Topic: Miata overdone? New team choosing car

Hi all,

We are forming a new Lemons team and we are on the hunt for a car.  We're really torn on what to choose for a car.  I already have a NB Miata for AutoX and as a result have a ton of spare parts laying around - a full suspension, extra set of wheels, etc.  The most cost effective thing for us to do would be to buy a Miata since I already have done a ton of wrenching on one, and have many spares.  However, this seems to not really be the car of choice for Lemons for many reasons.  We're not looking to win, just have a good time - so we'd even be okay just grabbing a 1.6 with an auto.

I have access to insurance auctions so we have plenty of sub $500 vehicles to choose from.  My other thoughts was to find something that is a little more suited to Lemons but at least shares a few components - even if it's just wheels.  Just wondering what the community thoughts are in general - I don't want to be an outcast cheater by bringing a miata, or risk not getting in at all.  We're in the South region and unsure which race we'll do.

Re: Miata overdone? New team choosing car

Get a Suzuki Kizashi, it's often overlooked and passed over for E30s and Miatas, but it's sure to dominate.

Re: Miata overdone? New team choosing car

You will have fun with a Miata.

Easiest way to get started is to find a previously raced car. That way, you don’t have to worry about getting all of the safety equipment installed. Usually come at a significant discount compared to starting from scratch.

Re: Miata overdone? New team choosing car

Miata's #1 challenge is caging to fit tall drivers within the rules.  It is done all the time so do not think it is impossible by any means just something to think about.  most teams with anyone over 6' tend to drop the floor and/or add a Gurney bar to raise cage height.

Otherwise, they are popular cars for a reason.  They really teach drivers how to go fast in a slow car (aka momentum car) and limitted fuel capacity does not temp new teams to do marathon stints.

Re: Miata overdone? New team choosing car

Not a huge fan of Miata's these "cheap" leagues seem to be full of them, however if you already have all the stuff you might as well build one. Just make it safe and reliable for your first few races. I hope all of your teammates are under 5'10" I'm 6'1" and my head sits over the top of the windshield of my buddy's.

"get up and get your grandma outta here"

Re: Miata overdone? New team choosing car

Buy the most obscure shitbox you can find, cage it, and race it.  Be a legend, not a lemming.

I don't know why I have to keep repeating this over and over.

COM ( Chief Operating Moron ) of Burnt Rubber Soul Racing
Current fleet: 95 Ford Probe, 81 Mazda 626.  Past: 81 Imperial
Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/burntrubbersoulracing

7 (edited by OnkelUdo 2021-01-18 10:40 AM)

Re: Miata overdone? New team choosing car

majo wrote:

Buy the most obscure shitbox you can find, cage it, and race it.  Be a legend, not a lemming.

I don't know why I have to keep repeating this over and over.

Because you have had success with this.  We have as well but not sure I would have started there...it is a Lemons life progression.

Buy car that seems competative, cage it, form a team, lose the team, race it anyway with random strangers.
Slowly develop another team, race it again and do better than you ever imagined.
Slowly get competative with said car and team and start "trying to win" so you do much worse.
Buy obscure shitbox, cage it, race it and win IoE gold.
Forget about racing competative car and make IoE car actually pretty darned good.
Try to win with former IoE winner and do much, much worse.
Find new IoE competitor to build while still running old IoE winner for fun and loaning out competative car to people that set it on fire.
And now stuff starts to get weird.

Re: Miata overdone? New team choosing car

majo wrote:

Buy the most obscure shitbox you can find, cage it, and race it.  Be a legend, not a lemming.

I don't know why I have to keep repeating this over and over.

If one had some fab skills one could turn the Miata into some obscure ess-box.  Maybe some fab-u-los Ferrari replica or something. Or find some obscure import shell and start cutting/welding.

"get up and get your grandma outta here"

Re: Miata overdone? New team choosing car

No one has yet chimed in with 'if your entry fees are paid early enough, you're likely accepted, unless the race is over-subscribed; so come up with a great theme' comment.

Have any recent races declined any entries?

Re: Miata overdone? New team choosing car

I'll offer the other opinion. If you know Miatas, get a miata and ignore everyone calling them overdone and boring.

Picking a car you know well is the best way to ensure you see a lot of seat time and less wrenching in the middle of the race time. Not everyone wants to bang their head against the wall with an IOE build and all the struggles that come with it. If you just want an easy way to come wheel to wheel racing, the miata is a great option. You will be A-class, and you won't win any awards, but who cares, racing is fun. Just try to keep the cheaty parts in the car to a minimum and you won't draw much hate.

