Buy a car hoist: If you want to get serious about racing, you are going to need something better than jack stands and a creeper for the inevitable repairs. This two-pole hoist can handle up to four tons, and is a huge improvement over lying on a glorified skateboard and reaching up to make repairs. And for around $2500, you might even have a bit extra left to cover the installation. Plus, a garage with a hoist could become a very nice selling point in the event that you end up moving.
Setup a LeMons team: Okay, so you’ll need a few other like-minded idiots for this one, but with your freshly minted tax return, you and your team will be able to snag a car and make the necessary upgrades safety modifications.
Buy racing tires: Whatever form of racing you enjoy, the rubber you use will play a key role in improving your performance. If you are a track driver, than your options are nearly endless. BF Goodrich’s R1 g-Forces are a fine selection, and with a price that’s just south of $400 per tire, you’ll have money to spare for…
Buy lightweight wheels: Reducing unsprung weight is the Omega-3 fish oil of the racing world. It’s going to be very good for you and your car (without the fishy aftertaste!). One of the best ways to do that is to get a lightweight set of wheels. There’s a massive variety of wheels for just about every budget. We’re partial to these Enkeis, sold in a set of four. At 20 pounds per wheel, they aren’t the lightest on the market, but for around $640, they represent a pretty decent deal.
Outfit yourself: Safety is not something to joke about. Accidents can and do happen in racing, and you need to be ready to deal with it. A helmet, firesuit, gloves, and shoes are all worthwhile investments that can make the difference between a simple wreck and severe burns or death. Don’t mess around on this one. Simpson makes some great stuff, including fire suits, helmets, gloves, and shoes.
Buy tickets to a race: We’ll call this one a reminder of what you are aspiring to. Racing is on the rise in the US, with Nascar, F1, MotoGP, Australian V8 Supercars, ALMS, Rolex Grand-Am, and IndyCar all competing for your dollars. With this kind of money, you could conceivably fly a race anywhere in the continental US, put yourself up in a decent hotel room for a weekend, and snag some pretty decent seats.
Buy racing seats: Like the fire suits, wheels, and tires, this one is really down to the individual. Recaro, Corbeau, Sabelt, and Sparco all make some fine seats, and it’s going to come down to individual cost and body size. Sparco’s Pro2000 is a popular choice, and with a price of around $760, it’s fairly reasonable in the grand scheme of things.
Buy a roll cage: Yet another must have safety item, this one must be tailored to your specific model of car. It’s a worthwhile upgrade, and you’ll be happy you bought one if you car ever goes shiny side down.
Buy a racing steering wheel: Airbags and superfluous controls make modern steering wheels fine on public roads, but less than ideal in a track situation. If you are really serious about your track car, you’ll want that airbag gone as soon as possible, and you’ll want to make sure you can get every ounce of feedback from the steering wheel. Momo’s steering wheels cover both bases and look quite good in the process. We’re partial to the suede-rimmed wheels, like the one pictured above.
Go to a performance driving school: If you want to get the absolute most out of your vehicle and become a safer driver in the process, you need to attend a performance driving school. Prices can range from $1500 for a one-day class to over $3000 for longer and more advanced classes. Considering just what you can get out of a single day of tutelage, those prices look like an absolute steal.