Special Stage Forums banner

1 - 20 of 88 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
946 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For many years Libra racing was the standard in American ProRally. They usually won, and they usually had the best car. They typically had a 4wd turbo with around 300 (usually less) horsepower. All rallies were blind. Typically there were a couple more National competitors that ran all the rallies and had similarly prepared cars (except for a well known purple exception).

Today we have around 30 cars of the same speed and preparation. And now some some super manufacturer cars at the front that are much faster. 450 horsepower, and professional drivers. And "Safety" notes. The notes enabled 14 cars in 2002 to drive the first stage at STPR faster than the previous record.

I think we are going to have to go to the smaller restricter that was proposed for Open class. It will increase costs for the teams that can least afford it, but we need to slow down. Performance is the easiest way to acomplish that. I think going to a maximum width tire would also help. If you can't get enough traction, you can't get as much speed generated.

Do we allow Recce? This may make rallying safer for the top teams. But, I don't see how we can. It would increase the costs and eliminate racing for National championships for all but 8-10 teams (manufacturers and rich individuals).

If the "safety" notes are not intended to be ran at 10/10ths like "pace" notes are, we would still have teams showing up and purchasing notes from teams that had done the recce and were selling them. I don't think this would be as good a situation as we have now.

Do we go back to blind rally's? And ban maps on top of it? I don't know why it was so bad previous to 2001 when this was the way we rallied. This would certainly slow the cars down. But then we have the "regional" nature of route books. Some are very descriptive, others are more of a course following nature.

If competitors at the very front of the field have an accident like the one last weekend, how do the rest of us avoid the same situation? They had the best of everything, and still had the accident.

Are we going to get any new safety equipment as a result of last weekend? Would the Hans device have made any difference?

Obviously I'm having a hard time with what happened. We all are. I just think if there is anything that can be done to avoid this situation in the future, it should be looked into. If we call it a "racing" accident and then forget about it, it will happen again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
926 Posts
Is speed THE problem?

I havent heard anything about the wreck itself other than the police statement that speed was estimated between 80 and 120mph. I still havent learned how the off at Sawmill happened. It would be helpful if the results of wreck investigations were made known so that we (the members, drivers, co-drivers, marshals, etc.) can learn from them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,550 Posts
Trevor,

Thanks for bringing up the issue, for the last few days, I was seriously considering starting a similar thread but I was reluctant because I thought it was too soon.

Before we start discussing whether we are going too fast or not, we have to know what exactly went wrong in both recent tragedies. Unfortunately we may never find out, we still don't know what happened in case of REIDY/SMITH tragedy, I respect the silence that came immediately after the accident, I respect the possible gag order due to the ongoing investigation, but if we had the details i believe (and hope) we could use them to improve the present conditions. How long do we have to wait to find out what went wrong ?

I know I'll catch all the flak but, what is wrong with recce and pace notes ? Please don't anybody tell me anything about equal opportunity to all participents and keeping the cost down. If it will make me go faster, safer and more efficient, I would spend the extra money and time to recce and prepare notes. The factory teams already spend a week at each venue so it wouldn't be an extra burden for them. The organisers can still make the stage notes available to those who don't want to spend the extra time and resources to recce. I would rather prepare my own notes the way I want, I don't feel comfortable with the notes that someone else has prepared, this is a personal issue, it has nothing to do with Jemba or anybody preparing the notes, sometimes I feel like there is way too much info on the notes sometimes I feel there isn't enough.

Rallying has never been a subtle sport and I don't understand why we are all trying to make it a politically correct, equal opportunity sport. Boxing and motorsports are the only forms of sport that can not be adressed as "game". So if we are not playing a game here, we need to be able to spend the extra time and money and prevent further tragedies if we can.

On a more sombre note, I honestly wonder, would we be mourning now if Mark and Richard were allowed to recce and race with their own notes ?

Hoping and praying never to see another fellow rallyist hurt until I check in to Pearly Gates MTC.

