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is there a long term plan of integratng MX-5 into Spec Miata??

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#1
Danny Steyn

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DISCLAIMER

 

This post is in no way endorsed by any of the parties below nor especially the SMAC members to whom I am apologizing in advance as they are no doubt going to be barraged by a lot of questions

 

 

Background

 

Based on the posts I have been reading, and reading between the lines in some, I suspect that we will all be hearing more and more about possible integration of the MX-5 into Spec Miata.

 

I have an open mind on this subject. I have no agenda other than seeing this very healthy and competitive class grow even more appealing, especially to the younger racer, so I want to air my random thoughts on this matter and hopefully we can start a healthy discussion on this subject.  

 

This is how I see the interested parties viewpoint, and I am sure I am missing many and look forward to the discussion that this is sure to provoke

 

 

Mazda

 

I am not speaking for Mazda but I would think that from Mazda’s perspective the integration of the MX-5 into Spec Miata would appear to make perfect sense. Much better for them to have a current relevant model racing than a 25 year old car that doesn’t promote the current product identity. So I expect that there will be a phasing out of the 1.6 cars and possibly the 94 - 97 1.8 NA cars, and I guess they will be destined for regional racing in IT. And eventually the '99 car will go that way too.

 

I also believe it is in Mazda’s interest to approach the integration by removing the restrictor on the ’99 and VVT cars in order to equalize thd earlier cars with the MX-5 vehicle performance. Faster race cars, more exciting for the viewer, also negates slowing down the current car too much and making it look like a slow car.

 

And lets face it, the MX-5 is a way sportier and sexier looking car than its predecessors. This will appeal to the younger driver who has no nostalgic attachment to the older Miata variants, like us older folk.

 

 

Engine Builders, Car Prep Teams, others with commerial interests

 

For all the engine builders, prep teams, and some current car owners, it makes sense to stay with the developed pro motor spec, rather than developing a new spec making existing engines obsolete (like 1.6 cars). This group would like to see engines continue to be developed, dyno’d etc, to extract the last HP available. This is in their financial interest.

 

 

Drivers (those funding all the above)

 

For those 1.6/1.8 NA owners, whose cars will eventually become obsolete, any acceleration of this day will be a bitter pill to swallow, however inevitable it might be, and would leave many upset with the class and its leadership, and I would anticipate a drop in race entries

 

I also believe that any speeding up of the current ’99 and VVT cars will cost us dearly in the long term with accelerated failures of all items (engines, gearboxes, clutches, wheel bearings, brakes etc) due to higher performance being extracted, and will also lead to more severe and expensive crashes. Tire costs will also increase with increased speeds.

 

I do also believe that there is a growing discontent amongst drivers about the cost of trying to remain competitive in Spec Miata. I believe many drivers would like to see a class where the engines are left stock or sealed. Now I know that those with money will always be able to purchase many engines, dyno until they identify the best one, and sell the rest, as motor racing is always going to be a sport where money will make a difference. But I still believe that this would curtail costs for the majority of drivers in this class. So I suspect that there will be a growing desire for a sealed motor SM-5 type class, but it will only happen when the fast drivers migrate to this new class. Until then it will not attract critical mass.

 

So it appears that we have many different parties all invested in this sport each with their own agenda. But for any sport to survive, it has to remain affordable to be relevant. We are after all Spec Miata. This class started out as a budget racing class, and has quickly evolved into an exceptionally expensive and very competitive class.

 

Let the healthy discussions start!

 


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#2
AJ Roderick

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how bout we get a stock sealed ls3 motor and put it in any year 99. flyin miata has kits. faster, no one can complain about different year motors since everyone would run a sealed ls3

 

i kid of course ( but i really want a ls swapped miata)

 

 

As far as bringing in the mx-5 cars to the class, isn't that what the SM5 class was kinda meant to do? bring the mx-5 into a spec class and grow it like SM has?


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#3
LarryKing

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And lets face it, the MX-5 is a way sportier and sexier looking car than its predecessors

That's a matter of opinion. To me the current MX-5 appears awkward from some vantage points.

