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SCCA/Spec Miata Question

 
Old 02-23-2010, 11:14 PM
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WHB Porsche
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Default SCCA/Spec Miata Question

Hey,

I'm looking to do 1-2 SM races this year, along with a full season of karting. I've talked to Windsor Customs about renting for an SCCA Driver's school. My options are a "double school" at Summit Point or a regular school at NJMP.

The double school would allow me to go straight into a regional race as a novice, whereas the NJMP school requires that I do another school before being able to race. Both would cost the same for the Miata rental, and I assume any entrance fee differences are nominal.

I don't plan to ever really race at Summit Point, and haven't driven the track before, though I've only done one day at NJMP.

I guess my options are:
1.) Summit Point "double school" + probably a day of coaching at whatever track I do my first race
2.) NJMP school + some other school.

Seems like both would be about the same price for me. Also, anyone know anything about Windsor Customs?

Thanks,
Charlie
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Old 02-24-2010, 12:42 AM
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Chris Windsor is one of the uberfast SM guys at SP.

Do the double school. WDCR school at SP is (or should be) a model for other racing organization's race licensing schools. Really.

Don't get obsessive about "coaching". You won't run at the front of SM anyway...just get comfortable in the environment.
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Old 02-24-2010, 12:49 AM
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Charlie,
I wouldn't get hung up on track, the only way to learn how to race well is seat time. There are some advantages to having done multiple DE's at a track before you race there. Here is what I was told at my last race school and I have been through a few-your driving need to be automatic, you are learning how to race how to race and that's very different than just driving fast. I never driven Summit or NJMP, some tracks do reward larger attachments (as David Hobbs calls em) more than others.
Enjoy!
Phil
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Old 02-24-2010, 01:46 AM
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double school for sure. always jump on the chance to experience/learn a new track when you can. If you decide to do private coaching, I would suggest doing it at an HPDE weekend where you can take a passenger. You will get MUCH more feedback from someone who can actually sit in the passenger seat real-time. I brought Dave Russell down to a chin day with me and moved my results from Qual: 38, Finish: 28 in late November last year, to Qual: 18th, Finish: 17th this past weekend at Sebring. Roughly 50 cars (+/-5) both times.
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:19 AM
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I would do the Summit Point school. As PHT said it has a great reputation for being a top notch club school.
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:36 AM
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Awesome feedback - thanks.

By a day of coaching, I meant something along the lines of a DE prior to a race-day. I just don't want to do my rookie race someplace I've never driven without any knowledge of the place.

I think I'm going to book the SP double school.
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:44 AM
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Charlie,

I know Chris Windsor well, have renting from all of the local guys and now have my own car and run in a lot of the MARRS/NE SM events.

I have multiple friends from PCA that have gone down exactly the same path as yourself. Although a lot of them "qualify" for the regional license without doing one or two of the schools, my advice to all of them is the same... RENT a car and complete the school.

As indicated above, the WDC region has an excellent school at Summit. These SCCA "schools" do not teach you how to drive, like DE/Skippy, they teach you how to RACE and be safe. A big difference.

Renting from whomever is good, the school is a lot to take in without dealing with caring for your car.

I'd do the school, then team up with some of us that do private track days to further get comfortbale. Then sign up for a regional... you may not win, but you'll have a blast wherever you're running.

Feel free to PM if I can lend some further opinions, help.

Best,
Mitch
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by WHB Porsche View Post
Awesome feedback - thanks.

By a day of coaching, I meant something along the lines of a DE prior to a race-day. I just don't want to do my rookie race someplace I've never driven without any knowledge of the place.

I think I'm going to book the SP double school.
You will definitely enjoy it. I've been going to SP as a racer/spectator since the 1980's. The BSR program is great, as is the staff. They also do a bunch of specialized training programs, like anti-terrorist, so they know their stuff. However, SP is not a high-end facility like Watkins Glen or Mid Ohio. Its been developed alot over the years, but it still have a very "down home" feel to it. However, the track itself is a blast to drive. Some fun fast & slow sections. And though it may look simple on paper, it can be quite technical and a lot of fun to learn. Listen closely to the BSR instructors, and they might divulge a trick or two..

The only caveat I'll throw out is the paved surface. They've had some issues over the past few years with parts crumbling. Still very driveable, and a SM will do just fine. But my understanding is that they're re-paving the circuit in March, and actually keeping it closed long enough to do the job right, including curing. Supposedly will be done by sometime in April. Looks like the SCCA School is March 19-21; so not sure if this is before or after repaving. I would still do the school in a SM if prior to re-paving, but might be worth asking.....and letting the rest of us know what they tell you.
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Old 02-24-2010, 11:11 AM
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have you done any open passing DE sessions?
imho, thats the biggest issue, or change from a DE event.

Being comfortable door to door, and less than a car lenght nose to tail, is uncomfortable for some HPDE drivers.

I agree with the others to rent a car for the school... assuming they provide track side support.

theres a lot of car abuse in the schools, and you won't have any time to work on your car if it breaks.

SCCA doens't really care if you are fast, they just want safe, & predictable.... ie, will your instructor want to be on the same track with you.

....and 'don't hit ****!'
-when they do the practice starts on the last day, they often wave off (throw yellows) before the 1st big turn... so everyone is a little slower into the braking zone.

Then when the 'real start' occurs, you're going to be faster (+20mph) into the braking zone than you were the last few times... pretty easy to punt the car ahead if you don't adjust your braking starting point...

GL!
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Old 02-24-2010, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by mrbillfll View Post
have you done any open passing DE sessions?
imho, thats the biggest issue, or change from a DE event.

Being comfortable door to door, and less than a car lenght nose to tail, is uncomfortable for some HPDE drivers.

I agree with the others to rent a car for the school... assuming they provide track side support.

theres a lot of car abuse in the schools, and you won't have any time to work on your car if it breaks.

SCCA doens't really care if you are fast, they just want safe, & predictable.... ie, will your instructor want to be on the same track with you.


....and 'don't hit ****!'
-when they do the practice starts on the last day, they often wave off (throw yellows) before the 1st big turn... so everyone is a little slower into the braking zone.

Then when the 'real start' occurs, you're going to be faster (+20mph) into the braking zone than you were the last few times... pretty easy to punt the car ahead if you don't adjust your braking starting point...

GL!
This is what it boils down to. You can't win a driver's school. If you have an incident there better be a phenomenal reason for it.
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Old 02-24-2010, 02:18 PM
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Last season, a friend and I both jumped into racing by starting with the WDCR SCCA school at Summit Point. Between the two of us, we had also done the Skip Barber three-day "race school", NASA comp school (mid atlantic region at Summit Point), and the PCA "rookie school" before the NJMP race in August.

By far, the WDCR school at Summit Point was the best preparation for wheel-to-wheel racing. They put on a professional, well-organized event that truly simulates real racing situations. It's also a whole helluva lot of track time for the money.

I would definitely rent a car for the weekend or hire track support. You really don't have time (or energy) to work on your own car. You are literally on the track or in the classroom the entire time. We were completely exhausted at the end of the weekend.

I'd recommend contacting Bret at RP performance. His shop is on gaseline alley at the track and he rents a lot of cars for these events... not to mention that he's a hot-shoe in the miata and gives you some good coaching if you push him a little.

Bret de Pedro
RP Performance
PO Box 67
Summit Point WV 25446
304-728-6749
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Old 02-24-2010, 03:10 PM
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+1 on Bret and +1 on the WDCR SCCA school. Really good stuff.

Also, if you head down this path DO arrange a call with Mitch MJR911. He's a good guy and very knowledgeable about both sides of this fence.
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