Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A Spec Series is traditionally a racing series of boats, planes, or automobiles where all the competitors race in nearly identical vehicles. Spec series are also known as "one design class". A spec series or one design class with a common design is considered necessary by some for racing classes, so that competition is based on skill, rather than the design table. Perhaps the most famous example of this would be NASCAR in the United States. While NASCAR is a rather large and expensive organization to race within, spec series are popular because they often bring down the cost of non-consumables, such as the chassis, engine, or sails through economies of scale. Many amateur racing leauges follow the spec model in order to insure participation remains affordable to the teams. Spec Miata advertises the total introductory cost of their series as being $10,000 US, which is comparatively cheap next to $157,000 for a SCCA Club Sport T1 division race car.
Common Spec Series include:
- Spec Miata
- Puddle Duck Racers
- Windmill Sailboats
- Factory Five Racing Challenge
- Radical Sports Cars
- Rotax Max
Examples of Non-Spec Series
Car spec series tend to be more ridgid in their specifications. Spec Miata, for example, requires that the car retain its original transmission, rear differential, and chassis. Racing engines are expected to self destruct after so many races, so engines are replacable, but must come from the factory unmodified. In addition, you must use a specific adjustible shocks and springs, and tires from a specific manufacturer. Wheel rims may of driver's choice, but must be 14 in (356 mm) in diameter, and weigh no less than 14 lb (6 kg) each. While some minor suspension tuning is possible, this requires the series to be based almost entirely on driver skill and preperation. Others, like NASCAR and the Factory Five Racing Challenge allow you to select any engine, shock and spring combination from any vendor. In these spec series, a displacement, power and/or torque limit is often selected to limit variation in the equipment.
Sail boat spec series usually require you to buy a boat from a vendor such as Catalina, or build your own according to published hull design, but the mast, rigging and sail are up to the team/pilot.
Spec series is also used occasionally as sarcasm. For example the 2004 SCCA Club Racing T1 division was often referred to as "Spec Z06", as the T1 division was dominated by Corvette Z06 models.
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