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Last Post 17 Sep 2015 04:54 PM by  HorsePower2
My Letter to the SEB RE: A Place for Affordable FWD Cars
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twistedwankel
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21 Feb 2015 08:32 PM

"So, it gets down to how much do you want to spend to have fun? "

Well, I've been around along time and .... now you've got it....except it's "How much do you want to spend to WIN?"

It's always been that way. Or borrow a "trick" car.
LASTNDN
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22 Feb 2015 07:27 AM
LOL. Yeah, I suppose you're right!
Grintch
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27 Feb 2015 12:39 PM
So after we get 3 FWD drive classes, how many AWD classes will we need?

I agree that older cars often get screwed in classing, they get put in a class when they are new and they rarely if ever get moved. Even as those classes typically get faster over time. So class the cars, old & new, based on performance potential, and stop worrying about if they are pony cars, sports cars, FWD, AWD, or RWD.
sjfehr
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27 Feb 2015 03:06 PM

Posted By Grintch on 27 Feb 2015 12:39 PM
So after we get 3 FWD drive classes, how many AWD classes will we need?

I agree that older cars often get screwed in classing, they get put in a class when they are new and they rarely if ever get moved. Even as those classes typically get faster over time. So class the cars, old & new, based on performance potential, and stop worrying about if they are pony cars, sports cars, FWD, AWD, or RWD.
When we try to fit a large number of cars into a small number of classes, some cars will be winners and some will be losers. The only way to reasonably accommodate all cars is to add a whole lot more classes, and that's not likely to happen given present national classing philosophies.

Grouping cars of similar type considerably helps reduce course dependency, which is an important factor when using the same classing set at a huge variety of sites and a huge variety of course designs.
Grintch
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27 Feb 2015 04:34 PM
The problem is similar type often does not mean similar performance. But it would be popular with the "we have too many classses folks". As we could replace the 9 Street classes with 3 (RWD, AWD, & FWD or maybe 2 door, 4 door, & 5 door/hatch).

Starting from the begining/top of the list. The 2015 Z06 is legal for SS. How many cars on the "excessive speed" exclusion list are slower, just about all of them. Then in the legal SS list you have older cars that have no chance, the Mustang Cobra R's being a great example.
Nathan Atkins
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10 Mar 2015 01:08 AM

Posted By Grintch on 27 Feb 2015 04:34 PM
or maybe 2 door, 4 door, & 5 door/hatch


where does that put my 2+0.5*2 door RX-8? ;-)

TeamRX8
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13 Mar 2015 06:37 AM

Posted By <a href='http://www.sccaforums.com/user-profile/userid/21153' class='af-profile-link'>HorsePower2</a> on 10 Feb 2015 08:31 PM

"I am concerned about the direction that car classing in the Street category is taking. I am concerned that the emphasis on creating de facto spec classes that intentionally feature the new cars and bury the old ones will ultimately hurt participation in the sport.


Your entire premise is based on a false statement. There is no "taking". The direction is the same one that has always existed. If this were true it would have died 10, 20, 30, etc. years ago. Sometimes members leave for the reasons you state, but you fail to recognize that new members also come for the same reasons.

However, if you feel that strongly about the situation then here is my suggestion. Take a leadership role in your region and as permitted in the rulebook establish these classes at the local level. Afterall, a letter is only a bunch of words. If you can successfully prove that your idea works there then it will gain much more consideration than just having an idea and expecting someone else to act on it. Not only is ladership by example is the strongest statement you can ever make, it's the very foundation that our club is built on.
HorsePower2
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22 Mar 2015 06:28 PM
Your entire premise is based on a false statement. There is no "taking". The direction is the same one that has always existed. If this were true it would have died 10, 20, 30, etc. years ago. Sometimes members leave for the reasons you state, but you fail to recognize that new members also come for the same reasons.

However, if you feel that strongly about the situation then here is my suggestion. Take a leadership role in your region and as permitted in the rulebook establish these classes at the local level. Afterall, a letter is only a bunch of words. If you can successfully prove that your idea works there then it will gain much more consideration than just having an idea and expecting someone else to act on it. Not only is ladership by example is the strongest statement you can ever make, it's the very foundation that our club is built on.


My premise is that the current classing philosophy in Street completely disregards older fwd cars and people who can't or won't spend $20,000 or more on a car but still want to be competitive in fwd. You seem to be ok with driving those people away in favor of others who want to own the current brand new "it" car. I happen to believe that there should be a way to accommodate both groups. I also believe that there is more than one way to make this happen; my proposal was simply the way that seemed to cause the least disruption to the current classing structure.

