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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
John Buffum wrote in the "ProRally News Letter", July. 1986.

"There has been a suggestion to have only GrA and N; while Group N may work in Europe, I don't believe that in the USA we should use complete European specification. Our best forms of racing rely on US participation and US preparation rules. The USA is a large powerful nation with major car manufacturers and there seems no reason to force them to adapt to a European system. We have an exellent and well supported Production series. Probably 60% of the entries come from these classes. If we were to adopt Group N instead, at first we would outlaw half the field and in the long run Dodge may homologate the Shelby Turbo. If this happened all the present 100HP production cars would be uncompetitive. We would then come up with displacement classes, but this seems like the dog chasing its tail. NO! Group A for the fast cars retaining the FIA link, Standard Production for the competitive small cars, and Production GT for those wish to go faster but don't own a European car."

- I'd say; pretty smart and fitting words by "The Man"
 

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straight at T
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>If we were to adopt Group N
>instead, at first we would outlaw half the field and in the
>long run Dodge may homologate the Shelby Turbo. If this
>happened all the present 100HP production cars would be
>uncompetitive.

Actually, in 1989 Dodge did homologate the Daytona Turbo, the Sundance Turbo, and the LeBaron Turbo, but by the time the homologation had gone through the reason for doing it (Olympus) had disappeared...

I find it very interesting reading old commentaries like that - it shows that nothing much has changed in 15-20 years...

Adrian
 

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Hertz Van Rentals (the former Dutch soccer player, not the car hire company) who had immigrated to the USA wrote in 1896.........

"There is a suggestion that we in the USA should adopt the European style of soccer. Our best forms of sport rely on the rugged pioneering spirit of our fore fathers and soccer is just too prissy for us. Lets stick to our style, create a game with a macho name like Grid Iron....smashing and crashing heads, taking guys out of the game, pump them up with steriods to make them bigger, tougher and meaner..... and when TV is invented, have commercial breaks in the game, make it last 3 hours so the concession stands and networks can profit and pay the working class players millions of dollars so they can cruise round with their homies displaying role model behavior we want our kids to witness.

And, seeing we will be the only ones playing this game, have our own World Series!!!!!! The USA is a big and powerful country, we have plenty of cattle here to make our footballs, paddings and uniforms (though in the future I see manufacturing plants in Haiti, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic).

Sure, we will have no way of gauging our ability amongst the rest of the world, no one will come here to play and the world will scratch their heads wondering what this funny game is. So.......Grid Iron for the Americans and that European style game for the few that want to keep their link to the homeland."

In case ya didn't guess this is just a TONGUE IN CHEEK observation of what happens when you alienate yourself from the rest of the world.


Don
 

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>Hertz Van Rentals (the former Dutch soccer player, not the
>car hire company) who had immigrated to the USA wrote in
>1896.........
>
>"There is a suggestion that we in the USA should adopt the
>European style of soccer. Our best forms of sport rely on
>the rugged pioneering spirit of our fore fathers and soccer
>is just too prissy for us. Lets stick to our style, create a
>game with a macho name like Grid Iron....smashing and
>crashing heads, taking guys out of the game, pump them up
>with steriods to make them bigger, tougher and meaner.....
>and when TV is invented, have commercial breaks in the game,
>make it last 3 hours so the concession stands and networks
>can profit and pay the working class players millions of
>dollars so they can cruise round with their homies
>displaying role model behavior we want our kids to witness.

Heeheeeeheeeee!!!
:7 :+ :7

Not an entirely perfect analogy, but funny anyway!! Thanks, Don .. I needed some comic relief today.
 

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>John Buffum wrote in the "ProRally News Letter", July. 1986.
>
We have an exellent and well
>supported Production series. Probably 60% of the entries
>come from these classes.

Actually Buffum's words became the kernal of an idea to ban open class pushed by the then crop of moron desk sitters who hadn't built a single car or driven in a single event, sorta like now.
They said the same tired things about the pot of gold waiting in the form of sponsorship "if we can just get TV exposure (and not have a bunch of clapped out old cars clutterting up the field).

