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Thread: Modern Cars in IT

  1. #1
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    Default Modern Cars in IT

    As a newbie here, I think I am allowed at least a few "stupid" questions. I hope I have not used them up already.

    I've been following with interest the "ECU Rule" thread and it got me thinking about some other things that will be coming down the pipe.

    Soon, there are going to be a lot of nifty cars available for IT racing - either due to the age of the car or price (I know price isn't a "rule" concern but it does affect what people can build). For instance:

    BMW 328i, ci
    BMW 330i, ci
    E36 M3s
    Subaru WRX
    Mitishubshi Evo
    Audi S4 (99 styles)
    Acura RSX
    Honda S2000
    BMW Z3s
    Nissan 300z (last gen)
    Mazda RX7, 3rd gen

    Etc., there are a lot of other cars but I think you get the idea. Basically, there are a lots of cars with all-wheel drive, turbos, and good power (>200 stock) that are going to be, in theory, IT elligable in a short amount of time.

    How will the SCCA deal with this? Will allowances be made for these cars, or will we have to go on racing "low-performance" cars? Arguably, we're at that point now since we've excluded a lot of cars that are very cheap and have good performance - Mustang 5.0s and Camaro LT1s just to name two.

    I know that some of these cars fit into other classes (American Sedan for a couple come to mind) but why wouldn't they fit in IT? They are cheap and common, have tons of cheap aftermarket parts, and are fun to drive.

    Just some random thoughts.

    Ron


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  2. #2
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    There is no obligation to classify every car that becomes eligible - particularly those that are likely to be faster than something like the e36 325.

    M3? No way. Now, if someone got it in their head to create "ITR" above the current index of S, maybe.

    Other options find homes in the current structure.

    K

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    So, does this mean that IT is "stuck in time" and we'll never have a car faster than a E36 325?

    I know some of the other cars have homes elsewhere, which is why I mentioned it upfront. But, that does not mean that they could not race in IT.

    A 82 5.0L Mustang with the 2bbl had 157hp, a good bit less than the 325 with only a little more torque at around 225 ft/lbs. But it weighs a little more and has a much cruder suspension. Top speed about the same as the 325, I think it is actually less.

    No matter - the point is the car is cheap and while it has a home in American Sedan that is a very wide open class where this car would become expensive to prep. In IT this car would be cheap to prep - shocks, springs, headers, exhaust - would cost next to nothing be reliable, fast, and fun. I'm not wanting one, just using it as an example. And it is old!

    Soon the old cars will be WRXs, 3 gen RX7s and 300s, etc. - are these never to be allowed in IT due to turbochargers and all-wheel drive? Or is IT to become a class that is for "certain older cars" that are preferred by the boards?

    Ron

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    [This message has been edited by rlearp (edited November 02, 2004).]

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    I've seen, at least twice in the last couple of years, the comp board turn down a request for classification for the Z32 300ZX as too fast/too powerful/too much whatever for ITS. No debate here, a Z32 (TT Rx7, M3, fill in your favorite) would walk all over the current field in ITS, and I'm dead set against class creep.

    But as Kirk said, what's wrong with ITR (or whatever)?

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    Ty Till
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    I thought ITE was the Regional catch-all for cars like this?
    Why not make it more consistent on a "national" basis?

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    Ron:
    ...I'll jump on your band wagon. I am getting a little tired of the controversy surrounding the 1st gen RX7. I have been racing one for years and have thoroughly enjoyed it. Now they talk of wanting to DOWNGRADE it to ITB.
    ...So, I have purchased a 98 BMW Z3 2.8 to build and run in T2. With hopes that it will end up in Improved Touring. But with all these "Stick in the Mud" types it will probably be eligible for vintage first (if you know what I mean)
    ...Regardless, the car should be fun. I hope to have it on track by mid 05. There isn't a lot of them being raced so information is limited.

    ...Rick Thompson
    ___98 BMW Z3 2.8 (ITR?)

  7. #7
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    I think safety is another issue to consider on cars that raise the level of performance in a class. Faster cars increase the potential for damage and injury given the same rules for roll cages and safety equipment. At some point you either have to set an upper limit on speeds or increase the safety requirements for everyone. I certainly know which I would vote for.

