Know All of These Things Before Buying Your First Track Car

So you want to buy your first dedicated weekend circuit machine? Listen to Michael and Zac.

You've logged some track experience with your street car. Now you want to buy your first track car, but don't want to lose your retirement fund. Michael Prichinello and Zac Moseley from Classic Car Club Manhattan have done it a thousand times (give or take) and have made all the mistakes. They don't want you to make the same ones.

CCC Manhattan has been racing spec Miatas with its members for years. The club's bought, sold, and totaled more Miatas than most people change their sheets. All that experience keeping amateur racecars running. They've got a few tips to get started:

1.) Do your recon. Hang around racetracks, see the cars, and meet the people. Maybe volunteer to marshall a few races. Get to know what's out there so you can figure out the path you'd like to take. That leads to...

2.) Define what you want to get out of it. Do you just want to improve your driving skills, or do you want to compete. Do you want to perfect your car-tuning skills by doing on-track testing? Where do you want to be after five years in the hobby.

3.) Get out your pencil and set clear budgets that include car, proper safety gear, and ongoing running costs. Overspending on a car may reduce the amount of track time you can afford, and put you at unnecessary risk.

4.) Rent a track car to try it out. Spend a few hundred bucks to rent a racecar for a track day or two, to see how you like being a caged track monkey.

5.) Get an instructor to help guide you. Sometimes what you need is perspective on your driving skills and way forward. Find an instructor to help mentor you toward your performance driving goals.

This week on AFTER/DRIVE, it's about choosing the right track car for entry-level track monkeys on a budget. Naturally, the answer is Miata, but there are other answers too, and we talk about them all. Including fox-body Mustangs.