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SVRA Heritage Cup Continues Growth

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#1
Johnny D

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Mid-Ohio event had nearly two-dozen entries, with no contact

 

As word spreads about Sportscar Vintage Racing Association’s Mazda Miata Heritage Cup for NA Spec Miatas, the entries are growing. The reasons are fairly apparent – good value; great tracks on vintage racing weekends (and the outstanding machinery that goes with it); tight racing; and, perhaps most importantly, little chance of going home with a dented car.

 

“I absolutely have zero patience for contact,” says Tony Parella, the President and CEO of SVRA, who has also raced in all three Heritage Cup events run so far. “With these cars, and what we’re racing for, I have firm belief that you can enjoy the car, race extraordinarily hard, but stay in an envelope that doesn’t involve bump drafting, tear up the cars or take a chance when you’re absolutely sure you can’t pass clean.”

 

Parella says that means racers can prepare their cars to the same quality that the owners of the high-dollar vintage machines do, and know it will look as good after the race as before. “I think there will be a huge demand when people find out about it,” he says.

 

Indeed, entries ballooned for the third event at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course the last weekend in June, with 23 cars – Marc Cefalo won both races overall in his 1997 1.8L car, while Brian Murdick and Joey Selmants split the honors for the 1.6L cars, both in 1990s. “We had a field of 23, and not one yellow flag, not one bump, not a single scratch on a car. That’s the recipe and I think it can be replicated nationwide. I think it’s a logical evolution of our growth,” says Parella.

 

Parella says he expects a dip in Spec Miata entries at the next event at Portland International Raceway on July 27-30, primarily due to the event’s proximity to the popular Rose Cup Races only two weeks prior. But he expects continued growth, not only for the reasons already cited, but also because it’s something a younger generation can connect with.

 

“I had a separate drivers meeting at Mid-Ohio with the Miata guys,” Parella explains. “I told them the vision behind it – Mazda is behind it, SVRA is behind it. We want a safe place to race where they can show off their cars. We want factory involvement to keep cost down. And I want to bring existing vintage racers and have their children and grandchildren get engaged, where they can rent a Miata and get their feet wet. I want to appeal to a younger demographic who doesn’t understand what a Triumph is, what an MG is, because they don’t make them anymore, and they’re not in their generation like they were in mine.”

 

Parella is having fun racing Miatas as well, getting quite the education in the process. “I raced Corvettes all my life, and to get in a Miata, I realized just how hard it is to be fast in one,” he says. “You make one mistake and the world’s passed you. You don’t step on the gas and get it back. You’ve got to be smooth and fast. It’s way harder than I realized…it’s all about momentum, and it’s a completely different style of racing than I’ve been involved with. I’m having a ball, and the guys are great people.”
 

After Portland, the final Heritage Cup event for 2017 will be at VIRginia International Raceway on Sept 21-24.


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#2
38bfast

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Myself and a lot of customers are looking at SVRA as a great option to pursue. I think its a series that will grow to be very popular for a lot of reasons stated above. 


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#3
B(Kuch)Kucera45

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^ I agree 100%

It was a blast and the top 3 cars were nose to tail the whole race without touching at all and I know because I had the best seat in the house running in 4th and 5th. I would have to say it was like going back in time with a no contact rule just like the old days when guys cared about there cars.
Mid Ohio was a perfect example that you can be fast and dice for the lead without touching each other. I liked the no contact rule but I just wish they would have aloud bump drafting. Again it was a blast and reminded me of the good old days of a relaxed and fun racing weekend. I will defiantly be racing more of them next year for sure !
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#4
Walter Vetter

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I'll be at VIR. Some of you Yankees should make the tow south.
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#5
Pat Mcg

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The MO race was for sure good times..  Amazingly I went off in turn 1 in 4th position and everyone missed me..   My bad..   The cost to run was basically 50 bucks with the Mazda money.  Sat night was a blast with a lot of folks that raced SM back decades.  Listening to some of those stories.  Wow... SM has come a long way. 



#6
Walter Vetter

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Lost in all the Runoffs man drama, the SVRA put on a great event at VIR a couple weeks ago. Most fun I've had in years. I plan on attending more events in 2018.

 

Before going on track the SVRA owner, Tony Parella, led the SM drivers meeting, where he told us that if we had contact we would probably be told to put our car on the trailer for the rest of the weekend. It worked - everyone raced hard but with no contact in the SM race. Makes you wonder why this wouldn't work for the SCCA and NASA.

 

Added bonus - got to watch the TransAm series race. Former SM racer Ernie Francis, Jr. won in TA.

 

Video highlights. (I'm partial to the 88 Miata)

 


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#7
Mitch Reading

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Well said Walter.  I was one of six cars that ran under the RP Performance tent and we all had a ball.  I'd love to see SVRA allow our cars to 'double dip' into their lower displacement enduro race on Sunday morning...

 

From discussion over the weekend, I believe Mazda has committed to continue to support the early cars with SVRA in 2018 so more events to come... we're thinking about shipping cars out to the May Road America event.  I'll be back. 


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#8
Walter Vetter

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+10 on the enduro!


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#9
RacerX

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I too enjoyed the VIR weekend, on track it was good clean, competitive racing.

 

But the off track activities were equally enjoyable.  By itself, sharing the paddock with the GT International and TransAm teams, chatting with them, and then watching their races was a bonus.  But the highlight was all the vintage cars in the paddock - an amazing representation of race car history.  Like most car shows the owners were happy to talk about their cars and share their stories, to the greatest level of detail you’re willing to explore.  But then they put their labor of love out on the track and RACE them, some equally hard as we were in our SMs.

 

It wasn’t just one way interest.  A TA2 team paddocked across from me were involved in the early years of SM, asked about a few people they knew in MARRS, and were interested in learning the state of the class.  I also had several SVRA members stop by, give my SM a good look over, and ask about the car and class.  There were at least a couple of guys I sense are strongly considering giving SM a try (one guy visited me 3 times and his look over my car rivaled a good tech inspection.

 

This was my first experience with SVRA and I’m already planning to join them again next year.


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