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#69131 Its official

Posted by davew on 11-05-2014 05:26 PM

I have kept my mouth shut on here for all 50+ pages of engine discussions. Here goes:

 

This was not a rules issue. The problem was simply greed. The rule was very clearly written and was written by an engine builder, who was found non-compliant at the Runoffs. One driver wanted to beat another driver, so he built an engine beyond the rules as WRITTEN. Then engine builder #2 decided to go a little farther. So the next engine had to be better, and better and better. The first engine builder wanted to sell more engines so he went a little farther than the rest. Then he advertised how much power his "tech shed legal" engine put out. Eventually what was illegal become industry standard for all engine builders. Plain and simple greed.

 

I have not seen the Runoffs heads myself. But I have talked with 3 people who did see them, and touch them. All 3 had the same opinion, the heads where cheaters. No if, no ands and no buts. All the heads that failed the short turn radius protest at the Runoffs where blatantly modified beyond anything remotely allowed by the rules. Some where so bad that the engine builder did not even try to hide what was done. He expected the inspectors to be poorly qualified.

 

Any engine builder, who knowingly builds an engine that is not compliant with the rules, should not be allowed to be in any kind of a management position within the sanctioning body. Let me point out that Mr Tiley Of Ti-speed is on the "Spec Miata Advisory Committee" (SMAC) and Mr Drago of East Street is a member of the SCCA Compitition Racing Board (CRB). Do you wonder why the new  "leadership Team" had to stay away from the current official rules makers.

 

SCCA (with NASA and Mazda's help) had 3 choices:

1)Leave the rule as currently written

2)Rewrite the rule to allow additional modifications

3)Rewrite the rule to allow less/no modifications

 

Option 1 would make every head modified beyond the plunge cut (including slight blending) non-compliant and need replacement

Option 2 would tell the cheaters that what they did was ok and force everyone who was legal to do the same modifications

Option 3 forces everyone to go to stock heads, with little or no mods

 

I am not saying which is the best decision. None of these options are good. They are all bad. But someone had to make a decision and the decision was made. Now we have to live with it. Maybe there is more info coming that has not been made public yet. Maybe the leadership team just got pissed at the Miata world.  Blame the people responsible for this problem, the ones that broke the rules.

 

Any of these options is going to force a lot of new heads to be purchased (if you wish to be compliant). I am making an assumption here, that most of the heads that have been plunge cut, also have some sort of blending. I doubt anyone ever ordered a pro built motor with the phrase "I want to be 100% legal and if I am down on power I do not care". Again an assumption, the majority of "pro built" heads would be illegal even if the current rule was enforced. Is there a small number of heads that have plunge cuts and nothing else, probably. But remember whom to blame.

 

Which brings me to another point. ENFORCEMENT. Primarily lack of it. Road racing has a history of lack of enforcement. In other forms of racing, tech is not just about safety. It is about finding cheaters. The current process puts too much emphasis on competitor vs competitor protests. Which never happens. Then once a year we have a tear down party at the Runoffs. Where a group of Stewards decide what is compliant and what is not. These people are not experts in Spec Miatas or even in engines or even mechanically inclined. They (supposedly) know how to interpret the GCR and how to shuffle the paperwork. This lack of expertise on the officials was taken advantage of by the offending engine builders. Bringing back the compliance team (or czar) in some form is part of my proposal that was posted here last week.

 

From my understanding (please correct me if I am wrong) we had heads from East Street, Ti-Speed, Rush and X-factor found non-compliant at the Runoffs. For the record I have engines from Ti-Speed, and X-factor in the shop, I also have a good working relationship with East street. Although my primary engine builder is Stewart. A lot of you also do not realize that this website is owned by Jim Drago of East Street. I know his ownership has caused me to delete posts in the past.  It is for that reason that this post may not stay visible very long.

 

It is the notion started years ago by Jim Daniels of "tech shed legal". Meaning who cares, if what you did was legal or not. If it passes tech, who cares. Well, I for one care! It is the greed initiated by the phrase tech shed legal that got us into this mess. The engine builders who tore open the envelope in the name of profit and fame are too blame. The driver who turned a blind eye, saying make mine better but legal (wink wink). If you want somebody to blame, look no farther than the people promoting cheating in the name of tech shed legal. Whether it be ceramic wheel bearings, bent spindles or ported heads. It is all cheating. Call it tech shed legal if you want, I call it cheating and the cheaters should have to pay.

 

How should the cheaters be punished? Each and every one of us that has ever been beaten by an illegal car has been cheated. Maybe we lost a trophy or bragging rights. Maybe it was contingency money or tires. Maybe it was the time we have all wasted on this topic on this website.

 

I have volunteered to rejoin the SMAC, which I was Chairman of for several years. In an effort to eliminate the cheats. Whether the cheats be modified timing components, hidden resistors/switches, reprogrammed ECU, lightened ring gears or anything else.

