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Speed of OPEN Class Cars?

What do you think about OPEN class, too fast, too slow, too high tech, too low tech? Please vote and
leave a reason for your vote.

thanks
-george
 

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Cap the technology--not the speed!

powerful than WRC. This is America after all, land of the big horsepower!

But keep a cap on technology. No WRC cars, no active diffs with yaw sensors, no paddle shifters, no acres of carbon fiber, no 45 meters of crome-moly tubing.

That's my vote.

Edit: If you want to see what I mean, buy a 1985 WRC season highlights video and compare the driving to what you see on the Speedvision WRC coverage. Which would you rather watch: high HP and low tech or moderate HP and active everything?
 

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RE: Cap the technology--not the speed!

I think some of the Open Class cars do make more power than WRC cars! Hyundai told me they were getting around 400hp in the new Tiburon, and they have no more than around 340 in the WRC cars (although they say 300..)
 

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It's patriotic....

1) Open class is "Amurkin"!
2) It gives a place for older PGT cars to go and still compete for a while.

Mark B.
 

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RE: Cap the technology--not the speed!

Rumor has it that Lovell's US spec Open class car is faster than the WRC car, at least in pure acceleration. Soooooo, we can either spend millions of dollars developing active transmission and diffs, or we can simply chuck the restricter in the lathe and turn out a few mm. I think the SCCA has the right idea on this one.

Dennis Martin
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920-432-4845
 

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Fast? Only a few cars.

While we can't directly compair to the WRC cars, we can see a very significant stratification in the speed/ability of open class competitors here. Over all I don't think the open class is all that fast, granted the top guys are but on average we have a long way to go.

As for safety? That is a function of driver ability and car capibility. There are a lot of drivers of open class cars out there that are honestly beginners and a number of others that are experianced but do not push that hard (perhaps wisely?). So long as a driver, beginner or not, stays within his level of skill, there should not be much of a safety issue. However, with a high capability car it is so much easier to get in over your head and that is where we have safety issues.

There is another area that I am real concerned with the high power cars however, and no one seems to talk about this. Way to many people spend all their effort on more HP yet neglect the suspension and handling of the car. I can not think of many things more dangerous than a beginner in a overly powerfull car with some really bad handling traits. I know there are drivers out there that think they have a great handling car but here is a simple one for you to ask yourself, when you land a good yump does your rear end hop or bounce? If so you had better do some more homework before you end up on your lid or in the trees.

Bradney A. Boli
Over Exposure Racing
Honda Accord #311
 

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Open Class

Open Class and A is too fast for rookies. I think drivers should have a few years experience under their belt in other classes before trying to compete in open or A. Even the FIA recognized that and require experience in other groups.
PGT and N,... same thing. I would say there is a bomb waiting to go off. Someday we'll have the big one and realize what's going on, maybe. Our sport will suffer and we will be scratching our heads.
Whiplash RallyeSport
 

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thoughts....

If we get very active manufacturer involvement (at least 6 manuf's involved), then I'm all for seeing the "no expense spared" WRC caliber cars over here. That'd be around 12 super powered cars and would make for great competition. I don't want to see 1 or 2 cars winning all the time. Make a diff't class for them too. Get an FIA class or something. That way they won't totally overshadow all the other open class cars there are now.

Over the past couple years, the speeds are definately picking up on the stages. I'm not sure if the use of pace notes is going to even speed the cars up more. If so, then it'd be good to see. Of course we all want the cars to go faster!

Pete
 

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RE: Open Class

I agree with Ray in that the SCCA should only license beginners
in Production or Group 2. Then, after a certain number of events
(or maybe Seed), go onto 4WD, PGT, Group 5. How many Seed 8
4WD cars were at Rim? Too many.

Patrick
 

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Too fast...

Cars are approaching group B performance, but the caliber of North American drivers is almost pathetic IMO. This is a recipe for disaster; group B cars were very dangerous even in the hands of the world's best drivers.

We should consider what the purpose of ProRally's highest level is. Do we want the campionship to go to the driver who can get 1 mph of extra speed off each turn or to the car that can go 2 mph faster by the end of the straights? Should it be a showcase for the manufacturers' ability to make a strong and efficient car or the manufacturers' ability to make the most horsepower? Do spectators want to see world-class driving or lots of speed and dust? If horsepower is limited, it becomes the driver's and the car's job to do the most with limited resources. More horsepower leads to sloppier driving, engineering and spectating, just look at the current state of NASCAR.

Will MacDonald
1968 Volvo 144
 

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RE: Fast? Only a few cars.

You've got a good point about suspension. Having the advantage of running 9th on the road at Sawmill, I spectated most of the rest of the cars twice at the bridge just before the end of stage 2/6. Some of the cars were scary with their suspension. Maybe it's not so bad from inside the car but from outside some bounced and bottomed out easily.
 

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RE: Too fast...

>Cars are approaching group B performance, but the caliber of
>North American drivers is almost pathetic IMO. This is a
>recipe for disaster; group B cars were very dangerous even
>in the hands of the world's best drivers.
>
>We should consider what the purpose of ProRally's highest
>level is. Do we want the campionship to go to the driver
>who can get 1 mph of extra speed off each turn or to the car
>that can go 2 mph faster by the end of the straights?
>Should it be a showcase for the manufacturers' ability to
>make a strong and efficient car or the manufacturers'
>ability to make the most horsepower? Do spectators want to
>see world-class driving or lots of speed and dust? If
>horsepower is limited, it becomes the driver's and the car's
>job to do the most with limited resources. More horsepower
>leads to sloppier driving, engineering and spectating, just
>look at the current state of NASCAR.
>
Last time I checked, the overall leader so far in ProRally is a privateer... That obviously knows how to drive.
>Will MacDonald
>1968 Volvo 144
 

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High Speed is the Issue, not High Performance

High speed is what makes race cars dangerous because at high speed there is more energy to dissapate in the eventual sudden stop (energy = 1/2 mass times velocity squared).

