To call the TireRack sponsored “One Lap of America” anything other than a grueling competition would be a disservice to the event. On par with some of the greatest endurance races in the world, the 7-day, 3,200 mile trek around the United States has an added twist – you have to drive your race car between stages. Now, that’s something that occurs in the World Rally Championship – but they cover far fewer miles and have pro teams, pit crews and major automotive manufacturers backing them up. To say that the One Lap is a amateur-only event would also be misleading, but it is far from a strictly professional series – and where else would you see a Honda Odyssey win at anything? Combining several different classes of cars, you get the spectrum from classic performance muscle cars through modern super GTs. The winner of class “SSGT2 SB” in 2014 was a Volkswagen GTi – one of a trio of cars prepared to dominate the event. When you consider that the cars that ranked above them were super GT royalty – Corvette ZR-1s, Viper SRT-10s, Boss 302s and a plethora of Nissan GT-Rs – the level of performance from the GTis is drawn into perspective. Now the builders are moving on, leaving these seriously potent track weapons available at a fraction of their build cost:
It might not be Motorsports Monday, but with the weekend just around the corner, it’s a great time to contemplate a track day car. This 1995 BMW M3 comes to us by way of our friends at Euro Werkz and represents the first year for the E36 M3 in the US market. This example has been worked over, with additions such as an adjustable suspension, floating brake rotors and four point roll bar. While it’s done up decidedly for competition, this M3 is also street legal. In addition, a Chevrolet pickup with trailer comes as a part of the package, in case you don’t want to drive the M3 to the track.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW M3 Track Package at Euro Werkz
I really like the concept of the Cayman. Mid-engined, manual gearbox, rear drive and a lighter chassis are a return to the roots of Porsche – the Auto Union Grand Prix cars first designed by Ferdinand Porsche in the 1930s. Dynamically, it’s hard to fault the Cayman, too – on track, they’re simply magnificent, dispatching corners and straightaways with ease, rippling pavement in braking zones. I was lucky enough to spend some time on track in a then-new ’09 fully loaded S; it immediately put you at ease, the capabilities of the chassis left plenty in reserve even when you entered corners at seemingly inappropriate or inadvisable speeds. Fit and finish-wise, they’re a Porsche through and through; beautiful paint, striking wheels, and luxurious interiors. The soundtrack is pretty great, too. One area that I’m not convinced? The looks; some look great, while others look slightly out of proportion to me. One great upgrade that you can do that really makes the Cayman look more purposeful, though, it to equip the front end with big-brother 911 GT3 items. The result is much more aggressive, and paired with some racing graphics, a huge rear spoiler and the right bits inside, you’ve got yourself a budget Cup car:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2007 Porsche Cayman on eBay
There’s something that is inherently appealing to me about the idea of a aluminum V8 engine swapped into a Porsche 944. Sure, you could argue that just buying a 928 would scratch that particular itch, and in many ways you’d be right. But say you want extra power and cheaper operating costs? These are things that the Porsche 928 doesn’t particularly excel at, coupled with the more complicated and fragile electronics of the 944’s big brother. The smaller, lighter 944 then seems to be a natural choice; with near perfect weight distribution and bits that swap in easily from the higher-horsepower Turbo model, you can have a track-ready sleeper for about the same price as a decently sorted 928 – but choose the right engine, and you’ll have much more motivation at your call. In the case of this 1987 944, that choice would be the all-aluminum 6.2 liter V8 from the new Corvette – the LS3, rated at 430 horsepower and 424 lb.ft. of torque right out of the box:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Porsche 944 LS3 on eBay
It goes without saying that the Porsche 911 is one of the most popular modified chassis ever conceived, and a fair amount of those modifications are track-based. The results are sometimes mixed; however, one of the more popular trends which I think is pretty slick is backdating 911s. It’s ironic, since for some time it was more popular to update the looks of many of the older race cars to new 964 or 993 bodies. However, the surge in pricing in the 1960s and 1970s 911 market has resulted in many backdated cars coming to market. Obviously, the advantage is that you get a better driving and more powerful car with more options than original, but it’s got the look of the sought after early models. However, probably the biggest advantage is that of price; with a lower entry cost, prospective buyers aren’t afraid to use the 911 where it is well suited; driving fast on a race track. Today I have two different takes on backdated 911s, both with a nod towards the mega-buck RS model. Which is the one you’d choose?