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SCCA Club Spec program concept - to include S197 Mustangs

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Ludachris

Chris
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Not sure if any of you were aware of the new program idea the SCCA has been working on recently, but it involves the S197 Mustang platform:

This could be a cool thing for S197 track junkies.
 
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Looks similar to Spec Iron from NASA. So disappointing that Spec Iron, American Iron and AIX are virtually non-existent on the west coast, yet they pull good turnouts in the east, midwest and south. The series that seems to be exploding in car count is Spec Corvette, which may be the recipe for success. Spec Corvette is a standalone series that runs with a variety of sanctioning bodies. For the west region, they run with NASA, SCCA and Speed Ventures. They also have 2 championships - 1 for the West & Central, and 1 for the East-Southeast. So hopefully the SCCA Club Spec rules will have a car that would be Spec Iron compliant and vice versa.
 

Dave_W

Cones - not just for ice cream
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I did the survey when it came out. I was pushing for the Coyote-powered S197, but I can see the argument for the 4.6L being a less-costly buy-in. But that's because the newest 4.6L cars are now 13 years old, and here in the Northeast that means rust damage is a real concern when shopping. Also, the Coyote-powered cars got some upgrades that would help on track, e.g., larger ball joints, stronger spindle that was only on a few years of the 4.6 cars; maybe the spec rules would allow upgrading to those? The NC Miata production run is pretty much the same as the entire S197 run across both V8 engines.

The 4.6L cars may make sense cost-wise right now, but you really need to look 3, 6, or 10 years down the road to see if eligible cars will still be readily available in reasonably good condition. In Spec Miata, they balance the 1.6 vs 1.8 engines with restrictors and weight. Do people think you can "cripple" the Coyote-engine cars with inlet restrictor, weight penalty, and maybe reduced tire width so a 4.6-engine car is competitive, without completely stripping the "joy of racing" out of Coyote car?

Jim Farley did an interview recently in which he talked about Mustangs in amateur racing. He primarily discussed the Dark Horse models and their new IMSA class, but I think SCCA (and NASA) could partner with Ford to develop a spec kit for "Club Spec Mustang" that includes suspension and mild power mods. Unfortunately, it looks like FRPP is discontinuing S197 parts as stock is depleted, even Coyote items. Hopefully a project like this would entail a new production run of some of those parts.

I'd really like to see Ford develop a specific tune for the class and sell it with the Track Cal hand unit. Any questions that someone's running a "cheater" tune? Tech can flash the spec Ford tune into cars at will.

Spec Miata changed from Bilsteins to non-adjustable Penskes a few years ago. I think the Penskes are $340 each through MazdaSpeed (Mazda's equivalent of FRPP, though they offer discounts to competitors - hint, hint Ford). Imagine a "Club Spec Mustang" suspension package that uses NA Penskes that are valved specifically to the spring & ARB rates in the spec suspension package.
 
I did the survey when it came out. I was pushing for the Coyote-powered S197, but I can see the argument for the 4.6L being a less-costly buy-in. But that's because the newest 4.6L cars are now 13 years old, and here in the Northeast that means rust damage is a real concern when shopping. Also, the Coyote-powered cars got some upgrades that would help on track, e.g., larger ball joints, stronger spindle that was only on a few years of the 4.6 cars; maybe the spec rules would allow upgrading to those? The NC Miata production run is pretty much the same as the entire S197 run across both V8 engines.

The 4.6L cars may make sense cost-wise right now, but you really need to look 3, 6, or 10 years down the road to see if eligible cars will still be readily available in reasonably good condition. In Spec Miata, they balance the 1.6 vs 1.8 engines with restrictors and weight. Do people think you can "cripple" the Coyote-engine cars with inlet restrictor, weight penalty, and maybe reduced tire width so a 4.6-engine car is competitive, without completely stripping the "joy of racing" out of Coyote car?

Jim Farley did an interview recently in which he talked about Mustangs in amateur racing. He primarily discussed the Dark Horse models and their new IMSA class, but I think SCCA (and NASA) could partner with Ford to develop a spec kit for "Club Spec Mustang" that includes suspension and mild power mods. Unfortunately, it looks like FRPP is discontinuing S197 parts as stock is depleted, even Coyote items. Hopefully a project like this would entail a new production run of some of those parts.

I'd really like to see Ford develop a specific tune for the class and sell it with the Track Cal hand unit. Any questions that someone's running a "cheater" tune? Tech can flash the spec Ford tune into cars at will.

