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Hate myself in the morning?

Old 06-16-05, 09:19 AM
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Hate myself in the morning?

I have an opportunity to trade my FD for a turn-key front-running Spec Miata setup.

I've put a lot of work into my car, it runs fantastic and, well, you know, is special in the way that FD's are - I can't go anywhere without turning heads or having conversations with strangers about the car - not to mention the joy it is to drive.

But I track the car (road courses only) and it is running on original motor, original turbos, and original clutch at 78000 miles. Things are bound to start going soon, to the tune of $10000 if those all go, so now is a relatively attractive time to unload it, financially.

I want to go racing, SM is the most economical entry class... but will I hate myself in the morning, given 1/3 the power and 1/10 the "cool factor"?

Interested in hearing from anyone who has gone this route.
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Old 06-16-05, 10:00 AM
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Kent,

I just had this conversation with Matt over the weekend. I'm looking at getting into Spec Miata or IT7 since those are two of the more sensible "money-wise" groups to get into.

However, for me, I want to do some schools and more track time before competing. Why? Well, high performance driving on the track is fun but it doesn't teach you how to be safe and competitive with other cars. It's one thing to have a fast car and know you'll pass someone on the straight; it's another to have the same spec car and have to figure out how to gain the advantage.

There are other costs/things you'll need to consider (at least in my case):

1. Most guys trailor their cars to the races. I know I don't have a means of doing that so I'm not sure if you do or not. I haven't check with the rules of the event to see if you can use a hitch and a tire trailer or not.

2. Actually getting your SCCA Competition License

3. Travelling and pit crew help

4. Don't forget any damages as you race.

I think it's definitely something you wouldn't regret (unless you do drive your FD around town alot), however racing IMO isn't something you can just jump in with both feet.
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Old 06-16-05, 10:46 AM
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If you want cheap, Spec Miata doesn't even come close. Quite frankly, it's popularity is it's own worst enemy, as it's brought in a lot of the high-dollar spenders from other classes (production, formula, SS, even GT and SR guys). A lot of the guys that are already up to their necks in the class don't want to admit it, and continue to spread the bullshit moniker about cheap racing, "you can run at the front in a $9k car with the original 130,000 mile motor!" -- I know 3 people that started building a car or started racing a car on that principle, and had a rude awakening in recent months.

A lot of folks think I'm biased, which is true, but I don't tell people the only class to chose is a Spec/Pro/IT7. At the price SM is getting to, you can run SRF on a shoestring, comparitively. AND, SRF actually has elements in place to prevent cheating, and hefty penalties if you do. SM is just the new SS as far as blatant cheating goes...

</soapbox>
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Old 06-16-05, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Mahjik

However, for me, I want to do some schools and more track time before competing. Why? Well, high performance driving on the track is fun but it doesn't teach you how to be safe and competitive with other cars. It's one thing to have a fast car and know you'll pass someone on the straight; it's another to have the same spec car and have to figure out how to gain the advantage.
I think I agree DE/lapping teaches you a lot about driving and handling, but nothing about competition and traffic. And not that I'm qualified to graduate to the next level, but I'd like to move to the next level some day soon.

Due to the age of costly components on my FD, the quality of the Miata I've found, and the prices agreed to, my hand might be forced to change cars now - whether or not I plan to jump into racing "with both feet" right away.

There are other costs/things you'll need to consider (at least in my case):

1. Most guys trailor their cars to the races. I know I don't have a means of doing that so I'm not sure if you do or not. I haven't check with the rules of the event to see if you can use a hitch and a tire trailer or not.
Trailer's part of the deal

2. Actually getting your SCCA Competition License

3. Travelling and pit crew help

4. Don't forget any damages as you race.

I think it's definitely something you wouldn't regret (unless you do drive your FD around town alot), however racing IMO isn't something you can just jump in with both feet.
Again, I'd probably just drive it in DE events for maybe another season (?), then start working towards a competition license etc.

I have a problem with looking at a sticker-clad battle-scarred Miata in the garage instead of my beautiful FD
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Old 06-16-05, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by christaylor
If you want cheap, Spec Miata doesn't even come close. Quite frankly, it's popularity is it's own worst enemy, as it's brought in a lot of the high-dollar spenders from other classes (production, formula, SS, even GT and SR guys). A lot of the guys that are already up to their necks in the class don't want to admit it, and continue to spread the bullshit moniker about cheap racing, "you can run at the front in a $9k car with the original 130,000 mile motor!" -- I know 3 people that started building a car or started racing a car on that principle, and had a rude awakening in recent months.

A lot of folks think I'm biased, which is true, but I don't tell people the only class to chose is a Spec/Pro/IT7. At the price SM is getting to, you can run SRF on a shoestring, comparitively. AND, SRF actually has elements in place to prevent cheating, and hefty penalties if you do. SM is just the new SS as far as blatant cheating goes...

</soapbox>

I agree SM isn't cheap if you want to run at the very top. But for a class to learn to race *competitively* in, I don't think you can beat it. You will always have someone to race, and you will learn how to squeeze every ounce of performance out of your car very quickly in that class.

As long as you don't go in with the wrong expectations, SM would be a great place to start.

edit: Just saw your response.. Get the SM and track that for a season, no reason you have to race it right now. Get familar with the car now, and race next season. Start learning how to deal with no HP and squeezing every out of corner speed from a car that you can.

Paul

Last edited by Silkworm; 06-16-05 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 06-16-05, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by christaylor
At the price SM is getting to, you can run SRF on a shoestring, comparitively. AND, SRF actually has elements in place to prevent cheating, and hefty penalties if you do. SM is just the new SS as far as blatant cheating goes...

