Autocross Buying Guide – Select the Right Car

In my experience, autocross is a very entertaining and exciting sport. I participated in many local events. I found the hobby very addictive.

Of all my other hobbies, I think this is the best "bang for the buck" as far as thrills are with your car. Everyone can take part. All cars (except for some clubs, but not SUVs, not trucks) can compete. Such a thing is that you have a competitor in your class to others, usually defined by SCCA, but you are alone on the field, so there is minimal chance of knocking on other cars.

The most difficult part of autocross (outside of the contest) is to find the right car. Of course, you can use a daily driver, but this is not recommended if you are attending several events each year. Autocross can wear tires and other parts very quickly and it will be very expensive. I suggest you get a car that you can use for autocross. It can be a "trailer" or a car that can still travel on the road, but only for this hobby.

4 key components are considered when choosing a car autocross:

1) the type of car

2) The price of the car

3) General state of the vehicle (if used)

4) Refurbished Updates / Modifications


In case of autocross racing some would assume that the car is very strong, small, 2 doors and modified. This is not entirely accurate. Although this type of car would be good, it does not have to be competitive in the car.

Keep in mind that most autocross events and clubs rank cars in a classroom. The club I'm attending follows the SCCA class guidelines. Classes help cars, so the same "level" of vehicles can remain competitive in each class.

This is to avoid the "greatest and fastest" thinking. It would not be appropriate to add a heavily modified Porsche GT3 to Stock Focus. That's why they do this.

So, if you select the right car for the autocross, then it's probably a coupe or convertible, if possible. Sedans can work well, but some sedans are not geared to modification, although today's sports sedans are actually taking over.

The manual transmission would be recommended if there is an automatic that is OK. It is worth considering that you will be competitive in the future by marketing a manual. There are still "sport shift" type automats that are getting better and better every day.

Ideally, you also want a rear wheel car. RWD cars in most cases provide better control and handling. I know some fans do not agree with me, but that's fine. On the other hand, I have used several front-wheel drive cars that run the best.


The price of buying cars in cars is always for me. I, like many others, can not afford an expensive car-car. But there are some that can afford them and the price is still something for them to consider.

For $ 0- $ 5000 Range:

This is the province for most people to start with. Of course, free is OK, but consider component 3 (general condition) when this option is reached. There are many cars that can perform well and have many upgrade options:

1989-1997 Mazda Miata – Very good power-to-weight ratio. The autocross is very popular. 1979-1991 Mazda RX7 – Fast vans, good handling. There are many updates available. 1989-1998 Nissan 240sx – Numerous aftermarket upgrades, it works very well. 1990-1999 BMW 3 Series – Very versatile car. You will now find very nice models in this range. 1988-2000 Honda Civic / CRX – I've seen a number of models compete for the autocross. 1984-1999 Toyota MR2 – Low center of gravity, high performance, mid-engine. 1990-1999 Mitsubishi Eclipse / Eagle Talon – Many upgrades, some models Turbo AWD. 2000-2007 Ford Focus – Very competitive cars. SVT models are available in the price range. 1997-2003 VW Golf – Hatchbacks always love autocross. VR6 models are available in the range. 1990-1999 Acura Integra – As a Civic, it is very competitive with many improvements out there.

There may be a few more cars I missed for this price category. The method used for cars may vary depending on the type I am looking for. I will use local classified ads, Craigslist. I also use the larger search for cars and expand my overall "hunting" area. We've managed to find great cars with VEHIX, AutoTrader and government auction sites.

But what about autocross cars over the $ 5,000 range? Well, I'm glad you think that because I list them below.

If you have some money to work and you want to get something new, the following cars can be considered:

$ 5,001- $ 20,000 Range:

This range may include new cars, no longer than branding cars older than a few years. Keep in mind that cars are usually depreciated very quickly, so after a few years, some of the new cars are less accessible and less autocross available. The following cars are within this range:

1998-Current Mazda MX-5 – Still the same basic car, but even greater performance as they become newer. 2003-Current VW Golf – It has been altered even in the previous versions, it is well versed. 1992-1997 The Mazda RX7 – the 3rd generation twin-turbo and competing autocross. 1992-2006 Designed for BMW M3-M3 races. Some newer models fall in this range. 1998-2003 The BMW M5 – M5 is very powerful and competitive in their class. 1994-Current Ford Mustang / Cobra – Very versatile car. He competes well in class. 1994-2002 Camaro / Firebird – fits well with the class. Many autocross updates. 2007-Current Mazda Mazdaspeed3 – Turbo, hatchback, competing autocross. 2003-2008 Nissan 350z – Big autocross car, very popular on track. Special Autocross Kit cars, such as V6 Stalker, are also within this range.

