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#41
Caveman-kwebb99

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I bet we have more fun per $ spent than the guys spending the big bucks. :)


Of that I have no doubt!!! Unfortunately those of us who run the majors tour just are not wired so that we can enjoy it like that, we all.have different aspirations and one is not better then another, they are just differences and I believe there there room for both
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#42
Scott Krzastek

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Looking at the spreadsheet, I'm very curious where some of this information is coming from.  Having spent lots of time around Spec Boxsters, both driving and having several friends who run them, I'd like to know what shop does the $2500 pro motor rebuild? 



#43
Greg Holmberg

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Looking at the spreadsheet, I'm very curious where some of this information is coming from.  Having spent lots of time around Spec Boxsters, both driving and having several friends who run them, I'd like to know what shop does the $2500 pro motor rebuild? 

 

http://986forum.com/...8157-post4.html

 

I have a Spec Boxster.  Generally people have found that it's not worth it to get a pro-built engine.  They don't produce more power, and don't last any longer than the factory-built engines (even ones with many miles on them).  Therefore, most people just replace the engine with one from ebay or a junkyard for $2,500, do some minor external things, and they will produce competitive power for several years of racing.  See discussion above.  But, yes, pro build will cost $10,000.  But there's no advantage to them, and in fact they appear to be more likely to blow up.

 

In SM, I don't think you can pull a junk-yard motor, put it in the car untouched internally, and win the Run-offs, right?  You HAVE to get it rebuilt, right?


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#44
Greg Holmberg

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OK, it appears that all the discussions in all the communities have died out, so you can find the results in the spreadsheet.



#45
Sphinx

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Do you know what the cost difference is between Club Racing and top series pro racing?  Top series pro racing measure running cost as the "cost per hour," not cost per weekend.  Learned that earlier this year from some pro racing friends.  Sobering.



#46
Greg Holmberg

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Do you know what the cost difference is between Club Racing and top series pro racing?  Top series pro racing measure running cost as the "cost per hour," not cost per weekend.  Learned that earlier this year from some pro racing friends.  Sobering.

 

Well, sobering indeed.  In the spreadsheet, costs per minute run anywhere from $2.34 (FST) to $16.58 (FA).  That's $140/hour to $995/hour!

 

I'm sure that pro teams spend many times per hour what even the most expensive amateur class spends.


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#47
luvin_the_rings

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It seems the best performers have all have the same thing in common: high tire durability; with FF allowing 20 heat cycles before replacement.  

 

Formula F is set apart by the engine rebuild rate of 130 hours, while only costing $2500 to rebuild.  Transmission rebuild frequency and cost seem to be average on the FF.  



#48
Greg Holmberg

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It seems the best performers have all have the same thing in common: high tire durability; with FF allowing 20 heat cycles before replacement.  

 

Formula F is set apart by the engine rebuild rate of 130 hours, while only costing $2500 to rebuild.  Transmission rebuild frequency and cost seem to be average on the FF.  

 

In all classes, tires are the biggest cost per hour.

 

Formula First came out with the lowest operational cost of all the classes, at $467 per weekend.  #2 Thunder Roadster is $549, and #3 FF is $558.  Spec Miata is $1,329.  This is all to run at the front in a national level race.  It's much cheaper of course to just have fun running mid-pack at regional races.

 

FF used to be a very expensive class to run since you could run any tire you wanted, and the front-running guys would get the softest slick tire that Hoosier made ($974 per set), and used two sets per weekend.  Also, they used (some still use) the very old Ford Kent engine that required a lot of expensive refreshing, rebuilding, and blew up regularly.

 

Now FF specs a certain Hoosier tire, made specifically for FF ($764), which has a hard compound that lasts 20 HC.  Some guys are even going further than 20 HC and are still competitive.  Also, it's a radial, which while it required big changes in set up, has a larger contact patch than a bias-ply under extreme cornering, which further lengthens the life.

 

A bias-ply slick tire for the FF that is even cheaper is the American Racer 133, $490.  Similar hardness, lap times, and life span, but less money.  Used mostly by older Club FF's.

 

Regarding engines, yes FF is the lowest cost.  And that 133 hours is just a conservative estimate--some Honda Fit engines have been running for five years and show no signs of slowing down.  FYI, that $2,500 is a brand-new engine straight from Honda Performance Development.

