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Last Post 23 Jan 2001 06:41 PM by  Ken Grammer
Road Racing evolution...
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racer-john
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02 Jan 2001 10:06 AM
    In years past the SCCA has grown and expanded its Road Racing classes to suit the needs of the membership. At some point we crossed a line and now the general consensus is that we have too many classes. I agree that creating new classes has attracted new racers but at this point we must now look at extending the value and reward of racing with the SCCA. Here in the NE, and I’ve been told out west, so many classes means very limited track time. With the advent of alternatives such as NASA and such, we may shortly be loosing members who see a greater value there. I know I’ve been tempted!

    Because this forum is open to all SCCA Road Racing classes I ask you this:
    What classes can we consolidate?
    What classes should we dissolve?
    What classes can we create to attract new racers?
    Is there another solution?

    I know that dropping classes is not going to be popular to those affected but I would hope that the overall health of our club would out weigh the wants of a few members.


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    John W.
    EP 2nd. gen Rx-7
    GR-93
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    02 Jan 2001 11:10 AM
    [QUOTE]Originally posted by racer-john:
    [b]In years past the SCCA has grown and expanded its Road Racing classes to suit the needs of the membership. At some point we crossed a line and now the general consensus is that we have too many classes. I agree that creating new classes has attracted new racers but at this point we must now look at extending the value and reward of racing with the SCCA. Here in the NE, and I’ve been told out west, so many classes means very limited track time. With the advent of alternatives such as NASA and such, we may shortly be loosing members who see a greater value there. I know I’ve been tempted!

    Because this forum is open to all SCCA Road Racing classes I ask you this:
    What classes can we consolidate?
    What classes should we dissolve?
    What classes can we create to attract new racers?
    Is there another solution?

    I know that dropping classes is not going to be popular to those affected but I would hope that the overall health of our club would out weigh the wants of a few members.


    [/b]


    I think you are treading on some very thin ice when you start discussing class reductions and eliminations. I understand the problem with respect to crowded fields and limited track time, unfortunately being in a position were someones financial lifes investment (with respect to racing equipment, cars, engines, etc),..is about to be ruined simply is not the answer,..unless you would like to be the first to volunteer your class? Maybe attacking the problem from a different angle would be more beneficial such as re-evaluating track times and alternating race-weekends? Just a thought,...
    racer-john
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    02 Jan 2001 01:59 PM
    You're very right, I as a low budget racer would be the last to ask someone to throw away thier investment but on the other hand I don't think its wrong to request people to change with the times. The point is to maintain the current level of participation but with fewer classes and greater track time. Alternating race weekends is a great idea. I know the fomula guys don't dig us guys with fenders anyway SCCAForums Image.

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    John W.
    EP 2nd. gen Rx-7
    Ken Grammer
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    02 Jan 2001 09:03 PM
    John:

    I happen to also agree that we have too many classes. And in IT, we seem bent on creating even more spec classes each year.

    I recently made a proposal to the comp board requesting that we investigate creating what I called Regional Challenge and National Challenge. The idea would be to mirror these two new classes after World Challenge. I don't think I'm the first person to have or suggest this idea.

    My proposal was targeted only at non-GT sedan classes, including AS which I compete in now. I suggested including existing classes as "makes" for a period of something like five years. World Challenge did this a few years ago by calling "SCCA American Sedan" and I believe they do it now with "Ferrari Challenge" cars.

    I also happen to agree that any talk of reducing classes will ultimately be met with a lot of resistence. But I believe that it is something that we will eventually be forced into doing. The large number of classes, with many seeming to be reducndant at first look, makes it very difficult for newcomers to grasp what we offer.

    The second reason I like structuring regional and national sedan classes after World Challenge is that it would give a regional guy a "pro" package to buy or build and run all the way from regional, through nationals and into the pro ranks. With costs constantly increasing, I feel that giving our club members as much bang for their racing buck as possible should be a big priority.

    I could go on for pages, but suffice it to say that I believe that for the SCCA to compete against some of the newer racing organizations (like NASA and now many vintage groups) we are simply going to be forced to simplify and offer bigger fields with more exciting racing and a bigger bang for our members investments.

    But that's just my opinion. I fully expect to get trounced in the national opinion poles even with numerous recounts SCCAForums Image.