I did the IOE grade car thing for years and it almost burnt me out on Lemons entirely because I got so sick of how much down time it meant during a race for just stupid stuff. Now we drive a modern car that is boring and I couldn't be happier because we get to actually race all weekend (usually).

Not everyone is in Lemons because they want to be IOE or org choice heroes.

20+ Time Loser FutilityMotorsport
Turbo Dodge Powered E36 Build
2008 Saab 9-5Aero Wagon
Retired - 1989 Dodge Daytona Shelby 2011-2015 "Lifetime Award for Lack of Achievement" IOE, 3X I got screwed, Organizer's Choice

Re: Miata overdone? New team choosing car

Not everybody has or takes the time to read the forum to 'grok' Lemons awards.

It's the beginners and the general members that pay the rental for most organizations, not the few top competitors. They're not lemmings, they're the IOE supporters.

IOE / Org Choice is hard.

"It's supposed to be hard. The hard ... is what makes it great." /Jimmy Dugan, 'A League Of Their Own"

But:
Would an IOE Championship^2 race be financially viable to rent a track for a weekend? That would be exciting; I'd go to see that if it were close to me.

Re: Miata overdone? New team choosing car

OnkelUdo wrote:
majo wrote:

Buy the most obscure shitbox you can find, cage it, and race it.  Be a legend, not a lemming.

I don't know why I have to keep repeating this over and over.

Because you have had success with this.  We have as well but not sure I would have started there...it is a Lemons life progression.

Buy car that seems competative, cage it, form a team, lose the team, race it anyway with random strangers.
Slowly develop another team, race it again and do better than you ever imagined.
Slowly get competative with said car and team and start "tying to win" so you do much worse.
Buy obscure shitbox, cage it, race it and win IoE gold.
Forget about racing competative car and make IoE car actually pretty darned good.
Try to win with former IoE winner and do much, much worse.
Find new IoE competator to build while still running old IoE winner for fun and loaning out competative car to people that set it on fire.
And now stuff starts to get weird.

I think this somewhat reflects reality.  Or at least our progression.
First car was a TR7 on loan from someone who ended up screwing us over.
2nd car was a free 944 that turned out to have a locked engine and was thankfully discarded.
3rd car was an RX7 (a car which was considered to be newer than what Judge Phil liked to see back then) which has gone through dozens of engines in the quest to keep up with the BMW/miatas.  We still have it.  Still beating head against wall.
Since then, the only cars we've had that won awards were a Jag XJ12, a Sunbeam Imp and a Rover SD1.
I enjoy going "fast" but also enjoy the challenge of racing shitboxes so I do both. 
Besides me, only one other teammate is still around since that TR7

Build the Miata.  Unless you do some crazy engine swap you'll be stuck in class A no matter how stock or how modified it is.  It really is pressing the Lemons "Easy" button.

1990 RX7 "Mazdarita"  1964 Sunbeam Imp (IOE 2013 Sears Pointless) 2002 Jaguar x-type (Winner C-Class 2021 Sears Pointless)
Gone bye-bye
1994 Jaguar XJ12 (Winner C-Class 2013 Sears Pointless)  1980 Rover SD1 (I Got Screwed 2014 Return of Lemonites)

Re: Miata overdone? New team choosing car

Lemon_Newton-Metre wrote:

Would an IOE Championship^2 race be financially viable to rent a track for a weekend? That would be exciting; I'd go to see that if it were close to me.

Spank has talked about doing this for years.  Class C Invitational only for Class C cars.

1990 RX7 "Mazdarita"  1964 Sunbeam Imp (IOE 2013 Sears Pointless) 2002 Jaguar x-type (Winner C-Class 2021 Sears Pointless)
Gone bye-bye
1994 Jaguar XJ12 (Winner C-Class 2013 Sears Pointless)  1980 Rover SD1 (I Got Screwed 2014 Return of Lemonites)

Re: Miata overdone? New team choosing car

Themes are over-rated. Racing is the fun part.

"get up and get your grandma outta here"

Re: Miata overdone? New team choosing car

Miata is a great starter car, they are cheap on gas and tires and brakes, just add race pads to stock calipers and you are good to go. The only problem with a stock (non turbo) Miata is they are almost always class A but are not really fast enough and don't run long enough on a stock tank to win if you ever think you would care about that. The flip side of that is you can always swap something into it later to make it faster or slower depending on what way you want to go with it.

Apocalyptic Racing - Occupy Pit Lane racing
Racing the "Toylet" Toyota Celica powered by Chevrolet Ecotec.
24x Loser with the Celica. 16x loser in other fine machines
Overall winner Gingerman 2019

Re: Miata overdone? New team choosing car

Mr.Yuck wrote:

Themes are over-rated. Racing is the fun part.

