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Cobra4B

Can tracking a Miata be fun if you're used to power?

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Cobra4B

First off I don't mean to offend anyone... has anyone gone from a high horsepower car to tracking/racing a Miata? Is it fun at all?

 

I started running HPDEs in my Z06 back in 2002, attended the Panoz racing school at RA in 2003, and have been runing TTS in the Panoz since last year. To date my best lap on VIR full is 2:07.3 running Hoosier R6s. The car has 315 rwhp and weighs in a bit over 2700lbs w/o driver.

 

I share the Panoz with my father who runs HPDE 3 in it. The car is prepped around TTS/ST2 rules and to go wheel/wheel I need to attend comp school, get a hans, and a new fuel cell in the car.

 

But... I'm tossing around the idea of a cheap track car... I have a local buddy who purchased a Miata from a little old lady and after new paint, a rollbar, suspension, wheels/tires etc. etc. he's got a grand total of $2600 into the car.... I spend that on one set of wheels on my Corvette.

 

My main concern is that unless I'm running wheel/wheel with other similar cars the Miata will be rather borring at a track like VIR (basically my home base).

 

So.... any input is appreciated... anyone go from hi-po to a Miata race car? I was at VIR this past weekend looking at a track prepped C6Z06 by our area and the thought popped into my head, "I could buy a fully prepped SM car for the cost of his wheels and brakes"

 

Thanks,

 

Brian B.

Edited by Guest

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kbrew8991

find one you can rent for an HPDE weekend or whatever and try before buying...?

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Cobra4B

Good call.... that's where my main worry comes from. Years back a buddy blew up his Corvette (it chucked a rod) coming out of snake and going under the bridge at VIR and rented a SM car.... he said it was flat out borring.

 

My other issue is that I'm 6'4" and can't fit in the cars unless it has an ultrashield seat mounted all the way back. A local auto-x buddy has his car setup like this (he's about 6'3") and he let me sit in his car... was the first time I ever fit. So finding a rent-a-racer I can take laps in that I can fit in would be hard.

 

The benefit of a Miata is that I could have more fun at local auto-x events where there is more competition.

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kbrew8991

its all in how you go about driving and what you like - if you don't enjoy maximizing your braking and cornering you'll hate it.

 

this is also such an opinion-based thing that the only way to really tell if it's for you or not is to try it.

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Cobra4B

I mean I enjoy maximizing cornering/braking as I assume most road race fans do.... w/o doing that I could never compete in TTS w/ the panoz @ a corrected 9.3x:1 vs. the allowed 8.7:1!

 

I guess you're right.... I'll have to find a way to get out on track in a momentum car and see if I like it.

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timmmy

I agree with all that has been said above, you need to try it out.

 

Having said that at 6'4" it will always be a super tight fit, particularly with a full cage and door bars.

 

It certainly is hard to beat the $$ of a track Miata if you can fit in it.

 

Some other things to contemplate are what your goals are moving forward. Do you want to continue doing TT, what classes are you interested in? Any interest in wheel to wheel?

 

I have a 2001 Miata for track use and am 6'2. I love it! I have driven a bunch of other cars on track and still love it, however I have always felt it needs another 50HP to go from good to great. I have driven a several turbo and superchardged Miata's on track and they can be really fun. once you start adding HP they need more tire though which means arches.

 

I am about to retire my Miata and go to a big bore car, once that car is up and running I intend to add arches and a Rotrex supercharger to the Miata. 245 tires and 250WHP will make it a far different proposition to the stock car on 205's with 150 FWHP

 

Horses for courses, go try a stock Miata and see if you can find a turbo one to try too.

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Cobra4B

I want to to W2W most likely in ST2.... have 4-5 Corvette buddies running w/ SE and MA in that class. To get the Panoz ready I have to replace the fuel cell and get new belts, but I've also consdiered putting a cage in my Z06 because it's got all the other mods it needs from years of HPDE use.

