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#1
rc1

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hey all,

 

New to spec miatas and trying to get familiar with the sub-classes and different years. Sorry for the super noob questions but appreciate input from people with experience

 

seems like everyone likes the 1.6s - ive read the 1.8 has benefits but tricky to make it fast with rules and restrictions.

 

NA or NB? do these cars race together or are they grouped separately?

 

whats the favorite? seems like the most like the early 90's (NA?) but some lean toward the more modern/slightly updated look/feel of the late 90's (NB?)

 

Running the numbers on 3 seasons with 6-7 events per and its coming out cheaper to buy a car for <$10k now than renting for 1 season even with consumable costs. at least whats available in my area in the northeast. any thought on this appreciated. getting in deep is fine just dont want to go over my head.

 

Thanks all!

 

 

 

 



#2
Steve Scheifler

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Welcome! I see you are from the northeast which explains a few things you’ve said so far. Cars & classes are more varied there so best to wait for advice from others in that area.
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#3
Jim Drago

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hey all,

 

New to spec miatas and trying to get familiar with the sub-classes and different years. Sorry for the super noob questions but appreciate input from people with experience

 

seems like everyone likes the 1.6s - ive read the 1.8 has benefits but tricky to make it fast with rules and restrictions.

 

NA or NB? do these cars race together or are they grouped separately?

 

whats the favorite? seems like the most like the early 90's (NA?) but some lean toward the more modern/slightly updated look/feel of the late 90's (NB?)

 

Running the numbers on 3 seasons with 6-7 events per and its coming out cheaper to buy a car for <$10k now than renting for 1 season even with consumable costs. at least whats available in my area in the northeast. any thought on this appreciated. getting in deep is fine just dont want to go over my head.

 

Thanks all!

 I think your data and research is a little off.  There is plenty to read here or the archives. 

 

Most are running NB cars, not NA at this point

Renting 6-7 a year should be far more than 10k.  Buying a car at 10k, will get you on the track, but you will be spending a lot of time and money on the car. 

 

I think I would look at cars closer to 20k and get info on the cars. Lots of good cars around that amount.

Jim


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#4
Jim Stevens

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I think I'll chime in on this one.

 

I bought my NA last year in the general price range you're looking at. Although the seller may have taken pity on me (lost all my previous race cars and tools in a fire), I got an extremely nice car with a great spare package at an excellent price. So far, it has been very reliable and gotten me back on track at I price I can afford.

 

Will it win the Runoffs? No. Will it win a Super Tour. No. Does it do well in Regional races, and non-SCCA events? (Hallett COMMA, Midwest Council, etc.? Heck, yeah! And I'm having a blast doing it. 

 

So, I guess the question is: are you wanting to run up front at major events or get your feet wet without dropping $20-50k? If the former, an NA is fine.


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#5
gerglmuff2

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i think you are on the right track. i think its far more important to be on the track, doing the racing, than it is saving money for a slightly more competitive package. but then, im a believer in the 1.6 at all tracks that dont require 5th gear. so im weird. 

i would go and buy the best 10k spec miata you can find. you might be able to find a pro head or an older pro motor 1.6 or 1.8 NA. such a car with the right driver is certainly capable of being pretty competitive regionally. and as your experience grows, you can buck up and buy a real motor and do very well regionally, and be competitive at majors/HSTs. 

if you have a ton of experience racing already and plan to be at the front of a HST, id just buy an NB99 or NB VVT and be done with it. but it sounds like you are new to the racing thing, and in that case, id just get on the track the cheapest way possible and start learning. experience and talent are far far far more important at every level of spec miata than the car is. 


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#6
manthony121

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I am a middle-of-the-pack regional racer.  I have a 1.6  It is just tons of fun to drive.

 

As others have said, it comes down to what exactly you are looking for.  If you are looking to be a front-runner at the Runoffs, you'll want a 1.8.  If you are looking to have fun, you can get a good 1.6 for half the cost of a 1.8 NB.  They are fun to drive, but it's hard keeping up with the 1.8's on the straights.  The MARRS series, based in the Washington DC region, has a big group of people who drive NA's (both 1.6 and 1.8) in the SSM class.