 

I don't think we will ever see the explosive growth in SM that was experienced in the early years. A lot of us actually believed the "race for $10,000" horseshit.

 

I'm waiting for the next low cost spec platform. I'd love to see some kind of kit-car racer. The Miata genie popped her cherry years ago when the class became commercialized.


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#4
LarryKing

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Making the current MX-5 the default spec platform is almost too late, it will soon be a 10 year old design. The 2015 MX-5 appears to share the chassis with Alfa Romeo.

 

I'm thinking tube frame that accepts a Miata suspension and drivetrain, with replaceable plastic body panels. Spec one generation of engine. Could be good.


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#5
Caveman-kwebb99

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I have still been hearing about how the SM5 class is going to really take off???  So since that hasnt gone over as some said now we need to have them in SM?

 

If the 2006+ model migrates to SM  I will quit...  I can only imagine that many others will feel the same way...

 

I am all for making SM one model year and couldnt care less which one!  If I wanted to race and SM5 I would already be in one.  

 

The SM class is still very attractive to many who either have aspirations to turn pro, or to race agaisnt the very best amatuer drivers.  

 

If the best drivers migrate to SM5 that is when that class will really start to grow, until that happens just keep holding your breath.

 

I didnt get into this thinkiing I could be competitive spending very little money or time, those that have that thought process need to hear about a class called IT!  

 

I have been racing SM since early 2010 its the only auto racing I have ever known, I have seen car counts grow steadily since 2010, everywhere but NASA GL, and NASA SE, which IMO has either shrunk or remained the same with regards to the SM class.  When I started in 10 there was 30 some SM's at most NASA gl races, last weekend they were lucky to have 15ish...  

 

I have no idea but how many SM5's are there when its a big field?  I just dont see the economic demand for that car, maybe it will happen down the line?


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#6
LarryKing

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And for those who want unlimited spending there are production, GT, and sports racer classes.


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#7
AJ Roderick

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And for those who want unlimited spending there are production, GT, and sports racer classes.

 

Actually the TA2 cars are cheaper to maintain that my SM is. ;) the intial cost is like 72k for the chassis and another 35k for the motor but hey once you have the car.... LOL


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#8
Johnny D

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Long term yes, how long, I wouldn't hold your breath.

 

Jim's doing VVT. That's good, Monkey see, monkey do will result.

 

How about a 1.8 program so we get the same result, maybe some 1.6's will convert ??

Or is that just Mark winning at MRLS?

 

Someone with a large budget shouldn't be saying it's time, wrong spokesperson, IMO.

It's still the best racing, let's not screw it up.

 

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#9
Jim Drago

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Good topic Danny. 
 
Personally I love the class the way it is but at some point it will have to transition or it will die off the way of the bug eye.  In my estimation we are not anywhere near that point. If we made the class 90-3 only today, we could still successfully run for several years with no real issues. So I would guess that SM can survive as is or atleast 99 up for another 10-15 years .  My guess is at some point before that the MX5 will be introduced.  Fortunately for me, I will not be on the CRB when this occurs. :)   
 
I also agree with Denny, I much prefer the looks of the 01-5 car than that of of the 06-8.The 09 up looks pretty good. 
 
 
IMO as Danny said, SM5 needs the fast guys to start running in SM5 in order to attract the masses to MX5.  Problem is most fast guys wont run in it less Sm type of competition. I don't see a mass draw to SM5 as we saw to Sm.   As SM5 grows and gets and gets more successful, the pressure to merge the classes will increasse. SM5 partticpation will be proportionate to the pressure to include them into SM.   It really would not be that hard to get 'parity" in the cars. But as we know, there is a huge difference between parity and equality.  An uncorked 99/05 would run pretty similar to an SM5, probably even a bit faster. 
 
These are my personal opinions. There is no plan or conversation within the CRB/SMAC past the member input that was sent out a few months ago and I did not ask Danny to start this topic :)
 
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#10
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Good topic Danny. 
These are my personal opinions. There is no plan or conversation within the CRB/SMAC past the member input that was sent out a few months ago.
Jim

Jim, wasn't there a comment after this input ^ that there would be no MX5 cup cars included within Spec Miata.
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#11
Jim Drago

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Jim, wasn't there a comment after this input ^ that there would be no MX5 cup cars included within Spec Miata.

