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Discussion Starter #1
Is it just me, or is anyone else irritated with the SCCA. It just seems to me like the only way to have a car that is competitive at higher levels is to either not do anything to it, or have a fortune to spend on it. There are no intermediate classes anymore. Even the class that was designed for modified street cars (SM)has become a "throw your money at it until it is fast enough" class.

STX is probably raising its tire width limits to 245. Who makes a competitive 245? Well there is the ultra high dollar BFG TA KD, and well, only one size in Azenis, and it isn't going to fit on most STX cars. Who wins here? The competitor? No, BFG, that is who.

I am not just bitching about Subaru issues here either. I will go back to SM for a moment. When the class was introduced, it seemed to me that it was originally intended for daily driven (or even weekend driven) street cars that had bolt on turbo or supercharger kits, engine swaps, upgraded cams, a pretty high number of bolt on suspension mods, and a big brake kit. Essentially, a lot of the street import scene. But what do we see at anything higher than local levels? We see high end modified race cars that have pasted a carpet back into their cars.

I am trying to keep this a non brand related rant, so I won't even mention the STS stuff going on. I just wondered who else felt like me.

I would like there to be some classes where a person can modify their car a bit beyond stock capabilities, without having to drop $40 or $50 grand on mods alone to be competitive at higher competition levels. I thought that is what SM was originally intended to be, but I have seen too many owners of previous modified level and prepared level race cars take a look and say "hey, let me put my carpet in and I can rule that class."

I was just wondering, is it me, or do any others out there feel this way?
 

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I don't think SM was ever intended to be a cost effective, medium effort class. It was always intended to be a maximum creativity class for those who still wished to enjoy a street driven car. It still is that. Look for it to be broken down into different sub-classes in the future. Those folks with the pasted in carpets and such don't seem to mind running that way for the car's intended purpose.

Every category (including stock) has cars and folks who prep to the absolute limits of the rules and end up with a car that is seemingly untouchable in the given class. Its always going to be that way, but it sucks just the same.
 

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I quit racing in the SCCA a few months ago, because of:

  • Stock class is not really stock
  • The events (here) are poorly organized so you waste a complete day
What killed me was that I used to take my bone-stick RS out and play. Well, some rule says you can run RACE tires (like Hoosiers) in stock class. So, of course, someone with an extra $1000 to spend put them on his Jetta and kicked ass. Well, I don't have $1000 to spend on tires, so it was not fun - I was 2 seconds slower than this guy. If he had been on normal tires, we would have been very close, and it would have been (1) more fair and (2) more fun and (3) more competitive/challenging.

Then, the events out here suck as far as being organized. You have to register at like 7:00 am, and may have to wait until 4:00 pm to run!!! In San Francisco, there were two heats - morning (7am - 11am) and afternoon (1pm till 4pm) and you just showed up for your one heat. Instead, I have to stand around ALL FUCKING DAY to drive my car for 60 seconds three times.

I have not been back since I finally got tired of getting sunburned and windburned so badly from standing outside in less than perfect weather. Or perfect weather.
 

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My take on things is this (some of you *storm* may have heard this before):

- SCCA need to adapt to the present and prepare for the future--The current class breakdown and authorized mods do not suit modern EFI cars, period.
- Stock class is a joke: Konis, KYBs, R-compounds; how is Joe Average novice supposed to get involved on min $$??
- SM is a joke, it must be classed out
- SCCA needs to reassess class structure Across the Board!! Here's my example (some call this whining but I think it applies to alot of people): I added cams to make the car more fun to drive on the street (its primary function). I got maybe 20 hp at the crank, what does this do for Auto-x? not much. However I'm now limited to EP (stripped down CRXs, Datsuns, RX-7s, etc) or SM (conebasher, 500whp supras, firechickens, etc) BS!!
- PAX indexes suck!! If you have to add a fudge factor, you're obviously covering a flaw in the rules to keep folks competative (i.e. street vs race tires)

A logical progression would be to have the following (in both Street Tire and Race Tire classes)

- Street Stock (stock rules sans race tires) AND Stock (current rules)
- Street Touring (A,B,C,D...) AND Touring (ST rules + race tires)
- Street Prepared (open up power/brake/suspension mods) AND Prepared (SP + race tires)
- Street Mod (A,B,C,D...Skies the limit class, STREET LEGAL but may run race gas) AND Mod (Skies the limit, not street legal)

With this break down you've added: fun-for-dollar across the board with just about everyone having a place to play WITHOUT PAX. If done logically and from a fresh start, you can break down the mods that work on today's cars (like ECU tuning, boost control, chipping, etc) vs old school (carbs, non ECU controled V8s, etc) and come with a fairly standard power for dollar break down (EX: OBDII cars can do the following... OBDI cars can do the following... Non-OBD cars can do .........).

