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SURF!!! I'll cover you myself!
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I have some concerns over manufacturer involvement. I have not desided either way what is right or wrong, but I think this is important enough a topic to start a disscussion, and I'm listening you your comments.

I tend to be wary of any manufacturer team that is on the level of the Prodrive program.

I'd perfer to see the millions the manufacturers spend on >two< cars, to be invested in a privateer support program. Not like the current Subaru program, but real support with >discounted< parts, and real contingancy money. I tend to beleive this would benefit many teams, rather than one US driver.

When I look back at the last 3-4 years of manufacturer involvement I can see no longterm benefit for the rally community, or even the manufacturers themselves. The way I see it is if they had spent the same budget on a program that would benefit 10-12 privateer teams that run the majority of the series I feel we would now have many more privateers with solid footing to run more events properly, and hence a stronger base of serious competitive teams.

It could be said that certain drivers benefited from the big manufacturers, short term, but those guys are not rallying very much these days. If a serious manufacturer privateer support program was in place I could see several teams, the rally community, and the manufacturers themselves benefiting in the long term.

Thoughts?


Peter
 

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Spec class is probably best of both. A 2 car team of top drivers is more sellable then contingancy awards, but a field of 15+ examples of a manufacturers model is a decent medium giving value to the competitor. See the Australian Impreza spec series, Britan has several spec classes that are well subscribed. I feel we have enough privateers to make this happen.
 

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I can see one benefit of having just 2 amazing prodrive cars. THE FANS. I was at LSPR last year (the last race with mitsu, subie, ford and hyundai backed teams) and it was great to be a fan. These cars are what got me hooked on Pro Rally. I then went on to volunteer at a couple rallies, and now I'm a co-driver.

Fast, nice looking manufacturer backed cars do wonders for spectators, which in my opinion, will keep the sport alive.
 

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400 flat to crest
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Eric,
Don't get all uptight if I say you are a relative newcomer to the sport, you say that yourself.
But elsewhere I have posted how a rather more experienced set of rally nuts, the Finns, were waaaaaay waaaaaaaaaay excited that their favorite class, GroupF was granted a special place at this years WRC event, and 75 were allowed to run in a separtate event in conjustion with Rally Finland.

Think of that.
They're all yammering away about what a great chance to see some _REALLY EXCITING_ rally driving, rather than the stuff from around 5th place down in the WRC.

I might suggest that Higgins, Higgins, Milner, Paasonen would be pretty exciting to see in any _well prepared_ , reasonablty powerful car since they know how to drive.

I might further suggest that (if we are really generous) that the guys in the US behind those foriegn guys would be really motivated to try, if those "Furrin' devils" were in cars much closer to what they were driving, assuming they know how to drive.

Many of the spectators I have talked to in the last 14-17 years since the arrival of the old Mazda 323 and Mitsu Eclipse 4wd have consistantly said they prefer to watch the 2wd cars for 2 simple reasons:
Closer identification (rather than idealisation/idolization)
Traditionally, it _appears_ they are trying harder.

But ponder the experience Finnish fans preferring to watch GpF.




John Vanlandingham
Seattle, WA. 98168

Vive le Prole-le-ralliat!
Vive Le Groupe F!
 

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You can't tell a manufacturer how to spend its money. If it wants to do a good, economical parts program for its privateers, great. If it wants to do a contingency, that is swell. And if it wants to partner with a capable racing team to build and campaign a "factory support" car, then that is just fine, too. Incidentally, Mazda does all three of these.

What you DON'T want (and I trust that Rally America won't do this) is to change directions, rules, standards, promises, or anything else for every Johnny ComeLately manufacturer that shows up with four nickels and a stick of gum.

They can play within the rules. Screw "manufacturer championships."
Or "councils."



BTW, did you see that Mopar clinched the Overall Manufacturer Championship at Cog?
http://www.mopar.com/speed/news1080.htm
Where's that rolly eyes smiley when you need it? :)
 

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I'll echo Lurch - you can't tell a manufacturer how to spend its money. By virtue of the fact that most everyone that posts on SS.com is a rally competitor and/or fan/enthusiast, there is a recurring "what can the manufacturer do for me" attitude that I see quite a bit.