Yours Truly

M.Samli
 

·
don't cut
Joined
·
2,252 Posts
>into. If we call it a "racing" accident and then forget
>about it, it will happen again.

I hate to say it Trevor, but IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN. Slowing things down may help a bit, but how much do we slow it down? At what point are going slow enuf? About the only way to guarentee it won't is to stop racing.

It's important that we do not let our sport be reduced to lowest common denominator. If we slow things down until no one gets hurt, than we are only going as fast as the slowest guy. That's not what racing was founded on.

On onother note, most efforts to slow cars down (restrictors, min weights, tires sizes, etc..) fail miserably. How long did it take for GrA cars to surpass GrB cars? How long till F1 made up for the grooves in their tires? How long till the IRL came up to speed at Indy? I can go on here. Our speeds are fast becuz our roads are fast and something a like a restrictor change isn't gonna change it.

I don't like what happened. It scares the hell out of me. But I don't have the answer either. Sometimes sh!t happens.

Dennis Martin
[email protected]
920-432-4845
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
946 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
>>into. If we call it a "racing" accident and then forget
>>about it, it will happen again.
>
>I hate to say it Trevor, but IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN. Slowing
>things down may help a bit, but how much do we slow it down?
> At what point are going slow enuf? About the only way to
>guarentee it won't is to stop racing.

I think if WRC limits cars to 300 horsepower using 32mm restricter, that may be a good place to start.

>It's important that we do not let our sport be reduced to
>lowest common denominator. If we slow things down until no
>one gets hurt, than we are only going as fast as the slowest
>guy. That's not what racing was founded on.

I'm not advocating going to a spec Kia class. But our cars currently have more power than WRC and they are allowed Recce so the professionals make their own notes.

>On onother note, most efforts to slow cars down
>(restrictors, min weights, tires sizes, etc..) fail
>miserably. How long did it take for GrA cars to surpass GrB
>cars? How long till F1 made up for the grooves in their
>tires? How long till the IRL came up to speed at Indy? I
>can go on here. Our speeds are fast becuz our roads are
>fast and something a like a restrictor change isn't gonna
>change it.
The cars certainly could be slowed down. Other than the 4 Red/Blue cars I'm sure it would take years to overcome the rule changes. The group N restricter obviously is slowing the cars down. See Pikes Peak results and how fast a 2wd Neon made it to the top.

Group B cars through the forest in Olympia AVERAGED over 70mph. Next year, Group A cars were 12mph or 17% slower on same stages.

The amount of money in the series you mentioned is exponential compared to American Performance Rallying.

>I don't like what happened. It scares the hell out of me.
>But I don't have the answer either. Sometimes sh!t happens.

I don't have the answer either. But something certainly should be done. If WRC has a certain limit, why don't we also have at least that same limit? For our American Ego's? We are America, thus we have to have the biggest and baddest of everything?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,550 Posts
It's strange that two people were writing almost the same thing at the same time.

Slowing down the cars is not the answer. The powers-to-be must drop the know-it-all attitude. How can they justify having open class cars with more hp than the WRC cars and ban sequential gear boxes and electronic diffs. It's a recipe for disaster. If they allow 40mm restrictors they should allow sophisticated transmissions and differentials in order to optimize the drivability and reduce the human error factor a bit. Why is GrA still prohibited here, it can't be the cost issue, besides it's none of their business, the rallyist can decide what to buy based on his/her budget.

Almost 17 years ago I was arguing on almost the same subject after Toivonen/Cresto disaster, so what if they banned GrB, today's WRC cars may not be as powerful but they are equally fast. We are involved in a sport where the ultimate target is to be fast so the answer is "No we are not going too fast" but we are hindered and endangered by the rules made and mandated by people who have no clue.

M.Samli
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
590 Posts
Since you asked....

No, I don't think we're going too fast. I don't think that every form of racing should be 'sterilized' to the point where anyone can do it, at least competitively.

