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Thread: What is a "touring car?"

  1. #1
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    Default What is a "touring car?"

    In addition to a Miata and a guard rail, something else struck me (ba-dump, ching!) this past weekend at WGI. The very fundamental issue that I raised here a couple years ago seems to be manifesting itself on the STU and STL grids - that of sports/GT cars edging out, if not potentially totally eclipsing, actual "touring cars" in these classes. If we nip it in the bud now, we can head off an unintended consequence for the entire category...

    All other things being equal, a chassis with two seats is going to have an advantage over one with four - frontal area, aero "licked surface," impact of bluff rear surfaces on Cd, and center of gravity to name a few. The formula for setting spec weights doesn't take these variables into consideration, nor can it really be expected to in any repeatable, consistent way.

    There are literally dozens of sub-2.0, 4-cylinder, make/model options that might be viable STL cars, for example, that are less likely to get built because, in addition to engine breathing challenges they won't EVER be able to get back what they lose to the sports cars in terms of basic architecture. And the Lotus is NOTHING like any of the other cars running in STU, in very fundamental ways.

    The FIA has long used interior volume to define what was - and wasn't - a Touring Car. They have to be able to carry four real adults in sensible condition (e.g., not cut up in garbage bags). And there are WAY more real touring car options out there than there are "sports/GT" cars, as defined by the same approach, which makes for a more vital, viable class.

    My modest proposal is that a minimum interior volume be established for the STx classes - now, while it's still early days. A cohesive vision or plan for "what a class should be" is crucial to its long-term success, the other option being to base listings and specs on ideas about the "on-track performance" of individual cases. That leads to individual allowances and the inevitable shenanigans, power brokering, dealing, and other silliness that follow.

    I'm going to write a proposal but thought I'd get some input before doing so. Thoughts?

    K

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    Not apples v apples, but the 2 vs 4 seats dividing line is what separates two classes in one category in SCCA Solo, SM (Street Mod-4) vs SSM (Super Street Mod-2). There they allow more open engine swaps, still along manufacturer lines but with some sort of sliding weight scale or something for displacement and valves/cyl.

    And although not apples/apples, this distinction actually holds more sway in road racing vs autocross because, as Kirk says, frontal area and overall aero comes more into play at the higher speeds.

    So agreed. And precedent.

    Will

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    I agree with this as well. With my next car most likely going to be an STU car it makes sense.

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    :popcorn:
    Not my circus...not my monkeys...

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    Quote Originally Posted by webhound View Post
    Not apples v apples, but the 2 vs 4 seats dividing line is what separates two classes in one category in SCCA Solo, SM (Street Mod-4) vs SSM (Super Street Mod-2). There they allow more open engine swaps, still along manufacturer lines but with some sort of sliding weight scale or something for displacement and valves/cyl.

    And although not apples/apples, this distinction actually holds more sway in road racing vs autocross because, as Kirk says, frontal area and overall aero comes more into play at the higher speeds.

    So agreed. And precedent.

    Will
    historically that is the way it was in SCCA production and sedan classes before they both migrated to GT. it made some oddities. a mustang was a sedan, Shelby gt350 was a prod car. same with the Corvair and Yenko.
    dick patullo
    ner scca IT7 Rx7

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    Oddities in SCCA?!? Shirley you jest!
    Ed Funk
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Funk View Post
    Oddities in SCCA?!? Shirley you jest!
    and don't call me.....oh never mind
    dick patullo
    ner scca IT7 Rx7

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    Kirk

    In addition to a Miata and a guard rail, something else struck me (ba-dump, ching!) this past weekend at WGI. The very fundamental issue that I raised here a couple years ago seems to be manifesting itself on the STU and STL grids - that of sports/GT cars edging out, if not potentially totally eclipsing, actual "touring cars" in these classes. If we nip it in the bud now, we can head off an unintended consequence for the entire category...
    We have the parallel situation with roadsters being introduced into GT, particularly GTL and a little bit into GT3.

    In both instances we have permitted roadsters (primarily meotters) in to 'make the numbers'. In both cases, there seems to be a healthy dose of 'be careful what you wish for'.

    Just sayin

    Terry

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    Haven't we had this conversation before? The 'Touring' in the Super Touring category is not, and was never meant for traditional 'touring cars' (I think of the BTCC in it's heyday). It was created for a destination for World Challenge cars (in both categories) to land and otherwise to be built to the rules. Says so right in the Purpose statement of the class. Heck, 'Improved Touring' has nothing to do with 4 door saloon cars either.

    Be careful what you wish for here. People largely build and race what they like. You create a class for 4-door (assuming your interior spacial numbers necessitate that) you are really limiting your audience IMHO.

