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Jeremy

Does anyone miss the old Sunriders car classing system?

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Jeremy

*raises hand*

I think it was more fun when it was just street tires vs street tires, race tires vs. race tires, etc.

 

Plus, NASA's classing system is garbage.

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Loren

I do. I've always been more happy with a classing system that allows a driver to be truly competitive on street tires.

 

If I were designing a system like that again, I'd probably split the Race/Street tire classes into "up to 225" and "wider than 225". I'd do that mainly to split the high power cars from the low power cars. (of course, a high-power car on 225 street tires isn't going to be much of a threat)

 

But, yeah, I liked that system. I thought I was the only one. I used to hear from a few people talking about the "unfairness" of that system from time to time. Usually the people who haven't been around autocross enough to know that tires and driver are the two most important factors by far.

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Loren

For those where weren't around or don't remember, the SunRiders Motorsports classing system was:

 

Novice Virgin - First timers

Novice Street - up to 6 events on street tires

Novice Race - up to 6 events on race tires

Experienced Street - more than 6 events on street tires

Experienced Race - more than 6 events on race tires

 

The system was solely based on driver experience and tires. Bring the "tool" of your choice!

 

Now, I don't really hate the NASA-X system. I think it could penalize race tires more to make things more equitable for the street tire guys, but otherwise I like the mod-points system.

 

The old system we used sure was a lot easier to administer, though! And since NASA seems to be having trouble settling on a National set of rules, perhaps we'll start thinking about what WE want to do towards the end of the year?

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Jamie
Now, I don't really hate the NASA-X system. I think it could penalize race tires more to make things more equitable for the street tire guys, but otherwise I like the mod-points system.

Only if Azenis are reclassed as race tires...while slower than the current crop of R-compound tires, they're easily as sticky as the Yokes we used in the early-mid '80s, and still a second/60-second lap faster than an "average" street tire.

 

That said, I didn't mind the old system, even when I wasn't running a Miata.

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Loren

If the Azenis were expensive, I'd side with you, Jamie. But, as long as they are dirt cheap compared to just about any other performance street tire, I'm happy considering them a "street tire".

 

And, there ARE other tires that are comparable with the Azenis, especially for those who can fit a 16-inch or larger tire. They're just more expensive.

 

The real problem is that if you consider an Azenis a "race tire", then they can't be used in the street tire class... but they are far from competitive in the race tire class. That renders a cheap and effective tire alternative completely useless to a lot of people.

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Jamie
The real problem is that if you consider an Azenis a "race tire", then they can't be used in the street tire class... but they are far from competitive in the race tire class. That renders a cheap and effective tire alternative completely useless to a lot of people.

?? So we're defining "street tire" based on cost, rather than performance? Hmm...a set of Kumho R-compounds are about $40 more per tire and 1.5 seconds faster on a minute course than an equivalent set of Azenis...which are about $35 more per tire and 1.5 seconds on a minute course faster than the Sumitomos I've used as street tires (and occasional autocross tires) on my Prelude. What makes the middle the sweet spot?

 

Azenis became "street tires" because they squeaked past the SCCA Solo definition of a street tire (which uses the very arbitrary treadwear index), and they've remained relatively cheap, in spite of having performance approaching second-tier R-compounds.

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Jeremy

I am currently daily driving on Azenis and have done it many times in the past. They are street tires. Plus there are several other street tires that equal or exceed the performance of Azenis ie Kumho MX, Advan Neova, Bridgestone KD, Hankook Zwhatevers.

 

I actually prefer Kumho MX's in the Florida heat. Azenis turn into greaseballs after 3 or 4 runs, while the MX's get faster and faster after each run.

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muddy
The real problem is that if you consider an Azenis a "race tire", then they can't be used in the street tire class... but they are far from competitive in the race tire class. That renders a cheap and effective tire alternative completely useless to a lot of people.

?? So we're defining "street tire" based on cost, rather than performance? Hmm...a set of Kumho R-compounds are about $40 more per tire and 1.5 seconds faster on a minute course than an equivalent set of Azenis...which are about $35 more per tire and 1.5 seconds on a minute course faster than the Sumitomos I've used as street tires (and occasional autocross tires) on my Prelude. What makes the middle the sweet spot?