I enjoy the 'test' that comes with keeping things under control while at the same time trying to minimize time lost on a stage. I suspect that my car will always be capable of more speed than I am willing to risk. I prefer it to be this way.

Others may disgree and if that is what is right for them, so be it.

I want to live before I die and if that means accepting a bit more risk than just driving to work or walking across the street, I gladly assume the risk to participate.

This was the case for me when I raced bikes for 10 years and it is the case now. To this day I remember the last line of the WERA waver form that I signed at registration every weekend. It said 'consequences up to and including death' and meant exactly that.

I had the unfortunate experience of two friends paying that price and three more who ended up paralyzed. I still recall the conversation that I had with Jay Bartlow when I went to see him in rehab, where he was learning a new trade after his injury. He told me that accidents like his 'don't happen' and should not discourage me and that if I quit racing because of what happened to him, he'd kick my @ss. I believed him. I continued on for another 2 or 3 years and quit on my terms.

Bike racing was both very cruel and very kind to me, but......

No regrets

Maybe this has skewed my perspective a bit on the current topic, but I suspect that the organizers (after consulting with Team Subaru) were correct to continue as that is what they felt Lovell and Freeman would have wanted.

If it were me, I'd hope for the same scenario.

Raise a glass for them and put the decal on your car, but RALLY ON.

Matt Manspeaker
Seattle, WA USA
89 323GTX - OPEN
97 Escort Cosworth - WIDE OPEN
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
53 Posts
Last Sunday morning I shed a tear at the news. The last time was for Ayrton Senna.

I'm a CRS Club driver. I run an Open class AWD Eclipse. For fun.

As I'm going to hit 50 years old this year, I spent some time over the last few days thinking about whether I should give it up.

The conclusion? Like all of us, I rally for the sheer pleasure of driving a car on the edge of control on wonderful roads.

I don't think that I want to give that up.

Now. Hopefully, my car makes 300hp.

I think it's slow. (Time to touch wood)

IMHOP, arbitrarily blaming the speed of the car as the cause of the accident on Saturday demeans the memory of Mark and Roger. 20 years of rallying including 600 hp RS200's?

34mm? Fun's gone. You lost me.

Steve
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
No knee-jerk reactions please

>For many years Libra racing was the standard in American
>ProRally. They usually won, and they usually had the best
>car. They typically had a 4wd turbo with around 300 (usually
>less) horsepower.

Try 380hp in the Hyundai's.

>Today we have around 30 cars of the same speed and
>preparation. And now some some super manufacturer cars at
>the front that are much faster. 450 horsepower,

Who has 450hp? 400hp is about the limit while still staying reliable. The Mitsubishi's and Subaru's are probably somewhere in the 380 - 400hp range.

>and
>professional drivers. And "Safety" notes. The notes enabled
>14 cars in 2002 to drive the first stage at STPR faster than
>the previous record.

STPR is an event where the notes work especially well. Knowing what's over a crest or the severity of a corner, takes out the uncertainty. We were one of the teams to break the Stage 1 record at STPR in 2002 and felt we could have gone much quicker. At the end of the day, it's still the driver's call as to how much speed they want to carry.

>
>I think we are going to have to go to the smaller restricter
>that was proposed for Open class. It will increase costs for
>the teams that can least afford it, but we need to slow
>down. Performance is the easiest way to acomplish that.

Trevor - when was the last time you rallied an open class car or even a GrN car for that matter??

Let's make it very clear - going to a 34mm restrictor would NOT have prevented this tragedy. It will be very disheartening if the SCCA makes a knee-jerk reaction to go to 34mm restrictors after this.

A GrN car, Gr5 car or possibly even a production car could have had an equally big accident given the right (or wrong) circumstances.

>I think going to a maximum width tire would also help. If you
>can't get enough traction, you can't get as much speed
>generated.

So who is going to make these narrow tires? If it means running street tires, how will that make things safer?

The speed you carry with a narrower tire vs. a wider tire is not going to be that significant.

