The Spec Miata (SM) class is intended to provide the opportunity to compete in low-cost cars with limited modifications, suitable for racing competition. It is intended to encourage low cost, entry level, production car based competition. Spec Miata currently races both sprints and enduros where available.
Mazda Miatas in model years 1990 through 1993 with 1600 cc engines, model years 1994 through 1997 with 1800 cc engines, and model years 1999 through 2005 with 1800 cc engines have been approved by the SCCA for Regional racing in all divisions of the SCCA. The class was approved for National SCCA racing beginning in the 2006 racing season.
As its name shows, Spec Miata is a "specified" class. This means that the rules for allowable modifications to the car are very strict. The class intends to put drivers on a very even footing by making their cars as identical as possible. The rules are far more conservative than the Improved Touring category, but provide equivalent safety measures.
Because of the support of Mazda through Mazdaspeed, the wide availability of the car on the used market, plentiful and inexpensive parts, and the simplicity of maintenance on the cars, Spec Miata has become a very popular class. Also adding to the appeal is the fact that A Spec Miata can be raced in both SM and ITA in SCCA Regional Compatition. A typical race-ready spec miata can be purchased on the market for $8000-$15,000 depending on race win history and specific modifications. Some regions also offer an affordable alternative to spec miata. A front running spec rx7 can be purchased for $3500-$4500.
Depending on the region, Toyo, Kumho, or Hankook tires are specified. For National competition, the Toyo RA1 is the spec tire. The wheel size is fixed at 15x7, with the wheels weighing no less than 13 pounds.
Cars with 1.6 liter engines have a race weight of 2300 pounds (1057 kg) and first generation cars with a 1.8 liter displacement engine have a minimum race weight of 2350 pounds. "Second generation Miatas" (1999+) have a minimum weight of 2425 pounds. The 1.8 liter displacement cars may not run an aftermarket air intake and must run a throttle restrictor, while the 1.6 liter displacement cars do not require a restrictor and may run a modified air box.
The full rules for the class may be found in the current Spec Miata Category Specifications of the SCCA rule book, called the GCR (General Competition Rules & Specifications).
12/03/07 - Jim Daniels' early history provided by Tim Evans
The start of something special: Spec Miata.
Shannon was helping me prep my SSB Miata's so he started to get to know miatas on top of rotary power. Some time in late 1998, Shannon McMasters spoke about Mazda wanting to do a spec class much like SRX7 but with rules that were nationwide. Shannon then started talking with David DelGenio on putting together some specs around a coilover suspension. David was running Grand Am/IMSA in 94-97 Miata's so he had developed a suspension for those cars of which was copied for Spec Miata.
In October 1998, Shannon McMasters, Tim Evans, Danny Benzer and Wally Darbyshire starting building a prototype Spec Miata for the 24 Hours in Moroso. We got Mazda, Kumho, Miata.Net and Texas Body Works to sponsor our team. Shannon found a used miata and we hauled the car to Todd Oppermann who had built cages for some of John Phillips Grand Am Cup Miatas. Once that was completed, Shannon replaced all bushings and rubber in the suspension and then we all got together one weekend to hang the new suspension and drop in a new crate motor.
We raced the SM prototype in November 1998 in ITA and finished first in class. From there, we went to Moroso and finished 10th overall and 2nd in ITA in the 24 hour event. David Del Genio also brought 3 of his older Grand Am Cup cars that were prototype 1994-97 1.8 SM's. Our 1.6l prototype SM finished in front of the 1.8l's.
For a long time, Shannon McMasters didn't think we could create parity between the two engines but David did some work on the restrictor plates so we were able to convince Shannon that we should include all years in SM. So blame David and Tim for the Similar Miata class. (The 99 models were too new to really even consider then.)
Shannon fine tuned the rules package based on Showroom Stock and the Spec RX7 variations to come up with a starting point. We left quite a few areas open in an effort to lower costs. We felt that an open clutch would help as you could buy used miatas with ACT clutches and we didn't want the racer to have to replace it. Little did we know that the class would go to extremes to develop an advantage in some of the areas that were not tightly spec'd.
David and I then helped Shannon to proof and make the final changes to the rules package. In January 1999, Shannon and I proposed the rules to the Southwest Divisional Meeting in Dallas. The Division voted on the new class and was accepted as a new regional only class for SWDIV. We originally received some hesitation from some of the Regional Executives as we had too many Regional classes likes Legends which had not been meeting the 3 car per race minimum.
I believe the first official race that Spec Miata was eligible for was in July at Texas World Speedway. Kumho was the spec tire (more or less) because they had stepped up at the very beginning to provide a regional contingency program.
"What folks want to race is what we need to be racing, duh." [Jim Daniels, co-class founder and SpecMiata.com owner]