Don't know if there was an official statement or not.  I think something was said by me that there would not be MX5 cars in Sm at this time. It was not a forever deal. While I don't want to speak for the entire CRB,  I think it is fair to say the our position is not to include the MX5 cars into Sm in the immediate future but will continue to monitor the situation. 


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#12
davew

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Many of you saw my purple rental car that ran STL at the Runoffs last year. 100% SM legal with the exception of a $150 ebay header and no restrictor plate. Made 143hp on my dyno. In SM trim it made 124hp.  How can you cheaply and legitimately expect to over come a 20 to 40 horsepower difference.

 

If the 2006-2015 platform takes off, so be it. But until it does, I do not see any reason to attempt to bring it into SM.

 

SM has no need for it, we are still the most popular class at most events.

 

Can you imagine the parity threads about a 2015 vs a 1990. Pat and Dave's heads would explode !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Dave


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#13
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For me, I would have no problem with introducing the MX5 into spec miata so long as two things happen:

1. All NA cars must be removed from SM. As Danny stated, it would be too difficult to slow the MX5 down to their level so it would be best for the class to eliminate them and attempt to find a happy medium between the NB cars and MX5.

2. For all NA cars, it would seem like a no brainer to create a regional class the encompasses all these cars and has a rule spec to current or near current so these regional racer cars do not have to convert to IT. IMO this would actually be favorable to a lot people as it would eliminate the 99+ cars and leave a lot of close racing between the remaining cars.

3. Develop a 4-5 year plan to implement all of this. As a NA racer, the last thing I want is to wake up some morning and find out my NA has went from near worthless to completely worthless. As Jim said, the class is no where near this point but it may be by 2019. A plan should be made soon as to not get caught with our pants down.


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#14
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How do you guys feel about how SRF is updating their platform?  Granted they are starting from a different place, but still.....

 

There are a few guys out there with the proto types testing them, and the class has a plan to change/evolve over 3 or 4 years.

 

Part of the reason why I have not yet upgraded to a newer car is because I don't know what's happening next in this class, or what is coming next.  SM5 sounds very appealing with sealed motors, but there is no competition yet.  SM still has appeal since there will always be someone of quality talent and relatively similar equipment to race.


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First a response to Mr. Steyn & others relative to Mazda's desire to see the newer cars 'on track' in amateur events and the WDYT from the CRB a few months back:

I would not have a problem with the CRB including them however, changes to 90-97 models would be required to facilitate such an inclusion and would cause another series of years of parity discussion while we play with the "performance dials" to get things as close as we have them currently.  And without getting into a "more spec" situation (must run this Megasquirt with this PCM map, this intake, this header...) I don't believe you can get much more out of the 1.6L without impacting durability or making them more like a Prod car at that point.

 

Now, I put a bug into one of our members (NEDiv) on the SCCA Board about this very subject (the inclusion of 2006+ & the current parity levels for "SM").  I feel we're at a close parity point overall so IMHO this does strike me as a sound suggestion and he seemed receptive to consider reviewing it himself (not necessarily at the board level however).

 

My idea was to eliminate the "4 line designation" associated with SM (for all years) and turn it into a "1 line designation" to permit update/backdate of components similar to what IT supports.  What we currently have is:

  1. NA-1.6 @2275 w/o
  2. NA-1.8 @2350 w/45mm
  3. NB-1.8 @2400 w/38mm
  4. NB-1.8 @2400 w/40mm

Instead we designate the following:

  1. 90-2005 == '01+ 1.8L @2400 w/40mm; '99-00 1.8L @2400 w/38mm; '90-97 1.8L @2350 w/45mm

Whittling down what we know currently as "SM" to be a single line with various restrictors/weights associated with engine type/size would permit folks to run whatever combination of updated hardware (99+ subframe, currently available crate motors, intakes/exhaust...) across the board and enables the use of other crate engine options as well.  We run that for 2 years to see how parity plays out (possible to increase restrictor size and/or reduce weight) and we can then provisionally add another line to incorporate the 2006+ models with relative changes in weights/restrictors:

