Television meteorologist David Biggar races Spec Miata, and sometimes work and hobby go hand in hand
David Biggar loves the rain. Not only because it makes his job as a meteorologist for KNBC in Los Angeles more interesting, but also because his best races and finishes in Spec Miata have come in the wet. “I’m a meteorologist at NBC4 Los Angeles and I’ve been working there for almost four years now,” says Biggar. “I used to work up in the Sacramento area at another NBC station, and a couple of years ago one of my best friends, Phillip Holifield – who’s a really great Spec Miata driver – got me into this whole, ‘Hey, lets take your car to the track,’ thing, so I did a track day in a regular sedan.
“[Holifield’s] dad was the one who decided to buy a Spec Miata,” Biggar continues. “We kind of crewed for him for a season, then Phil started driving, and I said, ‘This is too fun to pass up.’ So I decided to start driving right after that. I’ve been [racing] since.”
That was about eight years ago, and Biggar still does most of his racing in Northern California at tracks like Sonoma Raceway, Laguna Seca and Thunderhill, although he did recently enter the SCCA Hoosier Racing Tire Super Tour at Buttonwillow. The Sunday morning race at Buttonwillow was one where his knowledge and interest in weather came into play.
“There’s a lot of science and math [in meteorology] and some of that translates over into the race car,” he says. “[Meteorology] is obviously a lot of forecasting and studying weather patterns – we go to college to get a degree in atmospheric science or meteorology. One thing I’ve noticed translates to Spec Miata is track temperature and how it’s affecting the engine performance and tires. [The Sunday race at Buttonwillow] was kind of interesting because during part of our race, we suddenly got a bunch of clouds covering the track, so parts of the track were under pretty good shade. It wasn’t making too much of a difference, but it’s that kind of stuff that interests me; I have a huge fascination with small changes and how they affect things.”
Biggar’s proudest moment behind the wheel came in being part of the E3-winning RA Motorsports team at the 2017 NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill. The prior year, their sister car won the race and his team was running in the top three until they lost an engine. The 2016 race was one where his meteorology skills definitely came into play in helping the car run at the front.
“Two years ago, I predicted we’re looking at rain coming in,” he recalls. “I had just done my first stint and I was trying to sleep before my night stint and they called me out and said, ‘Hey, we need some help, it might be raining.’ So I had Doppler open and I started kind of working through the forecast. ‘OK guys, this is just a little bit of rain; if we can survive on slicks, we’ll be OK.’ So we decided to stay out while all of our competitors came in and changed to rain tires. It dried up for about an hour and everybody’s rain tires got torn to pieces, but we were still out there on slicks and we set some good lap times. Then the main rain came, which we were expecting. That kind of put us on top, which we were very happy about.”
Biggar says in addition to the competition, he loves the camaraderie of the Spec Miata paddock and the way everybody helps out like family. Spare parts are no problem, because if one guy doesn’t have it, another will. And if somebody has a big problem, everybody is there to lend a hand. He says he also loves the support from Mazda.
If you make it out to the SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Sonoma this year, keep an eye out for Biggar and his Spec Miata with the NBC Peacock logo on it. He’ll be the one hoping for rain.