Templar, RS25, you're right. Its no longer driver skill that wins (although it helps) its who's got the largest bank account.
 

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they have to make the class divisions somewhere, and no matter where they do, someone will always bitch. on the local level, it doesn't matter. its more the driver then anything else. as you go to a higher level, its going to be more competitive and more people will have spent more money on there cars. even some stock class cars are trailer queens with $7k worth of custom shocks. i'm sure as hell not going to go there, so i don't. i just enjoy getting to drive at 10/10ths and always try to improve my time. that's been my focus and now i'm getting competitive, which is a bonus. SM was never intended to be import crowd people. look at the rules. it allows everything in SP (which already is alot of non-streetlegal cars) plus alot more. basically, you can do anything you want as long as you don't gut it and drastically alter the body. STS is much more for the weekend warrior type enthusiast, esp at a local level. but competition there keeps getting more fierce and now even locally people are swapping tires/wheels for STS. and james, i disagree wholeheartedly about race tires in Stock. stock doesn't mean as delivered from the dealer (thank god!) it simply means the lowest amount of modifications. since we can't do much suspension work, having grippy tires is very nice so you can actually get the car to handle halfway decent. it would cost just as much to run on street tires, since to be competitive you would have to buy a set of good summer tires (which are just as much as race tires often) and then get another set of wheels with winter tires on it. and guess what, those summer tires are only going to last 1 season. next season, you're going to have to get new ones. race tires will often last 2 seasons. i spent $400 on the second set of wheels and then $250 for a set of used BFG R1s. sure i don't have hossiers, but at a local event it doesn't matter. anyway, its alot cheaper then building a STS car. have i done the shocks? hell no. there is nothing out there that would be an improvement over stock and still be able to survive a rally-x or a mile on gravel. so i don't do it. but its not an excuse for losing either. i'm out there to make myself a better driver, and in that i've had some success.
 

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The problem is, it's *still* all about money. The race tires thing really kills me, it's insane! The stock class should do something like limit tires to standard street tires. I'm not sure exactly what they are, but something like a 40,000 mile tread wear rating, H-rated, something NORMAL for a tire. Hoosiers, Azenis, all those just encourage people to spend money to win.

I think that stock class should be just THAT. Stock! RE-92's maybe even! You can only race with tires that were DEALER equipped. That would level the field and focus a lot more on skill, not money, to win.
 

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When I raced last weekend I was in EP .on Kuhmo 712's. I knew that I was probably going to get stomped (I was running against a stripped Datsun 2000 with a good driver) but my goal was to hang with the STS guys. Now, I haven't raced in over a year so there was definately driver error involved but I can say that my 712's have gotten so freakin hard that I would've actually prefered RE92s. The Azenis guys cleaned up STS by several seconds -vs- the KD and 712 guys. The fact that some people swap wheels at the race to Azenis completely baffles me. My 712's won me a divisional title two years ago and today I can't even compete.
 

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I think that stock class should be just THAT. Stock! RE-92's maybe even! You can only race with tires that were DEALER equipped. That would level the field and focus a lot more on skill, not money, to win.
no, it would be a contest of which car comes with the best tires. that's it. and it would still cost an arm and a leg because an re92 isn't even going to make it through a full season. and it is still about driver skill. you think John Thomas can't drive? i personally think the stock rules are great right now. it allows you to do enough to your car to make it race ready (remember, no engineer has this in mind when they design the car). some things need to be changed just to handle the abuse of auto-x. if you don't build a car with a particular class in mind, then don't be suprised when someone who did beats you.
 

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i love using race tires...

i can only afford to run in stock class becouse i want to use race tires.

but now i have a rs bumper on my car and i can't run nationals in stock class becouse my car was ugly and i made it pretty.

I love auto-x but hate the scca for it.

Erik S>
 

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Ok, I'll eliminate the questions that I know the answers to:

(a) STX with 245mm tires
This has nothing to do with a conspiracy about BF Goodrich tires. The fact is that GM F-Bodys and Mustangs are allowed in STX and some of them come STOCK with 245mm tires...the reason that 245mm tires are being considered is so these guys can play in STX without having to "minus size" from the factory tire size.

(b) Stock with R-compounds
The SCCA already TRIED to require "street tires" years ago. That's why Stock and Street Prepared require DOT-approved tires and Prepared and Modified don't (they can run actual RACE tires). They figured requiring DOT-legality would prevent "race tires" from showing up in their "street" classes, but it happened anyway. The tire manufacturers flat out told the SCCA that no matter what rules they set for the class, they could still build a "race tire" that meets those specs.