>
>Do we allow Recce? This may make rallying safer for the top
>teams. But, I don't see how we can. It would increase the
>costs and eliminate racing for National championships for
>all but 8-10 teams (manufacturers and rich individuals).

Isn't it all but 8-10 teams that are running the national series now? I'm apathetic to running Recce (although I'd love to if I had the time), but I fail to see how this would decrease the number of competitors running the FULL championship. The number of competitors that run the full championship is already dismal.


>Do we go back to blind rally's? And ban maps on top of it? I
>don't know why it was so bad previous to 2001 when this was
>the way we rallied. This would certainly slow the cars down.
>But then we have the "regional" nature of route books. Some
>are very descriptive, others are more of a course following
>nature.

The route book discrepancies and inconsistencies of the past were terrible! Some organizers were notorious for having surprises in their books to keep competitors on their toes. The course notes have made a big improvement in the sport - like many others, I've run several events on the course notes and don't want to go back to a route book again.

Please also remember that the US is not the only country running the Jemba safety notes. Other events, such as those in the New Zealand championship use this same note system.

>
>If competitors at the very front of the field have an
>accident like the one last weekend, how do the rest of us
>avoid the same situation? They had the best of everything,
>and still had the accident.
>
>Are we going to get any new safety equipment as a result of
>last weekend? Would the Hans device have made any
>difference?
>
>Obviously I'm having a hard time with what happened. We all
>are. I just think if there is anything that can be done to
>avoid this situation in the future, it should be looked
>into. If we call it a "racing" accident and then forget
>about it, it will happen again.

Bottom line is accidents will still happen, and unfortunately this will happen again somewhere in the world. NOTHING in life is 100% safe. You either accept the risk or do something else.

Please don't take this as a personal attack - just trying to make it very clear that while this was a very tragic accident, sometimes there is just nothing that can be done to prevent this, short of cancelling the events. :( At the end of the day, the tops teams will always push the limits and beyond...that's what they're paid to do.

-mark nelson
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,407 Posts
RE: No knee-jerk reactions please

I agree with Mark. All you can do is stack the deck in your favor. Prepare a safe car and get good safety equipment. Invest in your skills and progress at your own comfortable level. In the end, there will still be incidents. Despite all your equipment and skill, not all incidents are survivable. You have to accept that.

We aren't playing golf, here. We are driving cars as fast as we can down mountain roads with large trees and dropoffs on the sides. It's called rallying. And sometimes, it hurts.
 

·
Marketing through Motorsports
Joined
·
1,385 Posts
RE: No knee-jerk reactions please

Mark has made excellent comments on every point.

As my friend Van said, you can make racing safer, but you can't make it safe. (And he's the one who got me started in road racing all those years ago.)

We each trade a dollop of security for a dash of excitement. It's a knowing exchange, these risks we take, but we try to minimize the risks by racing to just this side of the limit, by preparing our cars properly, by wearing the best gear and belts we can get, and by working together as a team.

As a codriver I'm putting my life in someone else's hands, but it goes both ways. It's about trusting people coupled with a passion for the sport. To experience the joy of rallying we agree to accept certain risks, up to and including a premature visit by the reaper hisownself.

P.S. As for the 34 mm restrictor rule, I also think it's a bad idea. it will only alienate more competitors.
[hr]

[p align=right]John Dillon
John @ WidgetRacing.com
www.WidgetRacing.com
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
339 Posts
EXACTLY, on the roads point!

Installing a 34mm restrictor will not slow me down 1 sec/km.

What is will do is cost me around $20-30,000.

Instantly my current Open class engine is pulled which probably cost $3-5000. A purpose built Gp A motor is built/bought whatever. Check Coordsport.com, they have a nice HKS motor package for $19,000 I think when I last checked.

Instantly the dogbox with specified ratio's is bought. I believe the latest spec. Gemini is 7500pds.

Restrictors aren't going to slow the front cars. It's only money and people will spend it or stop rallying.

