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ghackenberg New Reader
7/5/17 6:04 p.m.

We are a group of Smith College engineering students with a passion for motorsports. This will be our first GRM Challenge, and for many of us, our first time owning/working on a car. Tips and advice are welcome and appreciated! We just bought a 1999 miata for $600 and are working on installing a roll cage right now. The goal is to get it race ready ASAP and enter in local track days and autocross events to get some experience and fine tune the car. We can't wait to get started!

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MrJoshua UltimaDork
7/5/17 6:08 p.m.


pimpm3 SuperDork
7/5/17 6:13 p.m.

Great! Welcome you will have a blast, the challenge is a great event.

Project86fox New Reader
7/5/17 6:15 p.m.

Looks like a fun project. The 2017 challenge is awesome.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/5/17 6:26 p.m.

You need to take a step back and let us peek at what else is in that shop!

mck1117 GRM+ Memberand Reader
7/5/17 6:43 p.m.

Welcome! It's great to have another college team coming to the Challenge. There are a few of us from the Georgia Tech team around on the forum, along with a few alumni.

If you need anything, the forum is here to help!

One thing I noticed about the roll cage: If you ever want to run the car in SCCA/Chump Car/LeMons/etc, they aren't going to be happy about some of the bends in the cage.

Bends in the middle of a span introduce weak points for the cage to buckle if the car rolls or is hit.

We also have to meet NHRA safety regs. While a full cage is required (for a convertible) only if faster than a 11.00 second 1/4 mile, a safety inspector might still get grumpy about the cage design.

Also, please, a shop tour! I see at least an NC, and a...firetruck?

AngryCorvair GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
7/5/17 7:02 p.m.

First: Welcome to the GRM Challenge family!

Second: A place for every thing, and every thing in it's place. Keep your workspace and your tools organized!

Third: Do not hesitate to ask questions. Boss Kettering said "A problem well stated is a problem half solved."

Robbie GRM+ Memberand UberDork
7/5/17 8:45 p.m.

In reply to mck1117:

First rule of internet car builds, always critique the cage.

Welcome Smith college, great plan. A running, well sorted, and well tested car will finish well.

mck1117 GRM+ Memberand Reader
7/5/17 10:01 p.m.

In reply to Robbie:

Of course! It's a law, or something. Just figured I'd mention it before it's too late to change, if necessary.

And to echo, we've certainly seen better results when we do less building and more testing. We've already identified a few minor changes to make on our car this year because we had a full day of driving it hard. As some may remember, we've had structural...difficulties that would have been identified earlier if we'd driven the car further than around the parking lot.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/6/17 10:10 a.m.

If you can't critique the cage, complain about the welds

NOHOME UltimaDork
7/6/17 10:18 a.m.

How does the Fitech EFI that I see out the driver's door factor into this project?

hobiercr GRM+ Memberand Dork
7/6/17 10:59 a.m.

This isn't their shop. From their email to GoFundMe supporters.

Smith Team said: We bought the car for $600 from Hale Motorsports in Connecticut. The roll cage was partially installed, and our team is working at the shop in Connecticut to finish the cage before transporting it back to campus. We only have 2 team members here this summer so the work is slow, but we're making progress!
ghackenberg New Reader
7/6/17 11:28 a.m.

Thanks for the welcome! I am an intern for Hale Motorsports this summer helping Randy Hale in the Pirelli WC. He is very generously showing us the ropes and letting us use equipment for the roll cage in his shop in Connecticut. We are taking the car back to our campus when we finish the cage. I will post some pictures of other projects in the shop soon!

Thanks for the heads up about the roll cage! It's just tacked into place now so we can still change it.

Ovid_and_Flem HalfDork
7/6/17 11:57 a.m.

In reply to ghackenberg:

Don't take any crap off these these guys, G.

And it appears you've got GA Tech's attention.

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham Associate Editor
7/6/17 12:31 p.m.

Welcome! Glad you guys are documenting the build here!

hobiercr GRM+ Memberand Dork
7/6/17 12:37 p.m.

In reply to mck1117:

Bent upper bars seems to be legal in Spec Miata.

Ovid_and_Flem HalfDork
7/6/17 12:49 p.m.

In reply to hobiercr:

Considering their mentor for construction of cage builds and maintains NASA/Pirelli WC mazdas I'm sure their cage design is compliant.

B13Birk New Reader
7/6/17 12:51 p.m.

Welcome To the Forum as well as the Challenge! You all will have a total blast and will find that everyone here is extremely helpful and kind. Best of luck on your build. We will see you out there!

Billy_Bottle_Caps GRM+ Memberand Dork
7/11/17 5:14 p.m.

Best of luck!

SVreX MegaDork
7/11/17 5:44 p.m.


David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/19/17 12:20 p.m.

Very cool and thanks for sharing the updates.

Free bump for you.

4cylndrfury MegaDork
7/19/17 12:26 p.m.
Keith Tanner wrote: You need to take a step back and let us peek at what else is in that shop!

welp, I see a poorly organized pegwall, a hacked up "racecar" (yet to flip even a single cone in anger), multiple vehicles in various states of undress, and most horizontal surfaces littered with random garage detritus. We all can go out to our own workspaces and see the exact same. Nothing to see here. Move along, move along

Welcome smith engineers (even if Im a bit late tot he party). Glad to see you jumping in head first!

FuzzWuzzy New Reader
7/19/17 12:53 p.m.

Is that a 10AE?

ghackenberg New Reader
7/19/17 7:26 p.m.

I mostly finished up the cage today. It was my first time MIG welding so it doesn't look pretty. Next up: a quick spray paint of the cage and interior, fitting and wiring the dash, installing doors, trunk lid, and windshield. After that, I will take it back to campus and the real fun (engine mods) begin! I am hoping to have it race ready by the end of August so that when the rest of my teammates arrive back on campus in September, we can track test it and make final adjustments.

<img src="Untitled" />

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Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA SuperDork
7/19/17 7:33 p.m.

It would be great to see 2-3 more college teams vying for the set of Toyo tires that signify the attainment of the pinnacle of motorsport achievement.

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