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PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2009 2:29 pm 
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Hi Guys,

I wanted to open a discussion regarding our foray into REWARDS weight - I've had a chance to sit down and apply my best Ross Brawn to the rules voted on at Infineon, and I believe we have some serious loopholes at this point. For the record, while I don't think that introducing REWARDS weight now is a good idea, I'd certainly support other forms of driver/car equalization, if the majority of the teams are for that general idea.

Just for the record, here's what I believe we agreed on:
    1st place driver adds 100lbs plus the difference between their actual weight at the end of the round 3 Infineon race and their minimum weight on paper.
    2nd place driver adds 75lbs plus the difference between their actual weight at the end of the round 3 Infineon race and their minimum weight on paper.
    3rd place driver adds 50lbs plus the difference between their actual weight at the end of the round 3 Infineon race and their minimum weight on paper.

To apply the results of the Infineon race, I believe (just guessing here) that would put us something like:

1. Hartanto 2700 + 200 + 100 = 3000lbs minimum.
2. Chittum 2600 + 50 + 75 = 2725 minimum.
3. Rich Woo (Sorry, I don't know the weight of his ITR, or how much heavier it is than it should be by the rules)

So, here are a few things to think about regarding these changes -

1. It's the middle of the season - it'd be nice to actually run the REWARDS system for the entire season and give a chance for people to do well, get weighted up, get pushed down, then recover again. It seems a little arbitrary to suddenly start this now, rather than wait until next year as it will artificially bias the results toward those that have cars that are well suited to our next few tracks.

2. Teammates - Does a teammate have to add all the additional weight? On one hand, that would seem unfair for Tom to have to add the 200lbs additional weight that Andrie's car had. Conversely, It also means that any team that had extra weight could easily get out of it just by declaring a teammate...which also seems crazy - my team would have to declare a teammate to remain competitive.

3. The additional difference weight also comes into question when someone drives a different car as well. It is a car-specific thing, for example, I was about 50lbs over weight at Infineon - if I drove a different car at Fontana, do I need to keep the difference weight I had at Infineon? That would mean that if I rent a more optimal car for the rest of the season instead of driving my own, I could gain a 50lb advantage that way.

4. Further development - can a competitor with REWARDS weight work on their engine, change power, and re-declare their maximum power to change the ratio?

Anyhow, some items worthy of discussion, I think. As I mentioned, I think REWARDS would be a good idea to implement at the beginning of next year. A few alternative things I'd suggest for car/driver equality for this year would include:

    Inverting some or all of the grid - Works for BTCC and SWC, lots of fun with faster people charging through the field. Would look great for some of the slower teams to show their sponsors with pictures of them at the front of the grid. Would also look great on FinalDrive TV!

    Mentoring and data availability - We discussed this briefly, but certainly making the MaxQ available for the newer teams to see, or having the faster drivers available for coaching would be worth discussing too.

    Other concessions for some cars - I'm not aware of the technical details and current hp/wt ratios of the MINIs or other cars further back, but if they're already close to their target hp/wt ratios, a discussion about further concessions to make them faster or more consistent might be worthwhile.

Anyhow, eager to hear everyone's thoughts.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2009 6:53 pm 
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I agree with most of what Andy's saying.

But I hope the weight calc's are wrong. I think the REWARDS weight is just on top of what the cars weighed after the race. I would not recommend adding 300 pounds in any car :shock:

Question, if we have to run power to weight can't the weight be overcome by extra power ? (read that as more money spent) Or is the weight calc'ed first, then the penalty ?

As for me - I like the reverse grids, or other FUN stuff.

Access to data is always a giant plus ! It even helps old folks learn new tricks.

It even helps those new know-it-alls.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 9:34 am 
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andy38 wrote:
Hi Guys,

Just for the record, here's what I believe we agreed on:
    1st place driver adds 100lbs plus the difference between their actual weight at the end of the round 3 Infineon race and their minimum weight on paper.
    2nd place driver adds 75lbs plus the difference between their actual weight at the end of the round 3 Infineon race and their minimum weight on paper.
    3rd place driver adds 50lbs plus the difference between their actual weight at the end of the round 3 Infineon race and their minimum weight on paper.

