• Sep 23rd 2008 at 3:56PM
  • 13
In these tight economic times, the project car budget typically gets left on the cutting room floor. Fortunately for addicted enthusiasts there are resources, such as Grassroots Motorsports Magazine, to prove that it is still possible to put together a prize winning ride for only a few bills. Just in time to save the wavering automotive habit of frugal individuals comes the Kumho Tires Grassroots Motorsports $2008 Challenge. For the past nine years, the magazine crew dedicated to amateur motorsports has organized an annual competition of cars built around a budget equal to the current year in dollars. It may sound impossibly restrictive, but some competitors even come in under the cap. The 2007 champion, a Chevrolet Corvette sucker-car, managed to top the field for less than two grand. The monetary limitation forces creative and innovative back-yard engineering amongst the entrants.

The $2008 Challenge will take place October 3 – 4 at Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville, FL. The cars will spend a grueling two days dueling it out on the autocross course, drag strip and even the parking lot for a car show. Competitors should also be brushed up on their accounting skills since they are required to keep an itemized list of all their expenses. This detail keeps the event fair and also offers the magazine's readership inspiration to create their own budget racers. Follow the jump to for the official press release.

[Source: Grassroots Motorsports]


Sept. 22, 2008 – ORMOND BEACH, Fla.

It's not easy to build a racer that handles and performs like a supercar. Tack on a $2008 budget, and the task becomes seemingly impossible-unless you're a competitor at the Kumho Tires Grassroots Motorsports $2008 Challenge.

For the ninth consecutive year, Grassroots Motorsports magazine has challenged its readers to buy, build and race a car on a tiny budget. Each year, some of the craziest car nuts in the country have risen to the challenge and built penny-pinching powerhouses.

This year's Challenge will be held October 3-4 at Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville, Fla. Keeping with tradition, the budget has increased by one dollar to $2008.

Despite the low budget, past entries have been able to outrun exotic supercars with 10-second quarter-mile passes, and they've done so while looking good enough to wow seasoned concours judges.

And while this event is no clunker-fest, you can expect to see some pretty outrageous machinery. Entries from the $2007 Challenge included a Zamboni that traded the ice rink for the autocross track. Also entered was a twin-turbo Corvette fitted with some special features: An additional engine and fan created a Chaparral-inspired suction unit that glued the car to the track. Looking at this event's history, it seems that the outrageousness and performance levels of Challenge creations increase every year.

Competitors and their cars are judged on how well they perform in three areas: autocrossing, drag racing and concours. And, of course, Challengers may not spend more than a total of $2008 to build their vehicles. Some trading and selling is allowed, but each vehicle entered must be accompanied by a detailed budget that itemizes each and every dollar spent.

For complete details, including rules, a schedule and a list of entrants, see http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/events/2008-challenge/

For details and videos from last-years' $2007 challenge, including the budget for the $2007 Challenge-winning Vette sucker car, see http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/events/07-challenge/

Grassroots Motorsports is the how-to magazine for the serious sports car enthusiast. From profiles of new sports cars to in-depth--and occasionally off-the-wall--project cars, for 25 years each issue of GRM has been packed with practical tips helping real-world sports car enthusiasts get race car performance out of their daily drives. To receive a free trial copy of Grassroots Motorsports, request one online at grassrootsmotorsports.com/try/ or call the magazine's offices at 800-520-8292.

[Source: Grassroots Motorsports]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      I leave from ontario canada Wed. morning towing down an 89 turbo Si civic for the event. Should be good times.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I sometimes question some of these cars, especially the ones that win or finish near the top. How do you get a Corvette for $2000, let alone prepare it for racing? Seems like lots of silly stuff is going on and receipts are being hidden so the $2008 limit can be met.
        • 7 Years Ago
        GRM's reciept/budget scheme has a lot of provisions for creativity. for instance: You can buy an 8k corvette and sell 8k worth of its parts to bring your expenses to $0.
      • 7 Years Ago
      shouldn't be that hard if you know where to look. I haven't researched the rules, like do the racecars have to be street-registered and whatnot. But, a buddy of mine has a pair of S13 240sx's in his back lot, both are rolling chassis. I could get one of those from him for free. Then 2 grand goes into finding a decent shape LS1 + tranny to put in it, Maybe 300zx brake swap and some suspension work.

      The matte black looks good on the vette - you can get tractor paint that is super cheap like that, and spray it yourself.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Shoot I got my running 240sx, with decent modifications already for $1300. Then all I would do is fix the suspension some and be off. I bet I could do a lot more if I had the fab skills.

        I wouldn't expect those 240s your buddy has to go for more than $500 market value, depending on the condition of the bodies. That would leave enough room to do some cool things.
        • 7 Years Ago
        "Free" isn't allowed.

        Parts that are given to the competitor by a company or person must be figured into the budget at fair market value. Nor can parts be stripped and sold for a total more than the purchase price of the car.

        They've been doing it long enough to close the loopholes.

        A local group won a few years back with a V8 Miata.

      • 7 Years Ago
      Yep.. by far the best mag out there. Rather then a bunch of silly biased reviews all the time you can read informative articles in GRM. My sub came as a gift and I have been renewing ever since.

      BTW, I have a couple of friends taking a 1st Gen RX7 with a BMW power plant to the challenge. I wish them luck. I wish it didn't fall on the same weekend as the Petit Le Mans though. I would go but I will be at the race. GRM is based in the south east, you would think they would ovoid that weekend.
      • 7 Years Ago
      From the Challenge rules:
      The maximum amount of money that can be recouped in a budget is $1004. This includes parts cars, parts deals and the Challenge car itself.

      If you are skeptical about the validity of the Challenge, come to the event. There is no charge for spectators, the cars are amazing, and you'll meet a ton of wonderful gearheads. The ingenuity of these builders is mind blowing!
      • 7 Years Ago
      What a cool competition! I agree with the other posts; there probably is a bit of trickery going on but getting deals at a salvage yard or auction is not unheard of. Labor is the expensive stuff! :) That Corvette from last year sure looks nice for 2 grand though!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Hugh, if you go to the GRM site the sucker vette's complete build diary is online. You can see exactly how they did it. Challenge competitors have both deal-finding skills and fabrication skills mere mortals can only dream of.

      And the 'vette had been badly wrecked. That's how they picked it up cheap.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Best magazine competition ever. GRM is the best mag on the shelf.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Gotta agree with this, I think their 'Budget Supercars" issue was the last car magazine I bought before relying solely on the interweb.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Too bad I'm in school on the 3rd. I'd love to go -- I'm only a few hours away.
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