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 Newbie here with lots of questions! 
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Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:31 pm
Posts: 9
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
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Hello everyone. Very new to the Vintage Racing so I will have a lot of questions.
A little about me: My family (wife & two kids) and I attended the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix in 2017 and I got hooked. I currently own a 2013 ZL1 Camaro and attend the PDE classes at Pitt Race Complex so I do have some driving experience. I've always been a huge car fanatic! One of my dream cars growing up was the 911 Whale Tail. Well enough of that for now because I could go on. I'm going to try and keep this super short so younz don't fall asleep reading this.
I'm interested in getting into Vintage Racing and am currently in the market for a turn-key race car, Porsche 911 preferably but I am open minded as to what might be out there. I do not know where to begin as far as classes and have viewed roughly 20 cars already. I do have a budget! Some were beyond what I am looking to spend and some where right there but not negotiable. I want to stay as close to stock as possible but this is a bit confusing so here begins some of my questions.
1. Can the engine be tuned? I'm looking at 3.0 liter or somewhere very close to that.
2. Does the car have to retain the complete interior or can it be gutted? Obviously I know that safety features don't count for keeping it stock as safety is most important.
3. What about suspension?
4. Classes.....WOW this is the hardest decision. Can I purchase an SCCA car and race it in the Vintage Class?
5. Vintage Racing Education Class #1: Is a passenger seat needed? If so, how will this fit inside a car with a fire suppression system or battery box in passenger area?
6. Vintage Racing Education Class #2: Do I have to take the class in a Vintage Car? Stupid question but I don't have a car yet and want to take the classes asap.

For now, I'll end my questions here. I know I have a lot of reading to do here on the forum and will join at some point when I have a car.

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Gary Branik


Tue Jan 30, 2018 5:14 pm
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Location: Mebane, NC
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Welcome! I think your best bet is to start with a relatively low HP car. Learn to drive it and decide later if you want to move up to something with more HP. The question 'how fast do you want to go?' is answered by 'how much do you want to spend?'. And of course the racers conundrum - Fast, Reliable, Affordable - pick two.

Go to as many vintage races as you can and wander around the paddock. You will find the drivers & owners (usually one & the same) very willing to tell you all about their cars. I did this when building my MGA - I took lots of photos & notes. And I joined the MG Vintage Racers and got lots of advice there, too.

The VRG rules are all here: http://vrgonline.org/rules/

I am not sure about needing a vintage car for VRG's Driver School.

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Eric Russell
Mebane, NC

1961 MGA, 1981 Alfa Romeo GTV6, 1984 Alfa Romeo Spider,
1991 Honda ST1100, 1999 Ford F250, 2006 Toyota Solara


Tue Jan 30, 2018 7:04 pm
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Joined: Tue Dec 24, 2013 2:13 pm
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Location: Hopewell Junction, NY
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Hi Gary, I think I can help answer some of those questions!

My father and I have a small race shop with around 15 cars of various types, and I've been around the sport virtually since I had the ability to be around.

1. Generally speaking, engines can be modified pretty heavily as long as they retain their original bore and stroke (bore is allowed to be .040" over, SCCA-style). You also cannot take an engine and install it into a car that could not have come from the factory with it.
2. The car can be completely stripped of its interior, and as far as safety is concerned the less you retain the better. Things like carpet are actually illegal to retain due to their flammability.
3. Suspension is an extremely multifaceted topic depending on the car at hand, but generally speaking the suspension must retain its original geometry and method of action (e.g. you can't start adding extra links to a live rear axle, and you can't install rocker arm suspension onto your MG Midget). Spring rates and dampers are pretty open, although you can't install remote reservoir dampers onto a car that didn't originally come with them (which is virtually everything we're talking about).
4. You're correct, classing is definitely a huge topic. As Eric mentioned, this really comes down to the type of car you're interested in driving and (more generally) how fast you're looking to go. Once you have those two things nailed down, you'll have an idea of your race group. Within each race group are multiple classes, so you would then narrow down further to the exact type of car you'll be driving. 99% of SCCA cars will be pretty illegal for vintage racing as-is, with the exception being stock classes like ITS. Obviously an SCCA car could be reverted to more original specification, but that will add cost and may negate any purchase price benefits.
5. Passenger seats are not mandatory, but in certain classes the lack of a passenger seat will incur a small weight penalty. VRG does not do this. Fitting fire systems and batteries in a car with two seats is not a problem for a knowledgeable person/shop.
6. VRG does not require the use of a vintage car for the first two days of its racing school, but once the school cars enter the main course at Summit Point I believe the road cars are no longer allowed to participate. I can't comment on where this would leave someone license-wise, but that info is probably on the site here somewhere.

