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Getting Started In SM

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#1
Eric_sliv

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Hello! I am aware that there are plenty of similar threads to this, but I have some specific questions as well. Any feedback or advice is appreciated! 

 

I am currently racing Karts in the SKUSA series and looking to take my first steps into car racing. After some research it seems that Spec Miata is the way to go. So I am looking for advice to plan my first year in the 2020-21 season (most likely cal club region). 

 

Initial Costs: (do you think I am missing anything or have inaccuracies?)

Car - 20,000k for majors/runoff competetive (should I buy from a shop or private party?) 

Trailer - 2-3k (looking at flatbeds)

Gear+Hans - 2k 

SCCA Certified - $2,000 (any recommendations on schools/beat way to go about this?) 

 

Operational Costs: Alright this is where I get lost lol. Not sure how many races I will commit to but I am guessing at least 6. what do you guys think each category takes $$ to be competitive/if I am leaving anything out! 

-Car Maintenance? (pads, rotors, oil changes, engine rebuilds, fuel etc) 

-Entry fees (do most people practice the day before events?)

-Tires (how long do they last before you are disadvantaged/Do most people use fresh rubber every race?) 

-Hotels, snacks, 

Are there teams to pit with or is it pretty individual? I spectated a regional race and it looked like most of the drivers work by themselves. 

 

Car Decals/Logos: 

I have a few sponsors in Karting that are interested in continuing into Spec Miata...am I allowed to wrap or decorate the car in sponsors logos as long as I keep the required Mazda stickers and numbering? I struggled finding info on this one especially. 

 

 Okay I think that's all I can think of! I realize I have a lot to learn but I am just trying to plan ahead. Thank you so much for reading!! Cannot wait to get on track! 

- Eric 



#2
Johnny D

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I thought Danny was going to say something.
A lot to learn, you should really hang out here going forward.
This is a stepping stone?? Sports Car Racihg?
^^ most of that is right. Scca has school in SoCal and NorCal at thunder hill. I don’t remember it being $2k. Will post here, it’s in feb.
So if your trying to get to Mazda MX-5 cup you can win Scca or Nasa for a invite or they’ll invite you if you have the skills
NASA has a teen challenge too. I think you need permission but as young as 14, maybe Scca too.
There’s also Spec Mx-5 an older car than cup, arrive and drive with coaching at all the major tracks .
Tires etc al depends if you’re running region and majors, Scca withHoosiers or Nasa with Toyo.
A lot to look at and think about.
A lot here to look at and think about.
Search box upper right.
Welcome.
Ask away.
J~
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#3
Bench Racer

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Eric, presume Cal Club Region is SCCA. If correct google search SCCA GCR (General Competition Rules) and read the Spec Miata Class Specifications and everything else in the GCR which is not related to another class. Start your read NOW. Then through this site, at a Spec Miata race prep shop in your area or at a track find some Spec Miata people to hang with at the track and learn. Go to the "Members" tab in the header selection and message Jamz14 (James) and check if he's in your area. What is your area? He has a fairly good grip on the class and likes to work with younger folks.

 

Oh, welcome and most of all, Have Fun. :bigsquaregrin:

David Dewhurst aka Bench Racer


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#4
OrangeCrush86

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You need to start by reading the SM section of the GCR. Most of your answers are there. You will need to be familiar with the GCR to get licensed anyways.

 

I can help you a little with operational costs. I ran 5 weekends in 2018; all regionals. Below are roughly my season costs

 

Racing Consumables (no tow or hotel costs):

2 sets of Hoosier SM7: $1580

Tire change and balance: Plan for around $200 probably, I bought a tire machine and balancer because after 3 years of racing I'm saving money.

1 set Hoosier H20: $800

Case of amsoil: $120

Redline trans and diff oil: $80

2 sets of Gloc front pads: $300

1 set of Gloc rear pads: $140

1 complete set of rotors: $160

~75 gal of premium fuel: $210

1 set of front wheel bearings: $200

1 year of SCCA Full Competition License: $100

 

Entry fees for 5 regionals: $2275 (approx $445 per weekend)

 

That totals to around $5960. I do all my own work, except I did pay $300 to have a shop align and balance the car which means I had at LEAST 6k to operate in 2018.