 

I would also like to propose moving this discussion to the official SCCA forum which is currently unused (only a single post this year, and 3 last year) as a form of making all info posted unbiased. Visit www.sccabb.com

 

Thanks for listening

Dave


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#41169 COTA Qualifying Issue & Proposal

Posted by Danny Steyn on 01-17-2013 09:03 AM

Hi to all

this is the letter that I plan to send to the Race Chair and copy National - it deals with the SCHEDULE ONLY - I will send a seperate letter regarding registration and numbers.

Let me know if you are on board with this or not. Would hate to send this if their is no support. All comments and suggestions appreciated



To the COTA Race Chair and Committee


As a club racer and member, the entire race community is looking forward to this event. We all want it to be a safe, exciting and fun event, and of course we want to be invited back to COTA for many years to come.


With that in mind, there is a serious safety concern regarding the schedule. It is anticipated that Spec Miata and possibly other run groups will be at or over the 85 car limit for the event. With large fields like this it is imperative that the qualifying sorts out the order from fast to slow. The single 15 minute qualifying session per race will not be sufficient to shake out the order for these classes.


The end result is that if faster cars are held up in a very short congested qualifying session, they will start behind slower cars, and in a class with essentially zero horsepower differential, in the race this will lead to faster cars trying to make passes on slower cars trying to defend their position. We have seen the disastrous results when this happens. Every club will have its own horror stories – 2 in recent memory are

  • June Sprints 2011 due to a gridding error
  • VIR 2010 National when a safe distance was not maintained between two classes in the race group and the faster cars in came up on the slower cars while they were still bunched up.

We the racers believe that the timing system should be operational and implemented on Friday. We would prefer that Fridays schedule is changed to have 2 x 25 minute Qualifying sessions (1 for Saturdays Race, and 1 for Sundays Race. The Schedule for Saturday and Sunday need not be changed. The 15 minute qualifiers on Saturday and Sunday will still stand and the grid will be determined from the combined timing sheets. This is done in the SEDiv at all double nationals (there are no practice sessions on Fridays but drivers can sign up for the test day before the 3-day weekend)



I hope that you will consider our proposal and look forward to your response


Sincerely



If you approve of this the way it is here - please hit the LIKE button to show support for the letter, If you have any changes you would like to see then add them to the thread
  • Mike Collins, davew, HoneyBadger - BrianW and 26 others like this


#82333 2015 SCCA Runoffs Presented by Garmin VIRB

Posted by Jim Drago on 09-27-2015 11:38 AM

I'm in the airport, getting ready to fly out. Many of you guys need to settle down on the cheating etc.. You have NO Clue! I had two engines and one car torn down to the ground this weekend and passed all. It would be easy for me to pile on those that were found non compliant.. First off I was in tech all weekend.. I know the infractions and the severity of them. These were non compliant but not " cheats" no one at this level wants this crap. If for a minute you think ANY other class would come through tech remotely as well as SM did/does with even 1/4 the level of scrutiny SM recieves you are truly clueless! Why don't we try concentrating on the positives for a change and promote our class instead of taking every opportunity to try and tear it down. I have nothing but respect for the drive that Goring and Cory put in. Unfortunately it looks like they were in violation of the rules. It sucks all the way around.. I don't build or sell them anything, but I can guarantee you this was not intemtional as both went with the same intentions I did, to win and to have their cars coming home in boxes. Anyone who feels this was intentional or that they hoped they could " pass it through or get away with it " is just a fool imo.
I'll have a longer post later, but the negative bs has got to stop .. If I start seeing cheaters etc posted I will delete it and most likely give you a minimum of a weeks vacation. Say what you will but be respectful of the class, the competitors and all posting here. All can be said and discussed with mutual respect.
Thanks
Jim
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#68024 2015 SM RULES Package RACERS ONLY

Posted by Keith Novak on 10-24-2014 02:57 PM

I race, and will still race my '95 next year in SM.  Why?  Because it's a manly man's car.

 

It doesn't have the tweaking potential of a 1.6 with intake and AFM, and it doesn't have the power potential of a 99+ so you have to drive it like you stole it.  It's heavier than the 1.6 so cornering with them, you literally have to hold onto the back end by clenching the seat with your butt cheeks.  It also gets eaten alive at the top end by...well by anything else so it improves the defensive game and you get lots of chances to ask, "Are we really going to do this two wide?"

 

The heavier car with the earlier suspension also allows you to use up your tires faster than anyone else. While others are raving about the longevity of the SM7, I have the self satisfaction of knowing I finished the race with cords showing.

 

With the lower rev limiter than any other year, it greatly improves your shifting skills too.  When others describe how they're just hitting the rev limiter before a certain corner, I know I was up a gear 3 corners back and working the stick shift like a Tijuana hooker in every brake zone.  That also allows you to master your transmission replacement skills.  I have a whole farm of dead transmissions out back.  I can set them all up in formation and pretend I'm ruling over them like my personal army of minions. 

 

None of the parts are interchangeable with any other car so you have to learn self-reliance like a homesteader in the Yukon.  You can't just borrow a spare anything from everyone else in the paddock.  You either have to bring one, find one within a 200 mile radius, or whittle one out of the nearest tree.

