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SCCA novice permit = blown apex seal

Old 03-04-08, 12:02 AM
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SCCA novice permit = blown apex seal

Gents,

I just returned from an almost fabulous weekend at Thunderhill going thru the SCCA school. A very busy weekend that saw me thru three days of "training" then my first offical races.........all I can say is that if anyone is on the fence about going this route, do not delay. It was a blast. Great people and an incredibly professional, supportive and dedicated group of volunteers.

The Car (ex Pettit racing GT2/USSRC champion) ran great, as it has for the last 4 years for me at track days all over Northern California. (You may have seen my U tube video of a Thunderhill day http://youtube.com/watch?v=P8OpT-e0zmc)
Unfortunetly on Sunday morning, on our warm up session before the race the front rotor apex seals let go. At first I thought that I had an ignition problem and was amazed at the help I was getting from everyone at the track. But it turns out after my "poor mans" compression check that the front rotor doesn't seem to be compressing at all. .....

Unfortunately this left me in a bad spot for getting my novice permit. Being on track is a requirement. So with about 10 minutes to go before the first group 1 race, I was able ( with the help of the race volunteers) to get switched in to my buddies spec miata....Then with about three minutes to go before my first race start I am stuffing my self into a spec miata and a car I had never driven. Because I had no qualifying time set with this group I was sent to the last grid position.......33rd. Has anyone here driven a spec miata? All I can say is that there is a serious fun factor there. The car has amazing grip, decent power, great balance. I had a great race, finishing 4th and loved every minute of it. I had experienced racing for the first time in a way that I would never get in the 7 as it is so dominant. Instead of another lappping session ******* traffic I was door to door with cars for 30 minitues of racing. IT WAS A BLAST!. The second race was the same......started 33rd and finished 4th just missing 3rd by half a car length after a 6 lap battle with another SM. Man that was fun!

I am bummed that I did not get to race the car I have been driving and miantaining/freshening for the last 4 seasons. I had just completed a full suspension rebuild and was in the process of dialing it in this weekend during the event. So now what........pull the motor and rebuild and race the seven in ITE? or ........Sell it with the broken motor and pic up a spec miata and race? Not sure which direction I should go. The 7 is been such a great track day car. Usually the fasted production car on course and always suprised other racers. It's very unique as a very developed 3rd gen rx7 race car. It has a great story to tell with it's USRRC championship and it's Daytona 24hr races to it's credit. It's the real deal. A spec miata is just that.....a miata. No car fan fare. But you can't beat the racing.
The intense door to door action left me pumped!


Cheers
Niles

Last edited by SHPNOUT; 03-04-08 at 12:25 AM.
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Old 03-04-08, 12:17 AM
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I regret selling my Spec Miata every day! NASA has some good SU or ST1/2 racing which would probably fit your car. The SU class here in Socal seems to be fairly competitive and I should be joining in starting April.

I would stick with the 7; you can always pickup an entry level SM cheaply ($7k or less) and keep it on the side
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Old 03-04-08, 05:48 AM
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The quality of the racing is inversely proportional to the technology of the cars.
Lower performance cars definitely give better racing. I love racing in ITA even though the rx7 is not exactly competitive. Even though I am restoring a rx3 for GT3 I don’t see ever giving up the IT car. I must admit I am more drawn to IT than SM as it is fun to race different cars with different strengths and weaknesses.
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Old 03-04-08, 09:50 AM
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Regardless if you decide to keep it or sell it, rebuild the motor. I don't think you will get a fair price out of it by selling her with a dead motor.
Depending on how much time you are planning on spending racing, I'd imagine that the Miata will give you the biggest bang for the buck - lots of support and tons of parts that are cheap - the 7, well when you start pricing motor parts you'll see.
It seems as though you are a pretty fast driver Niles: if you do well in the 7, maybe you could pick up a few sponsors and then do both!
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Old 03-04-08, 10:29 AM
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If you race SM, be prepared to dish out a fair amount of money on body parts after every race. Or at least that is the way it was last time I observed a race.

