Street and Track Car? Sub $40K?

For driving in the US, what is a good, modern street car that can drive to the track and then drive on the track at a track day event (not racing) that costs less than $40,000?

At the moment, I'm considering a new Mustang with the 4-cylinder 2.3L Ecoboost engine with the Performance (Track) Package. I have a little trouble saying "Mustang" and "4-cylinder" in the same sentence, but it seems to be an interesting option.

What else is out there?
Just a suggestion Ben, but there are a lot of good Porsches in the $40K range which are decent track day cars and also viable on the road. If you mean a new car (rather than used) it's somewhat limited - think the least expensive are in the $50-60K range, but if you can go with a car that is 2 or 3 years old there's quite a few to choose from.

Personally, i'd go with a 996 or 997 - many can be had for $25-35K in nice shape and then you've got money to play with for track-based improvements - roll bar, fire system, better wheels and shocks, lowering, etc. These are really quick, safe and satisfying cars to drive fast on a track.

Just a thought.....
Tray Houston

For some reason, the new Miatas don't come with manual gearbox.

Used Lotus Exige or Elise​

WHy not a 2015-2016 Mustang 5.0L??​

I'd like to start with a new car. Unless I know the previous owner of a car, I'm concerned that a used track car might have been abused.


Lifetime Supporter
The cars you are considering are street cars you intend to use for track, I would expect you can find a good low mileage, one careful lady owner car that suits your needs and forget about the off lot depreciation, which will be significantly higher once you track it.

From my experience the progression usually goes; get a car I can track, have fun, get more competent, push harder, break something and get stuck at a track as the car's your ride home. Get a trailer so that doesn't happen again, now car is just a track car so start modifying it until it's not a practical daily driver. Wonder why you are spending money modifying said track car when you could get a dedicated race car as you trailer it everywhere anyway. Get a cheap race car, but realize it's not competitive, get another race car!

I'd say skip the iterations and buy a decent race car!


Doug S.

The protoplasm may be 72, but the spirit is 32!
Lifetime Supporter
I keep hearing about what a competent track car the 'Vette is...although I don't like Chevys in particular and GM products in general, I do recognize that the GM line of "LS" engines are particularly competent and the 'Vette seems to have the handling down, too.

Finding a new one for your price is going to be a challenge...but a GOOD, low mileage one might just pop up now and then.

Good luck...if I were choosing, it would be a Ford and particularly one with the Coyote engine, perhaps the Shelby one with the new flat-plane crank...but cost would be a factor on that, too.


Ron Earp
Mustang with track pack​

That is what I'm currently leaning towards. Though as far as I can tell Ford calls that their "Performance Package".

"EcoBoost Performance Package includes unique front air splitter;
larger radiator; upsized rear sway bar; heavyduty front springs;
unique chassis tuning; larger brake rotors with 4-piston front
calipers; 19" Ebony Black-painted aluminum wheels with 255/40R19
summer-only tires; unique electric power-assisted steering (EPAS), ABS
and electronic stability control tuning; Engine Turn aluminum
instrument panel trim; Gauge Pack (oil pressure and boost); spoiler
delete; and 3.55:1 gear ratio with limited-slip rear differential"​

One thing I find curious about the Performance Package is that they delete the spoiler. Does the spoiler on the standard car do anything useful?

Ian Anderson

Lifetime Supporter
Whatever you put on a track is expendable
A huge chance to damage the car in a bump, and pushing hard costs in engine parts!

Buy a track only car, like an old Miata, and a trailer, cage it for your own safety an fit a race harness and fit fire surpression.

Then go out and have fun, learn skills and enjoy your time on the track.

Be prepared for costs, tyres especially, back when racing a formula V the rear tyres got about 80 track miles before being trashed! Though tyre technology has come a long way since my race days. Oil and filter change at least every second track day, once a year new oil in box and diff.


Ron Earp

Get yourself a used Miata, add some springs, dampers, tires, and learn to drive. Participate in a bunch of track days. Have fun. Once you do learn to drive it, and just as importantly how to set it up, you'll be passing plenty of more expensive and powerful pieces of machinery with skill (except for those who have also developed their skills).

Without a doubt, the novice students I've instructed with lower horsepower cars (also generally less expensive too) on average learn the fastest. They can start to use what the car has earlier without worrying that the 450hp engine is going to bite. Slowest learning students I've had? Typically a novice who shows up in their midlife crisis car, little track experience, and a lot of hp. These are just generalizations but mostly I've seen it to be true.

Ben, where do you live? If in the SE there are more track day opps than you can even consider running in a year.