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Old 07-15-2015, 05:44 PM   #15
MicheleAbbate
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rice_classic View Post
@MicheleAbbate

I love this, I love everything about this. I like watching grassroots racers living the dream. I like watching women win in this sport as well, the more the merrier. Congrats! I watched the in-car race (all of it) @ Pacific Raceways since that's my home track and the battle with the Mustang was fun to watch.. nice pass, nice win!

I have some logistics questions about STU, the potential of the FRS and the popularity of the class if you're willing.

You ran 12 races with 5 being dropped. The championship being based on the best 7 finishes. What is the reasoning for settling on 7 to determine the championship? Specifically the number 7.

Your closest points competitor did a total of 8 races (so 1 drop) and everyone did 6 or fewer events. That's a pretty thin herd. Do you see STU growing or shrinking? There's lot of people (55) but very few put together a championship run, do you think that will change?

It appears you've done well garnering support and sponsorship which I'd like to know as much about as you're willing but more importantly, how much did this endeavor as whole cost? Racing is fun but I think few folks understand the monumental time/money reality of it. I understand if you don't want to divulge.

Finally.. speed potential of the car and the class? Going back to the Pacific Raceways video I see the times being set were between 1:38's and 1:40's and I understand you were door-to-door for most of it therefore I know you're probably 2 seconds faster. I ask this because the fast ITA/SpecMiata/H4 cars turn 1:38-1:40's which leads me to believe that STU is faster but probably not by a significant margin? Or do you feel that the FRS still has more speed potential to be found in STU trim?

Thanks in advance for whatever time you to take to respond and congrats once more!



edit: I ask these questions because I have been thinking about other cars and classes to race in when I eventually get bored of what I'm currently racing and STU and the FRS (and S2000) are all on the short list of considerations.
First of all, thanks for your support and for watching the (long but entertaining) race!!

I'm happy to answer and and all questions that you have - so thanks for asking them.

I am not certain why they choose the best 7 races. For regional divisions they take your best 8 races and for nationwide points standings they take your best 7.

The FRS can be classed into several SCCA classings (EP, GT3, GTL, STU, T4, and now, thanks to my team, STL). It was unfortunate for our team that our car was built in 2014 for the NASA USTCC Pro series, because a lot of our (non-power) mods threw us into STU. STU is pretty much a powerhouse class that allows motors swaps and FI. Our FRS is so extremely underpowered [for STU] but we were lucky with our consistent podium finishes to gain some good points. As for things changing - yes. I think a lot will change. Right now the FRS is only allowed to run the JR supercharger in STU, i think with time, other options will be made available as manufacturers dig into the SCCA racing world. For example, after our first event at Auto Club Speedway I submitted a letter requesting the legality of running in STL, a slower class than STU - this was finally approved this month but with a high min. weight). Also, there were many more STU cars on the west coast competing last year bc runoffs were at laguna seca, as opposed to Daytona this year (go look at all the STU cars on the east coast).

Sponsorship is the toughest bit, and it is never easy. I'd be happy to get into this topic further on PMs because it is easier to answer individual questions, rather than a whole generic paragraph about getting money and supporting companies. I can't even begin to total the amounts of money I have spent (personally) to get to where I am and even to just campaign in this series this year. As some of you know, I raised over $13,000.00 to help fund this season in SCCA, and we never bought a new set of tires. Everything we did was very very low budget and it is proof that no matter what you can do something, even if it seems impossible (much like winning the STU championship with a NA FRS).

STU is definitely NOT the correct class for an NA FRS. But like I said, due to our mods - mostly weight reduction components, we were immediately classed for STU. At this point, in my opinion, the best place for the FRS with how the rules are currently written, T4 would be the place I would start if I could've started from scratch (I would've saved a lot of money but wouldn't have been able to utilize all the partnerships we currently have).

Hope this helps!

Quote:
Originally Posted by King Tut View Post
That is a very thin heard. Of the races that Michele attended these were the STU participation numbers:

5
4
2
3
3
3

Guaranteed podium in 4 out of the 6 race weekends. They did have 14 at SIR where a couple older Hondas dominated. NOLA had 7 where a BMW E46 dominated.