    Maybe it's separating the STL class into STL-SC (sports car) and STL-TC (touring car) that you are driving at?
    Andy Bettencourt
    New England Region 188967

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Bettencourt View Post
    The Super Touring category...was created for a destination for World Challenge cars (in both categories) to land and otherwise to be built to the rules.
    Cars eligible for World Challenge Touring in 2009 (from PCR Appendix A v9, the basis for the category regs). Basically, our STU cars:
    Acura RSX (02-06)
    Acura TSX (04-08)
    Acura TSX (04-08)
    Acura TSX (2009)
    Audi A4 B7 (05-08)
    BMW E46 325
    BMW E90 325
    Dodge SRT-4 (03-05)
    Ford Focus Coupe (05-07)
    Ford Focus Sedan (05-07)
    Honda Civic Type R (03-06)
    Lexus IS300 2.8L (01-05)
    Lexus IS300 3.0L (01-05)
    Mazda 6 (03-08)
    Mercedes Benz C230 (02-05)
    Subaru Impreza WRX STi (04-07)
    Toyota Celica GTS (00-05)
    Volkswagen Jetta Mk4 (99-05)
    Volkswagen Jetta Mk5 (06-08)
    Volvo S40 (05-07)
    Honda Civic (-02)
    Mazda Protégé (-03)

    Maybe it's separating the STL class into STL-SC (sports car) and STL-TC (touring car) that you are driving at?
    Not a terrible idea. But I don't see the org buying into any new classes right now.

    GA
    Not my circus...not my monkeys...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Amy View Post
    Cars eligible for World Challenge Touring in 2009 (from PCR Appendix A v9, the basis for the category regs). Basically, our STU cars:
    Acura RSX (02-06)
    Acura TSX (04-08)
    Acura TSX (04-08)
    Acura TSX (2009)
    Audi A4 B7 (05-08)
    BMW E46 325
    BMW E90 325
    Dodge SRT-4 (03-05)
    Ford Focus Coupe (05-07)
    Ford Focus Sedan (05-07)
    Honda Civic Type R (03-06)
    Lexus IS300 2.8L (01-05)
    Lexus IS300 3.0L (01-05)
    Mazda 6 (03-08)
    Mercedes Benz C230 (02-05)
    Subaru Impreza WRX STi (04-07)
    Toyota Celica GTS (00-05)
    Volkswagen Jetta Mk4 (99-05)
    Volkswagen Jetta Mk5 (06-08)
    Volvo S40 (05-07)
    Honda Civic (-02)
    Mazda Protégé (-03)


    Not a terrible idea. But I don't see the org buying into any new classes right now.

    GA
    How many 2 seaters are there in
    WCTC
    ITCC
    BTCC
    DTM

    Keep it simple.

    Touring cars have 4 seats. Sports cars have two seats. 2+2 qualifies as a touring car.

  12. #12
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    GT cars - Grand Touring - come in all shapes and sizes so the inclusion of "sports cars" in GTL (et al.) isn't the conceptual issue that it is if GT cars are plopped in with touring cars. And I'd argue that the same problem I describe here exists in Improved Touring but I don't really care anymore.

    But most importantly, to the question of "limiting the audience," my point is that we de facto limit the audience by allowing GT/sports cars in ST. We allow a tiny handful of make/model options and give them enough of an advantage that they beat out the DOZENS of 2- and 4-door chassis out there that might well be competitive and interesting, were they not prejudiced against by the fundamentals of the rules and listings. (Number of doors, by the way, hasn't been a general criterion for definition of touring cars around the world.) The way things are headed right now, absent any intervention, the future is STL populated with modded Miatas. Why would anyone build anything else at this point?

    The CURRENT grids shouldn't however be used to gauge any kind of success, with the ITA/SM double dippers making up the numbers. People most emphatically did *not* build those cars for STL; they run the class out of convenience. Tailoring the rules to encourage them to do that is going to result in a very one-dimensional class.

    In STU, something close to a dealer-showroom Lotus will beat up on a purpose-built AWD turbo sedan, or exotic multivalve "real" touring car. And it's not an economical solution, either.

    Looking at some numbers, the interior volume of a typical coupe/sedan in the 4-cylinder, 4-person people hauler is about 2x that of the Miatas and Lotuses. That's not a close thing. The one interesting anomaly is the RX8, with more interior volume than (for example) the new Civic Coupe that has run STL.

    K
    Last edited by Knestis; 07-08-2014 at 08:41 PM.