    This actually is a issue that hits home for me as the cars I started racing in Solo I and II haven't been allowed in club racing for over a decade. The public reason given was always that turbocharges are too expensive. I have since been told that behind closed doors the concern was also for the performance potential exceeding safety equipment.

    In either case IT racing is supposed to be a reasonably low cost area to compete. The original list doesn't have anything to do with low cost. There are newer cars allowed in IT that are competive at a reasonable cost so it's not a matter of keeping new cars out. Maybe a new class for faster cars is the way to go but I would still worry about how safe a fully prepped 300Z car is when it has an incident at top speed?

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    Anyone remember why IT got started? Showroom Stock A and B cars were getting aged out and had now where to go...and Production didn't want them.

    Sounds kind of like Touring and IT today. Instead of killing IT like the Production guys killed Production in the 70s and 80s, why don't we open it up to more, and more popular cars, and just create new classes?

    No reason that S and A cars can't run with ITE and AS caliber cars, and in fact do in many places. So why not add a class, or maybe two, on top of existing S, and let's have at it?

    I mean, Ron is right. Why do 5.0 Mustangs have to race only against other V8s? That's silly. Open up IT to them and we would have much larger fields, and no, they would not dominate.

    ITX
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    Let's fix it before its Prodded to death.

  9. #9
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    Originally posted by JeffYoung:
    Anyone remember why IT got started? Showroom Stock A and B cars were getting aged out and had now where to go...and Production didn't want them.
    Are you absolutely certain of that or are you just repeating some things said around here?

    I was not a member of the SCCA at the time IT was started, but I followed club racing as best I could then (pre-Internet) and attended nearly every club race I could find. I remember reading about IT in either 81 or 82 (81 I think) and IIRC it was started in NorCal as just a fun cheap place to race with common (at the time) relatively inexpensive mods. Just a step above SS. I don't remember the reason being to give old SS cars a place to go, although ultimately that worked out great. I remember the reason being to take older cars (relatively speaking) and going racing cheaply relative to Production.

    At the time IT was created, CP and DP were still in existence. CP was generally dominated by the 240Z (only 10 years old at that time) and DP was ruled by the Porsche 924, at that time still being sold by Porsche (just barely). The first gen RX-7 was also still being produced and was also quite a popular car in Production. I could go on. There was a lot of money being spent in Production even back then. Heck, no less than Al Holbert competed in Production at that time. So, beyond SS there was a HUGE gulf between the cost of SS and Production.

    That is what I remember of that time. I don't know if anyone here was racing in IT at that time. I think Greg Amy may have been racing in IT in it's infancy and probably Kirk as well. They may know better, but that's how I remember it. I think the deal with old SS cars was just a bonus. The purpose for requiring IT cars to be 5 years old or older was not so much to give old SS cars a place to go so much as to make it cheaper to get into IT than Production (or even SS for that matter).


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  10. #10
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    Ron,

    I agree that there needs to be an expansion of IT to accomodate newer cars. It's the whole "raise the bar" concept I've mentioned for the last couple of years. There's no reason there couldn't (or shouldn't) be 6 or 7 IT classes.

    And someone correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the V8 Mustangs and Camaros compete in ITGT before AS came along? I know there used to be an SSGT as well. But, don't kid yourself about AS cars being that expensive. You can buy 2 or 3 (4?) for what you'll pay for a good, used E36 (I thought James Clay had one for sale for ~$40k). IIRC, the '01 AS Runoffs winner was going for $20k-$25k, right after the Runoffs that year.

    George,

    I wasn't racing in IT when it started, but I knew people who were. I started Time Trialing my Rabbit GTI back in '87, when they were still SS cars (and the 1st gen RX7 was in ITS!). I do recall a conversation I had w/ someone from the SCCA (NNJ Region) back then, that tole me about the different racing categories w/in Club Racing. His words were that IT was designed for the old SS cars. Keep in mind that IT was not that far removed from SS back then (dual purpose nature and all). The reasoning behind the 5 year waiting period was so as not to 'steal' cars from SS. Hell, someone even used that in the Dec. FasTrack, as a reason to not shorten the waiting period.

