Grassroots Motorsports $2012 Challenge Presented by Kumho Tires, Powered by eBay Motors
Sep 27 - Sep 29 at Gainesville, FL
Our low-buck showdown dares teams to buy, build and prepare a car without spending more than the $2012 budget cap. As usual, we used autocross, drag racing and concours judging to rank the field. [Click here for the full results](https://classicmotorsports.net/media/img/events/special/results/2012scoring_1.xlsx) in Microsoft Excel format.
Think these cars are all piles of junk? Think again.
The 13th running of the Grassroots Motorsports low-dollar Challenge brought together everything from a twin-engined 1986 Ford Escort to a bone-stock 1987 Porsche 944 to compete together in autocross, drag racing and concours judging. Presented by Kumho Tires and powered by eBay Motors, nearly forty teams brought cars this year that ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous.
Running annually since 1999 and regularly supported by CRC Industries, this event uses the year as the total budget and combines an autocross, drag race and the craziest concours event that you will ever witness into one weekend. For a total budget of $2012, these teams bought, built and competed their low-dollar wonders at world-famous Auto Plus Raceway at Gainesville, home of the NHRA Gatornationals.
Grassroots Motorsports publisher and lead concours judge Tim Suddard said this of the $2012 Challenge: “The average car was way better than it has ever been. We had very few entrants that weren’t worthy of our attention. Nearly every car was well-sorted and well-presented. We also had a return to reality that has been missing in recent years. I could honestly say that every car I judged this year, yeah, with a couple thousand bucks, a little luck on eBay and a few months of nights and weekends, I could have built that.“
Winners included the amazing “Scaries” turbo Dodge Aries of Pat Culkin and Bill Cuttita. They impeccably restored that 1987 sedan, taking top honors in the concours, and also got it to win the drags with an 11.694-second time in the quarter mile. They took it all home: a $2012 check from eBay Motors and a new set of Kumho tires. The External Combustion team won the autocross with their unlikely—and shockingly fast—turbocharged Jeep Cherokee.
The complete story on this long-running and popular event will grace the cover of the April 2013 issue of Grassroots Motorsports. Subscribe now to get the full scoop. In the meantime, many details are at grassrootsmotorsports.com/challenge. An announcement about next year’s event date, usually set in late September, will be made shortly.
eBay Motors has written about the event.
Start: Sept. 27, 2012, End: Sept. 29, 2012
Martin Sports Car Club
$2012 Challenge Scoring
The dynamic score from the challenge will be calculated by adding the competitor’s fastest drag time and their fastest autocross time together. This will give their “dynamic time.”
The lowest dynamic time is worth 100 points. Points for second and subsequent places are determined by dividing the winning time by each other time, then multiplied by 100.
For example, if the winning combined dynamic time is 74.2 seconds and second place is 75.0 seconds, the 74.2 driver receives 100 points while second place gets 98.9 points (74.2/75.0 = .989 x 100 = 98.9).
Concours scoring is based upon the car’s score in each of four categories: Engine, Interior, Exterior and Overall Appearance. Each category has a maximum of 25 points for a total concours score of 100. The Overall Appearance portion of the total concours score is used to judge effort and creativity.
The concours is worth 1/4 of the dynamic score in the total scoring and is therefore divided by 4 before being added to the other score.
Adding the competitor’s dynamic time to their concours score/4 will give the competitor their total score. A maximum of 125 points is available.
First, second and third overall
First, second and third fastest drag times
First, second and third best autocross times
First, second and third best concours scores
Most spectacular failure
Spirit of the Event
Highest-finishing car under $1000
Highest-finishing classic car (pre-1973, unless car in same basic form was available later)
Best underhood detailing
Best visual package
Challengers’ choice (voted on by the competitors)
Top-finishing all-girl team entry
Top-finishing one-person team entry
Best attempt to persuade concours judges
Fastest Special-class car
Top-finishing club entry
Top-finishing oddball car
Car Building and Budgets
This Challenge is designed and run as an editorial event for a privately owned magazine. As such, the rules and event should be taken with a certain spirit in mind. In other words, all entrants should play well with others. It will make the event much more pleasant for all of those involved. Grassroots Motorsports reserves the right to refuse entry to any individuals or teams. Individuals or teams that behave in a manner that reflects poorly on this event or the magazine will be immediately disqualified and their entries will be removed from the editorial write-up.
If the rules do not say you can do something, you cannot do it.
Cars must be constructed so that they can be raced in a safe manner. Driver ingress and egress must be considered in the construction of the car. In the case of an accident, the driver must be able to exit the car quickly and safely. We strongly encourage that the builders bring their cars to a licensed NHRA technical inspector (see item on Safety Inspections) for their review of the car.
