Ford and performance have been synonymous since Hank put Barney Oldfield in the seat of Ford's 999, at the beginning of the last century. Over 100 years later, Ford's performance paradigm has rarely abated, with Shelby-badged vehicles on one end of the showroom and Ford's Raptor on the other end. Overhead– way overhead – the $400,000-and-up Ford GT is sold to the Jay Lenos of the world. While all of that is going on, far off most radars are SCCA Enterprises and its Spec Racer Ford.
If you've paid attention to the various one-make classes and "spec" series over the years, you know some stick (such as Formula Vee and Mazda's Spec Miata), while many don't. The Spec Racer format has stuck, beginning in the mid-1980s as Sport Renault, and morphing into the Spec Racer Ford with the adaptation of a 1.9-liter Ford in the early 1990s. Over a decade after that, SCCA's team introduced a more contemporary 1.6 liter Ford (GEN3, with 132 horsepower) into the mix, now on the cusp of becoming the mainstream engine in the series.
The menu is simple. A tubular frame and sports racing bodywork (aggressively influenced by Can-Am cars of the late '60s) enclose a single seat and, behind the driver, a transversely mounted four cylinder and five-speed manual transmission. Sitting on racing rubber – dry slicks or grooved rain tires – and weighing 1,560 pounds (with driver), the newest Spec Racer Ford is the perfect introduction to racing, or a great long-term relationship for anyone without a beer or pharmaceutical company to underwrite their racing.
Based in Centennial, Colo., and led by president (and long-time Spec Racer driver) Robey Clark, SCCA Enterprises has established the specification of the Spec Racer Ford and is responsible for its design. The engines, transmissions and shock absorbers are sealed by SCCA Enterprises to ensure commonality among all the competitors, although camber, caster, toe, ride height, and corner weights are fully adjustable. All engine rebuilds are done by SCCA Enterprises; those rebuilds allow only a two-horsepower variance between engines as they leave the shop and hit the road course. The Spec Racer Ford series constitutes a driving competition and not an equipment or tech competition.
Ford's involvement gives it an abundance of goodwill, along with a healthy return in sales for Ford Performance. Regrettably, there aren't a lot of street applications for this modified 1.6 liter; people simply buy a Fiesta ST. And while we'd enjoy reporting on how a Spec Racer Ford performs from behind the wheel, calls for a press loan were met with only a smile. Or was it a grimace?
Retail distribution of the Spec Racer Ford is handled by customer service reps throughout the country, most often near track venues. In talking with John Hagerman, the talent behind Hagerman RacEngineering in Maryland, the price for the components – including drivetrain, but not including assembly – is roughly $40,000, plus a handful of options. Powder-coating the chassis can be done for under $1,000, while one-color paint schemes (I'd go with McLaren orange or Sunoco blue) would add another $2,000. Budget between $4,000 and $5,000 for assembly and you're at the cost of a nicely equipped Mustang or a small fraction of the cost of a Ford GT – without, of course, the wait list for a GT. The Spec Racer's basic specs are below, courtesy of SCCA Enterprises. And if you'd enjoy going granular, check it out in detail here.
- Wheelbase: 92"
- Track: Front: 57.5" Rear: 57.75"
- Fuel: Unleaded 93 Octane or greater "pump gas"
- Fuel capacity: Approximately 7 gallons contained in a racing fuel cell
- Brakes: 4-wheel disc, vented rotors, single-piston calipers, cockpit adjustable bias
- Body: Three piece fiberglass
- Approximate Top Speed: 155 mph SRF3, 135 mph SRF
- Wheels: Front: 13x5.5" Rear: 13x7"
- Tires: Hoosier SRF radial: Front – 185 x 13"; Rear – 205 x 13", slick tread for dry tracks and grooved tires for rain