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$2000 Challenge: Like a fast family reunion for hardcore car nerds | Articles

$2000 Challenge: Like a fast family reunion for hardcore car nerds | Articles

It’s not just an event. For a legion of builders, our $2000 Challenge represents a way of life–or at least a holistic approach to project car management. 

I think GRM Challenge participants are a different breed of project car enthusiasts,” notes David Brown, a longtime entrant. “It makes you develop a mindset that’s more about being efficient and creative than merely being cheap. 

I still use the same processes on builds that are not $2000 builds–exactly what we’re doing with these track builds. Don’t think I could be doing all this if I never read your magazine and took the plunge to enter my first event in 2007.”

The budget cap, David explains, helps contain scope creep. The event deadline keeps the project on schedule. 

He also has experience with decidedly higher-budget endeavors–building jetliners–as by day he’s a manufacturing engineer at Boeing and works on the 787 Dreamliner. David has been using our $2000 Challenge, plus his own track events, to get more people involved in the sport. Each car in his fleet gets its own project manager, while sticking with just two BMW chassis helps with part interchangeability. At the end of the day, he notes, it’s all about manufacturing. 

David, his crew and another fleet of merry builders descended upon Florida’s Gainesville Raceway May 27-28 for the Grassroots Motorsports $2000 Challenge presented by Tire Rack. The event, the original low-buck speed contest, still features our usual, proven format: drag racing, autocross and concours judging. 

1st: McSpool | 1999 Mazda Miata

Photography Credit: Dave Green

  • Class: GTU$
  • Autocross Time: 50.315 sec.
  • Drag E.T.: 11.804 sec.
  • Concours Score: 20.00 pts.
  • Budget Spent: $1980.52

While looking for an LS, Mikey Hoffstetter found a BMW N54, the brand’s twin-turbo engine from a decade-plus ago that found its way into numerous sedans, coupes and SUVs. On this example, both turbos, aftermarket replacements, were bad. He still bought it. 

To fit the engine into his Miata chassis, though, Mikey had to cut, cut and cut some more. He relocated the radiator to the trunk. Mikey’s sister, Jessica, painted the WWII-theme nose art on the doors. (That’s Marilyn Monroe on one side.)

After making its $2000 Challenge debut last year, the Meemer, as it’s known, returned with some upgrades: the least expensive…

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