Vehicles and their component systems may be modified or substituted while observing the guidelines set forth by these rules. Drivetrains, suspensions, brakes, exteriors, interiors, electrical systems and fuel systems may be modified. Wheels and tires may be replaced.
Only production-based passenger cars are allowed in the regular competition. All locosts, race cars, kit cars, Zambonis and the like are allowed only in the Special class (See Rule No. 27).
Cars must be roadworthy, meaning basic street equipment must be present: functioning headlights, uncracked windshields, battery tie-down straps, working brake lights, working horn and DOT-approved tires.
Non-DOT-legal slicks are allowed at the drag strip, but they must be replaced by DOT-legal tires for the autocross competition.
All major body panels used as a foundation for the Challenge car must be present on the car at all times. This includes the floor pan, inner fender panels, hoods, fenders, roof, sills, etc. Bumpers may be removed or replaced. Full-frame cars must retain their full frame, while unibody or subframe cars must retain their full floor pans, subframes and the like. Exceptions to this rule are listed in Rule No. 9.
Modifications may be made to the original unibody or body, body panels and frame for engine and suspension swaps and modifications, but only to the extent necessary to perform the change. This can include removing portions of the stock unibody and frame and replacing them with corresponding sections from a donor production car, or clearancing for engine and suspension modifications.
Interiors may be gutted, although the basic dashboard or dashpad must remain. If the original dashboard pad has rotted or deteriorated away, it may be replaced with a full-width piece of aluminum.
Windows may be replaced with clear Lexan or polycarbonate that meets all safety requirements.
Fenders and hoods may be replaced as long as the replacement is solid and safe, resembles the original piece, and has a positive latching device. Exceptions to this rule must be approved prior to the event by the GRM staff. Cars that were originally designed prior to 1940 that have separate bolt-on fenders may run without fenders. This includes postwar cars that were based upon prewar designs (like the MG TC, VW Beetle, etc.).
Cars do not have to be built for any recognized, sanctioned race class. Nitrous oxide, forced induction and radical engine swaps are permitted. (As per SCCA rules, nitrous oxide shall not be used at the autocross event.)
All builders shall spend no more than $2012 on their cars. The purchase price of the car must be equal to or less than $2012. Title fees, registration and insurance are not counted toward the budget. Shipping (or transportation costs) of the car and parts used in the building process must be counted toward the budget.
All parts used at the event (including multiple sets of tires) shall be part of that $2012 budget.
Parts that are not used may be traded or sold up to the initial cost of the car or parts deal. In other words, if you buy a $500 Challenge car, you can recoup up to $500 of your budget by selling parts. (If you do turn a profit by selling parts from your car, we suggest that you take your significant other out to dinner to compensate them for having a $2011 car hanging around the house.) Once the recuperation limit has been reached on a car or parts deals, trading is not allowed.
The maximum amount of money that can be recouped in a budget is $1006. This includes parts cars, parts deals and the Challenge car itself.
Parts that are given to the competitor by a company or person must be figured into the budget at fair market value. Sponsorships are allowed, but the value of any product or service that is used in building the car must be figured into the $2012 budget.
Entrants must show up to the competition with complete documentation totaling, at most, $2012. Entrants must bring receipts or verifiable proof for each item on the car, including the car itself. This information will be available at registration for all entrants to view. The more information provided about the car, the better. Photos are extremely helpful in documentation. If you are submitting digital files, make sure that they are at least 1280x960 pixels. All submitted paperwork shall become the property of Grassroots Motorsports and will not be returned. If you need to keep copies for your records, turn in photocopies to GRM.
If parts or vehicles are already owned by the competitor, they must be figured into the budget at fair market value at today’s prices.
Cars that are purchased at nonpublic, dealer-only auctions must be valued at fair market retail pricing.
Work that is performed at a commercial, for-profit place of business must be billed to the budget at fair market value.
Past Challenge cars may be entered as long as they meet all current rules.
Past Challenge cars and their parts cannot be sold and repurchased in an effort to depreciate their value for budget purposes. If parts are sold from the past Challenge car, the amount credited to the budget a) cannot exceed fair market value at today’s prices AND b) must meet all other Challenge rules. For example, if you sold $300 worth of parts from your $300 car for the last Challenge, you can’t credit yourself $200 for a bumper that you took off for the upcoming Challenge. That’s because you’ve already credited yourself the maximum amount per previous Challenge budgeting.
If the tires and brake pads on a past Challenge car are worn out, they can be replaced up to the value at which they were originally listed for the previous Challenge (e.g., $200 tires can be replaced with up to $200 tires).
Kumho Tires do not count towards the total budget. This is to thank Kumho for years of support for our event—and the fact that their tires kick ass.
Parts that break during the Challenge (and during transportation to the Challenge) may be replaced at the event on an emergency basis, but penalty points may be awarded if the total value exceeds the $2012 limit.
