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muddy

NASA-X Classing Structure Ideas

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muddy

I am just looking for some free brainstorming here, no discussion on the merits of any posted ideas, and let's keep this thread focused, please.

I would like to make this fodder for discussion at the upcoming classing meeting.

 

1. What do you think to be lacking or problematic in the current NASA classing?

 

2. What was lacking with the Sunriders classing, taking into consideration that this is not a Miata-specific autocross group anymore and hasn't been for some time?

 

3. Regardless of the answers to the above, what is a list of "must have" criteria for the final classing we decide on?

 

4. Post your idea of what you think the classing structure should look like.

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impalanut

Just for some backround, the old sunriders method was based on tires and driver experience. Ther were categories for street vs race tires. Also, first time noobies, up to six events and experienced drivers ovber six events were the groups. This didn't really account for any differences in the cars because the original group wa almost all Miatas. The SCCA tries to keep like cars together such a small front drivers, muscle cars, etc and then it also accounts for the level of improvements (stock, prepared, modified, etc) this requires many categories, more than I think we want. NASA tried to lower the number of categories while still allowing cars of similar capabilities together. Overall I think that keeping this idea is what we should shoot for. We should end up with 6-8 groups to keep the groups from being too small. Since there is general agreement that tires make the biggest difference this should be a factor. We need to make the factors easy to verifyand hard to cheat on. We won't be able to account for every mod especially for those willing to spend lots of time and money. It may be as easy as combining some of the existing NASA groups but I don't think we need to begin from scratch.

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Jeremy

1. What do you think to be lacking or problematic in the current NASA classing?

 

I don't like mixing race tires and street tires. I think it is too hard to quantify the advantage gained by race tires, this is made even harder because of the huge difference of the 2 primary venues.

 

It is also difficult to class cars on the fly. In a simpler system, you could just look at a car and immediately tell what class it belonged in. That is nearly impossible with NASA's system.

 

2. What was lacking with the Sunriders classing, taking into consideration that this is not a Miata-specific autocross group anymore and hasn't been for some time?

 

Obviously not enough classes. In SR you could have a blower Z06 vs. Geo Metro.

 

3. Regardless of the answers to the above, what is a list of "must have" criteria for the final classing we decide on?

 

It's not a must have, but I think we should have some structure that "plays nice" with the SCCA classing. I don't think we should ignore the time and effort spent to create those classes. See my structure below.

 

4. Post your idea of what you think the classing structure should look like..

 

I like some variation of the old Sunriders system. Of course any other criteria or limitations could be added by the committee (Wheel widths, etc)

 

under 3.2L SCCA Stock/Street Tires

under 3.2L Unlimited Mods/Street Tires

under 3.2L SCCA Stock/Race Tires

under 3.2L Unlimited Mods/Race Tires

3.2L and over + all FI SCCA Stock/Street Tires

3.2L and over + all FI w/ Unlimited Mods/Street Tires

3.2L and over + all FI SCCA Stock/Race Tires

3.2L and over + all FI w/ Unlimited Mods/Race Tires

Novice Street Tires

Novice Race Tires

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Jeremy

Just for fun, I mapped out the top 10 people from the last event on "my" structure. The first number is overall time and the parentheses are their NASA ranks.

 

under 3.2L SCCA Stock/Street Tires

9. Steve Frank (3rd E) Miata

 

under 3.2L Unlimited Mods/Street Tires

?

 

under 3.2L SCCA Stock/Race Tires

1. Bob Tamandli (1st E) Miata

5. Todd Byram (1st F) Neon

8. Jamie Sculerati (2nd E) Miata

 

under 3.2L Unlimited Mods/Race Tires

2. Scott Levengood (1st D) S2000

4. Ivan Cardwell (1st B) Lotus 7 Clone

 

3.2L and over + all FI SCCA Stock/Street Tires

6. Charles Ray (1st C) 350Z

 

3.2L and over + all FI w/ Unlimited Mods/Street Tires

7. Andrew Scoda (2nd B) Mustang

 

3.2L and over + all FI SCCA Stock/Race Tires

3. Alan Gross (2nd D) Mini

 

3.2L and over + all FI w/ Unlimited Mods/Race Tires

10. Ken Gardner (2nd C) WRX

 

Novice Street Tires

?

