Endurance Events like the Bathurst 6 Hour have only grown in popularity over the last few years, enabling not only seasoned veterans to have a little fun outside of their normal commitments, but also have-a-go heroes to get their shot at racing glory in a fully-fledged race event. Production car racing lies at the forefront of this, and Sparesbox is proud to support a car in this year’s Bathurst 6 Hour Category D class, a Toyota GT86 from Triple D racing.
We thought we’d sit down with David Bailey, team owner and co-driver, to chat about just what goes into making a production racing car ready for the track, how they got into racing, and how Production racing presents a great entry step for anyone looking to get into serious motorsport.
First of all, How Does a Production Racing Car Take Shape? How different is it from Stock?
Essentially, to race what they class a production car, you have to follow a bunch of rules under CAMS. A production car is what they class as a 3E car, so you have to follow all of the 3E rules, plus a few appendixes according to the specific car you’re intending to run in that class. After that, you have to follow the universal safety rules (roll cage, fuel cell etc.) which apply to all cars from GT3 to Production.
Under 3E rules, a production have has to run with no engine modifications, no gearbox modifications, no diff modifications. All it’s allowed is an oil cooler. What we are allowed to do (and where you spend all your time and money) is in performance suspension and race brakes. You’re essentially free to do whatever you want in that respect, as long as you don’t modify any of the original components. I couldn’t go and make a new set of lower control arms to give us more camber, etc. Those original parts have to stay the same, but anything we can do inbetween is open.
That’s why we really focus on putting a good suspension package on the car. On a track like Bathurst, this and a good set of brakes under you will do all of the work.
The cars also run on a controlled tyre, a semi-slick made by Hankook for the last few years. Not a bad tyre in the dry, but not a good tyre once it starts to get wet, especially on an 86. The 86 was designed to be a bit of a fun, tail-happy car for those that like to drift. That’s exactly what we’re trying to dial out in a race scenario with our suspension, because otherwise you lose speed coming out of the corner.
How did you guys come from your background in amateur racing to the level you’re at now?
I started racing back in the mid 80’s and was pretty successful at it. Then in 1990 I raced my first full season in HQ racing, which is still running today. At that time though, we decided it was time to have a family, which as an amateur obviously means one or the other. You can’t buy a house, raise kids and race cars at the same time, so I decided to put it on hold for 2 or 3 years.
22 years later now (laughs), I finally got the chance to get back into it. The dream back when I was younger was to get into Group A or Group C production car racing, because privateers used to fund much more and it was the top-tier of Australian motorsport. Now though, it’s all changed. So we got back into it pretty small, starting with Excel racing, and got the racing bug back after a year of doing that.
Once this was done, we took a look at those doing production car racing these days, and figured that it was the direction we wanted to go in. The Toyota 86 seemed to be the best car in terms of value for money. It’s not overpriced, it’s pretty low powered which means it’s reliable and doesn’t put much stress on it’s engine or gearbox. That’s been in the garage for the last 18 months getting ready, and here we are now!
Finally, how accessible is this level of racing for the track-day enthusiast who wants to go to the next level?
It’s not too hard, because the car is basically standard. Admittedly, you’re gonna tear out the inside of your car, so you have to weigh up whether you want to use your car or buy something secondary that’s ready to race straight out of the bat. I’m going to sell this car for a fraction of what I paid for it, and that’s just the way racing is.
Any car that’s on the homologated 3E list, you can race it in production touring. If it’s less than 5 years old and not Homologated, you can apply to get it put on the list for 3E racing. But you can’t just go and buy an old Volvo V40 for instance (which would be make a good race), because CAMS are trying to keep the entrant cars as new and as fresh as possible. There’s an invitational class that’s made up of cars from the old super saloon cars.
That being said, if you are looking to get into production cars, there’s a class called Class C which is the cheapest and easiest way to get into proper production touring car racing. You can buy ready-to-race Suzuki Swifts and Toyota Echos for $10,000. They’re not quick, but they get you racing.
At the end of the day though, you need to have track experience over everything. You need a CAMS national license, so you can’t just rock up to Bathurst on the day and say ‘Hi, I want to Race’!
You can watch Sunday’s action LIVE at www.bathurst6hour.com.au/live from 9:45am.