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#1
Steve Scheifler

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Alex Rubenstein, one of founders (?) of AER, has started a new FB group to explore interest in forming a new race series devoted to existing Spec classes. The original trigger was the latest round of complaints about bad decisions by officials, idiot drivers not being held accountable etc. following a Sebring regional but that degraded into the usual “we’re not appreciated” blah, blah posts. Given the car counts of SM and other spec classes in NASA, PCA, BMWCCA the question was essentially, “are there enough drivers between them looking for more or different events to support events for those classes only, providing more seat time and whatever else people are looking for and not getting?”

He got 100+ people in the group yesterday and nearly 200 now. However, immediately a bunch of people ignored the very name of the group and started the usual FB chants of “too many rules”, “run-what-ya-brung”, “Power to weight is all you need for classing”. They pretty much hijacked the group for a bit, and Alex not being a fool when it comes to business took note and didn’t push back. Can’t say I blame him. Fortunately a few more Spec oriented people chimed in but it’s still pretty evenly split at least on posted feedback.

Soooo, if you have any interest at all in the possibility of more events where you can race and possibly changes like different tires, hop over and take a look. If your preference would be running Spec classes rather than an open rule book (open wallet) class, look for the poll and vote accordingly, then join the fracas. (It’s possible a run-what-ya-brung group could be included to prop up entries at least early on, and if they both grow big enough then split)

I want to point out that I personally am not an SCCA malcontent. They aren’t perfect, and I’d certainly like to see some significant changes, but I also know I’m just one of countless who feel that way but with different ideas and priorities. They can’t please us all on everything. And I know that SCCA is too big and too dependent on their base to make big risky changes, something the vocal minority on FB never seem to grasp. They have actually made a great many changes over the years and explored many new ways to please more people, also not appreciated by the FB trolls. Those efforts often negatively impact their loyal base, but at least they try. OK, enough defense of SCCA, I just wanted to be clear that for me this isn’t a condemnation of them.

https://www.facebook...asrs/?ref=share
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#2
Tom Sager

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Alex Rubenstein, one of founders (?) of AER, has started a new FB group to explore interest in forming a new race series devoted to existing Spec classes. The original trigger was the latest round of complaints about bad decisions by officials, idiot drivers not being held accountable etc. following a Sebring regional but that degraded into the usual “we’re not appreciated” blah, blah posts. Given the car counts of SM and other spec classes in NASA, PCA, BMWCCA the question was essentially, “are there enough drivers between them looking for more or different events to support events for those classes only, providing more seat time and whatever else people are looking for and not getting?”

He got 100+ people in the group yesterday and nearly 200 now. However, immediately a bunch of people ignored the very name of the group and started the usual FB chants of “too many rules”, “run-what-ya-brung”, “Power to weight is all you need for classing”. They pretty much hijacked the group for a bit, and Alex not being a fool when it comes to business took note and didn’t push back. Can’t say I blame him. Fortunately a few more Spec oriented people chimed in but it’s still pretty evenly split at least on posted feedback.

Soooo, if you have any interest at all in the possibility of more events where you can race and possibly changes like different tires, hop over and take a look. If your preference would be running Spec classes rather than an open rule book (open wallet) class, look for the poll and vote accordingly, then join the fracas. (It’s possible a run-what-ya-brung group could be included to prop up entries at least early on, and if they both grow big enough then split)

I want to point out that I personally am not an SCCA malcontent. They aren’t perfect, and I’d certainly like to see some significant changes, but I also know I’m just one of countless who feel that way but with different ideas and priorities. They can’t please us all on everything. And I know that SCCA is too big and too dependent on their base to make big risky changes, something the vocal minority on FB never seem to grasp. They have actually made a great many changes over the years and explored many new ways to please more people, also not appreciated by the FB trolls. Those efforts often negatively impact their loyal base, but at least they try. OK, enough defense of SCCA, I just wanted to be clear that for me this isn’t a condemnation of them.

https://www.facebook...asrs/?ref=share

 

FRP looks to have made a pretty good run in holding their own formula car events and gets some pretty good numbers in terms of turnout.  The Formula Vee group that runs with them in the Northeast gets over 20 cars at most events.

 

Like you I am a supporter of SCCA which IMO has done well for the Spec Miata class.  It's not perfect but overall good marks IMO.  NASA entries in my area have all but disappeared in Spec Miata.  Midwestern Council gets pretty good fields around here.  Autobahn has a healthy series for their members.  Another org might grab some entries if it offers lower cost tire options, on-track contact enforcement and more track time but fragmenting the entries further IMO is not a plus. 


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#3
Steve Scheifler

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Can’t argue with that Tom, I’m usually the guy standing up for the SCCA when FB trolls attack with a bunch of ignorant nonsense. But I do very much regret that at many events we would attend there’s no longer even a single practice session, forcing an extra day and expenses to run the test day for scrubbing tires, setting pressures, bedding brakes, or just find your way around a new track. It might be fine for regulars to arrive knowing where to start and go straight out to qualify, but that’s totally unacceptable as the norm. We canceled multiple planned events at new (to us) tracks because they didn’t even HAVE a test day. WTF??? How in the hell is that acceptable if you are trying to attract and keep new racers??

