Words and photos by Michael Chandler
The Spec Z field is exploding for NASA Utah, Spec Miata is healthy, 944 Spec provides a solid battle every race, and there’s even a Spec E30 class that has yet to be explored. Spec racing is a hell of a way for people to get into door to door racing, without having to build something crazy. The blueprint is right there, all you have to do is follow it.
There are probably a ton of more spec series available, but there are plenty that don’t exist. They probably don’t exist for good reason, but today we’re going to explore the brave frontier! Buy your supplies, and prepare to lose half the party to Cholera. WAGONS HO!
Spec S Chassis
Drifting is starting to get ridiculous. 700-900 horsepower? V8s with ridiculously engineered exhaust collectors? What happened to welding up the diff in an S13 or S14 and getting wild? It’s been proven that you don’t need rear mounted radiators, hydraulic e-brakes or sequential gear boxes to slide, but looking at Formula D makes one think otherwise. I think it’s time to change this. I’ve kicked this idea around with Dave, and we’ve come up with a rough framework for an amazing new drift series: Spec S Chassis. An entire field of S13s and S14s, all sporting KA24DEs. The only modifications you can do internally is a hot cam swap (running an exhaust cam in place of an intake cam), and that’s it. Welded diffs, basic steering angle mods, and coilovers are all you get suspension wise. You can run whatever tire you want, granted it is the specified size. Suddenly it’s not who has the biggest budget and most power, it’s who has the skills to boogie. It’s still judged, but (and since this exists in the minds of a few) there will be completely different judges than in Formula D.
Now, I know Lone Star Drift is trying a budget minded series this season and that’s fantastic. The drivers have their chose of chassis and can do some modifications (motor swaps like SRs in 240s and such, and engine cooling is open, and suspension is open but no attachment points can be moved), and all the competitors have to run Kenda tires. You can still petition to have some modifications let in, but hopefully they’re not too lenient with it. However, if you really want to see who is the best driver, you’d stick them in identically prepared cars and let them go at it.
Travis over at Jalopnik proposed a Spec Panther series/class, and it has all the required legs to be something. The Panther platform Fords are in abundance and are cheap, and he laid out the rules. It’s great, and since he came up with it a square almost two years ago I’m not going to bogart his idea. I’m going to expand upon it, and take it to ridiculous new heights. Instead of just seeing Crown Vics, Grand Marquies and Town Cars running around, why not expand it to ALL the common and cheap former police vehicles? Why not?!
Crown Vics, Chargers, Caprices and Impalas are eligible in this series, and they would have to have some of the basic spec requirements (cage, minimum wieght, spec tires, etc). These cars wouldn’t be street legal, but neither are Spec Miatas or Zs. The spotlights would be removed, BUT the cars can run light bars provided they’re attached securely. And each car would have to be painted, or wrapped, to look like an actual police car. Not 100%, but at least black and white or similar colors to a local municipality. Who wouldn’t want to see this?!?
WGT: Wagon Grand Touring
We love wagons. There’s no shame in that, because wagons are awesome. Unfortunately, with the rise of minivans then CUVs, the humble wagon has started to disappear. Ford, FCA and GM aren’t making any. BMW and Mercedes do, but finding one is like finding a unicorn. This pretty much leaves VWs, Subarus, and Volvo. And this wouldn’t be the first time a Volvo wagon was out racing! Unfortunately, the Touring Brick would be outlawed.
It would be open to four cylinder wagons, naturally aspirated and turbocharged, so no BMW or Meccedes. The modifications would be more open for the NA cars, and the turbo cars could carry a weight penalty. Tires would be spec, but different sizes for the NA and turbo cars. Cages, obviously and fuel cells. No roof racks, baskets or boxes/pods. Having these grocery getters running around would open up some interesting new avenues for competition. Honestly, some Top Gear-esqe shenanigans like a mandatory pit stop to load the car with groceries would add some hilarity. Or fastest lap with the most cargo. The possibilities are endless, like a child’s imagination.
So that’s what I’ve come up with. How about you? Feel free to add your ideas, tweaks and your own classes in the comments.