 

Azenis became "street tires" because they squeaked past the SCCA Solo definition of a street tire (which uses the very arbitrary treadwear index), and they've remained relatively cheap, in spite of having performance approaching second-tier R-compounds.

The fact is, the Azenis is a great and cheap tire to autox on. For those of us on a budget and race with more than just NASA, it would be horribly inconvenient to have the most popular autox street tire banned from the street tire class at just one of many local club choices. At many local club events (NASA, PCA, BMWCCA), the Azenis can still be somewhat competitive in classes that allow race tires. Yet they are still cheap enough that most anyone that can afford to autox in the first place, can afford to drive on them daily. As Jeremy pointed out, there are also several alternatives that work just as well.

 

Believe it or not, I actually prefer the new classing structure. However, if we were to return to the old classing structure, I would probably go back to using the Azenis at NASA events.

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impalanut

I thought we went to the NASA system in order to be in the NASA group and take advantage of the less expensive insurance rates. If we don't have to maintain their system of classing than why not start from scratch and develope our own system of classing using the old Sunriders system as a starting point. If we do have to use the NASA system than we should be bugging them to update their classing like they did with the TT system.

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Loren

I think part of what stirred this thread was the fact that NASA seems to be having trouble taking autocross seriously enough to develop a classing system for it. They want all of the local clubs to get together and come up with something, but of course, everyone has their own ideas.

 

Our initial intent, as NASA-X Florida, was to use the NASA classing system because it made sense to do so, and it appeared that they were heading toward "standardizing" using what we're using this year as a basis. I'm not so sure that's going to happen, now. Nor am I convinced in any way that there is much reason for us to not just come up with our own classing system that suits our particular needs.

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urn_uuid_owned

We all do like the concept of a paxed street tire class, how about simply branching a tire class using current NASA classes.

 

We always realized that competion would gear up with race compounds to win in current NASA classing. But again, I think NASA classing is crap.

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blacksheep-1

I don't know, all rules have issues one way or another. When we went NASA, it was apparent that to be competitive you had to have either sticky street tires, or race tires, that's the way it is. My big complaint is that you take a class E car and can basically build a race car out of it (29points) and run it against (say for instance) my almost stock mustang GT (14points). If I had to do it all over again, and I wanted a mustang, I'd build a v6 class E car then mod the heck out of it to fit class D. It's not just my class, you could do that to several classes, building a lower class car to a higher spec seems to be the way to go. You probably won't see that in class C, because of the 4 wheel drive guys in that class, but you could build a monster 4WD Subi or Evo and run it in class B and tear them a new one.

But, then again, that's why it's fun to beat those guys.

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Alizarin

I can't really comment on the classing since my car doesn't really fit into any auto-x classing scheme. I must say I like it better than SCCA, where one specific mod (larger hood scoop) puts me into Street Mod and PAX, while a neat way to compare between classes, still doesn't seem like a good system to me.

 

I don't think I have anything of value to add to the conversation

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muddy

I certainly prefer the NASA 6 class structure to the SCCA 30 something class structure. I think it is neat that I get to mix it up with STIs.

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urn_uuid_owned

... My big complaint is that you take a class E car and can basically build a race car out of it (29points) and run it against (say for instance) my almost stock mustang GT (14points). If I had to do it all over again, and I wanted a mustang, I'd build a v6 class E car then mod the heck out of it to fit class D.

 

 

I agree, let's wait until everyone starts "implementing the system" - Prepared cars! We've all seen that datsun and that civic... such is going to be scene at the "national" nasa events. All of us locals need to forget being competive nationaly unless we build up those highly prep'd cars.

 

 

You probably won't see that in class C, because of the 4 wheel drive guys in that class, but you could build a monster 4WD Subi or Evo and run it in class B and tear them a new one.

But, then again, that's why it's fun to beat those guys.

 

I certainly prefer the NASA 6 class structure to the SCCA 30 something class structure. I think it is neat that I get to mix it up with STIs.

 

What is the deal with STIs or EVOs? See above as to what are the good platforms.