Spec Miata changed from Bilsteins to non-adjustable Penskes a few years ago. I think the Penskes are $340 each through MazdaSpeed (Mazda's equivalent of FRPP, though they offer discounts to competitors - hint, hint Ford). Imagine a "Club Spec Mustang" suspension package that uses NA Penskes that are valved specifically to the spring & ARB rates in the spec suspension package.
I completed the survey as well. Dave_W makes goods points about balancing the Coyote version with the 4.6’s. That would allow for a large volume of competitive cars in a single class. My research into SCCA classing of my ‘14 GT was frustrating as the go-to mods that many of us do for HPDE caused quick up-classing. When this survey came out I had hopes for my 5.0.
 

Ludachris

Chris
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I was thinking the same thing about the 4.6L cars - they might be a bargain, but are there enough of them around in good condition to sustain a spec program like this for more than just a few years. You'd think there would have to be consideration given to Coyote powered S197s, with a plan to balance them.
 
304
380
CA
A crucial item to keeping a race car going imo is not only initial purchase price but also replacement costs.

High quality reman engines w/warranties can be had for a little over $3,000 shipped. Coyote swap tax is a real thing, I have never seen a junkyard motor for anywhere near $3k. Sure the 4.6L is an absolute dog but high durability and cheap cost of replacement have me redlining any and every shift I want to without worry. Even still, every blackstone oil analysis I have done has come back with flying colors.

Lets not get started on the MT-82 either.

A creampuff manual 3v is at most a $15,000 car. This will be a car with zero rust, a fresh engine, a transmission that will last hundreds of thousands of miles. The ball joints are a valid point, but in my experience can be alright if kept fresh. I installed the FRPP GT500 FLCA's on my car and had 60+ track days on those arms hopping curbs w/315w 200tw tires and did not have issues. But, there is obviously no denying the significance of ford updating the part in 2011.
 
304
380
CA
I did the survey when it came out. I was pushing for the Coyote-powered S197, but I can see the argument for the 4.6L being a less-costly buy-in. But that's because the newest 4.6L cars are now 13 years old, and here in the Northeast that means rust damage is a real concern when shopping. Also, the Coyote-powered cars got some upgrades that would help on track, e.g., larger ball joints, stronger spindle that was only on a few years of the 4.6 cars; maybe the spec rules would allow upgrading to those? The NC Miata production run is pretty much the same as the entire S197 run across both V8 engines.

The 4.6L cars may make sense cost-wise right now, but you really need to look 3, 6, or 10 years down the road to see if eligible cars will still be readily available in reasonably good condition. In Spec Miata, they balance the 1.6 vs 1.8 engines with restrictors and weight. Do people think you can "cripple" the Coyote-engine cars with inlet restrictor, weight penalty, and maybe reduced tire width so a 4.6-engine car is competitive, without completely stripping the "joy of racing" out of Coyote car?

Jim Farley did an interview recently in which he talked about Mustangs in amateur racing. He primarily discussed the Dark Horse models and their new IMSA class, but I think SCCA (and NASA) could partner with Ford to develop a spec kit for "Club Spec Mustang" that includes suspension and mild power mods. Unfortunately, it looks like FRPP is discontinuing S197 parts as stock is depleted, even Coyote items. Hopefully a project like this would entail a new production run of some of those parts.

I'd really like to see Ford develop a specific tune for the class and sell it with the Track Cal hand unit. Any questions that someone's running a "cheater" tune? Tech can flash the spec Ford tune into cars at will.

Spec Miata changed from Bilsteins to non-adjustable Penskes a few years ago. I think the Penskes are $340 each through MazdaSpeed (Mazda's equivalent of FRPP, though they offer discounts to competitors - hint, hint Ford). Imagine a "Club Spec Mustang" suspension package that uses NA Penskes that are valved specifically to the spring & ARB rates in the spec suspension package.
FWIW NC miatas had massive amounts of changes throughout the years

Different engine in 08'
Different trans in 08'
Switched to RX-8 hubs in (i think) 08'

And lot's more but the changes are less mechanical. A 2005 NC-1 is nothing like a 2014 NC-3 comparing stock to stock. But even with suspension being equal, the engine change in 08' is significant. Savagegeese on youtube has a great video on utube where a mazda engineer goes in depth as to what changed between the years. I have a 2014 NC and it's a fantastic car
 
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So now that they have worked out the specific models for both CSM and CSX and release the rules for these cars, does that make any one want to build a 05-09 S197? I have a friend who is building one and the pricing seems attractive. I am still doing my research. Seems like as a worst case, a reason to buy an early S197.
I am in the process of building one. The buy in was cheap, parts are still readily available, the cars are super easy to work on, and the package seems like a fun combo for a do it all autoX/TT car.

Ironically I already had an NC in the garage, but didn't feel like demodding it to do CSX as I really love the ford 2.5 I swapped in. So instead, I sold my CTSV and decided to pick up the cheapest S197 I could find in New England. It seems like there are already 20+ builds going on so hoping for some good turnout!
 

