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Thread: Your Thoughts on Mandating 200+TW "Street Tires" in Improved Touring?

  1. #61
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    Hi Cameron,Thank you for submitting a request/input to the Club Racing Board. The details of your request can be found below.
    Letter ID Number: #24752
    Title: Tires with a minimum treadwear rating of 200 for all IT cars.
    Class: IT General
    Request: 2018 is my first season in Improved Touring with my own car. Yes, I just built a new build for IT. My car is a 2008 VW Rabbit 5cyl 2.5L in ITS. My first exposure to SCCA was through my involvement with an ITB car, 1996 VW Golf 2.0L, from about 2003 to 2010. I have always had a fond appreciation of Improved Touring since then and always wanted to race in IT. I chose ITS because in my division ITS is pretty strong, fairly large fields.

    I have no experience driving on 200TW tires, so I find myself anxious about this proposal, however, I do see the potential benefit. I have been told that these new extreme performance 200TW tires are very good, that they are more consistent over more heat cycles than what I currently run, Hoosier R7 225/45R17. And I see that a set of these tires is at minimum about $400 less expensive than the Hoosiers that I am currently buying. And that these tires are slightly slower, maybe 2 seconds over a 3 mile course, due to a lower grip level.

    If these assertions are true, and keeping in mind the savings, I would be able to potentially spend more money on entry fees and less on tires, which would be a very welcome change. Track time is expensive and precious, I am certain that my savings would go toward more event weekends or more races in the same weekend.

    I also think that IT could benefit from carving out a place for itself, a distinction from the myriad of classifications, as an affordable place to race against multiple makes where one can build and enter the type of car they prefer. As opposed to the plethora of affordable entry level spec classes. Some of us do not wish to race a spec car. I got my license in an SM and my first two seasons were in SM, I appreciate the class, but I really prefer to have some fun building a car that I like.

    Finally, I think if we are to choose this path, wheel rules should be opened up so that everyone can find a tire that will suit them. I would suggest to eliminate wheel diameter and width restrictions and only specify a maximum tire section width per class. 205 for C and B, 225 for A, and 245 for S. Something like this would be appropriate and regulates what actually matters, which is the contact patch. These tires are not all made in the same sizes available in the DOT-R's, so opening up wheel diameters would allow people to find a size that works for them.

    Thank you for requesting member input regarding Improved Touring, whatever happens, I hope it is for the best for the category as a whole.
    Cameron Conover

  2. #62
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    I'm opposed.

    Those running small tires are toast, e.g., 13". I can understand the appeal for those running +16" but to state open up the wheels/tires rules is meaningless if there are no real tires in your size.

    I don't think this will bring in new drivers. The LeChump model is not easily transferred.
    1985 CRX Si competed in Solo II: AS, CS, DS, GS
    1986 CRX Si competed in: SCCA Solo II CSP, SCCA ITA, SCCA ITB, NASA H5
    1988 CRX Si competed in ITA & STL

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by tom91ita View Post
    I'm opposed.

    Those running small tires are toast, e.g., 13". I can understand the appeal for those running +16" but to state open up the wheels/tires rules is meaningless if there are no real tires in your size.

    I don't think this will bring in new drivers. The LeChump model is not easily transferred.
    If I can attend more races with a reduced tire budget then I affectively become a new driver at all those events I wasn't previously going to. So far my car has been to VIR, my home track, and Barber on a whim. If my costs are less and I can travel more all those other tracks get to welcome me as a new driver.

  4. #64

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    I'm in favor of mandating spec tyre or a longer-lasting tyre. We have an ITA CRX that is sitting at a friend's garage because none of us want to buy Hoosiers for it. If we could run it somewhat competitively with tyres that last a little longer or have a lower retail price, it would be out there running in IT with a driver who wouldn't be racing otherwise.
    Roger Maeda - #7 ITS Honda Prelude Si
    South Jersey Region

  5. #65
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    Interesting thoughts.

    Good points for making the switch and overall I think they carry the day, except...

