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Old 03-20-2013, 03:12 PM   #1
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Default SEB releases their proposal to replace "Stock" class with "Street" class

Interesting article about the SEB proposal to radically change the "entry level" solo classes:

http://www.solomatters.com/2013/03/s...sal-explained/

Seems like an interesting, and long-time coming, change to stock class autocrossing. Generally, the idea is to allow slightly more cheap modifications (sway bars front and rear, camber adjustment kits, legal disabling of traction control/TPMS/etc, +/- 1" wheel diameter changes) while limiting the rules to cheaper struts and tires (no 3+ way adjustable or remote-reservoir struts, 200 treadwear street tires).

The SEB attributes the drastic decline in stock class participation due to the fact that new cars over the last 5 years are all heavier and have terrible camber (for saftey on the street), making them not very fun to autocross in stock specifications. So, they're attempting to move to a "street" class over a "stock" class where relatively stock modern cars can be tweaked legally to be fun again for autocross without having to go to higher classes to be allowed to correct the problems with new cars.
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Old 03-20-2013, 05:01 PM   #2
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I like it, except for the 200 treadwear rating, which is not a particularly good measuring stick- it should be 140 with a disqualified list like we currently have for ST classes. But I definitely agree that the whole category needed a shakeup.
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Old 03-20-2013, 05:56 PM   #3
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Well, it's 140 for 2014, then 200 for 2015. So the tire manufacturers will have time to relabel their tires.

But really, the latest 140 tires are better than r-comps from 10 years ago. In keeping with the new spirit of making Street Class a true dual purpose class for truly useable street cars, 200 seems more appropriate. The tires in the class should be more like the tires one would buy for the street. Then street touring tires would be the next level up of max performance tires, followed by dot race tires in street modified, and finally actual slicks in prepared.
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Old 03-20-2013, 06:23 PM   #4
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I just don't see any reason to penalize the current generation of top autocross street tires- ZIIs, BFG Rivals, RE-11A, etc. because they are perfectly suited for the stated spirit of the class, which is a dual-purpose car. Sure, they suck in the very cold or very wet or slightly icy, but in reality so do the tires in the next 3 classes down of performance street tires. With the ruleset built around ensuring that cars can have sufficient camber to work properly, it's easy for the average autocross enthusiast to drive the car all summer and compete in all the regional events on a single set. The benefits of trying to make the best stock class tires the equivalent of Dunlop SP Sports and DZ101s is that cars are slower, and tires are marginally less expensive. All it takes is the disallowed list- manufacturers will be wary of pushing the new top level tires too far for fear of having them blacklisted and losing access to much of their intended market.

More importantly than that minor issue though, it should actually work as intended. More cars will be viable, they will be more fun to drive, and you could build a National-level car without spending oodles and oodles of money. In fact, I'd say the average person who modifies their car for performance spends more than you or I would need to properly kit a Nationally competitive Street class car. Basically, $4-5k worth of coilovers, sway bars and medium grade wheels like RPF-1s, a turn-down straight pipe catback (with a muffler or resonator as needed) and the new hot tire for the season.
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Old 03-20-2013, 06:49 PM   #5
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I like the proposed change. The proposed rules will not reduce initial cost overall but should at least reduce the tire cost and the need to change tires at the solo site. Some will have multiple tire/wheel options and continue to change tires at the site.
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Old 03-20-2013, 07:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin M View Post
I just don't see any reason to penalize the current generation of top autocross street tires- ZIIs, BFG Rivals, RE-11A, etc. because they are perfectly suited for the stated spirit of the class, which is a dual-purpose car. Sure, they suck in the very cold or very wet or slightly icy, but in reality so do the tires in the next 3 classes down of performance street tires. With the ruleset built around ensuring that cars can have sufficient camber to work properly, it's easy for the average autocross enthusiast to drive the car all summer and compete in all the regional events on a single set. The benefits of trying to make the best stock class tires the equivalent of Dunlop SP Sports and DZ101s is that cars are slower, and tires are marginally less expensive. All it takes is the disallowed list- manufacturers will be wary of pushing the new top level tires too far for fear of having them blacklisted and losing access to much of their intended market.

More importantly than that minor issue though, it should actually work as intended. More cars will be viable, they will be more fun to drive, and you could build a National-level car without spending oodles and oodles of money. In fact, I'd say the average person who modifies their car for performance spends more than you or I would need to properly kit a Nationally competitive Street class car. Basically, $4-5k worth of coilovers, sway bars and medium grade wheels like RPF-1s, a turn-down straight pipe catback (with a muffler or resonator as needed) and the new hot tire for the season.
I don't know. With the max perf tires approaching the cost of r-comps and not lasting all that much longer on track, I can see the SEB's point of moving Street to the next cheaper tier.

