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Noob ITA owner need help with wiring

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Old 10-30-18, 06:29 AM
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Noob ITA owner need help with wiring

Hello folks. I just recently purchase an old and rather tired ITA/IT7 race car. Base is 1980 SA22C with a 12A engine. The wiring is rather antiquated and looking decidedly slap dash as in "panic driven last minute get the f********** wiring done in time for the race in the morning". Glass fuses are quaint but I suspect not entirely confidence inspiring. I would like to re-wire the entire car as I will also be driving the car to the track and back so I'm required to get all of the lights functional again. (No budget for a tow vehicle and trailer). I've started a master list and a rough schematic (I used to design wiring harnesses in a previous life). Is there anything unique to the car that I need to be aware of? Any enlightenment would be appreciated. The magical and mysterious Lucas "smoke" and the archaic attempts to contain it makes for amusing reading but would not be welcome in my case.
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Old 11-11-18, 10:36 PM
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Race Car wiring.

I have a couple IT7 cars. I like the light up toggle switches that show you what you have on. https://www.summitracing.com/parts/qcr-50-864/overview These come wired ready to go. THere are other ones out there but if you look at what you get some come as a kit and you can spend 2 hours putting them together. I DO NOT use the starter swtitch. If you hit it at high RPM the flywheel can explode like a bomb. I also like that you can change the fuse super easy. A lot of guys wire things with no fuses in a race car. Some use a fuse bypass switch so if the fuel pump blows the fuse you can try it and see. THat can make it the car a bit safer and you can at least get to a safe place. Maybe.

I should mention those switch panels the green lights come on when you hit the switch even the ones with nothing going to them.

Keeping the wiper stock is nice. I have one that is stock and just moved and one on a toggle switch. I just ran that car at road Atlanta in the rain and finding the toggle switch and turning it off adn on was not easy at all.

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Old 11-11-18, 11:49 PM
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When my race car was an ITA/IT7 car I used the factory harness for stuff like the starter (used the key to start the car), trailing ignition, wipers, head lights, tail lights etc. The Leading ignition (wasted sparks MSD box), fuel pumps, electric fan, helmet blower and cool shirt pump were controlled by toggles on a Moroso panel that included fuses. I could do this because the factory harness on my car was in good shape and it was pretty reliable.

Now my car runs in Super Touring Unlimited (STU) and it has been completely rewired. With the exception of the dash lights, running lights (for rain) and wipers, all of my toggle switches are mounted above the windshield so they don't get wet. The circuits that are live when the master switch is armed are the starter button, fuel pumps, running lights, radiator fan, helmet blower, cool shirt pump, defroster blower, wipers (two speed), gauge lights and brake lights. The ignition toggle controls the ignition, volt meter, tach, RPM switch, shift light and low oil pressure light. The master switch disconnects the car from the positive side of the battery.

From a rules perspective, there is an expectation within the SCCA that the OE harness will be retained in Improved Touring competition. You can add wiring for allowed non-OE stuff and you can make repairs. There is also some support for the removal of the wiring associated to items that can be removed like AC and audio components. However, the factory harness needs to be retained because it factors into what the car weighs. I have seen racers install their own harness and either leave the OE harness in place or tie wrap all of it to the cage somewhere.

One more thought.....if you are going to use this car for wheel to wheel racing or time trials.....make friends with someone that has a truck and trailer. In my experience in club racing, the success rate for driving a car to a race track, driving it in a race and then driving it home is around 50%.
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Old 11-12-18, 07:06 AM
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Wow, thank you all for the sound advice, especially the need for retaining the stock O.E.M. harnesses. I had no idea that TECH might consider it a violation for removing it. I will retain the stock harness to play it safe but disconnect it entirely and install fresh wiring all around. The car is equipped with two MSD ignition modules, functional wipers and brake lights and standard gauges( WT, OP, OT, externally mounted FP, ammeter, and dual EGT. The car also came with an SCCA logbook (South Atlantic Region) so it was compliant the last time it competed. I will be attending Midwestern Council Driver's School next April (total W2W noob) and I wanted to refresh the car including the wiring for the sake of reliability as I will be placing total emphasis solely on racing seat time. Restoring the lighting system is necessary as I am forced to get the car plated and "street legal" because my budget and living circumstances prohibit a tow vehicle and trailer. To that end I have already gone through the process of applying for a vehicle title and I will eventually get plates for it. I will also have to get the exhaust system replaced as it currently consists of a header immediately leading to a side dump pipe so it is gloriously loud and causes the neighbors to turn out in an old fashioned torch and pitchfork wielding mob at my doorstep (think Young Frankenstein). No doubt it will immediately fail track noise limits and guarantee a moving violation ticket from the local constabulary. Sigh. What a way to for me to get introduced to the rotary. Again, my thanks.
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Old 11-13-18, 06:35 PM
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One thing to keep in mind regarding SCCA tech. At the race track they are not necessarily very involved with rules compliance beyond safety, sound, post race weight and fuel testing. What they don't do is make sure you aren't cheating.....IE look for a missing OE wiring harness. Your competitors will do that. Download the rules at www.scca.com There is no charge for this and the latest edition of the rule are always available. Also look for ImprovedTouring.com