I am not sure where you pulled those numbers but just for reference here is the list of participation numbers for each event:


Jan. 16-18 - Auto Club Speedway
5 saturday and 4 sunday

March 21-22 – Chuckwalla Valley Raceway
4 saturday and 4 sunday

April 11-12 – Thunderhill Raceway Park
2 saturday and 2 sunday

May 1-3 - Buttonwillow Raceway Park
4 saturday and 4 sunday

May 23-25 - Pacific Raceway
3 saturday and 3 sunday

July 3-5 - Portland International Raceway, Portland, Ore.
3 saturday and 5 sunday

For clarity, I am in no way saying this is a large field by any means, but I do think it is a strong point to say we never finished without someone behind us except for the first race of the year and at Thunderhill because of the low turn out - and that is a huge feat especially in STU. Our car needs a lot of work to be in the front of the STU field competitively - but we can only do the best with what we have and you still have to finish a race to get the points, so as our debut year in the SCCA I am pretty damn proud of how we did and to keep a race car maintained to finished 40+ minute races is an accomplishments in itself. There's nothing more frustrating than not being able to take a checkered flag, and I'm always proud to finish any race, it doesn't matter what position we're in.
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Old 07-15-2015, 05:47 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by King Tut View Post
That is a very thin heard. Of the races that Michele attended these were the STU participation numbers:

5
4
2
3
3
3

Guaranteed podium in 4 out of the 6 race weekends. They did have 14 at SIR where a couple older Hondas dominated. NOLA had 7 where a BMW E46 dominated. With this points structure of dropping so many races and only 7 races counting, what happens if 2 racers each only did 7 races and won each of those 7 races. Who gets the championship? Looks like there are still 6 more weekends, so I guess the championship is still way up in the air for anyone that wants to show up.
Noticed you edited. Yes the national championship is definitely still up for grabs. I never said I won it, just leading it.

I won the Western Conference Division SCCA US Majors Tour Series and I am leading points in the Nationwide championship for STU.
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Old 07-15-2015, 05:48 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeanRTR View Post
Many may not realize that while the STU classed cars are not abundant, she's still on track with a full group of cars from other classes. Likely 25-50+ car run groups.


I'd be curious to details of the full build. Please keep us posted on your progress.
There is nothing done to our motor except for intake, headers, and exhaust. We have a tune for e85, which gives us great power, but e85 is illegal in the SCCA.

We have a ton of suspension mods, weight reduction, and ummm that's about it.
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Old 07-15-2015, 05:52 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Locust View Post
Even if there is only 1, 3, or 5 competitors in a class winning is still winning. You can't control who else shows up and you can't be blamed for their attendance. It's not easy to show up every event ready to race; especially when the events are all over the country.

Congrats on the championship!
This, exactly. Thank you for this comment, and thanks for appreciating something that a lot of people take for granted. Racing isn't easy and being in a competitive platform is even harder.

I'm so grateful for you and people like you and @DAEMANO who can appreciate the uphill battles we face as pioneers of the chassis with such limited funding. It's a part of our story that really motivates me and makes me proud to be doing what we can with what we have.
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Old 07-15-2015, 06:16 PM   #19
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congratulation as well. The car looks fantastic and it must have been a hell lot of work to put such a venture together and even more to make it successful ! RESPECT

Do you have a build journal on your car ? I see the engine is pretty much stock aside of the exhaust and intake, can you detail the chassis mods you have done to it ?
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Old 07-15-2015, 06:51 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by philooo View Post
congratulation as well. The car looks fantastic and it must have been a hell lot of work to put such a venture together and even more to make it successful ! RESPECT

Do you have a build journal on your car ? I see the engine is pretty much stock aside of the exhaust and intake, can you detail the chassis mods you have done to it ?
Thanks very much. We even vinyl wrapped it ourselves #budgetracing

I started a build journal when we first started with the car last year, you can find it here:

http://www.ft86club.com/forums/showthread.php?t=58531

As for chassis mods, here's my most up-to-date list that should cover about everything suspension-wise:

