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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2015 4:09 am 
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Hi Guys,

Well, the '16 ST Rules are out, and the Calculator tool, new ST/PT/TT Dyno Certification Form and ST Car Classification Forms will all be out within a week. So, it seems to me that it was very helpful this past year to have a few threads where drivers and potential new ST competitors had a chance to give their input and ideas in regard to specific rule items that were up for consideration. In fact, these discussions not only lead to both making some changes and not making changes to the rules, but also lead to some new ideas that were either implemented for '16 or put into the pipeline for '17 and beyond. And, as you know, while we appreciate driver input and take it into consideration, our goal is to always improve and grow the series, which means that ultimately it comes down to the series officials making the decisions on the rules, as opposed to a vote or mob rule. We always understand that regardless of what decisions are made, whether they be to make changes or not do anything, some percentage of the competitors will not be satisfied, and some will be very vocal. With that being said, we all need to remember that the large majority of competitors never actually look at (or certainly post) on these forums (unfortunately). So, just because there is some high volume about a given topic here, does not mean that that sentiment is common or the majority opinion around the country. However, we also know that those of you who take the extra time to follow these forums are often well informed, intelligent, and have some valid points and ideas that we appreciate. So, now that I'm done with my disclaimer:

ST4 is definitely planned for '17. Now, whether it ends up being called ST4 or PT4 or something else is still up for a final decision, but I suspect it will be ST4. The idea is to extend the ST series classing scheme down to the lower HP and higher Adjusted Wt/HP Ratio vehicles. And, the current plan is to set that class at a limit of Adjusted Wt/HP Ratio of 12:1 (using the Avg HP calculation that is being tested in '16 in ST3). The goal is to attract new competitors that are neither competing in ST (because they have difficulty reaching 10:1 for ST3) or PTB/PTC (because they have difficulty with the points system), and to increase field sizes of the cars that are competing in PTB currently. Assuming we add ST4 (PT4, etc.) as a new class, we would delete at least one class, which in this case would be PTB (with a consideration for PTC, but that would likely depend on whether ST5/6 (PT 5/6) become reality as well.

So, what are we asking? As you know, unlike some other open classes, our philosophy in ST is that as we move further away from Super Unlimited, there necessarily needs to be either increased vehicle restrictions and/or an increased number of Modification Factors and/or an increased value of current Modification Factors in order to help contain costs to the competitors. While we understand that these rules do not directly prevent someone from spending a million dollars on a build, they definitely can limit the advantage gained by doing so. It does not make sense to ST officials to have vehicles that cost $3000-$7000 to purchase to essentially be required to have $40,000++ of modifications to be competitive. As you know, ST1 and ST2 have the same rules with just the exception of the different limit on Adjusted Wt/HP Ratio. This is appropriate, as these vehicles tend to be much more expensive to begin with, and it is understood that these are going to be fairly high dollar classes. ST3 is where some of these controls start to kick in, with the OEM Aero rule that allows drivers to choose to stick with OEM Aero, and the higher Modification Factor for a non-OEM sequential/semi-automatic transmission. We believe that ST4 should have an expansion of this philosophy, but we are just beginning to work on what these additional controls might look like. Additionally, we have not decided the extent of these additional controls, and it may turn out that we decide that we don't want any, and to have ST4 just mirror ST3 with a different Adjusted Wt/HP Ratio. We have another thread to discuss those issues.

What we would like this thread to focus on are proposals and your input on ideas for additional controls for potential ST5/6 (or maybe more likely PT5/6) classes (could be in '17, '18, or later). ST5/6 (PT5/6) will necessarily have significant additional controls as we don't want these classes to end up requiring a $250K car to be the champion of the lowest level classes. Valid arguments can be made for many different approaches, so try not to judge each other or make personal attacks, but if you wish to constructively comment on ideas submitted here without getting nasty, feel free.