</soapbox>
Problem is in this part of the country I'd be the only SRF on the track most of the time (except maybe Hallett).

And I'm not too worried about the cheating. I'm treating it as a learning experience for now and won't insist or plan on being a front runner...
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Old 06-16-05, 11:50 AM
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For those of you who know me, I am speaking from experience, Top Dollar spec Miatas can be built from $9500-$12,000. Class is very reasonable. Sun belt Engines are not needed to win regional championships. Need a qualified engine builder and chassis set up guy and a driver that can keep the momentum up through the turns.

Our current champion in Oregon Region has run Pro Miata and has finished in the top 3, won the Oregon Championship last year and does all the work himself and his budget is minimal.

The choice is a tough one. Lots of other classes you can run, but for $ to $, SM is still the best. There will always be high rollers spending to much money in their classes, but the rules will keep most even. I would expect some engines next year will be found illegal at the Run Off's, and most will be High Dollars ones.
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Old 06-16-05, 11:56 AM
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If you are looking at this from purely a financial standpoint, racing a miata (in competition) will prove to be far more expensive than fixing the FD. You will almost certainly be doing body work on it from time to time, and you may wind up totalling it.

A friend of mine went thru 3 or 4 RX2's in about 2 seasons.

Keep the FD. I'm not biased

Last edited by adam c; 06-16-05 at 11:59 AM.
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Old 06-16-05, 12:32 PM
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As an owner of both an FD and a Miata (not spec Miata but well set up and sees lots of track and autocross time) I can tell you that the Miata can be just as fun and sometimes more fun than the FD. Although the FD is sometime more THRILLING on the track due to the power.
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Old 06-16-05, 12:48 PM
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investigate racing shifter karts. More economical and better handling and faster accelleration/braking than the FD or Miata. You could keep the FD and race. Even tow it behind your FD on a $150 Harbor Freight open trailer.
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Old 06-16-05, 01:12 PM
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Thanks, excellent information guys. This forum is a real reason to stay with the FD.

I think adam_c provides good advice to not focus on immediate financial considerations, but to have a longer term perspective. Arguably if putting a motor etc in my car is making me look to cheaper alternatives, I probably shouldn't be considering racing - in any class.

And given that I'm only putting 1000 miles on the FD a year max, it could last several seasons before it needs anything major...

Sheesh. That's about the fifth time I've flip-flopped on this issue. It is an awful lot of fun kicking Porsche butt...
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Old 06-16-05, 01:56 PM
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I say go with it then; as long as you know what you're getting in to. I'm a little trigger happy having seen several friends get duped by it and needing/wanting to sell their car for pennies on the dollar.

Either way, have fun, and maybe I'll see you at Hallett some time!
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Old 06-16-05, 01:57 PM
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Kent,

There is some cheaper racing you can get into:

http://kccompacts.com/kcrx7/modules....iewtopic&t=848



I know you would throughly enjoy "competing" in any of the racing division you decided to get into... However, just don't go into it thinking it's going to be a cheaper alternative to DE'ing the FD and then you'll be just fine.

My plan is to look at SM, IT7, Spec Ford or something along those lines in about 2 years. That will allow me to make a financial plan as well as get the schooling I feel I require to do it right.
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Old 06-16-05, 02:26 PM
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Heh, thanks I'm already a GT4 junkie. If only they could simulate the g's and the smell of hot brakes...
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Old 06-16-05, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by zullo
Heh, thanks I'm already a GT4 junkie. If only they could simulate the g's and the smell of hot brakes...
Trust me, that game is no GT4. It simulates brake & tire temps, has a damage model, as well as full aero/suspension changes to "everything" (as well as telemetry tracking/analysis). A very in-depth simulation. It won't teach you how to "race", but if you already know how to drive on the track the same techniques work in the game (no bouncing off walls or other cars to help turns). You just don't have the g's and feeling to "learn how to drive on the track" from the game as you do with the real thing. But it's great for the people that already do it in real life to get into and have fun without costing an arm and a leg.

They actually have online racing leagues as well.
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Old 06-16-05, 03:47 PM
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Lets see FD on the street or **** miata? One statement, Its more fun to drive a slow car fast than to drive a fast car slow. With that, those 'rec miatas turn some damn fast laps on short courses. If you have a tow vehicle go for the miata.
Some of the cheating will dry up when it becomes a national class and protests start flying. At the reg. level, just expect it and race whoever is around you in the crowd. We get 50+ cars in SEDiv reg. races.
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Old 06-16-05, 04:08 PM
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I started out running track days with the BMW club, and pretty quickly the instructors told me that I needed to go racing.

After doing fender to fender racing for the last 9 seasons, there is no substitute for the feeling I get from race competition. The extra thrill or adrenalin from rushing into a turn side by side with someone else, and seeing if you can outbrake him going in, and not loose so much speed that he passes you coming out. Another rewarding part of competition is racing against another guy, watching him and figuring out his weak points, and then setting him up the next lap so that you can take him then... that competitive fire burns strong in me. You just can't ever get that feeling from any lower level of car events.
Track days are fun, but fender to fender racing is MUCH more fun to me. There is no way that I even consider stepping back down to autocross. I still run a couple of track days a year, but now as an instructor, and I usually get to drive other people's very high dollar cars then.
Racing costs so much that I usually can only afford 3 or 4 race weekends a year, but to me it is worth it. I would rather run less events, and buy new race tires and run up front, than to run more events and not be able to afford new tires and do it right. As a new racer (and to pass driving schools and get your license) running on hand me down race tires is okay, just to get in seat time. But when you want to win at higher levels, you need to be prepared to buy new race tires all the time.

Last edited by speedturn; 06-16-05 at 04:14 PM.
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