Now this price category may vary in vehicles. Many of these cars are still new and require the purchase of loans.

The $ 20,001 spectrum of today's models and the obvious "super cars" we all resemble, such as Corvette, Viper, Porsche, Ferrari, Lotus and others. I do not have a list for them because if you buy a car for a car, you've done your research.


Second car autocross, we treat it like when buying a daily car. You want the car to be relatively large-scale problems. In the Autocross race, the car's frame, suspension, brakes, tire, and the whole body of the car may be tense.

You're sure the car was not in major accidents. Damage to the frame or frame may be a very dangerous mixture when using autocross. This is the most important thing to check when you buy a car autocross. Experienced and used Experiment AutoCheck. They offer an unlimited number of VIN checks for one of the service options and the price is much better than other services. I used to buy it and I feel very useful when checking the vehicle history.

The next important element to control the car is the slightest overheating of the engine, the most important component problems, such as smoke leaks on the back of the exhaust goggle (small leak on most used cars). The Autocross is out and the car is pulled to the limit. You want the most important elements to be in the best shape. These problems will go away along the course if you do not take care of them.

Generally I expect minor repairs or preventive repairs on my vehicle when I buy it for autocross. As mentioned above, the small oil / liquid leakage is "OK" and is usually very easy to fix. Small leaks say that the car is only used and therefore does not suffer from leakage. Big / severe leaks say that the car was neglected by the previous owner and could at present have unseen problems. When watching a car, start it, fold it around with A / C (even if it does not work). When you have completed the test drive, stop the idle while walking around the car and check. If the car has an overheating problem, this time will often be visible. This tip helped me avoid the beautiful autocross cars that caused overheating problems.

Belts and hoses are the most common "preventive" fix, even if they are not a problem. It is always best to know when replacing an important ingredient, not "guess" and trusting in the previous owner. Water Pumps sometimes fall into this category

One of the things people always check when they buy a used car are tires. Yes, this is important for an autocross car, but you do not see how good tires are, but you need to see if your car needs alignment. Autocross is about handling and you must be sure that the car's stock is "manageable" where it should be.

Why do not you worry about tires? Well, tires need to be one thing to consider for your autocross car, so existing tires must be removed. Tires are probably the most expensive clothing purchased by an autokross member. Many autocross racers bring a tire for racing, one on the way home (those who do not use a trailer), and some also bring spare tires for competing tires. It's so common that Tire Rack tires are offered in the autocross. I used them and these are the best places to get tires for this. AMENDMENTS TO AUTOCROSS:

If you ever look at the automotive industry's remanufactured world, literally, they are looking for and buying thousands of seats. I list some patches that most people do not think, but surprisingly, there are things for autocross enthusiasts.

The first and most important autocross cars do not always need significant improvements to be competitive. The driver can use a stock and can compete with their inventory and remain competitive. After you heavily modify or update the game, you can start moving to different classes and compete with other cars that have been altered in the same way. Keep this in mind if you want to change something.

Generally, I say that you first modify the easy things: intake, exhaust and general upgrades. Most autocross racers are not far away. These are the primary things you are trying to upgrade while taking autocross to get the most out of your vehicle.

If you decide to become more competitive then my next recommendation will be the suspension and the body roll. Note that some updates in this area may change your class. Be sure to check the club or group rules for these changes.

Usually, the autocross car is the fastest update of the front and rear support bars / rack. They are usually cheap to buy and easy to install. They are also very modular that when you buy these, you will cooperate with other suspension components in place (usually). This modification facilitates the suspension of the car and the frame and helps to turn cornering.

The following modification recommendation for the front and rear swing bars and links. These parts help the bodywork during cornering and handling, and may sometimes be modular for the suspension system as a whole.

The final suspension is usually the most expensive: the springs (springs / springs). This update usually fits well with the above items, but ads are more rigid, responsive to handling, and sometimes lower than the lower center of gravity.

After you've modified the entire suspension, my next suggestion would be to refresh the brake (at least the inserts). This will help you stop at moments when one tap of the brake is required in one turn. Keep in mind that high performance brake pads tend to wear much faster than OEMs.

One of the most important things I want to upgrade is the tires. Now I'm not saying that you can not buy FIRST new tires when you're doing autocross, but I'm saying I'm not upgrading them to an autocross / racing tire. Most autocross enthusiasts will tell you first to use your car's regular / regular tire.

Having become accustomed to stock-type tires, modifying the race tires or the softer tires really improves the lap time (that's the theory anyway).

One last comment. I suggest to replace the liquids in the car with as many synthetic materials as you can. Synthetic liquids have a higher thermal resistance and are able to put in intense moments that will be put into the car in the carrousers.

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