Buffum got a couple of calls and notes from the then new to rallying at the time me pointing out that in the west, where we don't salt the roads, we had 1 or at most 2 P cars and one or 2 PGT GLHs, and that even in Ohio, and STPR out of the last (85) fields of 77 entries, 24 were among the 56 finishers if one counted both P and PGT, and that was hardly 60%, and in 1986 with 69 starters and 45 finishers in 1986, 17 were P or PGT, again not 60%, so that the cost of entering the sport dictated that older simpler cars had to be allowed, unless the sport wanted to see 13 or 15 cars starting Nationals.

It did get as low as 13 entries in 1988.


But then some smarties invented Group 2, and reprieved Open class.








If we were to adopt Group N
>instead, at first we would outlaw half the field and in the
>long run Dodge may homologate the Shelby Turbo. If this
>happened all the present 100HP production cars would be
>uncompetitive. We would then come up with displacement
>classes, but this seems like the dog chasing its tail. NO!
>Group A for the fast cars retaining the FIA link, Standard
>Production for the competitive small cars, and Production GT
>for those wish to go faster but don't own a European car."

And by June 88 Tim Cline would write:
" I got to admit watching 33 production cars (21 Dodges) go slowly around a corner is not very exciting"

Yep some thing don't change, eh?

Just the Costs to play.
>
>- I'd say; pretty smart and fitting words by "The Man"





John Vanlandingham
Seattle, WA. 98168

Vive le Prole-le-ralliat
 

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The fatal flaw with Group N (and A)

As JB said, it's ridiculous to design classes around cars that aren't available here and rules that aren't made here that are dependent on manufacturers who couldn't care less.

To expand on the soccer analogy above: what if you couldn't (legally) buy a soccer ball in the U.S. Pretty silly to start a U.S. soccer league that requires (or has rules biased to favor) balls that aren't even sold here!

Group N is Production class. Nothing more, nothing less. Why should it matter to U.S. ProRally if cars are properly homologated by some overseas organization? Why should the SCCA create/allow classes for cars that aren't even available in America?

So when we play with an inflated ball on a field, we do it OUR way, according to rules developed to suit our needs. And when we rally, we should group the cars into classes by type and preparation level based on what cars are commonly available in the U.S.

I wish the PRD had a little more common sense like Mr. Buffum and a little less internationalist, marketing-driven, pie-eyed myopia like they've exhibited in the past few years.

One final point: when international competitors and factory teams run ProRally, do the follow the precious Group N rules? Hell no, they run Open. If not even the factory participants will run those stupid FIA classes, why should they be inflicted on lower level teams?
 

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Topi,

Today's Group N ProRally car = Tomorrow's Open Class ClubRally funmobile. :)

So long as Open Class exists, I don't care that Group N is around. Should I care? Am I missing something here?

Rich Smith

Vive le "Pro-le-Ralliat"
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
RE: The fatal flaw with Group N (and A)

Right on Jon!
- I think it's sad I have to give this advice to a newcomer would-be rallying, who wants to win and run GrN in the US:
1. Go to Asia or Europe and buy a non-US legal car
2. Forge papers and lie to smuggle it past customs
3. Once in, go to salvage auction, buy a same name wreck, change the ID to fool DMV, insurance co and law if/when stopped
4. Specially in CA: Be VERY worried when driving on the road. CHP has now a special "Street racing task force" who WILL check everything (Correct & legal ID numbers on chassis/body parts/engine, insurance, illegal turbo & engine mods, exhaust, etc). These guys are no fools; so far they've put 123 cars on the trailer/impound yard and 10+ has been crashed to junk(no ID or wrong ID). Release fees are now $ 300/car and there's a proposal to increase it to $ 1000/inpound. If car doesn't comply to the US DOT - it's sayonara....plus huge fines. These guys check cars close to RIM, at LA County Drag Strip. If you want to see them in action, go to next Import Drag event. They're not after rally cars but what do they know? For them they all look same; noisy cars with stickers. God help if you got a right hand drive!
 