The Miata is a damn fun car to drive all out or under race conditions. I've driven a few on track and the balance, grip and brakes is entertaining. Driving an underpowered momentum car is a great learning experience and can be fun.

Do a bit more research and decide. They also run in ITA which will probably leave you with less body damage.
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Old 03-04-08, 12:01 PM
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WOW!!! As a novice; you went from 33rd to 4th in a car you had never driven before. In one of the most competitive classes currently run. Look out Lewis Hamilton!
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Old 03-04-08, 04:46 PM
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Niles, from a strictly mercenary and selfish perspective, I need you to keep the 7 and continue to blaze a trail for me to follow! (and also help me down the learning curve). If you like wheel to wheel, and get your competative NASA license, you should look at ST1, ST2 (depending on your power to weight) or SU. You've got ***** (based on your video you put on my Thunderhill thread), you've got skills (based on your 33rd to 3rd/4th finishes on unknown cars), and in these classes the cars may be different by the power ratios and other modifiers help even out the field. My father is going to race his C5R clone (550 rwbhp, 510 rwtrq) in ST1 Time Trials, basically that way he doesn't have to worry about a wheel to wheel encounter.

I finally appeal to your duty to preserve the heritage of our Mazda marque - you mentioned the provanance of car, and that is defititely worth preserving if for that reason alone. You should contact Mazda Motorsports to see if Mazda can either officially or unofficially help you with the car - they have their own museum and you've probably seen them bring out their C class LeMans winners and overall 757 winner to race events and enthusiast meets.

I vote with the others and say you fix the 7, get the SM and drive the **** out of both of them.
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Old 03-04-08, 05:42 PM
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Thanks for the comments........

Let me clarify a couple of things.......The race events were mixed class. Please......not even close to Lewis Hamilton. It had all kinds of cars with drivers of variying skill. I do feel good about what I accomplished but I do feel that I am an average driver with lot's of track timea at T-hill. With that said...............

Budget: I would love to have two cars. Reality is wife, child, time constrants barely leave room for one. I have spent a bunch of time and dollars on refresh where I could put that toward more track time with a SM. Operating costs: Nearly half for fuel and tires.

Your right about body parts......It seems that a mid pac miata has body parts replace nearly every weekend. The key would be to get a front runner and hope to keep up and out of the mayhem.

Provenance : Your right, the car has some. Infact the first name in the log book is the name of the guy who just Won Daytona in the RX8.....Slyvan Trembley (sp). From a bit of research it seems that Bill Lester (Nascar Truck semi fame) also drove this car. Obvisously, Camron Worth of Pettit. Countless others as well.

So interesting...........Mazda Motorsports help out side of the usual .....Hadn't thought of that. Might be a good direction. Car needs a some cosmetic help, might be worth a try, but then again the car wasn't all that significant to Mazda as they never supported these cars when they were racing....(Not sure on that)

Sponsors......I can't commit the time to run full seasons as my job takes me out of the country half the year. (2 months on/off. ) Not sure if I could sell a part time effort.

In SFR SCCA the SM can run SM, ITA, ITX, ITE, and if your crazy enough SP. The 7 can run ITE and SP. From following the results of last years events I could podium in ITE based on my track day times. (Need to learn how to race) This was before the suspension redo and shock rebuild this winter. I expect the car to be faster this year.

Decisions, Decisions......
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Old 03-04-08, 06:30 PM
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Ok, it's labor that kills you on the rebuild costs - unfortunately I've done 5 of them (don't ask, drag racing is abusive and I made many tuning mistakes). The parts costs, esp if you have a Mazda Motorsports account, are not that bad unless you've dented your rotors or munched your housings (for god's sake, if you don't have an account shame on you - get one!). If you can rebuild the motor and install yourself then you're golden for only about 2 to 3K, but if you need to pay to install then you're going to double that. Karack seems like he's hurting for business, has a decent rep and you might be able to use him at a discount (he's on the west coast forum).

