Now that we have the tools and equipment and spare parts needed to maintain our race car, we need shop space to do the work. Nobody ever has enough shop space. How much shop space is needed?
The first consideration is obvious: enough room to move around the car. The task with the largest footprint is alignment. Regardless of alignment method, count on the car “growing” in all directions. Engine changes require extra space, too, but only at the back of a rear engine Formula Ford.
The second consideration is where to put all the stuff. Stuff in this context includes more than just tools, equipment, and spare parts. When a race car comes into a shop, it just kind of explodes. Tires and body parts come off at a minimum. Depending on what maintenance is being performed, there must be places for suspension links, uprights, axles, brake rotors and calipers, the seat, etc. And if the engine is coming out there are oil lines, an oil cooler, an oil tank, water hoses, a header tank, engine mounts, and so on to keep track of.
The third consideration are workbenches. A sturdy 6-foot workbench with a vise is a minimum requirement. If homes are needed for a drill press and bench grinder, one workbench will not be enough.
All things considered, a Formula Ford requires about 240 square feet of shop space, about three times it’s footprint. Here are some tricks to squeeze into a minimalist shop space:
Hang as much stuff up on the walls as possible. Peg board is great for that. Wall mounted shelves and cabinets are good, too.
Store spare parts in stackable totes. Put them on stock racks and/or slide them under workbenches.
Utilize a big plastic tub to store parts (cleaned and labeled) during major maintenance projects like engine changes.
When all else fails, put it in the race trailer. 🙂
One last thought on shop space: there is never enough lighting. Hang more lights than you think you will need…tired eyes late at night will thank you.
This is the fourth in a series of blogs on how to get started in racing. If you missed the first three, here are the links: How to Get Started in Racing, Tools and Equipment, and Spare Parts.