 

I'll knock some dents out for next year, make it look a little prettier (or at least have body panels of the same color), and turn a bolt or two to make it faster.  Aside from that, you girls can drive your nimble 1.6's or your overdog 99+ cars.  I'll have the satisfaction of knowing that the only thing that makes the #88 fast is the driver.  :)

 

P.S.  What the heck does it take to get my checkered flag?  Do the admins even monitor their mail box.  I earned that dammit.


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#66944 Everything Runoffs 2014

Posted by Charlie Hayes on 10-13-2014 11:24 AM

Well that was a long week.

 

I am one of the younger guys in this class who is funding this by the hard work I do. I work at TFB and I have helped build what we have today over the past 3.5 years with my boss and friend Tim Barber. We have always out sourced engines because of the expense it is to have a machine shop and run a machine shop. We never have asked for anything grey or over the edge. I personally am a guy who is always willing to show and or help fix anything that is non compliant because that is not how I roll or Tim for that matter.

 

I was so confident with what my engine builder sold me and now our customers, that I was bragging to be the first one with a head off to show everyone we have the correct stuff and its all good to go. This is going off of someones word and yes you should check everything going into your own car but if you are buying a $6500+ complete long block from oil pan to valve cover with a sticker on top why would you tear it apart to check blatant issues? Those would never be in there I said to myself and our customers because that is what I was told.

 

I did win the head off contest. I did it to the #88 car which was my 2013 SM and I did it to my personal #22 car. I had a lot of bad engine luck leading to the runoffs which had me with no engine in my car Thursday 10/2/14. The head sent to me to put on a block sent to me the day before was actually another engine builders piece with a part that we did not like taken out of it. The end of the plunge cut was blended and we do not like seeing that as it says the cut shall not be blended by machine, hand or chemicals. That was fixed and I was told no other issues with the head so run it. Once again going off trust I bolted it up and got the car on track at Sonoma Raceway Friday 10/3/14 when the car was supposed to be in Monterey waiting in line to get in the paddock. 

 

The #88 car had a fresh engine from top to bottom installed before the SCCA test day on 9/28/14 and we used that day to break it in and make sure we were good to go. Once again a confident 100% legal engine that I was told we installed. 

 

On Friday after the lapping session we begin the tech process with 9 cars, 6 from the top 6 and 3 outcasts. It took until Saturday to determine that all but the #88 failed the protest. I was in the room looking at both the #88 head and my #22 head and yes there was a difference and yes my grandma could notice it. This started the entire appeal process which was not set in stone until about 6pm on Sunday. 

 

We held off tearing the #88 for as long as we could because we did not want to ruin a car if things were overturned. It was about 12 noon on Sunday when John Bauer told us to do it now. We pulled the trans, diff, LF/RR shock, CC'ed, pulled the block to remove 2 pistons/rods, and crank. Which then by 2pm failed the go no go tool on the exhaust relief cut. At this point standing in that 15x8 1 door horrible lit box I felt like I was not living.

 

I have put so much time, effort, and money in to this and I failed by putting trust into someone else handling my stuff. When I set up my car, I don't say 49.9 is ok when I want 50.3, I don't finger tight bolts and say "oh that should be good." I don't bend spindles even if it kills tires because it says you CANT. I raced the Runoffs with 2.2* camber in the front. I did race the Runoffs with an unwillingly illegal cut head though.


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#65886 #17 Signing Off

Posted by Joe (dad) Jordan on 09-24-2014 12:48 PM

Just to let everyone know, thanks to Brad Green for allowing us to take his number for the runoffs  Joey Jordan will be number 17 at the runoffs in honor of his friend Nova Brown, fellow Teen Mazda Challenge driver.  I asked James his Dad if it would be ok and he was enthusiastic about it. We will continue to honor him and his family ...


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#94137 Battery Tender MX-5 Cup - Is this something that I should consider?

Posted by Danny Steyn on 10-03-2016 05:37 PM

MY BATTERY TENDER GLOBAL MX-5 CUP SERIES DEBUT – A FULL REPORT

 

Several of you might already know that I ran my first MX-5 Global Cup race this past weekend at Road Atlanta. I was invited to do this by Mike Collins, owner of Meathead Racing and new President of SCCA Pro Racing. Since it was a conflict for him he generously offered me his seat, and I jumped at the opportunity.

 

Many of you have asked about my experience in the car and in the series and I thought it best if I write an in-depth post about all aspects, including the car, the series, the racing and more. You should be able to form your own opinions based on the multitude of emotions that I experienced over the weekend. The report starts off with a race report and continues with a synopsis of my feelings about the car and the series.

 

When I arrived I was fitted in the car, and Ess White of the Meathead Team made numerous adjustments to the seating position until I was totally comfortable. Of course, since the cars are the current 2016 model year, they are gorgeous inside and out, immaculate, and mine had less than 6 miles on the clock! It had been replaced after an accident at Laguna Seca and this was to be its maiden voyage in the series.

 

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RACE REPORT

 

PROMOTER TEST DAY AND PRACTICE SESSION

Unfortunately for our team, we struggled with a new setup change that had us all on the back-foot and the first four sessions had me extremely nervous, and almost afraid of the car. I didn’t want to hand Mike a wrecked brand new car, and the car was not doing what I wanted it to do. However I knew there was something not right with the setup as so many had told me how easy it was to drive.

