I had given up looking for a track car. I had resigned myself to the fact that there was nothing I actually wanted to buy out there in my price range. Imprezas, which could be had for that money, were so rusty they needed medical insurance and the word on the forums was that they were hellishly expensive to run on track days, and tended to ingest engines and gearboxes.
Then I accidentally went back to looking at the Elise. I'd always wanted one since they first came out. I'm a particular fan of the rear styling of the S2. Looking around I realised that I could get a leggy one for under £10k. This seemed like a bargain and I convinced myself, through proper "man maths" that it would actually be cheaper than a £1000 track car in the long run, AND I could drive it at weekends.
Unfortunately, one test drive later, and I realised that the power output of the base spec models wasn't going to be enough. That subaru I had test driven was still in my memory and I wasn't going to settle for anything slower.
I kept looking, but the higher power output variants of the S2 were just too expensive. I knew what I really wanted was an S2 Exige, but I just couldn't justify £20k. But it was starting to look like that was the only "sensible" option.
Then by accident, I spotted an old S1. I hadn't been looking for S1's, certainly not over £10k. And I was amazed at how strong the values of S1s had become over the last 12 months. The S1 I had spotted was far from standard, it had had all the track modifications I was going to do to a standard car already done, and then some. Plus, most importantly of all, it had a full Turbo Technics supercharger upgrade. The fact that it was also one owner from new and had only done 27k miles, was just icing on the cake.
Some more man maths later, and I had secured the purchase of an S1 track slag with a 190hp TT supercharged K series on Nitrons with full race harnesses, harness bar and removable steering wheel. I was a very happy bunny. I figured, as long as I didn't bin it on a circuit, then it should appreciate in value and be a fairly sound investment, in fact costing me LESS than that £1000 track car I had started looking for. Yes, man maths at its best.
As I write this, the car is in the garage having a few details sorted out. Then it will be coming home to be prepped for its first track day on the 19th July. Myself and my two co-conspirators are really looking forward to it.
Next time: One track, one car, three drivers, what could go wrong?...