First time autocross
Posted 29 August 2017 - 10:11 AM
Posted 30 August 2017 - 08:57 AM
I bought a 99 miata completely stock. I want to do autocross for the first time but know nothing about it. Can I go completely stock? What class would that be? Can I add coilovers, better breaks, and better wheels and tires? Also If I can do all that what other things can i do to my car and stay in the same class? If I do add all that what class would I be in? Do I need a roll bar for a 99 miata? I've been told I can't have any loose thing including mats in the car. Will I have to remove the soft top completely? I'm planing on doing my first even with no upgrades on October 15 just to see if I like it. If I do decide to keep doing it I will do all the upgrades stated above to go to an even on December 3. Maybe in the long term I will add a supercharger and will that put me in a new class?
You can definitely autocross your car completely stock. Just make sure it's in good working order. Your stock 99 Miata should be in E Street (ES). SCCA Street class doesn't allow for many modifications but it is a lot of fun. You don't need to remove your soft top. You only need to remove items that could start flying around while competing (floor mats, loose change, stuff in the center console, etc). You mileage doesn't matter.
One word of caution: this is addicting!
Posted 30 August 2017 - 07:58 PM
PLEASE. DO NOT MODIFY YOUR CAR. go to SCCA.COM, and download the rulebook. read it all the way through. Then read the section of STREET (NOT STREET TOURING OR STREET PREPARED) at least three times. The list of people that modified their cars immediately and became non-competitive is a long one. Keep it as stock as possible at first. Then, if you like autocrossing, here's what I would advise. 1) Get competent instruction. Most of our natural reactions are the wrong thing to do. Club schools are ok, but if you can swing it, go to Evolution School. It's about $275 or so. You'll get an entire season of autox in one day (24 runs easy). You'll be instructed by at least one national champion. You can take these driver mods to any car from now on-can't do that with dampers or sway bars. 2) Get competitive tires AFTER you wear out your current tires. 3) consider a sway bar change. 4) think about which class in which you wish to compete. TALK with experienced competitors. Ride with them if you can. THEN consider dampers (for Street class) or coilovers etc for street touring or street prepared.
The reason I recommend not modifying anything is that once you've made a mod that puts you into another class, you pretty much have to do all the allowed mods to be competitive. With that car, good tires, sway bar, good dampers makes your car competitive. If you aren't within 2 seconds of the club leaders in the PAX index, concentrate on becoming a better driver because money spent on parts isn't going to get you closer (we all think we're Ayrton Senna, but we're not). Once you're within 2 seconds of the club leaders, you can look at spending some money on parts (but I would recommend Phase 2 of Evo school before parts).
Above all, talk with experienced competitors. There are grey beards (i'm one) and there are really good young drivers and any place in between. Some of the youngest club members have 5-7 years of experience. Unlike some forms of racing, I think you'll find people more than happy to help you become fast.
BTW, superchargers and mods aren't going to make you faster if you aren't a good driver. They WILL put you in a class that is very challenging. The Tidewater Sports Car Club event this month was won by a Kia Forte in H Street (by PAX index). H Street is the slowest class in autocross. This is "class" racing so rules count.
Hope to meet you soon,
- mr.beachcomber likes this
Posted 31 August 2017 - 03:56 PM
Glad you're reading the rule book.
If you have to spend money, go buy RE-71R or Rival S 1.5 tires. They'll be worth 4 full seconds, while the exhaust will be worth almost nothing.
To answer your question, yes, the exhaust would be legal for street class. Which do you want? fast or slow?
Talk to experienced competitors, listen to what they say. Don't take my word for it, ASK others what they think.
If it is power you want, do a compression test (if you don't have a gauge, let me know, I'll bring mine) and see if your cylinder head needs a valve job. With that many miles, you will probably pick up more torque and horsepower from the valve job than from the exhaust.
More power will not get you to first place, nor will any car, but a bad car choice can keep a good driver out of first place. You don't have that problem, the miata / mx-5 is easily one of the best cars ever autocrossed. Even with low power, any miata in the hands of a good driver, with good tires, dampers, sway bars, and a competition alignment (standard street class stuff) it is fully capable of being in the top 5 pax index in any local autocross.
Again, I recommend you come out to an event before you make any changes other than routine maintenance and making sure it passes safety (battery tied down, throttle springs work, brakes are good, no big leaks, seat belts are in good condition, etc).
Again all the best,
Posted 01 September 2017 - 10:41 AM
I agree with Jeff above; keep it stock for a while and work on your driving. I've been running my current car in Street class for the past 4 years and it's been WAY more fun (and faster) than when I ran my old car which had many modifications. All the modifications are useless if you can't utilize them. When I tell people how you can't do much in terms of modification in Street class they usually say something like, "oh that sucks" when really it's probably some of the best competition there is.
Looking forward to seeing you out at an event!
- mr.beachcomber likes this