 

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Fortunately I have a lot of friends in the series, and several realized that I was struggling and offered their advice, but none more so than the current champion, Nate Sparks who pointed me in the right direction with setup and data. Sparky, thank you, and congrats on a stunning season. You will make an awesome representative for us all and good luck in the Mazda Road to 24!

 

QUALIFYING

The qualifying session was the first time that I finally had a car that I could control, and that wasn’t scaring me,  but I still had no idea about its limits, or how it should handle, so I intentionally ran on my own at the back to come to grips with the handling and performance of the car which is very different to a Spec Miata.

 

At Road Atlanta, the back straight in a draft is worth 0.7 seconds in a Spec Miata, but in the MX-5 Global Cup Car it is worth at least a second, such is the magnitude of the hole that the open-top roadster punches in the air (more about this later). Since I ran on my own I was way off the pace and qualified back in 19th place, pretty much in the kill zone! But had I run in a draft my qualifying time gave me hope that I had the pace to run with the front runners.

 

RACE 1

 

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Starting from 19th I knew that if I was patient, the expected attrition in the 45-minute race would move me up a few spots and I purposefully held back, avoiding the carnage ahead of me and slowly moved up to 15th position, which fortunately is the last money paying spot. At one point I had the fastest lap time, and at the end I was one of the 6th fastest cars on the course. I experimented with easing off the pace, and dropping back and seeing if I could come back up to the leaders in my pack and it was relatively easy.

 

While my lap times sound impressive on my first outing, do remember that the cars in the middle of the field sometimes get to run some really fast times for one or two laps, due to the draft of the cars in the lead group ahead of them. For this reason, the series had to adopt an unusual qualifying strategy. In qualifying your fastest lap sets the grid for Race 1, and your 2nd fastest lap sets the grid for Race 2. They do not use your race lap times, as due to the huge draft, in some cases this might mean a completely inverted grid whereby the 15th place car in Race 1 starts on pole due to the huge draft he got in Race 1.

 

RACE 2

For Race 2, I think I started in 17th or 18th position, not sure exactly. By now the championship had been decided and I knew that the gloves would come off in this last race, so I was even more conservative than in Race 1, and once again it paid off as I moved up to finish 10th, just missing the hard-charger $1,000 check by one spot. Once again I was definitely on pace with the lead cars, but I didn’t make any dive bomb attempts, kept it clean and brought home a spotless race car. Once again my lap times were competitive with the leaders.

 

Overall I was very happy with my performance. I know that had I been comfortable in the car on test day I could have qualified near the front and would have driven a completely different race had I started nearer the front. My 15th place in Race 1 and 10th place in Race 2 paid a total of $2100 in contingency payments which I paid back to Mike Collins and the team in appreciation on their generosity.

 

SO WHAT IS THE GLOBAL MX-5 CUP CAR LIKE TO DRIVE?

 

The car is really well constructed and beautifully finished off, and everything just works. The engine is peppy, has plenty of torque, and 6-speed gearbox is a pleasure to shift.

 

However, when it comes to handling, this car is very different to the Spec Miata that we have all become accustomed to. In Spec Miata, we come to a corner, stand on the brakes, generally threshold brake, turn in and typically commit to wide open throttle well before the apex. Well if you have driven the iRacing Global MX-5 Cup Car, you will know that this DOES NOT WORK with the MX-5 Cup Car. You can brake relatively hard, but you have to come off the brake gently, and roll a LOT of mid-corner speed though the apex, and then feed in the throttle gently, or the car will drive off the track with front-end push.

 

I had heard about this nuance from many drivers before the weekend, and I ignored their advice to my own detriment, so eventually I had to give in and adapt, and once I adapted my driving style, the lap times started to fall. Yes, the car is a little bit twitchy compared to a Spec Miata, and it's suspension is a little softer, but you have a lot more adjustment available with shock compression and rebound that can handle tracks as bumpy as Sebring and as smooth as COTA.

 

The BF Goodrich tires are very good, and do not fall off much, if at all, over a 45 minute race. The electric steering is very sensitive and the car will turn in much more sharply than a Spec Miata so you have to slow your hands down significantly. Also since the tires are really grippy, and the suspension soft, there is a distinct chance that if you get into a slide, the suspension will bind up and suddenly release, spitting you off the track. Once again you have to adjust your driving style to car you are driving.

 

Bye the way, the math engine of the iRacing car, from vehicle dynamics to the shock performance is pretty much identical to the actual car so there is a lot to be gained from spending time on the simulator. 

 

All in all the car is fun to drive, a little faster than a Spec Miata, and the racing is closer than Spec Miata due to the huge parachute that the cars pull behind them as an open top roadster.

 

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO RACE GLOBAL MX-5 CUP CAR?

 

It all depends on how you want to do it. Do you want to buy your own car and do your own trackside support? Do you want to own your own car and have someone else support it? Or are you like me and purely want do an arrive-and-drive, have someone else own and prepare and deliver a race-ready car to the track for you to have fun in?