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  11. #11
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    George, let me make the same point in a different way, because you are right, I am just repeating things I've heard.

    It seems to me that IT was created as a low cost class that would allow amateurs to tinker with them (more so than SS) without having to spend Production $$$$ (absolutely agree with you on the "big timedness" of Production in the late 70s and 80s).

    In my view, and maybe this is inevitable, we are losing that and getting more and more like Production. PCAs.....Motecs...$50,000 turnkey race cars.

    I really think that a few minor tweaks could keep IT alive and healthy for many years (not that it is really broken, and I also think this new Board and their philosophy is fantastic):

    a. A new class above ITS for the "newer" sports/sporty cars and sedans.

    b. Broaden the existing classes. Allow in popular unclassed cars like the 5.0 Mustangs and Camaros at IT levels of prep.

    c. Make sure the tuner 2.0 crowd has a place to race competitively. This has been partially achieved by moving the Neon, the SE-R, etc. to ITA. It would also help if the turbo cars could come in somewhere -- ITT? Diamond Stars and MR2s and others. If you can't police turbos, then put them all in the same class and let them run.

    All that said, I presently find IT racing extremely rewarding, tons of fun and relatively expensive. I've clawed my way to mid-pack in an "old" car and have loved every minute of it.

    So maybe all this griping is just the natural human propensity to complain....

    In any event, the thing I find most refreshign is having Board members, actual rule makers, on this board posting what they think about the issues. Really, really cool.


  12. #12
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    One of the reasons I bought this up was a 22 year old kid I met. I had my subframe in the suspension shop (read tire/brake/strut shop) to get bushings pressed out that I could not (see Ricky, there IS something a C-clamp won't do! ;-)).

    This kid was intriqued with what I was attempting to do and he knew I had some other neat cars I had bought in for tires before. He wanted to know how he might be involved, see, he had always been a motorhead and was getting tired of the 1/4 drags. Handy with tools, could do his own work, and wanted to road race.

    I brought him Jeff's rules book and let him look through it for a few days explaining IT (what I knew of it) to him as being a good place to start (sorry, he was dead set against driving through cones in a parking lot) that would not cost him a fortune.

    I came back later and talked to him some more when I picked up my subframe. He has two Camaros, 1985s, and wanted to use them as a foundation for IT. Both are 305 5 speeds. Whoa right there.

    He could use the car is AS, as far as I know, but the level of prep goes through the roof for what a young guy can afford. Can't use it in IT, for some reason, even though it was rated at 180hp, weighs a ton, and has a simplistic rear suspenion. So, he was rather disappointed and knew enough to take a look as NASA (which I know nothing about). His other buddy in the shop, who was also interested, had a WRX but of course lost interest when I told him that was a no-go either.

    The point is, by excluding cars or not having places to race them cheaply is keeping people out of the sport. I had always wanted to race something, but, with the SCCA being the SCCA it is not exactly "user friendly" for a new person unless you find some helpful people. I've found a lot of helpful folks here and of course locally with Jeff, Robert, Mark, and Rick who give me advice and hook me up with contacts.

    There are a lot of "sports car nuts" out there with aging cars that would like to use them somewhere - the SCCA could offer them that place to use them and I think IT would be even larger than it is. Of course, it could be that the SCCA doesn't want IT to get larger than it is seeing as how I just recently learned I can't even read race results in their magazine.

    Open some more classes for more cars - it can only make the sport appeal to more people and allow it to grow for a whole new audience. I almost laughed when I read how the SCCA was trying to appeal to the "import crowd" with the recent article in Sportscar indicating they'd always been their for import fans. Maybe so, maybe it is true since I was only 5 in the early 70s, but they are missing them now for sure and could use them to keep the sport from being a place of old men in white racing suits. Of which I saw an alarming amount of at recent races and not so many young men at all....

    RANT OFF.

    Ron

    PS-Rick, that Z3 should be plently cool in race trim and ought to be dang fast. Ought to be in IT as well, somewhere.

