How do we get newcomers interested in B-Sedan?

#1
I just wanted to be the first post on the new site and have a question. Is it possible or are we old timers dreaming thinking that some of the younger people have a passion for our cars?

I think it would be pretty tempting for a newbie to look at Spec Miata personally or a VW Rabbit or other for many reasons, dollars, closer racing literally no maintenance or breakdowns. I am toying with Spec Miata along with B-Sedan myself or may try NASA I see Vintage losing some traction.

A problem I see with group 8 cars or Grp 1 & 3 for that matter is the disparity of speed within the group. Often times you are running by yourself unable to catch the fast guy but faster than the rest and it can be rather boring when that happens. That is why I am attracted to VSCDA events which draw a good car count because I have not found another series where I can be assured that there will be cars to battle with and race against. SVRA Mid -Ohio and the Weathertech event at Road America are exceptions but a lot of others not so much.
 
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#2
To date my post is the first post and last post on Vintage Racing Online, this site appears to have died before it even got started.

I am afraid that Vintage Racing has seen its better days also. Spec Miata, others and NASA are probably going to be the wave of the future. More old guys are leaving the sport than new people coming in and car counts in certain classes have been on the decline. The younger crowd doesn't work on their own cars as much and it's far more expensive to keep these old cars going if you are paying someone else to do it.

Spec racing makes a lot of sense for many compared to Vintage. It's much more affordable, breakdowns are virtually nonexistent, close competitive racing from flag to flag, its a pretty good gig, I see a MX5 Cup car in my future. The one thing I question is the people and and the comradarie we share at multi day events which is a big part of the fun.

I love driving a race car, battling with others on the track, competing and working on my driving who doesn't, but Vintage racing isn't providing close racing or even racing period at most events anymore. Besides the two large events in the Midwest - the Hawk and VSCDA Elf too often its a pretty boring time on the track when it comes to having other cars to race with. I can only speak for the B-Sedan group but you only have about a dozen really quick cars in the country and seldom more than one or two are at even the big events at the same time. So when you get lucky and there are two or three they still have to be running on Sunday and that doesn't happen very often and is a real concern at present.

I watched a race at Blackhawk Farms 7/8/18 on Race Monitor and I don't think anyone passed anyone during the whole race other than the car that dropped out. There were ten cars running with good sized time separations between each car on the track running round and round all by themselves all race long, basically it was a parade.

The biggest series SVRA has faltered with group 1, 3 & 8 which hasn't helped either. Devoting five days and a lot of money to race alone or maybe with one other car in your class in 16 min races on avg. (many not even 16 min) doesn't compute. I don't mean to point fingers at SVRA but the bang for the buck really couldn't get much worse. I guess it depends on what you like to do, but I likes big events with lots of cars which only leaves me the two at Elkart to run each year. I would like to race a couple SVRA events but I wouldn't drive across town for a 15-16 min race.

The best thing about Vintage Racing are the people and the cars. But with so many different cars and levels of prep the disparities in lap times often times don't equate to good racing for the entrants. I'd rather stay home than run around a track way ahead of the guy behind you and unable to catch the guy in front of you that is no fun.

Stretching fifty-year old cars to their limits and beyond to run up front hoping that they will run all weekend is not a recipe for success and the only people who make out on that are the race shops. More times than not you end up disappointed with a broken car or if it doesn't break too often there is nobody else running similar times to make it worthwhile. My weekends are too valuable to me to devote the time, effort and money towards instead of something where the failure and disappointment rate is so high. For that reason I am going to stick with the two big events and pray that the car holds together and get two good races in.

I strongly suggest to any newcomer to prepare a mid-pack reliable car where you have a better chance of having more people to race with a more dependable car with less expenses. Or consider spec racing where the motors, components and cars are not even near the breaking point and you run all season long without problems and expensive repair bills. Tires, $100 brake pads at the beginning of the season and gas.

A Mazda MX5 cup car is awfully appealing right now and they are pretty quick, one ran a 2.37 at Road America so they are quicker than almost any grp 1, 3 or 8 car. Showing up to race and know that good racing will be going on without worrying about breaking down is pretty attractive to me right now.

I am certainly not pointing fingers at anyone (other than SVRA) because Vintage hasn't done anything wrong times are just changing. I applaud all the people who work so hard and donate their time to help us race, most of this is beyond their control.

