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BillBall
BillBall New Reader
9/26/17 7:58 a.m.

In reply to Adrian_Thompson:

Can you give any more details on " Last weekend people with HAggerty Insurance could take their cars to a lead-follow track day for $25.  YEs $25 for a half day at the track." ? Definitely something I would be intereted in.  

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
9/26/17 8:09 a.m.

In reply to BillBall :

Ask Tom Spangler, he took his 944 there.  I looked it up and even though I don't have HAggerty it looked like I could have signed up until I realized I had a conflict.   This was the now defunct link. https://m1concoursetrackday2017.eventfarm.com/tokens/notavailable?tr=2FzL3cVHNwgxDL8Rw2jKij4qvITZw1fY6eaARwI4so1wAzNw1xGKga

Tom1200
Tom1200 HalfDork
9/26/17 11:14 p.m.

On the subject of things aging out of equipment I'm not sure this is a deterrent.

Belts are every 5 years, you can buy a new 5 point harness for as little as $90.

Helmets are every 10 years ( I get a new one every 5) if you buy close outs you can get a full face helmet for as low as $160. 

I'm not aware of any sanctioning bodies that have expiration dates on suits; I still have my first one from 20 years ago but have recently replaced it with a 3 layer Sparco for $400. I honestly don't know when one should wisely replace a nomes suit but my old one was $300 and I used it for 20 years.

I bought my Hans devices a dozen years ago and it was $750; since then there are several devices available for less than half that.

Most clubs don't put an age on fuel cells or fire systems; some call for inspections  at the 5 year mark. My experience is that cells for production cars will last a long time, while bladders in formula cars start leaking around year 6 or 7. The replacement costs are $600-$1000. So this one is a big hit but with a race weekend costing $600-$1000 skipping a race weekend would cover the cost.

If you amortize the replacement costs your looking at as little as $150-$200 a year. Now I have seen some clubs listing a 2 year cycle on belts etc, which to me does seem excessive but even with that I don't think the replacement budget would be over $300 which is only a $150 difference.

The biggest obstacle for  most racers trying to do this on a budget is Ego; running used race tires, a motor built so that you don't have to run $10 a gallon race gas or rebuild it every three race weekends. The three best races I ever had in the last 30 years were for 4th, 9th and 23rd. So while my ego likes running up front the reality is as long as you have someone to race against it doesn't matter. Besides amateur racing is about the people and not the trophy.

The biggest thing vintage groups can do to help themselves is make sure that they keep making events accesable to the low end guys. Keep the rules so that someone with basic skills  can prep the car themselves and at not be completely out gunned. You need to,have a good mix; if guys in Spridgets want to spend 7K on gearboxes and 12k on engines that's fine but again you have to have a place for drivers with cars that cost 7K.

Naturally all this is my opinion.

 

frenchyd
frenchyd HalfDork
9/27/17 6:43 a.m.

In reply to Tom1200 : You make sense but local clubs/ tracks do have a 2 year rule on seat belts.

Helmets  expire when a new regulation makes the old style obsolete and that too has happened with helmets as little as 2 years old fuel cell bladders age out.  

SCCA seems to be the worst in that regard but when local vintage clubs are staffed with SCCA people their rules prevail, or maybe insurance requirements ?  

I fondly remember my first Vintage race.  Entry fee was $10. I raced with a set of borrowed seat belts and fire extinguisher, removed my license plate and taped my headlights.  

In the many decades since  cost have kept up with college tuition increases ( which are about 100 times what incomes have increased)  

While  I'm sure that today's helmets belts etc are better than the stuff I bought in the early 1970's  I doubt they are a thousand times better.  

I understand there are people who want to exclude others.  "The right crowd and no crowding"  but we field fillers also provide entertainment and once in a great while we become giant killers!  

 

GTXVette
GTXVette Dork
9/27/17 8:31 a.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

I like the way you said that.

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
9/27/17 10:32 a.m.

While I love attending vintage races, I'd love to see a "back to basics" class established.

Back in the 50's and 60's many of the cars competing in a given race were actually driven to and from the race-track.  Sure the cars weren't prepped with as sharp a knife as they are now, but costs were much lower too.   I'd love to see these racing organizations create a class for "street registered" vehicles----as I can see the sense in bringing a trailer in case something goes wrong on track.  (still have to get home) 

I was looking over an old copy of Sports Car Graphic from 1963, and there was coverage from a race at Road America.  The guy sitting on pole drove his Volvo P1800 from New York to Wisconsin for the race!  (drove it home after the race too!)  I'd love to see more of this.  

I think this would open the sport up, and at the same time, make it more fun and accessible.  

LanEvo
LanEvo HalfDork
9/27/17 10:37 a.m.
Adrian_Thompson said:

I think there's a cultural difference between the US and Europe.  In the US historic racing is more normally seen as a no contact sport. Things like the 13/13 rule etc.  In Europe historic racing is just racing that happens to use old cars.  Racing over there is always 11/10 even in a 60hp Morris Minor and it's still very popular and it often makes Spec Pinata look like a red hat ladies afternoon tea.

My experience with club racing in Europe is that it's very much a wealthy man's pastime. The paddocks at European vintage races are full of millionaire playboys, trust fund douches, and aristocrats. The kind of guys who can put a 250 GTO or C-type into the wall and laugh about it over a beer. I'm not sure that model would really work here.

Adrian_Thompson said:

I'm not saying the US model is wrong, but possibly some people think 'Unless I can go 100% balls out, why go to the expense of 'real' racing when I can get 99% of the same at a track day?

On the flip-side, you have guys like me who favor vintage racing precisely because it discourages unnecessarily aggressive driving. I've spent years on my 190E 2.3-16 build. It's very valuable to me. I want to race it and enjoy it, but I'm not looking to have someone chrome-shoehorn me into a tire wall just to secure their 23rd place finish.