If the rest of the car is good then you're back in business.

Of course, you may then get tempted to do the other 'while we're there' things...like ditching the twins as I have. Amazing how that one change alone dropped underhood temps. If you go down my dark road, you'll never get to the next car.

If you can only have one car, you'll be better off sticking with what you already own vs. selling what you have and then reaquiring. You just need to get that competitive license so you can run with similar drivers and cars vs. running in the mixed stuff you are in now where you're just blowing right by everyone.

I also have access to a rebuilder (my crew chief). He can do the block for you, if you can do the install. Send me PM and I can get you some contact info....or get access to that spec miata again and come up for this weekend's event!
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Old 03-05-08, 11:16 AM
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Yikes.......5 rebuilds.......sounds like a second mortgage.

If I rebuild I am set on maintaining the car close to true to the original way it was built back in the day. The hi flow non squential twins have been flawless. Temps with this car are not an issue. Dual oil coolers and a massive verticle mount radiator and intercooler keep it cool. I did change to a Pettit GTC front and splitter and that combined with the vented hood keeps temps down. Even on the 100 degree Thill days temps have not been an issue. The motors internal cooling mods also help. If anything it runs to cool.

Thanks for the scoop on Karack.......I'll also go back to Pettit but I am not sure if I want to pay the freight.....pineapple may be another option.

Can anyone comment on local bay area engine builders?
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Old 03-05-08, 11:24 AM
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ITS ITS ITS! That's where you should take your RX-7 next.

Either that or NASA PT.
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Old 03-05-08, 04:44 PM
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Overbuilt for ITS....don't think that FD's are in that class either.
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Old 03-06-08, 06:55 PM
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For sale feeler in F/s section..................
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Old 03-07-08, 03:23 PM
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see your in Benicia ,ca

I'm very new to racing(haven't ben to the track)....i plan on going as soon as i have the chance ......
I'm currently working on a job and getting another car.,my license)(then racing license

i need as much help as i can get..........

im in cordlia ,ca
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Old 03-07-08, 03:25 PM
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oh....you have an FD...my bad
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Old 03-11-08, 03:29 PM
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Road race cars generally have low resale value (you are usually lucky if you get half of what it cost you in parts alone.) If you try and sell it with a blown motor, expect it to go for $5000 to $10,000 if the chassis looks very nice. If the chassis and body work look rough, then expect $5000 tops.
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Old 03-11-08, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by speedturn View Post
Road race cars generally have low resale value (you are usually lucky if you get half of what it cost you in parts alone.) If you try and sell it with a blown motor, expect it to go for $5000 to $10,000 if the chassis looks very nice. If the chassis and body work look rough, then expect $5000 tops.
Man are you being mean today or what I've always wanted a track FD, and for $5K I'll take it. I looked at it the other day, and it looks pretty nice but without interior and engine bay pics it's hard to get a feel for the build.

Reality sure sucks, and the fact that most race cars go for 30-50 cents on the dollar as I pour thousands into a new car build is sobering. Then you figure our time is free and adds no value to the resale. Then you develop your car, 100 dyno runs later, and still hardly no added value. You win the Runoffs and still your car won't sell......

When can I come pick her up Niles?
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Old 03-11-08, 08:32 PM
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Too bad that you are all the way out in Cali. I have a nicely sorted Miata that I am trying to sell.

I agree with you, a well modified Miata is an awesome car to drive. I put a new battery in a took it for a drive yesterday on a twisty back road. I came to a stop light and I realized that I was out of breath from my spirited drive.

I love my FD, but something about the glove like feeling of driving a Miata. Kind of like riding a Moped or doing a fat chick: it is fun but just don't let your friend catch you doing it.

Congratulations on your track success!
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Old 03-31-08, 06:40 PM
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Ran a skippy car there last year... fell in LOVE!! can't wait to get back out west!
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