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Who raced tin-tops and formula cars?

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  • #16
    Once upon a time I had a thread where I compared all the different formula car options with horsepower, weight, lap times, and field sizes...

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    • #17
      First since the large majority of folks on here are doing track days I would agree with Steve that a sports racer is the way to go as they are accepted at track days where most do not allow formula cars.

      Now to Formula Vee: for comparison at the 2016 RunOffs Spec Miata front runners were turning 1:40 vs FV turning 1:38s. So Vees are slightly faster than Spec Miata. Now at longer tracks the gap would likely be close as Vees are rather underpowered.

      So most Formula cars are right on 1000lbs with driver, F500 are 800-850 depending on layout.

      FV uses old 40 horse 1200 beetle engine which prepped by a top national engine builder make 60 hp. They use the standard Beetle drum brakes which normally suck but on a much lighter car there not an issue. Also on Vee you are trying to use the the brakes as little as possible. As for the swing axle, FV rear suspension uses a set up called Zero roll & this negates the jacking effect. They more or less always have negative camber in the rear. FV is also the biggest Formula car class as well as the second most subscribed class in SCCA. Spec Miata edges it out slightly. The vintage Vees run in my run group at VARA (vintage) and has between 5-10 cars at most events so they always have a pretty good race.

      Formula Ford (note I've only driven them on threaded tires) there are two motors, the traditional Kent 1600 Ford and now the Honda Fit motor. Not sure on the the Honda but the Fords are around 110-115 HP. The have good brakes, and adjustable everything coupled to a motor you can't really mess with and a proper gearbox. On threaded tires they're great as you can lightly drift them everywhere. There's a vintage race coming up at Spring Mtn on the 17-19th and there are around 30 of them entered. These are fast enough to keep top notch drivers (many former Professioanls race them for fun) but slow enough that a new driver can cope with them.

      F500 use either 100hp snowmobile drive train or now a 600cc sprotbike engine with restrictors, the bulk of the runners stick to the 2 strokes. They use bump stops for suspension. They run the same times as Formula Ford but have half the running costs. The only tires is Hoorier R25A slick but they are cheap at $175 each. Same times as T1 Viper or Vette for 1/10th the price.

      As for sports racers most of my experience is in D Sports Racer (now P2). It's been 15 years but when I set the DSR lap record at LVMS outside road course lap record it was about 2 seconds slower than Mike Lewis' ex Roush Trans Am car. These days the P2 cars are as fast or faster depending on the track. 2016 P2 winner ran 1:20 vs GT1 / Trans Am 1:22. These car a very serious and not a place to start with a single seater. Our car was 1000lbs with 180hp Yamaha. The new cars like Stohr can set you back anywhere from 50-75K but you can find regional level cars for as low as 15k and upwards of 25K. Look up the lap records at you local track. Several years back the P2 RunOffs winner ran sub 2 minutes at Road America.

      Spec Racer Fords are a good choice as mentioned they are tanks will tolerate some off roading and run stock Ford drivetrains. At the TunnOffs the cars were between 1:35 & 1:37 (currently there are two classes running as there is a new generation motor) compare this two Spec Miata 1:40. They run a spec treaded tire. Buy in is a little pricey for the level of permanent but they hold their value very well. I ache the shopped for one in a while but I think they are between 18-25k used. There 1500lbs and around 140hp but I'm not 100% on the new motor. A bargain can be had if you buy one with the original Renault drivetrain, these can be run in vintage or track days. As you're not bound by the spec rules you could run super sticky Hoosiers and tweak the motor a tiny bit. The Renault gearbox won't tolerate huge power increases, I think the motors were 100hp stock. It would be slightly faster than Spec Miata.

      For me if I didn't have the F500 I'd have to pick either a vintage Formula Ford or a Spec Racer. Anyone whose seen me drive the little red Datsun 1200 around Spring Mtn at VARA events or PCA track days knows I thrive on cars that you skate around in a rather alarming manner. So I need something on treaded tires, course it's hard to be the rush of a single seater on slicks. I'm pretty much a fickle whore.

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      • #18
        Tom, can I persuade you to make a post in this thread?

        http://www.trackhq.com/forums/f303/n...oductions-855/

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        • #19
          Originally posted by fatbillybob View Post
          Why not a 1 man crew? I remember RichardEvo saying he could not belt himself in because he could not see what he is doing. But I use individual sub straps and double shoulder belt hans harness and do it blind by feel. So maybe that's an individual thing. Are sports racers not 1 man because you need expertise to set up like understanding camber toe and wing adjustments for drag vs. aero grip? If you like to tinker with set-up is a sports racer or open wheel car with real aero a dream or rabbit hole nightmare of endless chasing your tail and once in a while getting it right like that perfect elusive golf swing?
          totally depends on the type of formula/sportsracer


          Example on a Formula Mazda (Star car), the aero is fairly straight forward, the wings front and rear work but are not overly technical and because of the cars weight and suspension design aero is not the biggest factor in the cars setup, yet you can still feel a difference when you make adjustments.. Compare to a F-2000 where the wings play a much larger factor and more complicated, F-2000s are much lighter and finding the balance in aero and suspension is much trickier

          Formula/Star Mazdas' are a nice step from production to open wheel, relatively cheap to operate, engines last forever, parts availability is good... suspension set up is straight forward and not prone to going out of whack and honestly even if it does go out of slightly out of whack the cars still work okay... add there's a large knowledge base on the cars out there... The cockpit fits even larger humans somewhat comfortably. You can also one man show these cars because of the lack of constant tinkering or maintenance needed.. Going from a production car to a Formula Mazda would be a no brainer for anybody with reasonable track experience...

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          • #20
            The F mazda also has a sports racer body on same chassis. I hav seen a zillion FM open wheel cars. I have nevet see an FM sports racer. Where are they?

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            • #21
              If I wanted to get a Formula Mazda where is the best place to get one and about how much to they go for....?
              To the right of The Sheriff. Isn't everyone?

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              • #22
                Originally posted by fatbillybob View Post
                The F mazda also has a sports racer body on same chassis. I hav seen a zillion FM open wheel cars. I have nevet see an FM sports racer. Where are they?
                I don't think they ever caught on


                Originally posted by Olitho View Post
                If I wanted to get a Formula Mazda where is the best place to get one and about how much to they go for....?
                ApexSpeed, SCCA forums... regional SCCA sites/publications... 20k +or - depending on spares, history and such
                Last edited by KJSCV; 02-12-2017, 06:39 PM.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by KJSCV View Post
                  I don't think they ever caught on




                  ApexSpeed, SCCA forums... regional SCCA sites/publications... 20k +or - depending on spares, history and such
                  This sounds like something for me to try.
                  To the right of The Sheriff. Isn't everyone?

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                  • #24
                    Was the sports racer body for FM's actually a production item? The two I've seen were built by their owners who had modified the cars extensively for enduro racing.

                    They are cool, though. I always kinda wanted to drive one going back to the 1980s when I first saw them as a support race at Long Beach.

                    Steve

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                    • #25
                      I´ve throughly enjoyed my single seater experience. 100whp/1100lbs and puts down the same lap times as my 911 turbo on slicks, for a fraction of the cost, it´s cheap to maintain, and much more involving to drive. You do need aditional logistics, and in case of a crash some parts are special order or need to be fabricated, a competent mechanic or shop IS important when planning to get involved.
                      Less powah is better

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