Regarding your suggestion of creating the class in my home region, I would like to know of the new classes created nationally over the past 5-8 years (CAM-C/S/T, STF, STR, SMF), how many of those came about in this manner? If I'm not mistaken, STR was created largely due to member request. I'm not sure about the others, because I'm not on the inside loop. I've always heard that "if you don't like the way things are in the club, write your letter" so I did. And I published it online for the sake of fostering discussion about the idea. Even if I did pursue the route you suggest, I am from a very small region; a class of 4 or 5 is considered a large and well-subscribed class for us. I hardly think a sample size of 4 or 5 individuals would sway the powers that be nationally, even though it would be a large datapoint locally.
BLoring
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05 Jun 2015 02:46 PM
HorsePower2,

Sorry for being late to the party. I appreciate your letter, and your willingness to put it out here on the forum.

I think the other thing that is being left out, is how course designs are changing to accommodate these newer, heavier, higher horsepower cars. National level courses from the last few years seem to have much lower focus on transitions and handling, in favor of high-speed sweepers and long acceleration zones. The Celica (for example) could still be a competitive car in GS if the national level courses were more in line with the more transition heavy designs that we had 4+ years ago. But those course designs favored cars that can turn.
ragingti
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06 Sep 2015 02:16 PM
Isn't STF already the answer? I bought a used Fit for a DD. I had stopped autocrossing for a few years. I thought I'd try the Fit out just for fun. Fast forward a couple years I've done enough mods to be fun but still be my DD and locally I PAX top 20 most of the time. It's was cheap to buy, is now paid off and most of the parts I've bought are a tenth of the price compared to new car mods($1000 exhausts etc).
OZMDD
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11 Sep 2015 03:38 PM
First, HS is still the home of the long-time-champ base Mini, which can be had for under $5k even in the R56 models. You can be competitive in some other older HS cars as well, though few do it.
STF offers a slew of options that can be bought and prepped on a shoestring budget, including the Fit, Civic Si (reigning champ), Mini, RSX, etc.
Several of the trophy cars in STS the last 2 years are sub $5k builds, tires included. Civics and CRX's. The Miata is always a cheap option, though not FWD. DelSol's are gaining popularity as well.
GS includes the previous gen GTI, the Neon SRT4, etc.
DS includes older WRX's, Cooper S', etc.

I don't see your argument as valid in any way, and I'm sure I've overlooked a ton of options.

Second: if your budget is limited to a couple thousand dollars, there is NO form of motorsports for you. It doesn't have to cost 5 figures, but you're gonna need to be in the 4-figures annually if you plan to race anything besides pinewood derby cars.
170-3tree
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12 Sep 2015 12:41 AM

Posted By OZMDD on 11 Sep 2015 03:38 PM

Second: if your budget is limited to a couple thousand dollars, there is NO form of motorsports for you. It doesn't have to cost 5 figures, but you're gonna need to be in the 4-figures annually if you plan to race anything besides pinewood derby cars.



This. I felt like a turd after my first few races in my Chevy Cruze. If you're looking for national level quality, after the you is in good order, you need a car that CAN compete. I know my car isn't competitive, but I'm not looking for a new class even in dsp. I'll best myself until I can't, and by then, I should be able to afford a car that won't make my entry fee a joke. Every time I read these posts, I feel like what everyone is asking for is to have an individual pax index for THEIR car rather than a cluster class system. It would be cheaper for scca to buy cars for certain classes and loan them out than spend the man hours making my car look like a fiesta St or mini.
HorsePower2
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17 Sep 2015 04:54 PM
OZMDD, I acknowledge your opinions and appreciate your input, but I think you are missing some important details.


Posted By OZMDD on 11 Sep 2015 03:38 PM
First, HS is still the home of the long-time-champ base Mini, which can be had for under $5k even in the R56 models. You can be competitive in some other older HS cars as well, though few do it.