During an annual inspection, an SCCA Scrutineer will review the overall condition of your car, your driver's gear, the date stamp on your belts, master switch function and roll bar padding placement, They may also look at shoulder harness placement, seat belt attachment points and some may look at floor board/fire wall holes if the car is new to them or is a new build. I don't advise doing this at the race track because it can be stressful and you may have to fix some stuff. So get your annual done ahead of time.

Not sure what your options are for Midwestern Council, but just as with the SCCA, look into getting the car checked over/inspected before you come to the track. And bring a helper with you for your driver's school. My SCCA school involved allot of driving and I needed someone in the paddock to keep the car fueled and tires rotated...etc. A helper with a truck and trailer would be great. Driver's schools can have a certain amount of Darwin....the weak, stupid and overly brave tend to crash.
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Old 11-13-18, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by mustanghammer View Post
One thing to keep in mind regarding SCCA tech. At the race track they are not necessarily very involved with rules compliance beyond safety, sound, post race weight and fuel testing. What they don't do is make sure you aren't cheating.....IE look for a missing OE wiring harness. Your competitors will do that. Download the rules at www.scca.com There is no charge for this and the latest edition of the rule are always available. Also look for ImprovedTouring.com

During an annual inspection, an SCCA Scrutineer will review the overall condition of your car, your driver's gear, the date stamp on your belts, master switch function and roll bar padding placement, They may also look at shoulder harness placement, seat belt attachment points and some may look at floor board/fire wall holes if the car is new to them or is a new build. I don't advise doing this at the race track because it can be stressful and you may have to fix some stuff. So get your annual done ahead of time.

Not sure what your options are for Midwestern Council, but just as with the SCCA, look into getting the car checked over/inspected before you come to the track. And bring a helper with you for your driver's school. My SCCA school involved allot of driving and I needed someone in the paddock to keep the car fueled and tires rotated...etc. A helper with a truck and trailer would be great. Driver's schools can have a certain amount of Darwin....the weak, stupid and overly brave tend to crash.
All good and sound points. I plan on getting the car inspected during Advanced Autosports Open House next April where they traditionally perform the annual inspections (which invariably consists of hoards of Spec Miatas). As far as I've seen and from what I gather from conversations with the folks at Midwestern Council, they're pretty laid back with the non-safety items and they make it easy for beginners like me to get into the sport. I will however get in touch with the Chief of Competition to get the straight dope on what I can do to refresh the car. BTW, here are some pics of the car as unloaded from the trailer.

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Old 11-14-18, 11:50 PM
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Old 11-15-18, 06:14 AM
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Old 11-15-18, 06:32 AM
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The seller was not able to start the car when I purchased it. We suspected the carb was all gunked up from sitting for 3 years. Because of this I managed to negotiate the price further down to $2600 including a bunch of spares and two sets of mounted race tires (worn RA1) and a set of mounted rains (unshaved RA1) on steel wheels. Once I got the car home, I fired up the fuel pump and drained the tank from the fuel sample hose. I then put in some fresh gas and an entire bottle of racing premix as a precaution. No joy. I then looked in the sight glass and saw that the rear bowl was empty. I removed the top cover on the carb which exposed the floats and bowls. I unscrewed the two things that (not sure what to call it) that hold the little check ***** and found one of them clogged. Some quick cleaning with carb cleaner got things cleared up along with removing the crud in both bowls. The floats seem to be okay. Reassembled everything and the engine fired up. I'm guessing rotaries tend to be petulant when cold so I had to keep blipping the throttle until it warmed up. Once warm, the engine idled ok but occasionally stumbled. I drove the car for about a mile just to see if the drivetrain was ok. I need to order the carb rebuild kit as well as all replacement filters, fresh plugs and wires. I also need to take out the radiator and have it dipped and cleaned as there appears to be crud in the filler neck. The car also came with fresh brake discs so I need to order new pads and to flush out the system along with the clutch hydraulics. I'll have to get fresh tires mounted on the best set of the used wheels. I think the safety belts are still good. I'll have to remount the seat down and further back. A growing list of to do's. Please feel free to chime in with any suggestions. Again, my thanks to all.
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Old 11-15-18, 10:38 PM
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Nice looking car. Regarding the wiring, are your concerns limited to the items that have been added for racing (MSD, Fuel Pumps, etc) or with the OE harness?

