Xavier Calderon started in the NASA HPDE program 13 years ago and his risen through the ranks to earn three regional championships in PTE and a third-place ﬁnish in the 2012 National Championships. He instructed for eight years, and in 2016 replaced John Mueller as the National Director for Spec Miata.
In that time, Calderon has made some moves to correct performance disparities for 1.6-liter cars and NA 1.8-liter cars. We caught up with him to see what he has on his plate these days.
Q: Did you have any initial reservations about taking the reigns of the largest car class in amateur racing?
A: Absolutely. Spec Miata has a proven history of hosting a vast array of amazing talent and some of the largest fields in the country. It’s an honor to be a part of this class and to help scope its future.
Q: What have been the biggest surprises since you took over as the National Director of Spec Miata?
A: Two things come to mind.
1. The amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to make things happen. The logistical issues are dynamic and the repercussions substantial when done wrong.
- How fun and diverse the Spec Miata community is. We draw every type of racer, budget to baller. I love every bit of it and make it a point to listen to everyone.
Q: You’re working on the Eastern and Western States Championships right now. What’s that been like?
A: At the moment, more stressful than expected. I believe in our product and am excited to bring everyone together at our growing events. NASA gives a really simple ladder approach for anyone looking to become a pro. With that being said, having Spec Miata experience clearly gives the winner an edge over most other classes considering the relative level of competition required to win. A perfect example would be the events where the first 15 spots are all less than 1 second apart in fastest lap time. That level of precision driving is just crazy to think about. It’s not uncommon for people to be fighting for tenths of a second.
Q: What kind of changes to Spec Miata rules for the first three generations of cars can we expect in the near future?
A: The short answer is we’ll see. I have worked hard to try to keep the line of communication open between competitors and myself. This is why my email address is at the very top of the rulebook. I welcome all comments/compliments from competitors. At every event I attend, I always ask competitors their opinion of where we’re at and what they’d like to see. This is a racer’s class and while I am a voice, I believe that I should never lose sight of who really has the major stake in what should happen: the racing community. Hopefully this article will draw attention to this open channel and more people will send me their concerns about where they would like to see the class go.
Q: You’ve been working on ways to integrate the NC Miata into Spec Miata. Can you comment on that?
Fantastic question. I have received mixed feedback on this topic. In an ideal world, after every generational improvement to the Miata, we could easily add it to this mix of competition. However, it is a delicate issue and we want to get it as precise as possible if we choose to go this route. I have been collecting quite a bit of data on the NC platform. Being the nerdy mathematics computer engineer that I am, it has been fun trying to come up with a plan of attack to find a theoretical balance.