Since I am both an enthusiast/competitor and under the employ of the professional motorsports industry, I try to see it both ways. To start, I'll give an example: on my last business trip, I had the chance to meet a certain WRC Team Principal, at a certain builder of WRC (among other) cars, that paints their WRC cars a certain shade of blue. As we were having our conversation, he told me that, and I paraphrase, "WRC is about selling automobiles." Of course, lest one were to think that was the ONLY goal of WRC, one would be very naive and narrow-minded. However, as a manufacturer that is paying very large bills for motorsports programs, "selling cars" is quite an attractive goal, and if one can improve that status, then the motorsports venture is usually labelled as successful.

North America does not have WRC, you say. Well, I can't argue with you on that one, but the manufacturer premise is still very valid. Why would Subaru, Mitsubishi, Hyundai or any other company want to come play in the NA rally arena? I imagine that on top of their list of reasons is to "gain greater market exposure to... sell more cars". We can debate up and down about how each of the manufacturers has been successful/unsuccessful in their endeavors here in the States, but that's not really the point. The point is that they have tried to market rallying to a larger audience. I disagree with your statement that you believe manufacturers would be better suited to divying up their money to privateer teams in lieu of having a factory team. Don't get me wrong, I think contingency programs are great, but the external exposure is much greater with a factory team (as Schnell points out above).

As a competitor, I would love for Mitsubishi (since Subaru parts do me no good! :p) to sell me heavily discounted parts, and write me big checks to go rallying. Do I think that is going to happen? No (and I even know the guys in Rugby!). I think that what you propose is a novel idea from a competitor perspective, but not practical at this point. Why? Because rallying is a very small part of the overall NA motorsports world. Even though we all eat, sleep and breathe rally, there are millions of other Americans who know absolutely nothing about it (yet they know each and every detail of their favorite NASCAR driver). The biggest bang for the buck will be to increase rally awareness by running factory teams, and thereby increasing interest in the sport from OUTSIDERS. After the factory team provide exposure for increased fan base (a seemingly difficult task in North America), then I think heftier contingency programs will benefit both the manufacturer and the competitor.

Mike

(Day Job: WRC Motorsports Engineer)

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Mike Moyer
Eclipse GSX #302 (eternal state of rebuild)
CRS GT
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I am admittedly biased because I like to recieve contingency money. My opinion is that Mazda got a good return on its expenditures. I always made sure Mazdaspeed was aware of it when my car got mentions in Sports Compact Car magazine, Autoweek, Speedchannel, etc. It was truly a win-win situation. For relatively few bucks they got some good publicity, and often the media viewers (readers) didn't even know that the car was 15 years old. All they saw was "MAZDA" placed well. Lurch gave Mazda considerably more exposure than I did (doing things like car shows) and more rallies. Mazda got a good deal and other manufacturers could too.

Hopefully Subaru will get some benefit from the Hintz brothers efforts too. A couple mentions in the Olympian newspaper are about it so far.

Spec classes are good for relatively inexpensive vehicles that are incapable of an overall win. If a manufacturer is capable of getting the overall win (either with privateers or paid drivers) then it is a poor decision by that manufacturer to create a spec class. They can get better PR their money by winning overall.
 

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>What you DON'T want (and I trust that Rally America won't do
>this) is to change directions, rules, standards, promises,
>or anything else for every Johnny ComeLately manufacturer
>that shows up with four nickels and a stick of gum.

THANK YOU! Any mfr who gets to change the rules will try to do it to be the winner. It may not be the intent, but the marketing director who is running the rally progarm for mfr X had better be able to report notable and PROVABLE sale growth. If you're not winning, it's hard to prove the sales growth was due to the rally program. And if sales drop or or flat, then the mfr's rally program and maybe the director's job, are on the block. So the temptation to tweak the rules is friven onto folks in that position.

>
>BTW, did you see that Mopar clinched the Overall
>Manufacturer Championship at Cog?
>http://www.mopar.com/speed/news1080.htm

Thanks for pointing that out..! Makes the 'turbo 4wd cars are too fast' postion a bit weak.....