 

SRF3 and NP01 have pretty low engine costs too.  All three are stock, off-the-shelf street engines with restrictors to run them relatively unstressed.  FV and FST are pretty good on engine costs too.

 

I'm personally planning on building the car called "PSL" in the spreadsheet.  Very lightweight car (750 lbs), under-stressed 1 liter MC engine+gearbox (restricted to 7500 RPM), and the American Racer 133 tires.  It should run about FF lap times.  Covered wheels for safety--i.e. it's a sports racer, aka a prototype.  $383 in operational costs per weekend.  Can be upgraded to class P2 if you feel like going really fast.

 

Greg


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#49
luvin_the_rings

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Sign me up Greg, 

 

I'd love to take part.  

 

Great work on this spreadsheet,  I thought spec racing was cheaper because development costs were really low, but it looks like the tire and engine budget makes them more expensive. I can see why people like sealed engine classes, and spec tires.  However its always fun to fly around the track on some super sticky radials, so I can see why people like using grippier, less durable tires.  



#50
Mark McCallister

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I'm personally planning on building the car called "PSL" in the spreadsheet.  Very lightweight car (750 lbs), under-stressed 1 liter MC engine+gearbox (restricted to 7500 RPM), and the American Racer 133 tires.  It should run about FF lap times.  Covered wheels for safety--i.e. it's a sports racer, aka a prototype.  $383 in operational costs per weekend.  Can be upgraded to class P2 if you feel like going really fast.

 

Greg

 

Interesting analysis, thanks for posting. 

 

PS: What is a PSL? Website? Google says Pumpkin Spice Latte.  Or if I spell it out, a bunch of stuff in Italian that I can't read. Google Images is even more confusing...  :scratchchin:


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#51
dstevens

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Sign me up Greg, 

 

I'd love to take part.  

 

Great work on this spreadsheet,  I thought spec racing was cheaper because development costs were really low, but it looks like the tire and engine budget makes them more expensive. I can see why people like sealed engine classes, and spec tires.  However its always fun to fly around the track on some super sticky radials, so I can see why people like using grippier, less durable tires.  

 

When I started racing an old guy at the time told me the "3Ts" would cost the most in hobby racing.  Time, Tires, Travel.

 

In spite of the name Spec Miata isn't a spec class.  There are some spec suspension parts (even those vary between generations) but that's about it for spec parts.  There are more than a dozen model years and a few generations of cars.  Some of the combinations work better at some track over others.  Generally the level of competition is is very high.  That's what contributes the most to the cost.  The box in which to manipulate the performance of the drivetrain is pretty tight, that adds to development costs.  That makes most spend a bunch of dough to get the most out of the package or the less scrupulous spend more to hide the cheats.



#52
Greg Holmberg

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Interesting analysis, thanks for posting. 

 

PS: What is a PSL? Website? Google says Pumpkin Spice Latte.  Or if I spell it out, a bunch of stuff in Italian that I can't read. Google Images is even more confusing...  :scratchchin:

 

It's just an idea in my head!  Prototipo Super Leggero means Super Lightweight Prototype.  I thought Italian would be cool for a race car.  

 

Here's some information on the concept.



#53
luvin_the_rings

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Interesting analysis, thanks for posting. 

 

PS: What is a PSL? Website? Google says Pumpkin Spice Latte.  Or if I spell it out, a bunch of stuff in Italian that I can't read. Google Images is even more confusing...  :scratchchin:

 

I made the same mistake.  I thought to  myself, "what is this guy talking about?" until i re-read his original post.  

 

PSL sounds like a great idea.  But can it really be $25k assembled? For the things mentioned in the document, It might work.  But it seems initial buy in costs will creep with data acquisition, and GPS dashboards, setup.  The upfront costs, theoretically, are low.  But what about setup and testing time?  With a fully adjustable suspension, the real sharp guys will be able to gain a significant advantage through tuning and testing time, further driving the cost overall to be competitive. I would suggest keeping the springs sway bars and dampers spec.  This will tighten the competition, and add to the spectacle.  I hate watching prototype cars drive alone at all the events I go to.  

 

With minimal down force, the need to adjust the suspension is also limited, making spec suspension parts more feasible. 



#54
Greg Holmberg

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I made the same mistake.  I thought to  myself, "what is this guy talking about?" until i re-read his original post.  