For example, R-comps for a Miata are about $700, and last for a season if you're nice to them. Max performance tires are about $500, and you get a single season from them, plus a summers worth of street driving. So, I get wanting the "entry level" classes to be able to use $400 tires that should last 2 seasons of dual use while remaining regionally competitive.

It seems to fit into the progressive nature of cost per run for the new class structure, IMO.
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Old 03-20-2013, 11:05 PM   #7
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To me, considering this is supposed to be a "stock" class, or near what some one on the street would have..

The average person won't be dailying AD08's, if the intention of the class is to have slightly modified racing on decent tires, the options like dz101's, and s drives make perfect sense. And in that sense I think 200 is too low. What are most of these tires at? 220 or 240? If you make the cutoff at 200, a lot of these tires that are competing with tires on the verge of "street tires" will be competing with tires that are supposed to be some what all season.

If one class has a bunch of people running RS-3's because they're arguably the fastest, and then the best tire for the "stock" class is running the same tire, because the tread wear is over 200, where is the point? I know it seems like nothing, but if they bump it to 220 or 240 treadwear, they have my full support, you could drive year round on a DZ101, god knows I have.
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:25 AM   #8
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They are emphasizing that the current stock classes are not "fun." I agree. I simply think that allowing the top street tires- at their current performance levels- is perfectly reasonable. It's not like you'll get multiple seasons out of any summer tire, even with better camber allowances.
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Old 03-21-2013, 10:56 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin M View Post
They are emphasizing that the current stock classes are not "fun." I agree. I simply think that allowing the top street tires- at their current performance levels- is perfectly reasonable. It's not like you'll get multiple seasons out of any summer tire, even with better camber allowances.
First, I certainly think the casual autocrosser will be able to get multiple seasons out of a set of Street class legal tires, unless the manufacturers start lying even more about treadwear numbers.

Second, you imply that the top-tier summer tires are more fun than cheap summer, or even all-season tires. The reality is, the top-tier tires are *faster*, but not necessarily more fun. If lower-grip tires are all the class allows, then you can have more fun sliding around on less expensive tires, and still be competitive.

We tell new drivers all the time to run on a cheap set of crappy tires for their novice season... it makes you a better driver and saves you some money. Applying that logic to the new Street rules isn't necessarily a bad idea. Frankly, the SEB could bump that treadwear limit to 400 and they might actually make Street even more fun.

Either way, whatever the number actually is, the hard-core guys will be buying whatever the fastest tire is regardless of expense. And the tire manufactures will have an arms race to build the best 200 treadwear tires, the same way they raced for the 140 tires. It's the SEB's job to gradually fight that trend if the goal is to keep Street fun and cheap. Just in the same way the FIA has to keep slowing down F1 for their safety and cost goals. Leveraging the ST 140 tires for Street just makes that market bigger, enticing the tire manufactures to make sticker and more expensive 140 tires, which is contrary to the whole point of putting Street back on real street tires, and has the additional side effect of driving up the cost of ST competition.

Hopefully, in Street, you'll actually be able to get by with a cheap set of decent all-seasons if you're a smooth driver in a region that's not full of cutthroat competition. And I think that's the point the SEB is trying to make, because currently even if you're a good driver, if you show up and run in Stock with the tires that came on your car, you'll get demolished by a mediocre driver if they're running R-comps or just a set of the top-tier 140 tires.
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Old 03-21-2013, 11:05 AM   #10
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Question for your consideration: are any of these changes going to make it more likely that it will encourage more participation in national events? Are the current stock configuration rules truly a driving factor for why national participation levels are down in stock classes?

(Keep in mind, the RT classes were introduced in 2012.)
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Old 03-21-2013, 12:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dknv View Post
Question for your consideration: are any of these changes going to make it more likely that it will encourage more participation in national events? Are the current stock configuration rules truly a driving factor for why national participation levels are down in stock classes?

(Keep in mind, the RT classes were introduced in 2012.)
Well, here's what the article had to say:

Quote:
Some will point to the economic downturn of 2008 as the root cause, and certainly it was a factor. But for the most part, National level competition on the whole has remained consistent over that time. However, the new car marketplace has seen major changes. In 2007 the groundwork was laid for all vehicles sold in the United States to have federally mandated stability control by 2012. That year 50% of new cars were sold with ESC systems standard. Vehicle safety, and as a result weight, was skyrocketing. CNN reported in 2007 that the number of airbags in a vehicle had replaced horsepower as the most important number to consumers when selecting a vehicle. The new MX-5 had just been released, larger in every dimension than the previous Miatas. The attitude toward suspension design and handling was also changing. In the years leading up to 2007 both BMW and Honda had redesigned the suspension of their sportiest cars to make them more stable and thus, more likely to understeer. Other manufactures were doing the same and part of this package was limiting front camber under load. This effectively reduced front grip so that a car would be less likely to spin and more likely to have a frontal impact, which the numerous airbags were best equipped to handle. These changes represent the biggest shift in automotive design and production since the initial Stock Class rules were written. In the 5 years since, every stock class has seen a decline. Even Super Stock is down over 35% from 2007.

