Opel GT Forum banner
1 - 20 of 39 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I have been fascinated with Opel GTs since I saw a guy putting a wide body kit on one in his driveway while ridding my bike through my neighborhood, which, was a long time ago.
My hobby now is road track racing in my CMC Camaro but have always wanted to get a GT 4 banger race car.
I have a solid body in primer ready to start but I just can't settle on where to start.
Make it a stock vintage race car?
Gut it, put a Ecotech 4 cylinder and gut the suspension for something beefier?
I really wanted to put a whole new frame under but understand the car is a Unibody which makes that tougher.
Does anybody know of any articles or post that could give my some guidance to help decide?
I have no mechanical experience with a GT but I am a decent shade tree mechanic. I am willing to have professionals to do the critical work.
I've never seen one in my area on the track. My home track is VIR in Danville, VA.
I know its going to be expensive and a will never regain that money but it sounds like a good time.
Any advice, leads to articles would be appreciated.
Thanks Lee
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,115 Posts
check out Knorms gt for starters, He has his set up for racing, There are a few here that are of the racing breed as well as other opels
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
14,293 Posts
Decide if you just want to play racer (track days), or actually race (sanctioned wheel-to-wheel racing).

Figure which sanctioning body you would run with (SCCA, NASA).

Figure what class you’d like to run with within that sanctioning body.

Look up the rules for the given class.

That is your starting point. You build to a set of rules…that includes safety, engine upgrades (or swaps if allowed), wheel/tire limits, etc.

I say all this because if you put an Ecotec into your GT and show up to an SCCA race, they have no place in their rules to let you run and be competitive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,115 Posts
Speaking of one of the racing breeds LOL
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
6,068 Posts
We have (had?) a member here, Jeff Denton from Montana, who was very active in his local circuit track racing an Opel GT. He has been quiet for almost 15 years (last visited in 2009), but some of his experiences, problems and solutions might be worth a read. He had a dedicated Forum, which can be found at:


HTH
 

·
Pedal Smasher
1973 Opel GT
Joined
·
2,882 Posts
As Rally Bob said, you need to figure out if you want the car for track time or to compete. If you want to compete, then the rules will dictate everything you can do. If you wanted to compete with a GT in SCCA, they list the Opel GT under F production (1.9L) and H production (1.1L). So, you could build a Conrero GT replica for F production and go race that. That would be a lot of fun. I also have a copy of the FIA homologation papers for the GT if you want / need them.

SCCA said:
PRODUCTION
Series produced cars, which are allowed a range of performance modifications while retaining their original design, structure and drive layout. There is no age limit, such as Showroom Stock, so Production includes many cars as old as 50 years and as new as current body styles. The three performance potential based classes include: E Production (EP), F Production (FP) and H Production (HP).
EP is the fastest of the Production classes with HP running the slowest in the category. Several cars in the Production classes can be run in more than one class, just by changing the engine between races. The ease of engine changes allows many Production drivers to enter more than one class at the Runoffs each year. Cars included in Production classes come from a diverse group ranging from the MG Midget, Turner, Fiat X1/9, Alfa Romeo Spyder, Austin Healey Sprite, and Lotus Super 7 to the BMW 325, Mazda Miata, RX-7, Nissan 240, Honda Civic, Suzuki Swift GTI and Toyota MR-2.
Conrero GT for reference... I think this picture was taken during one of the Targa Florio races.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,167 Posts
Check your "conversations". V.I.R wouldn't let me on the track because I didn't have a remote disconnect for the battery. That was a couple of years ago. Here is some history of the last race I attended before they shut down in 1974. There were a few Opels there, one rolled. VIR - 1974 October SCCA Regionals - the Last Race at VIR
 

·
Can Opeler
Joined
·
3,757 Posts
It really depends on what class you want to race. My GT is set up for autocross. I’ve won Race class in SCCA autocross locally 3 seasons in a row. My actual class is HCR but we compete for FTD in wider classes in my region (ie street, tuned, prepared, race, instead of HS, FSP, etc).

My GT has pretty much all period correct mods. Front and rear sway bar, lowering springs, koni shocks, ZF LSD, 3.67 rear gears, stock European 2.0L CIH with a single DCOE, headers, lightened flywheel, and lower control arm supports/strut rods.