As far as car selection goes, I'd be happy to chat with you and share some options with you. I'd bet there's a lot more out there than you're aware of, even if not everything has a whale tail!

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Wed Jan 31, 2018 7:29 pm
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Now that I think about it a bit more (my thinking is not so quick as it used to be...) there was a 'modern' car or two at the last Driver School. (I recall they were asked to switch off things like ABS to practice threshold braking.) Assuming successful completion of Driver School, you'd have a VRG Provisional License. The next step is to successfully run three VRG events - for that you would need an appropriate vintage race car. If you have a vintage race car for Driver School you would then be able to drive in the Jefferson 500 - that would count as your first event.

Budget-wise, another thing to consider is the needed safety equipment. Helmet, race suit, underwear, HANS device, etc and the belts need to be up-to-date (a consideration if you should buy a used race car). If you purchase quality items (how much is your head worth...?) these things will last a few years (helmets tend to be good for 5- 10 years if undamaged, belts 5 years if you buy FIA rated items) but they are a bug chunk of your beginners budget.

Mike Clifford has a nice web site showcasing some of the stuff he does. (suggestion - place a towel over your keyboard to catch the drool)

Here are some others: https://www.startvintageracing.org/#intro
https://svra.com/competitors/how-to-get ... ge-racing/

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Eric Russell
Mebane, NC

1961 MGA, 1981 Alfa Romeo GTV6, 1984 Alfa Romeo Spider,
1991 Honda ST1100, 1999 Ford F250, 2006 Toyota Solara


Wed Jan 31, 2018 11:11 pm
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Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:31 pm
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Location: Pittsburgh, PA
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Eric Russell wrote:
Now that I think about it a bit more (my thinking is not so quick as it used to be...) there was a 'modern' car or two at the last Driver School. (I recall they were asked to switch off things like ABS to practice threshold braking.) Assuming successful completion of Driver School, you'd have a VRG Provisional License. The next step is to successfully run three VRG events - for that you would need an appropriate vintage race car. If you have a vintage race car for Driver School you would then be able to drive in the Jefferson 500 - that would count as your first event.

Budget-wise, another thing to consider is the needed safety equipment. Helmet, race suit, underwear, HANS device, etc and the belts need to be up-to-date (a consideration if you should buy a used race car). If you purchase quality items (how much is your head worth...?) these things will last a few years (helmets tend to be good for 5- 10 years if undamaged, belts 5 years if you buy FIA rated items) but they are a bug chunk of your beginners budget.

Mike Clifford has a nice web site showcasing some of the stuff he does. (suggestion - place a towel over your keyboard to catch the drool)

Here are some others: https://www.startvintageracing.org/#intro
https://svra.com/competitors/how-to-get ... ge-racing/

Eric,
As far as any safety equipment is concerned, I'm all in for the proper gear. Being that I have been taking part in PDE's at a local track I've purchased proper fire rated gloves and shoes which are more than sufficient for racing. I've been looking for a helmet for the past year but have not commited to ordering one because I want to make certain it fits my nugget so I don't have to go through the hassle of sending it back, etc. I've also been looking at fire suits and HANS devices.
In respect to the seat belts, seats, fire suppression system being current (FIA RATING), I've asked the sellers about this with each car I inquired about.
I will read through the links you posted. Thank you for those as well. The towel has been placed. LOL.
Gary

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Gary Branik


Thu Feb 01, 2018 3:48 pm
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Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:31 pm
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Location: Pittsburgh, PA
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Mike Clifford 2 wrote:
Hi Gary, I think I can help answer some of those questions!

My father and I have a small race shop with around 15 cars of various types, and I've been around the sport virtually since I had the ability to be around.