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Jeff D

Agree with all that has been said but will add the following:

 

Also consider the region you are planning to race in (which I'm assuming is Mid-Atlantic?). Speaking for Great Lakes & Mid-West regions I know we usually have a handful of Corvette's and maybe one Panoz compared to two dozen or more SM's at an event.

 

I went from having no one to race with (Legends car) to a SM....which I guess would also be considered going from a HP car to a momentum car. It will take some getting use to but it seems like one of the great things about SM is that no matter what your experience level is you usually have several drivers at the same level to race with.

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dwspen01

I went from running Time Trials in a modified 2002 BMW M3 in TTB (finished 1st at the 2006 NASA Nationals and 2nd at the 2007 NASA Nationals) to a Spec Miata and have run it for 2 years. I have more fun (and less cost) in the miata and a big part of it is the huge turnouts and great competition we get in the Greatlakes region. You should definitely give it a try...there are currently 28 miatas signed up for Mid Ohio next weekend!

 

Good luck.

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Dainbramage

Price: Great

Fun in HPDE: Decent

Fun in W2W racing: Great

Blazing scary speed: Good in corners boring on straights

Teaching to drive faster cars fast: (In my opinion) Great

 

Like others said, rent one. When you rent one or drive one make sure you get a fairly decently prepared car. I have a SM and I have a stock 97' street Miata. The stock car is ok, but would absolutely drive me crazy at the track with how crappy it is.

 

I came from learning to drive (on track) with a power modded 02 Z06 and a 350Z fyi.

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Speedycrw

I have come from racing a completely prepped 993 in PCA club racing, and a 383 stroker oval street stock car to running in the SM class. I still own a completely race prepped E36 M3 that puts out about 275 horse to the rear wheels. If you are just lapping the track in HPDE than the SM can get a little boring, add in 27 other entries at Mid-Ohio, a class that has very very equal cars despite all of the crying on the Miata boards, and you have the recipe for relatively cheap racing and tons of fun! I have not looked back after 2 years in SM and can't wait to start my third season. I would suggest giving an SM race a shot, see what you think!

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DumpTruck

For what it's worth. I am going from a C5 Z06 to a '95 Miata this season, for the sole reason that I want to be able to get more out of the Vette. I took both levels at Spring Mountain and have since tracked my Vette in a few open events and NASA, but I realize that the Corvette is not going to help me become a better driver. I can get there quicker by spending a season or two in the Miata. And I do want to wheel/wheel race at some point. In the SM class I will be running with "theoretically" equal cars, and the driver will be the difference. Plus the Miata is far cheaper to track.

 

Sure I'll miss the feel of the torque on exit, but I'll be working on the "nut behind the wheel".

 

And the real funny part? I drive my Vette to work, and the Miata on the track. How's that for contrast?

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bukit

I'm thinking the same thing. I presently drive my C6Z in HPDEs but the $$ is killing me. I'm pretty much a novice but I went through the stock brakes in 3600 miles and4 track days. The cost one rear tire for the Z06 = 4 for a Miata.

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Gators2001

Last season I drove an EVO X in PTA. This season its a Spec Miata.

 

I have enjoyed it so far. Bigger turnouts and everyone having the similar cars makes for better and more relative conversations.

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DumpTruck

Yesssssss! I just got from my first weekend in the Mazda. Yes, you can throw that car around corners, and it'll stick. I'm running Kumho XS's with Hawk HT's and Blues. The Corvette goes up for sale.

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Jeff D
Yesssssss! I just got from my first weekend in the Mazda. Yes, you can throw that car around corners, and it'll stick. I'm running Kumho XS's with Hawk HT's and Blues. The Corvette goes up for sale.

 

Cool! Had a chance to drive a friends street Miata on track with those tires last year and I was impressed. Good luck.