High drop height can be dangerous too (energy = mass times height)

Drivers "taking chances" can be extremely dangerous!

High speed comes from roads (twistiness and grip), car acceleration (power and weight), active chassis systems (diffs and swaybars) and tire grip.

Currently we manage by:

* Choosing twisty stage roads with lower average speeds
* Avoiding paved stages on race tires (usually)
* Limiting power and weight of 4wd cars
* Limiting aerodynamics
* Limiting active diffs and swaybars
* Cautioning dangerous places in the routebook an with arrows along the course
* Requiring drivers to be schooled and demonstrate some maturity by finishing a Club event before issuing a National license.

Other steps we could take:

* Limiting the size of tires on 4wd cars
* Putting drivers on probation for the next 100 stage miles after an accident, and suspending their license if their accident rate exceeds 2/100 completed stage miles (not quite sure what is an "accident" -- maybe extent of body damage is determinant)
 

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Speed of Roads

Great comments Doug, and it brings up an issue:

Do we have events with Roads that are TOO FAST?


In my opinion there is one, but none of the top drivers seem concerned. Your one of the TOP drivers -- any concerns, or are the events all still reasonable?

Mike
 

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RE: Speed of Roads

"* Putting drivers on probation for the next 100 stage miles after an accident, and suspending their license if their accident rate exceeds 2/100 completed stage miles (not quite sure what is an "accident" -- maybe extent of body damage is determinant)"

What do you mean by this? Does that mean if you get into an accident, you basically can't drive the next event? (Say someone at STPR crashes out, that means they couldn't do Maine because that's less than 100 miles I believe. Something like 90 stage miles) I also don't think that would fly too well with the manfufactuers involved; therefore, it won't fly with the SCCA.

Anyway, while STPR is extremely fast, it also is gently sloping with a forgiving road surface. The trees aren't forgiving, but they make the roads easier to read (and on about 50+% of the corners there's banks anyway). Most accidents there are due to people pushing way too hard rather than the roads being too fast IMO.

Thanks,
Alex
 

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RE: Speed of Roads

C'mon Alex, you're still in school, you should know about probation versus suspension. }> Oh wait a minute, maybe in school you get kicked out when you're on probation too. :p Anyway, I think Doug's suggesting that their driving is monitored for the next 100 stage miles they compete on after an accident and then judgement is passed (possible suspension) based on how they do on those hundred miles.

Kent Gardam
 

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RE: Speed of Roads

I see :) I just assumed he used the wrong terminology because I was thinking, "Who would be the officer? How would he be in the car?"

Now that I get it, it sounds like a better idea. It could still piss off the manufactuers though, but it may have been able to save Hyundai some money w/ Noel last year ;)

Thanks,
Alex
 

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RE: Too fast...

More horsepower
>leads to sloppier driving, engineering and spectating, just
>look at the current state of NASCAR.
>
>Will MacDonald
>1968 Volvo 144

Um, actually, NASCAR cars have restrictor plates. And they are all engineered to be equal, but you're right on the crappy driving and spectating part!

Me, I want the best of both worlds, high horsepower and world class drivers. Gotta be low tech though, its annoying when a car can't finish the rally because a software problem in the transmission... Judging by your choice in vehicle you'd agree with me. :) Hey, mine's even more high tech!


Nick Polimeni
'71 Volvo 142E (daily driver/RallyCross)
Editor, Blue Mountain Region, SCCA
www.bmr-scca.org
 

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RE: Too fast...

>Um, actually, NASCAR cars have restrictor plates. And they
>are all engineered to be equal, but you're right on the
>crappy driving and spectating part!

Exactly, the cars are engineered to be equal, not faster than the other cars. The restrictor plates are, however, only used on really fast tracks so fewer drivers wind up dead because they always bump into each other. Ever watch them race on a road course? :eek:

>Me, I want the best of both worlds, high horsepower and
>world class drivers. Gotta be low tech though, its annoying
>when a car can't finish the rally because a software problem
>in the transmission... Judging by your choice in vehicle
>you'd agree with me. :) Hey, mine's even more high tech!

Unfortunately, it is a lot easier to make a faster car than it is to make a faster driver. Naturally, modifying the car becomes the most apealing method to get quick quick, and the driver becomes secondary.

Technology caps should be up to the manufacturers. After all, the only reason they sponsor rallies and drivers is to sell a product. Why should we reduce ProRally's appeal to them by making rules for their arena which they might not like, but have little ill effect on the average joe rally driver? The manufacturers can help us, SCCA's members, a lot; let's not spoil it.

For now, I'd say that the sport is growing too fast, so let's kill two birds with one stone and limit all cars to 200 hp (maybe even less) for a few years. That way drivers will have to keep their speed up in the turns so we might get at least a few good drivers, and until we figure out how to control them, we won't get so many spectators because the cars are boring.

BTW: My car will soon have an engine and induction system which are a mere 30 years old, with a little help from MadMike et al. I'm also working on a state of the art driver module for it, so watch out! :p

Will MacDonald
1968 Volvo 144
 
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