Spec Miata Rules, Tow Fund Among SCCA December BoD Decisions

(editor's note: corrected 12/19 to reflect the actual motion passed in rule 9.1.7.C.3.p regarding Spec Miata inner bushings.) TOPEKA, Kan. (December 18, 2014) – The Sports Car Club of America Board of Directors approved a number of motions during its December meeting related to Club Racing. The list includes news on Spec Miata and the tow fund for Runoffs attendees.

Following ongoing meetings with the Spec Miata Group that included members from Mazda, SCCA and NASA, the Board approved changes to the General Competition Rules related to the class for the 2015 season.

Rule GCR 9.1.7.C.1.f.3, regarding cylinder heads, now reads: “The throat area of the port consists of the 90 degree angle at the very bottom of the cast steel valve seat as it transitions to the aluminum casting below. It is permitted to plunge cut the throats in order to correct for core shift that is commonly found in many cylinder heads. The cut must be cylindrical and concentric to the valve guide axial centerline, within a tolerance of .005”, for the entire length of the cut. The radius tangent to the cylindrical and bottom surfaces shall not exceed 0.375". This cut cannot extend further than the specified number below from the bottom of the ferrous valve seat. There can be no tooling or machine marks in the head below this point. The Intersection of the machined surface of the plunge cut to the port casting shall not be altered, except that the area under the short turn radius may be de-burred, with the de-burring not to exceed 1.5 mm in width. The 90 degree bend at the bottom of the valve seat and the aluminum directly below it will be measured with a gauge and must conform to the maximum diameters and depths listed below.”

Additionally, recommended changes to the front suspension were approved. Rule 9.1.7.C.3.p now reads “Inner bushing(s) on the front upper control arms may be replaced with offset bushings.”

“These technical rules came after a series of meetings involving experts from Mazda, NASA, and of course, the SCCA and our Club Racing Board, and we’ve come away from them moving truly in the same direction,” Lisa Noble, SCCA President/CEO, said. “Each meeting brought to light different facts, including the shortage of stock Miata heads now available, and all parties felt that this rule set is the best course of action moving forward.”

In addition to the technical changes, the Board also approved rule 5.11.4 to allow the Club Racing department to designate a Class Compliance Chief. The rule states: “When assigned to an event by the head of Club Racing or his designate, the CCC works with the event technical staff to provide consistent compliance checking across all the events in designated class/es. Decisions made by the CCC regarding compliance are non-protestable.”

“The intent of the Class Compliance Chief is to designate a subject matter expert, for a class such as Spec Miata, that will develop and execute a more in-depth compliance program,” Eric Prill, SCCA Chief Operating Officer, said. “The Spec Miata Group is developing this program, and participants will see this program in action early in 2015.”

A separate action eliminated the existing tow fund program for Runoffs qualifiers through the Majors qualification path. The rationale had three primary elements: A small pool of members benefitted from a program that all Majors participants were required to fund; the new Runoffs rotation allows more drivers to experience the event closer to home; and a desire to decrease per-event expenses for drivers.

Only 172 of 517 entries in the 2014 Runoffs at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca received tow fund payments, with 2,023 drivers contributing to the fund (33 percent of attendees, but just 8.5 percent of contributors). In 2013, when 700 drivers attended the Runoffs at Road America, 279 received tow fund. That represents 40 percent of Runoffs attendees, but just less than 12 percent of contributors. The percentage of contributors to collectors has remained consistent over the past five years.

While the traditional tow fund has been eliminated, staff is exploring alternative options for 2015.

More information on these and other minutes from the December Board of Directors meeting will be available soon in the January 2015 FastTrack on SCCA.com.