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Author Topic: just curious, why do people say spec miata is really not a good beginner class
ajcjr
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I have been researching building a car from 944 cup to spec36 and a friend of mine said why not go spec miata. I said because a lot of what i read says that class is really competitive, their is a lot of bumping and some people dont consider it a good class to start in because of this.

So is what i am hearing wrong. I have done DE's in a street car, racing a tag kart but looking to get into a real car.

So what are some pro's and con's.

Thanks

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Winner of the Grand Am Chip Foose Pirelli Mazda RX8 giveaway!

Qik Nip Verified Driver Made Donation to Website Series Champ
Loose Member '09 & '10 Great Lakes Regional Points Champion

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Car #: 60
Year : 1990
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AJCJR:
I began in this class seven years ago (after similar to yours kart / Moto Cross / track day experience) and found it a great place to start WTW racing. The reality is that no matter what class you start in, you will be in the back of the pack for the first season.

The great thing about this class is that with it's large size, finding folks who are willing to help a new racer is easy.
Rick

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Fortune Cookie Racing SM 60
Directions for use: Race, Rumple, Repair ... Repeat!

cintibob
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Car #: 13
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PRO; It is a great handling car
lots of parts available.
alot of info. available about car
moderate price car but not cheap.
friendly racers willing to help.
fairly stable rules.
fun factor.
this site to learn from.
cons;expensive to be competitive and stay there.
cost of buying a top car.
more equal cars=more bumping.
initial cost of car compared to I.T. or FV which are good starter cars.
1.6 cars are more maintanence heavy.

Other people can think of more pros and cons I am sure or disagree with mine.

B Wilson Verified Driver Series Champ
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It is still a good beginner class,
The cost is generally lower than other competitive classes. By competetive, I mean more than a 3-4 cars to race against on any given weekend.

And somewhat related, these car don't need a lot of attention to keep up and running.

The community is very receptive of new folks and will do everything we can to help folks get up to speed, i.e. there are very few hidden performance secrets that are not general knowledge, especialy if you spend time on this forum [Smile]

Competitive? Hell yes! But you didn't go racing to beat the worst did you [Smile]

Bob beat me to the punch, but generally disagree on the 1.6 cars being more maintanence heavy. I mean you want to sit on a lawn chair ALL weekend? [Big Grin]

-bw

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Bruce Wilson
2010 Oregon Region Champ
2010 Monte Shelton Driver of the Year
2010 25 Hours of Thunderhill E3 and Under 2 liter Overall Champion
Oregon Region SM Class Advisor

tLinder
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Region: SW
Car #: 40
Year : 1991
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PROs (for me):
• Good Field Sizes: 20+ SCCA or NASA
• Cost to Play: (I'm from karting & DEs too, so needed car, trailer, safety gear, etc., ~$20k)
• Cost to Keep Playing: if you don't break anything major, tires & pads. Major spare parts are reasonable. (My Rotax kart motor cost $3k+, a crate SM motor is ~3.5k installed!)
• Local Support: MER is in my "backyard" to keep the car going fwd
• Reasonable speeds (keeps the wife from worrying tooo much) [Roll Eyes]
• Support from fellow SM's
• SpecMiata.com [thumbsup]

CONs (these probably apply to several classes)
• Isn't cheap, but it's about as low as it can get. (Kart ~$4k season, SM ~$8k)
• To be compete at the National level takes real $$$ and even more time.

Probably comes down to what's important to you, competition or being competitive? SM has great competition at most (if not all regions) from 1st to last place. If you want to compete for wins from the start, there might be other classes to cherry pick from.

Rich Verified Driver
Oh, that's where that is.

Region: STL
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I started there. Great place to start.

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Rich Wiese

Spec Wrecker Ford

d mathias Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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FYI - as mentioned above you can get a good used IT car for a fraction of an SM and depending on the region there are pretty good fields.

I started in SM but that was before everyone went batsh!t crazy about this class [Big Grin] [duck]

Brian Cates
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You can run both NASA and SCCA with SM

ajcjr
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thanks for the replies.

I am looking for a competitive fun class that doesnt need a ton of maintenance because of work and family commitments. I am not looking to be the top competitor nationally, just have fun locally.

Someone mentioned bumping, that was mention to me once or twice about the series not being as safe as some who run with bmwcca or pca because they do not tolerate bumping, is it that bad?

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Winner of the Grand Am Chip Foose Pirelli Mazda RX8 giveaway!

JimEli Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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quote:
Originally posted by ajcjr:

...
a friend of mine said why not go spec miata. I said because a lot of what i read says that class is really competitive, their is a lot of bumping and some people dont consider it a good class to start in because of this.
...

Who said that? Let us know, we'll bump him off next race [Big Grin]

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UPR.com
Team LemonLappers

Steven Holloway Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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quote:
Originally posted by ajcjr:
thanks for the replies.

Someone mentioned bumping, that was mention to me once or twice about the series not being as safe as some who run with bmwcca or pca because they do not tolerate bumping, is it that bad?