Again, I do understand the challenges and see the efforts, but sometimes that’s not good enough to just accept without shopping around. Over on FB a NASA official added a very polite “it ain’t easy folks” post to the discussion. I’ll paste my response to him here as it helps clarify my current mind set.

Like many others this sort of thing has crossed my mind more than once and a quick sanity check always ruled it out, both in terms of the expense and all the work involved. That’s why when Alex started the conversation it suddenly became worthy of discussion. As with many mental exercises it may go nowhere but serve to clarify for many that putting on such events isn’t easy and pleasing everyone is impossible.
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#4
gerglmuff2

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while maybe not an insane idea, the facebook page is a mess and has almost nothing useful happening. bunch of folks herd "new race series" and started all piling in to talk about whatever half cocked rules for racing they have been pondering. 

 


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#5
LarryKing

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*Dreaded Tangent Rant Alert*

 

After 20 years racing SM with the SCCA I was going to phase to vintage racing, specifically with the SVRA, due in part to the no contact rule.

 

However, the SVRA has increased entry fees for 2021 to $545. Last year if was $375 and then Mazda paid $100 contingency. I find no evidence of that contingency continuing into this year. That's a lot of money for a couple 20 minute (or less) sprint races. Combined with limited events in my area causes me to reevaluate my plans.

 

So I'll keep racing SCCA, risking punts and dive-bombs, until something better comes along. (Maybe I'll just build a hot rod and go to cruise-ins instead.)


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#6
Mitch Reading

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Larry, 

That comment resonates.  I really like the lack of contact in SVRA but its probably partially about lack of car count.   The entry fee deal isn't a huge part...  Honestly, its all about schedule to me... I look at SCCA first (where the competition is) but will go elsewhere if the date and track is interesting.   


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#7
Mitch Reading

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Steve, thanks for this heads up.  


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#8
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*Dreaded Tangent Rant Alert*

 

After 20 years racing SM with the SCCA I was going to phase to vintage racing, specifically with the SVRA, due in part to the no contact rule.

 

However, the SVRA has increased entry fees for 2021 to $545. Last year if was $375 and then Mazda paid $100 contingency. I find no evidence of that contingency continuing into this year. That's a lot of money for a couple 20 minute (or less) sprint races. Combined with limited events in my area causes me to reevaluate my plans.

 

So I'll keep racing SCCA, risking punts and dive-bombs, until something better comes along. (Maybe I'll just build a hot rod and go to cruise-ins instead.)

I was going to comment on Steve's original post but i will start here. I do not want to trash talk SVRA as an option but I did my first one this year when they allowed the NB into the series. In the prior years some of my NA buds ran the prior events. At first they were treated like Kings. Mazda offset the fees and they had their own run and race group. What was not to like? So this year I did the event at Mid O and it was mixed class practice and qualifying, with your own race. 

What a disaster. we were on track with 65 mixed class cars with some drivers out for a Sunday drive never looking in their mirror chopping you off at the apex. Some driving expensive race cars but no situational awareness. So it was not my kind of fun trying to compete, with drivers i could not trust to see me. Then we get to our first race at 4pm Saturday. We did get our own run group. On the first lap of green, I got punted in the carousel braking zone. I went into impound to complain and they could care less and did not want to be bothered with the "Miatas". 

Then we had to wait 24hrs for our next and only other track appearance, the Sunday race at 4pm. I think the cost was about 750.00 If i recall correctly for the track time.

No thanks.

 

Getting to Steve post. I too am pro SCCA as I volunteer for our regions race committee and help with the events. When SCCA and NASA were sharing the same tire, I found I had plenty of track time opportunities. Tire cost is a big part of racing expense and fixing that would go far in improving opportunities.  I am not sure that another organization is the answer for me. I do not think the issue is that we need more organizations to offer more opportunity. I think we need to fix the ones we have.  I think racers like to race their friends and other racers they like to see at the track and compete with. It comes down to time and the money to race is a bigger hurdle than venues or clubs to race with.

 

Having said that we always have room for improvement. SCCA has its issues but its up to us to get involved and participate. Unlike NASA that is a business, in SCCA you can volunteer, get involved and make changes. 


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#9
Tom Sager

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But I do very much regret that at many events we would attend there’s no longer even a single practice session, forcing an extra day and expenses to run the test day for scrubbing tires, setting pressures, bedding brakes, or just find your way around a new track. It might be fine for regulars to arrive knowing where to start and go straight out to qualify, but that’s totally unacceptable as the norm.

Agree on practice sessions as a part of a 2 day event.  Much prefer that the first session each weekend is practice. 


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#10
Marc Cefalo

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*Dreaded Tangent Rant Alert*

 

After 20 years racing SM with the SCCA I was going to phase to vintage racing, specifically with the SVRA, due in part to the no contact rule.

