Or, “You owned this car for how long?!“
I’d had a lot of fun with the Integra, and it was an easy racecar to own/operate, but I didn’t have anybody to race against in CP anymore, and RS was generally a class where I was faster than a bunch and slower than another bunch, which meant I was usually by myself. If competition was my goal, but “blowing wads of money” to either boost the car to a more competitive class or get something new for a more competitive class wasn’t, then I had limited options. An obvious choice, then, was Spec Miata.
Spec Miata (SM) looked really positive for a number of reasons: For one, buying and maintaining them is relatively cheap. For another, I could race both Conference (technically, ICSCC) and SCCA, including at a national level if it came to that. Finally, and most importantly to me at the time, there were a TON of them racing in the area and, as a spec class, that meant there was always going to be someone (usually several someones) to race against.
After not too much effort (lots of SMs racing also means lots of SMs for sale), I found what looked like a solid example for a good price in Portland. The seller was even willing to trailer it up to me, so win-win! As ever when you buy a new-to-you racecar, there are things to be changed even with a “ready to race” car and, aside from replacing the former owner’s decals with my own, I only really had to replace the steering wheel (he preferred a large-diameter one; the replacement story is an “interesting” one all on its own) and add a handheld fire extinguisher.
Unfortunately, removing the old decals also exposed what turned out to be a pretty low-budget paint job, much of which came off the passenger door, one of the fenders, and part of the hood. So, after covering the unplanned expense of getting those repainted, I was finally ready to race in the upcoming season.
Before that, though, I took it out for a ProFormance day to start to get a feel for it on track. And, you know what? It was too small. I mean, SMs are kinda famous for being smallish, to the point that people have come up with a few hacks for making room for bigger/taller drivers, but even so I felt cramped. I mean, it made my Integra look roomy, which is saying something.
In all seriousness, though, and knowing how often there was regular, if generally minor, contact in the huge packs of Spec Miatas, the fact that my left shoulder was pressed up against the driver’s door OVER the side-impact bars of the cage, as well as other considerations, got me to thinking. (Never a good idea.) I’d been a little twitchy about my fit in the car already, but that track day pushed me over the top and I decided to sell it on having owned it for all of 6 weeks.
(Looking back some years on and I concluded that I should’ve at least given it a season before giving up… it was a lot of fun to drive.)