Drivng Tips for SRF Noob

How To Get Started

Novice Typer
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2016 4:22 pm
Hi All - I'm new to SRF and the forum - very new. I ordered a complete gen 3 kit a couple of weeks ago. I've been racing a 1.6 Miata in ITA for the past 4 years or so and I do OK. With the smaller fields in ITA and some luck, I've won and podiumed a few races. And I fully understand that I'm stepping into a whole new level of competition. (I'd probably only be mid pack to upper 3rd in the large SM races.) My question - what are some specific tips for transitioning into driving the SRF3? (assuming I get mine built this winter and on the track next spring!) TIA for your answers! (feel free to direct me to something that already answers this. I searched the forum and the I'net in general and came up empty handed)
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Needs a Life!!!
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2016 7:47 pm
Hi Turnnpoint. Welcome to the Spec Racer community! By ordering a Gen 3 kit, it looks like you're "all in"!

Driving the Spec Racer is a bit different from a Miata. For one thing, the SRF has about 62% of its weight in the rear, over the drive wheels. So, when you're starting out it, takes a while to realize that getting in the throttle earlier corrects the attitude of the car in ways you're not used to. Also, since the suspension has no rubber bushings, you can really feel what the car is doing. That inspires confidence when you get it right and can make the car dance.

Don't be afraid to ask fellow competitors for help. The fact that we drive a spec car means that we are all on relatively equal footing - and success largely depends on driver ability. We are a pretty friendly bunch who give advice freely until you start to beat us. So take advantage as much as possible.
Kurt Breitinger
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2016 9:51 pm
Welcome to our world, Turnnpoint! You won't regret it. I second what Kurt mentioned about asking for help from fellow competitors and add that there is no substitute for seat time. The Gen3 is a great change for our class as most of us had many years of the heavier Gen2 version. Also hookup with a local CSR and use them for advice and possible test day teaching if possible along with learning how to maintain your own vehicle or have them service it. In this class, you won't run alone very much if ever, as there is someone to race with at all levels of skill and experience. Enjoy the journey.
Mark Fick

Novice Typer
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 3:48 pm
Thanks for the replies and the welcome! I'm also wondering about driving in the open air. Does the wind really work your neck? Are there any particular seats or helmets that help deal with the wind? I think my helmet has to be replaced next year regardless.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 4:05 pm
turnnpoint wrote:Thanks for the replies and the welcome! I'm also wondering about driving in the open air. Does the wind really work your neck? Are there any particular seats or helmets that help deal with the wind? I think my helmet has to be replaced next year regardless.


Wind should not be bothersome, unless you're allergic to the wind chill factor of a 100 MPH-plus breeze in your face on a 90-degree day. (No Cool Shirt needed.)

You will need to prepare your helmet's face shield for rain, however. Rain-X, for sure. Also, either keep a new or near new face shield just for rain as pock marks tend to trap some droplets. And don't use a tear-off in the wet as water gets trapped on its reverse surface. If your face shield is new, one reason for always using a tear-off in the dry is that it prevents those nasty pock marks that can hinder rain vision.

No real advantage of one seat over another, rain-wise. Although I do recommend a Butler seat.

Still Learning to Type
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 5:20 pm
Helmets with chin spoilers do help reduce helmet lift a little on fast tracks. The Butler seat does raise you up in the car a little and puts my head way up in the air. I thought I wanted a bulter seat until I drove a car with one. The stock seat helps keeps my 6 foot tall head out of the air.
Last edited by RStephens on Mon Aug 22, 2016 10:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Needs a Life!!!
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 5:22 pm
another tip: get these things:
http://shop.racingoptics.com/p/3421cp3-4-mil-thick-3-layer-clear-shield-protector?pp=8
to put on your new shields under the tearoffs. Tearoffs always seem to leave some scratches from movement on shields, put the protector on and you can pull a layer off and have a "like new" shield again.

Ready to Write a Book
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 9:58 pm
Bob Devol wrote:Wind should not be bothersome, unless you're allergic to the wind chill factor of a 100 MPH-plus breeze in your face on a 90-degree day.


But if you drive on cool days (like around 50°F), you'll want some long johns and neck warmth.

I took my licensing class in February in Texas. I was frozen to the core after three days of that.

Ready to Write a Book
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 1:28 am
From one SRF Noob to another you've made the right move! I made the jump last year and also came from the ITA/SM community.

Competition may be a little tougher. Most of the SRF drivers have been driving and driving this car for quite a while and are very good at it. Now is a good time to make the move as the gen 3 upgrade and new tires have leveled the playing field a little.

That said it is a true spec class and if you have good driving skills but haven't been creative with the rules or pushed the umm...................grey areas in SM/ITA you'll probably do better in SRF. If you're used to paying for performance over there life might be a little tougher here.

As for equipment the previously mentioned visor advice is spot on and important. I also feel a butler seat and the new head restraint should be added to your list. Most driving coaches/books will tell you a drivers seat is the single most important investment you can make. Not only will it help you go faster but it'll make you safer.

In my very first race I was launched into the tire wall. The car went onto both sides and both the front and rear impacted the wall. The next day I was driving again with no issues. I'm fairly certain that wouldn't have happened without the butler seat and head restraint.

Handling is different. If you PM me I'll give you a couple more pointers as I don't want to give to much away in a public forum. My 1.6 used to be setup so that I had to be on the gas to balance the car. If you've ever setup that way it feels similar but for different reasons. While the car isn't as forgiving as the miata it's way more rewarding when you get it right. The overall fun factor from the increased performance and open cockpit are awesome as well.

I've owned 4 miatas..............wow can't believe I actually admitted that. :) The car is every bit as reliable and tough however like the miata has a couple of minor issues. If you go off the track don't spin your tires as you come back on as that will sometimes break an axle. DON'T bump draft and be very careful when following someone. In miata's we were really used to the occasional bonk or bump drafting. Here that'll usually mean repairing the nose and maybe getting an opportunity to fill/flush and replace your radiator.

If you do you're own work you're really in for a treat. This car is soooo much easier to work on. I haven't found anything yet that isn't easier. If you don't even better as the CSR's are at pretty much every event and are really great to work with.

Welcome to the class, you're really going to like it!

Novice Typer
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Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2016 3:37 pm
Location: Nags Head, NC
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 5:11 pm
Wow! Thanks to everyone who shared all the great info! Can't wait till I actually get to drive - but it's going to be while. But with all this info I'll have a good idea of what to expect by then!
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