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    Love the thread! Would those little excuses for backseats in a 968/44 count? Lol
    BenSpeed
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    Quote Originally Posted by benspeed View Post
    Love the thread! Would those little excuses for backseats in a 968/44 count? Lol
    Alot more interior volume than a miata or lotus
    1987 ITS RX-7
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    Central Carolina Region

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    For what it's worth, which is slightly less than nothing, I agree with Kirk and like the direction he is headed. When I decided to convert my SSC Civic to something else, part of the motivation was the creation of STL which looked like a class that was designed for "tuner" cars, which are often "touring" cars and maybe even aimed at FWD. As time has marched on though, it appears that the evolution of the class, whatever the motivating factors, keeps moving away from my first impressions. Heck, I just noticed my car's engine has been penalized. Not that I'm aware of a 1.6 liter anything showing any dominance anywhere.

    At the last STL race at Rd Atl (my home track), the car to beat was, surprise, a Miata. Don't get me wrong, I love the miata. I am, however, getting kinda tired of every class, new or old, being dominated by them. Kudos to Mazda for building such a kick-ass car.

    So, I am for a 4 seat/interior volume or some other criteria to make STL a class for "other than sports cars". Like Kirk said, you eliminate a few options while making a large number of cars suddenly viable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Amy View Post
    Cars eligible for World Challenge Touring in 2009 (from PCR Appendix A v9, the basis for the category regs). Basically, our STU cars:
    Acura RSX (02-06)
    Acura TSX (04-08)
    Acura TSX (04-08)
    Acura TSX (2009)
    Audi A4 B7 (05-08)
    BMW E46 325
    BMW E90 325
    Dodge SRT-4 (03-05)
    Ford Focus Coupe (05-07)
    Ford Focus Sedan (05-07)
    Honda Civic Type R (03-06)
    Lexus IS300 2.8L (01-05)
    Lexus IS300 3.0L (01-05)
    Mazda 6 (03-08)
    Mercedes Benz C230 (02-05)
    Subaru Impreza WRX STi (04-07)
    Toyota Celica GTS (00-05)
    Volkswagen Jetta Mk4 (99-05)
    Volkswagen Jetta Mk5 (06-08)
    Volvo S40 (05-07)
    Honda Civic (-02)
    Mazda Protégé (-03)


    Not a terrible idea. But I don't see the org buying into any new classes right now.

    GA
    Correct, but again, 'Super Touring' was created for WC GT and WC TC.

    STO has/had everything from 4 door FWD sedans to 2-seat mid engined platforms and everything in-between.

    Never had the intent on being for 'touring cars' only.
    Andy Bettencourt
    New England Region 188967

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    Quote Originally Posted by backformore View Post
    For what it's worth, which is slightly less than nothing, I agree with Kirk and like the direction he is headed. When I decided to convert my SSC Civic to something else, part of the motivation was the creation of STL which looked like a class that was designed for "tuner" cars, which are often "touring" cars and maybe even aimed at FWD. As time has marched on though, it appears that the evolution of the class, whatever the motivating factors, keeps moving away from my first impressions. Heck, I just noticed my car's engine has been penalized. Not that I'm aware of a 1.6 liter anything showing any dominance anywhere.

    At the last STL race at Rd Atl (my home track), the car to beat was, surprise, a Miata. Don't get me wrong, I love the miata. I am, however, getting kinda tired of every class, new or old, being dominated by them. Kudos to Mazda for building such a kick-ass car.

    So, I am for a 4 seat/interior volume or some other criteria to make STL a class for "other than sports cars". Like Kirk said, you eliminate a few options while making a large number of cars suddenly viable.
    - your engine probably didn't get penalized in the context of everything getting more weight too
    - actually I think the class is trying to keep it within your first impressions. Weight for RWD has been added since inception
    - You take away the Miata from STL and you would be surprised what you had...23 cars at the Glen Majors...4 were non-Otters. Of those 19 Otters, I bet no more than 4 were real STL cars...maybe 3.

    It's a displacement to weight class with adders for 'stuff'. That's a cool concept. If we need a FWD car to win, we should have never allowed other platforms in. I say enjoy the revenue stream with one eye on the cash and the other on competitive balance...and I think the PTB are doing that now.
    Andy Bettencourt
    New England Region 188967

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    At least my RX8 is a 4 door :-)

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    I honestly think you could break them out if you really wanted an 'interior volume' minimum for STL. But is the core market there? Maybe!
    Andy Bettencourt
    New England Region 188967

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    This is very interesting. Not that my opinion matters but I think of touring meaning 4 passenger cars... Not 4 doors but cars that were meant to carry 4 adults. I think this maybe the problem with STU because we are not seeing many ex pro cars running like many thought would be .....

    Greg

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