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Discussion Starter #1
I've received the question on other boards on what it costs to build a Spec Focus car. Here's an outline of what goes into a typical build, as well as some per event breakdown of costs. This car was built from scratch, so it includes the cost of the car (salvaged, but already repaired).

There are some places where money could be saved - I probably overpaid for the cage, but it was built 100% to my specs by the best builder in the Mid-Atlantic. Didn't need to get 3 sets of wheels, and some of the other pieces (rear subframe and others) could have waited. But it's probably a fairly representative look at what it takes to build a 2.3 liter car. Zetec cars and motors can be had much more cheaply ($1k for running cars in Virginia), so there's a lot of affordability out there if you want to go in that direction...

The car:




Expense Breakdown:

 

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Discussion Starter #4
congratulations on a nice car and excellent driving. Are you allowed to seem weld the car?
Spec rules don't allow for seam welding. However, my experience with the car is that it is VERY stiff from the factory. I was quite surprised that you can easily jack one side of the car at the front jack point and have both wheels off the ground. [strongman] Certainly far stiffer than my 10 point Chromoly-caged 944
 

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The idea of the Spec Focus is:
a really nice quick race car for a minimum expense. So.......the preparation is really minimum. The SVT and 2.3 require very little preparation other than safety items. You see Matt's upgrades, suspension items that are very reasonable,.... and safety.

I have been running Mid Ohio for several years with my SVT, R compunds, Koni yellows, and carbo tech brakes. times 1:57+
In a Spec Focus I can do 1:47:040. That is about eleven seconds faster.
Others did 1:45:6-- fastest laps.

This lap time differential I think is due to more camber allowed with the LCR camber plates and rear adjustable subframe, and a loss of about 300+lbs.

That is about all you see when it gets down to significant effects of the race car.

So, a fast car that is relatively an easy build. relative to all the other options out there for Ford types.
 

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What is the bare minimum needed to compete?

For example, if I find a 2001 ZX-3 with umpteen miles, basic requirements would be:
roll cage
steering wheel replacement (no airbag)
window net
incidental costs for events

missing anything? I know there are further upgrades, etc, but I am just looking for bare bones, just getting started basic requirements to race SCCA or NASA SPEC Focus.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
For a zetec car (and I'm not a zetec expert, so don't quote me)

Bare minimum to go racing other than the cage,

- Spec suspension (shocks/struts/springs- available from Ford Racing or from series sponsors
- Swaybar kit (Eibach or similar) 100% essentially as the car won't turn without a 25mm rear bar
- Rear subframe kit if you don't have swaybar mounts on the car - extra camber is a bonus
- Camber plates for the front struts - LCRacing, Steeda, others? Need to run 2.25 degrees at least
- rear discs if you don't have them - though it may be easier to get the whole SVT kit from Ford - rotors/calipers/mounting brackets. All pre-engineered and bolt on

That'll get you out and racing.

After that, with a zetec car, you're going to want to add

-Ford Racing Cylinder Head
-Cosworth intake
-Race exhaust of your choice
-Cold Air Intake
-Throttle body
- Ford torsen or Quaife diff

Zetecs will make good power, but you need to be able to rev the piss out of them (7000 rpm plus) to make them competitive. My understanding is that the cam in the Ford Racing cylinder head is good for 7800 RPM, but don't quote me on that.

It may be cheaper and/or easier to get an older chassis and swap in a Duratec motor. Prices in the DC area for 2.3 liter motors are between $700 and $1000 for good, mid-mileage motors. Food for thought.

Your local ford dealer can get you all of the above parts, or online vendors like LCRacing, CFM, F2Focus, etc. will sell them at significantly reduced prices from MSRP.

If nothing else, put the suspension on your car - even if it's a daily driver. The lastest iteration of the spec suspension will lower your car more than an inch and a half from stock and the struts give it a nice taught feeling - maybe 10% stiffer than SVT from . Great setup.
 

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What is the bare minimum needed to compete?

For example, if I find a 2001 ZX-3 with umpteen miles, basic requirements would be:
roll cage
steering wheel replacement (no airbag)
window net
incidental costs for events

missing anything? I know there are further upgrades, etc, but I am just looking for bare bones, just getting started basic requirements to race SCCA or NASA SPEC Focus.

That is a perfect and cheap way to get started you will need to add the few safty items that you need to run Spec Focus like safty Belts, fire extinguishter,ect.. . You would just need to remove the air bags not change the wheel. I ran the production steering wheel less air bag the first year. Like Impaled said look at the rules and if I can be of any help just pm or e-mail me at [email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Plus - you can sell off the airbags, seats, wheels, and lots of the interior goodies and make yourself back $500 or $1000 to pay for the cage, etc.
 