So, I'll start with my personal opinion. I think that ST5/6 (PT5/6) and any classes below this, that would result in a deletion of many if not all of the current PT classes, will require significant differences from the higher level ST classes, while still keeping the same format, using Dyno based Adjusted Wt/HP classing and Modification Factors to level the field. At the higher levels, it is really expected that a very competitive car is going to be relatively expensive. The inherent issues for each vehicle as it came from the factory can be dealt with using modifications that may be expensive, but ultimately do level the field. Is it possible to take a car built in the 1980's and modify it to compete against cars build with superior engineering today? Sure, but it costs.... Since we don't want to have open classes that cost the same amount to be successful whether you are running at 5.5:1 or 17:1, we need to find ways to compensate for the differences in engineering from the factory (and by this I mean everything but power). For this reason, I think that for these classes, we need to have a Vehicle Model Modification Factor table. This would be something similar to the current PT base class table, but instead of a base class, each model will be assigned a Modification Factor that can be adjusted over time as needed, with new models added over time when requested. I don't see any other reasonable way to attempt to equalize some of the cars that were truly built for economy and buying groceries (especially 30-50 years ago), with those built today for performance and/or track use. Additionally, I think that we need hard restrictions on items like modified Aero components. Of course those with OEM special aero can have that built into the Vehicle Model Mod Factor, but for actual non-OEM modifications, we should limit aero to a list of items with specific maximum dimensions. We should have a wider range of tire Mod Factors than in the higher ST classes. There should probably be a restriction against relocation of OEM suspension mounting points and other complex suspension changes. Remember, anyone who wants to do these things can build for 12:1 in ST4 (or whatever the ST4 rules end up as). I have some other ideas, but I'd rather see how many come up with the same ideas.

Thanks for your input, and have a great 2016 season!

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2015 9:03 am 
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Sounds like a good plan. I appreciate the advanced warning.

So, will the rules be similar to the current rules with a list of cars as long as the current list with base w/p ratios instead of weight plus a table of modification factors more complex than the ST3 rules but more simple than the current PT rules? Something like this:

.....
1) Non-BTM gears of a different ratio in BTM transmission +0.1
2) Non-BTM transmission without automated shifting and/or dog ring gears in transmission +0.2 (do not take points in 8.A.1)
3) Non-BTM transmission with automated shifting +0.3 (do not take points in 8.A.1)
4) Non-BTM differential +0.1
...Etc.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2015 11:07 am 
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Well at first I was excited of hearing of a class that would be a level playing field for everyone, but after reading that there will still be model specific power to weight penalties, why even bother? If you want to try and make a Honda Oddesy competitive that's your choice, I don't think it should be a recipient of assistance via the rules.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2015 11:45 am 
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What about what IMSA does in the Tudor Series Classes where they use Balance of Performance (BOP) adjustments through out the year. The base table could be generated from the PT National Championship results from the last few years; based upon relative times from the different tracks, and every year the results from the national races would modify those results. But it seems more appropriate for this level of speed to more PT evolutionary rather than another creative engineering vibe that ST seeds. So no pickup relocation, no modifications to the stock sheet metal, the factory motor and transmission in the factory location..... leave the success more platform dependent and then use BOP adjustments in the power to weight ratio to bring parity. So in ST5 a miata has X PW ratio, in ST6 it has some different ratio and every year there is a minor (or major tweak) to that ratio.

Again, another dumping of my $0.02.

Ryan


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2015 11:57 am 
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Arca_ex wrote:
Well at first I was excited of hearing of a class that would be a level playing field for everyone, but after reading that there will still be model specific power to weight penalties, why even bother? If you want to try and make a Honda Oddesy competitive that's your choice, I don't think it should be a recipient of assistance via the rules.


Because many of us don't want this to turn into a 'one horse' show like certain SCCA classes were a very specific car is really the only option to have to be competitive in 'x' class.

As others here I'm sure will concur, I certainly have no interest in buying a Honda Mini-van or other clearly obvious bad choice car but I also don't want to be at a huge disadvantage because I opted for a something like a FWD 4dr Mazda Protege instead of the mighty Mazda Miata (many actually do have a harder time fitting into a Miata so its not even an option for them so the idea of chasing away customers because of an unfair advantage of certain cars holds no appeal for me thanks)

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2015 12:03 pm 
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moremazda wrote:
the factory motor and transmission in the factory location.....

