P71 SuperDork
March 24, 2010 8:52 p.m.

Little backstory, I'm the 09 Oregon Region STS Season Champ in my old 83 RX-7. I got my girlfriend to start racing last year and she loved chasing cones but hated the 7 (manual steering, 4Bbl carb w/manual choke, snap-oversteer handling). It had numerous mods (RB header, 2.5" open exhaust w/welded racing muffler, RB intake, RB pulleys, Falkens, etc, etc), was very loud, and was not pleasant to drive on the street. So, I sold the 7 and we bought a Miata; a 93 B-Package (PS, PW, PM, headreast speakers, CC, aftermarket CD). While that might not sound like the best Miata (or even the best NA considering it's a 1.6/open diff car) it did have two very strong advantages: a hardtop, and ABS. Most of you know all of this.

Well, we are competing all season in Oregon Region SCCA, most of NW Region SCCA, and I am doing the National Tour and ProSolo in Packwood. We also run in "Non-Porsche" with the Oregon PCA. When we purchased the car it was 100% stock on 15x7 RoTa RB's with 205/50/15 Kuhmo Ecsta AST's. The idea of this build is to retain 100% of it's daily driving characteristics (A/C, cruise, comfy seats, stereo, power options) yet still be competitive in our regions.

Our first event was an ORPCA one two weeks ago: results. I was 13th/35 in NP and 30/65 overall. Audra was 34/35 and 64/65 but oh-so-close to nipping one more. This was her 4th autocross (and first in 6 months) and the car was still stock except for the wheels.

The car now has some serious STS mods to it (keep in mind, this a DD first).

  • 205/50/15 Falken Azenis Rt-615
  • 15x7 RoTa RB
  • Magnecor KV85 wires
  • FM pedals w/extension

I also flushed all of the fluids for synthetics or improved fluids and bumped the timing per Keith's book. The alignment specs are:

  • F: -1.25 Camber, 3 Caster, -.015 Toe OUT
  • R: -1.780 Camber, .30 Toe IN

So far none of these mods have negatively affected the street manners at all. Our first SCCA event of the year is this weekend, and we know that a lot of new entries have happened to the class. One of them is on here and finished 1.6 sec ahead of me at the ORPCA event. Our goals are to trophy STS for the year in Oregon Region (1st or 2nd overall) and place not last in class at the NT/PS events at Packwood. I am trying to prove that it doesn't take a useless street car to compete in, and even win, a street touring class.

Always open to suggestions!

Reader's Ride

P71 SuperDork
March 25, 2010 8:29 a.m.

And in case you missed it, I added Grand Sport stripes

(Yes, they are on both sides)

March 25, 2010 8:31 a.m.

nice but, it needs stage 3..lol

Autolex HalfDork
March 25, 2010 8:34 a.m.

Sway bars? Those shouldn't affect smoothness of ride much... :)

kreb Dork
March 25, 2010 8:53 a.m.

Good luck. Your car looks great. I think that white looks much better on NAs than "I wish that I was Italian" red.

But mostly I'm jelous that you attend events with only 65 entrys! How many runs do you get?

P71 SuperDork
March 25, 2010 9:24 a.m.

Autolex,

I plan on a hollow RB front bar w/reinforcements and a set of Koni STR.T's as well. Gotta save some more pennies first. I have $3450 on paper and $2200 in reality in this car (plus sold the RX-7 for $1500). I have to stay in budget!

kreb,

That's only the Porsche Club. They keep entries down on purpose so we get 6 runs or more The SCCA has 150 or more (split over 2 run sessions).

STS_ZX2 New Reader
March 25, 2010 10:39 a.m.

Nice car. Great look with those wheels and the stripes.

We in MKE consider 150 cars to be an average event--and we get 6 runs/event routinely...and courses are almost always 55-60+ seconds in legnth.

How about--when budget allows--looking into some GC coilover sleeves and run some slightly stiffer, but yet street-friendly rates, but still allowing for lowering?

The "street" in ST* is all relative to where you live/compete. You may have a region that you can do OK in a "less prepared" car--but there are other places that you need both a well-driven, and a "not-really-a-street-car-anymore" setup to get in the trophies. Most big regions have a "Pro" class where the-best-of-the-best compete on index, and thusly allow for others to compete for the hardware/points of the the 'regular' class.