I also have a trailer hitch, and AC which despite adding much weight makes my car almost perfect 50/50 left to right, 50/50 cross distribution, and 51/49 front/rear weight distribution. Not saying you should “Complicate and add weight.” But it works for me lol :p

I’m also running Toyo Proxes RR on 225-45-15 tires with ET0 to get the car a bit wider.

My car kicks butt at autocross. I have the lowest HP car at every event and usually end up in the top 25% of times because the GT is very balanced and forgiving at autocross.

On a real track my GT is on par with a stock NC miata with 200 treadwear tires. My GT can take the corners much faster, but I can NEVER pass anyone in the straights. People will wave me by to pass after I ride their butt through a corner, but even if they slow down, my GT can’t pass them lol. I don’t have the balls to pass in the corners either.

If you want to be competitive on a real track with modern cars you are going to have to spend a bunch of money on performance mods. You can build a 2.0L CIH up to a respectable HP, but it’s expensive. The suspension on a GT isn’t great, but it can hold its own against stock or lightly upgraded modern cars with the mods I have.


Personally I prefer to keep things period correct. There’s something about driving a 50+ year old car with even older technology on the track with modern sports cars and just wringing the ever loving crap out of the car to keep up and even embarrass a few of them. Plus if you lose you can always blame it on low HP, carb problems, etc lol
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,167 Posts
If one has the time, and the inculcation, Opel Gt's, and Mantas, ran quite a bit at V.I.R. See here, VIR History - Virginia International Raceway History, starting in the 70s. This is where I saw my first Manta Rallye and fell in love. The Gt's did fairly well in their class as well as the Mantas.
 

·
Opeler
Joined
·
316 Posts
I think if he built a GT to compete in ITB, he'd also be able to compete in FP. ITB's rules look to be more specific than FP's.
Yes except for brakes ,transmission and most motor mods rules are similar. Needs a fuel cell for production . Be glad to help him if he wants to go racing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'm thinking mostly for track fun. I'd love to have a kick ass 4 banger track day car. I have a "Camaro Mustang Challenge" Z28 in NASA to get my jollies out. I love projects and this one will be my next one.
Frustrates me seeing all the BMW and Miata's at the track. We need some cars with more character.
Thanks a lot for all the info. I'll do some research and see what my next step will be.
 