Front license plates and holders shall be removed. We think these are ugly and will reduce the likelihood that well use your car, if so equipped, in any large shots in our coverage of the Challenge.
A Special class for locosts/race cars/kit cars/etc. will be run for exhibition only. It will be scored independently from the rest of the competitors. The Special-class competitors will only be eligible for the Special-class trophies, unless one of them explodes spectacularly. Then we may reconsider. Special-class cars must also meet the classification requirements for a recognized autocross class (for example: SCCA’s A Modified). These cars must meet all Challenge budget rules and safety regulations with the following exceptions: a) The cars do not have to be roadworthy. Headlights, windshields and horns are not required. b) Non-DOT approved racing slicks are allowed.
Protests: Any car may be protested by another entrant.
The entrant who is questioning the legality of another car shall present his or her case and a protest fee of $50 to the Independent Council. The Independent Council will rule on the car. If the Council says the car is legal, then the protest is dropped and the protest fee is forfeited. If the Council says the car is not legal, then the owner has two choices: Run for exhibition only or go home. In this case, the protest fee would be returned.
The Grassroots Motorsports staff can protest any entrant at any time without having to pay a protest fee. The GRM staff can also pull any car from the Challenge results and/or magazine coverage for any reason deemed necessary.
The ruling of the Independent Council shall be binding and is not open to dispute or public debate. The Independent Council will be selected by the GRM office staff before the event. All protest intentions must be presented to the Independent Council by the end of the first day of competition.
The GRM staff reserves the right to penalize competitors for delaying competition due to engine failure on the drag strip. Since we have the drags on Saturday as the last leg of competition, competitors may be tempted to boost their cars until they blow to get the best possible drag time. This will be frowned upon for several reasons, including the following: It’s dangerous, it slows down competition when we have to clean up the track, and it unfairly biases the scoring toward those competitors with a win-at-all-costs mentality. The penalty for this behavior will be on a sliding scale from one to 25 points and will be determined by the GRM staff.
Cars must run all sponsor decals, including a number panel on each side of the car. Number panels must be placed on each door (front doors if the car is a four door). If the number of the car is already applied to the car as a part of the team’s theme, that’s okay, but the car must then run normal Grassroots Motorsports bumper stickers on both sides of the car.
The GRM staff reserves the right to make any changes, additions or adjustments to these rules at any time.
All cars must pass a safety inspection in order to compete. It is entirely the competitors’ responsibility to make sure that their cars can pass the safety inspection.
Examples of items that are checked during the safety inspection are throttle return springs, battery tie-downs, battery covers, lug nuts, seat belts, brake pedal pressure and the overall soundness of the car. (Stock components in good working order will pass.)
Cars must also meet all NHRA safety regulations. In addition to the items required by the autocross safety rules, these include the presence of front, side and rear windows. Open-top cars may run if the driver is wearing arm restraints and approved seat belts. All cars capable of running 11.49 seconds or better must have an NHRA-legal roll cage, while OPEN cars capable of running 13.99 seconds or better must have an NHRA-legal roll cage. All cars must also feature a working taillight. If the required safety equipment is not in place, entrants will be scored with a time equal to the best time allowed for the car’s level of preparation. For example, if you run a 11.29 in a car without a roll cage, you will be scored as a 11.50. More information on NHRA rules can be found at nhra.com.
Fire extinguishers or fire-extinguishing systems must be installed and either installed within reach of the driver or the actuation for such must be within reach.
The following safety gear can be installed on the Challenge vehicle or used by the driver without counting toward the Challenge Budget:
A) Seat belts or safety harnesses and their mounting hardware.
B) Window nets and their mounting hardware, arm restraints.
C) Fire extinguishers or fire extinguishing systems of at least a 5BC racing.
D) SFI-rated scattershields and driveshaft loops.
E) Helmets, driver’s suits, shoes and other personal safety gear.
F) Rubber or steel brake lines, master cylinders, rotors, drums, brake cylinders, calipers and brake pad linings may be replaced with new stock pieces. Original brake parts cannot be sold and then rebought to take advantage of this allowance.
G) Wheel studs and or wheel bolts can be replaced. New splined studs are highly recommended and we don’t recommend the screw-in wheel stud kits.
H) Roll bars and roll cages may be added. Roll cages must be bolted (not welded) into the automobile and contained within the passenger/driver compartment. Roll bars may be welded in. A roll cage has more than five attachment points (but no more than eight) to the body or frame. Roll bars and roll cages must be padded within 6 inches of the occupants’ heads with SFI-spec high-density padding. Helmets must be worn in cars with roll bars or roll cages. Any additional bars and attachment points added to the roll bar or roll cage, or extending the bar or cage outside of the passenger compartment to the suspension pickup points, will negate this allowance and make the entire cage count toward the budget.
The safety items may only be used as intended for safety purposes and have no performance advantage.