  1. 90-2005 == '01+ 1.8L @2400 w/40mm; '99-00 1.8L @2400 w/38mm; '90-97 1.8L @2350 w/45mm
  2. 2006+ == @2500 w/??mm

Yes, there would then be a split of SM between "Runoffs eligible" vs. not however the National office has somewhat already started down this road by requiring "Divisional Series" to use the same tires as part of their Hoosier agreement.  And yes things would settle to a 'lowest common denominator' for performance but at least then we'd only be talking components instead of entire chassis folks would be settling down to...

 

Similar to what Vic offered about the v2 SRF vs v3 SRF (and the practical "tough love" approach from SRR (v1) --> SRF (v2)), we run the "schism SM" for a couple years for folks to shake-out the best combination of parts while permitting the NCs to participate in "exhibition & data gathering mode" (to determine parity) and then on year 3 the split with "Vintage SM" is final and now we run 90-2005 Miata against the 2006+ models.

 

This will relegate those who wish to run their "2014-era SM" in whatever class their regions offer (SM2 or SMV - Spec Miata Vintage?) - sorry Vic.   :optimist:

 

What cans of worms would be opened with this suggestion (supporting the update/backdate)?

Is that a "bad thing"?

 

I'm not a car builder nor a powertrain engineer so I'm not familiar with any of the other minutiae within the Miata ecosystem so I'm not sure what impact the update/backdate suggestion would cause but I'm willing to learn & understand!

 

Curious other's opinions....

Brandon


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#16
DrDomm

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I think it's a bit simplistic to think that just because the MX5 is the successor to the Miata, that an MX5-based class will be an equally successful successor to Spec Miata.  Sadly, that successor to Spec Miata may not exist.


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Tyson Schwiesow

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Seems that SM has such huge fields right now that there would be no need to combine SM and an SM5 type product.  Personally I'd be willing to run both. I like the idea of strict parity between the cars and sealed motors would be nice from a competition and cost standpoint.  I say bring on a new class of SM5 cars and run them initially with another group.  With 55 cars registered at June Sprints I doubt there would be much noticeable car count loss initially and the transition would slowly, and naturally take place.  I would be very surprised if Mazda was not already actively engaging SCCA in these types of discussions.  One of the first things I said to Dave Wheeler when I started last year was basically what happens when we run out of 99 Miatas.  To someone seriously hooked on amateur racing I was concerned regarding what the plan would be for the future.  Great topic Danny.



#18
Tyson Schwiesow

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I think it's a bit simplistic to think that just because the MX5 is the successor to the Miata, that an MX5-based class will be an equally successful successor to Spec Miata.  Sadly, that successor to Spec Miata may not exist.

That's the basis of my question regarding what discussions have been held at the Mazda/SCCA level.  I would think they'd want to ensure some future transition provided motorsports sponsorships have a somewhat useful return on investment. If not, then when does the discussion change to include other manufacturers?   Subaru BRZ springs to mind.  I do realize the site is mazda racers and appreciate the support, but am surprised there is no "known" succession plan out there the more I think about it.   



#19
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I think a plan does seriously need to be discussed and put into place, sooner rather than later. Thinking we have another 10 to 15 years in current status would be foolish. I have a 99 and love it, but I know it's getting old. So here we are running cars 12 to 25 years old and want to think in 10 more yrs that younger folks are going to still be interested in searching out these old cars to refurbish for racing? I wouldn't be interest in that work, it's enough to keep it up today.

 

Plus, who knows how long Mazda will want to supply us with replacement parts. You know Mazda would prefer a more current representations of their cars to be raced. That is just sound business. At the corporate level they may decide one day, that the NAs (and perhaps NBs) are just too dated to support through Mazdaspeed any longer. And that day would likely come without much warning. Wouldn't it be better for SM to be proactive, rather than having its course forced upon it or worse watching it slowly die because of our unwillingness to deal with change?


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#20
AW33COM

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Yes. 






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