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    Ken Grammer
    R.E. Alabama Region
    SEDiv AS Camaro #61
    Starter/F&C Worker
    GR-93
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    03 Jan 2001 04:21 AM
    what is this Nasa organization?
    Max Lake
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    03 Jan 2001 05:08 AM
    Track time is limitied by the total number of cars entered, not what class they are in. Just reducing the number of classes will not do a thing.
    racer-john
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    03 Jan 2001 06:19 AM
    Max it's very frustrating to see a race groupe of five or six cars when in other groupes people are being turned away because there just isn't enough time to split a group. :confused

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    John W.
    EP 2nd. gen Rx-7
    Max Lake
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    03 Jan 2001 07:28 AM
    If there are 5 car groups running on a regular basis then group make up needs to be looked at. Eliminating classes won't do anything.

    Where is this happening?
    Imprezinator
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    03 Jan 2001 08:24 AM
    I agree that there are a lot of forum's on this board. Consolidate some of them. Not sure which ones though. I goess it's up to the powers that be. SCCAForums Image

    Eric
    Crack Monkey
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    03 Jan 2001 09:26 AM
    Max - one example is the two Formula groups in the DC region. The multiple groups are split into two run groups (FV, F5 in once, the fast guys in another).

    Both average <25 cars. Summit Point can take 50 at a time. Get rid of the fastest (or slowest) Formula cars and consolidate the rest. One actual track session eliminated.

    I'm in no way saying I would agree to such a move, but its the example you asked for. But, you are correct, simply eliminating a class does nothing if all run groups are full. If they are not, then merging run groups needs to be considered (but safety limits this).
    slowSER
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    03 Jan 2001 09:34 AM
    [QUOTE]Originally posted by GR-93:
    [b]what is this Nasa organization?[/b]


    Race NASA (not to be confused with "Space NASA" SCCAForums Image) is the National Auto Sport Association. See [url="http://www.nasaproracing.com. wrote:
    http://www.nasaproracing.com.[/URL]
    Max Lake
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    03 Jan 2001 01:05 PM
    So you are saying we should tell 25 members to trash their cars, they are no longer welcome because you want more track time?

    How about we say "Crack old fella, you are going to have to sell your car and get something else, the FV guys want more time.".
    racer-john
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    03 Jan 2001 02:04 PM
    Max, Its not that we are asking them to trash their cars just to change. I mean motors wear out and parts need to be replaced why not give the slower classes the opprotunity to go faster and the fast guys the chance to save a buck or two and not have to buy the super jammy big$ go fast stuff. I don't want anyone to leave SCCA. I would think that the people in these classes would welcome the changes as it would bring some compitition to their class. SCCAForums Image

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    John W.
    EP 2nd. gen Rx-7
    bob proctor
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    03 Jan 2001 05:12 PM
    I'm new to the SCCA and new to the sport of autocross (solo II). I'm also confused by all the various classes I see at the SCCA and individual web sites. I've sent in my money for the solo II rule book/cd. If my questions are not answered there, I think I'll just show up this April (CENDiv) and let the people at registration tell me where I belong!

    Bob Proctor
    '89 Prelude Si
    7racing
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    05 Jan 2001 01:11 PM
    I agree with John, it's not that we want people to leave, we just need to consolidate. There should be a way to consolidate the race groups, not the classes (although, I do agree that there are too many classes, eliminating/combining them will not solve this problem). There is a limited amount of days available at the tracks. From those, we cannot say that closed wheel cars run on one weekend, open wheel on another. The season would consist of 4 races.

    In New England Region we have spent considerable time in consolidating to 6 race groups at New Hampshire International Speedway. However, the groups are not feasible to run at Lime Rock Park. At LRP we have 8 to 9 groups. It's a car count issue.

    The second issue you come across is who do you group together. No matter how it is done some drivers/stewards will complain about it. The AS/T1/T2 cars are too fast in straight line, and can't corner, so they block the smaller production cars. SR can't be seen by fendered cars very well (although I know it is almost standard now to put SR with Prod or small IT cars). FV cannot run with FA. At a minimum you need to have two open wheel groups and 3 closed wheel. Now, if any group gets more than the SCCA limit of 25 cars per mile, then you have to break it out. That is where the problem is coming from. If there could be consensus on how to combine the various classes into better race groups (so that there aren't 10 cars in one group 7 cars in another, and 40 in a third), then it can open track time for all involved.

    This idea of combining classes into better groups takes a lot of work. From stewards to drivers you need to work together. It takes a lot, and falls apart really quickly. One of the topics of discussion for the NER Annual Meeting (or this was at least mentioned as a topic) is what to do when the groupings won't work do to large car counts. That should be interesting.

    I hope this can help some others find a good way to resolve this issue. It's not going to go away on its own, and don't shoot the messenger for bringing up the topic.