 

PSL sounds like a great idea.  But can it really be $25k assembled? For the things mentioned in the document, It might work.  But it seems initial buy in costs will creep with data acquisition, and GPS dashboards, setup.  The upfront costs, theoretically, are low.  But what about setup and testing time?  With a fully adjustable suspension, the real sharp guys will be able to gain a significant advantage through tuning and testing time, further driving the cost overall to be competitive. I would suggest keeping the springs sway bars and dampers spec.  This will tighten the competition, and add to the spectacle.  I hate watching prototype cars drive alone at all the events I go to.  

 

With minimal down force, the need to adjust the suspension is also limited, making spec suspension parts more feasible. 

 

The spreadsheet does have a note that class PSL does not yet exist.

 

The concept of this car (or the open-wheel version at least) has been discussed ad nauseum for many years over at apexspeed.com.  Here are some links if you feel like wasting a few days of your time.  Formula D, Open Wheel Miata, Phoenix FS FS600, The cheapest practical SR2, Entry Level Formula Car, and FS1000 Scalable to FB, P3. The cars have been called "FD", "Formula Super 600", and "FS1000".

 

There are several builders who've said they can build this car for the target price, in the right quantity.  The trick will be to get them to standardize on parts, so racers can share parts at the track.  The builders would differentiate by their chassis, suspension geometry, body-work, etc.  Similar to how it works with FV and FST.

 

One builder I've had some discussion with, Jay Novak, is building a P2 car for a target price of $35,000.  He has a long record of producing inexpensive but quality race cars, so I believe he can do it.  Check out his F600, which he sold as an assembled roller for $22,000.  He's also built P2 cars before.  He will be displaying his new P2 car next week at the Run-offs.  Remove the wings, diffuser, use smaller wheels, cheaper shocks, and I think it can be done for $30,000.

 

As far as set up and testing, I'll pay for that myself and share everything I learn.  I'm an open-source software developer, so I believe we all have more fun for less money when we share what we know.  I will start a community (forum + wiki) where we document what works.  We will spec many parts, including inexpensive shocks with recommended valving--so no $10,000 triple-adjustable shocks.  We will test and share recommended set-ups, so people don't have to spend a lot on testing.  Practice is still a good idea though!  I am concerned about the cost of data acquisition--need to work on that problem. 

 

The question now is how to bootstrap the market for the car.  I will either buy the first kit from Jay or take an obsolete first-gen Stohr sports racer (can be had for about $20k) and put on 13x6 wheels, remove all downforce, change the springs and shocks, and insert restrictors in the engine (or maybe just set the revlimit in the ECU), and demonstrate the car.  Take it to track-day events and show people they could be racing for what they're spending to run their street cars in HPDE's.

 

I have no illusions of getting the SCCA to declare a new class.  These cars will run in class ASR in regional races, and the racers themselves will declare finishing places by simply looking at the official results and knowing which cars are PSLs.  Once we get enough cars we can run our own series, much like Formula First does.  FST does this despite the fact that it is a regional-only class in the SCCA and doesn't go to the Run-offs.  To be honest, I really don't care about the Run-offs anymore.  So what if the SCCA never declares a new class for this?  They can run the events, we will do our own scoring.  We'll maintain the rules in our community.  We don't need their rules bureaucracy.

 

Sorry to take the Miata forum so far off topic.  It was not my intention, but some folks seemed interested.

 

Greg 


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#55
dstevens

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Interesting.  Who do you reckon would be the market for the PSL car?



#56
Greg Holmberg

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Interesting.  Who do you reckon would be the market for the PSL car?

 

I want to grow the pie, not just shuffle owners between the different slices.  I think all the young guys running track-days in their street cars are the opportunity.

 

I'm in the San Francisco bay area.  There's a lot of young guys with money here, running their cars at the local tracks.  The Facebook group "Bay Area Track Junkies" has 1,546 members, and "California Track Addicts" has 1,510.  At a recent PCA DE event, there was about a 5:1 ratio of track guys to racers.  They spend a lot of money on their cars--Porsches, BMW's, Honda's, etc.  They're already spending the money for the entry, hotel, and food.  I surveyed the Bay Area Track Junkies, asking what stops them from racing.  47% said "money", 28% said "time & space".  Only 9% said "not interested in racing".