·
Pedal Smasher
1973 Opel GT
Joined
·
2,882 Posts
Well in that case, you can do whatever you want. I would still recommend keeping the CIH and build it as a historical race car. I think you’ll enjoy trying to maximize performance while keeping the car period correct. And this keeps your options open if you ever want to join the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association.
Tire Wheel Vehicle Automotive tire Motor vehicle
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
131 Posts
So, I have been fascinated with Opel GTs since I saw a guy putting a wide body kit on one in his driveway while ridding my bike through my neighborhood, which, was a long time ago.
My hobby now is road track racing in my CMC Camaro but have always wanted to get a GT 4 banger race car.
I have a solid body in primer ready to start but I just can't settle on where to start.
Make it a stock vintage race car?
Gut it, put a Ecotech 4 cylinder and gut the suspension for something beefier?
I really wanted to put a whole new frame under but understand the car is a Unibody which makes that tougher.
Does anybody know of any articles or post that could give my some guidance to help decide?
I have no mechanical experience with a GT but I am a decent shade tree mechanic. I am willing to have professionals to do the critical work.
I've never seen one in my area on the track. My home track is VIR in Danville, VA.
I know its going to be expensive and a will never regain that money but it sounds like a good time.
Any advice, leads to articles would be appreciated.
Thanks Lee
Hi Lee- VIR you said? I'll be there in April to race my Kadett GT/E... The group that I race with is VDCA- Vintage Drivers Club of America... Hope to see you there. Ernie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
I can't comment much on the Opel GT specifically because I haven't seen one on track here, but I think a great way to compete with one would be in Vintage Racing. I run a 1963 Elva Courier in SOVREN on the West Coast and it is a blast. Not super expensive either. Light cars don't go through brakes and tires like the big V8 monsters so your operating costs are fairly reasonable (as racing goes). I think an Opel GT would run in Group 1 or Group 2 in SOVREN or SVRA depending on the extent of modifications. The groupings are by power to weight, lap times, experience, etc. to try and keep a competitive and balanced grid. The cars are set up to SCCA Production Car Specification, so if the Opel is a 1900cc for example it could be set up to 1972 Edition rules. "Period Correct" racing modifications are allowed and there are the normal restrictions on tire and wheel sizes, minimum weight, brakes, engine displacement, etc. These events are about safety and enjoyment, not trophies. A thumbs up and a nod of respect from a retired professional race driver is about the best award you can get. We race about 3-4 times a day during a weekend and although we aren't as aggressive as we might be if there was a huge purse for the winner, I can tell you that it is fast and competitive wheel to wheel racing. You might have CS Mini Coopers, Formulas Vees, , EP Porsche 914s and DP Triumphs GT6's all on the track at the same time so it makes things very interesting with lots of passing and being passed. There's sometimes great battles up front, mid-pack and way in back all taking place at the same time. It's a wonderful way to go racing and I'm sure people would enjoy seeing an Opel GT out there dicing it up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I have thought about historic racing. Sounds like fun. I could probably use the car for Champ Car too.
I have some buddies that run BMWs in Champ Car. Worrisome in Champ Car seems there are alot of people who shouldn't be racing out there. I've seen alot of tore up cars after those races.
I know its all part of it but I don't like tearing up my car or someone else's.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
So, I have been fascinated with Opel GTs since I saw a guy putting a wide body kit on one in his driveway while ridding my bike through my neighborhood, which, was a long time ago.
My hobby now is road track racing in my CMC Camaro but have always wanted to get a GT 4 banger race car.
I have a solid body in primer ready to start but I just can't settle on where to start.
Make it a stock vintage race car?
Gut it, put a Ecotech 4 cylinder and gut the suspension for something beefier?
I really wanted to put a whole new frame under but understand the car is a Unibody which makes that tougher.
Does anybody know of any articles or post that could give my some guidance to help decide?
I have no mechanical experience with a GT but I am a decent shade tree mechanic. I am willing to have professionals to do the critical work.
I've never seen one in my area on the track. My home track is VIR in Danville, VA.
I know its going to be expensive and a will never regain that money but it sounds like a good time.
Any advice, leads to articles would be appreciated.
Thanks Lee
So, I have been fascinated with Opel GTs since I saw a guy putting a wide body kit on one in his driveway while ridding my bike through my neighborhood, which, was a long time ago.
My hobby now is road track racing in my CMC Camaro but have always wanted to get a GT 4 banger race car.
I have a solid body in primer ready to start but I just can't settle on where to start.
Make it a stock vintage race car?
Gut it, put a Ecotech 4 cylinder and gut the suspension for something beefier?
I really wanted to put a whole new frame under but understand the car is a Unibody which makes that tougher.
Does anybody know of any articles or post that could give my some guidance to help decide?
I have no mechanical experience with a GT but I am a decent shade tree mechanic. I am willing to have professionals to do the critical work.
I've never seen one in my area on the track. My home track is VIR in Danville, VA.
I know its going to be expensive and a will never regain that money but it sounds like a good time.
Any advice, leads to articles would be appreciated.
Thanks Lee
Hello, I am also in the middle of a 70 Gt build. It has been a very slow process however I’m not in any hurry. I installed a ford 9” fab rear end. Rear four link with square tube to front unibody. I have a ecotec mounted to a 4L60e trans.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,413 Posts
Very nice. It would be cool to see a picture of your rear suspension mods.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
That's the good thing about Historic racing. The racers are respectful of the cars. There is no contact on the track without major consequences. Some folks with super valuable cars might run 90% and that is okay. Those of us with less expensive cars go all out. I've thought about running an Opel GT but it seems like the archaic front suspension design and the lack of available performance equipment (compared to most British or American race cars out there) could make it more difficult. Still, the idea of getting on track with a Conrero or Steinmetz replica car is awesome.
 
1 - 20 of 39 Posts
Top