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For some strange reason, lots of people seem to be under the impression that America is the only place in the world that uses non FIA classes. This is incorrect.

I have lots of friends in various European countries that rally their non-homologated cars. I copied the text below from a post on the Stratos forums where we were discussing a (now repealed) FIA rule that prevented teams from competing in rallies outside the juristiction of their own ASN (ie their own country's governing body) unless they held an international licence and compete in FIA approved international events (homologated cars only).

John B.



Here in the UK, there are too many cars which are not homolgated for the MSA to consider such a radical step as banning them.

Only the BRC (British Rally Championship - top championship in the country) is for ONLY homologated cars. All other championships have classes for unhomologated cars.

I would estimate that only about 25% of the rally cars competing in the UK are homologated vehicles. At the lower championship levels, where I normally compete, I would estimate that homologated vehicles make up less that 5% of the entry.
 

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Let's look at it this way - NASCAR doesn't have a single FIA approved car and they seem to be doing fine. We are the largest consumer market in the world and Pro Rally in the USA could do its own thing. Subaru , Ford , Hyundai , Dodge and Mitsubishi don't care what class you call the cars, TV time is what they care about . None of the Rally competitors I know care about FIA classes. So if Jorg von Whatisnamen wants to run a Group N car in the US and Skoda wants to put money in the program more power to them.
The 600 Subaru kids who showed up at Rim , represent the sports future and they could give rats arse about group N.They just wnat to see fast cars.
On a differant note I hope someone at Rally America relizes we need a plan to transition from the National Club series we are now to the true Pro Series we could be. I would like to see production split into two classes P1 for the new cars (read manufacturers) and P2 for 20 year old cars. We also need a some sort of spec class where the racing is fierce and the cars are low bucks - maybe spec Hyundai Accents or Toyota Tacomas????
 

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In Ontario N=P

Hey you guys need to come up north where Group N cars are production cars...
Even though you can't buy an EVO(or STI for that matter) in North America you can win the Ontario Production championship with it!
Us Canuks are always soo far ahead of you Yankees.:D or is it we're just the testing ground for your bad ideas?
 

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I have to admit I never understood why someone would spend the money to go GRP N. If your spending the money for the gearbox and the suspension why not go open were one could use any part they wanted at much lower costs then GRP N legal bits. Why have the head ache of tech if the car has the correct bits to match the papers?
 

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I think the reason people go to Grp N is the price. You can build a really good Grp N for $40 000 but it'll cost you twice as much for a good competitive Open, and that is without counting how much it cost to race it.
I'm building a Grp N and yes it is a pain in the butt, but you can't build a GT 'cause supposelly GT will become Grp N in the next 2 years. So if you want to build a race car now for the next 5 years you are left with Open and have to compete against Professional team budget (almost inlimited) or go Grp N and have a big headeach building it.
Open is the easiest way to go if you have a lot of money. Look just for the engine. In Grp N you have to run pretty much a stock engine (250 t0 300 hp), Open you need something around 400 hp (price of the engine 3 time of the stock one), if you have a high power engine you need a drivetrain who can handle it. (really expensive). etc....
Trust me I don't like that mess of Grp n no more than you but it not like we have a lot of choices.

All that argument is if you want to win races and championships. But if you just want to have fun in you local week-end rally than you are right go Open with basic cheap parts or make your own but don't go through the pain of Grp N.
Stephan
 

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>
>
> I have to admit I never understood why someone would spend
>the money to go GRP N.
Some slightly more cynical observers might gently suggest that those who do have er....uh.. willingly been duped, they've bought the hype that maybe somehow if they jump on the latest thing and just do all the events, and then hype their middle or back of the pack results ceaselessly, that the big time is waiting just next season, big SPONSORSHIP MONEY!!!!

OTHER PEOPLES MONEY most importantly.