It was with this perspective that the rewrite began. The Board agreed that the challenges of making a modern car fun to autocross could not be overcome with a true stock ruleset, and thus some level of allowances would be appropriated in the quest for fun cars to drive. These allowances needed to be affordable and constant with the concept of a dual-purpose car. The result is a new formula that included allowances to manage heavier vehicles, overcome electronic controls, and increase the value of the experience while staying true to the dual-purpose intention.
If their assumptions are correct as to why stock isn't well subscribed, then I think their changes to the classes will probably help. But if they were wrong, for example if stock isn't popular because all the stock racers have moved up to different classes and there simply aren't new people joining and racing in stock, then their changes probably won't do much.
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Old 03-21-2013, 12:37 PM   #12
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I like the changes, they should help the Stock/Street classes grow at the grassroots level and that in turn should help populate other classes down the road. And it is in line with the new SCCA mantra of "Make it Easy". The wheel size allowances, camber plates, and sway bar changes will probably affect us much more than the tire allowances, as I don't think hardly anyone in Reno runs R-comps anymore in any class other than Mod.
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Old 03-21-2013, 04:42 PM   #13
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I can see both sides of this change. Yes alignment is getting worse and the electronic nannies (which I hate with a passion) are a huge hindrance to performance. But the flip side is allowing more and more mods is only going to make having a competitive car farther out of reach for some people. The tires going from 140 to 200 doesn't really make any sense to me, nor did it when they proposed that for some of the other classes last season (I can only think there are certain people with certain connections to certain manufacturers that keep pushing this).
I know this isn't a cheap hobby, but not everyone has $4-$5K to lay down on upgrades to have a competitive "stock" class car, and I can see this pushing people out of the organization. To me, it would make more sense to maybe add 2-3 classes that would bridge the gap between something actually closer to stock and say the ST classes.
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Old 03-21-2013, 05:22 PM   #14
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First thing to note is that the new street class is not going from 140 to 200, it's going from r-comp tires to 200. Currently, to be competitive in a season stock, you need two sets of $1200 Hoosiers. So that right there negates the entire cost argument regarding the allowance of new mods. Reno has the T modifier that virtually everyone uses in stock classes, so what the SCCA is doing is akin to catching up to what Reno did years ago.

Second, the new mods they're allowing are intended to be cheap and specific to fixing what's wrong with modern cars that makes them not fun to autocross. Already the stock classes are driving away people, or driving them to spend more money to build fun cars in higher classes. I don't think the new mod allowances are going to drive away people with the cost, in fact they're specifically designed to have the opposite effect.

But, I don't know that we can really know if the assumptions the new rules are made upon are vaild until the rules succeed or fail. We'll just have to wait and see I think.
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Old 03-21-2013, 08:06 PM   #15
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I think the proposal is going the right direction. After a few seasons on a FWD stock car, street tires or race tires doesn't matter, i've learned they just eat tires way too fast. a few degrees camber on macstrut cars will help immensely.

wish they'd also open up wheel width a bit though. Would have many GS and HS cars that were sold on 5 or 6" rims allowed to use exactly the tires that are proposed. should have a 7" rim on cars not sold with them to begin with. That's what new folk will want anyway - letter written.
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Old 03-22-2013, 08:06 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sperry View Post
Either way, whatever the number actually is, the hard-core guys will be buying whatever the fastest tire is regardless of expense. And the tire manufactures will have an arms race to build the best 200 treadwear tires, the same way they raced for the 140 tires. It's the SEB's job to gradually fight that trend if the goal is to keep Street fun and cheap. Just in the same way the FIA has to keep slowing down F1 for their safety and cost goals. Leveraging the ST 140 tires for Street just makes that market bigger, enticing the tire manufactures to make sticker and more expensive 140 tires, which is contrary to the whole point of putting Street back on real street tires, and has the additional side effect of driving up the cost of ST competition.
This is why I think the easier way is to just keep a running disqual list. Treadwear is just an assigned number with no real standards applied to how it's determined. It can't be policed with specified parameters, because that's how we ended up with the Hoosier A6 and Kumho V710 in the first place. The spirit of this rule change is that you need to run genuinely streetable tires that last a significantly long time. When manufacturers bend the rule too much, instead of letting the whole category follow, just disqualify that tire.
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