The only thing that jumps out is the battery ground and where it is attached to the chassis. I can't remember where it attached originally but it looks like a self tapping bolt. If you can weld, welding in some 3/8" and 1/4" bolts on the chassis or roll cage pads works great for grounds. Also recommend a terminal cover on the positive side of the battery

Last edited by mustanghammer; 11-16-18 at 10:26 AM. Reason: grammar
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Old 11-16-18, 01:24 PM
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7. Wires and connectors in the engine wiring harness may be modified or replaced.

This means you can remake your engine harness, you just can REMOVE anything unless it says so. see below.

This provision in the ITCS lets you do simplify the wiring on the car.

7. Wires and connectors in the engine wiring harness may be modified or replaced.
9. Driver/Passenger Compartment ‑ Trunk

c. Gauges and instruments may be added, replaced, or removed. They may be installed in the original
instrument(s) location using a mounting plate(s), or any other location using a secure method of
attachment. Other than modifications made to mount instruments and provide for roll cage installation,
the remainder of the dash “board” or panel shall remain intact. Switches to activate the
ignition, the lights, the windshield wipers, the starter and other accessories located within the
passenger compartment may be replaced and their location changed.

10. Electrical
a. Wiring specific to any component permitted to be removed, or disabled, may be removed. Required
wiring rendered redundant by allowed modifications (i.e. engine management harness) must remain.

I think this means if you add an aftermarket Throttle position sensor and run new wires to your ECU, you must retain the redundant wiring for the stock one.
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Old 11-16-18, 10:34 PM
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that is a pretty clean car. if it was mine i would pull the non factory wires and redo it. the factory harness is probably fine, and its factory, there is a diagram for it.

i'd probably put the MSD's somewhere else too, but maybe not
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Old 12-02-18, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by mikevillena
I will also be driving the car to the track and back so I'm required to get all of the lights functional again. (No budget for a tow vehicle and trailer).
Have you ever attended a SCCA weekend before? As someone before mentioned, odds of driving home are about 50%. Between mechanicals and accidents, 99.9% of the vehicles that plan to race wheel to wheel come and leave on a trailer. Rent a Uhual and trailer for your first event if you have to, meet some people, get some leads on a cheap trailer, and go from there...but by no means should you expect to arrive in your car with everything you need to compete and then expect to make it home. This isn't Autocross. Even if you are the safest driver in the world, stuff happens.
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Old 12-03-18, 06:33 AM
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Thanks to all for the sound advice. @chuyler1 - I am more than aware that this is not an autocross. I've spent the last two seasons corner working at my home track (Blackhawk Farms) as well as multiple seasons (30 years years ago) crewing and corner working in the midwest so I'm far from being a noob autocrosser with visions of a glorious road racing career. I do not have the space nor the budget to buy a trailer and a tow vehicle nor can I afford to rent both every race weekend. My other realistic option was to rent a local race car for 2k a weekend. As it is, I bought the car and spares for $2600. It is what it is and I'll work with what I have. I will however make contingency plans to rent a truck and trailer or hire a flatbed if needed to get the car home if I bend it. I do thank you for the sage and valid advice. Wish me luck
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Old 12-03-18, 08:40 AM
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If you're just interested in getting on track and challenging yourself, perhaps you should look into the SCCA "Track Night In America" schedule or any one of the time attack clubs. These events require point-by passes and the majority of the attendees drive in and drive home in their street legal vehicles. The events are more affordable and although there are occasional off-track accidents, in the entire history of SCCA Track night in America thus far, I don't think there have been any collisions with other drivers.

I don't know, perhaps ITA/IT7 is more of a gentleman's event where you are. I know in the Northeast it is still very competitive, the cars are really banged up, and they race each other hard. I take my street driven 1st gen to the track nights, I wouldn't dare get on track with the spec Miatas and spec RX7s.

Noob ITA owner need help with wiring-photo358.jpg
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Old 12-03-18, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by chuyler1 View Post
If you're just interested in getting on track and challenging yourself, perhaps you should look into the SCCA "Track Night In America" schedule or any one of the time attack clubs. These events require point-by passes and the majority of the attendees drive in and drive home in their street legal vehicles. The events are more affordable and although there are occasional off-track accidents, in the entire history of SCCA Track night in America thus far, I don't think there have been any collisions with other drivers.