 

Keep in mind the above numbers were because I didn't break anything or crash. SM cars seems quite durable, but some years you might lose a diff, engine or trans. Any of those break and add $1,000 to $5,000 extra to operational costs.

 

If you are on a budget I have two pieces of advice (these are strictly my personal opinion).

1. Buy a cheaper car. You don't need a 20k SM to have fun and race with people. Use the extra money for better tow rig and entry fees (more seat time!)

2. Win a regional race before considering trying to be competitive at a Majors. You might be surprised how much money and effort it takes to even win a regional. I've been in SM for 2 years now and the best I did was 2nd place. My background was from karts.

 

Decals are up to you. Mazda and tire (Hoosier/Toyo) stickers are only required if you want to collect contingencies which almost everyone does. I even managed to win 2 free tires this year, yay!


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#5
OrangeCrush86

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I forgot to mention that it might be worth it to rent from an arrive and drive before dropping $20k+ on SM. Since I came from karts I thought I might mention that car racing has a lot of important differences from karts you might not expect.

 

In a lot of ways karts are probably more cost effective for fun unless you are running very competitive shifters. In which case SM might not be that much more expensive lol. That said I love SM and the more drivers we can recruit the better. :)


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#6
gerglmuff2

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You need to start by reading the SM section of the GCR. Most of your answers are there. You will need to be familiar with the GCR to get licensed anyways.

 

I can help you a little with operational costs. I ran 5 weekends in 2018; all regionals. Below are roughly my season costs

 

Racing Consumables (no tow or hotel costs):

2 sets of Hoosier SM7: $1580

Tire change and balance: Plan for around $200 probably, I bought a tire machine and balancer because after 3 years of racing I'm saving money.

1 set Hoosier H20: $800

Case of amsoil: $120

Redline trans and diff oil: $80

2 sets of Gloc front pads: $300

1 set of Gloc rear pads: $140

1 complete set of rotors: $160

~75 gal of premium fuel: $210

1 set of front wheel bearings: $200

1 year of SCCA Full Competition License: $100

 

Entry fees for 5 regionals: $2275 (approx $445 per weekend)

 

That totals to around $5960. I do all my own work, except I did pay $300 to have a shop align and balance the car which means I had at LEAST 6k to operate in 2018.

 

Keep in mind the above numbers were because I didn't break anything or crash. SM cars seems quite durable, but some years you might lose a diff, engine or trans. Any of those break and add $1,000 to $5,000 extra to operational costs.

 

If you are on a budget I have two pieces of advice (these are strictly my personal opinion).

1. Buy a cheaper car. You don't need a 20k SM to have fun and race with people. Use the extra money for better tow rig and entry fees (more seat time!)

2. Win a regional race before considering trying to be competitive at a Majors. You might be surprised how much money and effort it takes to even win a regional. I've been in SM for 2 years now and the best I did was 2nd place. My background was from karts.

 

Decals are up to you. Mazda and tire (Hoosier/Toyo) stickers are only required if you want to collect contingencies which almost everyone does. I even managed to win 2 free tires this year, yay!

 

good summary

this is around what i spend, only two differences are i typically hotel it, and running double classes increases tire costs. 


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#7
Eric_sliv

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I thought Danny was going to say something.
A lot to learn, you should really hang out here going forward.
This is a stepping stone?? Sports Car Racihg?
^^ most of that is right. Scca has school in SoCal and NorCal at thunder hill. I don’t remember it being $2k. Will post here, it’s in feb.
So if your trying to get to Mazda MX-5 cup you can win Scca or Nasa for a invite or they’ll invite you if you have the skills
NASA has a teen challenge too. I think you need permission but as young as 14, maybe Scca too.
There’s also Spec Mx-5 an older car than cup, arrive and drive with coaching at all the major tracks .
Tires etc al depends if you’re running region and majors, Scca withHoosiers or Nasa with Toyo.
A lot to look at and think about.
A lot here to look at and think about.
Search box upper right.
Welcome.
Ask away.
J~

Thank you so much for the info! Depending on how everything goes, I plan on using this as a stepping stone to sports cars, if not I am happy to race for fun - my boss raced trans am and endurance stuff back in the day and I would love to follow in his footsteps. I may be too old for the teen challenge by the time I am ready to buy (I'm 19). I like the idea of coaching, but arrive and drive/rent seems like it would almost be more than buying a car if I end up doing a lot of races. Do you agree? I will definitely start searching the forums for more info on all of this, thanks again!



