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Radical Race Cars/SCCA

Discussion in 'Other Off Topic Forum' started by WCH, Dec 14, 2003.

  1. WCH

    WCH F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Mar 16, 2003
    5,179
    As there's some discussion here of these cars from time to time, thought I'd try these two questions out on the group.

    I'm looking for recommendations of a dealer or team or prep shop running Radicals in SCCA, one that provides top quality storage, transport and track support. I have not yet decided to race a Radical; I have long resisted the idea of a "car" with a motorcyle engine, and frankly still don't like it, but am starting to come around slowly. I'd like to try out a Radical, preferably the new SR4 which I am told will be homologated for SCCA CSR.

    The only question I have about the cars concerns their reliability. My own first hand observations, which really are a couple years old, were that the CSR Radicals seemed to be pretty iffy. I'd like to hear that I'm dead wrong.

    Any help on these two specific questions woill be greatly appreciated. I am generally familiar with Radical, the sports racer classes and SCCA; I have a national license. I'm on the East Coast, and my ideal season would include primarily nationals in CenDiv, NEDiv and SEDiv, from Road America to Lime Rock to Sebring & Moroso, with maybe one trip to Laguna or Sears (but not Mazda or Infineon).

    Thanks in advance, Will
     
  2. JSinNOLA

    JSinNOLA F1 World Champ
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    Mar 18, 2002
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    John
    Sorry I can't be of any help but I just love the way you said that!
     
  3. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
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    Dec 1, 2000
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    Simply, I think SRF like what Jon does is the way to go. Much more reliable, less headaches, cheaper, and more competition.
     
  4. WCH

    WCH F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Mar 16, 2003
    5,179
    Rob, my modest talents require the greater range of excuses afforded by a faster and more complex car. Not enough stuff to tweak on an SRF! ;)

    Seriously, if I were going to buy an SCCA spec car, I'd look at the FSCCA formula car. SRFs are great but not as much car as I'd like.
     
  5. ralessi

    ralessi Formula 3

    May 26, 2002
    1,093
    Houston, TX
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    Rikk
    does anyone know how much those FSCCA cars cost? I just looked around a little bit but no one has the prices. I heard there was a lot of controversy about these new things but they certainly do look like a lot of fun. I wonder how the turnout will be for this class in the upcoming years...?
     
  6. TOM B

    TOM B Formula 3

    Jul 24, 2003
    1,038
    Orange County, NY
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    Thomas Buckley

    I heard 3rd hand that they are now $43,000. I believe there was just a significant price increase as they were originally $36,000. I may be off a little on the prices.

    Tom
     
  7. beast

    beast F1 Veteran

    May 31, 2003
    8,965
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    Rob Guess
    ralessi;

    For a young racer like yourself i honestly would look for a used turn key racer. This way you can get started racing at a lower cost. While you will not be challenging with the new equipment it will give yourself some indication of your ability by comparing yourself to the competition. Also if you end up wadding the car, you are into for much less than the drop of funds for a new chassis.

    Once your skills improve and you find that you really enjoy racing at the competition level then you can think about making the step up to a newer chassis.

    Rob Guess "The Other Rob"
     
  8. Sean F.

    Sean F. F1 Rookie

    Feb 4, 2003
    2,995
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    Sean F
    I would second Beast's idea, only add that make sure you get the best and fastest car you can afford. Don't buy something cheap just because it's cheap. Trying to learn on an old POS that doesn't handle no matter how much money you throw at it will not make you a better driver.

    Those FSCCA cars were originally supposed to be less than $30K. I'm glad to hear the price is going up as this will kill it. The SCCA is supposed to be a sactioning body, not a product seller. It infuriates me to no end that the "Club" and "Enterprises" are in cahoots so often on so many "decisions" that are supposedly "voted" on by the club. It's B.S. The "saving money" excuse is just that, an excuse.