In hindsight maybe Vintage should have had more common sense car rules. Perhaps if they had rules that were mid-way between stock and way over the top levels of prep like we have now where there were more cars running and closer competition. Enough power where you can throttle steer the car some but not enough to make them unreliable. It would be more fun, dependable, affordable and translate into more cars on the track which is a win win for everyone but the race shops. You would still have a spread because of how far the person went within the rules, experience and skill but not the big differences that exist now. Let the people who want to dial it further up run with SCCA or other. It's too late for that now but in the future with new groups of cars coming in it may be something worth considering.
 
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#3
Hi Terry,
Like many others I have not been on this site for many months! But I hope to make it back more often in the near future.
You have written a very insightful thread.
I have had 3 different people ask me what happened to all the B sedan cars that raced in my Trans Am B sedan series in the last month alone!
I took off last year and decided to race SCCA in my Datsun Z car. Some people think because I wasn’t around beating the drum and talking to people to join us that is the reason numbers are down. That could be a small part of it? But I have to say that B Sedan grids are down (at least in the Midwest) is because the folks aren’t driving their cars for a host of reasons. Myself, my brother, Ike, John Connell, Eric Wood all still have our cars, but there are a myriad of reasons why they are still in the garage and not on the track. During the heyday of B sedan racing I think we got a grid of 22 Cars? That same year we had 38 different racers driving B sedans in the Midwest at VSCDA events. It’s always been a blending of many cars that make up a B sedan grid. We might have a core of 10 regular B sedan racers that did most of the races and then the local guys would fill out the rest of the grid.
The early success of B sedan vintage racing might also be the reason for the down turn?
What do I mean by that? About 6 years ago I had someone tell me that my series was the single thing that was driving up the prices on the Cars. Why you ask? It gave people a place to race their cars with other people that had similiar Cars and the rules that were enforced.
Many people were now paying 80k for a car to be built just to run in the TABS series. TABS West was started and B sedan racing flourished out there also.
So, B sedan cars were no longer in-expensive Cars to purchase. The days of buying a $6500 510 That was turn key was now gone.
That $6500 dollar 510 only 10 years ago now costs closer to 20k. 20k is a lot of money.
What other cars can I buy in that price range?
Maybe a Z car, which looks like a sportscar, has 2 extra cylinders and is automatically faster? Let’s face it, Sedans are Sedans. I think they look great, but if you put up a sedan next to any sports style car, your average person is going to gravitate towards the looks of a Sportscar,and why not? For the same price you can go faster to boot.
If I was going to join B sedan racing today what would I buy? The best bang for the buck is a VW Rabbit or a Ford Fiesta SCCA improved Touring car. Those are entry level B sedan level cars ( minus) the powerful engine. That can still be bought for 5k with a trailer and go racing the following weekend.
Are they going to be front runners? Of course not. But the person buying that car is a entry level budget racer that realizes that.
I bought my Datsun 510 twenty one years ago for $1700 with the trailer. I sold the trailer and some parts and had a total investment of 1k into the car before I painted it and got it on track. A good guess is I had $3500 into it by the time I did my first drivers school.
Why did I buy a 510? At the time it was the coolest “cheapest” car that I could find that had future potential.
 
#4
Overall i think you hit the nail on the head. Cost to the average Joe.
I look at how the bottom fell out on F-Ford values when the Fit engine was added, until Vintage groups started addressing rules and classing.
Now values and popularity has taken off in that group.
With Improved Touring on life support in S.C.C.A, , yes there are tons of cars sitting, or going Chump/Lemons.
Sad, as SOME of them were great cars.
There a bunch of obsolete SCCA prod and GT cars sitting.
For some it may become what can you obtain and afford to care for, as opposed to what is the car of your dreams.
 
#5
Just to add, Our past Vintage weekend , i prodded my old boss and his car out of a very long retirement . An IT-B Volvo. He won B-Sedan 2 out of 3 races with real B-Sedan cars on site.
Tried to get him to go to Grattan, but business and travel did not allow
There are nice IT cars sitting too.
The lure is easy. Yes entry fees may be higher than you are used too, BUT,
One can race 2 - 3 events a year, have plenty of fun, and actually spend less than what a full season of club racing could take out you.
 
