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This is going to be the first in a year long series about the actual costs to race. I’ve been autocrossing my 2005 Subaru STi in local clubs including Chicago Region SCCA, and Tri-State Sports Car Council. This year I plan on running full seasons with both clubs along with a couple PDXs including GRIDLIFE. My intent for this series of posts is to help identify the actual costs to participate; I’m going to be completely transparent and let everyone know down to the dollar how much it will cost to run your car. That being said, your mileage may vary, and it may end up costing you a lot less, or you may decide to run in a higher class and it could end up costing a lot more. I just know that when I first started racing I wish someone had put together a guide to how much it cost and what to expect.
The start of the racing season is a little over a month away and as if my car knew my clutch finally decided to finish dying. It started to have issues with it slipping at the end of last year, but now it has gotten to the point I could barely get it into 1st/R. I’m not saying that everyone who Autocrosses is going to need a new clutch, but after some extended use it is going to wear it out faster. I race in STU (Street Touring Ultimate) so I can not run anything above an OEM spec clutch. I decided on the Exedy OEM Replacement (FJK1000), and found it at a great deal on Amazon Prime shipped for $310.08 after taxes.
The only other elements I needed to acquire was 4qts of Gear Oil for the Transmission, and a resurfaced OEM flywheel. Thankfully the shop that sponsors me, APM Tuned, has extra flywheels in stock and I have an Amsoil Preferred Account to get wholesale pricing on lube (anyone can get it – click here). Beyond getting the Preferred Customer account to save money on Oil, Gear Lube, Filters, etc. — I would strongly recommend building a rapport with a local high performance shop. It can merit discounts on parts and labor, and can also help if you need to get your car on a lift in a hurry (APM was kind enough to squeeze me in).
Out with the old.
In with the new.
You can tell from the pictures alone how knackered my OEM clutch was; not bad for ~89kmiles and 3 years of autocrossing. While on the lift we did a thorough inspection and came to find a` lovely crack on my turbo. Not the biggest deal; I will continue to run it, but it is just another expense I have to budget in for the season. We also noticed that my passenger rear strut is leaking — Thankfully I run the V1 KW Coilovers so the rebuild cost is only $135, but the downtime is what kills me. If you can afford to have a second car as a daily I highly recommend it.
To conclude each post in this series I will be sure to include a mocked-up receipt to show line items of the exact expenses incurred. At then end of the season I will tally those receipts and put together a master receipt of all the expenses incurred in one year of racing. I’m hoping this will bridge the gap for a lot of folks on the fence about racing as if they knew the budget they needed for grassroots racing they may be more inclined to get involved. Stay tuned for Episode 2: Livery.