 

If we look at the 3rd option, a full arrive and drive where the team preps the car, transports it to the event, registers to race including test day, provides the tires, gas and trackside support, you are looking at anything between $15k to $20k for the 3 day weekend including promoter test day. If you were to commit to an entire season this number will be very negotiable.

 

So what do you get for this seemingly large cost? Depending on who you race with and what you negotiate, you will get the use of a car, a set of scrubbed tires, two sets of stickers, an entry, and a promoter test day. You will be responsible for crash damage but you may be able to secure crash damage insurance if you are running the complete season. This typically runs $3k per weekend with a $5k deductible and a replacement up to $50k.

 

You get 3 x 25 minute sessions on the test day, a 30 minute practice session and a 30 minute qualifying session which is split into 2 x 15 minute qualifying sessions. Your lap times from the practices session determine if you are in the first run group or the 2nd run group, so it is important to get up to speed before the practice session so that you have some drafting partners.

 

Then on race day you get 2 x 45 minute races. So you end up with close to 3-1/2 hours of track time if there are no stoppages. In terms of dollars per smile it is quite a high price to pay, but when you factor in the exposure to the pro teams, this is about the cheapest form of pro racing you can do, other than B-Spec, but in my opinion, no-one is looking to B-Spec drivers to fill the seats in their ST and GS cars.

 

WOULD YOU CONSIDER LEAVING SPEC MIATA AND RUN GLOBAL MX-5 CUP?

 

This question has a simple answer. If you have any ambition of running in a pro-series, or moreover being picked up to run as a paid driver in a pro-series, then you need the world to know who you are. In Spec Miata you might be the king, but to all intents and purposes, you are invisible to the world.

 

To give you an idea of how much attention this series is getting, not only did we have the entire Petite Lemans track-side crowd to watch us, but Mazda's Live Streaming channel has had more than 450,000 views giving you some idea of how many people follow this racing. Not only that but you are attending pro race-weekends so you are on the track on the same day as many other IMSA classes, and guess what, most of the drivers and crew wander down to the exciting corners to watch the extremely exciting racing that happens in this competitive series.

 

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Mazda’s commitment to the series is impressive:- from the Mazda village to the autograph signing event, to the parts and spares trailer that brings absolutely everything you will ever need, to the series provided driver-coach, Kenton Koch (whom I used at every opportunity I could), to the engineers,  technicians and team drivers that were immediately under our tent when I asked for help with setup.

 

The cars are absolutely identical in power. New cars take about 500 miles to get to full power so in one weekend you will pretty much have what everyone else has. Mazda and SCCA Pro are very serious about rules enforcement. You cannot add nor deduct anything, otherwise you will get penalized and fined and the fines are substantial. Judging from the cars that I was around the power variance is significantly tighter than in Spec Miata, so you end up free from the drama that surrounds the never ending power struggle to find that one unicorn engine.

 

All cars run the AIM data system and every driver has to hand in video from each session within 30 minutes of the session end or be fined. The officials come to your cars and download data if they suspect the car is an outlier, and every now and then they take cars at random back to Long Road Racing for complete compliance checking. This is tech at another level.

 

The teams that compete in the series are professional teams, all running multiple cars sharing data, often with data specialists in house helping their drivers. Once I finally got comfortable in the car, series driver-coach Kenton Koch was instrumental in helping me find the final 10ths that I was leaving on the table.

 

WHY HAS THERE BEEN SO MUCH CARNAGE IN THIS SERIES?

 

The parachute that is dragged behind this open top car is just staggering. You can come out of Turn 7 at Road Atlanta more than 15 cars behind the car in front, and despite two completely identical cars, you will be sucked up to the bumper of the car ahead and can even consider making a hail-Mary dive bomb attempt into T10A.

 

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This is the double edged sword that Mazda and the series is wrestling with. This draft brings the entire pack back together again, and ensures that there is very tight racing throughout the pack.  There were many occasions when it was four wide into T10A during both races, and the ABS braking system makes drivers feel more secure going for the late dive bomb attempt than if they had to modulate the pedal themselves. This makes tremendously exciting racing for spectators and ensures that the series is seen by a huge worldwide audience.

 

So the massive draft makes for exciting racing, but it also ensures that no-one can break away and that a less skilled driver is able to pull back into contention lap after lap. Ultimately this gives false confidence and you can see it building where you know that there are going to be some low percentage passing attempts. My gut feel is that carnage will continue to be part of the series, as it is doubtful that Mazda is going to put a hardtop on their attractive roadster and dilute the roadster image

 

SO WHAT WOULD YOU RECOMMEND TO ANYONE CONSIDERING THE SERIES?

 

If you are a young driver with serious skills, a Justin Hille, Michael Carter or Ralle Rookey, and have the funding needed to race the series, I would advise you to sign up immediately as you will be racing amongst some of the best wheelmen in the country, in identical cars, in front of a huge audience that will be able to recognize your talents. And you might be able to secure a pro drive way earlier than you will by staying in Club Racing.

