Track days are a tempting proposition. You can theoretically drive your car as fast as you can in a safe, controlled and perfectly legal way — but there are a few caveats. Insurance usually won’t cover accidents unless you opt for specialized insurance, and the act of driving on a track can cause mechanical strain that can break your car. Even if your car does have a warranty that covers track use, you’ll still probably be without a vehicle for daily use for a while if you break anything.
The solution, of course, is to buy a dedicated track day car. Check out this list of great entry-level options that will let you hone your skills without potentially putting yourself in a sticky financial predicament.
1999-2005 Mazda Miata
The Mazda Miata is one of the obvious choices for an entry-level track day car. Miatas are simple, lightweight, rear-wheel-drive sports cars that are perfect for learning advanced car control. They also don’t have a ton of power, which will help keep you out of trouble. Best of all they’re inexpensive and incredibly easy to work on — and the aftermarket offers a lot of options to optimize your Miata for the track. Here’s a 2001 Miata with 97,000 miles for $5,999. Find a Subaru BRZ for sale
2013-2016 Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ
The Scion FR-S and the Subaru BRZ are very similar to the Miata. While they make do with only 200 horsepower from a naturally aspirated 4-cylinder, they’re also lightweight, RWD cars that can carry substantial speed through the corners. Best of all, models with about 100,000 miles are available for around $10,000, making them more affordable as a dedicated track day car. Here’s a 2013 BRZ with 85,000 miles for $8,999. Find a Scion FR-S for sale or Find a Mazda Miata for sale
2005-2011 Honda Civic Si
The Honda Civic Si is a great starting point for track day use, even if it is front-wheel drive. They have a rock-solid engine with 197 hp and a reputation for reliability — plus a slick 6-speed manual transmission. And, the Civic Si is available as both a hatchback and a sedan. As you delve further into the hobby, the Civic enjoys a deep aftermarket that can add plenty of options to enhance power and handling. The Civic Si is also pretty affordable; here’s a 2008 with 124,000 miles for just $6,708. Find a Honda Civic for sale
1997-2004 Porsche Boxster
The Boxster is one of the easiest ways to get into a Porsche, and it also makes a fantastic track day car. Boxsters are nimble and well-balanced with their mid-engine configuration, and the flat-six with up to 258 hp provides plenty of grunt. Additionally, they’re pretty affordable with plenty of options under $15,000, and surprisingly reliable — as long as you get the dreaded IMS bearing taken care of. This 2001 Boxster S has 77,000 miles and is listed for just $11,950. Find a Porsche Boxster for sale
1997-2004 Chevrolet Corvette
If your local track has a long straight or you’re craving power, the C5 Corvette is the perfect track day starting point. With up to 405 hp out of a naturally aspirated V8 in the Z06 versions, the Vette has a racing pedigree and will provide plenty of frills. The ideal model for entry-level track day use is the Fixed Roof Coupe, which was lighter and stiffer than the targa and convertible models, and served as the basis for the more powerful (and more expensive) Z06. Find a Chevrolet Corvette for sale
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