What other classes did you consider and were your criteria?

How To Get Started

Still Learning to Type
Still Learning to Type
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Joined: Tue Sep 03, 2013 4:24 pm
PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:33 pm
I'm in a somewhat unique position to answer your question, as I've raced both SM and SRF, and this year am converting to SRF3. I'll break my response into multiple sections:

1) Safety: The safety record of the SRF speaks for itself. It's built like a tank. People do not generally get seriously hurt, even in serious wrecks (t-bones, head-on concrete wall hits, rollovers, helicopters.) The poster one up from me was involved in a wall crash that clocked over 15 Z-axis g's -- I know, I looked at the data. The car, aside from a few cracks in body panels, a cracked radiator reservoir, and a few small bits was fine. The driver was as fine as he has ever been.

SMs have, I believe, a poorer safety record. Part of that is VERY likely due to the nature of SM racing. There tends to be a LOT more contact in the heat of racing. Bump-drafting is expected, and I have personally diffs get destroyed by over-exuberant examples of the practice. Expect lots of body damage, and lots of off-track excursions, both assisted and unassisted. I have personally seen head/neck injuries, back injuries, and several sets of fractured ribs in Miata wrecks.

2) Cost of repairs/upkeep: My own SRF was involved is several incidents last year, and had a corner torn off in a rear-quarter hit after a spin. Total damage bill: 1200 dollars -- though I did all the work, including some (very slapdash) welding.

Crash damage is easy to fix. Even if you rip a corner off. Most of the time, it's fiberglass repair without having to buy new body panels. I will say this -- if you /really/ dislike fiberglass work, stay away. You will be doing that sort of work, or paying someone at their shop rate to do it, or buying $1000+ panels. It also helps a lot if you can weld.

SMs are more difficult to repair. The parts are definitely cheaper, but my personal experience is they wear out a LOT faster. Miata hubs, uprights, and a-arms are not meant for racing. Body damage is harder to repair (at least, harder to make pretty.) My own experience is that I did a LOT more fiddly maintenance over a race weekend on my SM than I have ever had to do on my SRF.

One last point: engines and transmissions are actually less expensive in SRF/SRF3 than Spec Miata. Long term, you get 2+ seasons on a motor, and so long as compression and leakdown numbers are still good, you are likely still pointy-end competitive. Driving skill matters MUCH more than a 1hp difference. SM engines simply do not last, in a competitive sense, longer than about 12 weekends. Make friends with Dan Tiley, Jim Drago, or Mike Rossini, or you will never have a competitive, legal engine.

3) Fun factor: This one I can't really answer for you. The nature of the racing between SRF and SM is different. Miata racing is a contact sport. SRF racing, while aggressive, is much less likely to involve contact. This reality feeds into overall cost, but it's also a factor you have to consider when deciding which class to pursue.

Personally, I wish I had just bought an SRF at the outset, and were I able to do it all over, that's exactly what I would have done. I might be more competitive in SRF had I focused on it from the start.

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