#8
Eric_sliv

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I forgot to mention that it might be worth it to rent from an arrive and drive before dropping $20k+ on SM. Since I came from karts I thought I might mention that car racing has a lot of important differences from karts you might not expect.

 

In a lot of ways karts are probably more cost effective for fun unless you are running very competitive shifters. In which case SM might not be that much more expensive lol. That said I love SM and the more drivers we can recruit the better. :)

 

 

You need to start by reading the SM section of the GCR. Most of your answers are there. You will need to be familiar with the GCR to get licensed anyways.

 

I can help you a little with operational costs. I ran 5 weekends in 2018; all regionals. Below are roughly my season costs

 

Racing Consumables (no tow or hotel costs):

2 sets of Hoosier SM7: $1580

Tire change and balance: Plan for around $200 probably, I bought a tire machine and balancer because after 3 years of racing I'm saving money.

1 set Hoosier H20: $800

Case of amsoil: $120

Redline trans and diff oil: $80

2 sets of Gloc front pads: $300

1 set of Gloc rear pads: $140

1 complete set of rotors: $160

~75 gal of premium fuel: $210

1 set of front wheel bearings: $200

1 year of SCCA Full Competition License: $100

 

Entry fees for 5 regionals: $2275 (approx $445 per weekend)

 

That totals to around $5960. I do all my own work, except I did pay $300 to have a shop align and balance the car which means I had at LEAST 6k to operate in 2018.

 

Keep in mind the above numbers were because I didn't break anything or crash. SM cars seems quite durable, but some years you might lose a diff, engine or trans. Any of those break and add $1,000 to $5,000 extra to operational costs.

 

If you are on a budget I have two pieces of advice (these are strictly my personal opinion).

1. Buy a cheaper car. You don't need a 20k SM to have fun and race with people. Use the extra money for better tow rig and entry fees (more seat time!)

2. Win a regional race before considering trying to be competitive at a Majors. You might be surprised how much money and effort it takes to even win a regional. I've been in SM for 2 years now and the best I did was 2nd place. My background was from karts.

 

Decals are up to you. Mazda and tire (Hoosier/Toyo) stickers are only required if you want to collect contingencies which almost everyone does. I even managed to win 2 free tires this year, yay!

Thank you this is all very helpful!! Agreed, I figured I would stay in regionals for a while. However, I do have aspirations to run in the big races eventually and Im not sure if its wiser to start with a great car and just worry about driving or upgrade/buy a more competitive setup as I improve. Im open to suggestions, you guys are the experts! Thanks again for sharing, I really appreciate all the detailed feedback you guys are providing!



#9
DonziFreak

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I am finding this read to be very interesting as I myself am about to begin racing. The only insight I can offer is I spent a year reading and understanding the rules and traveling to different races and spectating/getting involved anywhere I could. I also spent time around a couple of race shops and asked so many questions that I'm amazed anyone was willing to answer them.... I then hunted down and purchased a car and have spent quite a while updating all the safety equipment and preparing the car....

 

Now I'm ready for track events and working towards my competition license. I want to do a few track events (at least one at every track in my state, there are four) before I get my license or race. 

 

That being said, I'm transitioning from racing with a ten year background, but it's all in boats! The only advice I can offer from that experience is, sometimes it's much smater (especially when just getting started in a new class) to start with something that's sorted out, but not top tier. I shopped for a long time and found a car with a excellent cage and safety gear and no crash damage. I am reading everyones advice on this post and will continue to read this topic and pour through all the other great info on this website, as this forum seems to be a excellent resource!


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#10
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