 

I think if you can show them a real race car that goes faster than any street car, and does so with a lower per-weekend cost, and is safe, then you can convert some small percent of them.

 

One objection I've heard from others who race converted street cars (I hang out with the Spec Boxster guys), is the perceived lack of safety in a formula car.  In truth, the formula cars have a pretty good safety record.  I see a lot more wrecked production-based race cars than formula cars.  Rubbing fenders seems to be the way it's done in SM, E30, etc.  Formula cars and sports racer keep a respectable distance, because they know what happens if they touch tires.

 

Nevertheless, I think the covered wheels of a sports racer will satisfy some people's concerns about safety in a formula car.  I would be interested to hear from Spec Miata racers about your perceptions of safety in a formula or sports racer.

 

I would also target younger people.  The SCCA is full of old guys, and the club is slowly shrinking.  We're not attracting new members fast enough.  Most of the formula cars either look like their grandpa's race car (FV, FST, SRF) or are beyond their budget.  They want something sexy with paddle-shifting, like their video games.  If USLCI can sell 5,500 Legends race cars that look like 1930's sedans, imagine how many you could sell if they actually looked good!  And had modern suspensions, and were designed for pavement not dirt.  And were affordable by your average guy with a college degree.

 

I guess we'll see how it goes.  I'm not actually trying to make money off this or risk any money in a business venture, I just want to get more people racing, and I think I see a combination of chassis, engine, tires, etc that avoids all the objections people have had to purpose-built racing cars in the past.

 

Who you think would buy a PSL?

 

Greg



#57
BNaumann

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Who you think would buy a PSL?

 

The same people who bought an Enterprise Sports Racer.



#58
Steve Scheifler

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Overall I like the concept. Other's have had similar goals of course, some worked out better than others. Combining the best bits of what's out there today is a good start, but are you confident that you can produce a suitable chassis? I also wonder about running an engine designed for 13k RPM at 7500. Is that combination already well proven in some other application?

Do you need a midwest partner? :)
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#59
Greg Holmberg

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The same people who bought an Enterprise Sports Racer.

 

As I'm sure you know, ESR owners can be counted on one hand.

 

For those who aren't familiar with ESR, it's a Formula Enterprise car with a sports racer body.  See line FE in the spreadsheet.  A completely spec'd car, with one builder, and sealed engine, and one source of parts--the SCCA, who jacks up prices through the roof.  171 HP, 168 ft-lbs or torque, 1270 lbs with driver, wings.    1:45.6 around Thunderhill.  $60,000 new, $35,000 used. Per-weekend cost of tires + engine + gearbox + fuel + brake pads = $694.

 

A very different car from PSL physically, and also twice the price.  PSL's model is more like FV.  Some spec'd parts (uprights, for example) but with many competing builders and sources of parts.

 

So, BNaumann, what is your reasoning for thinking that PSL won't do any better than ESR?

 

Is it just that you don't think sports racers are popular?  P1 and P2 are both healthy, growing classes, and are well represented at the Run-offs this year, with 20 and 26 cars entered respectively.

 

So what else is it that makes you think that people won't buy PSL's?



#60
dstevens

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A few thoughts, no particular order...

 

I think you may be off in your target demographic.  A $30k car all in for an entry level race car is steep.  Combine that with a target toward a younger age demo and it's going to be more difficult to draft racers.  A lot of the track day drivers put the money into the car because it's a DD and they can use it off the track.  It's quite another when at anytime on the track it could be sent to the scrap pile.  

 

The reason club sports car racers are by and large older, white men is because that is who is interested and has the means.  These days many if not most of the younger folks either don't have the funds or aren't interested.  Or both.  The people you have talked to in the Bay Area are likely the exception and not the rule.

 

It wouldn't surprise me if the cost to build and test the first prototype was well into six figures.  In fact I'd be surprised if the car could be developed and tooled for under $100k.  It looks like the kit pricing is based on getting the production to scale but there are going to be some non trivial costs getting the car into production.  This includes tuning and packaging the engine.  I think a bike engine is a good choice.  It's going to need some development to get the package to something you can use.  While a fabricator may be able to provide a kit for a set price there are going to be costs involved in the design and testing of the chassis and parts.  It's normal to have several times the desired cost into getting the package off the ground.

 

 






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