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    [This message has been edited by rlearp (edited November 02, 2004).]

    [This message has been edited by rlearp (edited November 02, 2004).]

  13. #13
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    The answer re: the roots of IT is "yes" on both counts described above. The Sedan classes were recently dead, rolled into GT. Common practice from TransAm was migrating into GT1 and downward so the writing was on the wall there: It was gonna get expensive. Production cars were less and less production, too but more importantly, costs were being driven up by increasingly professional preparation and competitive pressures.

    Showroom Stock was relatively healthy but - think about it - regional programs were relatively weak, compared to nationals. There weren't really any regional-only classes at the time so the distinction was (perhaps overly broadly stated) those who could afford to prepare a car well ran nationals, and there was a lot of crap running in regional events.

    IT was seen as a way to give SS cars a place to go play, to bolster regional entry lists, and to give entry-level racers a place to start - at levels of techology, cost, and engineering demand below other classes. The dual-use nature of the rules and regional-only status were supposed to support those goals.

    I totally agree that the state of the art in street products - new cars and aftermarket bits - is MILES beyond what we could ever have envisioned 20+ years ago so it is fair to re-norm the category, against the new standards. The coilover shock rule change is a great example and revisiting the engine management restrictions makes sense in the same light.

    However, there are some pitfalls that should be treaded around with the greatest care. Turbo cars are a nightmare to police and if you think engine management tweaks are worth cheating on with an NA car, you ain't seen nothing until someone starts diddling with values and maps on their Mitsubarushi.

    It might indeed be possible to align ITE across the nation. In some ways, that's what the club did when it published its IT rules. We actually wrote our OWN in NW Region the year before that happened. (Station wagons were OK in our book, by the way.) That would give a lot of otherwise orphaned cars a place to race but again, there are going to be all kinds of wrangling trying to get disparate types of cars on the same page of the rulebook.

    K

    [This message has been edited by Knestis (edited November 02, 2004).]

  14. #14
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    Out of all the cars the turbo cars will be the most difficult. I've owned plenty (everything we own as a daily driver is turbo or supercharged) and cranking the boost is very simple and can be impossible to police. Lots of power on tap. You could rig circuits based on simple 555 timers to make the boost 1.5 bar between 110pm and 135pm in the afternoon, while having only 1 bar all the rest of the time allowing it to pass any tech you want.

    Might be possible to allow turbocharged cars in a turbo only class and say you can run only a Garrett T3 40 trim compressor and that is all (just an example, I have not looked at this compressor map). Boost is unlimited, as much as you dare. By using an undersized turbo for the entire class affecting all cars, the amount of boost will not matter. Once the little turbo is operating outside the efficiency peaks on the compressor map it is just heating the air, regardless of boost level, and will not make more power for the motor. Might could be one way to police it.

    Or, eliminate electronic control of the wastegate and only use a sealed mechanical/pressue wastegate capsule that is set at some limit for the class allowing any turbocharger to run. Still ways to cheat though such as opening a concealed bleed on the line to the capsule.

    But, I think the SCCA has to meet to challenge of accomidating these cars - they are everywhere as is all-wheel drive.

    Good move on the wagons too - I was wanting to build a Jensen Healey Shooting Brake (that is wagon in English terms best I can tell, about 400 made, looks like a Jensen with a glass back) but found out they were illegal for some strange reason. Dang.

    Ron

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    [This message has been edited by rlearp (edited November 02, 2004).]

  15. #15
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    There is a place in the GCR for more modern (and more powerful) cars in Regional class SCCA racing - Super Production. It's a nationally recognized 'catch-all class'.

    Are the safety equipment prep levels higher than IT ? Yup. Don't tell me that someone who wants to race a 5.0 Stang or a Camaro or Evo won't tweak and twiddle until it's at AS or GT power levels and speed, because they will. Is it really smart to be running cars of that potential with bolt-in cages and stock gas tanks ? No. Just protecting future racers from themselves.