    The biggest negative is what to do about the smaller diameter guys? Allowing bigger wheels MIGHT help, but it kills their gearing. SO, they need to buy a different final drive. Kills the cost saving benefit. Well, in the short term at least. But, the bigger issue is that some of them can't find the gear they would need. I don't know how many guys are in that boat, I suspect it's a pretty small percentage. I don't know of a workaround.

    To those who -cough- Chris, -cough- like going faster around corners, ask youself...is racing in slippery conditions (rain, damp, etc) less fun?? TO me it was a bigger challenge and one that I found to be a HUGE opportunity. The guys who are one dimensional thinkers, they'd be toast. Adapting to changing conditions, figuring out how to go fast with less stick, that's fun. Now I hear you "But it won't be changing, it will always be the same, just slower", true, but....I don't see the delta between the Hoosiers and the better 100tw tires to be that huge. We're talking a second or so on a minute long course like Lime Rock.

    To my eye, it's a good concept that needs to have some technicalities worked out.

    **** Oh...Spec tire?? In a category with 300+ spec lines (car models)....yea....aint gonna happen. Nor is getting a manufacturer to 'sponsor a program". LOL

    Also, ANY change will have winners, and losers, and sometimes the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.
    Jake Gulick


    CarriageHouse Motorsports
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  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by boxedfox View Post
    I'm in favor of mandating spec tyre or a longer-lasting tyre. We have an ITA CRX that is sitting at a friend's garage because none of us want to buy Hoosiers for it. If we could run it somewhat competitively with tyres that last a little longer or have a lower retail price, it would be out there running in IT with a driver who wouldn't be racing otherwise.
    Really? I suggest that if you get a set of good Nittos or similar, you'd have a car that could "Run somewhat competitively". OR, scrap together a second set of wheels and get a set of Hoosiers, then as they get old, get another set. Now, you have a fast set and a not so fast set...prize the fast set and use them as needed, and use the old set for practice, etc. Used wisely tires can go a long way.

    But, big picture, I don't see saving $400 -800 as THE factor thats keeping the car off the track....but, I could be wrong .
    Jake Gulick


    CarriageHouse Motorsports
    for sale: 2003 Audi A4 Quattro, clean, serviced, dark green, auto, sunroof, tan leather with 75K miles.
    IT-7 #57 RX-7 race car
    Porsche 1973 911E street/fun car
    BMW 2003 M3 cab, sun car.
    GMC Sierra Tow Vehicle
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    lateapex911(at)gmail(dot)com


  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by lateapex911 View Post
    The biggest negative is what to do about the smaller diameter guys? Allowing bigger wheels MIGHT help, but it kills their gearing.
    Let's just put this to bed right now: they're irrelevant to the discussion. Sorry, ITC guys, but your class is dead. More dead than even B-Spec.

    That one region somewhere in Minnesota that has half a dozen ITC still running can write in the event supps that ITC cars can run whatever tire they want. It's really that easy.

    So STOP IT, Jake. Never, ever, EVER make regulations based on how it will affect one person or one sub set. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. The question should not be "but what about these guys?" The question should be "what is best for everyone in aggregrate, as a whole, all around the country?"

    Never make regulations centered around one exception. Ever.
    Not my circus...not my monkeys...

  8. #68

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    Quote Originally Posted by lateapex911 View Post
    But, big picture, I don't see saving $400 -800 as THE factor thats keeping the car off the track....but, I could be wrong .
    Sometimes it's more about the perception more than numbers that matter. It'd cost a lot more than that to run the car for a season but the idea of being able to get the car running competitively on long-lasting fresh rubber would be enough to convince one of my friends to run it.
    Roger Maeda - #7 ITS Honda Prelude Si
    South Jersey Region

  9. #69
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    Tracking Number: #24744 (I think... I seem to never be able to copy/paste from word so added an attachment....)