Novice Race Tires

?

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Jeremy

Sorry to clutter up this thread, but I am bored at work...

I did the top 18 for the 9/9 Brooksville event and I kind of like how the results turned out this way compared to the actual NASA results.

 

under 3.2L SCCA Stock/Street Tires

16. Steve Frank (2nd E) Miata

17. Dan Rasp (2nd F) Miata

 

under 3.2L Unlimited Mods/Street Tires

?

 

under 3.2L SCCA Stock/Race Tires

6. Todd Byram (1st F) Neon

7. Bob Tamandli (1st E) Miata

13. Jamie Sculerati (4th D) Miata

 

under 3.2L Unlimited Mods/Race Tires

2. Scott Levengood (1st D) S2000

3. Loren Williams (2nd C) (R tires?) Miata

8. Ken Schuffert (2nd D) S2000

 

3.2L and over + all FI SCCA Stock/Street Tires

4. David Wilsey (3rd C) STi

9. Charles Ray (5th C) 350Z

18. Charles Stowe (3rd E) WRX

 

3.2L and over + all FI w/ Unlimited Mods/Street Tires

11. Russell Morgan (1st B) (R tires?) WRX

12. Charles Blaine (6th C) WRX

14. Rob Edwards (5th D) (R tires?) Mustang

15. Andrew Scoda (2nd B) Mustang

 

3.2L and over + all FI SCCA Stock/Race Tires

10. Alan Gross (3rd D) Mini

 

3.2L and over + all FI w/ Unlimited Mods/Race Tires

1. Brian Hientzman (1st C) Miata

5. Ken Gardner (4th C) WRX

 

Novice Street Tires

?

Novice Race Tires

?

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impalanut

I'm not sure what the FI is but I am assuming its fuel injection. If so why the big deal? At least in the CRX community for club racers, the carb guys are no slower than the FI guys.

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Jeremy

Forced Induction.

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impalanut

That makes much more sense.

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blacksheep-1

I like the NASA system, it is simple (for me at least) and it is fairly reasonable. There are, however, some "glitches" for lack of a better term, and they may be almost insurmountable. There's always going to be a ringer in each class, or maybe several ringers. For instance, Leavengood & company are good drivers, if you look at their times there's enough evidence there to move S200's up a class, but there will just be another "ringer" in D, there's always going to be somebody, so if you try to legislate around a specific car, you eventually end up screwing yourself in the process.

I have no idea why people seem to be fixated on engine size or HP, by adding a blower to the mustang I moved into B, the extra weight over the front end slowed the handling right down (it's ok, I like to go fast) I would've been much better of running in B with the car as it was. As long as we run on slot car tracks, the horsepower advantage is a myth. Weight however, is a huge advantage, especially in cornering.

Novice/ experience has some merit, but look at Dave Wilsey, he had to run novice and he probably has as much track experience as anyone out there.

You guys seem bound and determined to shoot yourself in the azz on a tire rule, so I'm staying out of that one.

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Loren

Nobody "has" to run Novice. It's not a requirement, just an option.

 

Keep in mind that we're a very small organization. We either need a VERY simple classing scheme, or we need to adopt someone else's National ruleset or a variation thereof. Personally, I don't think the NASA-X classing scheme is "done" yet, and they don't seem to be making great strides in standardizing and "finishing" it. That leaves SCCA as the next major classing scheme to steal... or borrow from.

 

THE biggest hassle is initial car classing. SCCA does a pretty good job of staying on top of that, I think. What if we used the SCCA stock classing to define our base classes? A Stock through H stock plus Super Stock... maybe bump the SS cars down to A. That gives us 8 base classes. Apply a points system similar to the NASA system.

