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On Topic Going from zero to achieving the dream.

Hi there,

I'm new to these forums, and I've poked around a bit but can't seem to find the specific answers to my questions.

A bit about myself. I'm 30, and I live nowhere near where the racing I want to get into takes place. I come from a place so far back in the bush you have to come out to hunt if you know what I mean. I've gone both mudding and crawling, and all I can say is I find both extremely slow. I want something faster, I want the Baja! So, given that there are few in my town that have even seen a baja race let alone raced in one, the information is a little hard to come by so you'll have to forgive some of these questions.

Now with that out of the way, let's get to business. let's pretend that I've already done the rent to race program, and I loved it.

Where do I go now?

The races: Baja 250, Baja 500, Baja1000, Vegas to Reno, Ice racing? if that ever becomes a thing. I'm in no rush to buy, I'm just trying to get an idea of what I'm asking here.

What class of vehicle should I be looking at?
what class would allow me to be competitive in as many races as possible. From what I understand, those races are basically every one competes against everyone.

2x4 or 4x4?
I hear pros and cons for both sides I was hoping this would be debatable.

What should my budget be?
I'm obviously not talking about a $800K trophy truck right out of the gate, I have nowhere near that kind of cash, and it's way above my skill level. At the same time I refuse to start off anything less than 300hp.

Buying the whole vehicle or buying it in parts?
Installing and assembly I can do, but engineering I can't. I enjoy the accomplishment you feel when you've done it yourself, to say "I made that". But even with a bit of mechanical experience would I still be getting in over my head?

  • Buy Used? The classifieds that I come across are either dated, or I have reservations about because I'll have to buy site unseen. (I've wasted time and money before going all the way down somewhere to buy a jeep years ago just to find out it was already sold) I am still open to this idea but like I said, it's really not my preferred option.
  • Buy New? A new already welded frame. What are my options and who do you suggest? If someone has gone this route what are your experiences with different companies?
That's kind of what I was hoping for, I found bits of info here and there. I know it's a question asked a lot, but there's a lot of sorting through the excess to get the info.


Well-Known Member
Well, your first mistake is saying you won't race anything with less than 300 horsepower. That is a horrible attitude. A 1600 car with a fast driver will scare the pants off you and make you wish you were going slower... With 70-75 horsepower. Before you even think about getting into a race car, you should at least learn about what they are, what they're capable of, and what YOU are capable of. Since you have zero experience and just a little more money (I assume), maybe you should actually go to a race and watch first?
Ya, you are right about the horsepower thing, I don't know what I was thinking when I typed that in, it was more I wasn't looking for a Side x Side. As far as the experience thing goes, you're absolutly right, my experience with racing has only ever been on street bikes (track days) and in the snow and mud. That's why I'm looking for knowledge. Money wise, I know how to save and I've been doing it for a few years now. I can afford a used racer, or to do a slow build over the next few years with something new.


Well-Known Member
They're saying you'll be here today, and gone tomorrow so it's not worth lecturing you...

Josh 8

Well-Known Member
Wow... Let me opologies for a few here on the site. They can be rude and don't realize if they have nothing good to say they should just be silent.

If you want to get into racing, jump in a plane next week and be in Las Vegas the night if the 15th. Check out tech and contingency for the race. It's a great place to see the cars and talk to people. Then the next day you can watch the race. You will leave with a better understanding. Or do the same for the Baja 1000.

You will learn tons and have a better idea of what is involved.
Thank you for that, I didn't really take offence. I'm no stranger to forums, and I know it's annoying answering the same questios ever month. Knowing that the person is just another flash in the pan makes it even worse. But I was going to grin and bear it, and get the info I can.

That's for the Vegas to Reno race? I'll try and get the day's off from work. If not I'll have to wait for the Baja 1000 like you suggested.

Thank you again.


Well-Known Member
When in Vegas, head out just past Henderson and you can rent a truck for a 1/3; 1/2 or all day and get an idea about what a limited class vehicle will do in the desert. The guys out there will teach you how to drive and the experience is all inclusive. It really is a great way to "get your feet wet" without buying a car. They have Limited trucks, UTVs and just for the hell of it, take a spin in a Mustang on the drift track. VORE - Las Vegas's Ultimate Off Road Driving, Tours & Drifting Experience
I just checked out the site, looks like a great time. But, I just got a responce from the boss "too many loads, too few drivers" as usual. So I won't be getting the time off. When is the best time to head down to the baja 1000?