Fabman

Dances with Racecars
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I race with several spec mustangs in SCCA and let me tell you, they are very fast.
Sure they are no match for my 500 whp Coyote 335/30/18 Hoosier ITE car but they are not far behind.
I tend to back off and cruise a little bit once I am in the lead and those suckers will catch right back up to me quick so I can't relax.
We have some seriously fast 3v s197's right here on TMO too. As we all know, its the suspension and the drivers seat where most of the speed comes from.
I don't see why stock Coyote s197's couldn't run with 3 valves with a little creative thinking regarding rules
Give the 3valves 295/18 Hoosiers and make the coyote cars run 275/18 200 TW tires and so forth.
I'm not a fan of restrictors, I say just give the 3 valves extra stuff.
 
I race with several spec mustangs in SCCA and let me tell you, they are very fast.
Sure they are no match for my 500 whp Coyote 335/30/18 Hoosier ITE car but they are not far behind.
I tend to back off and cruise a little bit once I am in the lead and those suckers will catch right back up to me quick so I can't relax.
We have some seriously fast 3v s197's right here on TMO too. As we all know, its the suspension and the drivers seat where most of the speed comes from.
I don't see why stock Coyote s197's couldn't run with 3 valves with a little creative thinking regarding rules
Give the 3valves 295/18 Hoosiers and make the coyote cars run 275/18 200 TW tires and so forth.
I'm not a fan of restrictors, I say just give the 3 valves extra stuff.
Thanks @Fabman the voice of experience and thought. I would maybe have pursued the SCCA Spec Mustang group but it isn’t worth parting ways with my ‘14 to start over with another car. So it’s HPDE for now until…
 
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I looked at the rules and very quickly decided my '08 was not a candidate. I'd have to pull my stock 3.73 gears and undo most of the modifications I've done to the car. I think it would be a fun class, though.
 

Fabman

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Thanks @Fabman the voice of experience and thought. I would maybe have pursued the SCCA Spec Mustang group but it isn’t worth parting ways with my ‘14 to start over with another car. So it’s HPDE for now until…
You can run the BOSS in T-1 with SCCA. Most of the spec mustangs run both.
 
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Looks as if the SMG SCCA class may be going away and being replaced with a "Club Spec" program since the SMG class was accepted by SCCA National but never grew past the San Fransisco Region. Big name sponsors like Goodyear might be the push that is needed in keeping a Mustang based class alive in SCCA. P.S. I have a 2007 Shelby GT that races in ITE class with a 3V motor that is up for sale for anyone interested.
 

Fabman

Dances with Racecars
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Looks as if the SMG SCCA class may be going away and being replaced with a "Club Spec" program since the SMG class was accepted by SCCA National but never grew past the San Fransisco Region. Big name sponsors like Goodyear might be the push that is needed in keeping a Mustang based class alive in SCCA. P.S. I have a 2007 Shelby GT that races in ITE class with a 3V motor that is up for sale for anyone interested.
Yup, the 2019 champ right? You can't sell that we need to race together like we planned....beautiful car if someone does buy it.
Its a super clean build with all the good suspension....even better equipped than Frankenstang!
 

Fabman

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Twinsies. ;)

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The intention is there.
As one who ran the OG Spec Miata Mule in 1997 , Shannon McMaster worked with Mazda. Unfortunately "Spec" isn't really spec. So the $$$$ came in, guys started fabricating billet pressure plates, custom ceramic roller bearing , crossing RX7 MAF , computer stuff.... its amazing.
Racing is racing I too look for angles, but cant compete with that type of fabrication etc. It gonna need to be stock, no modification of any kind, but a cage , special Ford Track Pack suspension and Spec brake pads, and clutch material. If it is not written then you cant do it. ( Im finding that out now in what I was doing.) I started this car with out realizing some things only to be caught in a no-mans land with a good bit of money spent so far, but at least I know I now have a foundation that can handle A Sedan performance regionally. It would have been smarter to run T3 and Spec classes and put the money in that.

24hourrace.jpg
 
6,394
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Looks as if the SMG SCCA class may be going away and being replaced with a "Club Spec" program since the SMG class was accepted by SCCA National but never grew past the San Fransisco Region. Big name sponsors like Goodyear might be the push that is needed in keeping a Mustang based class alive in SCCA. P.S. I have a 2007 Shelby GT that races in ITE class with a 3V motor that is up for sale for anyone interested.
Is that the " black" car that finished in the top 3 at the runoffs?
It really is a thing of beauty.
Would this be a good time to bring up that I'm looking for a 3 valve block to build?
 

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