    *************** Following is my letter**"***

    Background / Disclosure: I have an ITB CRX Si and an ITA CRX Si. The ITA car typically uses 205/50-15 SM7’s on 15x7 rims. The ITB car uses 225/45-13 R7’s on 13x6 rims. The ITA car will likely not be significantly impacted all things being equal. That is, the tire size is close enough to available ****** *****. The ITB car will be majorly impacted since the final drive will be really goofed up. An ITB CRX needs both small tires for gearing. The car currently has a 4.93 Houseman FD (typically considered to have been the best for this car). I have another STL CRX Si that I campaigned the last couple of years specifically to compete at the Mid-Ohio and Indy Runoffs. My 2018 plans were 3-4 ITA races. I have done a fair number of autocrosses on ****** ***** as well as LeMons races on ****** *****. I understand their performance and relative cost. I have the following questions and concerns.

    What is the goal of limiting IT to ****** *****?

    How will SCCA measure success?

    What will SCCA do if the goal is not achieved?

    I am not in favor of this proposal because I do not believe it will achieve its apparent goal (attract the street tire racers from LeMons or Chump nor increase participation by reducing costs). My level of participation is driven just as much by family obligations and work requirements. It is not just the tire budget.

    I do not think it will attract those currently racing on ****** *****. The Bracket Enduro concept should have achieved that.

    I do not think the comparison to ****** ***** and autocross participation is a valid comparison. Many autocrossers extol the virtues of ****** ***** because it lets them drive to the event with the tires on the car. I know that when I was autocrossing on ****** *****, I did the same thing. However, even if I put ****** ***** on my IT cars, the days of those cars being driven to an event are long past (circa 1992)….

    My biggest fear is that the goal will not be achieved and the current actual SCCA members that race IT will be even more disenfranchised.

    ******** Conclusion of letter******

    Heck, we can’t even control costs by using SFI belts for five years anymore.
    Last edited by tom91ita; 06-13-2018 at 08:03 PM.
    1985 CRX Si competed in Solo II: AS, CS, DS, GS
    1986 CRX Si competed in: SCCA Solo II CSP, SCCA ITA, SCCA ITB, NASA H5
    1988 CRX Si competed in ITA & STL

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Amy View Post
    Let's just put this to bed right now: they're irrelevant to the discussion. Sorry, ITC guys, but your class is dead. More dead than even B-Spec.

    That one region somewhere in Minnesota that has half a dozen ITC still running can write in the event supps that ITC cars can run whatever tire they want. It's really that easy.

    So STOP IT, Jake. Never, ever, EVER make regulations based on how it will affect one person or one sub set. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. The question should not be "but what about these guys?" The question should be "what is best for everyone in aggregrate, as a whole, all around the country?"

    Never make regulations centered around one exception. Ever.
    And thats why I ended my post with "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few".....
    Jake Gulick


    CarriageHouse Motorsports
    for sale: 2003 Audi A4 Quattro, clean, serviced, dark green, auto, sunroof, tan leather with 75K miles.
    IT-7 #57 RX-7 race car
    Porsche 1973 911E street/fun car
    BMW 2003 M3 cab, sun car.
    GMC Sierra Tow Vehicle
    New England Region
    lateapex911(at)gmail(dot)com


  11. #71

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    I'm curious how many of your regions place IT cars in with SM? In the Northeast, we're always grouped with SM and SM2.

    I'm concerned that running a slower tire will put me right in the middle of the kill-zone of SM, rather than being able to stay ahead of most of the SM-related carnage.

    I have an ITA Miata because I don't want to race in SM. I'm not happy that we have to share race groups with SM, but at least now I can stay ahead of them.

    My tire savings may be eaten up by body panel purchases.

    Thoughts?
    #08 ITA/STL Miata

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwasilko View Post
    I'm curious how many of your regions place IT cars in with SM? In the Northeast, we're always grouped with SM and SM2.

    I'm concerned that running a slower tire will put me right in the middle of the kill-zone of SM, rather than being able to stay ahead of most of the SM-related carnage.

    I have an ITA Miata because I don't want to race in SM. I'm not happy that we have to share race groups with SM, but at least now I can stay ahead of them.

    My tire savings may be eaten up by body panel purchases.

    Thoughts?
    In the Southeast we have enough cars to be in our own group usually. That being said....Spec Miata has been behaving pretty good around here.

