7 of the Best Used Cars to Buy for Your First Time on a Race Track

Have you ever wanted to drive on a race track? If so, then you might be wondering what kind of car to use. Technically, you can use just about any car that can pass a tech inspection, however, that Chrysler Sebring you got as a hand-me-down might not be very fun. In case you have some extra funds lying around for an older car to buy as a track car – or you want something that you can use as a daily driver and a track car – here are seven of the best-used cars to buy.

A Mazda Miata can provide some entry-level, rear-drive fun

A Mazda Miata parked at dusk, the Mazda Miata is one of the fastest cars under $30K
Mazda Miata | Mazda

You may have already heard this one before, but “Miata is always the answer.” While that might not be true when it comes to practicality, it’s definitely true if you’re looking for a cheap car to throw around on a race track. Road and Track said it best by describing the Miata as “cheap to buy, reliable, imminently tunable, and a blast to drive.” Considering you can still find older Miatas for under $10,000 on eBay and other classifieds, we would say that truer words have never been written.

An Acura Integra is cheap and reliable

 An older model Acura Integra is seen in a parking lot.
An older model Acura Integra is seen in a parking lot. | (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

It’s getting harder to find an Acura Integra for sale in decent condition, but they do pop up from time to time. But if you can find one, then we suggest buying it because the Integra might be old, but it’s still reliable. Couple that reliability with its lightweight and rev-happy nature and you’ll have an affordable track car that easily do double duty as a daily driver as well.

The Subaru WRX can do it all

Consumer Reports didn't love the 2021 Subaru WRX
2021 Subaru WRX | Subaru

If you’re looking for a safe car to take on the track that won’t get you into too much trouble in the corners, then the Subaru WRX is a great choice. The WRX has historically been offered as a four-door sedan or five-door hatchback, both of which provide a lot of practicality for everyday driving. But the WRX’s main highlights have always been its all-wheel drive layout and turbocharged BOXER engine. All things considered, the Subaru WRX is a great platform that can do it all, whether it’s on the street or on a race track.

The Ford Mustang is a well-rounded track car

2019 Ford Mustang 5.0 is on display at the 111th Annual Chicago Auto Show.
2019 Ford Mustang 5.0 is on display at the 111th Annual Chicago Auto Show. | (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

The Ford Mustang provides a great balance of track-readiness and street worthiness. Opting for a newer Mustang will give you the flexibility of choosing between a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a V6, and a larger V8. If you’re just getting started on the track, we would recommend getting the four-cylinder model as it still produces a large amount of power and it shouldn’t get you into too much trouble, despite its rear-drive layout.

The Chevy Cobalt SS is an underrated track-friendly compact

2010 Chevrolet Cobalt SS
2010 Chevrolet Cobalt SS | Wikimedia Commons

With 260 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque getting sent to the front wheels via a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, the Chevy Cobalt SS is an underrated monster. According to Road and Track, this sporty compact can handle well as it pulled .92g on the skidpad. What’s even better is that you can currently find clean examples of the Cobalt SS selling for around $7,000 nationwide.

A Honda Civic can teach you a lot on the track

2014 Honda Civic Si, at the 106th Annual Chicago Auto Show.
2014 Honda Civic Si, at the 106th Annual Chicago Auto Show. | (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

Just like the Mazda Miata, the Honda Civic is a staple in the automotive enthusiast world. Its front-drive layout and easy-to-use clutch make it easy to drive on the track and the street. You can also typically find a model year Civic to fit your needs and your budget. Just make sure to get a stick shift model for the most fun or, better yet, find a high-revving Civic SI model to make the most of your track experience.

The Fiat 500 Abarth is an affordably solid choice

If you want something that’s like a cross between a Civic and a Miata, then we recommend searching for a Fiat 500 Abarth. This high-strung Fiat housed a 160-hp, turbocharged 1.4-liter engine matched to a five-speed manual transmission. Pair those stats with a lightweight hatchback chassis and you’ll have a combination that’s as much fun on the track as it is on the street.

Quick, cheap, and reliable track-driving fun

If you’re looking for a good used car to take to the track for your first time, any of these models should do the trick. Not only can you find them for cheap in the classifieds, but you can rest assured that they will all be reliable and forgiving enough for you to learn track driving in a safe manner. Also, they’re much better than a Chrysler Sebring.

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