When day dreaming about a warm tropical vacation, we decided it would be much more fun to head to balmy Detroit. You guessed it, we’ll be at the 2012 North American International Auto Show and hope you’ll join us in our coverage. The show promises to be impressive having in excess of 500 vehicles on display, 52 vehicle debuts with 32 of those being worldwide introductions. Who knows what adventures this trip might bring? Fortunately the organizers were not aware of our reputation for disasters coincidently following us and let us into the press day events. If you hear of any major incidents occurring at the show, we weren’t the cause! Hopefully. This coverage is just one piece of our newly added Real World Road Tests section that you won’t want to miss.
We realize there are numerous other options for car articles, but hope you’ll give us a chance as we continue to expand upon this section. We’re a group of normal (give us the benefit of the doubt) car guys writing about the things we love and are passionate about. Our objective with these articles is to bring you reviews of vehicles as they would be used most often, on regular streets in daily life applications. A further explanation of what it’s all about and the first round of our articles can be seen here.
Effective January 1, 2012, a head and neck restraint system meeting either SFI 38.1 or FIA 8859 specifications will be mandatory in Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Club Racing. Other racing sanctioning bodies including National Auto Sport Association (NASA) already have this requirement.
If you do not already have a system that meets this criteria, the question becomes which device should be purchased? Being in the market for a new system myself, I can tell you that getting actual facts about each device is far from straight forward. The reality of our decision is that there are only two manufacturers which make systems which comply with the certifications – HANS and Safety Solutions. In this article we’ll compare the Safety Solutions Hybrid Pro Rage, Safety Solutions R3 and HANS systems that OG Racing was nice enough to loan us. We will also touch upon some of the possible politics involved in the certification process that is supposed to protect us, the consumer. Continue reading
A new set of tires arrives at your door step, and it’s a beautiful sight! Most people who are not involved in racing just can’t comprehend how wonderful these truly are. To them, they are merely rubber tires that appear to be worn well past their useful life. For us racers, they represent so much more and are one of the key components to our success. As wonderful as they are, purchasing them hurts the wallet. The good news is you can extend the useful life of race tires through following the below initial heat cycling process, which is sometimes referred to as scrubbing.
While we are not going to dive deep into the chemistry of race tire rubber (yawn!), it’s a good idea to have a high level understanding of what’s going on. By heat cycling race tires, you’re breaking the bonds which for a new tire are “uneven” and allowing them to reform which happens in a much more uniform manner. As a result the tire compound is stronger thus more resistant to wear and handles more consistently throughout a track session. Continue reading
Race Report: SCCA MARRS Series (1)
HMS Civic Si, anchored at Summit Point Main Pier
It was time to kick off the 2011 racing season. All my 24 race tires had emerged from their winter quarters (my guest bedroom – see Dave’s article on tire storage). Sissi (my car) had spiffy new 6-point belts and several other fixes. Maryland’s state inspection demanded a horn, so Sissi now owns an orange, dashboard-mounted game show-buzzer button.
The Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) has announced that Hoosier Racing Tire will become the exclusive tire supplier for the SCCA Club Racing Spec Miata (SM) class for National competition beginning January 1, 2012. The tires that SM cars will use are the Hoosier SM6 tire in the P205/50ZR15 size, with the P205/50R15 Hoosier H2O designated for wet conditions. I personally have driven on the SM6 tire and can say that when I learned of this news, was very excited to hear it!
From the SCCA press release:
“We conducted a survey of licensed Spec Miata competitors this past winter, and we believe that the move to the Hoosier products best addresses the feedback we received, within the parameters of our selection process,” SCCA President and CEO Jeff Dahnert said. “The survey results showed a strong preference for a molded dry tire that did not require shaving to a race depth. We shared the survey results with the Club Racing Board which, in turn, consulted with the Spec Miata Advisory Committee. All of these sources Continue reading
Funding the Team
As you might guess, one of the biggest challenges for the team is sourcing funding. While Duncan initially invested his own funds to build the facility and establish the team, he stated that the organization now needs to stand on its own two feet. In order to attract sponsors who will actually pay, they need to be a front running, top notch team. But, even at this level there are many teams that are, shall we say, not as they appear. Company names appear as sponsors on the cars because the owner of Continue reading
By Dave Gran & Jake Gulick
If you are not familiar with Highcroft Racing, they are a top notch racing organization lead by owner Duncan Dayton. In both 2009 and 2010, Highcroft Racing was crowned American Le Mans Series (ALMS) champions. Additional information can be found at HighcroftRacing.com .
As one arrives at their 48,000 sq ft facility in Danbury, CT, it’s impossible not to be impressed, which is exactly the response Duncan intended. Duncan is a rarity in today’s world, a true Renaissance man. With training in architecture, (he designed the head Continue reading
Eric signing an autograph and making a boy's day
Previous article in the Realities of Pro Racing Series
In addition to racing professionally for the Whelen Motorsports/Marsh Racing team in the Grand Am Rolex series teamed with Boris Said, Eric also drives for CKS Autosport in the Grand Am Continental series.
Throughout most of Eric’s racing career Eric also owned and operated a Car dealership in Hadley, MA, of which he has recently sold to focus solely on racing.Eric began racing in SCCA’s Improved Touring B (ITB) class in 1994 with a 1971 Volvo 142 racecar. Between 1994 and 1999, he won 21 races and 4 championships. In 1999, he switched to a racing a Camaro in SCCA’s American Sedan class and won 4 races along with the National Championship that year. Eric made his professional racing debut at the 2000 Rolex 24 At Daytona finishing third in class, and not long after he scored his first professional win. Continue reading
If you don’t have personal or family money, another route is to find outside sources of revenue in the form of sponsors. As you might expect, this is quite the challenge and an extreme uphill battle. In order to make a successful pitch to a company, you need to be able to demonstrate what the racing team can do for them. We talked about sponsorships from the Club Racer perspective here but for a pro racing effort looking for larger sums of money, it’s a different ball game. There’s a lot involved in this process and we’ll just touch the surface of it.
In our previous article we discussed the costs to rent the ride, but expenses do not end there. To start with, the gentleman driver has to pay to get to the event, hotel accommodations, and the entry fees which start at $2,000 for the racing series we are discussing. On top of that, there’s the potentially large expense of damage incurred to the car while driving it. Actually, lets talk about crash damages and those costs. If a professional driver crashes the car, they are not held liable but it won’t take long before they lose their ride with that team and have no shot with any others. If a gentleman driver is involved in an incident, they are responsible to pay for damages. What’s worse is that someone else could make a really dumb move, slam into you and you will need to write the check for repairs even though you did absolutely nothing wrong. It’s tough to swallow but “that’s racing” as the saying goes and the team needs to repair the car regardless of whose fault it was. Continue reading