I don't think this is what we agreed on. I thought we agreed on adding the rewards weight on top of the weight as we come out of the race track.
Unless of course there are other agreements that I missed somewhat.

andy38 wrote:
So, here are a few things to think about regarding these changes -

1. It's the middle of the season - it'd be nice to actually run the REWARDS system for the entire season and give a chance for people to do well, get weighted up, get pushed down, then recover again. It seems a little arbitrary to suddenly start this now, rather than wait until next year as it will artificially bias the results toward those that have cars that are well suited to our next few tracks.

This is a valid argument, however, I don't have an opinion and will go with whatever the majority is.

andy38 wrote:
2. Teammates - Does a teammate have to add all the additional weight? On one hand, that would seem unfair for Tom to have to add the 200lbs additional weight that Andrie's car had. Conversely, It also means that any team that had extra weight could easily get out of it just by declaring a teammate...which also seems crazy - my team would have to declare a teammate to remain competitive.

3. The additional difference weight also comes into question when someone drives a different car as well. It is a car-specific thing, for example, I was about 50lbs over weight at Infineon - if I drove a different car at Fontana, do I need to keep the difference weight I had at Infineon? That would mean that if I rent a more optimal car for the rest of the season instead of driving my own, I could gain a 50lb advantage that way.

I believe it follows the team. Regardless of driver or car.

andy38 wrote:
4. Further development - can a competitor with REWARDS weight work on their engine, change power, and re-declare their maximum power to change the ratio?

Why not? We are always improving the car and the driver.

andy38 wrote:
    Inverting some or all of the grid - Works for BTCC and SWC, lots of fun with faster people charging through the field. Would look great for some of the slower teams to show their sponsors with pictures of them at the front of the grid. Would also look great on FinalDrive TV!

I'm on board on inversing the top 5 or something like that.

andy38 wrote:
Mentoring and data availability - We discussed this briefly, but certainly making the MaxQ available for the newer teams to see, or having the faster drivers available for coaching would be worth discussing too.

I offer private coaching and chassis/suspension consulting through my company Prima Racing.

andy38 wrote:
Other concessions for some cars - I'm not aware of the technical details and current hp/wt ratios of the MINIs or other cars further back, but if they're already close to their target hp/wt ratios, a discussion about further concessions to make them faster or more consistent might be worthwhile.

This can actually works better than adding rewards weight? Maybe if you get to finish outside top 5, you get to take 100 lbs out of your base weight? Or you can do more to your engine, effectively increasing power to weight ratio?

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Last edited by Andrie on Mon Jul 13, 2009 1:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 10:40 am 
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A couple of notes:
As Andrie said, the weight gets added to the team. So it would not make any difference if your teammate was driving or if you selected another car. And if you added more power, the penalty would still apply on top of that.

I have another idea to run by everyone. What if we added REWARDS weight on a random basis. So for example, if you win round #2, then at round #3 we flip a coin or whatever. If you lose the coin toss, you get the extra 100 pounds for winning. This way you never know if you are going to get the penalty and the the penalty could actually hurt more because you may not be ready for it.


I also like the idea of helping the back guys by improving their power to weight ratio.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 11:59 am 
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andy38 wrote:
Mentoring and data availability - We discussed this briefly, but certainly making the MaxQ available for the newer teams to see, or having the faster drivers available for coaching would be worth discussing too.

Can I have an opinion?

This is the freshest idea I have seen in a while regarding USTCC performance equalization, and may have the most merit in producing a close series. Probably because it addresses driver/team parity as opposed to car parity. I think the best way to implement this is for USTCC to make available overlays of best laps from the leaders for the rest of the teams to do some analysis of. It will expose in detail the areas in which their particular vehicle is coming up short of the leaders, and lets them focus their efforts for growth in that area.

Maybe I should give a reduced rate data aquistion, testing, and coaching day to ustcc for the highest placing rookie team? Something to pole vault them into the lead group?

On another vein, I think rewards weight is a bad idea. It didn't work the first time either. I don't think it will have an impact on the championship, and it will only add time, effort, and money. It also will add needless work for the scrutineers. Why do people always insist on using SWC as a model for a touring car series? Does anyone still think SCCA is doing a good job?

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 1:16 pm 
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clock wrote:
Why do people always insist on using SWC as a model for a touring car series? Does anyone still think SCCA is doing a good job?


Chris which SWC model are you talking about?