Wedsport SA-10R Wheels 18x8
ARP Wheels Studs
Muteki Extended Lug Nuts
AST Suspension prepared by MANN Engineering
Whiteline Front and Rear Sway bar
Whiteline Front and Rear Endlinks
Whiteline Rear brace
Whiteline Anti-dive/caster Correction Kit
Whiteline Roll Center Bump Steer Kit
Whiteline Rack and Pinion Bushing
Whiteline Rear Camber Correction Bushing
Whiteline Rear Control Arm Bushings Camber Correction Kit
Whiteline Rear Crossmember Bushings
Whiteline Gearbox Bushing
GTSPEC Rear Adjustable Camber Arms
GTSPEC Rear Adjustable Toe Arms
GTSPEC Rear Subframe CNC Reinforcement Panels
GTSPEC Rear Trailing Arms
GTSPEC Rear Lower Subframe Reinforced Tie Brace
GTSPEC Rear Lower T Brace
GTSPEC Front 4 Point Ladder Brace
GTSPEC 3 Point Front Strut Tower Support Brace
WinMax W4 Brake Pads
Driveway Labs Type 3 Diffuser
APR Brake Ducts
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Old 07-15-2015, 07:27 PM   #21
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so you manage to race just fine with the brake ducts and some OEM caliper !
that is good to know
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Old 07-15-2015, 07:29 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philooo View Post
so you manage to race just fine with the brake ducts and some OEM caliper !
that is good to know
Absolutely. I love my brake set up, they even lasted for our entire 2 hour endurance race. I just wish they weren't so damn heavy.
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Old 07-15-2015, 08:25 PM   #23
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Off topic, Michele, but I gotta tell ya, Sunday at the Olympia meet, my wife and I were both quite moved by how personable and generous you were. Spending all day with us yahoos? Sister, you are truly a class act. I wish you all the best.
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Old 07-15-2015, 08:34 PM   #24
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Off topic, Michele, but I gotta tell ya, Sunday at the Olympia meet, my wife and I were both quite moved by how personable and generous you were. Spending all day with us yahoos? Sister, you are truly a class act. I wish you all the best.
Thanks so much for the comment and thanks for coming out to support Toyota of Olympia! I loved being a part of the event and helping out the enthusiasts of our platform and racing in general.
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Old 07-15-2015, 08:53 PM   #25
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Congratulations! I love your car
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Old 07-15-2015, 08:53 PM   #26
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I am glad I upgraded to the sprint kit and not the endurance kit so at least I get some weight savings, if not it seem the stock caliper are perfectly able to do the job. bah I hope I'll save on pads over time, at least they look cool

did you log your oil pressure / temperature and fuel pressure during the races ?
I am curious to know if you experienced any trouble in that department.

what kind of oil are you running ?
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Old 07-15-2015, 09:21 PM   #27
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@MicheleAbbate

Thank you for taking the time. Thanks for the being willing to discuss financials in PM.
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Old 07-16-2015, 10:01 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by DAEMANO View Post
No matter the format, this is Michele's team. She's not only the driver. She's the owner. She has put the right people in place, the consistency, and resources (time, money, expertise), and leadership to achieve a series win.

I know you have some experience Tut. I don't question your expertise. With that being the case you know that sometimes even showing up and being able to run the full weekend can be a challenge. She's experienced too. She certainly can drive and has the 1st place (not just podium) finishes to back that up. She's also achieved something here that not many of us have in a platform we love. Good on her for building a career of it. The props and encouragement are deserved. I definitely wish her luck in winning the national championship.
I don't want you to think I was downplaying her team or her strategy. I was just looking into the numbers that @rice_classic was asking about. I prefer to race in large fields where you know you will always have someone to race with whether that is racing for first, mid pack, or last. If you don't have someone to race, then it is really just hot lapping. That isn't the way to win championships or keep sponsors happy though, but I am just an amateur racer fighting for a plastic trophy and maybe some Toyo bucks.
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