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5 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've been conducting a survey of operational costs for various racing classes.

Here I'm only looking at the predictable costs that vary between the classes. I'm not trying to calculate total operational costs.

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 SpecE46 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 SpecE46. If you have changes, please reply below, and I will update the spreadsheet.

Class name: E46
Engine make: BMW
Engine model: M54
Displacement: 3000
Power at crank, HP: 253
Torque at crank, ft-lbs: 246
Weight with driver, lbs: 2,850
Purchase new, $: 50,000 turn-key, pro build
Purchase used, $: 30,000 nationally competitive
Tires set, $: 944 not including mounting and balancing
Tire competitive heat cycles: 13
Engine rebuild, $: 5,000
Engine competitive hours: 80
Fuel $/gallon: 3.00
Fuel gallons/hour: 10
Brake pads set, $: 513
Brake pads hours: 10
Gearbox rebuild, $: ?
Gearbox hours: ?
Other operational costs, $:​

Regarding the engine, here's the scenario: You have a fresh, professionally-built engine producing power that is competitive in a Majors race or the Run-offs. It produces this power for some amount of time, and then starts to fall off, and at some point is no longer competitive. You send the engine back to the builder, who does whatever is necessary for that particular engine (some classes more, some less) to make it competitive again. How much does the builder charge for this? And how many hours did the engine operate competitively before becoming non-competitive?


Greg Holmberg_a_

16 Posts
In our experience, if you want to run a program that has potential to win races in a competitive SE46 division, we were spending roughly the cost of the car every year. This is all costs included, travel and consumables etc. This depends on the amount of races you plan on running of course. We ended up having very little difference between a 12 Race local schedule and a 5 Race national SCCA season.

Side note, if you***8217;re looking for an engine let me know through PM.

5 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
That's great, but in order to compare SpecE46 to other classes, I need the numbers I posted above.

Can anyone comment on these numbers?

Based on the numbers above (a pure guess on my part), I calculated $1,060 in operational costs per weekend, or $133 per session on track for Spec E46.

You can see how this compares to other classes in the spreadsheet.

Some definitions to keep in mind when thinking about costs:

A session is defined as 25 minutes on track.

A weekend is defined as eight sessions: three practice sessions on Friday; practice, qualifying, and race on Saturday; and qualifying and race on Sunday; for a total of 3:20 time on track.

A full season is defined as eight weekends; for a total of 26:40 time on track in a year.

Operational cost is the cost of tires + engine + gearbox + fuel + brake pads + other. These are only the major, predictable costs to operate the car during the event. There will be other smaller operational costs (changing engine oil, brake fluid, etc.), plus longer-term maintenance costs as items wear out, plus unpredictable costs due to damage, plus other weekend costs such as event entry fees, towing to the track, hotel, food, and so on. Total cost of racing, including depreciation of the car's value, over a long term (a number of years) divided by number of weekends raced, will be significantly higher than this per-weekend operational cost. The numbers above are intended to be useful in comparing classes, and should not be construed as the total costs of a weekend of racing.
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