SRF3 operational costs

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 26, 2017 4:46 pm
On ApexSpeed.com I've been conducting a survey of operational costs for each class.

Here I'm only looking at the predictable costs that vary between the classes.

Some costs are more or less the same between classes, such as towing, hotel, food, entry fee, and so on. I am ignoring those costs.

Some costs are personal choice, and not inherent in the class, such as how much you choose to spend on your tow vehicle or RV, or paying people to support you. I am ignoring those too.

Some costs, while having some correlation to the class, are unpredictable and so difficult to quantify, such as crash repairs or engine failures. I am ignoring those too.

That leaves me with:
  • tires
  • engine rebuild (by a professional)
  • gearbox rebuild
  • fuel
  • brake pads
  • other, depending on the class

I guess there are other smaller but predictable maintenance costs, such as oil changes, brake rotors, brake fluid, etc. If you think Spec Racer Ford Gen 3 has above or below average expenses in these areas, let me know, and I will include them.

Drivers from many of the classes have responded with data for their class, and the result is:

a spreadsheet in Google docs

Here's what I have for Spec Racer Ford Gen 3. If you have changes, please reply below, and I will update the spreadsheet.

    Class name: SRF3
    Engine make: Ford
    Engine model: Duratec
    Displacement: 1600
    Power at crank, HP: 135
    Torque at crank, ft-lbs: 131
    Weight with driver, lbs: 1,560
    Purchase new, $: 50,000
    Purchase used, $: 35,000
    Tires set, $: 776
    Tire competitive heat cycles: 8
    Engine rebuild, $: 5,000
    Engine competitive hours: 200
    Fuel $/gallon: 3.00
    Fuel gallons/hour: 8
    Brake pads set, $: 286
    Brake pads hours: 13
    Gearbox rebuild, $: 3,500
    Gearbox hours: 100
    Other operational costs per weekend or per hour, $:

Thanks,

Greg Holmberg
Last edited by Greg Holmberg on Mon Aug 28, 2017 5:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 26, 2017 5:31 pm
Other items I'd add to the list:

Brake rotors - I'd estimate at about every other pad change (or as often as a pad change). $400-500 range
Clutch (disk and plates) - $250-500 depending on condition of the clutch plate as well as disk. This does not include cost to pull and replace engine. At least seasonal and at transmission rebuild.
Shock rebuilds/replacement (from $600 at the low end to $2k at the high end) At least seasonally.
Transaxles (parts or complete). Difficult to estimate but I'd say at least tripod replacements periodically (not seasonally). $200-$250 per tripoid - $450-500 per bare axle (no tripoids)
I'd put the transmission rebuild estimate closer to $4k with the new straight cut gears. That does not include R&R costs.

Engine estimate is a bit on the high side for a rebuild only (unless you're including R&R). Non-rebuildiable engine replacement is another option, though price is higher than rebuilding (you get a new engine fitting with ancillary parts from existing engine). Only option is "professional" (Enterprise).

On the new car costs, I assume your estimate is based on kit cost + build cost, as the list price for the kit is well below $50K.

Tire costs are bit higher (at least if you include mount/balance/disposal/taxes). Closer to $1k per set.

The other option you might include is a conversion of existing Gen2s. Once Gen2 prices drop, cost of a Gen2+conversion could get below $30k (especially if you do your own conversion).

Frankly, I'd suspect that more expense comes from crash repair. Here, I'd say the SRF fares pretty well (I generally figure it's about $1k per corner and front end damage if nothing major is bent or broken like frame or suspension/engine mounts.) Add to that fiberglass/paint repair. Likely cheaper than anything made out of sheet metal or exotic materials. More importantly, it's rare not to be able to get a car in working order in the same weekend (with lots of pop rivets and duct tape!).
Bob Breton - SRF 51 - San Francisco Region

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:09 pm
I race SRF3, but am considering SM. Cost has been part of the consideration and the ability to manage the costs. I think on big crashes that damage the frame the SRF3 is much cheaper and easier to fix. On small crashes I see a Miata near me that I can pickup for $1200 that would provide most of the parts to fix crash damage for any or multiple corners. I just had my SRF3 transmission repaired for about $2400. I priced the same parts for a Miata and it was $700. I have had many car and motorcycle transmissions apart in my life. I am pretty confident in my ability to rebuild them on my own.

That said I do not think there is any class that has the combination of cool car and competition for the money that SRF3 does. Especially if you would hire out all engine and transmission work even if you were not required to.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:37 am
Fuel use is actually 6 gallons per hour rather than 8.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:01 am
Refinements I'd suggest:

1. You have to pick a target performance spec, such as "regional-podium-capable" or "Majors-podium-capable" because the cost of some classes will vary significantly depending on target performance. If you just want to "get out there" then you can do it for $10,000 in SM. If you want to run up front, it'll be 3-4X that amount. SRF3 is very unique in that sense in that the investment difference (relevant to performance) from front-of-field to mid-pack is nil.

2. Rather than "price-new" versus "price-used" the cost of ownership is more about depreciation and time-value of money. If I buy a $35,000 SRF3, own it for 5 years and sell it for $32,000, then it cost me about $4,000. The "new" SRF3 is something you cannot replicate in SM.

3. It's probably not worth the effort to factor this in, but a 1,500 lb. car does allow you to race with a much lighter rig. I pull a single-axle, open, formula car trailer behind a Jeep Grand Cherokee.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 5:07 pm
As someone who doesn't own or race an SRF3, the two things that surprised me most in the above data (given by SRF3 racers over on apexspeed.com), is the long engine life and the short gearbox life.

To be clear, in this survey, I'm not asking for the cost of the average mid-pack car in a regional race. In order to make an apples-to-apples comparison across so many classes, the scenario is a car that's capable of winning a Major or finishing in the top five at the Run-offs. In some classes, such as Formula Enterprises or (I think?) SRF3, nearly all cars meet this criteria, so I have to make that the scenario for comparison.

Can anyone confirm the engine life and gearbox life:

Engine rebuild, $: 5,000
Engine competitive hours: 200

Gearbox rebuild, $: 3,500
Gearbox hours: 100
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:33 pm
I think that is probably twice the price of a normal transaxle rebuild.
Dave
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:19 pm
I just had a rebuild with all new synchros, new third and fourth(straight cut) and new 3rd/4th shift fork and new clutch disc. The total was $2575 including the shipping both ways.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:07 am
dave wrote:I think that is probably twice the price of a normal transaxle rebuild.
Dave
Probably twice the life, as well.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:09 pm
cnewman92 wrote:
dave wrote:I think that is probably twice the price of a normal transaxle rebuild.
Dave
Probably twice the life, as well.


There's mostly anecdotal data on trans life, and the expectation is that the straight-cut gears will improve life substantially.
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