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Thread: Turbocharged Compact FWD's for Track and Road?

  1. #1
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    Default Turbocharged Compact FWD's for Track and Road?

    Hi there all track addicts!

    This is my first post and I am lesser than a beginner in track racing,
    am trying to get a cheap old car for both road and track use.
    My mechanic told me he could supply a 1300cc Nissan Ga13 turbo (Size unsure but its a small turbo)
    To be transplanted on a 1984 Nissan Pulsar N12 (was also a turbocharged car originally with E15ET but went boommm)
    Weight of the car is about 900kg
    (Another option is a Nissan CA16 N/A)

    Never driven a turbo vehicle before and wonder if FWD's are good with a turbo?
    I know they are gonna be quick on the straights but how about cornering? One ain't quick if they cannot corner well..
    Plus tire use etc.
    Heard that small compact like Nissan Micra which are turbocharged controls pretty well..
    And I do prefer cars that have small engine + lightweight body + lower cost

    The car is gonna have uprated disc brakes + adjustable absorbers + strut and roll bars all round

    Any opinions?
    Thanks very much.

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    http://www.trackhq.com/Banners/yellowsitesponsor.gif emilio700's Avatar
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    Front wheel drive cars in general do not make good track cars. The exception is a fully developed race car like suspension on a very light weight front driver like what you're talking about or maybe a civic. Generally the only reason someone runs a front drive car is because they have a special affinity for that particular brand. It's more of a passion thing, not really rational decision based on chassis dynamics. There are so many good rear-drive platforms that are more rewarding to drive easier on tires and readily available. So if your question is simply will it work? The answer is yes of course it will work. If the question is are there better options? Then yes, there are better options. If you do decide to do the turbo front wheel drive car, make sure you have a good limited slip and at least some good adjustable coilovers. If it will turn and rotate well it'll actually be fun to drive just kind of hard on front tires.
    Last edited by emilio700; 11-02-2014 at 08:51 PM.
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    Everything Emilio said is true.
    Find a salvage MR2 Spyder. Put an oil cooler on it. Then, call it a day. They don't need anything else to be track-ready on street tires. You can even use OEM pads and you'll never get brake fade, and they'll last for a good 10 hours.
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    Master of Disaster SteveLevin's Avatar
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    One thing to consider about the compact turbo cars is getting rid of heat. In normal, day to day use, you are flat out on power for only very short amounts of time. On a track, you will be on the power a lot more, generating a lot of heat. Especially if you are in Thailand, with high ambient temps, it could be easy to cook the turbo.

    Another thing is driveability. older turbos will have a lot of lag, so the power application won't be very smooth, and it's just another challenge as a beginner -- just driving the line and being smooth will keep you busy enough for a couple of years (unless you get to spend a lot of time at the track).

    One car suggestion that I think is valid for your area is the Honda City... if I recall correctly they actually have decent suspension, and have been made in Thailand for many years (it's been almost 10 years since my last project there)...

    Be safe and have fun!

    Steve

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    Don't overboost.

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    I agree with others in that in the general sense, FWD cars don't make as good, or as fun, track cars. I have tracked both and do prefer rear wheel drive. However, this is a very general statement. I find that when going to the track for track days, I want a car that is reliable and overall fun to drive (reasonable balance between power, handling and braking). When racing, whether time attack or wheel to wheel, I want a car that is reliable and a car that is competitive in the class I am running (could be a class where FWD is the class or FWD is just as competitive in the class).

    With turbo FWD, the 2 things are heat (as mentioned) and turbo size. You need to make sure the car has a very good cooling system (radiator, intercooler and oil cooler) and you need to make sure the A/F ratio's are managed very well. As far as turbo size, a big turbo is nice for power on the straights but a properly sized turbo (for the engine size) is more fun since the power delivery is more linear (less lag) which is better coming out of the corners and on tighter courses.

    If the amount you are planning to spend on the car is a decent amount, you may want to look at RWD options (Miata, MR2 or other inexpensive to build/maintain options) but if you are set on the Nissan and can make it reliable, build and enjoy.

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    Of all the cars you mention as possible candidates to take to the track, I have only ever seen one Pulsar at the track in the seven years I've been afflicted with track days and racing.

    My suggestion is that you visit your nearest track and see what others are driving. Talk to them. See who is happy with their car and who is spending more time wrenching than driving.

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    Before starting this project I would look into the aftermarket availability for this car and the costs associated with things like suspension, front differentials, bushings, sway bars, and other items to get the handling dialed in.

    In order to make this car handle well and be a fun track car to drive, you will need the chassis dialed in. How do you plan to control the fueling for your engine? How available and reliable are those parts and set ups?
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    Two great posts above.

    Don't try to reinvent the wheel. Buy a standard issue of the most popular local track favorite from a guy that got married and had a baby.

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    Yep I totally agree,

    I went to my local mechanic whose a track driver / owner of the Pulsar
    (noticed he's really fond of the Pulsar due to it being small and lightweight - He's planning an SR16 Neo VVL)
    Oke doke.. that 200hp+ on a 900kg car

    After a few consideration and chat with him, I may try a cheap/within my lowly budget RWD KE70 with 4AGE (N/A)
    Would love to learn different driving ways of the FR though am no drifting fan
    And being 4 door.. I guess I am getting a bit maturity... sorry 2 doors ain't getting all me mates in, in a night out

    Thanks all for the well written opinions, really appreciated

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    http://www.trackhq.com/Banners/yellowsitesponsor.gif emilio700's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenhorn View Post
    Yep I totally agree,

    I went to my local mechanic whose a track driver / owner of the Pulsar
    (noticed he's really fond of the Pulsar due to it being small and lightweight - He's planning an SR16 Neo VVL)
    Oke doke.. that 200hp+ on a 900kg car

    After a few consideration and chat with him, I may try a cheap/within my lowly budget RWD KE70 with 4AGE (N/A)
    Would love to learn different driving ways of the FR though am no drifting fan
    And being 4 door.. I guess I am getting a bit maturity... sorry 2 doors ain't getting all me mates in, in a night out

    Thanks all for the well written opinions, really appreciated
    KE70 witha 4AGE is a great choice. Plenty of aftermarket, sounds fantastic and drives the correct pair of wheels. 20V?
    WWW.949RACING.COM
    SuperMiata

    Aside from their cost I never understood why people race them.
    But obviously I just dont get it. -fatbillybob

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