 

However, the SVRA has increased entry fees for 2021 to $545. Last year if was $375 and then Mazda paid $100 contingency. I find no evidence of that contingency continuing into this year. That's a lot of money for a couple 20 minute (or less) sprint races. Combined with limited events in my area causes me to reevaluate my plans.

 

So I'll keep racing SCCA, risking punts and dive-bombs, until something better comes along. (Maybe I'll just build a hot rod and go to cruise-ins instead.)

yep, just double checked their increase in fees.  +170 bucks from one year to the next PLUS the damn test days make HST test days look cheap.

 

what a freaking joke.  

 

Todaro is right.  Mid Ohio was awful and VIR we left early as the Miatas were again last to run on sunday.  SVRA has managed to shitcan a great idea in no time.  doubt people are going to pay HST type fees for less time on track and terrible scheduling through the day of the event.


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#11
luckymiata76

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I agree with just about everything said here. Here are my thoughts:

  • Racers like to hang out and race with their buddies. 
  • I don't like Race Officials that treat us poorly. 
  • I don't like to race against "that driver" who punts others and is generally dangerous.
  • I want officials to be able to talk to and possibly reprimand a driver immediately so the situation can be rectified. 
  • There is to much "standing around" in a typical weekend. A Spec-only weekend could be enticing if it involved a schedule like this...Saturday-practice session, qualifying session, race #1. Sunday-race #2 race #3. 

SCCA isn't perfect, but I keep trying to make it better for all!

 

Jeff


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#12
LarryKing

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When SCCA and NASA were sharing the same tire, I found I had plenty of track time opportunities.

This.


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#13
38bfast

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Right now the best $ to track time value is with the endurance series. Champ, WRL, AER. If one of them included a Spec class I think it would be very popular. 


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#14
gerglmuff2

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never understood the notion that $/minute of track time was a metric anyone thought was important. 

i care about $/good hard racing 


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#15
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never understood the notion that $/minute of track time was a metric anyone thought was important. 

i care about $/good hard racing 

 

LOL!  I used to worry about cost/weekend.  And then when I got a chance to hang out with some GT3 racers, their discussions of cost/hour put things in perspective.  If you have a budget, indeed those metrics matter.  If you don't, well GT3 racing beckons.  Competition is very good, I hear.



#16
gerglmuff2

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LOL!  I used to worry about cost/weekend.  And then when I got a chance to hang out with some GT3 racers, their discussions of cost/hour put things in perspective.  If you have a budget, indeed those metrics matter.  If you don't, well GT3 racing beckons.  Competition is very good, I hear.

 

i did not say i didnt have a budget. 
 

i simply said maximizing minutes on track is not a goal or metric that is important to me. HPDE exits for folks who care about minutes per dollar. 


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#17
Steve Scheifler

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i did not say i didnt have a budget.

i simply said maximizing minutes on track is not a goal or metric that is important to me. HPDE exits for folks who care about minutes per dollar.

Agreed. That said, I’d like to get a few more minutes per dollar doing this, starting with a Saturday morning practice session to scrub tires, set pressures, bed brakes, break-in the engine, or just shake down the car after recent work. This is my new pet peeve to jam into any topic I can. Actually an old peeve but making it more of an issue now.
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#18
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Agreed. That said, I’d like to get a few more minutes per dollar doing this, starting with a Saturday morning practice session to scrub tires, set pressures, bed brakes, break-in the engine, or just shake down the car after recent work. This is my new pet peeve to jam into any topic I can. Actually an old peeve but making it more of an issue now.

Back in the day (pre Spec Miata) we had a Sat. practice session, two qualifying sessions and a race, and on Sun. a qualifying session and a race. It worked until those in charge said it didn't work. Midwestern Council continues to provide more weekend track time than SCCA Last time I raced with them.


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#19
Steve Scheifler

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Back in the day (pre Spec Miata) we had a Sat. practice session, two qualifying sessions and a race, and on Sun. a qualifying session and a race. It worked until those in charge said it didn't work. Midwestern Council continues to provide more weekend track time than SCCA Last time I raced with them.


Yep, the problem of course is the growing number of classes and run groups, and that’s an old and contentious topic
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#20
Tom Sager

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I agree with just about everything said here. Here are my thoughts:

  • Racers like to hang out and race with their buddies. 
  • I don't like Race Officials that treat us poorly. 
  • I don't like to race against "that driver" who punts others and is generally dangerous.
  • I want officials to be able to talk to and possibly reprimand a driver immediately so the situation can be rectified. 
  • There is to much "standing around" in a typical weekend. A Spec-only weekend could be enticing if it involved a schedule like this...Saturday-practice session, qualifying session, race #1. Sunday-race #2 race #3. 

SCCA isn't perfect, but I keep trying to make it better for all!

 

Jeff

Nothing preventing SCCA from holding some restricted regionals or divisionals as they're call now that feature only a handful of the most popular classes, extended track time for those and maybe some interesting twists for the weekend format. 


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