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Stock Miata Too Slow?


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We're a new team torn between what league we want to try to run with.  We've got a car built to safety specs that will pass Champ/Lemons and some other leagues.  Problem is we do not have the budget to invest $10000+ into our car.  We don't want to be "in the way" or a safety issue for others or ourselves.  Our car is mostly stock (NB Miata) - stock exhaust, suspension, etc.  The only "upgrade" we have is wheels/tires/brakes (Toyo R1Rs, SS lines, race pads/rotors), everything else we have done is all maintenance items to make the car reliable.  Looking at some of the builds, lap times, etc. - are we going to be too slow?  From an experience perspective we are all putting a lot of sim time in but very little practical experience besides autocross.

 

 

Champ is attractive to us because we aren't very interested in the theme and such with Lemons.  Champ also has an easier roll cage clearance requirement than Lemons does, and one of our guys is going to be pretty close based on Lemons rules with the 2" from all bars.  We fully expect to finish bottom of the pack but just are concerned that we would be way too slow and be in the way.

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You'll be just fine - a "stock" NB with some standard weight reduction measures, endurance brakes and wider wheels will be definitely not be the slowest car on track. Hit your marks, run reliably and consistently, and you'll likely pick up some decent results whilst learning the ropes. 

 

Also, as you mentioned sim racing, my standard plug for the ChampCar iRacing Series - chance to win some cool prizes and the community is a good mix of real racers and sim racers who are looking to get acquainted with ChampCar.

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We run a 2003 NB, coil overs and front offset bushings should be on your list of must haves. You need to lower that car and minimize body roll.  Don't worry about speed initially we have been near the the slowest times for many years and have had a blast working on our driving skills.

 

Miatas are very reliable and you will likely finish ahead of many faster cars which break. Remember this is endurance racing not a sprint.

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More impressive to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow.....

 

We started in an NA6 and ran it that way for two full years.  It made us learn how to race the car.  How to properly set up a pass in a braking zone/slow corner, and how to avoid the faster cars on the straights. 

 

You will have a blast!

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You’re all good. The first event we ran we(I) was scared I would get run over and be in everyone’s way. We were even in the first few rows for the start on Saturday. We ran mid pack did our thing drove the racing line and the faster cars went around us without any problem. Great bunch of racers in the pits and paddock helps too. Look forward to seeing you on track. 

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One mistake I did when I started with a slow car (datsun) was that I half-assed things instead of saving and doing it right once. 

 

For instance, let say the $1500 coilovers are the part to have. Then it makes sense to wait until you have that money to buy them instead of spending money on lowering springs, different, shocks etc. In the end you will save money doing it right the first time.

 

Ask in this forum about what a good setup is, still plenty of NA/NB miatas that win races.

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1 hour ago, turbogrill said:

One mistake I did when I started with a slow car (datsun) was that I half-assed things instead of saving and doing it right once. 

 

For instance, let say the $1500 coilovers are the part to have. Then it makes sense to wait until you have that money to buy them instead of spending money on lowering springs, different, shocks etc. In the end you will save money doing it right the first time.

 

Ask in this forum about what a good setup is, still plenty of NA/NB miatas that win races.

This is very true for safety items and radio communications as well.

 

I think most teams spend money twice for these type things with the thinking that it will be "good enough"...  It usually isn't...

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Building a Miata here too. Have you looked over at Miataturbo.net ? Lots of info there. From cheap coilovers (with an NB you may be closer to a ok suspension than you think, check the DIY coilovers thread), to cheap aero, to seat fittings, to wheel/tire info.

The coilovers and aero don't have to be thousands to be effective in champ with a Miata. It will be great mid pack or better pace into and out of the corners. Down the straight and pit frequency, well welcome to a Miata.....

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We learned a lot about the platform, rolling a pretty much street car out for the first year. Broke the things that were going to brake, got a feeling for how we wanted the car. 

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3 minutes ago, Billy said:

Thanks all for the input and reassurance. :)

 

Definitely overwhelming when you see some of the builds and lap times some people are doing.

