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Want To Set Up A Mustang For Road Racing, Where To Start?

13324 Views 14 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  iapexl8r
Hello there, I thought I would join the forum to ask some questions. Alright here goes.

I want to set up a mustang for road racing, but I don't know where to start. I will be graduating this year and will be purchasing a mustang as a project car. I dont know what year, but im only looking for a car in the 500 dollar range. I also want to use the 5.0. Can you make the old fox body mustangs handle good? Also, would 4.10 gears be good for say, 120 mph? Which transmisson should I look for, deffiniatly manual. Is there any difference between the early fox bodys, and the older. For example, can I use the same suspension parts on a 79 as i would use on a 89?

If you guys could, would you give me some websites for the following info, so I can look and decide what suspension parts I want to buy.

Springs, struts, sways all that stuff
Brakes, maybe rear disc conversions
Bushings and stuff
And anything else you guys would think is a good idea to make it handle better.

Thanks alot for any information you guys can give me. Also I would like to only spend 5-6k on this project, is that reasonable? I want a good suspension, mild 5.0 (300hp), and am not going to waste any money on appearance. Again, thanks alot.
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Call Griggs Racing or Maximum Motorsports or check out there web sites. They can tell you step by step what to do, were to start and what problems to address. You also need to know what you really what to do, road race (no street driving ever), open track events or auto cross. Mustangs old or new can be made to handle very well but at price, both in dollars spent and ride quality. Good luck.
Fox bodies are a good light car for this…..

6k might be a good start point but I don’t believe you can get any decent 5.0 for $500. problem is at that price your 6k will be eaten up by fixing all the common problems with cars this old and with you looking in the $500 I expect none of the normal wear and teat stuff will be replaced.

I would find a decent 5.0 then spend money on stiffening, and suspension and put the best breaks you can afford on it.

Power in not the most important thing in road racing, v-6 cars can do extremely well so don’t waste money there, plus you can always add bolt on’s as your driving improves and can handle more and more power.

4.10 gears will hurt top speed but I don’t think you going to be doing 120 at very many road racing courses……..
Maximum Motorsports. Set up your suspension and work on driving the car with the power you have. Too many people go out and put a bunch of HP into their car and can't put the power to the ground because the four link rear is trash on the track. If you want to get going on a budget, get a panhard (track) bar, subframe connectors, performance shocks and springs (koni, Qa1, etc...Eibach, etc) and go spend some money on a baer track kit or brembo brakes.
for something cheep to start with i would go with a strut tower brace. I could feel the diff. just on the streets
For some good opinions see the sticky's on the top of this forum (I wrote them, LOL). Brakes first, then chassis stiffening. Strut tower brace followed by full length subframe connectors. I recommend spending more than $500 up front and purchasing an early SN95 GT. This gives you five bolt rims and four wheel disc brakes w/ABS. In my opinion this is a better starting point. Also a CAI and a UDP will help.
I just did the MM Max Grip Box Kit install and it's pretty awesome. I still need to install the PHB and the TA but I got everything else in the car and it corners like shifter car! I love it! I can't wait to get the PHB and TA in! I also plan on switching out the rear axles to 31 spline axles, Posi, and 4:10 gears! Once Admin figures out I'm not a spammer I'll post some pics!

BTW the car is a 2003 GT and it's being setup for road racing!

yeah, I bought my car for just over 2k out of a field and ive spent alot of money fixing crap that I shouldnt have had to. I spent 2 or 3k more just to start doing performance upgrades. Im finally getting into control arms and throttle bodies. buy a well kept $4k car and work with it. Itll get you to the track much faster with alot less headache.
first of all, buy a $4k or so car, avoid my mistake of having to change every darned sensor and little crappy electrical mess on a beat up-shadetree hacked car. Second, if you have access to a welder and even a little bit of fab experience. Brace that thing up yourself, buy some 8 or 10 guage plate steel and a few peices of squarebar and you have your torque box reinforcements and subframe connectors, search the net for some pics, Ive found many guys online with how to fox fab pics and methods. Finding a good,cheap rearend with posi and disc brakes, fab the mounts, save alot of money there too, a rear disc conversion is gonna eat into that $6k real quick. You can do it, you have much time my young friend, wish i would have started at 18 :bigthumbsup
Do yourself a favor: This is not the way most people go but it's the way most wish they had after they've seen how much money they put into their cars to get it to where they wanted it: Save your money until you've got enough to buy a car that's already been built. Reason is, you can (almost never) sell a car for what you've got in it. Which means if you're on the buying end, most times you can "steal" a car for half of what you'd put into it if you built it yourself.

