James Chartres has been racing Spec Racer Fords for a while, and asked me if he could contribute to Tracktuned. We love enthusiastic racers who want to spread their knowledge to other track rats, I of course said "YUP! Trackday people don't know what Spec Racer Fords are...maybe write about that!" I've raced in the same rungroups as SRF's many times with SCCA, and they are tiny, hard to see, and fast little buggers. The thing that strikes me most about them is the incredibly close competition between most of the pack, every race, everwhere. Its a really cool class, and one of the longest running in the SCCA. Somewhere, every weekend , several hundred of these tiny little cars are battling it out.
James regularly writes on his site, kangamotorsports.com, and we look forward to hearing more from him here!
By James Chartres
Spec Racer Ford (SRF) is a class suited to racers looking for affordable competitive wheel-to-wheel road racing. Most people think that racing is expensive but classes like Spec Racer Ford and Spec Miata provide a low cost of entry and economical running costs. Spec Racer Ford is SCCA's largest class with over 870 cars built. Large fields ensure that there is always someone to race wheel-to-wheel with whether you are in the middle, back or pointing end of the pack. This makes the class a good place for beginners and hard fought competition at the front to win.
History of the class
The class was created to be a low cost competitive sports racing class and it is still very affordable to this day, with a 30 year old chassis still able to run up front with brand new cars. The racecar originally started as a Sports Renault in 1984 using a 1.7-liter Renault engine. In 1994 the cars were upgraded to Spec Racer Fords (SRFs) with a sealed 105 horsepower 1.9 litre Ford motor coupled to a 5 speed transmission. In 2013 the third generation (Gen3) upgrade was introduced to the class with the first official season beginning in 2015. The Gen3 uses a sealed 135 horsepower 1.6 litre Ford motor and reduced the weight from 1670 pounds to 1560 pounds, with driver. The Gen3 and Spec Racer Fords run alongside each other as separate classes until 2018.
The Spec Racer Ford is a custom built single seat, open cockpit sports racer with a steel tube frame chassis and three-piece fiberglass bodywork resembling a 1960s and 1970s Can-Am car. The racecar uses a rear engine, rear drive configuration with adjustable lower A-arm and rocker suspension. The braking system features vented discs with specification pads, independent master cylinders and adjustable brake bias. Safety is well covered with roll over hoops, ample crush zones and an integrated fire suppression system. The car uses a combination of Renault, Ford, Subaru and inexpensive custom components. The modular nature of the components allows for fast repairs with a minimum number of parts. An example is the uprights that are interchangeable front left to rear right and front right to rear left.
A True Specification Class
The class provides a level playing field for competitors with large fields providing lots of close racing action. The equivalency of cars is achieved by using a strict rule set and specification parts to keep cost down and minimize modifications. This eliminates the need for a motorsport arms race, as each competitor doesn’t need to have the latest go fast or trick part to keep at the front, resulting in a true specification (Spec) class.
The specifications components include a sealed engine, transmission, and rebound adjustable coilover Penske or Koni shocks with set spring rates. The drivers seat is also controlled with a centrally located seating position. A movable pedal box assembly accommodates adjustments for different driver heights. Even the location of ballast weight and the weight range of body sections are specified within the rule set.
Allowable modifications include car livery, data logging system, steering wheel and set-up adjustments within the prescribed limits. By limiting the modifications and preparation costs, this class emphasizes driver ability over spending. Since the cars are so equal it is possible to simply rent a car and still win the race.
Benefits of Spec Racer Ford
Spec Racer Ford has many benefits that make it attractive for all types of racers. Although a brand new purpose built racecar can be expensive the large number of cars provide for a great second hand market allowing new competitors to get involved. The cars also tend to hold their value over time with second hand Gen2 cars priced at $10-15k and recently upgraded Gen3 cars in the $35-40k range depending on condition, spares, and data system. The affordability of Spec Racer Fords and low maintenance requirements make them suitable for teams or privateers.
The Spec Racer Ford and Gen3 have tremendous trackside support with a network of Customer Service Representative (CSR) throughout the United States that attend local and national SCCA events to provide help, spare parts, preparation and even rental cars for drivers. This level of trackside support means you don’t have to scrounge for spare parts and your race weekend won't be ruined because you can’t find a specific part, even at the more remote tracks. The other great thing about SRF is the community always willing to help a fellow competitor and providing lots of new tips for new racers. What are you waiting for?
About our Author........James Chartres
Born: Adelaide, Australia
Lives: San Jose, CA
Track days experience =2010-2012 Datsun 240z
2013 Skip Barber Race School for Competition License
2014 SCCA San Francisco Region - Spec Racer Ford - Rookie Season
2015 SCCA San Francisco Region - Spec Racer Ford
2015 Racing Drivers Club - 4hr Illgen Enduro
2016 SCCA San Francisco Region - Spec Racer Ford racer
Kangamotorsports youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/kangamotorsports