P71 SuperDork
March 25, 2010 11:44 p.m.

Thanks for the encouragement all. I will definitely be asking many a suspension question to find the one that offers the best DD performance with autocross ability. I appreciate GRM even more after seeing how the other Miata site nearly came unglued. You'd swear I insulted their mother, home team, and religion simultaneously with how volatile their responses were...

duetto_67 New Reader
March 26, 2010 9:33 a.m.

Beautiful car, the stripes are subtle but really do the trick.

Do you plan coilovers? it looks a little high....

if you do, be careful with spring rates. i went with racer's recommendations on my ST car (91 civic, 400/450 rates) and it really isn't streetable because of the high rates. if i had to do it over (or lost my DD), i'd have to go with less spring rate.

pinchvalve SuperDork
March 26, 2010 9:38 a.m.
  1. Stay in the Northwest.
  2. I have adjustable sway bars front and rear on the MR2. I can set them to "street" and then "track" with two hand wrenches in 5 minutes. Really makes a difference.
  3. Adjustable shocks and coil-overs are my next move, same reasons.
keethrax Reader
March 26, 2010 10:46 a.m.
P71 wrote: I appreciate GRM even more after seeing how the other Miata site nearly came unglued. You'd swear I insulted their mother, home team, and religion simultaneously with how volatile their responses were...

Maybe I'm stupid, but what about this set them off?

Tom Heath Marketing / Club Coordinator
March 26, 2010 12:44 p.m.

I like the way you think. I've been doing something similar in Street Modified for a while. I drive the car to work a few times a week at least, and it's never been on a trailer in the time I've owned it. My budget in the car is still under $10k, which is a whole lot less than the other stuff running in SM2 on a national level.

I think you're discounting the street capability of some of the other cars in your class. Other than the aluminum seats that some of the really fast folks use, there's nothing about an STS-class car that would prevent it from being used regularly. Expensive shocks don't negatively impact the comfort as long as the valving is good. My FatCat motorsports Variant coilovers began their life as a regular Bilstein shock, and are much, much, much (no really, I mean waaay) more comfortable than the factory R-package Bilsteins they replaced.

There's no SM2 competition to gauge against locally, but I'm happy being mid-pack at a national level in the car. It's capable of making a LOT more power (when my budget can allow it...) and I'm between 300-400 pounds over minimum weight in my class. No aero, full A/C, stereo, all that comfy street jazz.

While I can point to mechanical advantages the national leaders have over my setup, I've come to the conclusion that I am the next thing that needs to be improved. More driver training, more seat time.

For your car, the advantage of ABS would be more noticeable on R-comps. I know you hate the race tires, I'm just sayin'...

ZOO Dork
March 26, 2010 12:46 p.m.

I love GS stripes on Corvettes and Miatas. If I recall correctly, they are only on the driver's side on a Corvette. Not that that matters in any way, shape, or form.

I've thought about Grand Sport hash marks on my Miata, too -- or maybe ///M stripes, just to tick off as many "purists" as possible.

Rob

Type Q HalfDork
March 26, 2010 3:51 p.m.
keethrax wrote:
P71 wrote: I appreciate GRM even more after seeing how the other Miata site nearly came unglued. You'd swear I insulted their mother, home team, and religion simultaneously with how volatile their responses were...

Maybe I'm stupid, but what about this set them off?

It doesn't take much. I got flamed on my third post ever on Miata net. I responded to a post where someone was trying to decide between Flyin' Miata and Fat Cat Motorsports suspension parts. What I said was that I knew Shaikh Ahmad (owner of Fat Cat) personally, and Keith Tanner is a friend of a friend. I was confident that both companies would stand behind their products and work hard to make sure he had a great customer experience. My crime was endorsing a company one of the prolific posters there had a personal beef with.

Tom Heath Marketing / Club Coordinator
March 26, 2010 4:24 p.m.
Type Q wrote:
keethrax wrote:
P71 wrote: I appreciate GRM even more after seeing how the other Miata site nearly came unglued. You'd swear I insulted their mother, home team, and religion simultaneously with how volatile their responses were...

