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Old 06-15-2017, 03:27 PM   #1
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Just getting into this

I'm very new to this sport and looking at this long term. I looking for a car and have options between a base or s model. Right now it will be learning the basics with the intent to eventually progressing to competition. Do I get the s model or base? Am
I limiting my options later on in this adventure by getting an s model?

Thanks
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Old 06-15-2017, 03:47 PM   #2
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Hello and welcome to the forum! Other members will likely chime in, but if you're able to get the S instead of the base model, I would go that route, especially if you're planning on tracking the car. I'm attaching a link to our site's DIY tech articles on the 986 platform, this will be a very useful guide if you're planning on doing the maintenance and fixes yourself down the line. Please let us know if you have any questions and best of luck on the purchase. Let us know what you decide on.

Porsche Boxster 986/987 (1997-2004) Technical Articles
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Old 06-15-2017, 08:58 PM   #3
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If you want to compete, and you're not in the 1%, then build (or work towards building) a spec Boxster. This uses the 986 car (1997-1999), the base 2.5 liter engine. It's by far the most popular PCA racing class. Also legal with the SCCA (class T3) and NASA. You can pick one up for a few thousand dollars. And then spend another $25k making it into a race car. Here's a spreadsheet of parts and costs.

PCA rules are here. Look at the SPB rules starting on page 24.

Fellow Spec Boxster racers hang out here and also on rennlist.

I suggest going to some PCA races in your region and meeting some fellow Spec Boxster racers. They're generally a pretty friendly group.

Last edited by Greg Holmberg; 06-15-2017 at 09:06 PM.
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Old 06-16-2017, 04:44 AM   #4
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Buy whatever car you like for now. Then sell it and buy a pre-built spec boxster. It will be much cheaper unless you can do all the work yourself, including cage fabrication.
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Old 06-16-2017, 06:07 AM   #5
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As others have said - if you can do a lot if not all the work yourself - i'd buy a base model and slowly move towards building it into a Spec Boxster. You can spread the cost of the build over time and see how all the modifications you do affect how the car handles. Just make sure that when you do modify the car - the modifications that you do meet the regulations for Spec Boxsters.
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Old 06-16-2017, 07:53 AM   #6
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The cheapest and easiest way to go Boxster racing is with a Spec Boxster. Spec Boxster's are limited to the early 1997-1999 2.5L models. The later 2.7 and 3.2 liter models can't race in Spec Boxster.

The advantage of Spec Boxster is that the rules keep the cars mostly equal in terms of performance, the cost is reasonable (for Porsche racing), and there are decent size fields in many parts of the country (so there is someone to race against).

Now the later 2.7/3.2 models can race in a variety of racing series and classes but there may or may not be very many of the same or equal cars in your class.

Buying an existing Spec Boxster is almost always cheaper than building one - even if you do most of the work yourself. This is because new parts are expensive and the costs add up quickly. There are a few Spec Boxster build sheets (excel files) floating around on the internet and it might be a good idea to find one and review it. If you can't find one, PM me and I can send it to you.

As rastta said, the advantages to building a Spec Boxster is that you can spread the costs over time and get exactly what you want. But you are sure to pay more in the long run (ask me how I know). Like most things in life, these are tradeoffs and only you can decide which path is best for you.

I would suggest starting in a 97-99 2.5L Boxster if you think you might want to go racing. The early 2.5L cars are also generally the cheapest models. Buy one and do some track days and get some driving instruction.

If you're still hooked, then do more track days and get more instruction. All of this can be done in your still mostly stock Boxster as the stock car has much more capability than the typical novice track driver (assuming that you're a normal human being like the rest of us and not the next F1 star in the making).

If you get to this point, then you'll know a lot more and be able to make an informed decision about whether to buy or build a Spec Boxster as your next step to get into racing.
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Old 06-16-2017, 08:37 AM   #7
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On the other hand, building yourself, if you have the interest, is an excellent way to learn more about the car, finding its weak spots and so on. That's what I would do, but I'm a bit of a nerd.
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Old 06-16-2017, 11:32 AM   #8
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Thanks all for the replies. I would totally start with a base model but they are limited in my region and have the option to buy a 2002 S model for 12k, 39000 miles with replaced IMS/RMS and new clutch - all documented. Seems too good to pass up. Right?
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Old 06-16-2017, 05:34 PM   #9
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That could be a great deal, especially with a few expensive reliability updates done.

Give us a little more info on your path. Track + street driver for DE/TT or immediate dedicated track car. What racing or DE groups run in your region and at what tracks.

If you want to race, you need to choose a class that fits one or more organizations rules to build your car for competition. Seeing what classes run locally should help you decide where you fit and ultimately seal the deal on your budget. $12K sounds good for a start, but the money pit get much deeper and larger quickly,
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Old 06-17-2017, 08:57 AM   #10
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I know the old adage is that's it's always cheaper to buy than to build...but I built mine for just a hair under $30k, and it's race ready. I don't think I could buy a comparable car for much less than that, unless it's a fire-sale type deal. The donor was lowish miles (81k) and in good shape. I gutted the car myself, but the cage fabrication, seat mounting, suspension work, exhaust, and a few miscellaneous items were done by a shop.

If you ultimately want to compete and can use basic hand tools, I don't think it's a bad idea at all to buy a car that could be built into a Spec racer over time. It might also be easier to spread your spending out over time rather than writing a $30-45k check for a race car, but that's obviously a personal thing.
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