What other classes did you consider and were your criteria?

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2017 11:35 am
I'd thought about other classes that were "sexier", but ultimately chose to go with SRF. Why you may ask? Very simply put, I've seen them hit trees, do multiple barrel rolls at speed, and while drivers may have been banged up as a result, they came away from the incidents well-protected and able to race again. I've seen photos of my biggest hit (16 Gs backward into a tire wall, launched the car 8-10 feet in the air), and if the impact hadn't broken the mass airflow connector at the back of the car, I would likely have been able to drive it back to the pits. Second biggest hit removed the entire LR corner of the car and deposited it 150 feet away, and we were able to rebuild the car in time for afternoon qualifying the same day. I know I am racing the safest vehicle available to me as an SCCA competitor, and the day I get in the car and don't feel that way, I will hang up my helmet.

Bottom line is, regardless of everything that has been done in the name of safety over the past few decades, high-speed driving (racing or just Street car stuff) comes with an inherent risk. No one, and no regulations, can overcome the laws of Physics and that will always be the case. I don't mean to be cold and callous, but if all of the information folks have provided does not satisfy safety concerns about racing these cars, then nothing will...
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 10:48 pm
DavidNJ wrote:I've been talking to Joe Drago at East Street. His cars are nationally competitive and he regularly sells new ones for $33k without dash or seat. He has a used one that finished top 10 in all 4 Florida nationals for under $26k, race-ready and delivered. On annual costs, how much do people at the pointy end spend on engine and shock rebuilds at SCCA-E or on tires?


My budget for 2016 was $7500, all in except travel to the track. Entry fees, test days, tires, gas, a few parts upgrades, etc. It'd be less if I didn't replace some 15+ year old Renault parts. I finished 4th at the Runoffs in Gen2. That's impossible in any other class, including SM. Hell, you might struggle to compete nationally in karts with that budget.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2017 12:12 am
I'm not so sure Drago is the one to be asking about costs involved with SM either. Don't get me wrong I've heard he's a great guy but that's like asking a Ford dealer how practical the GT350 is.

You need to ask some of the SM guys that have been racing for 8+ years and more importantly ex SM racers like myself as they'll be more forth coming with some of the extra costs involved.

In SM if you want to run at the front plan on a new pro built motor every year. If you want to run in the run offs and near the front you better have a SPECIAL relationship with one of the engine builders and then budget for several motors to find that one cherry one. Along with this send out a few other major items for some special work.

When I made the move to SRF I bought a car for less than $15K and was immediately placing at or near the front of races. The car had what appeared to be the original engine from the mid 90's. From what I've seen my car isn't the exception either. Maybe I'm still a little naive when it comes to SRF but most of the cars run the same engine and other major components for many many years. That won't happen in SM. It's not really spec, the bar is always moving and those new grey areas always changing.

Not trying to throw dirt the SM way as it's a great class and a lot of fun. Just don't let anyone kid you, it's way more expensive to run at the front. It all depends on what you're looking for. If you want close racing, a lot of competition, flexibility on clubs and places to run, and like to have the option to pay for some speed SM is your class.

If you're looking for good competition, close racing, not having to worry about who to buy your parts from or which ones will give you an extra tenth or two, know that any win you make is due purely to your driving skill and ability to setup the car for that track then SRF is the way to go. In my opinion the open cockpit experience and extra performance with the GEN3 can't be beat either.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:10 pm
harps17 wrote:My budget for 2016 was $7500, all in except travel to the track. Entry fees, test days, tires, gas, a few parts upgrades, etc. It'd be less if I didn't replace some 15+ year old Renault parts. I finished 4th at the Runoffs in Gen2.


That is VERY impressive. Congratulations!!!

Being able to be that competitive on a tight budget probably really shows what a cost effective maintenance schedule can be. How often do you have the engine rebuilt, usually a major expense? How often do you have damage to the $1100-$1400+ shipping body panels? I usually had a damage expense built into my race budget, with extra damage coming from missed races.

trakmnky wrote:I'm not so sure Drago is the one to be asking about costs involved with SM either.

...

You need to ask some of the SM guys that have been racing for 8+ years and more importantly ex SM racers like myself as they'll be more forth coming with some of the extra costs involved.