 

That leaves kit cars and formula cars unaccounted for. Need a formula system to place them somewhere fairly. (maybe take a cue from NASA and class them according to the engine donor... then add points for all of the "mods" applied to the base car)

 

Just tossing out ideas.

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Jeremy

THE biggest hassle is initial car classing. SCCA does a pretty good job of staying on top of that, I think. What if we used the SCCA stock classing to define our base classes? A Stock through H stock plus Super Stock... maybe bump the SS cars down to A. That gives us 8 base classes. Apply a points system similar to the NASA system.

 

Just tossing out ideas.

I think that is one of the problems with NASA's system. It assumes that all cars respond similarly to mods. Which I guess isn't true. Thats's why an HS Civic goes to CSP along with CS Miatas.

 

We could go even simpler, saw that Howard suggested this in another thread...

 

"How about 5 classes.

1-novice - less than 6 events

2- street rubber less than 15 NASA points

3- street rubber more than 15 NASA points

4- race rubber less than 15 points

5- race rubber more than 15 point "

 

Maybe bump it up to 20 points or so.

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Loren

I wouldn't object to that. It's simple, I like simple.

 

I'd probably make the break point more like 20 points, though. Doesn't take much to reach 15 mod points.

 

(didn't seem to take much to reach 30!)

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impalanut

I also like simple. The good thing about NASA points is it allows you to decide which mods are the best for your car. Two different cars could pick the best respective mods and still have the same points even if the mods are different. I also think the break should be around 20 points. Those plus the tire differences give a good mix.

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Jeremy

That scheme also takes us back to the ZO6 vs. Geo Metro scenario though. It might also make it harder to break up classes for run/work orders. I guess I remember with sunriders we didn't run/work with classes, we just split everyone up by numbers. Might have to go back to that too with so FEW classes.

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Jamie

1. What do you think to be lacking or problematic in the current NASA classing?

Point assignments are as arcane as any of the SCCA modification rules.

 

2. What was lacking with the Sunriders classing, taking into consideration that this is not a Miata-specific autocross group anymore and hasn't been for some time?

Just that -- it ignored any differences between cars other than tires. Only works for a near-spec model event.

 

3. Regardless of the answers to the above, what is a list of "must have" criteria for the final classing we decide on?

a. Relatively easy to understand and apply.

b. Some sense that it's possible to field a competitive car.

 

4. Post your idea of what you think the classing structure should look like.

I'd look at three factors: tires, displacement, and modification. Rob's point about weight being more important than displacement is true, but weight is a difficult figure to capture, unless we start weighing cars. Drivetrain configuration also makes a difference, but we've all seen driver skill equalize that (and my modification rules provide other opportunities).

 

Tires: Even though treadwear is a next-to-meaningless measure, it's the easiest available. 140 is common with the SCCA dividing point, which makes it easier for competitors running in both clubs.

 

Engine displacement: Split displacement into 3.0 liters and up, and below 3.0 liters. Multiply displacement in forced induction engines by 1.4 (poached from SCCA rules). That splits out the naturally-aspirated (and small-displacement forced induction) 4-bangers and small-bore sixes from larger sixes, V8s, and larger forced induction cars. Big-engined cars tend to be heavier, too, so there's something of a weight split there as well.

 

Modifications: Two broad categories. Modified would be:

 

* Any internal engine modification (crank, cams, rods, pistons)

* Any external engine modification that alters fuel delivery (alternate carb, altered fuel injection, fuel-air ratio adjusters)

* Welded chassis reinforcement, including welded roll bars/cages

* Alternate or altered springs

* Alternate main body panels (doors, hood, trunk lid, fenders, roof panel, windows)

* Removal of interior parts (seats, interior panels)

 

Anything else is free.

 

Throw in one class for open wheel or sports racing cars (just in case), and we get nine classes:

 

* Unmodified street tire less than 3 liters

* Unmodified street tire 3 liters and greater

* Modified street tire less than 3 liters

* Modified street tire 3 liters and greater

* Unmodified race tire less than 3 liters

* Unmodified race tire 3 liters and greater

* Modified race tire less than 3 liters

* Modified race tire 3 liters and greater

* Open or closed wheel race cars

 

Wouldn't even need a classing steward -- post the classing rules at registration on a card and anyone can figure it out. Watch class participation figures and times for a year to see if anything should be combined -- for instance, race tires might become a modification rather than defining a separate class.

