Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
3/10/23 8:20 a.m.
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For years we’d built and built: Through Covid, through supply chain challenges, through multiple shops 500 miles apart, we’d kept working on our LFX-swapped Miata.

The goal was simple: Kick our endurance racing up a notch and continue running the same Miata we knew and loved.

Good news: It was finally finished! Or at least finished enough to return …

Read the rest of the story

calteg
calteg SuperDork
3/10/23 9:35 a.m.

What I learned hopping in a new racecar? I'm not nearly as talented as I thought I was

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/10/23 10:25 a.m.

Getting out for the first time is when the fun starts. Debugging is more fun than building.

I've had this exact same failure happen with parts from the same supplier. Come off a corner and wzzzzz, no drive. I don't remember the diagnosis process but in my case the exact cause was figured out fairly quickly. Possibly because I didn't have the stress of a counting clock, I was on a test day.

So I pulled some higher spec parts off another car so i could go to Laguna Seca a week or so later, and the underengineered drive flange required by those higher spec parts ripped off at the apex of turn 9, releasing the wheel to the freedom it desired. That was a much bigger problem than the broken splines.

Some nice looking shocks you've got on that car :) Glad to hear the handling was good.

Noddaz
Noddaz GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
3/10/23 12:06 p.m.

Glad to hear the car was great...  Until it broke.  But that is racing.  

I am sure it will do better next time.  Now fess up.  Which one of the drivers was dropping the clutch and doing burn outs?  lol

Tom1200
Tom1200 UberDork
3/10/23 12:38 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

Getting out for the first time is when the fun starts. Debugging is more fun than building.

I actually hate building and debugging race cars; I may find it interesting but I don't find it fun. It's part of the process but man I dislike that part.

I do find developing a car a lot of fun; playing with parts, settings and seeing the results is fun...........as well as fascinating. 

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
3/10/23 12:50 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

 

 

So I pulled some higher spec parts off another car so i could go to Laguna Seca a week or so later, and the underengineered drive flange required by those higher spec parts ripped off at the apex of turn 9, releasing the wheel to the freedom it desired. That was a much bigger problem than the broken splines.

I think I may have seen the video of that event.

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy MegaDork
3/10/23 2:08 p.m.

Nothing, I haven't raced.  

I'm a pud.

leec
leec New Reader
3/10/23 3:16 p.m.

A Miata DNF is rarely the "fault" of the vehicle!  Other than the originally supplied stock [to weak for racing] pressure plate, subsequently upgraded [SSB legal] by Mazda for the 1994 R, the reliability was phenomenal. [ask Rennie] Once you start modifying them, all bets are off, and  they're no longer really a Miata! 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/10/23 5:22 p.m.
Tom1200 said:
Keith Tanner said:

Getting out for the first time is when the fun starts. Debugging is more fun than building.

I actually hate building and debugging race cars; I may find it interesting but I don't find it fun. It's part of the process but man I dislike that part.

I do find developing a car a lot of fun; playing with parts, settings and seeing the results is fun...........as well as fascinating. 

I consider the debugging to be part of the developing. Hardening a car to make it more reliable in enduros is an exercise in problem solving and planning - including how to make something fail gracefully. It's different than "what happens if I change these springs" but just as interesting to me.

John Wyer's account of building new Le Mans cars includes talk of their testing. They didn't really consider a less-than-race-length test to be all that valuable when it comes to development.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/10/23 5:22 p.m.
leec said:

A Miata DNF is rarely the "fault" of the vehicle!  Other than the originally supplied stock [to weak for racing] pressure plate, subsequently upgraded [SSB legal] by Mazda for the 1994 R, the reliability was phenomenal. [ask Rennie] Once you start modifying them, all bets are off, and  they're no longer really a Miata! 

There was a modified Miata on the stand the day the roadster was introduced to the world in 1989. There have been modified Miatas literally as long as there have been Miatas. Once you start modifying them, they're still very much Miatas...

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/10/23 6:39 p.m.

In a previous life we learned to be careful to let customers know that a built car is NOT a finished product and there may be a debugging process that could take a few months to a year.

 

I am honestly nervous about "Colin".  (The R53 getting vehicle reassignment surgery to be the best little WRX it can be)  I know how Imprezas handle and want to retain that as much as possible, but if course it is not an Impreza.  Might go out the first time and find out that it drives square (straight, turn, straight) and needs some suspension development work to be able to carve, or develop better 3D maps for the center diff control.

With known-factor vehicles you can also learn from better drivers who will tell you that you can do THIS to get good corner exit or THAT to do whatever, and these spring rates with those stabilizer bars work the best...

So, yeah, nerves.  Especially since there isn't room for stabilizer bars as far as I can tell.

ShawnG
ShawnG MegaDork
3/10/23 6:40 p.m.

I learned that the biggest problem with any race car was actually me.

leec
leec New Reader
3/11/23 11:41 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:
leec said:

A Miata DNF is rarely the "fault" of the vehicle!  Other than the originally supplied stock [to weak for racing] pressure plate, subsequently upgraded [SSB legal] by Mazda for the 1994 R, the reliability was phenomenal. [ask Rennie] Once you start modifying them, all bets are off, and  they're no longer really a Miata! 

There was a modified Miata on the stand the day the roadster was introduced to the world in 1989. There have been modified Miatas literally as long as there have been Miatas. Once you start modifying them, they're still very much Miatas...