Remember 2 years ago when Subaru ran a full WRC car at Rim and STPR....that car had a 34mm restrictor in it.

Oh and as for 300 hp from WRC cars.......Please......might a little higher than the FIA would like to believe. And lets look at the 550Nm of torque that they have basically off of idle......

Brian
 

·
don't cut
Joined
·
2,252 Posts
>EXACTLY, on the roads point!
>
>Installing a 34mm restrictor will not slow me down 1 sec/km.
>
>
>Brian

Brian, give us more of your restrictor experience if you could. Seriously, I think you're the only guy in North America who's run a 32mm, 34mm, and 40mm restrictor on essentially the same car. What effects did the have on overall speed, drivability, fun factor, etc...

Dennis Martin
[email protected]
920-432-4845
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
339 Posts
PGT Talon without restrictor, 43mm turbo inlet. Fun. Lots of top end speed, mostly due to the stock gearbox. HKS boost controller set at 15psi.

PGT Talon with 40mm restrictor. I didn't notice any difference at all. I shifted this car at the stock redline which was 7000 rpm or something, can't remember.

EVO w/ 32mm restrictor in Gp N trim. Much like the Talon except it had the proper gear ratio's to actually use all 5 gears. Made all it's power down low. Gp N cars typically shift around 5000 rpm. I always described the Gp N EVO as a "lighter, quicker Talon". Funny enough the first rally was Laughlin where we got KILLED by a couple PGT cars. The PGT cars had the long stock gearboxes and could hit 140+ on the Laughlin roads. Off the rev-limiter we were going 115-120mph. Always felt like the car wanted to run, but just didn't have the lungs for it.

EVO w/40mm restrictor. Absolutely wonderful. Lots of torque, big top end power. Wonderful to drive. If you haven't ridden in a 40mm Open car, you have no idea. The 40mm really makes the car shine. Now the diffs/suspension/entire car design comes into it's own. My EVO on 40mm is WAY easier to drive quickly than the 32. On the 32mm it's all moment, turn, dive in, go for it. Don't hit the brakes, don't do big slides. Keep it floored. This momentum, go for broke style led to 3 offs last year....one pretty big. Of course I could have driven a little more conservatively, but I didn't. On the 40mm this year we're driving very quickly with good results and winning stages, no accidents (one broken wheel) in 4 clubrallies. With the 40mm there's so much power everywhere that you can hold back some at times and you're still flying, albeit at only 90% now and not 110%.

EVO w/34mm restrictor....never rallied but have driven/tested with it. With the 40mm motor, etc. we installed the 34mm and reprogrammed the ECU, so I could go back and forth between Canada/US. After testing, I decided that as long as I could run the 40mm that I would. The 34mm just doesn't have the kick of the 40. It takes off fine but just dies early in the rpm's. Still fast, still a menace to any dirt road around. But it's probably down 50hp or more compared to the 40. This is all with a stock EVO motor, etc. To optimize for 34mm is where is gets REALLY EXPENSIVE. You say Gp A or WRC and start calling all the parts houses in Europe and you sit down and just shake your head......and then you need to match the gears to the now lower powerband.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
946 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
RE: No knee-jerk reactions please

>>For many years Libra racing was the standard in American
>>ProRally. They usually won, and they usually had the best
>>car. They typically had a 4wd turbo with around 300 (usually
>>less) horsepower.
>
>Try 380hp in the Hyundai's.
Last year for sure. But what about before that? The Elantra wasn't that fast.

>>Today we have around 30 cars of the same speed and
>>preparation. And now some some super manufacturer cars at
>>the front that are much faster. 450 horsepower,
>
>Who has 450hp? 400hp is about the limit while still staying
>reliable. The Mitsubishi's and Subaru's are probably
>somewhere in the 380 - 400hp range.
Okay. You would know better than I do. I do know they get to 100 mph pretty quick.