Well-Known Member
Krueger- The Baja 1000 is not the place to go for a first race unless you are hooked up with a team, especially a peninsula run. For a first race, I would suggest a loop race in the States. Something that you will get maximum exposure at, see lots of cars many times. I would especially suggest Rage at the River or Battle at Primm. These are both SNORE races, but the smaller organization allows you maximum exposure to teams, contingency, etc... Plus hotel rooms are cheaper at these races and logistics are much simpler. Rage will be coming up shortly after the 1000, so the wait won't be that long and by that time, you will be looking forward to getting out of the cold. Trying to go to the 1000 from 4000 miles away for a first race? Logistical nightmare unless someone experienced is setting it up for you and all you have to do is fly to San Diego or La, get a ride into Mexico, find the person setting this up for you, and jumping in their ride to follow the race 1200 miles south... And then get back the same way.


Well-Known Member
That's kind of what I was hoping for, I found bits of info here and there. I know it's a question asked a lot, but there's a lot of sorting through the excess to get the info.
No one is going to give you the magic bullet to plan your racing program. You are going to have to do the work yourself to figure out what's best for you. Surfing a forum isn't going to cut it.

Since you are stating you don't want a low hp used car you don't really have a good idea what you are getting into. That's why you see the pushback here. Your expectations are not realistic. If you can't get the time off to go to a race now, how are you going to get the time to build a car? Let alone one you know nothing about in terms of how it needs to go together. After you get a car you need to transport, store and maintain the car. If you are starting from nothing getting a car, tools, gear, etc will be US$20k-40k assuming you have a tow vehicle and some basic tools already. Then figure a few grand a race for a sportsman class, more for something like the Mint 400 or Baja 500/1000. Assuming you don't wad the thing up too badly. How are you going to crew this thing?

You're in the middle of nowhere in terms of desert racing. You've never raced anything. You have limited free time. You are the prime candidate to rent a ride for any racing you do. Plenty of people down here can do just that for you. I don't want to pee in your cornflakes but the anvil of reality says you're better off as a ride buyer and not a car owner.


Well-Known Member
I agree, rent it.
Ontario, wow, long distance. Unable to get off work and a flight to Vegas next Wednesday PM, not a good sign. Doesn't want a UTV...

1 - Rent it
2 - Buy an already built WORCS or GNCC UTV and race GNCC's, its way closer to you. Get into it some before deciding if Baja is really your Everest. And GNCC racing is HUGE and totally affordable.

Forgot to ask.... Give a ballpark $ amount you are willing to throw at a race car.
Both outright (used) and if you build it over a few years.

And, a little story... being a bike guy with more Baja racing experience than likely anyone doesn't mean I know beans about building buggies. And now that we're building a buggy, my advice is DON'T DO IT. Just buy something 95-100% ready to roll.
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Boom yes! This guy^ bajabound.

Cuts to the point, no I can't take off work with only 3 days notice. A shame yes, but the nature of the beast. If it was a week and 5 other guys weren't already taking it off I could probably swing it.

I'll look into them, maybe I was to quick to rule out all options. I just thought I was a little too old for that kind of racing
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Well-Known Member
The best way to get exposure is to get yourself embedded with a team. Volunteer, pay your own way, put your money where your mouth is, show them you're willing to work hard, put your hands on a race car, help with pits and such. Then when you get a few races under your belt helping with a team you will know whether you want to race that kind of vehicle or look at a different kind, that is (buggy, truck, or UTV)

I agree 100% with what Tim (Bajaboundmoto) said. Don't think that anyone here is telling you not to pursue your dream of racing, but understand where most are coming from. Unless you have an unlimited budget it can take years to be able to do what you want to do, and these guys have done just that. For instance, if you go into the "Shop, Show and Tell" section and look at some of the build threads you will see some awesome builds and they look like they came together quickly, but then when you start looking at the dates and realize that some of these guys have spent 5 plus years just building a pre-runner and they have easy access to off-road parts because they live in So Cal or Vegas.

Another option for you is to race some short course stuff in Wisconsin and Michigan. Check out TORC for info about their races. I imagine you could find a team there to let you volunteer as well to get exposure while helping work in their pit for a few races, even if it is as a waterboy.