If they had only moved the other GS also-rans but not the Fiesta ST, I would agree with you that there are affordable and competitive options in HS and wouldn't have had to write my letter. I have looked at performance specs of the Mini and cars reclassed into HS for 2015, including the FiST, and on paper I don't see how the FiST is not the clear overdog. How long do you really expect the Mini to remain the car to have in HS? Historically, when a new potential overdog is let into a class, the old car-to-have has a year or two of staying at or near the top because the old car has a sorted, defined setup, and the optimal set-up for the new car is still being determined. The new cars tend to get faster after a year or two because the setup is figured out and more performance parts become available. The Toyota Celica won GS the first year the Focus ST was let in (2013). Not so the following year (2014), and in 2015, none even showed up short of the lone one in GSL. When the C5 Corvettes came out in 1997, the C4 retained the advantage for a couple years. Ask anyone now which is better for autocross heads-up, the C4 or C5. Do you really think anyone is going to legitimately claim it's the C4? One of the old-timers in our region talks about when DOT-R compounds first came out. The old bias ply slicks were considered faster initially because folks didn't know how to set up or drive the R compounds. Where are the bias plies now? They've been eclipsed, of course, just like the older cars that are buried under new overdogs.

STF offers a slew of options that can be bought and prepped on a shoestring budget, including the Fit, Civic Si (reigning champ), Mini, RSX, etc.


The reigning champ STF Civic Si was hardly prepped on what I would call a shoestring budget. Just the suspension on that car is completely custom set-up that was sorted through computer modeling plus extensive field testing because the ride height and amount of shock travel played such a critical part in making it work. If you have a ton of free time, the right contacts, and a degree in automotive engineering, maybe you can replicate it without spending a lot of cash; the rest of us had better be prepared to write a very large check. I've done some builds on paper for some of the other cars. Except for the Mini, most of the cars are econoboxes that lack good off-the-shelf aftermarket support for ST* type mods. As for the RSX-S - have you tried shopping for one? I have. Very hard to find, and harder still to find one in decent shape for under 10k. There's now a FastTrack out asking for member comment about moving them to STX. Once STF has been around longer, parts availability improves, and partly prepped cars start popping up for sale, it may become affordable. With the current volatility, it's not very affordable nationally, unless your goal is to slap on some coilovers and play regionally rather than nationally.

Several of the trophy cars in STS the last 2 years are sub $5k builds, tires included. Civics and CRX's. The Miata is always a cheap option, though not FWD. DelSol's are gaining popularity as well.


I had an STS Miata and also an ST Civic Si. It is impossible to fit two adults, their clothes, and racing gear (jack, torque wrench, air gauge, air tank, water sprayer, helmets, etc) into an NA Miata unless you plan to wear the same outfit every day and the passenger straddles the air tank the whole way there. Extra tires? Not happening. We tried a tire trailer for a while, but after blowing up our first diff shortly after we started towing with it, we decided that it wasn't worth the extra wear and tear. The Civic had enough room to haul its own tires, but it was neither reliable nor livable to drive long distances to and from events. Of the 8 events I took my Civic to during the 1 season I owned it, it suffered catastrophic break-down at 6 of those (overheating, spun bearings, rod knock, exhaust failure, etc.). It was cheap to purchase, but definitely not cheap to own considering the time and money spent to keep it running. I would've run more events that year, but the car was on jack stands awaiting an engine swap most of the time. STS cars are too old not to trailer to out-of-town events, IMO, so then you're out the cost of a tow vehicle and trailer, too. 8-12 year old cars are a nice nexus between cost and reliability, IMO, but the cars in STS are twice that age.


GS includes the previous gen GTI, the Neon SRT4, etc.
DS includes older WRX's, Cooper S', etc.


Sooo, why do you seldom see those cars out competing nationally? Maybe it's because they're overclassed where they stand. Which is the crux of my complaint: the older, affordable FWD cars are all buried in the Street classes.

Second: if your budget is limited to a couple thousand dollars, there is NO form of motorsports for you. It doesn't have to cost 5 figures, but you're gonna need to be in the 4-figures annually if you plan to race anything besides pinewood derby cars.


This year I raced all season including 4 track days (flagged and worked grid to make them cheap) and autocross 2-3 times per month from April-September. I drove the car to every event except nationals (bc I had a truck and trailer available and nobody else from my region was going so I had no backup if something happened to go wrong). All my spares and gear easily fit in the car. I used last year's competition tires for the track days and bought 1 set of new Bridgestones for $550 for autocross. I bought a set of new to me used DA shocks for $800. I could've skipped the shocks, but it was too good of a deal to pass up. Maintenance amounted to a few oil changes, a new paper air filter, and an alignment before nats. Affordable and reliable, no degree in automotive engineering required, and no pesky splinters from pinewood derby. But alas, with the FoiSTs taking over GS and HS, it appears that I'd better hit the lottery or switch to balsa wood if I want to keep racing competitively.
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