    Racing is not a "cheap" hobby. It's expensive as hell, and to get to the front you're going to spend more than the next guy no matter how good you are. Tires, gas, lodging, food, it all costs just about the same for each event for most similar classes (formula, sports car, etc.). But to be good you have to drive, drive, drive, and that costs money.

    DSR is an OK class, but unless their are a lot of cars in your area, or you just want to be a trophy hound, you'd be better of in SRF, FF, or FC. Check out what seems to be really popular in your division, and find the best car you can get for the money.
     
  9. WCH

    WCH F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Mar 16, 2003
    5,179
    "DSR is an OK class, but unless their are a lot of cars in your area, or you just want to be a trophy hound, you'd be better of in SRF, FF, or FC. Check out what seems to be really popular in your division, and find the best car you can get for the money."

    Sean, this seemed to be to me not ralessi, so I'll reply. I've run SRFs and FCs and done the spec car thing. I've been doing this for a while, and enjoy the challenge of working with data, tweaking a car with a lot of available suspension adjustments, etc. I like sports racers and that particular driving experience. I'd like to see the sports racer classes succeed, and it's pretty clear they are struggling. With so many funded folks leery of open wheel cars, I don't understand why sports racers aren't more popular.

    Edit: I'm looking to run in CSR, not DSR - even fewer cars. And I like being competitive, but don't care much about trophies. Cheers, Will
     
  10. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Three Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed

    Apr 28, 2003
    38,914
    Texas!
    Hey guys, I have been day dreaming about getting into racing at age 51. Sounds weird, but a race track appears to be safer than the street now-a-days. I have been trying to follow this thread, but I'm having problems keeping up with all the initials. Is there some place besides the SCCA web page that I can go to do some homework?

    FWIW, I'm a driver, not a tuner. So I'm thinking that a spec class may be the best place to start. I'm planning on going to the local tracks to see what people are running. I'm also aware that my best bet will be a used car.

    Finally, I know that this has been discussed before, but what are your recommendations for racing schools?

    thx DrTax
     
  11. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
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    Dec 1, 2000
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    Well, the SCCA website has the best description of all the classes...

    http://www.scca.org/amateur/club_racing/classes/index.html

    For the best SCCA online community I would do...

    www.sccaforums.com

    Racing schools, hmm, Skip Barber does them local at MSR. I would recomend flying for a nice vacation at Laguna Seca or Road Atlanta or VIR or any other of the cool tracks. Skip Barber was really the best I think, but I heard about 90% of their staff got fed up with something and left last year. I'm sure they've hired new people in, but don't know if the quality of the schools has suffered. Panoz would also be very good. I would do SB if wanting open wheel or Panoz if closed wheel. They do Panoz at TMS.
     
  12. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Three Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed

    Apr 28, 2003
    38,914
    Texas!
    Thanks Rob, but what about the Radicals mentioned by WCH? Unlike some, I like the idea of using motorcycle engines. Also, what class is the most popular here in Texas? Finally, in what class are you planning on running your 355C?

    thx
     
  13. Schatten

    Schatten F1 World Champ
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    Apr 3, 2001
    11,234
    Austin, TX
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    Randy
    Unfortunately the only Radical support I know of would be at Buttonwillow, which is on the other side of the continent in CA.

    The Radicals are fantastic, however if something breaks, like anything else, it isn't exactly cheap. Without driving one myself, but having seen several of them over the course of the open track challenge last year, I'll tell you these were setup with urathane bushings (not solid for their full race car) and they are pretty much an all out race car. That means that things are designed at the limit and pushed at the limit. So the chances that you'll break something are a little bit better than say.. if you raced a Spec Miata or SR7. If you are new at getting into racing, they wouldn't be for you. And this isn't to say your pocket book couldn't hold it either. It's to say, learn on something a lot less powerful. Even though they are 1100-1500 cc's, they are quite fast. Fast enough to beat out a Viper Competition Coupe by a very very slim margin. (.01 seconds IIRC)

    Comments about the radical and one for sale - posted here: http://otc.s2ki.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=495
    They can be quite useful. Msg Mark or DJ for questions regarding the Radicals. They can be quite informative, or point you in the right direction for the answers you need.
     
