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This article appeared yesterday:
What do the following vehicles have in common: the Honda Fit, Mazda2, Fiat 500, Toyota Yaris, Ford Fiesta, MINI Cooper, Hyundai Accent, Chevrolet Sonic, Nissan Versa and the Kia Rio5?
If you said they're affordable, fuel-efficient subcompact cars that compete against each other in the Canadian marketplace, you'd be right on all counts.
But you'd also be correct if you answered that they are all currently eligible to compete against one another in the B-Spec racing class here in British Columbia and else-where in North America.
For those not familiar with the series, you're not alone. The B-Spec class designation was recently introduced by the SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) to facilitate a relatively affordable way to race new vehicles. The required modifications are kept to a minimum, therefore avoiding the traditionally large racing budget, in favour of one that is more attain-able for a broader range of racers.
In this class, vehicles being raced are essentially in 'stock' configuration, meaning you can't touch the engine, transmission, drivetrain or engine management electronics. But such tweeks as a Coil Over non-adjustable suspension, brake lines and racing brake pads, 15X7 wheels with 205/50-15 R Compound tires and a (Catalytic Convertor) Cat-back exhaust will need to be added.
Furthermore, one will need to strip the interior and install a roll cage, a fire suppression system, a racing seat with a 6-point safety harness, a removable steering wheel and a 2-way radio system.
The cost? Approximately $10,000 on top of the purchase price of one of the base model subcompacts listed above, plus any spare parts. Keep in mind that costs will vary depending if you do the work yourself or have a shop do it, or a combination of both. It would be realistic to say that one could have a race-ready B-Spec car in your garage for under $30k. That's significantly less than the Porsche GT3 Cup Car that costs upwards of $200k!
Together, local racers Lisa Chen and Tony Morris Jr. teamed up to build the first B-Spec vehicle in Canada, which will be hitting the circuit this year. I had the opportunity to talk with them about the building process and why this new race series is generating a lot of buzz.
After selecting the vehicle (Lisa decided on the Ford Fiesta because of its durability, reliably, along with its dashing good looks!), it was shipped over to the talented mechanics at Brown Bros Ford/Lincoln to have the interior stripped and then sent out for the roll cage installation. Once that was completed, the car was returned to the Brown Bros team for completion.
"You could build a B-Spec race car in approximately three weeks to a month," said Tony Morris Jr., adding that any mechanic is able to do the modifications as long as they are doing it according to the SCCA B-Spec regulations.
So, once the build is complete, where can you race? B-Spec is a recognized CACC Class (Confederation of Autosport Car Clubs, www.cacca-utosport.org) and can be raced locally at Mission Raceway Park Road-course. Furthermore, B-Spec cars can be raced on tracks all over North America under a variety of sanctioning bodies, both Pro and Amateur Series, including SCCA (Sports Car Club of America: www.scca.com) NASA (North America Sports Car Association: www.nasaproracing. com) and Castrol Canadian Touring Car Championship (www.tour-ingcar.ca).

Depending on how often and in which racing sanctioning body one participates, associated costs will inevitably vary. And, because the vehicles are near stock in nature, one doesn't necessarily need a mechanical entourage to follow.
Said Morris Jr.: "Depending on the driver's mechanical skills, one person could operate a B-Spec car solo, if they choose, but a small crew would definitely be suggest-ed."
In the veteran racer's opinion, what makes this class so buzz-worthy is "B-Spec will offer many drivers, young and old, new and experienced, the opportunity to compete at a variety of levels both amateur and professional at a very reason-able cost."
Making the B-Spec class not only fun for drivers but spectators, Lisa observes: "Since building a B-Spec is more financially viable there will likely be more cars on the track. That equals a more exciting race! Plus, there is the potential for more excitement from the crowd because they can really identify with the cars that are competing."
Those looking to get into racing now have a more accessible avenue than before without having to find sponsorship or win the lottery to do so. Although that would be nice!
For more information on B-Spec vehicles visit www.bspeccars.com or go to www.morrisport.com and fill out the contact page to receive B-Spec updates and local event announcements.
Contact Alexandra at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter.com/cargirslgarage




Read more: http://www.theprovince.com/cars/Spec+turns+into+racers/5965796/story.html#ixzz1j4aJ3nCt
 

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Nice.

Aha. This would be why my friend who owns a wheel manufacturing company has suddenly taken an interest in my car. He makes 13lb 4x100 wheels in 15x7 for the Spec E30 race class along with other BMWs that pull road/track double duty, so it looks like the 500 is the next drill pattern on the docket. I'd already considered running his wheels with wobble bolts for snow duty rather than my heavy steel wheels....but a direct-fit would be just what the doctor ordered. :D
 

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Aha. This would be why my friend who owns a wheel manufacturing company has suddenly taken an interest in my car. He makes 13lb 4x100 wheels in 15x7 for the Spec E30 race class along with other BMWs that pull road/track double duty, so it looks like the 500 is the next drill pattern on the docket. I'd already considered running his wheels with wobble bolts for snow duty rather than my heavy steel wheels....but a direct-fit would be just what the doctor ordered. :D
D-force wheels? If so, please tell me they are going to make track wheels for the Abarth! I love my set for my E30.
 

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The very same. I guess the 500 and Abarth market potential spoke to him this year at SEMA, and he's contemplating a Fiat-specific run for the race series.

I love my LTW5s as well. :D



Tom and I have known each other for years, to the point where I was ordained for the day a few years back in order to marry him and his wife and he was in my wedding this past summer. If he decides to pursue the Fiat racing market the LTW5 would be a killer option for an inexpensive, strong, lightweight wheel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
CMT
Any chance you could let me know if he comes up with a 4x98 pattern wheel. I would love to carry them on HotFIAT.com and use them on the track. I race one of those track lice Miatas and would not use wobble bolts on a racetrack.
Thanks for the info and I'll thank you in advance for letting me know when the wheels are available.
Cheers
Rick Hartbrodt
www.HotFIAT.com
 

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The Miata is my next/second car. I had one before as my only car, but it was impractical. Fun as anything, especially in the snow, but impractical nonetheless. The coolest thing is having the top down when it is snowing and just seeing the flakes blow over your head.
 

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The Miata to me at least is one of if not the #1 best car you can ever own that'll make you happy without spending a lot of money, sure there are tons of higher priced and sportier options but the Miata is my fav, miss the 02 silver Miata so much!!! I look forward to seeing more 500 racing as it'll hopefully open more lightweight wheel options, I'd love to find a lightweight Stance/BBS style wheel eventually (although that is a lot of material in those wheels designs so light isn't AS easy).
 

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Nice E30. Those wheels remind me of 5Zigen FN01R-C.
Thanks freedomgli, they are a very similar aesthetic. Before D-Force became well known in the BMW and Spec Miata scenes people used to mistake them for the 5Zigens all the time. I have a set in black sitting here that were my E30 snow wheels back when I'd daily drive it, but in the end an NA 270 whp E30 isn't optimal for rough NE winters which is one reason why I bought the Fiat. I have been considering the wobble bolts to run them on my 500, but sadly my abject laziness hasn't allowed me to fully explore that option just yet. :D



CMT
Any chance you could let me know if he comes up with a 4x98 pattern wheel. I would love to carry them on HotFIAT.com and use them on the track. I race one of those track lice Miatas and would not use wobble bolts on a racetrack.
Thanks for the info and I'll thank you in advance for letting me know when the wheels are available.
Cheers
Rick Hartbrodt
www.HotFIAT.com
Absolutely. We will be discussing this at length in the near future and I'll keep you informed of the progress.
 
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