Now some people will say that half the fun is the building process and they're right to some degree, building it is fun but it’s also a lot of work and the pitfalls are many. Chances are you'll get way more for your money if you find somebody that's moving to another car and wants out.

Aside from that, your next best investment is in a professional 3day racing school like Skip Barber or Bondurant. Unless you’ve got a ton of Karting experience (winning not just being in the race), there’s more speed in you than is in your car and the money you’ll spend going to one of these will more than be made up for by your lack of crash damage your first year…..

Good Luck
That sounds good... build up your car as time passes as you go to higher classes, Thats what I'm gonna do keep the 2.3 and as I have money build the new drivetrain on the side and make sure to have replacement parts.
DV19 is dead on the money. In fact, do not even buy a car yet. Do the skip barber school or better yet do a regular track day for 250 or 300 dollars. the instructor is an extra 75 dollars. This going to be a lot less than skip barber. If you do not have a car, rent one from hertz or avis and take the insurance. That is what I did on my first track day which I did with tracqwest now chinmotorsports at watkins Glen, NY. 3 years ago. I got a malibu max station wagon the first day and grand am the second. I was still passing BMW and Porshce newbies. FYI I was an advanced motorcycle track day guy and now I do 20 track days a year on my 2006 suzuki SV650s and race occasionally.
As far as cars, I started back up with my 2007 bone stock v-6 mustang at sebring in November, but had to change rotors, pads, fluid and installed a air duct because the stock brakes cannot handle a hard track day.

whether it be bike or car, I would buy something used and ready to go. You will save an enormous amount of money. As far as working on the vehicle. Do not worry. you will be working on the vehicle. I never worked on anything until I got into this game and I can tell there are so many things to do when you actually start riding and driving. You will wish you would not have to do them. take my word for it. Save the work for later and just get started driving now. There will be plenty of wrenching.

when you have done a few days and get the feel for what it is like and what cars and setups are good on the track, you will most certainly form a different opinion than whatever noninformation based opinion you have now. Whatever you buy now, you will be sorry later. get the experience on track doing track days and then figure out what to do.
+3 for dv19. i bought my fox for 1400 and it's a nightmare. you can find prebuilt stangs all day long for about 10G. road racing costs money...alot of it. last season i was payin 4.75a gallon for leaded110 and spent damn near 2200 in tires. NOT to mention the travel costs. if you can keep it legal, do it. the whole truck and trailer gig nearly doubles the cost. get some track time in, do your driving school, if you join SCCA, two events keeps your regional license. two events are usually run on one weekend so it saves money and you can usually find a rental racecar for about a grand a weekend. if you have 10G, i know of two cars with trailers and extras up for sale. jus PM me
I did the Time Trial Series with NASA. You get points for modifications and they class your car accordingly. If you run a stock car your in a lower class and can work your way up. You still have to go thru the HPDE series to learn how to drive on a track and have the instructors sign you off. You get to blast off, run 10, 10ths trying to get your best lap time and have way less chance of crashing cause there is no reason to try and beat your fellow competitor to the corner. I had a 93gt with a full Maximum motorsport suspension. The Torgue Arm on the rear with the panhard bar totally changed the car and I cut 4 seconds a lap off my times. The only other mod that helped that much was R rated rubber and brakes. I also had to learn to drive....That helped a bunch.....Have fun....GA
if you are planing on doing a fox it is a must you get the Mathis book mustang performance II. Go to some events and do lots of research on rules before you start spending money. Also the Idea of doing track days is a very good one a avis, budget, hertz, or alamo renta car will do fine for learning. good luck chris
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