  14. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
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    Dec 1, 2000
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    Radicals are great, but I don't think it's a good place to start. I think it's good for WCH because he has raced a SRF, FC, and a 360 Challenge. He really wants a full blown expensive headache race car. :)

    The top classes in Texas would be in order...

    1) Tie between SRF and Spec Miata. (20-30 cars in each race)
    3) Spec Rx7 (10-20 cars in each race)
    4) Formula Mazda (7-15 cars in each race)

    Most classes get 2-5 cars each.

    Classes like CSR and DSR might not get any cars. Texas usually has one or two.

    355 C would run in T1, but the car has to be less than 10 years old and the safer FIA cage isn't legal. Not worth the headache to convert for a class where the Z06 and Viper will kick my butt anyway. I have raced it with NASA at MSR. The 355 C will just be a track car with the very comfortable FIA cage left intact. I would also like to do vintage racing with it starting next year. They race great tracks and less risk for damage.
     
  15. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Three Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed

    Apr 28, 2003
    38,914
    Texas!

    Well, another consideration is that I'm 6'2" - 240 - long waisted. I have never fit into a stock Miata so I'm guessing that I would not fit into a Spec one. The long waisted is also a problem. For example, the top of the windshield in a stock 355 hits me right at eye level. However, a stock 360 works. Go figure. Does this change your thoughts?

    DrTax
     
  16. WCH

    WCH F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Mar 16, 2003
    5,179
    "He really wants a full blown expensive headache race car."

    LOL, what a perfect, dead on description of the breed! ;)


    I think many middle aged racers start either through the marque clubs, such as Porsche Club, or the schools. I took Skippy's 3 day school years ago; their little cars on street tires are terrific tools for learning car control, IMO. Life is short - if you want to learn on a very sophisticated car, what the heck. My advice would be to learn on a lower horsepower, cheaper to repair car. The Skippy cars are perfect; a spec racer ford would be great, too. And Rob is right, go to Laguna, stay in Carmel.

    There's a lot to learn, and it's easy to spend large amounts of money unwisely - I speak from experience. Do you want to go to track days from time to time? Do you want to race competitively? Do you know what you want to race? A Ferrari? A Porsche? Sedan v formula car or sports racer? Do you already own a car you have visions of tracking? Do you want to buy a tow vehicle and trailer and all the paraphanelia of the do-it-yourselfer, or are you an arrive and drive chap like I've become?

    The SCCA's alphabet soup is daunting, I remember trying to figure out how to learn the classes.

    It's not all that hard - most of the formula classes are called "Formula" something, Ford (FF), Continental (FC), Mazda (FM), Atlantic (FA), etc.

    The sports racers, open cockpit closed wheel cars like the Audi R8s (only a lot slower), include principally Sports 2000s (S2s), D Sports Racer (DSR) and C Sports Racers (CSR). Personally, I feel S2 is dying out; D Sports Racer offers a relatively affordable, sophicticated sports racer experience, and CSR is a bit of a catch all class where being competitive will require a fairly heavy investment. Edit - good grief, I forgot spec racer ford, a great beginner's class.

    The sedans - well, that's really out of my experience, maybe someone can give you a rundown of those classes.

    There are both "regional" and "national" races. If you dream of vying for a national championship, you participate in "nationals" and seek to accumulate points towards the national championship "Run-Offs," held in September at Mid-Ohio. I prefer nationals because usually they offer more track time and better competition (in some classes); I don't worry about points. The regionals can be fun, and there tend to be regional points series, such as the popular MARRS (Mid Atlantic Road Racing Series). Sometimes you find series within a series; for example, the Formula Mazda folks have their own regional series that give you the opportunity to win tires and $$.