Ryan


No, absolutely not. A power to weight class where they don't care how the power is made should not have a rule against engine swaps. Do you realize how many Miatas and Hondas would be ineligible if that were a rule?


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2015 12:09 pm 
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ceboyd wrote:

Because many of us don't want this to turn into a 'one horse' show like certain SCCA classes were a very specific car is really the only option to have to be competitive in 'x' class.

As others here I'm sure will concur, I certainly have no interest in buying a Honda Mini-van or other clearly obvious bad choice car but I also don't want to be at a huge disadvantage because I opted for a something like a FWD 4dr Mazda Protege instead of the mighty Mazda Miata (many actually do have a harder time fitting into a Miata so its not even an option for them so the idea of chasing away customers because of an unfair advantage of certain cars holds no appeal for me thanks)


The big bore ST and TT classes seem to have some variety for winners at nationals.

Also if you pick a FWD Protege you already have a 1.0lbs/HP advantage thanks to the FWD mod factor. Is that not sufficient?

And the tall guy in a Miata argument is not going to work on me lol. I'm 6'5" size big and one of my cars is a fully caged Miata. If you don't fit, you just didn't try hard enough with your selection of seat and installation of said seat.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2015 1:35 pm 
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Arca_ex wrote:


The big bore ST and TT classes seem to have some variety for winners at nationals.

And the tall guy in a Miata argument is not going to work on me lol. I'm 6'5" size big and one of my cars is a fully caged Miata. If you don't fit, you just didn't try hard enough with your selection of seat and installation of said seat.


There in lies the difference of 'big bore' ST (see big $$) vs. those of us who like to keep build cost well under $20k thanks. (heck, under $10k build when you do most of your own labor is what drew us to PTF with our 2x NASA Champ FWD G20) Of course there will always be those who have $80k PTE builds but that will simply never be us.

So I'm all for having rules in place to help keep costs down for the higher number ST5/6 or PT5/6 class change should it happen.

We've had 5 Miata's since 2007 ranging from 3 SMs to 2 for PTE. After 8 years of Miata's, we are looking to try something else thanks. (and no it isn't necessarily a Mazda Protege either) The other fact is we had to run an aluminum seat with tunnel modification that doesn't work 100% correctly for my 6'2" husband. Fitting and 'fitting well' are 2 completely different things with regards to a Miata.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2015 2:48 pm 
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ceboyd wrote:
Arca_ex wrote:


The big bore ST and TT classes seem to have some variety for winners at nationals.

And the tall guy in a Miata argument is not going to work on me lol. I'm 6'5" size big and one of my cars is a fully caged Miata. If you don't fit, you just didn't try hard enough with your selection of seat and installation of said seat.


There in lies the difference of 'big bore' ST (see big $$) vs. those of us who like to keep build cost well under $20k thanks. (heck, under $10k build when you do most of your own labor is what drew us to PTF with our 2x NASA Champ FWD G20) Of course there will always be those who have $80k PTE builds but that will simply never be us.

So I'm all for having rules in place to help keep costs down for the higher number ST5/6 or PT5/6 class change should it happen.

We've had 5 Miata's since 2007 ranging from 3 SMs to 2 for PTE. After 8 years of Miata's, we are looking to try something else thanks. (and no it isn't necessarily a Mazda Protege either) The other fact is we had to run an aluminum seat with tunnel modification that doesn't work 100% correctly for my 6'2" husband. Fitting and 'fitting well' are 2 completely different things with regards to a Miata.



I never said I was opposed to having modification factors in place in the lower classes to keep costs down. Where are you getting that from?

I'm just opposed to having a PT style listing of specific modification factors for specific models of cars. Level playing field.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2015 3:17 pm 
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I don't run those classes, but I personally think it's better to keep it simple and make them straight power-to-weight with the current modifiers. These are "formula" driven classes, and it isnt' anybody's job to make a specific car more or less successful. The competitor needs to pick a car that can fit the formula


That is all

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