Because they're lapping their street cars, not racing their racecars, and don't appreciate the beauty of a well-executed bumpdraft.
There's some contact in all racing and boneheads in every class.
I get bumped less in SM than when I raced karts, but we had nerf bars not door panels.

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If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's got electrical problems.

Kim Ouye Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Region: SFR
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You learn a lot about racing in SM. You learn to deal with the good and the bad and you always have someone to race with.

Those that say it's not a good beginner class has never raced an SM and has their own agenda to promote whatever they're driving. What can you learn about racing with less than 10 cars on the track and the field is strung out? Nothing but open lapping...

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Kim

91 BRG SMT RIP
06 MX-5 Cup

"Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting 'Holy sh*t...what a ride!'" - Unknown

B(Kuch) Kucera 45 Verified Driver
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These are momentum car's(low hp)which means you have to drive them on the edge which equels FUN.Which means learning car control and lot's of it if you want to be a front runner.

If you are looking for a exciting class and great competition you will find it here.For me a good class (race) has at least 10 or more car's in it and you wont find that in a lot of other classes.

Just like Randy Pobst said in one of his article's,if you can drive a sm fast you will be fast in a high hp car.(something like that)

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Bob
!KUCH!

"All my drinking buddies have a racing problem"

Mark Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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major con:

Impossible to get trophies. Nearly anyway. The talent pool is deep and competition is fierce. If you are looking to collect trophies this is not the class for you.

major pro:

When you do make the podium, you will have accomplished something substantial. Car prep alone and $$ will not put you on top. The one with the most driving skill (and sometimes luck) almost always prevails in the end.

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Mark
http://www.ironcanyonmotorsports.com

Colin MacLean Verified Driver
Fly Fifer

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There is no better class to learn in. Period. You will have cars to race against no matter where you are on track, what your talent level and budget are. You will have access to some of the best drivers in the country and that is invaluable. There is a ton of setup data and a giant resource pool to draw from. SM has the reputation for crash-em-smash-em and that's justified but it's also a numbers game. If you have a regional weekend when literally half of all cars at that weekend are Miatas it stands to reason half of the wrecks will involve Miatas. Folks don't understand that though, they just see wrecked SM's and assume we're all a bunch of lunatics. Then to compound that, since SM as a class is very technically astute, you have a plethora of videos out there usually involving some crazy wreck or two. That sure doesn't help our image [Wink]

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Colin MacLean
Flyin' MacLean Motorsports

B Wilson Verified Driver Series Champ
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On the other hand, we did decide to join or stay in a class where the inevitable will happen, and that gives some validity to the crazy factor. The fact is, if you race full seasons for a number of years, you will have some contact that will cause you to visit the body shop and possibly have the frame straightened. How often is really up to lady luck and your ability to anticipate impending messes.

That is racing as they say. Vintage or PCA is driving fast with other cars nearby, but not necessarily racing that we all know and love to watch on the tube.

That being said, the thrill of the hunt, or driving through a corner at 100 side by side with another car, or bumpdrafting at 124.9 MPH is an awesome experience that I love to do and will do so as long as I possibly can!

-b

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Bruce Wilson
2010 Oregon Region Champ
2010 Monte Shelton Driver of the Year
2010 25 Hours of Thunderhill E3 and Under 2 liter Overall Champion
Oregon Region SM Class Advisor

IPRESS Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Colin shoots........ and hits another three!

Good call there my friend.

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Mac Spikes
IPRESS Racing
MER
East Street Auto
SAFERACER
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Carbotech
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Cresson, Texas
"To hell with you Gen. Sheridan...I 'll take Texas!"

LOREN WALLACE IS MY HERO!

Dusty Bottoms Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
99 all the way!

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SM is a great class to get started in and a great class to finish your career in period (unless you're old like Mac Spikes then you can finish your career in ITA) [duck] [Big Grin]

There is only one other class I considered racing when I was getting started.

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"Your victory is tainted! Asterisk! Asterisk!!!"--Lisa Simpson

Apex to Apex
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Speaking for myself, I plan to run this class because the cars are equal, they are relatively inexpensive to run and they require more from the driver.

In my NASA paddock I've seen more Spec 944 cars come off the track with tire marks on them than SM cars.

I also think the Miata is a well balanced car and a great car to work on the "nut behind the wheel".

For example, I can get a set of rubber for the Miata for $400. For my Vette a set of tires runs over $1000. And my Tech Director has a Mustang that he runs in AIX and it costs so much for parts for that car, that he struggles to get the car on track for more than a few weekends over a season.

I think SM is a great way to race, and have someone to race with, on the cheap. You can be mid-pack and have a group of guys to compete with.

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"Driving is a serious business" - John Milner, 'American Graffiti'

cooleyjb
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SM is a great class to start in. It's also a frustrating class too. Frustrating because there are so many people racing that you'll have to work very hard to get to the front of the field. Frustrating because the grass is always greener on the other side (1.6 vs. 1.8 etc.). Frustrating because there is always somebody spending more money than you.

