Spec Miata racing has transformed this Florida prep shop
Like many prep shops, Jeff LaBounty started Autotechnik as a car repair business, but as Spec Miata grew more popular, it soon consumed the business – now it’s all he does. “I’ve been doing Spec Miata since 2000,” LaBounty says. “It started with one customer, helping him, then I sold a car and it grew from there. I used to do regular repair work, but the racing got so busy that we stopped. I hired somebody and we do race cars full time now. We probably have 15 customers that are with me all the time, plus we do other competitors’ cars. We do roll cages, we do our own engines, body shop work … we do everything in house; there’s nothing that gets farmed out.”
Those 15 customers are the ones that store their cars at Autotechnik and the ones the shop takes to the track, but LaBounty says he also regularly works with six or eight other racers who bring their cars to the track themselves. This year his customers are mostly racing regional events; he expects that to change next year when the SCCA National Championship Runoffs returns to the East Coast at VIRginia International Raceway, much in the same way the SCCA Majors action was heavy when the Runoffs came to Daytona in 2015.
Autotechnik has three rental cars – two ’99s and a VVT – and will build complete cars, but LaBounty says he doesn’t do many of those. “We can start from scratch, but a lot of times the customers will bring me a car and we’ll do the cage and a couple of other things and give it back to them,” says LaBounty, who has been racing for nearly 40 years himself.
While there are a variety of prep shops on the East Coast and in Florida specializing in Mazda and Spec Miata, LaBounty says there are a couple of things that keep his customers coming back to Autotechnik. “Honesty and giving them what they paid for are the two main things I concentrate on,” he explains. “We try to make them happy, we try to see their side of things, and we stand behind the work we do. Honesty is a big part of that – we tell them straight up what’s going on.”
Cape Coral, Fla.