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#7
infamousjim

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Welcome, also from the Northeast. 

 

As was said previously, your budget would mostly get you a NA car (1.6 and 1.8)... which do fine at regional races up here. 

 

I wrote a reasonably comprehensive "buyers guide" a few months ago, could be helpful for you: https://nomoneymotor...-popular-class/


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#8
trimless

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I am a middle-of-the-pack regional racer. I have a 1.6 It is just tons of fun to drive.

As others have said, it comes down to what exactly you are looking for. If you are looking to be a front-runner at the Runoffs, you'll want a 1.8. If you are looking to have fun, you can get a good 1.6 for half the cost of a 1.8 NB. They are fun to drive, but it's hard keeping up with the 1.8's on the straights. The MARRS series, based in the Washington DC region, has a big group of people who drive NA's (both 1.6 and 1.8) in the SSM class.

Assuming similar level of car prep the 1.6 has no problems keeping up with either the NA or NB 1.8 from my experience. And it can be a weapon on some tracks with flat terrain.
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#9
Bench Racer

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Assuming similar level of car prep the 1.6 has no problems keeping up with either the NA or NB 1.8 from my experience. And it can be a weapon on some tracks with flat terrain.

To many people forget that with a properly preped 1.6, it's the spacer between the seat and steering wheel which makes the difference. My 1.6 which I sole this past summer had WAY more talent than the spacer.


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#10
manthony121

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Assuming similar level of car prep the 1.6 has no problems keeping up with either the NA or NB 1.8 from my experience. And it can be a weapon on some tracks with flat terrain.

I have a friend who is a Runoffs-winning level driver.  He tells me that he can get the same lap times at Watkins Glen in the 1.6 as he can in a 1.8, but he can't win races driving a 1.6 there because the 1.8 out-climbs the 1.6 going up the hills.  Watkins Glen has several long, slow hills to climb.


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#11
Marc Cefalo

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first and foremost if you're buying used MAKE SURE THE DAMN CAGE IS DONE WELL.

 

ok no more screaming..

 

right about this time of year is when we receive calls of people who've bought a used Spec Miata and "want us to go over it to get ready for the season"

 

time and time again unsuspecting buyers off load cars that:

 

1. the buyer paid way too much

2. they don't fit in the car well because of the cage design/lack of a floor drop done well

3. have a cage with welds that look like a 5 year old did them

4. needs several years of maintenance done

5. hidden frame damage that leaves a chassis that will NEVER align/scale correctly

 

Yes many are commenting about competiveness and so forth but the focus should be on the cars foundation.  we've seen NB's that were complete garbage,  NA's that were taken care of nicely and everything in between.

 

Being from the northeast section of the country, maybe we can help assist in finding the right car for your needs.  

 

just like buying a car, get a second opinion and if possible have the seller agree to an independent inspection.

 

Marc


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#12
38bfast

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Buying used is always a roll of the dice. There are some great used cars out here that need very little but there are many that horrible in every aspect. The older cars have been racing for many years and are very "used". Like Marc says look at the core car, cage and tub. I see many get in saying that they are not looking to be competitive and just have some fun, but once in they change their tune and now want to be more competitive. Then the process starts of dumping money into a car that is in need of a lot. I have seen this happen so many times. 


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#13
Schroedinger

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New SM racer here.  I agree with those who said that if you want to run middle of the pack at regional races and have a ton of fun, a 1.6L can be competitive and also cheaper.  Some organizations have separate classes for the 1.6L cars (SCCA has SMSE here in the Southeast), but you generally run in the same run group as the other SM's.  I also totally agree with what Mark said- there can be a lot of hidden landmines with used cars if you don't know what you're doing.  Either buy from a respected shop or evaluate used cars with a friend who is very far up the learning curve.  Speaking from experience, it's not fun to get to the track for a race weekend only to fail tech.



#14
Bench Racer

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Buying a tried and trusted 1.6. My first Spec Miata drive was a rental. Watch out, the roll cage side protection went straight from the B pillar to the A pillar. NOT GOOD, no room for drivers left arm while driving, about couldn't use left arm. 