Street Touring currently has the 140 treadlife rule. While this works pretty well now, I fear it won't last. The main issue is that treadlife is set by THE MANUFACTURER! It is only relative to the numbers on their other tires. In theory, they could build a tire, stamp it 140 and it could easily outgrip all the other "140" tires out there (but doesn't last as long).

If they changed Stock to the "140 treadlife" rule, this would probably happen even faster. Suddenly you find a tire that is badged "140" but is gripping and wearing close to the R-tires (and no, it's been proven quite a few times that the Falken Azenis is not one of these "cheater" tires, though the 220 treadlife is "questionable" (the BFG KDs still outgripped it (barely) in the GRM tire test)).

Both of these topics have been discussed in LURID detail on the Street Touring Yahoo! Group several times in the past! Scan through the group's archives and you'll see what I mean.
 

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But we're still looking at it from a ST/SM "new-wave auto-x'er" perspective. The rules in every class (except perhaps stock) are geared toward big displacement/cabureted engines. The tire issue is more for the novices and those (like me) who are spending enough $$ on maintenance to preclude purchasing wheels/tires. When I raced last weekend the anouncer was amazed that I was an EP Impreza (he actually questioned if Imprezas were allowed in EP) and really its b/c I've done cams and WRX rotor swap. Now give me 2 grand and I can be competative, or I could do what most folks do and cheat (i.e. run STS)---not cool. As for SM, how can a N/A car be expected to compete with conebasher... come on! Personally, I think the shock rule in stock class needs to change to non-adj only to even the field. If the classes are broken down in a more logical/realistic manner AND there are street tire/r-compound classes for each I think that SCCA will really open up the sport to the masses.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
I do agree that there can never be enough classes for everyone to be happy.
I also never said that there was a BFG conspiracy, I just stated that they are the only ones who win in these circumstances. They could make the exemption about width, just like they did with tire wear. The exemption about treadwear is in regards to cars that came stock with less than 140 treadwear tires. If a car comes stock with greater than 225 width tires, then they can race on that tire, but only on that tire model, not another. This is the same rule that applies to the Type R that came from the factory with 120 treadwear tires, they can race on under 140, but only on that tire. NOT anything else.


It seems to me that the way NASA is doing it makes a lot of sense. Every car starts out stock with a certain number of points. I don't know the exact figures, but I will give an example of how it works.

A stock 2.5 RS, might begin as a 2 point car where as a Z06 might begin as a 12 point car.

If you add a set of springs to the RS, you might get one more point. If you add a full suspension, it might be 3 points. Cams might be 2 points. A Supercharger or turbo might be two points. So, you could do a ton to an RS and still not be asked to compete against a supercar. Don't get me wrong. I regularly beat the times posted by a local guy in a Z06, but he is not a national driver. You would be competing against cars that theoretically have the same performance capabilities as you, regardless of money spent.

It sounds like a pretty good idea to me, unfortunately, it is NASA and not SCCA so most of us will never see an event run this way.
 

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how is SM geared toward carburators? it allows forced induction and engine management! its the most technology allowed in any class. now prepared, and to a lesser extent SP are.

about a NASA-esk points system, there are a couple of flaws. the first is how do you assign a point value for every possible mod. there's just no way. and then it gets even more complicated with different cars. some cars respond better to certain mods then do others, regardless of stock performance. how do you take that into account. and then what i think is the real nail in the coffin is that mods are not indepentdent of each other. you can give an intake, exhaust, and header a value of 1 each, yet if you have all 3, they are more then the sum of their parts so to speak.

the problem i see here is that almost everyone who is complaining didn't modify their car with a class in mind, and now they're upset that they get beat by someone who did modify their car for a particular class. well what do you expect? that the SCCA should be able to read your mind and have a class just for what you want to do to your car. come on. if you want to be competitive in a certain class, choose one you're interested in running and build the car. if you just want to do whatever you want to your car, then don't be suprised when you end up in SM and get smoked by the real SM cars. either stop going if this bothers you or, better yet, just focus on your own times and have fun. its not like there's money on the table here.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Ok, I just found the NASAcross rules page. It looks to me like it would be more fair to modified cars than SCCA, but not very fair to stock cars. Here are the rules.
 

