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Old 01-20-2013, 11:22 AM   #1
CamaroSS
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Default Looking for input re track car

I currently have a 2012 WRX DD, and a '99 miata track car (custom ecu, AST coilovers, etc.). I've also got a family, and I've gotten bit by the safety bug. I've been researching cages for the miata, and I'm discovering that driving on the street with a cage is a bad idea. I do drive to/from track days, and around town for fun. With the cost of a cage, a hard top, and FI for more power... I've started to wonder if an STI would be a better way to spend money for safety and speed. The larger size of the STI, and not being so low in a little car, makes me think it would be a safer car to have an incident in (knock on wood).

That said, I'm looking into selling the WRX and miata in favor of an STI for dual use. My question about the STI is, what needs to be done regarding track prep for an STI. The research I've done suggests an oil cooler would be a good idea, and definately a harness bar. What else? The car would receive a stage 1 tune from cobb. No intake, no exhaust, no other power mods. 300 hp, is enough.

Really appreciate the input on both the swap to an STI and regarding track prep.
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:47 PM   #2
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Throw a cage / roll bar in the miata. Its cheaper than buying an STI.

Not sure what the issue is? Driver mod > speed mods as well.
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:54 PM   #3
CamaroSS
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I have a roll bar. I am a safe driver. But that does nothing for me if I spin and someone tbones me or vive versa. Random failures happen as well. You can't expect to never have an incident. I'm not sure that it's a good idea to cage a car that will be on the street too. Cages in miatas mean bars near your head and no helmet on the street.

Not sure what I'll do, just thinking it through and trying to determine sti's dependability as a track car that is also a dd.
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:59 PM   #4
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I'm kind of in the same boat as you.

I decided I wanted to do time trials and sold my WRX. Bought a '97 Miata to build. I have another car I can drive in the summer. I think separate cars is the best way to go.

I decided on a roll bar for the 1st year w/ the Miata. I'd like to drive it on the street occasionally and I only have an open trailer. My main concern are the A pillars failing in a roll over. But I think I'll be ok. I will have a rollbar, race seat and head and neck restraints.

I think an STI will handle a rollover better but it will still be totaled. Can you walk away from a dual use car? If the engine develops problems do you have something else to drive?

How often do you drive the Miata?

The 2012 WRX is a great DD for your family. Nice and safe.

An STI can still have issues on the track with the engine / oiling system. Or you could have an incident, somebody else hitting you, oil on the track etc. If you get a harness bar you'll have to remove it after track events for back seat occupants. And since it's a dual use car it will hold you back.
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:14 PM   #5
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Miata and Honda parts are much cheaper that Subaru stuff. At some point you will get rid of the WRX and get a tow vehicle.
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CamaroSS View Post
I have a roll bar. I am a safe driver. But that does nothing for me if I spin and someone tbones me or vive versa. Random failures happen as well. You can't expect to never have an incident. I'm not sure that it's a good idea to cage a car that will be on the street too. Cages in miatas mean bars near your head and no helmet on the street.

Not sure what I'll do, just thinking it through and trying to determine sti's dependability as a track car that is also a dd.
If you have a dedicated track car why do you need to drive it on the street?


Get a cage and make it into a track only car. An STI on the track is going to be more safe than a Miata with a cage?

Your trying to justify the higher HP of the STI. If thats what you want then get it but driving a Miata balls to the wall is likely just as fun and cheaper than an STI.
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:54 PM   #7
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Hp is not the reason. If I keep the miata, it will be rotrexed and have ~230 hp to the wheels and a curb weight of ~2300 lb. the miata will be olety fast and is already super quick in the corners.
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Old 01-20-2013, 06:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CamaroSS View Post
Hp is not the reason. If I keep the miata, it will be rotrexed and have ~230 hp to the wheels and a curb weight of ~2300 lb. the miata will be olety fast and is already super quick in the corners.
Ok i still fail to see how an STI without a cage is going to be SAFER than a Miata with one.

If you main concern is safety, cage the Miata and keep it track only.

Im not seeing the dilemma here.
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Old 01-20-2013, 06:11 PM   #9
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Caging a street car is the dilema. I would be driving to/from events. It's probably best to keep the miata, cage it, and take the risk on the street in favor of extra track safety.
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Old 01-20-2013, 06:49 PM   #10
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The WRX will cost significantly more to track. As in many multiples more than the cost of a Miata. I used to race a Subaru before I switched to a Spec Miata, and after 2 years, I'm still shocked at how little the Miata costs.

I like driving Subaru's, but I'm not in the camp that thinks they make great track cars. The only Subaru I've ever seen be really reliable over time is Tim Mill's car, which is probably a testament to his smart choices in modifications and how well he's taken care of it.

Duncan
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Old 01-20-2013, 07:13 PM   #11
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Check out Blackbird Fabworx on miata.net (heres the link- http://forum.miata.net/vb/showthread.php?t=486975). Pretty ingeniuos design for a "streetable" cage. Theyre in Cali, tho. But im sure you could show the pics to a competent local fabricator and he can whip something similar up.
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Old 01-20-2013, 07:14 PM   #12
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Thanks Dunc, that's good to hear. I'll probably keep the miata and cage it. I just wonder about it's size in the event of a driver side collision. In SM, they're all the same size. At HPDE I could take a Mustang in the door and that would be a fail.
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Old 01-20-2013, 07:15 PM   #13
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I'm aware of blackbird. I love his work, but he is in Cali an I'm in Texas. It's $12-1500 on top of the price of the cage to ship it out there. I dont have time to drive it there and back.
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:03 PM   #14
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Put a helmet on if you have to drive it to the track and its not that far, or rent a small uhaul dolly and tow the Miata with the WRX.