  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by boxedfox View Post
    I'm in favor of mandating spec tyre or a longer-lasting tyre. We have an ITA CRX that is sitting at a friend's garage because none of us want to buy Hoosiers for it. If we could run it somewhat competitively with tyres that last a little longer or have a lower retail price, it would be out there running in IT with a driver who wouldn't be racing otherwise.
    Too many variables to know if your CRX can be somewhat competitive: Engine build, tune, LSD, FD, Suspension, rims/tires, competition in your region (at that race), and the biggest piece - driver ability. Tires are one piece of the equation. Used Hoosier SM7 take offs with ~4 heat cycles on them sell for $265-325 shipped per set. I just purchased two sets for my ITA car. I was getting 12-16 heat cycles out of the Hankooks I ran in 2012 (my last year in ITA). Of course they would fall off towards the end, but they still worked great for qualifying where you could put down a flyer and then cool the tires off...

    If winning is the goal, a 10/10ths build with a good driver will beat most of the cars competing in IT regardless of what tires everyone runs. Once you're competing against a stack of 10/10ths builds, new Hoosiers can be the difference.
    Matt Downing
    1995 Honda Civic EX Coupe - ITA
    Ohio Valley Region, SCCA

  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Amy View Post
    200TW tires would clearly differentiate the category in a significant way, something that is not done by any other category.
    And this matters why?


    2) Attraction from other groups. There is a large and growing population of racers out there in series and with orgs that do not allow tires with a TW lower than 200. Limiting the class to 200 makes it attractive to them. Those orgs do that specifically for costs purposes. No one can legitimately argue that a $250 10-cycle tire can ever cost less, long- or short-term, than a $120 more-than-10-cycle tire. And while outliers can never be eliminated (really, you're going to shave your tires so low that they'll only last 2 sessions?) they can safely be ignored. Because outliers are not for whom we make decisions.
    My apologies. I thought you were making a serious proposal. The tell was when you said racers wonít waste money to gain an advantage and we donít create rules for outliers.

    That is why we do not have the full range of blingy shocks that come with even a time-zone adjustment.
    Thatís why we do not have fuel testing because nobody is going to spend $75/gallons to win a race.
    That is why we never worry about someone cheating because nobody would want to win that way.

    ChumpAER guys are not skipping SCCA because of purple crack. They skip us because our rules are immense and restrictive. They can also turn any POS dog into a better car by doing loads of modifications to make it competitive in a new bracket.

    Not going to shave tires? Pull the other leg! That is the one with bells on it; you will get to her the ding.

    Showroom stock guys, back in the day, shaved their tires like it was a first date. Look around the paddock ó the drivers may have changed, but they are just as stupid about gaining an unfair advantage as the old bona-fide SS drivers.
    Improved Touring needs to make positive changes that will differentiate it from the existing crowd and make itself attractive to those not interested in chasing the Runoffs-of-the-Year. And this would be a really easy and cost-effective way to do it, one that would be quite easy to revert if it didn't work out.
    You mean that I will need to spend a boatload of money on new wheels, a new final drive and suspension setup and reserve the right to say ďPsych!Ē Thanks!

    I appreciate the effort to do something for a category that probably received a death blow from Topeka siphoning away our entrants, but be realistic about how stupid drivers are when it comes to an advantage.

  15. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knestis View Post
    A spec tire will be problematic in a multi-mark category because the size availability issue is even greater than if you have a number of manufacturers from which to choose.

    Look - at the end of the day, you're opposed to the idea of 200TW tires because the status quo works for you. There's nothing wrong with that but sometimes the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. The good news for you is that SCCA rules-making has traditionally been pretty responsive to minority needs - if you've got the ear of the powers-that-be. When I go looking at current IT grids, I see pretty much NOBODY who argued that "National status will kill IT." Individual entrants come and go, and turnover in the club - in racing - is astronomical. The Club won't make a decision based on any kind of strategic plan, and a few connected people can pretty much kill any proposed change, so you're probably safe.

    K
    The status quo works for pretty much everyone NOW. We essentially have a spec tire ó purple crack.