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ok would u be able to run in the spec focus if u were running a different kinda shocks? say agx's or something of that nature?
You would have to run in PT or HPDE at the NASA event. The Spec Car is for the vehicle built with the spec parts per the NASA rules.
 

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i used to have a focus... now ive got a wrx, but that doesnt really matter, i want another focus and its going to be a spec focus car, however, it will be a spec focus race car, fun weekend car, HPDE car, and hopefully eventually start a following in texas. anyways here is my question, i ask it because i dont want to have just a spec focus car because NASA events only have 2 races a weekend, i want to be able to run in SCCA too, so im wondering at what class it would run in, honestly im not worried about the car being competitive right now in SCCA, but what class would the car slot into? the car i want would be a 2005 ZX3 and depending on the money i have to work with, i would either build the 2.0 to spec or swap in a 2.3. what are your thoughts on my plans and what class in SCCA would the car slot into? thanks

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter #14
First - welcome to the Spec Focus brotherhood - have some of our cool-aid!

Love your plans - here are my thoughts on the Spec Focus build. The nice thing about the 2.3 motor is that you won't run into a lot of costs once the swap is complete - no internal motor work is allowed. It's plug and play. With the Zetec, you're really going to need the Ford Racing Head/Cams and intake manifold sooner rather than later. If you feel comfortable doing that work yourself, that may not be a bad way to go. However, I think you'll really like the 2.3 motor a lot better - more torque and less install headaches. Not sure what they run for around your area, but there are running examples in the Wash DC area here for around $700 or so. Cheap Cheap!

You have two choices in SCCA. You can run SSC (Showroom Stock), which requires a full interior, stock suspension, and a bunch of other stock pieces. Or, depending on the year of the car, you can run Improved Touring (ITS). As I understand it, the Focus is uncompetive in SSC - you'll be running against mini coopers, etc. and your build costs will be siginificantly higher to be even remotely competitive.

Your other choice is ITS. ITs cars have to be (I think) at least 5 years old, but a car built to Spec Focus specs can be reasonably competitive. Where you'd still be lagging would be in the suspension department, as ITS allows adjustable suspensions and higher spring rates than Spec, but you could expect to run mid-pack (depending on skill) after a year or two in ITS with a car that is 100% Spec legal. See www.improvedtouring.com for rules and other ITS information. This would mean that your car might not be ITS legal until next year - but you could spend this year getting it built and running spec and D.E.'s this year and run both next year. FWIW, I'm in the same boat with my 2005.

ANother option might be to check out ITE - which in the DC area is the "Catch all" class that allows just about any car. Most of these are big 400hp turbo cars, but you're on the track and qualify/run with the whole field, so you're still racing with the same cars you would be if you ran with ITS or SSC. Check with your local region on what the requirements are.

If you have other questions, feel free to ask or PM, and I'll be happy to talk to you.

Matt
 

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i would perferably want to use a 2005 ZX3 just like the one i used to have, i loved that car, so it would be between either building the 2.0 duratec or the headache of swapping in a 2.3, i should be able to get a 2.3 for about 500-600, there are a bunch of junkyards in houston, i am a very competent mechinic and i feel totally comfortable doing the cams, valves, springs, intake manifold, and all thats needed on a 2.0. but to make the motor competitive it seems like ill have to put another 2 grand in it, but if i could sell my 2.0 and recoup the cost of the 2.3 and then just do the small amount of mods to the 2.3 i could build the car for less, the only problem would be that whole motor swap. what are your thoughts? how hard is the swap?

Matt
 

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how different are the wiring harnesses from the 2.3 to the 2.0? i figured the swap would be straight forward, but you talk about the wiring like its hell... how much of the 2.0s harness could i use? also would i have to change ECU's or could i just flash the engine to run a 2.3? also tuning is allowed, do you need a flasher of some sort? like my WRX you can just flash the stock ECU without a tuner/flasher... can you do the same with the foucs ECU? i have a bunch of questions if you can tell... ive got a lot more if you dont mind

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter #18

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how different are the wiring harnesses from the 2.3 to the 2.0? i figured the swap would be straight forward, but you talk about the wiring like its hell... how much of the 2.0s harness could i use? also would i have to change ECU's or could i just flash the engine to run a 2.3? also tuning is allowed, do you need a flasher of some sort? like my WRX you can just flash the stock ECU without a tuner/flasher... can you do the same with the foucs ECU? i have a bunch of questions if you can tell... ive got a lot more if you dont mind

Matt

The 2.0 Duratec and the 2.3 Duratec harnesses are interchangable. I have been going 2.0 to 2.3 back and forth all year in the same car. I keep 2 ecu's 1 2.3 and 2.0
 

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Discussion Starter #20
[deviltail] ^^^^^ The man himself speaks
 
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