1. Generally speaking, engines can be modified pretty heavily as long as they retain their original bore and stroke (bore is allowed to be .040" over, SCCA-style). You also cannot take an engine and install it into a car that could not have come from the factory with it.
2. The car can be completely stripped of its interior, and as far as safety is concerned the less you retain the better. Things like carpet are actually illegal to retain due to their flammability.
3. Suspension is an extremely multifaceted topic depending on the car at hand, but generally speaking the suspension must retain its original geometry and method of action (e.g. you can't start adding extra links to a live rear axle, and you can't install rocker arm suspension onto your MG Midget). Spring rates and dampers are pretty open, although you can't install remote reservoir dampers onto a car that didn't originally come with them (which is virtually everything we're talking about).
4. You're correct, classing is definitely a huge topic. As Eric mentioned, this really comes down to the type of car you're interested in driving and (more generally) how fast you're looking to go. Once you have those two things nailed down, you'll have an idea of your race group. Within each race group are multiple classes, so you would then narrow down further to the exact type of car you'll be driving. 99% of SCCA cars will be pretty illegal for vintage racing as-is, with the exception being stock classes like ITS. Obviously an SCCA car could be reverted to more original specification, but that will add cost and may negate any purchase price benefits.
5. Passenger seats are not mandatory, but in certain classes the lack of a passenger seat will incur a small weight penalty. VRG does not do this. Fitting fire systems and batteries in a car with two seats is not a problem for a knowledgeable person/shop.
6. VRG does not require the use of a vintage car for the first two days of its racing school, but once the school cars enter the main course at Summit Point I believe the road cars are no longer allowed to participate. I can't comment on where this would leave someone license-wise, but that info is probably on the site here somewhere.

As far as car selection goes, I'd be happy to chat with you and share some options with you. I'd bet there's a lot more out there than you're aware of, even if not everything has a whale tail!

Mike,
This info is great and exactly what I was asking for. Very helpful and much appreciated..
So, I'll stay away from the SCCA cars mainly because it isn't the class I want to participate in.
You guys mention "how fast do I want to go", fast enough to be in the lead. LOL. All joking aside, I want enough power to keep up pace with the rest of the group and have the ability to pass given the opportunity presents itself. I would imagine all the cars in a class are close to being equal HP wise? This is why I asked about engines being modified and how heavily they can be modified. Just don't want to buy a car I thought would keep up with the group and get blown out of the water.
Yes, I'd welcome the opportunity to chat with you. Thank you.
Gary

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Gary Branik


Thu Feb 01, 2018 4:11 pm
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Location: Hopewell Junction, NY
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In vintage, there's a lot more to it than just horsepower. Groups will contain very different types of cars, some reliant on power and others on light weight and maneuverability. One example:

One of my customers owns a 1966 Ginetta G4 with about 200 horsepower. I tested it at PIRC a couple years ago and set the same times as a MkIV GT40. We weren't running in the same group, but it helps to paint the picture. That Ginetta does run against Mustangs, Camaros, and 911s regularly, though.

Our shop number is (845)226-4979, give a call and I can fill you in a little more!

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Interested in vintage cars and vintage racing? Photos, videos, our race schedule, and more can be found at http://www.michaelsvintageracing.com!
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Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:15 am
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Gary:

I would second Eric's advice and suggest that you come to at least one VRG event and just hang out in the paddock. Bring your camera (or cell phone) to record new ideas. Visit Tech and see what the inspectors consider important from safety point of view and how the process works. Talk to drivers of the various types of cars in which you might be interested, everyone likes to talk about their car so you will gain lots of info.

You will learn a lot about driving by trying to maximize the potential of a lower horsepower car at the limit. The smaller displacement cars are generally less expensive to buy and maintain. The biggest go-fast part you can add to the car is the driver, so don't get too excited about engine and suspension mods. What you really want is a car that is completely reliable so that you can get the most out of your racing experience, rather than missing your on-track sessions because you are fixing something on your car. In the long run, a well prepared, currently raced, vintage (not SCCA) race car is less expensive to get on the track than starting from scratch with a road to race car conversion.

Now, as regards the VRG Driver School, you can do the school in a street car but as Mike said you cannot participate for the rest of the J500 weekend in a street car. One option would be to rent a vintage race car for the school and the weekend. This would be an excellent way to see if vintage racing is for you. The likelihood is, of course, that you will be completely hooked. We are making some changes to the school this year in that we will be using BSR Crown Vics for a lot of the vehicle dynamic exercises (skid pad, threshold braking, etc.) as we have had problems in the past with student's cars suffering brake and engine overheating. Students will still use their own cars for all of the on-track exercises, and if they pass the course successfully, the rest of the J500 weekend.

So lots to think about. Keep asking questions. We are all here to help.

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Mack


Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:11 am
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Gary--

I have an Elva Courier I am planning on putting on the market in the next week or so. It has a VRG logbook, is track-ready and needs nothing, plus it is well-equipped in all respects and comes with a lot of spares. Contact me directly if you are interested at: michael.oritt@gmail.com or 305-793-9467.

Best--Michael Oritt


Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:37 pm
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