I bought my Spitfire for use as a fair weather friend in 1999. For the first few years I enjoyed driving and restoring "Little Blue" but that soon snowballed into a foray into entry level motorsports or, in other words, autocross.
I just spent my first season racing in the FSP catagory and have learned much about driving this car at or near the limit. I have much more to learn and I am finding out it takes alot of thought, education and most of all time, and that means track time. I am in no rush though because I am having so much fun learning.
My thanks go out to all who have given me advice and information especially members of the various clubs I belong to. In particular Dennis, who got me hooked, and Jimmy (the other Spitfire driver) who I consider my teacher and arch rival. Someday you will have to chase me Jim! Also, thanks Jeff and members of TTN and TriumphSpitfire.com. Without these websites we'd all be lost. Last but not least, thanks to my son (and crew chief) Mike for taking most of the race photos and for uncorking the SuperTrapp!
The Triumph Spitfire was SCCA champion in its class for a number of years during the 60's and 70's and my 76' came with a plaque on the dashboard saying so. These little cars were bred to race. In this day and age the Spitfire is somewhat hampered by its antiquated design but they can give a few of the newer cars a run for their money. And, they certainly do it with more style and soul!
For those of you interested in Triumphs or autocross (especially in the NY, CT region) please check out my links. Or, search for autocross or SCCA SoloII in your area.
Various engine modifications to my car include; Weber DGV, street cam, 4-2-1 stainless header, Supertrapp tuneable muffler, Pertronix ignition, dual electric fans, oil cooler, crankcase breather catch can, GM alternator and trunk mounted battery.
Suspension mods include; Spax adjustable ride height front shocks, shorter stiffer springs, Spax adj. shocks in rear with lowering block on rear spring. Camber up front is 2deg. negative with 1/16 toe out. Rear is 4deg. negative with zero toe. Tires are Summitomo HTR100 185/60's.
Interior/body mods are; custom fabricated roll bar and harness bar (Thank you Pete!) Front spoiler extension, TR6 oil press. and volt meter, battery kill switch on top of right rear fender.
Future plans are to finish the new body tub, ugrade to GT6 front suspension including TR6 wheel studs, competition rear axles and DOT race rubber.
With the 2004 autocross season coming to a close I am mostly happy with my performance and "Little Blue's". The car ran great, although it oversteered more than I would like. I think the one inch lowering block in the rear is too much. It induces alot of negative camber, in effect not allowing full contact of the tread of the tire. This winter I will have the 1" block machined down to a half inch to gain back some positive camber. My performance will not be as easy of a fix.
I was behind Jimmy in his green Spit by two seconds most of the year, especially on the larger faster courses. Jim has autocrossed for years, done alot of track days and used to race Forumla B "back in the day". The man can drive! About midsummer,after discussions I had with Jim and other experienced drivers, I realized it was fear that was slowing me down. I had bettered Jim's time on smaller/slower courses twice during the year so I knew the cars were fairly equal. I decided to spend one event trying to overcome my fear.
At the next event I focused on two things, braking late and braking hard. Jim had told me "you have to scare yourself". I needed to find out where the threshold was on the brakes and I needed to go much deeper into the turns. During the runs I waited for what seemed like minutes before braking for the turns. When I used the brake, I used it hard! I was locking the tires up in almost all of the turns. I also got out of control and let the car spin, just to see what it would feel like. I was still alive and everything was okay! I tried to keep my inputs to the car aggressive, but smooth. The end result was two clean runs out of five but I was only four tenths behind my arch rival and teacher. Of course we were both about two seconds behind the Volkswagon Golfs in our class, so, no trophy, but I was happy. A second and a half is alot of time.
Next year I am going to try to autocross at least twice a month and perhaps do a track day. For the winter I'll be out in the garage stripping the tub and welding in the floors.
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discussion of all things Triumph!
My Favorite Web Sites
PAGE 2 2005 Season
PAGE 3 Race photos
Page 4 Race Photos
CT Autocross and Rally Team
New England Region SCCA
Spitfire and GT6 Magazine Website
Westchester County Sports Car Club
Brits of the Hudson
Fairfield County Sports Car Club
Top Ten Reasons for Driving a Spitfire