Legends Of The Track Day

When Pedey told us we’d be running a motorcycle-powered car theme for this month, I was both excited and worried. On one hand, cars with bike motor swaps are damn cool, but on the other hand they aren’t the easiest thing to find – especially here in the United States where we generally like our cars big with plenty of displacement to match. A GSX-R-powered Mini? Awesome. A Hayabusa-swapped Miata? Sure. A Fireblade-powered Camaro? Maybe not so much…


So while I’m a little disappointed I wasn’t able to uncover any radical bike-powered street builds here on the West Coast (I’m still open to tips if you happen to know of any), I was able to find one of the most common bike-meets-car applications in the North American motorsport scene.


I’m talking about the Legends race car – an example of which I happened to encounter during the Buttonwillow track day earlier this month. Legends were first introduced in the early 1990s as a means of offering racers a car that could be campaigned and maintained on a budget. Today they are raced all over the world, and they have served as a launching point for many drivers destined for super stardom in larger series.


Legends cars run a full tube-frame chassis with coilover suspension and a built-in cage, while the bodies are 5/8th scale renditions of 1930s and ’40s American coupes and sedans. With a driver onboard, they typically weigh around 1,300lbs (590kg).


Engines are Yamaha motorcycle four-cylinder units displacing 1,200 or 1,250cc, and in standard form they’re good for 140-odd horsepower. That might not sound like a lot by race car standards, but remember just how little these things weigh.


Sanctioned Legends races are held on both dirt and paved oval tracks as well as road courses, and the rule book is strict like a spec series to promote a level playing field. Seeing that this was in open track day, this particular car had a few changes from the standard issue Legends car, including full slicks rather than the usual treaded tires, as well as a tall wing and a front spoiler.


While I’ve never had the chance to hop behind the wheel of one of these things, my racing simulator experiences tell me they are ridiculously fun to drive – tail happy with tons of revs and very little weight to throw around.


Whether you’re looking for a competitive race series to get into, or just a fun track toy on a budget, it’s impossible to talk about bike-powered cars without mentioning the Legends car and its massive contributions to the grassroots racing scene. In case you were wondering how much one of these bad boys can be had for, here’s a link to a second hand example going for US$6,000 with spare parts included. How can you go wrong?

Now, somebody set me up with some seat time!

Mike Garrett
Instagram: speedhunters_mike



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So the guy--and I mean all of the guy--is still in the car?


i honestly thought it was a go kart in the first pic


Looks like a good recipe for fun


Legends are honestly one of the best shows to watch in terms of racing. I have vivid memories from when i was a child of going to the local county speedway,getting pit access, and watching these things buzz around the track from the infield!


I love legend cars.  I think one would make a sweet street legal autocrosser.  Speaking of autocross, bike powered cars, you should track down the owner of this car for a feature.


Saw this a while ago and thougt was great idea yo build


Or as small scale modern V8 Supercar shells with slicks as raced in Oz. The old Willy's style are simply not fast enough any more...


UWerqxTeam_MJ Looks small any adult can get in one with a regular racing seat.


I act as a Crew Chief for my brother who races a Legend Car. They take skill to drive, it is not easy. They're about as aerodynamic as a potato, just the underpan is shaved flat. 

The cars race spec under the INEX sanctioning body. In the US, The chassis, drivetrain, and all parts for the legend cars come from a company called 600 Racing. Legal Monopoly.

The tires used for the cars are Federal Tire D.O.T. Semi-Slicks, branded especially for INEX. The only problem with that this season is the factory workers in Japan are on strike, so everybody is starting out on old tires this season.

There are four classes that divide divide driver skill and age: Young Lions, Semi-Pro, Pro, and Masters. A lot of good drivers started racing seriously in Legend cars. Joey Logano won the Lions National Championship at age 10, and the Pro National at age 12.

Oh and the cars aren't exactly cheap anymore. A brand new one can cost $15K USD.  A championship car will cost over $10K. They overheat easily and the 120+ HP engines cost more than $5500 new. Axles will break if you launch the car hard enough, due to the grip of the rear tires. My brother broke 3 RR Axles in just one Race Week.

Don't forget to visit your local short tracks, especially if you're in North Carolina. Legends are very popular here, and the racing is always exciting.


Reminds me of the Aussie Racing Cars we have here in Australia! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbt6Nc8ve_c


@Duke now THIS is wtf im talking bout!


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SCCA Legend Road Racer


Enjoy this was from 2015 racing season. We race in the Florida Region of SCCA. (Palm Beach International Raceway & Homestead-Miami Speedway Home tracks)   Location of this race was in Savannah, Ga at Robling Road.