You sir, are speaking for only 75% of the paddock at any given race...and therefore completely wrong (for 25%)!

Re: Miata overdone? New team choosing car

MDG wrote:

Get a Suzuki Kizashi, it's often overlooked and passed over for E30s and Miatas, but it's sure to dominate.

Literally had a conversation to this end like four days ago.

Eric Rood
Everything Bagel, 24 Hours of Lemons
eric@24hoursoflemons.com

Re: Miata overdone? New team choosing car

OnkelUdo wrote:
Mr.Yuck wrote:

Themes are over-rated. Racing is the fun part.

You sir, are speaking for only 75% of the paddock at any given race...and therefore completely wrong (for 25%)!

The majority opinion prevails; room should be made for other opinions to be heard - as long as we're all going in the same directon.
Contrary opinions must yield.
.:. Racing AND Themes!
Miatas AND Wartburgs!
But we're all going either clockwise, or counter-clockwise, together, ok?

Re: Miata overdone? New team choosing car

If you know Miata's, build a Miata.  They're a fun car to drive and can be reliable. Spend the weekend on the track and not wrenching.

Winner "We Got Screwed" award NHMS 2017
4th place at NHMS 2020
#847 Batmobile  aka-"Beulah"
https://www.facebook.com/squidroperacing/

Re: Miata overdone? New team choosing car

Thanks all for the insight - much appreciated!

Re: Miata overdone? New team choosing car

OnkelUdo wrote:
Mr.Yuck wrote:

Themes are over-rated. Racing is the fun part.

You sir, are speaking for only 75% of the paddock at any given race...and therefore completely wrong (for 25%)!


Sorry I like to race... Themes are fun, but building a safe reliable car is more important.

"get up and get your grandma outta here"

Re: Miata overdone? New team choosing car

I have a miata and have done a whole 1 race while the car has done 3. Miatas are kinda the "easy way" to do it- they're reliable as hell, a super capable platform, and you can use them in many different other ways successfully (ie Autox etc). I'd argue a non turbo'd or engine swapped miata will not win a Lemons race unless by attrition or a super organized team because they lack straight line speed. That being said- my largely stock suspensioned miata out brakes and corners the vast majority of the field which can make driving quickly challenging but fun. It is frustrating to be passed uphill by cars consistently tho. If you want to be competitive overall I'd either somehow add significant power (turbo/engine swap) and get organized. What I'd recommend overall tho is run what you got, enjoy the whole thing and experience, fuel in your paddock slot, and try to not crash. Get Pagel involved early in cage build/design because you want one that will go above the normal miata roofline- mine doesn't and even with a drop floor pan (a huge pain in the ass to do) I barely get under the cage with a helmet at 6'.

I'm a guy allowed one car by the wife and $ limitations, I have no 'shop' to work in, limited storage,  I am not in the auto industry, and can't weld. A reliable and cheap car to tear around the track with a couple times a year is what the miata does for me and I also go to local autox and am hoping to do some hillclimbs and maybe ever rallyx with it. If I could go full gonzo and bring a ridiculous car powered by a remarkable engine I would- but the reality is my limitations of talent/workspace/time keep me from doing it. My overnight at the race involved replacing front brake pads and topping off the oil- but I can tell you if it wasn't for COVID limitations I'd have found a team doing major work and volunteered to help. I also cheer on the teams with the funky cars because they 'get it' in a way I just can't do.

In summary- bring something that'll go around the track fast enough it isn't a hazard, bring something you can actually drive decently (don't be a '24 seconds of Lemons' type), MAKE IT SAFE, and enjoy the experience. If you're here to !RACE! on your first time around- you're not getting it IMHO. 

If you message me I can tell you what cheap/free mods I have done to my 1.8 that have made me slower than many "B" class cars!

El Capitan of Team Corky
94 Miata covered in cork as Mazda/Toyo Kogyo tribute

Re: Miata overdone? New team choosing car

cheseroo wrote:
Lemon_Newton-Metre wrote:

Would an IOE Championship^2 race be financially viable to rent a track for a weekend? That would be exciting; I'd go to see that if it were close to me.

Spank has talked about doing this for years.  Class C Invitational only for Class C cars.


Why not a separate class within an existing Lemons race? Previous IOE winners for an IOE champion?

Re: Miata overdone? New team choosing car

The miata package fits in a lot of funny-looking boxes. So you aren't necessarily stuck with a miata shell, but you can have miata parts availability...

That guy