This thread is evolving into something a bit different.
Spectator Entry = $20 a day, $30 weekend
Driver Cost = $500ish in personal safety gear
+ $100 driver entry
+ $500/# drivers car fee
+ $??? car cost (a crap load)
Total = $500 on up may well exceed $1000 just for the car
In the first Houston race in October 2008, 4 cars died during the initial yellow lapping session. More than 1/2 the cars died Saturday. By mid-day Sunday we were down to about 30 out of 80 cars.
It is not uncommon for teams to have drivers never get to drive. So now you've paid the fee to drive and only get to watch. These cases seem to be declining, teams are seeing the value in reliability. Most folks would rather watch for $30 than $500+. I did not get a chance to drive my own car in February, we broke stuff. In October we all got to drive. This is REAL racing and it's hard on cars, $500 or otherwise.
So while a Peugot or Citron would be a really cool car, it's a huge up hill battle. Sure some teams may score a sweet car deal that's an easy build but for the most part all builds are an uphill battle even E30's, Integra's, Miata's or whatever. A Fiat, Peugot or Citron is like climbing Everest.
For us to rerun our car starts at about $2000 a race. I/we look at a lot of things and try to make the car as good as we can for each race. If something happens and we are out of the race, we are out the $2000. That $50 part you didn't replace that put you out of the race in the first hour really cost you $2050. Remember, you can watch for $30. We strive for as much reliability as we can get which leads to more seat time, a better finishing position too and way more fun for the $$$.
In the February race in Houston, we started with about 100 cars and most of them were still out there at lunchtime on Sunday. Then they started to drop, happened to us. We lost another clutch. I think a lot of teams are grasping the fact that reliability is priceless whether your racing Lemons, SCCA or Nasa.
Things I see happen that are just stupid:
1. Anything covered under safety failing. It's an unlimited budget, make sure all that stuff is perfect! Sure it's an unlimited budget but you still have to pay for it, suck it up and pay for it. Racing on crappy tires and questionable brakes is an all-in gamble. You could lose your car, get injured, injure someone else or their car. Maybe there's no accident, you just end up on the sidelines with a blow out, a bad caliper or brake line or something. Now you're in the cheap seats over something you could have and should have replaced.
2. Crappy cooling systems. Racing with a leaky radiator or other cooling system problems, vintage belts or hoses are like playing Russian roulette with a single shooter. It would be a miracle if it didn't bite you in the ass. Even if it puts you over the $500 limit, I would suggest it. You risk ruining your whole car and becoming a spectator over this too. The cooling system took out the LS400 in 10/08 and it hasn't returned. They probably could have fixed it reasonably before the race, now it needs a motor.
I think it's cool to see crazy cars like Peugots and Citrons. They completely throw any form of rational thinking right out the window. I guess it shows the limits of my insanity.
For all the guys strongly encouraging this, I say "Put your money where your mouth is." Haven't you guys run the Volvo enough, take on the Citron. I'd love to read about Jonny and Phil personally turning a Citron or Fiat into a Lemons racer. They can chronicle their build on their respective blog sites. None of that cheater crap like some race shop custom fabbed and installed a roll cage for them either. They can either pay market value for the work or even better, do it themselves.
What I am getting at is, for all the guys encouraging you to spend your $3000 - $5000 for a 10 lap circus, talk/text's cheap! For those of you willing to take on a crazy car like that, aside from bonus points, maybe you should get a free psychological evaluation.
I encourage everyone wanna be racer to build a car and race in Lemons. Stop dreaming and start wrenching.
1973 Datsun 240Z