Presume if it wasn't "modified" by factory engineers, there are no actual race results of that "Miata", you care to share?  Is my Monster still really a Miata? Or a custom built vehicle that has no Mazda factory warrantee? It has a factory emblem on it! Just because it has a different engine, trans, diff and a myriad other parts, if it fails, it's a Miata fault? My point! 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/11/23 11:52 a.m.
leec said:
Keith Tanner said:
leec said:

A Miata DNF is rarely the "fault" of the vehicle!  Other than the originally supplied stock [to weak for racing] pressure plate, subsequently upgraded [SSB legal] by Mazda for the 1994 R, the reliability was phenomenal. [ask Rennie] Once you start modifying them, all bets are off, and  they're no longer really a Miata! 

There was a modified Miata on the stand the day the roadster was introduced to the world in 1989. There have been modified Miatas literally as long as there have been Miatas. Once you start modifying them, they're still very much Miatas...

Presume if it wasn't "modified" by factory engineers, there are no actual race results of that "Miata", you care to share?  Is my Monster still really a Miata? Or a custom built vehicle that has no Mazda factory warrantee? It has a factory emblem on it! Just because it has a different engine, trans, diff and a myriad other parts, if it fails, it's a Miata fault? My point! 

It's called the Club Racer. There have been many articles on it over the last 34 years. It's not a competition car, though. But it's modified, and Mazda sure considered it a Miata.

I wasn't assigning blame of various failures to whether a car was "still a Miata". If your Monster blows up a T5, that's because that's what T5s do.  If the factory main relay fails on your V8 powered rally Miata four days into a five day race and costs you a win, that's the Miata - and a builder who did not anticipate this particular Miata failure regardless of the engine. If that second seems like a very specific example, it's because it is. BTDT.

Your Monster is a Miata, that was my point. It's got a different drivetrain, but if you ask anyone what kind of car it is they're going to say Miata and not "rebodied Mustang". There is no mystical "miataness" that disappears when you change something. It can still suffer the sort of failures that Miatas suffer, like the common front hub failures found in competition NA/NB Miatas. And it can suffer new ones in the parts that have been changed. 

wspohn
wspohn SuperDork
3/11/23 12:10 p.m.

You learn two thing when you go out on the track with an unfamiliar car.  Both things depend on you, not the car.

1 - you find out how the new car compares in terms of limits to the car you are familiar with.  Some people are very good at this and can sense when they are at the limits of adhesion in cornering and braking without exceeding them.  Others are relative dunderheads and are blind to feeling how a car reacts - I watched a guy test driving a friends sports racer on a practice night. He spun the car six times in one lap.  No feel and no sense (and no sale on the car, my friend told him to get lost).

2 - having detected the limits of the car's behavior, the second challenge is how close can you come to them without  exceeding them.  Quite hard to approach competitive lap times quickly.

Having good 'car feel'  was a big advantage where I live in the Pacific Northwest given the frequency of rain.  The guys without it had a tendency to 'fall off the course' especially when they experienced a sudden downpour when out on slicks!

I was always careful to try and detect limits from the safe side rather than the side where you exceed them and end up picking sawdust out of your teeth.  I stopped running one of my cars for about three years to run a different cars, and then went back to the first one - in the second lap of the first race I turned a half second better than I ever had before in that car, on the same old rubber.

And I agree with Keith - building a car  is a fun exercise but sorting it out and solving problems is particularly satisfying.  You know you are doing it  right if you never suffer the same issue more than once.

kb58
kb58 UltraDork
3/11/23 1:33 p.m.

First time I autocrossed a car with ABS, it took me a while to realize I could keep the brakes on much harder and deeper into a turn than in a non-ABS car. As far as real racing goes, I never have, as doing that to a new car is definitely not GRM.

Tom1200
Tom1200 UberDork
3/12/23 12:17 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

I would never make it doing product development; I have no patience for failures.......especially if they happen more then once.

Opti
Opti SuperDork
3/12/23 12:47 a.m.

Before 1st time out in the ND: Im not gonna loop it

After 1st time out in ND: Damn I looped it.

Takeaways: Im always going to spin it a couple times. How do you find the edge if you dont go over it.

Berck
Berck Reader
3/15/23 3:22 p.m.

"Facts in hand, we decided to use the V8 Roadsters kit. Why? First and foremost, it used the entire Camaro driveline, replacing the relatively fragile Miata transmission and differential with parts from the V6 donor and significantly increasing the durability of the driveline."

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/15/23 3:30 p.m.
Tom1200 said:

In reply to Keith Tanner :

I would never make it doing product development; I have no patience for failures.......especially if they happen more then once.

First failure is a learning experience. Second failure is on you :)

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/15/23 3:36 p.m.
Berck said:

"Facts in hand, we decided to use the V8 Roadsters kit. Why? First and foremost, it used the entire Camaro driveline, replacing the relatively fragile Miata transmission and differential with parts from the V6 donor and significantly increasing the durability of the driveline."

The failure here was actually one of the aftermarket parts required to make the GM bits play with the Mazda bits. It's possible the halfshaft was built a little short, which caused it to pull halfway out of the CV joint. The splines weren't strong enough with only half of the intended engagement. The fact that the car is running Flyin' Miata's Fox suspension means it has a little more droop than some other race suspensions, which would expose this weakness more than a travel-constrained setup.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
3/15/23 4:00 p.m.

After some research and a thorough inspection, we're pretty sure we know the cause of the failure. But that's a topic that deserves more than a forum post, so we'll cover it when we put the car back together.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/15/23 4:05 p.m.

That'll be an interesting read.

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