    What they want is a significant change that, for some, will is an illusion. They WILL shave their tires to nada, negating most of the advantage of the cheaper tire. I say this is a certainty because they could use the tires, purple crack they already have but do not. They go buy new purple crack. Why? Because someone else bought purple crack and they cannot allow a mine-shaft gap! The same bloody thing will happen with shaving the life away if we go to 200TW.

  16. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by downingracing View Post
    The crossover argument doesnít hold water. Cars from other series (Le/Chump) arenít prepped to IT rules. So for them to run in an IT class, they require modification to even be legal. And many of them have taken the cars well past the point of being Ďreturnedí to IT legal. Cars that successfully make it to legal, will (probably) be closer to stock/legal than built/legal. Tires wonít make them competitive. Having an IT(ez) class for cars from these series to run in seems like the best option to promote crossover. No changes required (or veery minimum) and they all compete on 200tw tires. Competitive with Ďlikeí cars and can try SCCA.

    Requiring 200tw tires will limit crossover within SCCA (that is already happening). Spec Miatas will need multiple sets of rims with different tires to run both ITA and SM. Other IT cars will need the same to double dip with STL, STU, and Prod.

    Iíve spent a fair amount of time running ITA. When I was winning or at the front of the pack (minus Mosers and Ruck), I ran hankooks. Guys chasing me were on Hoosiers. Tires are important, but thereís much more to being competitive than tires.

    Iíd ask: Whatís the problem weíre trying to solve?

    If itís how to get crossover from other series, we need to look at license requirements (having run some Chump, you donít want most of those folks participating without at least a little formal training). Then look at car classifications and determine the best path requiring the least modification for these cars.

    If itís controlling costs in IT classes, as many have said, you canít keep people who want to spend money from spending it. Limit one area and they will spend in other areas. Good to look at options to control cost, but this tire mandate could actually increase costs for those crossing from class to class.

    If itís something else, Iíd like to know what it is. It feels like weíre trying to justify a solution without firmly identifying the problem.
    Amen! Hallelujah! Exactly.

  17. #77
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    Cost savings? Where? You have just suggested opening up wheel sizes. I and and a bunch of the smaller tire guys will need to buy new final drives or new cars.
    we will shave the hell out of these tires negating the per unit savings.
    we won’t attract many, if any at all, cars from the other groups.

    And as icing on the cake, you have completely upset the competitive balance in ITB and probably ITA. Lower torque, better handling cars will be screwed because the fatter, higher torque cars probably won’t be hurt as much. Think I’m wrong about that? We’ll have ya done any thinking about it at all?

    needs of the many over the needs of the few? Sounds more like the needs of ITS drivers over the rest of the category.

    Before you make a change of this magnitude, I suggest you create a 200TW region class and see how many of your predictions, particularly cross-overs happen. Not bracket, but ITR200, ITS200, ITA200.

  18. #78
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    Oh, has anyone actually researched what 200TW means?

    We have no idea what the true TW of purple crack might be. Manufacturers are allowed to put LOWER ratings on their tires. For competition tires, manufacturers under rate their tires because we are stupid and equate lower rating with stickier and faster tires.

    I would also like confirmation whether consumer reports and other places are correct when they assert that the rating of two identical compound tires is proportional to their original tread depth. Because if those statements are true, the only thing this accomplishes will be purple crack that you can shave to get the old purple crack.

  19. #79
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    Jeff, what's your letter number?
    Not my circus...not my monkeys...

  20. #80
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    I'm just going to go ahead and tell everyone....

    I will laugh out loud and in your face if you show up on shaved 200tw tires. Not to shame you into hopefully spending less money so we can all be more "equal", but simply because you are dumb and wasted a bunch of money.

    If you've generated a negative opinion of "street tires" based off of data from a decade ago you need to do some research. What a lot of you aren't realizing is that some of us have already went through this transition once with the autocross Stock/Street change. We have experience on a personal level and data on a club level. Most of the negatives I'm hearing come from people with none of the former and a refusal to see the latter.

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