‘CHEAP’ and ‘motorsport’ are two words that don’t have the best relationship, with just about any form of racing often costing more than a weekend of golf.
The crew from the Nugget Nationals series is aiming to rectify this, imposing heavy budget and modification restrictions on participants to encourage people to spend more time on track and less time crying about their bank balance.
The basic rules are fairly simple: A build/buy cost of no more than $5000, and an engine capacity limit of 1500cc with no turbos, superchargers or rotaries. That basically equates to a whole bunch of front-wheel-drive shopping trolleys manging around the circuit, so of course we wanted a piece of that action!
| Watch next: Racing the Nugget Clio at Haunted Hills - Video
That means Street Machine now owns a front-wheel-drive Euro econo-hatch, namely a Renault Clio. We stumbled across the gold nugget while prowling the auctions for a potential Nug Nats victim. Telfo swiftly stole the keys and instantly fell in love with the thing as a daily banger.
We baselined the stock Renault late last year during an open track day at Haunted Hills, and to our surprise it took all the torture we threw at it without a miss. With that done, we decided some stiffer lowering springs and a decent set of wheels and tyres were needed.
We fitted those less than 24 hours before the start of Round 1 of Nugget Nationals at Winton, and headed north for our first crack.
| Watch next: The Nugget Clio hits the dyno - with nitrous!
Again the Renault surprised, getting through a full day’s worth of track torture without cracking a sweat. While our pace was somewhat lacking, a chat with some of the series regulars confirmed that seat time is the best way to remedy that.
We’re keen to keep developing the little nugget to see where we can take it, and if we do, you’ll see it in future episodes of Carnage.