I don't know, perhaps ITA/IT7 is more of a gentleman's event where you are. I know in the Northeast it is still very competitive, the cars are really banged up, and they race each other hard. I take my street driven 1st gen to the track nights, I wouldn't dare get on track with the spec Miatas and spec RX7s.

Attachment 739567
Despite your less than generous idea of what my driving skills are, I am not a noob track wise. This year alone, I've competed in two HSAX at Blackhawk Farms as well as numerous trackdays and HPDE's with my Miata NA6. I've also done a track night at Road America. As a matter of fact I was in the process of converting my Miata to a W2W legal race car for next year's Driver's School when the opportunity to buy a used race car came up. Since I was not looking forward to my Miata getting really banged up, I opted to buy the race car. I fully intend to attend the Driver's School and getting a Novice Comp license. I do appreciate your concern though.

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Old 12-03-18, 01:19 PM
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I was not speaking to your driving skills, but those you will be sharing the track with, which is often a big unknown. And skills are only a small part of the misfortunes that can happen on the track, as you know. Most of these guys in the photo above show up with buckets full of spare parts, tools, fluids, tires, etc, etc. They don't plan on driving each other off the track, they all have years experience racing each other, yet sometimes they end up spending the afternoon replacing the front suspension and bending back sheet metal because they, or someone else, had a different idea of corner rights. Are you installing a trailer hitch or something on your car to tow a utility trailer or are you going to drive to the track on Hoosiers with all your tools and fuel in the back?
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Old 12-03-18, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by chuyler1 View Post
I was not speaking to your driving skills, but those you will be sharing the track with, which is often a big unknown. And skills are only a small part of the misfortunes that can happen on the track, as you know. Most of these guys in the photo above show up with buckets full of spare parts, tools, fluids, tires, etc, etc. They don't plan on driving each other off the track, they all have years experience racing each other, yet sometimes they end up spending the afternoon replacing the front suspension and bending back sheet metal because they, or someone else, had a different idea of corner rights. Are you installing a trailer hitch or something on your car to tow a utility trailer or are you going to drive to the track on Hoosiers with all your tools and fuel in the back?
At this point, I don't know how to communicate to you that I am WELL AWARE of the risks involved in being on track. I've watched an entire gaggle of Spec Miatas start off on dry slicks while it was snowing (I was corner working at Turn 6 at Blackhawk during That Long Race just this past October) and the predictable mayhem that ensued (more than the usual mayhem involved with Spec Miatas). I've watched a Formula V front runner go 4 wheels off into the tire barrier less than 20 feet from my station while trying to avoid back markers who unknowingly pinched the corner exit on passing cars. I've seen a poorly executed attempt at a pass during this past July's Driver School (I was corner working turn 4). And I've been on track and had a noob in a new to him AS Mustang screw up BIG TIME by mistaking the brake pedal for the clutch pedal and promptly spin off two cars ahead of me on the first green lap of my last HPDE. The avoiding action would have done Randy Pobst proud. Yes, I'm aware of the risks.

Finally, I have enough sense to drive to the track with the mounted wet tires( relatively fresh unshaved TOYO RA1s on steelies) and will switch to new RR's once at the track. As an aside I have been daily driving the Miata on Toyo 888R's for 4k miles now. The RR's would have garnered a ticket from the cops if I don't get one for the loud exhaust system. And yes, I'll have to carry all of my tools and spares. Should be fun. Thanks.

EDIT: TO THE MODS - At this point I think this has run it's course and I've gotten very good advice regarding the wiring question. Please feel free to close it out. Thanks.

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Old 12-03-18, 04:40 PM
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I would just like to add that I have been doing TTs and club racing in an NA miata for over 10 years now. There were only 3 times that I would not have been able to drive my car come. 2x was diff issues 1 R&P broke and 1 diff housing broke, the other time was a broken throttle body blade, but was able to get a spare from someone at the track.

Its all about the driver and his situational awareness, the front of these large fields of spec miata's don't have major carnage because they are experienced racers. I have managed to avoid a plethora of contact with SM and IT7 drivers through the years with situational awareness and a tiny bit of race craft.

The approach the whole racing "program" vastly differs between individuals. For us, everything is done in the garage. Nut and bolt, brakes, fluids, diff swaps, etc... the ONLY thing we want to do on a race weekend is swap tires and put gas in the car.
Some people will show up to the track and do oil changes and new brakes before the first session.