I'm probably not going to be running at the very pointy end of the field. However, I do like to have a car that is capable of that. In SM I may be more likely to have 128hp than 131hp, but that would be ok. From results I've looked at (runoffs, Holmstead/Sebring, etc.) the Miatas are a bit closer than SRF. For example, at the Runoffs the top 20 SRF3 qualifiers covered 1.7sec, the top 20 SM 1.1sec. Not taking anything away from SRF, but SM seems to just as competitive deep in the field, if not a bit more so.

Joe Drago is very approachable and has about half-dozen to dozen nationally competitive cars coming out of his shop. His prices are also very competitive.

trakmnky wrote:If you're looking for good competition, close racing, not having to worry about who to buy your parts from or which ones will give you an extra tenth or two, know that any win you make is due purely to your driving skill and ability to setup the car for that track then SRF is the way to go. In my opinion the open cockpit experience and extra performance with the GEN3 can't be beat either.


I've run production-based race cars and purpose built race cars. I greatly prefer a purpose-built race car. They are easier to work on. Easier to setup. Easier to do crash repair on. More precise to drive and usually without various suspension quirks that come from lowering and stiffening a car not designed for it.

Add to that a spec class, big fields, and the CSR network and SRF seems very attractive.

I'm not a fan of open cars...from both a protection (there are pictures of an SRF driver with tire marks on his helmet from a Porsche 944) and a weather aspect (rain, cold, etc.). However, SRF's other features may be compelling enough to negate those.

Note that some of the cost numbers changed with SRF3 which raised the cost of a used car to the $30+k and a new one over $40k.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 1:07 am
David I'm not sure you're looking at the right group of cars when comparing lap times. If you're only taking the top 20 qualifiers at the run offs you're certainly not obtaining a very representative picture of what the two classes are actually like. The top 20 all have the budget and resources to pay for all those extras and are probably pretty close on knowing what they all are. SRF doesn't have that extras issue.

As you said you don't plan on running at the pointy end you're much better off looking at several different non-run offs events and comparing those times. Yes there are going to be other variables that vary as well like driver skill but you'll see a better representation of the class as many drivers either won't know all the latest tricks or have the budget. That may be either a plus or minus for you.

I know as I ran many seasons with SM and know how easy it was to be out spent or.......... When you have a new pro built motor and come out of a corner dead even with your competition and watch them leave you and fall out of the draft there isn't a lot of parity. After I left some of the connections I had shared what they were doing with me. Some of it I knew and some of it I suspected. All of it is normal in any other prepared class, IT or GT but isn't allowed in a real spec series.

Our local CSR builds, supports and maintains some of the best and fastest cars around without even having or using a dyno. Pretty much every major SM operation either has its own dyno or access to one. Drago even has his own flow bench. Tells you most of what you need to know right there.

Now that I'm in SRF I don't have any of those problems. If I'm slow I know it's on me, luckily I don't have that problem anymore. :) I did at the beginning of the season though as we didn't have the new car figured out. And that probably has a lot to do with why you're seeing more of a variance in SRF times. The car is new, the tires are new all of which means everyone is still trying to find their way in the class to some extent yet. The SRF also seems to be more sensitive to setup than the SM which could account for some of that time.

If you still can't decide rent both. The experience alone is probably enough to push you one way or the other.

Starting to feel like you're just trolling us but I'll take that chance. Just want to do what I can to add another driver/car in either class as I see too many leaving the racing scene these days. Hope you do join one of our groups as both have a bunch of great people to race with and respect each other a lot.

I'm done.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 12:10 am
trakmnky wrote:David I'm not sure you're looking at the right group of cars when comparing lap times. If you're only taking the top 20 qualifiers at the run offs you're certainly not obtaining a very representative picture of what the two classes are actually like. The top 20 all have the budget and resources to pay for all those extras and are probably pretty close on knowing what they all are. SRF doesn't have that extras issue.

As you said you don't plan on running at the pointy end you're much better off looking at several different non-run offs events and comparing those times. Yes there are going to be other variables that vary as well like driver skill but you'll see a better representation of the class as many drivers either won't know all the latest tricks or have the budget. That may be either a plus or minus for you.

