Journal: What's Your Vote For The Best Drive-There-And-Back Track Car?

What’s Your Vote For The Best Drive-There-And-Back Track Car?

Alex Sobran By Alex Sobran
October 10, 2018
15 comments

Photography by Marco Annunziata, Rosario Liberti, Mark Brown, and Jayson Fong

My days on the track are more limited than I’d like them to be, but one of my best “motorsport” memories came from driving there and back in my friend’s souped-up E30 a few years ago. It didn’t have air-conditioning nor a radio, but if you’re on your way to do some hot laps with your buddy those creature comforts are forgotten in the course of conversation; mainly, “What do you think will show up?” It turns out that the answers to that question were wheeled out of trailers more often than not. Cars shod with slicks and big wings, serious-businsess-type bucket seats with fixed backs and room for a HANS device.

They had to be towed to the track either because they weren’t road legal or their owners wanted to bring a rack of spares while keeping the mileage off. That’s all well and good of course—nothing wrong with having a nice setup to cart your car around with—but after a few acclimating laps we started to overtake some of those cars with his license-plate-wearing Bimmer on DOT-approved rubber. Who knows why—maybe they were training or breaking something in or just taking it easy that day—but the sensation of looking out the passenger-side window as we passed them made me pretty giddy.

There’s something to be said about a bonafide “track-day special” but I know I’m not alone in preferring the kinds of cars you can take to the store for some cold beers once the day is done and your brake pads are a bit thinner than they were in the morning. With modern stuff this isn’t that exceptional (a GT3 can run errands one day and eat up almost anything that shows up to the track the next), but there are still a lot of cars that we call “classics” that can pull it off too. That is, if they’re maintained and properly cared for. So with that said, what do you think makes for the ultimate do-it-all car for, excuse the pun, the road and track? No need to keep it stock, but it’s fine if that’s your preference.

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Ted ShannonjackcJean-Noël FermaudZac BChad C. Recent comment authors
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Ted Shannon
Ted Shannon

Fox Mustang. Hands down the most bang for the buck, turn you into a driver car. Tires, brakes, and away you go. Plus I get 26+ mpg driving to The Ridge, PIR, and Pacific when I track mine. He he he……………..

Jack Chesnutt
Jack Chesnutt

This.

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Jean-Noël Fermaud

Good question. I’m drooling over the Lotus Exige in the pictures, but I think I would go for a Mercedes CLS 63 AMG Shooting Brake. It’s comfy, roomier than you’d think, and it has a 5.5 liter twin turbo V8. You could leave it as stock and have loads of fun, or you could modify it (change the suspension, remap the engine, change the turbos, remap the gearbox), and you could have something to tear the circuits. And if you’re crazy enough, there are a few easy kilos to shave by changing the seats… And when you’re back from the… Read more »

Zac B
Zac B

Or a spec e36 if you’re ok with 4000 revs in fifth gear at 65 mph and more bumps than your ass can take

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Zac B
Zac B

Cayman gt4

Chad C.
Chad C.

Alfa 75 with LSD. Give the E30s something to cry about ; )

Wes Flack
Wes Flack

Been driving my E30 racecar to the track for nearly a decade… first DNF last month due to a broken rocker arm, but still able to limp home on 5 cylinders. Non M3 E30 is the ultimate enthusiast bargain machine.

Louis
Louis

1991 Honda Civic Si. Boat loads of fun, sticks like crazy, and I can still daily if I want. Full track stiff suspension wife and daughter approved, lol

Derick Truscott

Any 105 series Alfa Romeo is the perfect to-track-and-back toy. Junior, GTV, Berlina – They are all great. Limited slip diffs on most of them coupled with decent power and a solid 5-speed gearbox make for a great experience. Their brakes don’t fade as quick and if you look after them, they are pretty solid as well. The best part is these cars will fly with minimal modifications needed.

After driving one you can understand why they were so far ahead of anything else in its era.

J.D
J.D

For me the choice is simple, even if I was given access to an any car on the planet “toy-box”this would be it. It would be any of the grand prix Bugattis in Ettories most dominant period, i.e. the Type 35/51/59. Drive it to the track fully equipped, remove the spare, lights, and fenders and proceed to go to work scalping some modern competition. Re-equip everything and off home you go. Could there be a more satisfying day?

J.D
J.D

Franz, by spare I was referring to the spare wheel. As for playing second fiddle that may be true to the more recent sporty cars, but Ive driven a 35B on track and can attest to it being quicker at least in my hands than the hotted up 90’s Japanese stuff sharing the track with me.

Dennis White
Dennis White

i certainly respect Matthew’s opinion, but my GT4 defines under steer to snap over steer on the track. Now my GT Junior Abnormale, that’s another story!

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange

Classic it’s hard to look beyond the obvious choices of a 911 or Alfa GTV but I would go for a Ferrari Dino 308GT4 the Bertone one. Reasonable amount of storage space for the regular usage part and longer wheelbase makes for slightly more benign handling than the GTB. Enough power and options to liberate more too.

Bryan Dickerson
Bryan Dickerson

I’d have to agree with Jason Cammisa (Motor Trend ‘Ignition’), I think a modded BMW e30 Touring would be the bomb! Haul your crew (best friend), race tires, tent, and cooler to the track but be sure to leave space for trophies!

Steven Kraft
Steven Kraft

My 2004 VW R32, has got me there and back to over a dozen track days and at least ten times as many autocross. The lovely thing about a hatchback really, can stuff a set of tires, tools, ice chest and easy up in there. Not to mention my 24 valve naturally aspirated VR6 has been dead reliable for well over 100k hard miles!

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