OP can probably do a season's worth of racing on just what a truck payment and insurance for a truck and trailer would cost....
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Old 12-06-18, 05:25 PM
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Hi fellow Midwest Council guy! A big thing to think about with ITA is that Council sticks Spec Miata in there to double dip. We have a lot of fast Spec Miata drivers that show up to get cheaper seat time than SCCA, but the run group is mostly pretty clean. I might actually be in your run group - running a red NC MX-5 in ST2.

I have a whole bunch of 1st gen stuff handy that's mostly obsoleted - I'm running the MX-5 as I mentioned and building a GT-3 car - so hit me up if you see me at track, might be able to help you out with parts/wheels/etc.
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Old 12-06-18, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Gilgamesh View Post
Its all about the driver and his situational awareness, the front of these large fields of spec miata's don't have major carnage because they are experienced racers. I have managed to avoid a plethora of contact with SM and IT7 drivers through the years with situational awareness and a tiny bit of race craft.
generally true, although i have seen the front runners have some spectacular crashes.

The approach the whole racing "program" vastly differs between individuals. For us, everything is done in the garage. Nut and bolt, brakes, fluids, diff swaps, etc... the ONLY thing we want to do on a race weekend is swap tires and put gas in the car.
Some people will show up to the track and do oil changes and new brakes before the first session.
+1 a perfect weekend for us we would only put gas in the thing and torque wheels. we do usually end up trying some chassis setup stuff though, and we have had to do everything from diff rebuilds to frame pulls...

Pro Tip: if your weekend is not too rushed try a suspension change, it helps very much to know what all the adjustments in the suspension actually do. this way when things change, and the car mis-behaves you know what to do to fix it.
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Old 12-07-18, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Kenku View Post
Hi fellow Midwest Council guy! A big thing to think about with ITA is that Council sticks Spec Miata in there to double dip. We have a lot of fast Spec Miata drivers that show up to get cheaper seat time than SCCA, but the run group is mostly pretty clean. I might actually be in your run group - running a red NC MX-5 in ST2.

I have a whole bunch of 1st gen stuff handy that's mostly obsoleted - I'm running the MX-5 as I mentioned and building a GT-3 car - so hit me up if you see me at track, might be able to help you out with parts/wheels/etc.
Well hi Kenku! So nice to see you here. Were you running during the That Loong Race? If you were, what a bloody mess it was on Saturday! Yes, they do run SM in the same run group as ITA and some fast ones too. I'm not especially worried as I intend to solely focus on learning the car and staying out of everyone's way during Driver's School. I had a choice of an ITA Mazda Protégé or the RX7. Since I was more comfortable with the handling characteristics of RWD, I went with the RX7. The thing about Blackhawk is that it is relatively "easy" track with no elevation changes and lots of runoff areas except maybe Turn 3,4 (tire wall driver's right) and I've started to feel at ease with the track which is not to say that I'm fast (LOL). Of course it's going to be different with the race prepped RX7 with it's locked diff. Anyway, I hope to see you there next spring. And thanks for the very kind offer
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Old 12-07-18, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by j9fd3s View Post
generally true, although i have seen the front runners have some spectacular crashes.



+1 a perfect weekend for us we would only put gas in the thing and torque wheels. we do usually end up trying some chassis setup stuff though, and we have had to do everything from diff rebuilds to frame pulls...

Pro Tip: if your weekend is not too rushed try a suspension change, it helps very much to know what all the adjustments in the suspension actually do. this way when things change, and the car mis-behaves you know what to do to fix it.
I'm hoping to get the car plated and road legal sometime in early spring and to get several autox and HPDE's done in order to get acquainted with the car and sort out the handling before driver's school. Thank you for the tip.
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Old 12-07-18, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by mikevillena View Post
Well hi Kenku! So nice to see you here. Were you running during the That Loong Race? If you were, what a bloody mess it was on Saturday! Yes, they do run SM in the same run group as ITA and some fast ones too. I'm not especially worried as I intend to solely focus on learning the car and staying out of everyone's way during Driver's School. I had a choice of an ITA Mazda Protégé or the RX7. Since I was more comfortable with the handling characteristics of RWD, I went with the RX7. The thing about Blackhawk is that it is relatively "easy" track with no elevation changes and lots of runoff areas except maybe Turn 3,4 (tire wall driver's right) and I've started to feel at ease with the track which is not to say that I'm fast (LOL). Of course it's going to be different with the race prepped RX7 with it's locked diff. Anyway, I hope to see you there next spring. And thanks for the very kind offer
Had real life stuff come up (doesn't it always) and only actually made Elkhart last year.* Hope to do more next year, obviously.*
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