Your problems are easily solved.
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:06 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkerekes View Post
Put a helmet on if you have to drive it to the track and its not that far, or rent a small uhaul dolly and tow the Miata with the WRX.

Your problems are easily solved.
this. no one ever said you cant wear an open faced helmet on the street
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:15 PM   #16
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In some (maybe all) states it's actually illegal to wear a helmet on the street.

A well caged Miata, with a halo seat, good harnesses, and a HANS is going to do a lot better in a side impact than a stock STI. No matter what hits you. And of course the Miata is going to be a lot cheaper to track.
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:25 PM   #17
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Can the wrx pull the miata with a tow bar or the like? That's appealing except for the trailer hitch on the wrx
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:04 PM   #18
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Gratuitous miata driving at COTA last weekend:


Check out this video on YouTube:

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Old 01-20-2013, 09:26 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CamaroSS View Post
Can the wrx pull the miata with a tow bar or the like? That's appealing except for the trailer hitch on the wrx
Randy Zimmer tows his rally car on a trailer with an Impreza, so yes, it can be done.

But I, like others, still don't see what the issue is. Just drive it. If you get into an accident on the street where the cage is going to hurt you, you probably would be dead in a miata without it.
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:26 PM   #20
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I think getting rid of both cars to get an STi is a bad idea. reason being is if that STi has 2 purposes, Track & DD, If something happens at the track or on the street, you are out of your DD & your Track car.
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:46 AM   #21
CamaroSS
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I've been typing from my phone for previous responses, so I'll ellaborate a bit:

1) Looked into flat towing the miata with the WRX. No go. Apparantly the miata experts say you risk damaging the transmission of the miata due to inadequate lubrication of the input shaft. I don't know enough to argue with them there.

2) The STI vs Miata with a cage - I do like to drive the miata on the street. Putting a cage into a street car is dangerous because of the close proximity to the additional roll bars to my head. There is an additional issue of building a cage that will allow the windows to work. To do the cage the best way means using a double bar setup on driver's left. Ideally, you cut out the door skin and run the bars through the door to provide additional clearance from the driver. This requires removing the window. On a track only car that is towed, that's not a problem. For a car that I drive to/from events it's more of an issue. I've done 4 track days. Only one of them has been rain free. The alternative is to run the side bars more inboard (ala the Blackbird cage someone referenced earlier, sweet cage btw). This is less safe in general, but not unsafe per se (especially with a good seat). Another consideration (perhaps shouldn't care about this one) is that putting the cage in the car seals its fate as a track car. There is no going back (not practically anyway) to a street car after it's hacked up for a cage. So part of me was thinking it would be better long term to have a bigger car that is inherently safer than the miata and that could be more easily sold if I wanted to sell it in the future.

My opinion changes hourly on this topic, but now I'm thinking I don't want to put all my eggs in one basket and that it's better to not combine DD and track car duties. However, lingering in the back of my mind is the shopping list for the miata:

hard top - $1000
stiffer springs - $320 (currently on 550/350 lb springs)
sways - $180
seats - $1-1500 for the pair
rotrex - ~$5000 (blower, intercooler, injectors, etc.)
cage - ~$3500
Total - ~$11,000

That won't all happen at once, but it's a question of am I ready to truly commit to the miata as my track car for good. It's a great track car and I do enjoy it on track and off, but would I rather track something else at some point? The miata will be sellable to another track goer, but it's a limited market...

Mostly, I'm trying to think this through from all angles. Thanks for the feedback and helping me navigate it...
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:50 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CamaroSS View Post
1) Looked into flat towing the miata with the WRX. No go. Apparantly the miata experts say you risk damaging the transmission of the miata due to inadequate lubrication of the input shaft. I don't know enough to argue with them there.
If you are really worried about it, disconnect the driveshaft from the rear diff when you drag it.
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:56 AM   #23
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I guess I can look into that. Not sure that I want to do that for each event, but it's an option.
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Old 01-21-2013, 11:00 AM   #24
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It's really not bad. Usually, it's 4 bolts.
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Old 01-21-2013, 11:34 AM   #25
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The miata is a better race car in every way than a subaru unless you're doing rally/rally-x. Cage the miata and flat tow it to the track with the subaru. I know the tow rating on my wrx wagon is 2000 lbs and my minimum weight in class for my miata is 2060, and if I didn't have a minimum weight and my class didnt require a full interior I could easily get the car under 2000 lbs with a full cage. Would I flat tow it from NH to Lincoln for Nats? **** no. Would I tow it from my house to NHMS (like an hour towing)? Certainly. Now if you wreck the car badly enough that its not even a roller, you're screwed. But you would be if you were driving it there too. And now you'll have all the room in the subie to hold tires and tools. Plenty of people flat tow miatas, I race with someone who does it every weekend in the summer, and I know non-racers who tow them behind their motorhomes. Just remember to put it in neutral before you start towing, because pulling the car along at 60-70 mph in 1st leads to the block ventilation mod.
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