Time to go racing (con't)

How To Get Started

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 11:36 pm
I thought I would revive the thread I started on the old forum with an update to my original post, which I’ve included below for reference.

A few weeks ago I followed the advice of several forum members and rented a car from Spec Racer Sports in Angleton, TX and spent the day driving at MSR Houston. I had a BLAST! These cars are a lot of fun to drive but I quickly found out that the dynamics are nothing like my Elise. I spent most of the first session adjusting to non-antilock brakes. Having never driven a car on a track that didn’t have antilock brakes, I had no idea how easy they make the braking zones – just mash and release. During the learning process I mowed a significant portion of the grass around the track and flat spotted a set of tires. I figured it all out by the 2nd session of the day and I was able to focus on the dynamics of the car and how to make it go fast. By the fourth session I was setting times that I think will at least allow me to be competitive if I can reproduce them in quali/race environment.

I thought I was pretty excited about racing before I drove the SRF, but now it’s all I think about. Next up for me is comp school – I can’t make the December class, but they are trying to get enough people for a January class so I can make the first regional race at MSR Houston in February.

David Perkins and his crew at Spec Racer Sports were great to work with, they gave me a great car and they let me drive until I could barely lift my arms any more.

Hope to see the Texas crew at the track in a few months!

Scott


“After about 4 years of HPDE type events, I’ve decided it’s time for me to go racing. I have been driving a Lotus Elise for the last 4 years, and as much as I love the car, there’s just not a good class to race it in, it’s a bit fragile and expensive to repair. So, I’ve been considering either SRF or Spec Miata. SRF is by far the most appealing class to me.

I’m in Central Texas (about an hour north of Austin), is there anyone relatively close by that would be willing to help me get started and show me around their car? Unfortunately, the CSR is quite a haul for me – about 4 hours.

I’m trying to decide if I should buy a car and then take the comp school or if I should rent a car for the comp school and buy after…any thoughts?

To those who have driven or own a Lotus Elise/Exige, are the vehicle dynamics at all similar? Is it an easy transition between the two cars?

I’m sure I’ll have many more questions, so I’ll go ahead and say, THANKS! for the help.”
-Scott
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 2:37 am
Great to have you, Scott! Look forward to seeing you tearing up the track with us in '12.

Denny
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 11:45 am
Congrats. I am a little less than a year ahead of you. I tested (and bought) my SRF (sn 298) about a year ago, and did SCCA competition school in March 2011. I managed to run only three weekends but the comp school is an enormous amount of track time.

Prior to this, I had been a car club track day person, doing about 6 or 8 track days (3 or 4 weekends) per year. I felt the need to move to racing because track days/HPDEs seemed like going to the driving range but never really playing golf. It was also unusually expensive to drive a street car on the track (beating on tires, brakes and everything else), not to mention the risk of an uninsured accident.

SRF is pure racing that is as close to being wallet-equalized as any racing. The other racers are very supportive and savvy on track, and the car is cheap to run. I got my Regional License and I am a weekend away from eligibility for a National License. Regional races are well populated, and competition (while maybe not as swift top-to-bottom as Nationals) is excellent.

The driving range / golf analogy really applies. Racing takes the basic skills of track days, and adds an entire sport on top of it. Racecraft is an amazing mind-body game, and the learning curve is steep. Setting up a pass, or preventing a pass, dealing with traffic, managing track conditions, car issues and your own fatigue and fear, is SO MUCH FUN. And with SRFs, you are doing this every lap because the cars are running so close for the full race. There are a lot of racing groups where you might go a full 20-25 minute race and really only have a handful of passes. You get more racing experience in SRF than any other series (except maybe Spec Miata).

Ready to Write a Book
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 2:18 pm
I'm excited to finally be making some progress towards racing. Like you, I'm getting tired of trying to be the best at practicing. After following all of the man drama surrounding the spec miata race at the Nationals, I decided that's not a path I want to go down. I like the level of accusations, protests and disqualifications surrounding SRF much better! I also don't want to cha$e the rule book every year.
-Scott

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 1:47 pm
I forgot to mention how much I disliked the fiberglass seat! Regardless of how tight I got the harness, I felt like a rag doll in every turn. I had a huge bruise on my left leg from trying to brace myself in the seat. Those things are definitely not designed for skinny people!

-Scott
-Scott

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 2:09 pm
Scott, welcome to the addiction! Glad to hear we've got another player here in TX. We have a great group of people, both on and off the track. Unfortunately the December school was cancelled, in recent years the participation has been low and the TX region has lost $$ for several years on it.
To fix that seat issue, buy a car! or at least make a seat insert.
Steve
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:13 pm
Shine wrote:I forgot to mention how much I disliked the fiberglass seat! Regardless of how tight I got the harness, I felt like a rag doll in every turn. I had a huge bruise on my left leg from trying to brace myself in the seat. Those things are definitely not designed for skinny people!

-Scott


You would want the alternate "Butler" seat which offers a lot more support and adjustability. For me, the fiberglass seat is like a pair of pants for me!

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:51 pm
Shine wrote:I forgot to mention how much I disliked the fiberglass seat! Regardless of how tight I got the harness, I felt like a rag doll in every turn. I had a huge bruise on my left leg from trying to brace myself in the seat. Those things are definitely not designed for skinny people!

I think there is more than one size of the fiberglass seat. I am one of those "skinny people" at 5'9" 133 lb with a 29 in waist (no butt) and I am snug as a bug, in mine.
I have driven a car that required shims (rolled up towels) to keep me from falling out.

H.(bone with a head)B.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:23 pm
It is pretty easy to "adjust" the fiberglass seat, we have three versions for rental cars. We have drivers pushing 120 to NFL offensive linemen size to NBA height. :)

Most extreme is Anthony Tabacco and I sharing a car in an enduro.
Dave Harriman
"It looks crazy, I understand. But, we only live once and I am going to give it a good try." - Alex Zanardi

Ready to Write a Book
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Location: Texas
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:47 am
It's good to know there are some options with the fiberglass seats and that an insert might solve my problems.

On another subject, the SCCA licensing process in Texas leaves a lot to be desired. The comp school run by the SCCA seems to get cancelled every year so, as far as I know, that leaves only one option: the MSR Houston comp school. I actually like the concept of the MSRH school better, but by they time I rent a car and pay for the class I will have spent about $4000 just to get a license! I think it would be in the SCCA's best interest to create more and less expensive ways to get a license. It seems even more important to do this considering everything I've been reading about shrinking fields.
-Scott
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