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182/197 for road/track use

  BMW E90 M3
Hi all, I've been thinking about something fairly cheap to run on the road and occasionally track. My current car is a BMW E90 M3 which I bought recently and love, however it's not great for knocking round town (zone 2/3 London) and it's under a BMW extended warranty which specifically excludes track day use. I've therefore been thinking of getting something cheaper to run which will be used for local trips, and also the odd track day. I've been looking at all sorts of options but I'm now leaning towards a Clio, probably a 197 or 182.

As it's going to be used as a sort of daily I need it to be road legal and not too over the top (no decat etc.) so I'm after some advice. I'd like to know the minimum needed to work OK on track while still usable locally. I know the cheapest way of doing it is buying a car already modified, but as I'm looking for something specific I know this will cut down my options, so buying standard and making changes myself might be more likely.

I'd rather it wasn't stripped out, still had a stereo and rear seats, at least initially. In terms of upgrades, are Recaro's OK for occasional track use or should I go for some kind of buckets? If so do they work OK with normal belts - assuming harnesses aren't great for the road, and would need to be attached to a cage or bar? Any seat recommendations welcomed!

A spare set of wheels with more suitable tyres I'm sure would be worth it, would I get away with standard brakes and suspension? I'm not looking to set fast times, just have some fun while staying safe on track.

I know the 197 is a bit heavier, but it's more modern and looks easier to live with on the road, and also comes with better brakes as standard so I'm thinking one of these over the 182.

Finally, is it worth finding a Cup chassis car, and if I did on a 197 would it be pretty much ready to go for either use? Again I'm not expecting a track monster, just something safe and fun.

  Clio 197,with megan'
I run a Clio 197,on both road and track. From what you are saying, a Standard 197 might be just what you are looking for, just look for the usual things, when buying an older car.For track, change the pads,brake fluid, go and enjoy. Go to a track day, speak to people, just to see if that is what you want.


ClioSport Club Member
I'd certainly take a 197 over a 182 for road use. They're worse on fuel, but nicer in every other way in my opinion.

As above, for track use, put in decent brake fluid, decent brake pads and just use it. I wouldn't even bother with a second set of wheels, not initially at least. Just fit decent road rubber. If you find you're doing more days and pushing harder, you can always go further with the modifications further down the line, but a standard car in good health and with decent fluid/pads will be just fine. I did track days in my old 172 with OEM pads and that was fine to be honest, so an upgrade isn't essential unless your driving like a mad man.

A lot of people spend an awful lot of money on upgrades to track cars, but they don't often mean you're having any more fun. Some of the people I know that enjoy it the most are ones doing it in very cheap and very standard cars, so that's where I'd start if I were you.