I know as I ran many seasons with SM and know how easy it was to be out spent or.......... When you have a new pro built motor and come out of a corner dead even with your competition and watch them leave you and fall out of the draft there isn't a lot of parity. After I left some of the connections I had shared what they were doing with me. Some of it I knew and some of it I suspected. All of it is normal in any other prepared class, IT or GT but isn't allowed in a real spec series.

Our local CSR builds, supports and maintains some of the best and fastest cars around without even having or using a dyno. Pretty much every major SM operation either has its own dyno or access to one. Drago even has his own flow bench. Tells you most of what you need to know right there.

Now that I'm in SRF I don't have any of those problems. If I'm slow I know it's on me, luckily I don't have that problem anymore. :) I did at the beginning of the season though as we didn't have the new car figured out. And that probably has a lot to do with why you're seeing more of a variance in SRF times. The car is new, the tires are new all of which means everyone is still trying to find their way in the class to some extent yet. The SRF also seems to be more sensitive to setup than the SM which could account for some of that time.

If you still can't decide rent both. The experience alone is probably enough to push you one way or the other.

Starting to feel like you're just trolling us but I'll take that chance. Just want to do what I can to add another driver/car in either class as I see too many leaving the racing scene these days. Hope you do join one of our groups as both have a bunch of great people to race with and respect each other a lot.

I'm done.


Not trolling...probably obvious from my next post...but I do ask lots of questions and try to understand the why.

I also looked at local regional races. At last June's NJMP regional, there were 33 SMs, 14 within 2 seconds of the fastest race time. There where 16 SRF3 and 4 SRFs, also with 14 within 2 seconds of the fastest race time. Another measure is who wasn't lapped. In SM, 25 and 22 cars finished the complete 15 and 20 laps. In SRF3/SRF it was 16 and 18. Similar enough not to be a significant difference.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 11:46 am
< 50% of SMs within 2 seconds and > 80% of SRF3s is a significant difference.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 4:50 pm
DavidNJ, here is my advice it is free so take it for what it is worth. You have asked a lot of questions and gathered a lot of information, so if I was you I would just try them. Go rent both (SRF & SM) and drive them (even on a test day) then you can decide what you want to do. That was my original plan but I ended up loving the SRF so much I just stayed doing it. There is no perfect race car and I think you now understand some of the differences (plus or minus). Try them and see what you like, have the most fun in and feel relatively safe. Wish you all the best of luck and hope to see you out racing in whatever car you end up deciding.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 10:49 pm
Zealous wrote:DavidNJ, here is my advice it is free so take it for what it is worth. You have asked a lot of questions and gathered a lot of information, so if I was you I would just try them. Go rent both (SRF & SM) and drive them (even on a test day) then you can decide what you want to do. That was my original plan but I ended up loving the SRF so much I just stayed doing it. There is no perfect race car and I think you now understand some of the differences (plus or minus). Try them and see what you like, have the most fun in and feel relatively safe. Wish you all the best of luck and hope to see you out racing in whatever car you end up deciding.


Good advice, it is what I'm doing!

If things go well I may have an SRF for the April SJR school at NJMP. It isn't clear if I have enough time to work out some issues, mainly resulting from my shoulders rubbing the bodywork on both sides.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 11:32 am
DavidNJ wrote:
Zealous wrote:DavidNJ, here is my advice it is free so take it for what it is worth. You have asked a lot of questions and gathered a lot of information, so if I was you I would just try them. Go rent both (SRF & SM) and drive them (even on a test day) then you can decide what you want to do. That was my original plan but I ended up loving the SRF so much I just stayed doing it. There is no perfect race car and I think you now understand some of the differences (plus or minus). Try them and see what you like, have the most fun in and feel relatively safe. Wish you all the best of luck and hope to see you out racing in whatever car you end up deciding.


Good advice, it is what I'm doing!

If things go well I may have an SRF for the April SJR school at NJMP. It isn't clear if I have enough time to work out some issues, mainly resulting from my shoulders rubbing the bodywork on both sides.


Just promise us that you'll give the SM forum as much grief as you gave us!
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