And you've been around a while Sean, ever notice that whatever is the "next big thing" like the last 2 times GpA was introduced* there were folks that jumped on instantly so that they could be in a class "Where I have a chance of to Trophy, cause there isn't anybody in it , yet".


If your spending the money for the
>gearbox and the suspension why not go open were one could
>use any part they wanted at much lower costs then GRP N
>legal bits. Why have the head ache of tech if the car has
>the correct bits to match the papers?

It could be that the new platoons of guys actually don't know much about building cars or sourcing parts, and have been used to simply buying stuff, that's all they know ;notice how some guys get really haughty about their skills as car prep guys in Production class?

I mean look at the 4 bolt big brake kit I did for Mazda 323 GTX, nobody had done since the cars were introduced, if peoiple wanted anything better than the stock stuff, only Millens $2500 plus kit was
available. When I had somebody seriously ask, it took less than 5 minutes per end to design it, and all the parts are cheaper than stock parts.

But most people aren't used to thinking about doing things themselves, and the Inter-net has increased the tendancy via slick pretty Web-sites, to assume that a) you should trust somebody else, and b) you can't do it price effectivly.


But the key is the 5 year rule, that shows that the ultimate beneficiary is the car manufacturers.

and if they really gave a hoot they would all have the amount of info and help available as Ford and for that matter Peugeot, and VW and Opel routinley have done historically.
>
>





John Vanlandingham
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Vive le Prole-le-ralliat
 

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Why would PGT go away?

Admittedly there were few, almost no competitors, this year and if that trend were to continue the class would kill itself, BUT from a Dollars to Fun ratio it is one of the best deals out there.

Why spend $40,000 for a Group N car that can't compete with an $80,000, or $120,00 Group N car. (Even if the engines were the same, suspension and drivetrain with equal drivers will win.) Remeber building the car is one issue -- keeping it in very specific parts is entirely another.

For the same $40,000 you can have a better Open car than the Group N car and while your car will only be monetarily at best a third of the Manufacturers car, a good driver would be able to beat more of the Group N cars, thus finishing higher overall. (And saving $$$$ in replacement/damage parts thus being able to spend more on competitive advantages -- like tires or upgrades.)

Or for $40,000 you can get a Brand New STI, and Build the best PGT car in the country.

If it was my dollars, I'd start with the STI in PGT, win the class outright (better potential for sponsorship dollars) and then if you want to move up, add the bits and pieces for either Group N or Open.

I stretch my .02 into .03,
Mike
 

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Careful Mike, you almost sound like an accountant.

BTW, I'm parting out my expired GrN (so I've heard) Saab 900T so that I can transfer parts into perhaps a Subie or Mitsubishi or VW. Many homologated Gr5 parts available. Excellent shell, new transmission, engine needed work, rally suspension, skidplate, spares. Easy cheap rallycar project. Get it before I throw it out.
James Fox, I can bring you whatever Saab bits you need to Tall Pines.
 

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>I think the reason people go to Grp N is the price. You can
>build a really good Grp N for $40 000 but it'll cost you
>twice as much for a good competitive Open, and that is
>without counting how much it cost to race it.
>.
>Look just for the engine. In Grp N you have to run pretty
>much a stock engine (250 t0 300 hp), Open you need something
>around 400 hp (price of the engine 3 time of the stock one),
>if you have a high power engine you need a drivetrain who
>can handle it. (really expensive). etc....
>Trust me I don't like that mess of Grp n no more than you
>but it not like we have a lot of choices.
N.
>Stephan

I disagree, look at AV this year. Not the fastest car in open and from what I understand not much beyond GRP N. What we did see was reliability winning the races. People put to much into engine as the excuse for win or loose-it's the package. Without an age limit in "PRO" there could be plenty of very competitive cars for 40K even with the age limit if one can do their own work and development.
John V. makes a acurate statement that in the USA we tend to buy versus design build our own-I think of it as more "think for ourselves". I've seen plenty of factory stuff and it's not so pretty as it appears-also remember someone has to make everything so why can't you or I?
 
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