Spec Racer Renault as a track car?

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:41 am
Hello,

I'm still going back and forth between buying a street car and building it up as a track car, and just going berkeley this and buy a "real" race car instead. Problem with the latter is my current budget, it just doesn't buy much of a pre-converted race car.

That said, I'm looking at something to use for HPDE/PDX and SCCA CT/TT so I don't need it to slot into a ready made series or class like SRF. At the moment, I'm not planning for W2W, although I was hoping to eventually get into vintage racing.

I just found a couple of SRR cars for sale that supposedly are in good condition. Either would fit my budget, but is this a good idea?

And yes, I realize that this will require that I purchase tow vehicle and maybe even a trailer (I guess they're not going to fit too well on a U-Haul trailer), but given that we've started to slowly redo house and garden, I need a pickup truck anyway. This just gives me an excuse to go Diesel truck shopping.


I didn't find the right solution from the internet.
References:

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum ... 618/page1/

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:09 pm
Ryan - my opinion is that your plan is not necessarily a bad idea, but you’re likely to find the Renault engine parts rather difficult to find and advice from other Spec Racer owners rather sparse. If you can find a Sports Renault cheap enough, you might want to consider upgrading it to a Spec Racer Ford GEN2. Since a majority of us have upgraded to GEN3, the GEN2 engines are dirt cheap and even free. I sold my motor for $300 back when it had any value at all and am now giving away all the old GEN2 parts that have no application in the GEN3 trim. I think you will find GEN2 parts in far more lample supply, SRF owners more capable of helping you (than with a Renault), and if you choose to, you will be able to race a GEN2 in Regionals, whereas you would not with a SR.

Just my thoughts for whatever it’s worth.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:17 pm
OK, first questions are what is your acquisition budget, and how mechanically inclined are you? Considering that the parts supply for the Renault power unit and transmission pretty much ended more than 20 years ago, there's not much left in the "pick-n-pull" yards to scrounge for spare parts anymore, and I suspect most people have dumped any leftover parts to the scrap heap since then. If you're mechanically inclined you can alway look for a different engine package (e.g. just saw an RSR converted to a 2.0 liter Renault powerplant with enough upgrades to power that I suspect it would give a Gen3 a run for its money.)

I expect that you will be able to find a decent SRF2 for $10-12k in the relatively near future, with a reasonable supply of engines (winter's always a good time to shop!) While the current transmission is still used, the final drive and gear changes for the Gen3 will impact availability of Gen 2 versions at some point (since the transmission was used for the Gen3).

The final advantage is that if you ever get bored with track days, there are likely to still be a group of Gen 2's around that wouldn't mind have a friendly race sometime... ;-)
Bob Breton - SRF 51 - San Francisco Region
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:55 pm
breton wrote:... If you're mechanically inclined you can alway look for a different engine package (e.g. just saw an RSR converted to a 2.0 liter Renault powerplant with enough upgrades to power that I suspect it would give a Gen3 a run for its money.)


Just wondering - what mods did you note on the RSR with the 2.0L. I'm interested!

Cheers - Jim
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 3:00 pm
Ryan -

Greetings -

I didn't expect to see your note in this section of the Forum - but you've attracted Brenton - and he has been a source of good advice for me.

I'll add my few points - as I currently run a former Spec Renault. I do track days and testing at The FIRM in FL, and in SEDiv am classed as a SPU, and run in the same group as the GEN3, GEN2, STU, etc. The following is based on my experience, and there are many folks here that have been in the Spec Racer since the Renault days and will have good info too.

1. Parts are scarce-very scarce. The F3N, which is in the SRR, is the same block as the F3R, which is available in Europe. So parts can be found in the UK, Ireland, Poland Germany, and Latvia. I've even sourced a timing belt from Tel Aviv! Just make sure you are buying for the 8V SOHC - not the DOHC 16V engine. BTW, the F3N/F3R are analogus to the Chevy Small Block. The block and some components were used in Renaults and Volvos. Just be wary in selecting parts. With the scarcity, when/if you see something - buy it. If you head down this path - you'll get a real experience at Hot Roding.