Regards,
Mark B.
 

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>Thanks for pointing that out..! Makes the 'turbo 4wd cars
>are too fast' postion a bit weak.....


Ummm...they won cuz they were the only manufacturer left, I think. Subaru, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, and Mazda sat this one out. Though I can't find Mfr points standings listed on the SCCA website...or Rally America...or rallyracingnews.com.
 

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5 right opens
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There are reasons I agree and disagree with the idea but in general, I think there NEEDS to be Manufacturers in the mix. NOW, more than ever.

Manufacturers bring a level of Promotion and Marketing to this (and any) motorsports that we can't get any other way. Not only do they bring money and support to the Series, but in promoting their own results and Drivers and Cars... the series benefits from the promotion as well.

In simple terms...

Manufacturers bring Press

Press Brings Spectators

Spectators bring Promoters, Advertisers and Sponsors

Promoters, Advertisers and Sponsors bring Revenues

Revenues Bring more Venues and cheaper racing

More venues and cheaper racing brings more competitors

More Competitors bring more Press and Promoters, Advertisers, Sponsors and... Manufacturers

If Rally America is to survive, along with Rally in the US, we NEED good solid marketing and to attract/keep our Manufacturers.

As Privateers, you need to understand just how much money and support that Subary of America has provided you this past year. Many Rally Events would NOT have even happened had it not been for the Manufacturers that supported this series. Just because they don't write a check directly to a privateer, doesn't mean they're not supporting them.

Just my .02 cents worth

Scott "DKOV" Kovalik
ORG SCCA RX DIR
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I am suprised that nobody has mentioned this before but what about awd and 2wd manufacturer only classes? D'oh....

Give them a place to play, with virtually unlimited rules, charge them out the ying yang to cover the insurance, give them straight heads up competition against competing manufacturers and that would help keep the rules padding that can come with manufacturers away from the private entrants to help manage costs (if a privateer effort wants to go play with the big boys he can but thats going to cost). You keep the championship structure as identicle as possible (moving the mfg champ to the new classes), keep the circus from driving the expenses for the privateer out the roof, and allow for the circus to be there and draw spectators, exposure, and money......


If it were only that simple........... err why can't it be?
 

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I, personally, think that we need a one-make spec class where EVERYONE is equal, like Britain's S1600 (that's what it is, right?) class. Group F is gaining speed fast and I love the idea, and even though it's probably what I'll end up competing in (if not PGT) I'd love to have the option of a one-make class, heck, even an independent one-make championship!

Maybe it could be an SVT Focus championship....
 

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No, Super1600 fosters competition among several makes and comprises $100,000 1600cc normally aspirated 210hp 2wd cars from Peugot, Citroen, Ford, Seat, Opel, etc.


I think you are thinking of the 206 Cup, a championship within a championship for spec Pug 206s.
 

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>No, Super1600 fosters competition among several makes and
>comprises $100,000 1600cc normally aspirated 210hp 2wd cars
>from Peugot, Citroen, Ford, Seat, Opel, etc.
>
>
>I think you are thinking of the 206 Cup, a championship
>within a championship for spec Pug 206s.

Ah, I was sort of mixing the two together.

Now that I think about it though, BOTH of those would even be a good idea. $100,000 isn't THAT big a of a budget when compared to Group N....but I'd really love a 206 Cup-style event here.
 

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don't cut
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>Now that I think about it though, BOTH of those would even
>be a good idea. $100,000 isn't THAT big a of a budget when
>compared to Group N....but I'd really love a 206 Cup-style
>event here.

That's $100k for the car alone. Probably another $200k to run it for the season. GrN cars can be had in the $50k range for a lower spec or used model internationally, and for even less here in America.

Dennis Martin
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920-432-4845
 

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Yeah, 300K would be a good start on a season in a S1600 incl. car. It has no point in the US. G2 is our S1600. 2000cc is (was) the defacto small car displ. here as 1600cc is over there.

I don't think you'll find a single person to argue with you that a spec class like 206Cup would be great. But again, you can't tell sponsors how to spend their money. You can offer them things, but the odds are that you will be shot down. Its important to keep trying, though.
 
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