Maybe I'm stupid, but what about this set them off?

It doesn't take much. I got flamed on my third post ever on Miata net. I responded to a post where someone was trying to decide between Flyin' Miata and Fat Cat Motorsports suspension parts. What I said was that I knew Shaikh Ahmad (owner of Fat Cat) personally, and Keith Tanner is a friend of a friend. I was confident that both companies would stand behind their products and work hard to make sure he had a great customer experience. My crime was endorsing a company one of the prolific posters there had a personal beef with.

I can relate to that sentiment. I've been to Keith's house, and Shaikh has stayed at mine. They're both pretty darn cool guys, and they like Miatas a lot. Both are capable of making really sweet handling solutions for Miatas. I would (and do) eagerly endorse both solutions, even though they're quite different.

I'm very glad our readers don't (usually) try to play king-of-the-schoolyard around here. I think our policy of "moderate less, ban when necessary" is effective and keeps people on their better behavior. That said, we haven't had a banning around here in quite some time. (Spambots don't count...)

Keith SuperDork
March 26, 2010 4:41 p.m.

Modifications can be an almost religious topic for some people, and it's a black and white thing where only the One True Setup can be accepted and all others are evil.

These sort of people generally aren't any fun. And it's a big reason why I go to some forums because it's my job, and this one because I like it.

Anyhow, with regards to P71's nice looking little car - the NA doesn't have the same weakness with the sway bar mounts than the NB does. Don't bother with the RB reinforcements, especially if you're not running race rubber. I'd save the cash for a set of shocks that you won't outgrow and/or some springs.

Ride quality is going to have more to do with the shocks than the spring rates. Every time I put a stiffer set of springs on the Targa car, I think "okay, that's going to be too much" and I'm amazed. I'm currently running double the rates I had in the race and it still works. That's because the shocks can handle it. My perception of what a "streetable" setup is has been dramatically recalibrated.

The "non-Corvette" class at our local Corvette club autocrosses is called "metal car class".

P71 SuperDork
March 26, 2010 7:43 p.m.

Tom, I love your SM Miata. It certainly offers way more "bang for the buck" than the rest of the SSM field. I hope to replicate your successes on the much smaller STS scale.

On GS stripes, yes they started as one-side only though they eventually went both sides when others copied them. The 96 GS brought them back to 1, but now the 10 GS has them on both. I had single on the 7 and I like the double much better.

We'll see how it works so far, first autocross is Sunday at PIR with the SCCA.

Junkyard_Dog HalfDork
March 26, 2010 8:08 p.m.
ZOO wrote: I love GS stripes on Corvettes and Miatas. If I recall correctly, they are only on the driver's side on a Corvette. Not that that matters in any way, shape, or form. I've thought about Grand Sport hash marks on my Miata, too -- or maybe ///M stripes, just to tick off as many "purists" as possible. Rob

I always referred to them as "rookie stripes" as 1st time drivers at a race (Lemans? Sebring? Damn you Dead Guy Ale for fogging my brain!) had them on the fender.

wbjones HalfDork
March 27, 2010 8:12 a.m.
duetto_67 wrote: Beautiful car, the stripes are subtle but really do the trick. Do you plan coilovers? it looks a little high.... if you do, be careful with spring rates. i went with racer's recommendations on my ST car (91 civic, 400/450 rates) and it really isn't street-able because of the high rates. if i had to do it over (or lost my DD), i'd have to go with less spring rate.

I think it depends on the brand of shock that goes with the springs... had 350 f and 550 r on my Integra and it beat me to death (D2 coil overs / shocks )

I now have 450 f and 400 r on the CRX and Koni yellows ... it's stiff and a little uncomfortable. but still very streetable ... Koni > D2... FTW

and I drive it to all events ( no trailer) usually 2 - 4 hrs each way

wbjones HalfDork
March 27, 2010 8:19 a.m.
Keith wrote: Modifications can be an almost religious topic for some people, and it's a black and white thing where only the One True Setup can be accepted and all others are evil.

ya, and ain't it fun to woop up on them with a set up they consider no-a-count...