 

Thoughts?

Edited by Guest

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Loren

The "problem" is that you can still end up with a really fast bone stock car (I'd say "Z-06", but it really wouldn't take THAT much of a car) cleaning up in your lowest street tire class.

 

I'm not sure what the solution to that is, or if there is one, or if it's even a problem that we really need to solve.

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Jeremy

I think Jamie's is my favorite so far. Good job.

 

You'll be splitting up Evo's and STi's though.

 

Edit: not really sure how you came up with modified or unmodified though. Seems like you are leaving a lot open to interpretation. Maybe just do the NASA mod points for that part. Maybe I am just not understanding you though.

Edited by Guest

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Jamie

I haven't seen a classing system yet that completely eliminates the possibility of a favored car -- even within the SCCA system, some cars are more equal than others in any particular class.

 

Hmm...could drop the split down to 2.8 (which would capture the EVO)without changing much. That throws a few more BMW sixes into the upper class. The Porsche 968 remains an oddball (a 3-liter four cylinder), but I haven't seen many out lately. Or bump the FI modifier to 1.5.

Edited by Guest

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Loren

Sorry, my reply was meant to go where Jeremy's was... I typed it before I read Jamie's plan. (which I still haven't read yet)

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impalanut

I think there is a lot of logic in that plan except that we know only 6-8 cars show up with race tires so 4 race tire classes may be too many. You could eliminate the motor size break or the mod break and have two race tire classes. I would favor the motor size break since most of the modified race tire cars are pretty well optimized. I would run my 100 hp crx against any other race tire car. Power to wt in a Miata and a sti are probably similar since the sti is so much heavier.

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Jamie
I think there is a lot of logic in that plan except that we know only 6-8 cars show up with race tires so 4 race tire classes may be too many.

That's true for the current crop. If we attract more people (particularly to the Brooksville events) this year via better advertising and lower entry fees, that may change. SCCA is losing some of its eastern sites this year, and I've already seen traffic indicating some of those people from the Orlando area are more willing to make the drive west. We could easily see larger fields.

 

If after a season, we still have small numbers of race-shod cars, simply make it another factor that throws you into a modified class -- that takes it down to four "production" classes.

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Charles

I could go with Jeremey's 5-class structure suggestion with a 20 point over/under scenario or Jamie's.

 

I'd lean slightly toward the 5-class structure. In Jamie's example I'm grouped with Sti's with the 2.5 in my 06' "WRX" non-Sti. In every classing structure there will always be cars that start with an obvious disadvantage and those that SHOULD dominate with a good driver.

 

With the size of our group this will be more commonplace than a full SCCA classing structure, no biggie just the nature of the beast.

 

At first glance it looks like Jeremey's 5-class structure would fall a little closer to aligning with the major SCCA classes which might entice more new blood to join us.

 

Either way 140 treadwear should remain the cutoff for street vs race tires. Yes Azenis and my RE-01R Bridgestone's are a fair amount better tires than Wal-mart special's with a 80k mile treadlife warranty but from what I've seen MOST of the regulars on street tires have something decent.

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blacksheep-1

Careful allowing the kit car points going to the "donor" car, some lotus 7 clones use the drive line from Chevy S10 pickups- FWIW

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muddy

I like Jeremy's classing structure, but I have a few more changes.

 

Change the displacement limit to 3.0 liters.

Automatically bump for FI.

 

I think this structure could work well until you get some regulars driving class-killers. Then it would be time to modify the structure to include more classes. While we would be adding more classes with this structure, I think we would still be keeping things simple, while creating a more competitive environment.

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impalanut

Beside changing the system if we find class killers, we could just require yearly class winners to bump to the next group for the following year.

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