We’ve talked in the past about venues where you can drive faster than the legal limit, legally. (Check out this post on five places where you can drive fast.)
If you’re convinced you want to go fast, what are you going to drive? First, try your track of choice with what already own. But it probably won’t be fast enough.
Once you’re bitten by the bug, you’ll start checking out AutoTrader and Bring a Trailer to see what track-ready cars may be available. It’s generally less expensive to buy a car someone has already upgraded. If you’d like to compete in a specific series or class, make sure you know what the requirements are before you buy.
To get your racing appetite flowing, here’s a look at some of the cars you can take from the showroom to the racetrack for a day of fun.
Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R
The track-prepped GT350R is powered by the 5.2-liter V-8 that generates 526 horsepower and features engine oil, transmission and differential coolers to keep the car adequately cooled while on the track. Stopping power comes from vented 15.5″ 2-piece front rotors and 6-piston Brembo calipers, and the magnetic damping system balances the ride. If you’re serious about screeching to the best track time you can muster, order your GT350R without air conditioning or a back seat to squeeze out that last little drop of oomph.
Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
With 755 horsepower, the ZR1 is the most powerful production Corvette ever, available in coupe and convertible configurations. Either model will break 200 mph, thanks to the aero package with the standard, stanchion-mounted low wing that generates road-holding downforce. The coupe will reach 212 mph, according to Chevrolet.
The adjustable high wing comes with the $2,995 ZTK Performance Package along with a front splitter with carbon-fiber pieces, Michelin sport tires and upgraded chassis and shocks. The high wing generates faster lap times from up to 950 lbs. of downforce in the corners. The top speed is actually lower with the high wing, but you’ll still be able to break the 200 mph barrier. The exclusive LT5 6.2-liter supercharged engine is paired with either a 7-speed manual transmission or a paddle-shift eight-speed automatic.
Overall, it takes 13 radiators to keep the engine, supercharger and fluids cool. The ZR1 will deliver impressive performance, turning quarter-mile in about 10 seconds with the automatic transmission. Selecting track mode on the exhaust system allows the engine to breathe better at the cost of a much louder exhaust note. The ZR1 coupe carries a suggested retail price of $119,995, while the ZR1 convertible starts at $123,995.
The iconic Nissan GT-R comes in two track-ready versions: the Track Edition and the NISMO. Both are special order editions available in limited quantities in the U.S. The Track Edition offers a 565-horsepower engine, compared to the NISMO’s 600-horsepower version. The GT-R Track Edition, with a base MSRP of $127,990 is available by order only at GT-R certified Nissan dealers nationwide.
The GT-R Track Edition’s performance-oriented features start with the body’s additional adhesive bonding which helps increase body shell rigidity versus the GT-R Premium model. The advanced 4-wheel independent suspension receives unique NISMO tuning, with extra roll stiffness and NISMO-spec tires. Other standard equipment includes GT-R NISMO front fenders, 20″ NISMO forged aluminum-alloy wheels and a special dry carbon-fiber rear spoiler.
The ultimate GT-R, the motorsports-inspired GT-R NISMO, features numerous motorsports-inspired technologies to optimize aerodynamics, suspension and powertrain, creating a well-balanced machine at home on both the road and track. The GT-R NISMO is priced at $175,490.
Mazda MX-5 Miata
If you want to do SCCA autocross, Mazda Cup racing or just take part in a club track day, you can’t go wrong with a Miata. The MX-5 Club model is available in both soft-top and retractable fastback configurations. With the Club trim, you get everything on the sport model and add Bilstein dampers, shock tower brace and a limited-slip rear differential in models equipped with the SKYACTIV-MT transmission.
MX-5 Club models are available with an i-ACTIVSENSE Club Package that comes with Smart City Brake Support and Lane-Departure Warning. With the SKYACTIV-MT transmission, you can upgrade to the Brembo/BBS brake and wheel package and heated Recaro bucket seats.
Dodge Challenger SRT Demon
Smashing the accelerator pedal on an 840 horsepower Dodge Challenger Demon is like pulling the trigger on a .50-caliber machine gun. You’d better have it pointed in the right direction first. Owners and lessees of the Mopar from Hell can learn how to drive the beast for free at Bob Bondurant’s School of High Performance Driving east of Phoenix and the nearby Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park that includes a quarter-mile NHRA-sanctioned drag strip.
You can get a free one-day drag racing course at the strip, and add an extra day of road course lessons. It’s a nice perk, and I’m sure Dodge figured it was better to teach drivers how to handle the power than deal with the aftermath of multiple hooligan incidents.
Is the class really necessary? The standard Demon comes with a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that pumps out 808 horsepower, the Demon Crate package bumps that up to 840 horsepower, good for running the quarter-mile in 9.65 seconds at 140 mph. It can be a serious competition machine, with passenger seats on the optional list.
Auto Nation – http://autonationdrive.com/top-5-track-ready-vehicles/
Motor 1– https://www.motor1.com/news/227113/bob-bondurant-dodge-demon-school/
Road & Track – https://www.roadandtrack.com/new-cars/g17346264/best-track-day-cars/
The limited edition Ford Mustang GT350R is ready to hit the track. Photo via Ford.
The Corvette ZR1 is capable of breaking the 200 mph barrier in coupe or convertible versions. Photo via Chevrolet.
The Nissan GT-R Track and NISMO editions are ready to run out of the box. Photo via Nissan.
The Mazda Miata MX-5RF Club racer offers the chassis rigidity of a coupe with an opening roof for summer fun. Photo via Mazda.
Learn the ins and outs of burnouts with your Dodge Challenger SRT Demon. Photo via Bondurant School of High Performance Driving.