 

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If you like the attention and “Big Show” aspect of pro-racing, then you will love the series. It is pretty cool to be signing autographs on posters and hero-cards for young fans who just love what we do. The show aspect is on a much higher level than even the biggest event in Club Racing, and this will appeal to many drivers who will enjoy the attention, publicity and professional event coverage.

 

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However, if you are timid or do not like wheel to wheel racing with rubbing, or if you hate the idea of paying for crash damage, then this is not the series for you. There has been a lot of carnage and as much as I hate to say it, this will probably continue for some time to come, until the draft effect can be minimized.

 

The Pro Series aspect does have some tremendous advantages. Once you have your hard card you never register at the track, it is all done online. The compliance team comes to your garage to check on your gear and car. The event staff are all professionals and want to make sure you are having a good time racing in the series.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

 

I definitely want to do this again. Now that I know how the car should handle and perform, I want to prove to myself that I can qualify well and run at the front. I am looking forward to a new challenge.

 

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A huge thanks to all those that made this weekend so enjoyable. I especially have to thank Mike Collins for his generosity, and Karen Dildei of Meathead Racing for making all the arrangements work so seamlessly, and for taking the really great images that are featured in this post. Thanks to the entire Meathead team including team driver Nick Bruni for his insight, crew chief Jonathon Bergeron, and crew members Ian Brooks, Miller Roberts, Adam Crandall, Ess White, and Tim Meek.

 

Thanks to the entire Mazda team from John Doonan, Dean Case and to Glen Long and the entire Mazda tech support team that helped me sort out my car. Thanks to driver and series-coach Kenton Koch, as well as Mazda team drivers Tom Long and Andrew Carbonell for their assistance and advice. And of course to all the drivers in the series that welcomed me and made me feel right at home. Hope to see you all soon!

 

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  • Johnny D, Bruce Wilson, Mark and 13 others like this


#51578 .Hitler hears about the enforcement of the neat and clean rule- SCCA MARRS se...

Posted by Bench Racer on 09-07-2013 04:53 AM


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#85984 Wishing all the best in 2016

Posted by Jim Drago on 12-31-2015 09:15 PM

Wishing a great 2016! It seems all I have spoken to are busy with new builds and many new individuals are building their own cars etc. 2016 is looking good in terms of Sm. 

Lets make 2016 the best year yet!

Jim


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#93315 Mazdaspeed support the best in the business

Posted by Jim Drago on 09-14-2016 07:24 AM

I have only run my 2011 Mx5 two weekends so far in T4. The first was uneventful, the second was not so much.  These cars are all ABS. At Grattan turn three is a downhill left where you do a quick tap of the brake and turn. My car had an ABS light on and it went into panic brake mode and I had no brakes, extremely hard pedal and off track and straight into the guardrail. Losing brakes on the race track is not, I can assure you and scared the hell out of me. Luckily it was just lite damage to the front cover and a pretty lite hit. We got the car back and struggled to fix it and time had basically run out.

 

So enter Mazda and John Doonan. I texted John and told him were struggling and needed help. I got a call from one of Mazda's best trouble shooters within the hour. After a 20 minute conversation, he informed me we needed to get the car to a dealership as they had a specific scanner that we needed to use to further evaluate. I texted John again, in minutes I got a text back from the director of Mazda Mid West who had already had me set up with our best local dealership, Gwatney Mazda and their service manager.  I had the car towed there yesterday and it arrived at 7:45. I was called at 8:05 from the service manager.  "Mr. Drago, we have your car here, I am aware of the your brake issues and your time constraints, don't worry about it, we will have you the car back by the end of the day and I am putting my best guy on it." What a relief that was to hear the confidence in his voice, I knew this would be handled. At about 10:00,  John the service manager called back and said, "Mr. Drago, you can come get your race car you are all ready to go and don't worry about those brakes just go out and win!"   I couldn't thank him enough. I asked what I owed him and his reply" Don't worry about it Mr. Drago, Mazda of America paid for this one"  Wow, that iscustomer service! I can't thank you guys enough. Special thanks to John Doonan and Gwatney Mazda.

Jim

 

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#63232 Eastbound and Down!!!

Posted by Dan Tiley on 06-30-2014 11:54 PM

Sumbitch..... the Bandit has arrived to Spec Miata!  Here's some pics of my new ride, making it's debut at Watkins Glen this weekend.  Admittedly it walks that fine line between cool and cheesy, but hey, why not???

 

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#70394 Latest from SCCA, NASA, Mazda and Andrew Charbonneau

Posted by Danny Steyn on 11-15-2014 03:41 PM

Dave Gran’s well written and all-encompassing article deals with all aspects of where we find ourselves today in Spec Miata.

 

The parallels in several aspects between what happened in the Lance Armstrong era of cycling and what’s happened in the STR era of Spec Miata (yes we only had DQ’s this year but most of us believe that this has been going on for quite some time) are quite similar and just as entertaining. (obviously on a much smaller stage)

 

Listening to the admissions  of Floyd Landis, Tyler Hamilton, Frankie Andreu and other members of Armstrong’s US Postal squad, the refrain you heard over and over again was that everyone was doing it and they were so close to it that they just became part of it.