1. Rewards weight is not SWC model. It is implemented in Japan SuperGT, FIA WTCC, BTCC, and more

2. Inverse grid is done in BTCC and FIA WTCC.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 1:25 pm 
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Driver coaching would be good.I run honda h1 and ive been out there with that group and some of the slower guys just need a little coaching.I also driver coach and i have found that a little coaching helps alot.If you want to make it interesting add weight to the cars at the track that way it will throw off the corner weight and 100lbs is about 1 sec a lap.Also is there a certin spot where you have to add lead?


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 3:16 pm 
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Andrie wrote:
clock wrote:
Why do people always insist on using SWC as a model for a touring car series? Does anyone still think SCCA is doing a good job?


Chris which SWC model are you talking about?

1. Rewards weight is not SWC model. It is implemented in Japan SuperGT, FIA WTCC, BTCC, and more

2. Inverse grid is done in BTCC and FIA WTCC.


1. I am aware that other series use it, but the implementations are alot different, as are the amounts of weight that are being proposed for USTCC here. It also doesn't mean it is a good system for USTCC. Why continue to just copy what you see in other series rather than implement rules tailored for what USTCC is?

Rewards weight is a system designed to make close championships, not bring parity to a field. You need to already have cars running within tenths for these weight changes to greatly effect your championship. I just don't think USTCC has acheived the field parity it needs to make rewards weight effective, or necesary. It is more just going to be a bother for you and Andy.

2. The field inversion in scca right now is just a gimmick. Field inversion in WTCC and BTCC is usually done as a part of a 2-race format with both races being points paying. If you have field inversion in the only points paying race, I think you are just going to increase the risks people take to get to the front of the field and get the only points possible for the weekend. A lesson can be taken from some of the other group A groups that have had close races started behind slower groups(which is what an inverse grid will be). I think you will be asking for more bent metal, and I know the USTCC has been trying to curb that aspect of their championship this year.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 4:07 pm 
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thought:


If you give the "backmarkers" a break in the terms of weight, and or increased power. And then that vaults them to the front are you then going to take it away? Wont they just end up back at the back of the field? Or if you let them keep the weight break at what point to you take it away?

And is that really what the series wants to promote? Seems like a very difficult balancing act.

REWARD weight seems like a much simpler, and easier to police solution.

Although I don't think it will be that effective. It wasn't very effective in WC, and from the little bit i pay attention to BTCC and WTCC, it doesn't seem to be that effective. Neither do the inverted grids...

And with BTCC the cars are very close together, seems like the top ~10 are all within a ~1second, were as the top 3 in USTCC are with ~1second.

Also what about the cage safety issue?

If andrie, at lets say 2705lbs gets hit with the 300lbs penalty, his car could no longer be legal. (i don't know what size material his cage is made out of though, just an example)

2501 to 3000 cars can use
1.500” x 0.120” Chrome-moly / Seamless mild steel (DOM)
1.750” x 0.095” Chrome-moly / Seamless mild steel (DOM)

3001lbs plus cars must use
1.750” x .120” Chrome-moly / Seamless mild steel (DOM)

If andie's car weighs 2600lbs then i would guess the integra's with GSR/ITR motors would be lighter then maybe 2500lbs, and they would/could run into the issue again.

It looks like all TC must use the same material.. not sure though the rules seem to be kinda spread out.

I would assume WTCC and BTCC are the same in that regard.

Just some things to think about...


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:25 am 
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Wow - excellent discussion. :)

rscapri wrote:
A couple of notes:
As Andrie said, the weight gets added to the team. So it would not make any difference if your teammate was driving or if you selected another car. And if you added more power, the penalty would still apply on top of that.


Okay - so just to put it in real numbers - if my car has to weigh 2600, and it was 2650 at the end of the last race, if I had a teammate, or if I drove another car, that other car would have to weigh 125lbs more than normal, right?

Likewise, if Andrie's car was 200lbs over weight (I believe it usually is), he or his teammate would have to be 300lbs heavier than normal?

I don't have the official numbers that Jeff recorded after the last race, that might be a good idea for him to make that publicly available, just so we know what we're doing here.

It might be best to really examine what we're trying to accomplish with REWARDS weight. If it's increasing our tire and brake budget, then it's probably on the right track. :) But if it's giving other drivers shots at the podium then it seems to me sharing data, concessions, and perhaps a grid inversion free-for-all seem to me a better way to accomplish that. In addition, the inversion situation should definitely make for good FinalDrive TV.

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