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    Jeremy Sheppard
    ITA Mazda RX7
    New England Region, SCCA
    Peter Olivola
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    05 Jan 2001 01:37 PM
    Cutting classes carries all kinds of baggage. Evolving specs to permit better combinations of run groups would go much further to solving the problem with far fewer chances to touch off problems.

    I'm curious, though about the statement that people are being turned away. Where is this occuring and in what classes?
    Crack Monkey
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    05 Jan 2001 01:48 PM
    Peter - it hasn't happened yet, but there are currently about 45 SRX-7s in DC, with at least 6 more joining for 2001. That makes 51 cars, or one car over the limit at Summit Point. If the class continues to grow at its current rate, we will be turning people away in 2002. The drivers are split evenly between new faces and disenchanted IT/Prod drivers.

    Also, although people aren't actually being turned away, there are quite a few considering a move to NASA due to greater track time per event. Hell, the SRX-7 community already has an informal agreement with NASA-VA to allow mini-championships in a weekend (warmup, qualifying, and 5 sprints). Currently with WDCR-SCCA, we get only 3 sessions per event (4 with a hardship practice).

    Being new to wheel-to-wheel, I'm not commited to either group. I'll go wherever I can get quality tracktime and a good race. So far, both clubs have met my expectations, and I'll race with both until I have a reason not to.
    Peter Olivola
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    06 Jan 2001 04:42 AM
    The car limit at a given track is unrelated to the grouping of cars. It's strictly a safety dictate based on track length. If, in the process, the number of groupings is increased that would cut individual group track time. And that's where the rules tweaking would come into play. Unfortunately, SeDiv has shown a willingness to screw open wheel and sports racer classes to provide the track time for IT. There are implications to that kind of fiddling that are very disturbing.

    The reality of being a member driven club puts the SCCA in a position not dissimilar to the country as a whole; there are competing constituencies and the proper function of organizational leadership is to mediate the conflicts among those constituencies. That's an ideal the club has failed to achieve and in far too many cases failed to even attempt. Like the country, some club constituencies are better "organized" than others.

    NASA may be an outlet for the frustrations of any number of racers. I do not expect them to be immune to the same issues. It's just a question of time. So, that gets down to the question of running away for a temporary fix or working within the SCCA to effect solutions. Racers are notoriously selfish types so my expectations are well tempered by personal experience. The job needs doing, however, and one of the ways to avoid becoming the kind of cynical, whining complainer that seems to dominate everyone's attention is to become directly involved in the club's processes.

    That's the route I chose. YMMV.

    [QUOTE]Originally posted by Crack Monkey:
    [b]Peter - it hasn't happened yet, but there are currently about 45 SRX-7s in DC, with at least 6 more joining for 2001. That makes 51 cars, or one car over the limit at Summit Point. If the class continues to grow at its current rate, we will be turning people away in 2002. The drivers are split evenly between new faces and disenchanted IT/Prod drivers.

    Also, although people aren't actually being turned away, there are quite a few considering a move to NASA due to greater track time per event. Hell, the SRX-7 community already has an informal agreement with NASA-VA to allow mini-championships in a weekend (warmup, qualifying, and 5 sprints). Currently with WDCR-SCCA, we get only 3 sessions per event (4 with a hardship practice).

    Being new to wheel-to-wheel, I'm not commited to either group. I'll go wherever I can get quality tracktime and a good race. So far, both clubs have met my expectations, and I'll race with both until I have a reason not to.[/b]
    Grumpy
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    09 Jan 2001 10:49 AM
    [QUOTE]Originally posted by Crack Monkey:
    [b]
    Hell, the SRX-7 community already has an informal agreement with NASA-VA to allow mini-championships in a weekend (warmup, qualifying, and 5 sprints.[/b]


    And we will continue to listen to the needs of our drivers and can provide this sort of arrangement to other race groups/classes as well.

    Jim "Grumpy" Politi
    Race Director NASA-VA
    Karl Bocchieri
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    09 Jan 2001 06:51 PM
    As an ITS racer I agree there are too many groups and you dont get enough time to set up your car, and if there are incidents on track your race gets cut even shorter. I know this will get some people crazy but I think regional races should be for regional only cars. If you have a national eligible car go race in national races. If your noncompetative so what, race in the back or get faster. The IT fields in the northeast are huge and could support this. I think you could let AS stay and play in there own group, there just expensive V8 IT cars anyway. Any thing that has 1 seat and no fenders would be sent packing. If not, then I want to race my car at national events.
    Just my thoughts, sorry if I offend anyone.

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