 

It is only when it really blew up in their faces and they could finally see the consequences of their actions that they really could finally say …… “What were we thinking”. In terms of consequences, there was a real chance that they could have done jail time if caught, and while the Federal investigation was still under way, there was a real chance that they could have done jail time if they had lied.

 

It took several organizations, journalists and concerned citizens like Betsy Andreu, to clean up their sport. And in retrospect it’s easy to see how much the the cheating damaged the sport of cycling.

 

As was the case in cycling, it has taken concerned drivers, and an outside organization to step in and clean up our class. And in Spec Miata, in terms of the consequences it is now painfully obvious to all that want to see, that the STR infractions, however minor they may have appeared on the surface, have had a very damaging impact on the class. There is a real fracture in the class, as can be seen from the letters received by the SCCA and NASA. Despite this, I believe the class to still be healthy and I personally believe that we will be a better class for this.

 

I reiterate my position on the upcoming rule changes

  1. Plunge Cut heads have been legal for some time. This is NOT cheating. DO not change this rule and DO NOT punish drivers who are compliant. I suspect that most heads fall into this category.
  2. Ported, massaged, deburred heads are ILLEGAL as per the current regulations. This part of the spec could POSSIBLY allow VERY minor changes to allow only the minimal amount of deburring. This will prevent many heads being tossed without them gaining a significant performance advantage. At the time of the next refresh the deburring could be done by drivers who do not have it yet. It just needs an acceptable spec.
  3. All ported, massaged or performance enhanced heads need to be tossed.
  4. None of this should require any weight changes.
  5. The 99 vs. VVT parity is close as the rules are written
  6. I think some concessions can be made to 1.6 and 1.8 NA’s to make them more competitive

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#69035 Its official

Posted by Tom OPM on 11-05-2014 12:16 PM

My 2 cents

 

This can not have been thought thru by anyone really involved in SM racing.

Seems like a knee jerk reaction to bad publicity at the Run-Offs.

Seems like a good way to get their marquis class Spec Racer Ford back on top.

Would SCCA ever consider asking their customers what they wanted or just do whats best for us.

 

Signed, disgusted


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#67209 Everything Runoffs 2014

Posted by Brocodile on 10-14-2014 08:44 PM

Before you start urging the rules folks to make what was found at the Runoffs legal (compliant), I will warn you that this is what causes rules creep and expense to all involved in the class. Once this happens, someone will find another place to fudge the rules and suddenly all the fast guys will have it. Then, that too will get caught and because the front guys have already spent the $$, all must do it and so on. And in the end, you will have an E Production car. We started in production in 1972 and it was mostly as delivered. Now, there nothing on the car as delivered.

If you make blending the cut legal, the blend will start to drift further until porting is allowed. Of course, then the motor will need more fuel and a higher compression ratio. Get the drift?

Is that what all want? If so, I'll see you in impound since I am production category chief for the Runoffs. If you do not want this made legal, I suggest you write the CRB now clearly stating this. Request they clarify the rule but not make it legal. Each of you now has a chance to contribute to the future of SM.

 

Spot on, Jim. In this case, the appeal contained some very articulate arguments in an effort to demonstrate ambiguity, but they were rejected. The rule is clear. The argument boiled down to "everybody's doing it". The rule didn't "creep". What we have here is "Compliance Creep" and "Enforcement Creep". The fudging likely started years ago and gradually crept from "de-burring" to "just cleaning up" to whatever it was at the Runoffs. Since removal of material isn't objectively measurable, it's easy to see why it was consistently overlooked in tech in the past. It's hard to see what's not there. It's also easy to see why some builders eventually began to see grey when there was none. One of the reasons the protest procedure exists is to point out such overlooked areas.

 

There are many problems with ex post facto legalization, not least among them being the fact that it really is Rules Creep, placing the burden on those who were compliant to rework their heads to meet the standard formerly used to gain an unfair advantage over them. Remember - the good intentions of those who thought they were buying legal, pro-built motors is not the issue. After all, those with legal motors had equally good intentions. The issue is: who should bear the consequences - those who received the benefit, albeit unwittingly, or those who did not?

 

To turn these lemons into lemonade, we don't need more rules or exceptions to rules. We need more compliance with the rules we already have. Things got out of hand. The protests in Daytona and at the runoffs were a necessary step in the right direction. CAVEAT: The protest procedure can be used for evil as well as good. Now that the protest taboo has been broken, I sincerely hope that it will not become a weapon of retribution or score-settling. Of all the things that can damage the Spec Miata class, that's one of the worst. Let's all get the best FAIR advantage available to us, and then go do what we like the most - RACE.


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#102705 SM motorsports art

Posted by Walter Vetter on 09-19-2017 06:19 PM

And now for something completely different, my latest painting, "Deb entering Carousel, Nelson Ledges", acrylic on canvas, 18" x 24", ©D. Mathias, 2017

 

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#102163 Thoughts and Prayers for those in Houston and other flooded areas!