P71 SuperDork
March 27, 2010 8:56 a.m.
Junkyard_Dog wrote:
ZOO wrote: I love GS stripes on Corvettes and Miatas. If I recall correctly, they are only on the driver's side on a Corvette. Not that that matters in any way, shape, or form. I've thought about Grand Sport hash marks on my Miata, too -- or maybe ///M stripes, just to tick off as many "purists" as possible. Rob

I always referred to them as "rookie stripes" as 1st time drivers at a race (Lemans? Sebring? Damn you Dead Guy Ale for fogging my brain!) had them on the fender.

They started in LeMans, and it wasn't for "rookie drivers". Team cars often had the same paint schemes so the GS stripes were introduced as a way to easily tell the cars apart at speed. They still do this today with things like different colored mirrors.

steverife New Reader
March 27, 2010 9:21 a.m.

I stumbled across the Miata.net thread. I know several of the guys that posted and they are all great guys. They will, however, tell you like it is....

Top STS cars, while pricy to build, are still very streetable and many see a lot of street miles. Matt Glagola drove his car all over the country on his way to winning a national championship. You aren't being honest with yourself if you think they are "trailer queens"...

Secondly, it simply isn't true that most have more in their shocks than you do in your car. Sure, some people do, but not very many and you don't need it to win....

Thirdly, you aren't going to consistently beat top drivers in top cars with your setup.

Nothing is wrong with your plan, but skimming the Miata thread, I took it the same way a lot of those did....

P71 SuperDork
March 27, 2010 9:38 a.m.

I don't know about other "top STS" cars, but I can tell you that 1/3 of our local/regional ST-category cars are trailered. I can also tell you that another 1/3 of them are horrible street cars only driven to the races or on weekends. Only a handful of them are true daily drivers. That's why I was trying this experiment.

I have just under $2000 actual money in this car. Most ST category competitors do have more than that in their shock setups with the coil-over stuff, springs, and bumpstops.

Thirdly, if that was true I wouldn't have beaten people with my RX-7, ever. If I took everything I ever read on teh intarwebz at face value that car would have never finished outside of the bottom 5. It's that kind of "sheep flock" thinking that causes things like Spec Civic.

Nothing gets people more riled then asking "why?" when they say "you can't".

steverife New Reader
March 27, 2010 11:24 a.m.
P71 wrote: I don't know about other "top STS" cars, but I *can* tell you that 1/3 of our local/regional ST-category cars *are* trailered. I can also tell you that another 1/3 of them are horrible street cars only driven to the races or on weekends. Only a handful of them are true daily drivers. That's why I was trying this experiment. I have just under $2000 actual money in this car. Most ST category competitors do have more than that in their shock setups with the coil-over stuff, springs, and bumpstops. Thirdly, if that was true I wouldn't have beaten people with my RX-7, ever. If I took everything I ever read on teh intarwebz at face value that car would have never finished outside of the bottom 5. It's that kind of "sheep flock" thinking that causes things like Spec Civic. Nothing gets people more riled then asking "why?" when they say "you can't".

There are a variety of reasons why people trailer their cars. Are stock class cars that are trailered not streetable either? ...and who cares if a car is daily driven? You seem to own other cars, too.

I run HS instead of STS, but I've had several people who were a few seconds off me come up to me and say that they think they could run with me if they had race tires/shocks/the right car/whatever. While it may be true, I always find it offensive. I've put a lot of work and commitment into my driving and car prep and people that haven't done the same try to discredit it to level the playing field. I think some of the miata.net folks may feel the same way...

P71 SuperDork
March 29, 2010 9:34 a.m.

Video from yesterday. I got 2nd of 4 in STS and who knows overall (results aren't up yet). STS (and a few others) had the only wet course all day so we're going to suck in the overalls. My buddy Jeff Peterson nabbed me by ~2 seconds but Audra dropped 3 seconds in competition to nab 3rd! I also beat Jerry Jenkins by .010 this session (he was stuck on A6's in the rain though and kept coning ).

I definitely need more roll stiffness, so that front bar is going to be needed soon. I really need to do something about shocks ASAP as well. I'd also like to find a VLSD rear diff as I was getting inside wheelspin in the big sweeper. All in all not a bad first SCCA outing for the car. I still feel rusty after the off season.

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