FITT Miata Tuner Challenge Hosted by Keith “Motor City” Hamilton I have to say thank you to my friends in FITT for allowing me the honor of hosting this Miata tuner challenge. I spent an hour looking through six years of photos from racing in the SCCA Spec Miata series and a flood of really great memories came over me. I cannot wait for all of this snow to melt and for the 2014 racing season to start. I have two sets of new tires just waiting to be abused. First, I had a mission in mind when I picked the cars and the four classes. Mazda has been very active in the United States at trying to develop a ladder system from beginner to pro for road racing. Most of the professional racing drivers in the U.S., well, at least the ones who can actually make a good living from it, all drive in circles. Yep, NASCAR, with a large audience made up of beer bellied hillbillies that drive large television ratings because, well, who watches a lot of TV. Road racing fans who once called Speed Channel home on Sunday afternoons are now left to hunt the internet to find any legal or illegal stream of road racing, just to get our fix since Speed became the Ultimate Fighting Championship network. That was the day I cancelled cable, but I digress. So, I built this tuning challenge to somewhat mirror the spirit of Mazda’s ladder program. Beginners start out in Spec Miata and work their way up through faster cars to finally reach the ranks of pro road racing. Tuners may pick any two of the four classes, but Spec Miata is reserved for beginners. FITT tuner challenge podium finishers from the past may only pick from the top three groups. SCCA Spec Miata Spec Miata is designed to give the average Joe the opportunity to go road racing on a budget. It is possible to find a donor car (maybe dead in your work parking lot) and give it a second life as a race car. I like to think that my Miata is enjoying its second life way better than its first. If you have even basic skills with wrenches, a Spec Miata can be built in one's home garage. It is as much about family as it is about the racing. The racing is real. With fields of 25, 35, 45 and even up to 80 cars, we line up, wheel to wheel, driver against driver and somehow, usually, all make it through turn one. Road racing was a dream of mine since I was a small child. I have raced slot cars, BMX, go karts, remote controlled, video games, autocross and then finally, at the age of 35, I realized that childhood dream and went road racing. It is a ton of work... but it is ohhhh soooo worth it.