Posted by Caveman-kwebb99 on 08-28-2017 02:24 PM

Chatted for a few mins yesterday with Ferranti, he told me Ross was batteling the flood much worse then him, Blake's home might be underwater, thank God he isn't there to have to endure it.  The weeks and even months to come will be very tough on some of our racing friends, and just alot of people we dont know personally, My heart goes out to all of them, and especially the ones we all call friends via this racing!  I am personally praying for all that live in the path of this hurricane!  I sure hope others here are not to wrapped up in the daily grind to appreciate how severe this situation really is...  

 

 


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#94115 Racing risk and reward

Posted by Jamz14 on 10-03-2016 10:21 AM

Everyday I wake up and at some point in the day I question whether I should have bought my son a motorcycle. I told him for two years that there was no way that was going to happen. When he was 17 I relented and bought him the crappiest low powered motorcycle I could find but that was still cool; a 69 BSA Starfire. It was run down, didn't run and I knew it was going to be challenge for him to restore it and get it running well enough that he could ride it. I did it because I knew the day he turned 18 he would buy the bike he wanted, some big cc Japanese bike that scared the hell out of me. Keep in mind that I rode motorcycles almost exclusively until I was 35 and my son was 5 years old. I gave them up because I loved him so much and never wanted to leave him or have him see me injured. All those years riding and a year racing them I never had but one accident of note. It was like I had a invisible shield around me. Should have been dead many times over.

 

At his graduation celebration I gave a toast. Different than many parents I told my son to go out in the world and to make mistakes. Not little mistakes but go and live it and make big mistakes. Live free and take chances. Never succumb to the paralyzing spell of adulthood. 

 

All I can tell you Amy is there are many days when I am questioning whether I should have bought him that bike or given that toast, that the guilt in doing so drops me to my knees. There is only one thing that keeps me from blowing my brains out and lifts me back up to get in his car and race it as he did; and that is hearing him say in my head as he did in person, that he wanted it no other way than to live as he did; as we did together. The things we did some people live their whole lives without living as much as he did in 18 years. With much trepidation I would tell you to live. How you live..........well only you know what that should be. But live as you would without fear and know that you walk the planet as one of its wild and native creatures.

 

I have no idea if this advice is right. Not sure life will ever choose to show me if it is right or not.


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#84601 Hoosier H20 tire moving forward

Posted by Jim Drago on 11-19-2015 10:02 AM

I am very proud to announce that Hoosier has responded to our comments and suggestions regarding the H20 tire. They will be working on a new version H20 tire for our class.

I emailed Tim Gilvin at Hoosier with our concerns when we started this discussion on line. Tim called me this morning and we spoke for a bit and He and Hoosier completely understand our concerns. Hoosier is anxious to deliver us a wet tire that we are all after. Hoosier has several good ideas on how to get there. The goal being a real rain tire that lasts several competitive sessions with little to no drop off. Hoosier engineers will be working on a new wet tire for SM. They will be testing different compounds and tread designs to see how to best accomplish our goals here.

As a long time SM competitor, I have beyond satisfied with the Hoosier tire and even more with their support and constant willingness to work with the SM community. This is customer service at its' finest. I'm sure more news will be released as this project progresses. I'm sure Hoosier will work with SCCA to fade the old H20 out. I just wanted the community to know that Hoosier is definitely addressing the wet tire issue and I have 100% confidence that we will be deliver another great tire as they have doing since 1958!

Thank you Hoosier, this is really good news!
Jim

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#67058 Everything Runoffs 2014

Posted by Danny Steyn on 10-13-2014 10:31 PM

A group of principled guys had proof of what was going on, and probably feel that it is just one small violation among the many that they commit. So instead of calling them and discussing it, they salivate at the opportunity to embarrass them on the largest stage.


Dr Domm. I find your post to be in poor taste. I have nothing to do with the protest nor do I know the protesters, but to insinuate that they were "salivating" to "embarrass them" would mean YOU must know them well and know their intentions.

There have been grumblings behind the scenes for a long time that things are not quite right, and this was an attempt to correct it.

Someone eloquent person posted on Facebook that what we have here is like a market correction on Wall Street. Corrections are good as they reign in runaway bull markets that ultimately crash. Here the class is being policed, as any good club should be, by its members, and this is a VITAL function of the market/class. Just my opinion.
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#63463 Watkins Glen--Practice/Qualifying/Race

Posted by Mike Collins on 07-07-2014 12:06 PM

PS - The highlight of the weekend for me was watching the Sunday T4 (AARP) race.  My Dad qualified in P3 but P4 was very close in the mixed grid.  The same car edged him out the day before by getting him on the restart.  P2 to was a no-show so my Dad was 2nd right out of the gate and gapped P3 and got off to a good start. Once again they had a full course yellow and the third place car caught back up and once again capitalized on the restart and ran my dad down.  With 2 laps to go, P1 broke and all of the sudden my Dad was racing for the win.  He managed to get up to his door by start finish but the Acura just had more HP than my my Dads MX5...  The podium ceremony for them was great.  We watched all the other groups get up there and spray champaign and then the old guys..  P1 - 82 years old, P2 - 64 years old (my dad), P3 - 75 years old....  they got the champaign bottles held them up, shook hands and kept them, told everyone they weren't going to waste it and that they would drink it later ;)


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