#6
Overall i think you hit the nail on the head. Cost to the average Joe.
I look at how the bottom fell out on F-Ford values when the Fit engine was added, until Vintage groups started addressing rules and classing.
Now values and popularity has taken off in that group.
With Improved Touring on life support in S.C.C.A, , yes there are tons of cars sitting, or going Chump/Lemons.
Sad, as SOME of them were great cars.
There a bunch of obsolete SCCA prod and GT cars sitting.
For some it may become what can you obtain and afford to care for, as opposed to what is the car of your dreams.
Joel, you are correct when you say that it may become what you can afford.
I was a Lotus guy. I wanted a hardtop Elan. 21 years ago when I bought my $1700 510 I was looking at a disassembled Elan for $6500.
I got my car on track for $3500.
We all know that the Millenial Generation really isn’t into Cars. So we aren’t going to get a big influx of folks into vintage racing from them.
But on average, most “New” entry level Vintage Racers will come from Gen X or Baby boomers still. They should have the money. But do they have the interest? That is where the present future growth will come from in my opinion. I’ve introduced and got new racers into the club. That is the gateway to success.
Just like a College Fraternity, for it to continue people need to replace themselves at the very least. A racing club is the same.
 
#7
Hello. I recently picked up a first-generation Spec Miata in need of some work with plans to turn it into a vintage racer. I appreciate the no-contact rules and mindset with vintage racing. I fall into the Gen X age category. I currently hold an SCCA comp license and intend to continue racing with them occasionally.

For me, the Spec Miata is an "easy button" when it comes to road racing. They're very well balanced, fun to drive, reliable, durable, easy to work on and find parts, affordable, and well-supported by Mazdaspeed Motorsports.
 
#8
Backmarker. Welcome. Miatas are still kind of in a quandary. The Model is now 30 years old. The car still has" 201 places to play", which is good. By DRIVERS, not the car, like all Spec Classes , the car got a bad rep. I know plenty of Spec Miata ( and non spec ) drivers i would trust on track with no reserve. Not all clubs welcome Miata, but enough do. It's a start. SVRA ( imho ) has the right path by giving a sole run group. Clubs with track time space will embrace this approach more as time goes on if they can. When the balance sheet enters into play, nobody in a right mind should turn away an organized group of 15-30 cars. We do not ( yet ) allow them at our event, because simply, we do no have the track time on the clock to give without deleting special / bonus races. We run a short day ( 10 to 6 ) . Not knowing where you reside, i bet you still have little issue finding a place to play.
 
#9
Welp, this was a depressing thread albeit nothing I don't think about regularly.

My personal experience is a bit biased, but I think B Sedans have huge potential for fun factor. Sure, they aren't as sexy as some other choices but the tradeoff is they're way more relatable to people. Nothing we have at the shop draws nearly as much attention as the Cortina. Aside from that, the sideways antics they allow are really awesome from both sides of the steering wheel. These cars should never be overlooked when it comes to the driving experience.

Getting cars out sounds kind of like what happened to Formula Junior a few years ago: A few guys stopped, so less guys were out, so less guys went out, so less guys were out, etc. They remedied that (kind of) by not only creating a series for the cars, but also really badgering the owners to get them out. And you know what? They succeeded, and everyone had a ball. Keeping the momentum going sounds like a headache, and I don't make it happen, but there's got to be dedication both from owners and event organizers since there's no prize money at stake here.

I can understand the frustration with (un)reliability of the older cars, especially when you hold them up to the 11/10 reliable Miata. The advice for new racers to build a sturdier mid-pack car is good for any class in any group. More track time, less power, more ability to get comfortable and learn. Do Miatas belong in vintage? Sure. I like to hope it'll act as a "gateway car," and Miata guys will see all the other awesome stuff available in a vintage paddock once they're there. Is it as reliable? Most likely not. Is it as cool? In almost all cases, at least as much so.

Vintage racing needs younger drivers. As one (sometimes), I'm very aware of that. I'm also aware, however, that virtually nobody is doing anything to make that happen except ruminate. I'm not pointing fingers at anyone, but another reason people race other series (and cost is a big one, don't get me wrong) is they A) know it exists, and B) know other people doing it. All I've come up with so far is to spread the word with media like Facebook and Instagram about our shop, and hopefully I'm having some success, but it needs something a bit more large-scale to make a significant difference.

I think the goal is twofold: Get kids there, 100%. They love this stuff because it's freaking cool-looking and cool-sounding. They sit in a car, they hear it start up and run. They root for a driver. That plants a memory, and in some fraction of cases plants an interest. That interest may blossom down the road. Second, the sport needs to find people in their, say, forties and fifties. They're a demographic that can at some level afford the now-higher costs of vintage racing, and as a bonus they can have children in or near Group 1 to bring along. That's really the age group I'd expect could be the newer and perpetual "bread and butter" for the sport.

But that all said, I'm much newer to this than most of you so perhaps I'm missing some things. :)