Recap: 24 Hours of LeMons ‘Shine Country Classic

Feb 10, 2017 update to the Mazda Miata project car

Thanks to our bribe package, the judges awarded us zero penalty laps... for now.
After almost seven hours of racing we were called in and awarded 1000 penalty laps. Don't bring a turbocharged Miata to a LeMons race, kids.
We weren't really in the race for the lead anymore, but we worked on improving our pit stops.
We kept clicking off laps in the rain on Sunday and eventually cracked our way back into the top 50.
The 24 Hours of LeMons is a real experience to drive in. You don't get this kind of competitive variety in many (if any) other series.

What’s more fun that racing in the 24 Hours of LeMons? Racing in it with a stupid-fast car. After a few years of honing our race craft, we decided to up the ante and bolt the ruined turbocharger from an early Subaru WRX to our yellow Miata. The result? 193 horsepower at the rear wheels, and a view under the hood that was sure to earn us more penalty laps than all who’d come before.

Yeah, that didn’t happen–at least not at first. Thanks to some sweet bribes, we skated through LeMons’ BS Inspection without a single penalty lap. We’d gotten away with murder–or so we thought. During day one of the two-day race, we worked our way up from a mid-pack start to fifth overall and still climbing, hampered only by a black flag thrown after one of our drivers put a few too many wheels off the track while passing a slower car.

Then, disaster struck. Well, LeMons disaster, anyway. We were black flagged to the penalty box. The LeMons Supreme Court had one command: “Pop the hood!”

We’ll be honest here: We pretended we couldn’t reach the hood release. That didn’t work, as the judges figured it out and opened it anyway. That blew the lid off our whole plan–sure, we’d been telling anyone who would listen we had a turbo, and we’d been passing Mustangs and Camaros on the straights, but the judges assumed we were joking and/or would blow the engine before we came even close to victory.

What was our penalty for bringing a turbo, and doing well? 1000 laps, or four times what many competitors would turn in the entire race. Thankfully, we had an ace up our sleeve: A get-out-of-penalty-free sticker from LeMons of Love. The charity provides care packages for chemo patients, and every competitor who donated earned one free pass from the LeMons Supreme Court’s hammer of justice.

That pass knocked our penalty down to 100 laps, which put us back to 70-something overall. Over the next 7 hours of racing, we managed to work our way up, eventually finishing 49th out of 102 competitors. Without the penalty, we would have earned a top-three finish.

We didn’t win, but did we have fun? Absolutely. Racing in the 24 Hours of LeMons is one of the least expensive ways to get a ton of track time, and there’s nothing more fun than going into a corner three wide between a Civic made to look like a BMW made to look like a shark and a Ranchero on all-season street tires.

What’s next for our Miata? We have some post-race maintenance to tackle, then we’ll be out on track again–hopefully with fewer penalty laps next time.

We’d like to thank the sponsors that made this project possible:

Advanced Autosports
Bridgestone Tires
DIYAutoTune
Energy Suspension
Fuel Injector Clinic
König
Nerdie Racing
Safecraft
SPA Technique
Speed Seat
Treasure Coast Miata
Very Cool Parts

Watch the pages of Grassroots Motorsports for the full project car series. Subscriptions start at just $10.


Join Free
Join our community to easily find more Mazda project updates.

Reader comments:

Klayfish
Klayfish UberDork
Feb. 9, 2017 11:17 a.m.

Awesome!! Glad to hear the car ran well. Who did initial BS inspection? Didn't they pick up on the turbo?

Hope to see you out there soon! Coming up north for any races? I'll be at all the northeast races, CMP fall and Road Atlanta in December.

dculberson
dculberson PowerDork
Feb. 9, 2017 11:20 a.m.

200 rwhp Miata - yeah, gonna get noticed. ;-)

JohnRW1621
JohnRW1621 MegaDork
Feb. 9, 2017 11:49 a.m.

The dementions in this photo are humorous.
The Fairlane looks unusually huge or the Miata looks unusually small.

Tyler H
Tyler H UltraDork
Feb. 9, 2017 12:17 p.m.

Congrats on finishing strong out of the gate with a homebrew turbo. That's a huge accomplishment. I hope we get to read about it in the mag.

In the olden days of LeMons your car would probably be under an excavator.

jstein77
jstein77 UltraDork
Feb. 9, 2017 2:19 p.m.

49th? You probably would have finished a lot higher with a stock motor. I'll bet it was a lot more fun to drive with boost, though.

icaneat50eggs
Feb. 9, 2017 2:45 p.m.

I'm impressed you could keep it together, good work.

jstein77
jstein77 UltraDork
Feb. 9, 2017 3:53 p.m.
JohnRW1621 wrote: The dementions in this photo are humorous...

I think you meant "dimensions". Or was that dementedly intentional?

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
Feb. 10, 2017 9:31 a.m.

So that banged up turbo held together? Impressive!

We had a good laugh at the Rolex. Turns out the cheap eBay manifold they bought is a copy of an old FM III system from somewhere around 1997.

HoserRacing
HoserRacing HalfDork
Feb. 13, 2017 8:43 a.m.

You know, WRL is coming to Daytona in a few months No penalty laps, classified by power/weight. Good clean racing, did my first event with them last fall at Corvette Museum. Well run and a ton of fun. You know you want to

I'm planning on running with them again at Mid-Ohio in September.

You'll need to log in to post.

Supported by

The Latest

Spend Your Evening on Track for Just $50

1 day ago in News

April is "Member’s Month" at SCCA's Track Night in America.

2017 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro

1 day ago in New Car Reviews

The Audi A4, BMW's 3-Series competitor appeals more to the luxury market than the performance market. However, don't discount the ...

Join Our Porsche Experience Tour

1 day ago in News

It's a back-roads adventure to the Classic Motorsports Mitty

Sharing is Caring

2 days ago in Articles

If something puts a smile on your face or makes you a better person, share it.

Wendi Allen Scholarship Recipients Named

2 days ago in News

Haley Oosterhof and Elayne Man have proved to be outstanding SCCA members.

Focus on Rallycross With Us

3 days ago in News

We're headed to the Firm this Saturday for some rallycross fun.

Get Our Magazine in Print and Digital for just $16.99

4 days ago in News

Now is a great time to renew or start subscribing to our magazine.

KMiata

4 days ago in Articles

Does Honda power create the perfect Miata?

Project Mustang: An Effort to Standalone

4 days ago in Project Cars

We put an AEM engine management system in our Mustang.

Meet Hurley Haywood at the Mitty

5 days ago in News

Porsche will be the featured marque at the Mitty, and we have a Porsche legend for you to meet at ...

2017 Subaru BRZ

5 days ago in New Car Reviews

The internet has doled out a lot of mixed opinions on the BRZ and its twin, now called the Toyota ...

Reader's Ride of the Week: Autocross Ranger

5 days ago in News

This is no ordinary Ranger.

Grassroots Motorsports Magazine

Subscribe Today

Also get your instant access to the digital edition of Grassroots Motorsports Magazine!

Learn More
G9SvxmEMnXDGRWfCs5vH3bde5ubHvENf