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You misunderstood my take on SM. SM is a true pay-to-play class period. Its the other (traditional) classes I was refering to. SCCA threw out ST/SM for the "young folk" but didn't put any thought into it (remember STR?). The fact that I'm running EP doesn't really bother me, the fact that people thought I was nuts does. When old school anouncers don't think that a "new fangled" car is even allowed in the class, something's wrong. Now, I the NASA rules are a bit quirky but on the right track. What I proposed was more of a compromise between the two, a similar but fresh class structure taking into account the advancments in automotive technology over the last 20 yrs. True some cars respond better to some mods than others, but right now there is no (traditional) class for cammed cars (mild or other) that aren't "designed for non street driven" vehicles... I call that foul.
 

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For those of you who whine about money... get over it. Racing has always been - and always will - revolve around money. Can you auto-x competitively for low $$$. The answer to this is a definitive YES.

Chris Hartman finished 8th in G Stock at the National Championships this year in a car that has off the shelf KYB shocks ($400), a 22mm front sway bar (hand-me-down from another enthusiast), Amsoil air filter ($50), custom made (by Chris himself) cat-back exhaust (?), two tires discarded by another racer (free) and (his big expense for the season) two Kuhmos that he bought new back in March ($250).

I would guess that Chris spent less than $1000 on his car to run it in its current trim.

I hear the money gripe all the time. I can say that money is a factor in racing. You have to pay to play. But that doesn't mean you can't have fun. And it doesn't mean that just because you're not competitive the rules should be changed to make you competitive on your budget. It means you should find a class that you can afford and have fun. Who cares where you finish?

My advice... Quit your bitching and enjoy what you have. If NASA is more fun for you, race there.

Andrew Howe
Oregon Region SCCA (and other local clubs)

Oh and if your SCCA chapter screws around and takes all day to run 50 cars, go somewhere else. They suck.
 

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Right on Andy!

Couldn't have said it better myself Andy! Except...I bought my KYBs used three years ago for $150 :)

I think SM is a bitchin class, filled with a huge variety of cars. If anyone honestly thinks they can throw a turbo on their 2.5RS, and go out on XXX brand street tires and kick ass at national level events, they're stupid. It's even worse that they piss and moan about the rules not being made EXACTLY for there car because they can't.

For those complaining about the cost of race tires, do some research. Talk with fellow competitors – especially national level drivers – who often times discard tires after a few events. You can pick up a set of used Kumhos for about $200, that will see you through a season or more of autocrosing on pavement. If you really don't want to change tires, then see if they have a street tire class, where you get to run your beloved RE92 and have the rsults PAX'd to determine an overall street tire class winner.

And whatever you do, don't bitch about the PAX factors. GS, DS, and STS PAXs are pretty damn favorable to Subie drivers. So if you're not at the top of PAX, keep practicing. You're not Mario Andretti yet.

None of us are.

Chris H.
www.subrew.com
 

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Chris, PAX is a joke. Head to head racing is what competition is about, not fudge factors. I'm sick of seing guys getting trophies b/c they've won by a magic formula. Don't get me wrong, I think that race tires should be required for running with the big-dogs but there should be head to head street tire classes too. Not just STS/STX but actual classes allowing everyone to compete just as fairly with "equally" competative cars. If the RS gets bumped out of STS and into STX you're guys are trying to tell me that the RS can compete with an equally set up WRX... I don't think so. The RS and the WRX are in different classes everywhere BUT STX/SM. Now to soften my stance a bit, SCCA seems to be scratching the surface of "the right track" by implementing new classes but they are failing to have a logical progression with the classes. STS/X, SM is a wonderful concept, its implementation could use some development though. Now SP, I think everyone can agree that IF STS/STX get "mainstreamed" then SP will have to allow a few more mods that may have previously been Prepared "level", subsequently same for Prepared allowing a few Mod mods. All I'm looking for is a reassessment of the current structure with future growth in mind. Every racing series/governing body has to adapt with time, Fasttrack bulletins are not the way to adapt. Augmenting a dated class structure may band-aid the issue but won't provide growth. I may still get whipped, but I'll still have fun either way. I just want to see the SoloII evolve.


Oh, and I've been a member of or raced regularly with the following:
Texas Region SCCA
Equipe Rapide SCC
NE Ohio Region SCCA
Akron SCC
Gulf Coast Region SCCA
Delta Region SCCA

So I've seen many different clubs and seen many different interpretations of the rules. The only thing that I've seen in every club that drives me nuts is people cheating with "this mod" or "that mod" b/c "its just the local level". B/S! Race where your car belongs, even iff you have your a$$ handed to you.
 

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but they are failing to have a logical progression with the classes.
and in the last Fastracks they mentioned that they were working on fixing this.

and regions do not have to use the same classing as nationals, so they are well within their rights to change things as they see fit. if you don't like it, talk to the solo board for the region.
 
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