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Buying a "track car" - pros/cons/myths what to look out for ...

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So I have been a Mustang owner for many years now, having owned (20) to date including my 94 Cobra and 2018 S550.

Been a member of many many automotive forums, contributing a boatload of tech as well as learning from others.

What I want to ask here, since this site is dedicated to "track cars" is this:

Should a person shy away from or discount a "track car" that was used as dual purpose - meaning, the car was used as a driver, but it also participated in track events?

Maybe this has been discussed previously, but I see it all the time where folks ask about XYZ vehicle that is for sale, but are told not to buy it because it was used for track events (or has modifications present that clearly are for track use).

While true that a vehicle used on a track may be susceptible to a harsher environment (sustained high rpm/speed runs), don't most true Track Enthusiasts take very good care of their vehicles?

I mean, for their/your own safety, don't most Track Enthusiasts ensure vehicle maintenance is spot on and ready for the next outing?

Sure engines, transmissions and rear diffs take a beating due to heat and use - or any part of the driveline can detonate - but all in all, is discounting a vehicle for sale because it was a "track car" just due to some myth?

I see track cars as having a better maintenance or safety history similar to say Police/Fire/EMS vehicles that are and need to be properly maintained. Sure Police/Fire/EMS vehicles take a beating too, but are always maintained.

What can be recommended to a potential buyer of a vehicle that was used as a track car?

What should be red flags (other than obvious engine block ventilation or major fluid leaks)?

What questions should be asked of the seller?

Do most Track Enthusiasts keep a log of the tracks they have been to and maintenance?

Dispel the myths ...


Ancient Racer
Exp. Type
W2W Racing
Exp. Level
20+ Years
5 miles from Mosport
Depends on the owner of the car. Hopefully they would be able to prove maintenance on the level a track car needs. If that wasn't available I would shy away. At a minimum you'd want to have a track aware mechanic go over it, though that is no guarantee of anything either.
Personally I wouldn't buy a track car like that from someone I didn't know and trust.
Exp. Type
Exp. Level
5-10 Years
Lenoir City TN
It really depends on what you are looking for in a car and how you plan to use it. I would not shy away from a car simply because it has seen track use. Most track enthusiasts keep up with maintenance and know how many track days a car has seen, but not everyone's an enthusiast. There are a lot of street cars out there that have seen some track use at club events.

If I was buying a car with the intention of tracking it I would not run from a car that has seen track previous use. I would probably look for one since it will have some of the mods that I will need to do anyway. If I am looking for a garage queen or a show car I may avoid a track used car due to probability of track rash on the front end.
I agree with @EF1. If I was looking for another stang for the track it would be one that is already set up with mods, wheels/ tires, capable brakes, camber plates, semi modified suspension and knowledge owner. You do not get out of what you put in a car.... Wheels, tires , brakes/lines/pads/fluid camber plates , labor maybe on certain things could be close to 10 grand. Doing it that way you kinda have to know what you are looking at though. Example - A car set up for E85 and no E85 near your home track or ability to transport a barrel is going to be no good to you. Ask me how I know.... There are quite a few people that get into the hobby, loose interest, don't have the time, of tight on fundage that end up selling. It just takes time and patience waiting. There have been some really nice sorted vehicles on here for sale over the past few years. From looking at lucky 13s build thread you will be able to spot the good and bad with a vehicle. Welcome to TMO and good luck with your search!
You do not get out of what you put in a car
THAT is the understatement of the universe!!!!!!!!!!!!.....You invest all you can to make your car better for you to drive and it to perform.......Your heart and soul and more will never accomplish that goal. A work in progress never ends...............................Enjoy what you have while you can........giddy up!!!!!!!!!!!
THAT is the understatement of the universe!!!!!!!!!!!!.....You invest all you can to make your car better for you to drive and it to perform.......Your heart and soul and more will never accomplish that goal. A work in progress never ends...............................Enjoy what you have while you can........giddy up!!!!!!!!!!!
I have my car set up pretty good with all the input and information I acquired on here. I tried not to skimp on any upgrades with the brakes, wheels, tires and camber plates. Already had the suspension and extra horsepowaaa. I just plain did not want to do or purchase something a second time. It hurt the pocket book in the beginning but I'm kind of done with major stuff. It's fees, track insurance and consumables now. Fortunately, I don't see me out growing it for many years to come. I have to actually grow into the car.
1. Take someone with you who is a car guy, but is absolutely non interested in buying a car, that point of view will usually keep you from making a bad deal because they will always point out the flaws.(not wife/girlfriend however).
2. If the car is well maintained you will know it, it will be clean and presentable, with no "old" dirt or grime caked up on stuff that;s hard to get to.
3.Clean title, although in many cases pupose built race cars will not have a title, you still don't want to get stopped for having a trailer light out and have the trooper to run the VIN number on lt to discover you can't prove the car is yours, or worse, stolen., There is a HUGE black market for sketchy cars in Florida and when I drove a truck cross country hauling a Porsche, I told anyone that asked that it was a wrecked stock car that needed to be rebuilt.
4. You can litteraly get parts for 50 cents on the dollar buying a used track car, just make sure that if you are racing a specific class, they are legal mods.
5.test drive the car, pass if it doesn't show good oil pressure, brakes, etc, then pass, put it on a lift if possible.
6. Buy the car as it comes off the track, really, meet the guy at a track day and buy it after it comes off the track, you will know the performance of the car and are guaranteed all the good bits because they haven't been removed yet.
Be careful of Gt350s flat crank cars, unfortunately any of those that have been tracked hard or had their engine;s modded, I would take a real slow look at. The S197 and S550 cars other than that, are pretty much bullet proof, the only part that isn't are the mt82 transmissions. I don't even know what to say about those.. if it ha sbeen rebuilt, awesome, if it has been replaced with a Tremec, then it is well worth paying more, if it is stock.. well just plan on a rebuild in the next year or so, and when you do, add in the cost of an MGW shifter and an Exedy Hyper single clutch and an aluminim FR driveshaft, (they should just have that in a kit form).

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