Although a precious pastime, a fun day at the track is the dream of most gearheads and racing enthusiasts. But sports cars don’t come cheap, and bringing a new car to the track is a surefire way to pile up the bills. However, there are affordable second-hand cars designed to give you the satisfaction you crave when you’re on a budget. Aside from their pocket-friendly prices, these race-spec cars are light, agile and built tough to withstand abuse.
In addition, aftermarket and factory parts are readily available, there is plenty of technical support, and the cars themselves are relatively easy to repair. They may not be the fastest or the most expensive cars on the track, but they will put a smile on the face of whoever is behind the wheel. So it’s time to put the fear behind you and chase your trackday dreams, even when you take a look at this ranking of the best track toys you can buy for $10,000.
10 2001 BMW Z3 ($9,495)
Introduced in 1996, the Z3 has a certain appeal and excellent handling that has made it popular with anyone who enjoys driving. In the short production run, engine options grew from the first 114 horsepower I-4 to the 3-liter I-6 in the 2000-2002 models.
With 228 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque on tap, the 2001 Z3 barks the quarter mile in 14.13 seconds at nearly 96 mph. With its well-tuned suspension, excellent steering and excellent brakes, it’s a blast to drive, and examples like this blue roadster are affordable.
9 2006 Ford Mustang GT ($9,910)
While the base model in the 2006 Ford Mustang range had a 4-liter V6 engine, the GT model had a 4.6-liter V8 unit. The all-aluminum engine, mated to a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic, was good for 300 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque.
It runs the quarter mile in 13.8 seconds, handles excellently, is composed in corners and has powerful brakes that provide excellent stopping power. A new one then started at $26,321 for the GT Premium coupe, but today a good one can be found with a $9.910 price tag†
8 2006 Mazda MX-5 ($8,995)
Thanks to its low weight and easy-to-tune nature, the Mazda MX-5 Miata is not only a best-selling roadster, but also a track favorite. Everything is just perfect – from the affordable price and the reliable/efficient 4-cylinder stunner to the 50/50 front/rear weight distribution.
For 2006, one of its best years, the American MX-5s got a 2-liter I-4 engine that produced 170 horsepower and 140 lb-ft of torque. These nimble and simply styled babies are fun to push along the rails and are cheaply available at used car dealers.
7 2013 Scion FR-S ($9,850)
Developed jointly by Subaru and Toyota, the Scion FR-S boasts a well-balanced chassis and low center of gravity, giving it well-stocked handling. Thanks to its small size and light weight, the FR-S is a good basis for modifications and therefore a favorite of racing enthusiasts.
Power for the 2013 model comes from a Subaru-sourced H-4 engine that delivers 200 horsepower and excellent fuel economy. As a track car, the Scion FR-S delivers pure driving pleasure at affordable prices for good examples with higher mileage such as: this black base automatically†
6 1989 Chevrolet Corvette ($9,900)
Between 1983 and 1996, General Motors produced over 350,000 Chevrolet Corvettes, making them some of the most used sports car bargains. For less than $10,000 you get a small and reliable sports car with an iconic 80s look and a V8 mill that feeds the rear wheels.
Moreover? In addition to the availability of replacement parts, the C4 Corvettes can be tuned to perform better. This red coupe from 1989 with a brown interior and 93.323 on the counter is up for grabs up for grabs for $9,900†
5 2011 Mazda RX-8 ($9,471)
While it disappoints with fuel economy, the 2011 Mazda RX-8 is a unique sports car worth considering by racing enthusiasts. The high-revving 1.3-litre Wankel rotary engine under the hood delivers 212 hp or 232 hp, depending on transmission choice.
With its athletic handling, responsive steering and plenty of road grip, the RX-8 is fun to drive and easy to live with. This one sparkling black Grand Touring Automatic with four-wheel disc brakes costing just $9,471.
4 1998 Porsche Boxster ($9.995)
With the highest number of victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Porsche passes on its rich racing heritage to each of its models. The 1998 Boxster has a strong chassis and is powered by a water-cooled 2.5-liter flat-6 engine with 201 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque.
As a Porsche, it does not disappoint in its driving dynamics thanks to an almost perfect front/rear weight distribution, low weight, low center of gravity and powerful brakes. With their styling starting to look a bit old, the Boxster 989’s prices are dropping below $10,000 like this model from 1998†
3 2003 Toyota MR2 ($9,900)
When it comes to mid-engine sports cars with cheap price tags, nobody does it better than Toyota in the MR2. Small, light and reliable, an MR2 of any generation is a good choice for adrenaline junkies looking for a reliable track toy.
The 138 horsepower generated by the 2003 model’s 1.8-liter engine is sufficient for the 2,195-pound car, while the mid-engine layout produces near-perfect handling. Plus, the 2003 MR2 has huge tuning potential to make it work better, and used ones are cheap on the market.
2 1998 Mitsubishi 3000GT ($8,500)
Although the elegantly styled 1998 3000GT is beginning to show its age, it is set against more modern sports cars, but it remains an affordable track car. With the vehicle’s significant weight, the 218 horsepower and 205 lb-ft of torque available in the SL model don’t raise any hair.
The good news, however, is that it excels at handling, cornering and braking and can be modified to perform better. While the prices of some 3000GT models are steadily rising, if you know where to look you will still find good under $10,000†
1 2007 Nissan 350Z ($8,900)
The Nissan 350Z is not only one of the best options for a cheap trackday car, but it is also a great car for enthusiasts. Under the hood is a 3.5-litre V6 engine that can be easily tuned to produce 400 American ponies for credible track performance.
In addition, the 350Z is well balanced, sounds great, handles nimble, has strong brakes and has a large community of dedicated enthusiasts. Still one of the best performing cars out there, they show up often less than $10,000†