 

--

I still would like NASA to be considerate of a street tire system. Cause lets face it, you NEED race compound tires to be your FIRST mod in NASA classing.

 

Local scene is all for fun, but I fear most of us with near stock cars at NASA will only consider to use SCCA classing at the national scene...

 

--

Edit: s/ NEED street tires to be your FIRST mod in NASA /

NEED race compound tires to be your FIRST mod in NASA classing.

Edited by Guest

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jblaine

I think there's quite a bit of misconception about AWD.

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AScoda

Not so sure about that. Granted, AWD is a bit different and takes a good driver to make use of it. BUT; how well do you think an STI could put that 300 HP to the ground coming out of a turn with only rear wheel drive. I am a car length or two behind before I can get my foot down without sending the rear tires up in smoke. Of, course my antiquated, stick-axle, 4- link, "quadra-bind" rear suspension doesn't help much.

 

Anyway, back to the point of the post.

I, for one, like the simplicity of the original system. Not to mention cheaper. Those spare wheels and r compounds do add up.

For me though, I'm just trying to have fun with my car. Doesn't mean those spare wheels I have aren't getting some sticky meats.

As far as my car is concerned, it doesn't really matter what class system is used, my car has enough modifications to stick it in a class where I don't have enough modifications to compete. NASA X- B, NASA TT- B(IIRC), SCCA-C prepared. I'm too lazy to find it, but I think it was NASA west classing we were looking at in another thread, puts me in UNLIMITED!

All those little mods done to my car make it closer to comparable in handling to what other cars in my class have when they rolled out of the factory, bone stock. The point hits, however, puts me up there with the supercars. I know I have a lot of driver skill to develop, but I'll still be an underdog. At least my classes never have too much competition. "woo hoo, I came in second!" " damn, I also came in last"

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d_rasp

Good thread! I think we're far enough through '06 to really start talking about this kind of thing. We dedicated the first year to running NASA-X rules for the reasons Loren stated earlier (it looked like NASA was working towards a national rules set & we wanted to adapt something that was already in place, rather than design our own rules/classing.) If most folks are still missing the old system in a few months, we need to start really thinking about what next year will look like.

 

Personally, I don't really care. I haven't done anything differently to my car since last year & wouldn't let the classes/rules keep me from doing something I'd enjoy on the street. At events, I'm still trying to keep up with the same group of drivers, so not much has really changed for me. For the more experienced/serious drivers, I can certainly see some frustrations. Obviously we have to address the race rubber issue.

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mx5er

Two changes to the rules I'd like to see: drop the 5 point penalty on all cars and automatically bump a car up a class if running on race tires.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ron Camacho

'00 Brilliant Black Miata

NASA-X Class "D"

16 points

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Loren

Even though the 5 point penalty hurts me (I'd be in class D with 5 less points!), I do see the logic behind it. It allows a car to be classed "between classes". What they're saying is that a Miata is a little bit better than most cars in its class, but not quite good enough to be competitive in the next class.

 

The big stumbling block here is that if we opt to stick with a car-model based classing system, I really don't think WE want the hassle of classing the cars. (for one thing, we don't see enough different models to be able to do it effectively) If we opt to stick with this style of classing system, we might want to use the NASA TT list for at least the base classifications.

 

On the tire issue, I completely agree. Don't assign points for tire type at all. Just bump the car up a class for race rubber. Assign points for wheel/tire width, maybe with some small allowance beyond stock.

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blacksheep-1

Oh contrare.....

My Kumhos cost me $800, maybe get about 18 autoox out of them, maybe more.

You can buy a set of Penske shocks that look identical to the stockers for $1800 EACH!!!

Where's the fairness in that?

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Loren

Not sure what your point is.

 

You can spend $5k on an engine and accrue less points than your $1800 shocks. So?

 

The single most effective modification to ANY car is race tires. Take the best street tire, replace it with any of the available autox/race tires in a similar size, and you'll see 1.5-3 seconds of improvement on the typical 50-60 second autocross course. NO other mod offers that level of improvement, not even $1800 Penske shocks.

 

A one-class bump isn't that much for race rubber, IMO. Put a really good driver in a well set-up (shocks, front swaybar and alignment) F-class Miata with a set of Hoosier autocross tires up against anything in class D with street tires... my money is on the Miata.