    This is just SCCA - there are an awful lot of places to race. If you already knew all this, I apologize for taking up the bandwidth. I'd be glad to talk to you about the hobby, PM me if you wish. Good luck, Will
     
  17. Hubert

    Hubert F1 Rookie

    Jan 3, 2002
    2,642
    The Left Coast
  18. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
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    Dec 1, 2000
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    Shouldn't be an issue, I'm 6'1" and 198 lbs right now. I have 9 inches of room above my head. Once your remove all the junk in the car and put the seat right no the floorboard, there's plenty of room. I pimp mine out a little too because I like the position. Lower center of gravity is good. :)

    In the 355 C I removed the rail and put the seat on the floor and pimped it out. I don't have more than an inch of room with the helmet on.
     
  19. Schatten

    Schatten F1 World Champ
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    Apr 3, 2001
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    Randy
    Hubert, were you in last year's OTC? or will you be in the OTC 04?
     
  20. MarkPDX

    MarkPDX F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa

    Apr 21, 2003
    10,921
    Check out this ongoing thread at the Open Track Racing forum, Mark Dalen and others have a bit of info on them.
     
  21. Gilles27

    Gilles27 F1 World Champ

    Mar 16, 2002
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    Jack
    Will, if you want to race CenDiv, check out ProOne Motorsports. I leased a FM through them, but they would be able to support a Radical effort, too. They're based at Gingerman, which is convenient.
    www.proonemotorsport.com

    Also, take a look at this site. This guy's sports racers nearly swept the Runoffs this year. Look where he compares the different chassis. Radical comments are interesting.
    www.stohr.com
     
  22. tvrfreak

    tvrfreak F1 Rookie
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    Mar 31, 2003
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    Got a couple of friends in England who have Radicals. They are the fastest thing on the track, but they are not reliable. And they are pretty expensive to maintain.
     
  23. ralessi

    ralessi Formula 3

    May 26, 2002
    1,093
    Houston, TX
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    Rikk
    I really do want to start racing... I am obsessed really but money/practicality is an issue as always. I really love open wheel though, so I think I would want to take that route. Once I get into college I will probably look into karting as that is a great way to build up skills quickly and get the speed/competition/high g forces/etc. Formula SCCA just looked neat to me because first of all it is spec, and second of all look at the cars! They are open wheel with wings and the whole deal... very cool.
     
  24. FLATOUTRACING

    FLATOUTRACING F1 Rookie

    Aug 20, 2001
    2,684
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    Will,

    I personally know Mark Dalen who owns a Radical and he would be a great source to talk about a Radical. I think Mark may have had one of the first SR3's delivered to the US.

    I know him through another message board and met him at Mid-Ohio a few years back when we were racing SRF's there.

    He is quite fast and would be a good contact to gauge if a Radical might be a car you should look at.

    For those of you wondering about the Radical's performance it has lapped most of the UK circuits about the same lap times as the front running F3 cars (winged Formula cars two steps down from F1).

    From those I have talked to the Stohr seems to be a better car and much lighter.

    As for the SCCA car I can understand where Sean is coming from. It looked like a great proposition to us SRF guys who like a spec series (no need to carry 20 different gear sets around) but SCCA is not interested in our wellbeing, simply trying to make more money.

    The car was supposed to be 26K open wheel and 29k closed wheel when the team I race for looked at getting a few. My team only got one and now the price is closer to 35K for the open wheeled one and just under 40K for the closed wheel version.

    Meanwhile the talk of a 26K open wheel car dropped the price on used Formula cars below that of our antiquated SRF's. SCCA hurt a lot of racers financially with this car and it will be a while until people buy into all this SCCA hoopla for the class.

    Regards,

    Jon P. Kofod
    1995 F355 Challenge #23
    www.flatoutracing.net
     
  25. writerguy

    writerguy F1 Veteran

    Sep 30, 2003
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