There are definitely some interesting builds and fast teams, but the main thing is to come out and have fun.  You gotta start somewhere and you gotta start getting that seat time if you want to improve.  Most of us weren't fast at first (except in our minds).  Just remember to be consistent and predictable so that passing can happen safely.  Hold your line and let others go around you (don't try to "get out of their way").

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If your starting fresh with a new build and a new team follow some advice we were given by @Andrew D Johnson our first weekend. "I wouldn't worry about going fast, worry about keeping the car on track first". 

 

At the time it seemed simple, but clean pits stops, no contact, no penalties, and keeping 4 wheels on track all day is a lot harder than it sounds. Do this and it will gain you more positions than being 2sec a lap faster to start. 

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2 hours ago, Gkuhn41 said:

If your starting fresh with a new build and a new team follow some advice we were given by @Andrew D Johnson our first weekend. "I wouldn't worry about going fast, worry about keeping the car on track first". 

 

At the time it seemed simple, but clean pits stops, no contact, no penalties, and keeping 4 wheels on track all day is a lot harder than it sounds. Do this and it will gain you more positions than being 2sec a lap faster to start. 

Exactly, and this is great from a performance side, too. Ask any of the veteran teams and they will tell you that the most beneficial upgrade is the driver. The best way to improve the driver is seat time. And the best way to get more seat time is to spend the entire race on track. You have to go to a lot of open track days to get as much seat time as you do in a full race weekend.

Edited by enginerd
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I would slightly disagree with some of the advice here. I would suggest investing a little bit of money and go to a DE and have an instructor help get you up to speed quickly. Try to find somebody to instruct that races a lot, a lot of the DE instructors don’t and not really what you need. People like Chris Huggins or Wyatt Foster or Nate or Andrew Johnson probably never needed an instructor (those guys are just naturals at this) but they are an exception. The majority of people could greatly benefit with one weekend of instruction to help them get comfortable at driving the car at speed. I recently instructed a young guy who had only been on track once and he and his father were sharing a Miata that weekend. The father is a regular lemons driver. By the end of the third of fourth session I had him driving faster than his dad in the same car. That’s not bragging that is only passing along what I know based on a lot of experience. Being able to learn car control in a controlled environment versus a race where you’re constantly driving the mirrors results in a much steeper learning curve. You and your teammates should consider investing in one weekend of driving instruction. My two cents. 

Edited by Rodger Coan-Burningham
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I did a test and tune this past weekend and had my AIM Solo running. I also datalogged the engine via S300. I've spent most evenings this week (when not working on the car, race this weekend) going over the data. Plus GoPro video.

 

I did about twenty laps in four sessions. Not much seat time but lots of data to review. The nice thing about data is that you can repeat it many times and that helps to pick out the patterns. Having been an instructor for a while, I know what to look for, and I'm honest enough to look for the typical issues in my own driving. Reviewing the data helps me separate the ego (I'm the best!) from the facts (I'm not the best!).

 

Seat time is important but quality seat time beats quantity seat time. Spend less time going around in circles and more time learning how to go around in circles faster. Short sessions with good feedback will give quicker and better results than a 2 hour stint that you can't remember.

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Also to highlight a DAQ of some sort, Race capture is a good budget alternative. 

 

If you have a driver that is faster it's very easy to overlay and see where the slow drivers are loosing time. Very useful to get all team members to the same level, if you can get the instructor to do hot laps as well then you can see where you are loosing.

 

(we very quickly got beginner drivers up to speed this way, sometimes it's as easy as "WOT in TURN 9!")

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Also you can modify your car how much as you want for zero points as long as you reuse material or modify stock components.

For instance:
- Instead of adjustable control arms you can cut and reweld the existing ones for correct length

- Instead of coilovers you can cut springs, revalve shocks and shim ride height

- Drill swaybar 

- You can modify your intake+cylinder head as much as you want as long as you don't add material

 

Camshafts is an exception, they you can't regrind in your basement.

 

Not sure if you can make aero from reused materials, for instance a splitter from a dash/door/roof etc.

 

So if you maximze this you can build a very fast car, however it's obviously a lot of work (and probably very expensive as well).

 

This should be written in bold on the first page in the BCCR. 

 

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