2. Tires: One big advantage to non-spec, you can choose tires that are less expensive, and long wearing for your track day activities. I am running Toyo R888s and they literally wear like a Hog's Nose. Not as sticky as stickers-- not as pricy either. I probably give up 4 seconds per lap at Sebring as a result. For me, the money I saved on tires offset some of my purchase of Data Acquisition equipment.

3. Aero/body mods: These are wide open (within the GCR limits, i.e., no skirts/no active aero). I am currently running louvers on all four fenders, and just played with a wing this last weekend. I've built a splitter and will run with it next season. I have also removed the rearend "parachute" from my body. I am still running the fuller rear section - no cutout for the rear wheels/tires. Makes getting tire pressures post-race a challenge, but manageable. In all, the rear looks a bit "sports Racer-ish."

4. Wheels & Suspension: I understand these cars do shed wheel bearings - so if you can source spare uprights/hubs with any of those cars you are considering - do it and have them ready to R&R.

Shocks: You can run what you like and have them rebuilt by anyone you choose. Some folks here on the Forum probably have some in the corner of their garage/attic.

Brakes/Pads: These are Renault parts, but you can locate Hawk Racing pads at significant savings - but you gotta look hard. Rebuild kits on eBay or Rock Auto.

Wheels: you can choose what you like and run Welds, Aeros, or MiniLites, etc.

5. Ignition: The Renault has an "interesting" setup. It is a 1980s French version of an ECU, and the Dizzy does not advance. It only allocates the spark to the cylinders, the ECU does all the work. You can occasionally find some bits on eBay, but I am moving to an electronic ignition system/Coil on Plug with a crank trigger.

6. Engine: I loathe horizontally mounted oil filters. Fixed with a remote mount and relocated remote oil cooler - complete with thermostat controlled fan. I am preping a new intake manifold for dual Weber DCOEs in an effort to prove I am truely mad. I have found sourcing a camshaft dephaser to adjust the cam near impossible. I may have one machined -- for the new cam currently under consideration. As the car is non-Spec, I have installed a 2.0L from an Alliance GTA. It was salvaged a number of years ago, and never installed in another GTA. It is running strong and definately has more grunt than the 1.7L F3N. I have seen complete F3R engines (used) in the UK listed in the under $1K (+ shipping).

7. Transmission: Parts is parts and sourcing is the same challenge. I have located a useful contact in Poland that build trannys for European Rallye Cars, and he has some usefull ideas. My local transmision shop has a mechanic that was the panhandle Renault Expert -- but again parts is parts. Interestingly enough, many of the Renault transmissions are "form and fit", i.e., direct replacements to the ones used in the US, so some may be found at the "breakers" in the UK.

8. Fuel Cell: Can find same and less expensive - but takes some shopping around.

9. Radiator: I've added a couple of fans - it does get hot here in FL during the summer. I understand it is a Subie, and available at many auto parts stores.

Sorry for the long list. You might tell I am enjoying my purchase, and the challenge and rewards of being "one-off." I guess I just may be slightly MAD...

Cheers - Jim
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Now, I race cars. So, am I called a PAVIATOR?

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:43 pm
I will echo the feedback above based on two sources that I think you might find valuable.

#1 I have a friend who got a Boxter for very cheap and had been doing PDX, Autocross and Track Days with it. He was considering your same dynamic; Turn into full track car, or buy a purpose built car. I got him in my Gen2 for a day at Brainerd Int'l last summer. He had run his Boxter in the morning and them my Gen2 in the afternoon. He and got out of the car and said, "I am selling the Boxter tomorrow."

#2 The guys at BIR's Performance Driving School have several Renault configurations as well as Gen2's. The lead mechanic told me when I was up there that the Renaults are nothing but headaches and the Gen2's are a dream (in his world). I'm getting them my Gen2 engine package this spring as I do my conversion.

#3 from me. I am not mechanically inclined. I got in over my head with an FC as my first car. It was always a headache and REALLY challenging to maintain (really really fast, but everything was expensive and hard to find). The SRF is very straightforward to maintain. It's roomy and I honestly run mine totally by myself on many occasions. Change the oil, check your pressures and hit the ignition. Parts are abundant and knowledge is readily available.

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