 

Doesn't have to be a Miata, either. Good driver + good setup + good race rubber = faster than street tires AT LEAST one class up.

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impalanut

While the improvements for race tires is substantial, I think it is being overstated by the people who can't or won't get race tires. At the last Ft Myers event a bone stock cts-v with factory run flats won f stock against about six cars, all on race rubber and with allowable mods. Sometimes it's the driver. I think the penalty for race rubber in NASA classing is about right with point differential between dot legal tires and pure racing slicks, as well as allowing for tire size. I bet a car with extra wide Azenas would do better than a car on slicks with stock width in many cases. The calculation for tire road holding ability is quite complex but it allow for tire compound, contact patch, slip angles,sidewall deformation, air pressure, static and active camber, and about 50 other things. Most people on race rubber also run wider tires, and this accounts for a lot of extra traction. The current system allows a penalty for race compound in steps as well as tire size. The penalty for race compound and larger width is just about a class already.

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urn_uuid_owned
While the improvements for race tires is substantial, I think it is being overstated by the people who can't or won't get race tires.

 

Not overstated. A stock sti with race rubber was 1.2 second faster than my car on a 35 second course. I did the back to back test. Same driver (me) on parking lot pavement. I had previous experience on an STI with race rubber (take out the newb factor)

 

At the last Ft Myers event a bone stock cts-v with factory run flats won f stock against about six cars, all on race rubber and with allowable mods. Sometimes it's the driver.

 

A CTS-V is the real deal - up there in BWM M5 territory. At Sebring, somebody was doing ~2:40 bone stock, stock tires out of the factory. Everybody was surprised at how fast the car is. It weights ~3500 pounds and 400hp, and handles very good.

 

 

I think the penalty for race rubber in NASA classing is about right with point differential between dot legal tires and pure racing slicks, as well as allowing for tire size. I bet a car with extra wide Azenas would do better than a car on slicks with stock width in many cases.

 

 

You'd lose your bet. I am behind Loren on this: a miata (or other cars too - like S2000, RX8, many others) on race rubber will be a top contender even if bumped up class:

 

 

The single most effective modification to ANY car is race tires. Take the best street tire, replace it with any of the available autox/race tires in a similar size, and you'll see 1.5-3 seconds of improvement on the typical 50-60 second autocross course. NO other mod offers that level of improvement, not even $1800 Penske shocks.

 

A one-class bump isn't that much for race rubber, IMO. Put a really good driver in a well set-up (shocks, front swaybar and alignment) F-class Miata with a set of Hoosier autocross tires up against anything in class D with street tires... my money is on the Miata.

 

Doesn't have to be a Miata, either. Good driver + good setup + good race rubber = faster than street tires AT LEAST one class up.

--------

 

At LEAST! In deed

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blacksheep-1

"A one-class bump isn't that much for race rubber, IMO. Put a really good driver in a well set-up (shocks, front swaybar and alignment) F-class Miata with a set of Hoosier autocross tires up against anything in class D with street tires... my money is on the Miata. "

 

I think that gets proven about every other auto cross

 

"You can spend $5k on an engine and accrue less points than your $1800 shocks. So? "

 

So ... most of us need more power like we need more hurricanes. Those $1800 each shocks will show much more improvement than that $5K motor.

 

 

Here's the real deal on race tires, from experience. First:Tires are the easiest and fastest way to improve your car, take a bone stock every day driver, e-bay a set of wheels, buy tires and you have a decent autocrosser that you can still drive everyday w/o pounding your rear end up around your neck. Secondly: I've never ever seen a tire rule work in anything from karts to ASA cars, you name it. If you make a tire rule the guys that want to go fast will fire new tires at the car every 6th autocross or so and/or will eventually go out and find the tire that is right on the edge of legality, then shave them for better handling, thereby losing any money saved or performance negated by a tire rule. The fact is, tires will allow you to go fast, with little wrenching and a relatively minor cash outlay compared to other mods, if you feel you must have some kind of tire rule, then cost out different brands, and require everybody to run that brand and compound.

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