    If you counter with something like "...but I won't be competitive in a class like that", that's a whole different issue from "I want a place to race my Mustang or Camaro or WRX or Gen III RX-7". If you want a level playing field, go someplace with a firm rules-set, like ASedan or T1/2.


  16. #16
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    Originally posted by JohnRW:
    Yup. Don't tell me that someone who wants to race a 5.0 Stang or a Camaro or Evo won't tweak and twiddle until it's at AS or GT power levels and speed, because they will.
    Well, yes, any old 5.0L or Camaro or Evo maybe. There were lots of years and lots of variations and some are clearly different than others.

    I see no reason the 82 Mustang 5.0 could not be allowed to race now. As a long time Ford freak, I know this motor well. But, I also know that on this 82 if we're stuck using the stock Autolite 2bbl carb, stock manifold, heads, valves, cam, and compression +0.5 hike, and 4 speed tranny, then this car will still be NO match for a 325 BMW. With open exhaust rules you'll get around 175-190 out of it, but it is heavy and has a poor suspension and brakes - nothing to be worried about. That is IF you follow the rules. Yes, you could take the same SB Ford motor and make over 500+hp from it, but it wouldn't be an IT motor. And, it wouldn't have any of the original bits left except, maybe in some circumastances, the block.

    If you're worried with respect to class integrity, sure, it'll still have torque and move out of a corner but that is about it. Displacement sort of does that, regardless of other factors. As mentioned before by someone else, all cars have strengths and weaknesses, pick your weapon.

    I'm not making a case for this car and I don't intend to race one. Just trying to point out that the SCCA isn't as accomidating to all types of cars as it could be and some if the reasons to prohibit certain cars are completely unclear to me - the new user. We need more new users, and hence, we need to be more open to cars and classifications that might not fit the "SCCA norm".

    Ron

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    [This message has been edited by rlearp (edited November 03, 2004).]

  17. #17
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    I think you might have a good idea. But to take a half step back IIRC I do not think that the 6 cyl pony cars are classed. I think it would be cool to see a 6cyl pony cars...and talk about cheap cars that are in pretty good shape. And another thing that you are correct about is the new car process. When I started this I wanted to do a 2wd Subaru XT(remember those). But the process was too crazy for me so I looked for something else...."unique"

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    Good ideas you've got there. I do remember those XTs and that would be a great car to use - unique and it has a reliable/strong motor.

    I should not forget the 6s in the fox bodies. I owned a 80 I6 Mustang and after we'd done some simple things to it the car was faster than our 83. Later they changed to a V6 and I felt it was weaker than the inline motor that was shortlived.

    I also owned a 85 5.0 coupe but it would be a ringer in IT. 210 stock and it made a buttload of power with not much work. Still handled and braked poorly.

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  19. #19
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    Originally posted by cherokee:
    When I started this I wanted to do a 2wd Subaru XT(remember those). But the process was too crazy for me so I looked for something else...."unique"
    We had a request for one of these previously, and it wasn't the process that was "crazy"... These cars were never offered in 2wd form with a manual transmission... We aren't allowed to "create" a model for IT... Believe me, we looked into this to see if something like this would work and it just doesn't fit...

    As for "V6 Pony cars..."... better go back and look at the ITCS... there are several V6 Ford examples classified... Don't know why the Camaros aren't as well, but in all seriousness, who would want to race a tank like that on the minimal output of their V6s?? Just can't make them light enough to do the job, especially with IT prep allowances...

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    Darin E. Jordan
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    Renton, WA
    ITS '97 240SX


    [This message has been edited by Banzai240 (edited November 04, 2004).]

  20. #20
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    I don't know about the V-6 Mustang's potential in ITS (for instance), but a SS Camaro is able to run consistant 1:30's at Summit while the largest portion of the ITS field is running 1:27's-1:29's. Seems to me that with IT prep, the V-6 Camaro's and Firebirds would make a fairly competitive car with at least the non E36 ITS cars.

    I still think the Z32 300ZX would make an excellent ITS car although the SCCA deems them to have a "competition potential" yet they don't think the E-36 had one over the majority of the ITS class. Yea, it's got the potential for a lot more HP than the E-36, but the extra weight the car has will negate most of that.

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