>>I think we are going to have to go to the smaller restricter
>>that was proposed for Open class. It will increase costs for
>>the teams that can least afford it, but we need to slow
>>down. Performance is the easiest way to acomplish that.
>
>Trevor - when was the last time you rallied an open class
>car or even a GrN car for that matter??
Truthfully, 1997. Only 200 hp in a 323. Obviously you have extensive experience in both.

>>I think going to a maximum width tire would also help. If you
>>can't get enough traction, you can't get as much speed
>>generated.
>
>So who is going to make these narrow tires? If it means
>running street tires, how will that make things safer?
Clarification. Currently I believe most teams run 16cm wide tires. I believe 14cm could be purchased easily enough.

>The speed you carry with a narrower tire vs. a wider tire is
>not going to be that significant.
True, but it would be some.

>Bottom line is accidents will still happen, and
>unfortunately this will happen again somewhere in the world.
> NOTHING in life is 100% safe. You either accept the risk
>or do something else.
True. But in the mid 80's WRC decided the cars were too fast and did something about it.

>Please don't take this as a personal attack - just trying to
>make it very clear that while this was a very tragic
>accident, sometimes there is just nothing that can be done
>to prevent this, short of cancelling the events. :( At the
>end of the day, the tops teams will always push the limits
>and beyond...that's what they're paid to do.
I don't consider it an attack of any kind. I started this thread so it would start a discussion that I think is reasonable at this time.

Opinions are like... Everyone has one.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
946 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
>The cars are not too fast, the roads are, plain and simple.

Quite often road choice is limited for an organiser. If they are going to continue to put on events, I believe the road part of the equation is more difficult to do something about then one might believe.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
590 Posts
Being an Aero geek and having some experience with restrictors in the Formula SAE program in college (18mm restrictor) and a dyno to test on, I came to know more than I wanted to about these damn things.

Here is an ESTIMATE of what amount of power can be produced for a given restrictor size. This assumes that 'reasonable' amounts of money are spent building the engine, not ridiculous.

40 - 420
39 - 399
38 - 379
37 - 359
36 - 340
35 - 322
34 - 303
33 - 286
32 - 269

Again, these are ESTIMATES but seem to line up reasonably well with reality (at a glance, anyway) and suggest that Dennis' car didn't notice the difference between 40 and 43 because he was not in the 420 hp range and was not running out of air.

In the FSAE car, we found that we could get about 102 CFM through the restrictor before we got to a 'choked' condition. This basically means that the velocity in the throat of the restrictor has reached sonic and you will NOT flow anymore air PERIOD. This is a law of nature (physics)

We were limited to about 9500 rpm (with a 600cc Honda bike engine) so we made the most of what we had. Altered cam timing to bring the power curve down and adjusted the rev limit accordingly.

We beat EVERYONE in the dyno shootout because we understood what was going on and adjusted for it. 82 hp and 55 ft-lbs on about 10 psi and methanol (M85) at about 9200 rpm. Next best was at least 30% less.

Up until this point everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE there was making fun of us.......we got the last laugh.

So....restrictors are interesting critters and I don't want one on my car.

I have been threatining (for some time now) to do a complete 'technical article' on these damn things with some references from some of my aero books from school (if I can find them anymore)

If anyone is TRULY interested....I might be able to after I get the Mazdog back together.

Matt Manspeaker
Seattle, WA USA
89 323GTX - OPEN
97 Escort Cosworth - WIDE OPEN
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
436 Posts
I agree with TD on the roads issue. Rallying is getting close
to loosing some key events, just because of road access. But
that is another discussion, basically we need to slow down the
cars. If the US rules permit cars more powerful than WRC
vehicles, then something is wrong.

After the Open class cars are slowed, the next issue will be
the G5 cars. Look at PPIHC. The G5 Neon beat the group N cars.
Would these 32mm (or whatever) restrictors also be used on
ANY forced air induction vehicle?

Patrick
 
1 - 20 of 88 Posts
Top