However it is still a great class with big groups in most regions, can run in NASA and SCCA, and the group of people running it is good group of guys. People can argue all day if it's the absolute best group to start in. It may not be but it's definitely in the top 3 of groups to start in.

cintibob
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The biggest thing SM has going for it is tech support. You have alot of shops who work on and promote this car and you can get parts easily. They are full of ideas to make the car faster. You can also share the car, one person in SM the other in ITA that was what sold me. I know another couple that share the car twice the fun and only one car. In FV you learned from other FV owners on the phone or at the track even the engine builders wrote articles on setup. When I started in FV I could tow to the track with my street car and a small trailer or in the back of a pickup truck. So startup money is less and with smaller fields there still was always someone to race. With 60 hp you learned to keep up momentum and how to work on the car. In other IT classes you learned front wheel drive handling and then most cars being sold were front drive. I have found in most classes the people you race against are willing to help you in fixing your car to get you back on track or giving ideas on how to improve. Just about any class that is lower hp and is in your money range is a good place to look at but I would suggest to rent one for a school to see if you like it first. Some people find formula cars too claustrophobic or do not like fwd cars, different style of driving. I have seen a new driver start with a FC and spent more time adjusting to the car and all the hp it was just too much car to start with.

rookie530
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as said before these are momentum cars so you dont have all the horsepower to fix your mistakes. if you miss an apex or braking point you cant fix it by stepping on the gas which in turn teaches you to be a better driver. this is the class im going to be starting out in and im glad i chose this class. everyone in the class are all good people and ive made a lot of good friends. the miata is also an awsome and very reliable car. i know i repeated a lot of what everyone else said but im just puttin my [twocents] in.
-rookie

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will mccloskey

d mathias Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Something I should have mentioned: these cars are just plain FUN to drive - RWD, 4 wheel independent wishbone suspension with coilovers - beats the hell out of trying to make a FWD sh!tbox into a racecar.

racerfink Verified Driver
Gig 'em Aggies

Region: Central Florida Region
Car #: 111
Year : '90 Miata
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I put my '90 together for $7500. That's including the price of the car, and the hardtop too. Most of the time, I run in the top 10 in a 45 car field at Sebring, with 114hp. At the Labor Day Enduro last year, I finished 3rd on R888's that were on their fourth weekend.

You could probably get away with spending a little less in ITC, and win the regional championship, but it would be against five or six cars a weekend in a BIG region like Central Fla. When my dad and I ran ITC back in the '90's, it was a big class around here. We had to rebuild the entire car TWICE from people that hit us. Once, I got t-boned in the old hairpin at Sebring, and once, when the car got turned around at the start at Moroso, IN THE RAIN, and backed into a concrete barrier.

The one thing I see about SM is, at least you are usually running as a stand alone run group around here. So the cars out there on the track at the same time as you have very similar cornering, braking, and top speeds. In IT classes, you may be out there with five or six other classes. Some may be on slicks, some may outweigh your car by 1,000 lbs. Lots of variations in cornering, braking, and top end.

I wouldn't recommend going the low buck route, but you can be fairly competitive.

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'90 Spec Miata
'90 Street Miata
'96 Chevy 1500
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ajcjr
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thank you again for the replies, i am going to get out to the track and check out some racing

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Winner of the Grand Am Chip Foose Pirelli Mazda RX8 giveaway!

jim kettelkamp
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i think it's a great class. I had been doing Skippy the last 2.5 seasons. I did my first race weekend in the Miata last weekend and had a blast!The only thing that takes a little getting used to is the traffic, but that's what makes it fun I think. I think I will become a better racer because of the closeness of the racing.

l8tbreakr
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I too am moving over from another class and looking forward to plenty of close racing with someone to run with and lots of class options and what I hope is a better race car. If you keep your nose clean in traffic what's not to like other than the cost of the motor?

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AJ Goldsmith
Westborough, MA

TJAndriesen
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One last thing - in most cases you can run in at least 2 classes at a race weeknd. SM + ITA or regionally SSM/SMT. If you want track time there is no better way than to race more than once a weekend.

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TJ Andriesen
Barrington, IL
#43 SM/ITA (SCCA & MC)

caesss Verified Driver
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quote:
Originally posted by ajcjr:
... that class is really competitive...

Isn't that what we all want? What fun is it to be 1st, 2nd or 3rd in a class with 3 or 4 cars?

If you are a good driver, you can mix it up in the front without a lot of money. And even if you just starting, there could still be 3-5 other guys that you can race with mid-pack or at the back. There is something for every level.

Good Luck!

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Caesar Vielmas
YozoY.com | blu27.com

racinglawyer Verified Driver
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Reading all the comments will give you all you need. I can't think of another reason to race in SM. I started many years ago in an ITA RX7 and drove almost every type car in between until (my son and I) got into SM the first year they were racing. Take it from an old timer, SM is the class to race in whether your beginning or ending your career (I'm 70 so you know what end of the spectrum I'm looking at).

GOOD LUCK... I hope you have as much fun as I had in my years of racing.

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BE SAFE GO FAST HAVE FUN
Love "the commander" Mike Cefalo

   

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