the secret of "lower your redline"

There are v8 firebirds/camaro  of all years competing with much more sucess, the vetts struggle more tho.

Homestead Chump 5th-Sebring 6th-PBIR Lemons 9th - Charlotte Chump  CrashnBurn 9th
Sebring 6th again -NOLA Chump 1st -PBIR Chump Trans Fail 16th
Daytona 11th - Sebring 6th - Atlanta Motor Speedway 2nd - Road Atlanta Trans Fail 61st-Road Atlanta 5th
Daytona 13th - Charlotte 9th - Sebring 2nd-Charlotte 25th broken brakes - Road Atlanta 14 10th-Daytona 14  58th- Humid TT 19th Judges' Choice!

Re: First car build to run both Lemons and ChampCar

Yea and I've had no issue with the 5.0 in the Thunderbird. It's very curious.

Mistake By The Lake Racing (MBTL)
88 Thunderbird "THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!", Ex Astris, Rubigo / Semper Fracti
A&D: 2014 Sebrings at Sebring (NSF), 2014 NJMP2 Jurassic Park (SpeedyCop), 2012 Summit Point J30 (PiNuts)
2018 Route Sucky-Suck Rally Miata, 2019 World Tour Of Texas 64 Newport

Re: First car build to run both Lemons and ChampCar

Miata just doesn’t have the horsepower.   There are a lot of situations where you get stuck in traffic and you can’t get by that damned Police Interceptor that parks it in the corner.  So lap times suffer considerably and you spend a lot more time “racing” people than passing people.

E30 is closer in HP, but still doesn’t have the torque to get by average A and B class cars when you really need to. 

I think you really need to be in the 13-14 lb per HP range to have a good chance to win either Champ or Lemons.  Sure, a team might win a very lowly attended race with a slower car, but to be a contender you need more HP.

I think both stock E30’s and Miatas are super reliable cars that are fairly easy to maintain and easy to setup/drive. 

Champ gives a lot of benefit to front wheel driven cars when they assign points.   Some teams have found that niche with more modern Altimas and Maximas. 

I think an early E46 could be the answer.  I don’t have any experience racing an E36, but it might be the answer also.

If you don’t care about officially winning Champ by bring an EC car, then there is a ton of options to be competitive in both series. 

The midwest has a little variety in competitive cars, but most are swapped with an engine.


Type44 wrote:
TeamLemon-aid wrote:

Well built Miatas and E30’s on stock tanks with good drivers have almost no chance to win a Champ or Lemons race without significant attrition.


You know a LOT more about what it takes to win overall than I do. That said, since I'm being argumentative: OK, then what's the answer? E36 or go home?

My perspective is skewed, in AZ I've seen camaros, Volvos, E34s, all sorts of things contending for victory. And at Sonoma I just expect a Cerveza win and that's that

LemonAid - Changing kids lives one lap at a time.