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#15
Carlo Fava

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Some background: Just retired south of Nashville and thinking of getting back into racing it has been ~20 years. Went from karts in Argentina (30-60 racers) to Formula Mazda in the mid west (10-20 cars, except at Nationals). As a teenager put a lot of motors together, but during my racing (Karts and Formula) had mechanic help. I'm not great at suspension set ups. Don't know if at 58 with my low back can completely drive with my @$$ and feet :) but I'm just doing it to have fun hopefully for the next 15+ years.

 

Goal #1 is to have fun AKA becoming competitive in regional racing. Thought about buying an 99-00NB start at pro-solo/track days and learn the mechanics of the car by making conversion over the next 12-18 months.

 

After doing some research would really appreciate validation or any comments on the following statements. I know everyone is busy, accordingly numbered them so that it hopefully makes it easy to just reply mostly True or False (I now it always depends:) 

1/ Looks like the 99-00NB cars are still the ones to get

2/ NC (SMX) seems to still be pushing for growth but not really for regional racer 

3/ Buying a used race car is the way to go doing a ground up build will end up being to much for my mechanical experience 

4/ Cant have a non-synchronous transmission (left foot braking/RPM gear shifts). Need to learn how to really toe and heal :)

5/ Requires some suspension work for track day set up, but don't have to be an expert

6/ Can run the car in lots of events such as SCCA in pro-solo, Chin, NASA and other events to get drive time. Will need it to get toe and heal and suspension set up learnings

7/ Other than paying up for an engine rules are pretty tight so they don't allow for crazy stuff. For example surprised that no one talks about ballast as putting 100 pounds low in the rear would sound great to get the car to break and rotate better, but that would cost to take the right things out of the car to make weight.

8/ The spec Pinata comments are over blown. I would think being momentum cars you could set up for drafts and just keep having fun passing each other

 

P.S. got all the warnings on the Cage and buying tips .. thank you!



#16
mdavis

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Some background: Just retired south of Nashville and thinking of getting back into racing it has been ~20 years. Went from karts in Argentina (30-60 racers) to Formula Mazda in the mid west (10-20 cars, except at Nationals). As a teenager put a lot of motors together, but during my racing (Karts and Formula) had mechanic help. I'm not great at suspension set ups. Don't know if at 58 with my low back can completely drive with my @$$ and feet :) but I'm just doing it to have fun hopefully for the next 15+ years.

 

Goal #1 is to have fun AKA becoming competitive in regional racing. Thought about buying an 99-00NB start at pro-solo/track days and learn the mechanics of the car by making conversion over the next 12-18 months.

 

After doing some research would really appreciate validation or any comments on the following statements. I know everyone is busy, accordingly numbered them so that it hopefully makes it easy to just reply mostly True or False (I now it always depends:) 

1/ Looks like the 99-00NB cars are still the ones to get

2/ NC (SMX) seems to still be pushing for growth but not really for regional racer 

3/ Buying a used race car is the way to go doing a ground up build will end up being to much for my mechanical experience 

4/ Cant have a non-synchronous transmission (left foot braking/RPM gear shifts). Need to learn how to really toe and heal :)

5/ Requires some suspension work for track day set up, but don't have to be an expert

6/ Can run the car in lots of events such as SCCA in pro-solo, Chin, NASA and other events to get drive time. Will need it to get toe and heal and suspension set up learnings

7/ Other than paying up for an engine rules are pretty tight so they don't allow for crazy stuff. For example surprised that no one talks about ballast as putting 100 pounds low in the rear would sound great to get the car to break and rotate better, but that would cost to take the right things out of the car to make weight.

8/ The spec Pinata comments are over blown. I would think being momentum cars you could set up for drafts and just keep having fun passing each other

 

P.S. got all the warnings on the Cage and buying tips .. thank you!

Not sure why there've been no responses to your post Carlos but my advice to guy in your circumstance would be to buy a built car and talk to a prep shop about some help for a weekend.  That'd be a good gauge on how much you want to bite off.


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