 

BTW, just from my experience - The Hawk blues are great but they are hard on rotors. If you are driving this car on the street and track I'd suggest another pad. Maybe some of the guys/gals with street/track cars can offer some options.........

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Running a Miata in HPDE can be a tremendous amount of fun.

 

However, by driving a Corvette before in HPDE 3, I'll bet you remember passing a few Miatas. You WILL be passed by Corvettes if you are driving a Miata, especially if it is normally aspirated. So, you will have to expect that to happen on a continual basis.

 

Depending on how many Miatas are running in your group, it is easy to forget about the much higher horsepower cars and just set your sights on the next fastest Miata.

 

The idea of renting one is the best way to go!

 

Steve Nix

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CWeber

I drove 10 years in DEs with a 300hp car (porsche 993), then upgraded to a 350hp car, then downgraded to a 250hp car and then finally my spec miata.

 

I do not miss the expense of those other cars and w2w keeps me interested in the sport. I still have a lot to learn (and bad habits to unlearn still I suspect) but I would highly recommend a Spec Miata to anyone who wants to w2w.

 

The fun end result of learning how to drive a spec miata properly is you find yourself faster in the higher HP cars (a nice side-effect if you will!)

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pcdrj

I track a 600hp Griggs GR40 Mustang and I just picked up a SM from a forum member here. I've rented Miatas and had a blast driving them. Best value going and great trainer.

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Broke Neck

I think Brian is talking about my car in his 1st post.

 

Heres a picture from this past weekend when we rented out BlackWaters road course -

 

driftwater12.png

 

 

 

Brian - im sure your not in the same boat as me as far as finacials go .... but if I were to try and track the foxbody I would of made it to ONE event this year .... not SIX.

 

Ive driven high power cars on the street, and drive my 90 hp miata on the track. Like you said in your first post I literally have less than 3K in my whole setup and I was pushing a Ferrari 355 from 3-oaktree at VIR in July with 90HP

 

- 1.8 Brakes

- Hawk Pads

- Hard Dog Roll Bar

- Hard Top

- Konis

- GC's

- RA1's

- Painted to match the foxbody

 

all under $3K

 

Like you said you probally have that easily in wheels and tires on the Vette.

 

 

I actually just picked up a 96 M Edition which has a 1.8 and a torsen for $1500. My big costs this winter will be a cage put in by Kienan, and going to pick up a MP62 Blower - make around 200 and finish DE's and could even do comp school in it if I get to that point late next year.

 

Hell look at the trouble Vinny is causing with his Miata -setting track records and what not, winning tires in TTE and pissing all the PTE Sentra guys off in MA. His car makes 138.

 

As many of these SM guys have said, they are a blast to drive, but in your situation you have a high hp car thats great in corners and even better on the straights .... so its hard to tell if you would enjoy it.

 

I think in a w2w situation where you with 20 other cars that are in basically the same car you would have a blast! If you dent a fender or a bumper its $50 to fix, you do that on a vette its $1K

 

.... rent one for a weekend like all these guys have been saying, just going to be hard for you beign youve tracked the vette for so long .... as you come out of oak tree and you wanna do 160 .... youll be doing 120 I think thats what will kill you, cause youll have it in the back of your head .... well the vette can do this, i run this in the vette, i can brake here in the vette.

 

Just remember at the end of the weekend what it cost for you for tires/brakes for miata vs vette.

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Cobra4B

Too late... made this thread way before I bought the silver car and made it a TTA ride

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Broke Neck

Yep .... noticed that after I had posted it, then A.D.D. kicked in and forgot about it.

 

 

My bad, continue life in your Vettes

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cosm3os

I'll throw my .02 in for the next guy looking.

 

I came from a 250 whp GTS3 M3. I will admit, given enough room (Road America for example), that car was a little faster than I needed to get my fix. While the Miata requires a TOTALLY different driving and racing style due to its lack of power, the fun factor is higher IMHO. Calculate the $/fun factor and forget about it.

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