Anyway, if you open up the 13-13 rules and start allowing contact, I suspect you'll turn lots more people away than you'll attract.

LanEvo
LanEvo HalfDork
9/27/17 11:23 a.m.
Joe Gearin said:

Back in the 50's and 60's many of the cars competing in a given race were actually driven to and from the race-track.  Sure the cars weren't prepped with as sharp a knife as they are now, but costs werI'd love to see these racing organizations create a class for "street registered" vehicles----as I can see the sense in bringing a trailer in case something goes wrong on track.  (still have to get home) 

I was looking over an old copy of Sports Car Graphic from 1963, and there was coverage from a race at Road America.  The guy sitting on pole drove his Volvo P1800 from New York to Wisconsin for the race!  (drove it home after the race too!)  I'd love to see more of this.

It wasn't too uncommon in club racing until recently. I remember attending BMW CCA CR events into the late-'90s and lots of car were driven to the race.

I still drive my vintage race car to events. Just this past summer, I raced at Mosport (1000 miles round trip), Calabogie (950 miles), Pittsburgh (775 miles), and NJMP (just 255 miles). Kind of a PITA with full race suspension and no interior, sound deadening, or HVAC!

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
9/27/17 1:30 p.m.
LanEvo said:
Adrian_Thompson said:

I think there's a cultural difference between the US and Europe.  In the US historic racing is more normally seen as a no contact sport. Things like the 13/13 rule etc.  In Europe historic racing is just racing that happens to use old cars.  Racing over there is always 11/10 even in a 60hp Morris Minor and it's still very popular and it often makes Spec Pinata look like a red hat ladies afternoon tea.

My experience with club racing in Europe is that it's very much a wealthy man's pastime. The paddocks at European vintage races are full of millionaire playboys, trust fund douches, and aristocrats. The kind of guys who can put a 250 GTO or C-type into the wall and laugh about it over a beer. I'm not sure that model would really work here.

Adrian_Thompson said:

I'm not saying the US model is wrong, but possibly some people think 'Unless I can go 100% balls out, why go to the expense of 'real' racing when I can get 99% of the same at a track day?

On the flip-side, you have guys like me who favor vintage racing precisely because it discourages unnecessarily aggressive driving. I've spent years on my 190E 2.3-16 build. It's very valuable to me. I want to race it and enjoy it, but I'm not looking to have someone chrome-shoehorn me into a tire wall just to secure their 23rd place finish.

Anyway, if you open up the 13-13 rules and start allowing contact, I suspect you'll turn lots more people away than you'll attract.

I actually agree with you 100%.  If I ever have the money to go back racing it will probably be Historic for just that reason.  I was just posing potential perceived issues to the OP's Q.

frenchyd
frenchyd HalfDork
9/27/17 5:05 p.m.

In reply to Adrian_Thompson : the no contact rule  is very important to Vintage/Historic racing.  I can drive "aggressively" but I better darn well know who I'm dicing with and how far we can go. 

If I don't feel comfortable with you I'll avoid you until you become someone I feel I can trust.  

 

TR7
TR7 Reader
9/27/17 10:17 p.m.

I have been going to limerock as a spectator since I was a kid, (I remember when there was more than just one Stutz racing! Alfas, MGs, BMWs, Triumphs all over the place, MGTs were like a swarm, and a couple Bugatti, Ferrari and Maseratis to spice things up). It used to be a lot of fun, with a lot of diversity and good racing on track, and friendly down to earth people in the paddock. Even the parking lot and campground was great to wander around in. There always was a lot of high end machines and big trailers at LR, but that wasn't the whole focus of the weekend, and at least a lot of that stuff got on track. Seems that the races, spectators, and the track itself is moving in a much more $$$ focused direction. This year was particularly 'meh' in the fun/atmosphere department with increased snoodyness of both drivers and spectators alike. A big parade to show off what you got, especially in the trailer department. For this reason, as one of the younger people, I would never imagine myself being involved with this crowd unless I had lotto or trust fund money to burn. 

Conversely I went to NJMP this summer as well, and their vintage race seemed much more in line with what LR used to be, but on a smaller scale. MGs, datsuns, 2002s, and the like, of all levels of prep on the track dicing it up. Things trailered in with a pickup, prepped yourself, and camping at the track. That seems like a group I could see myself getting involved with in a couple years when I am more settled at home and at work. 

frenchyd
frenchyd HalfDork
9/27/17 11:09 p.m.

In reply to Adrian_Thompson :

My experience with track days is it's a glorified parade. No racing, no dicing,  passing only in certain locations or when waved by. 

A lot of poseurs steering powerful and fast cars slowly and carefully around corners and letting the car show itself off on the straights. 

To me racing means driving at or very near your limits. Skill and strategy provide you with the real pleasure to be gained.  

Tom1200
Tom1200 HalfDork
9/27/17 11:19 p.m.

Frenchyd from my prospective the costs since I started in 1989 aren't a huge increase; a $250 entry in 2017 is around $450 now. The weird thing is the first 5 point harnes I bought was $75 and now the same brand is $80.

I'm an extremely aggressive driver (perils of starting on motorcycles first) but whether it's vintage or SCCA I don't think rubbing is racing. I'm not OK with it at amateur events whether it's the RunOffs or a local club race. If your oh so talented then you should be able to get past cleanly. My car is far from pristine but I don't need somebody creating extra work for me by reshaping the sheet metal or striping the paint. 

When I raced my 1990 showroom stock Miata is was also my daily driver; I'd be cool to find out where it is as it was a top 5 RunOffs car. I'd run it as a showroom stock C car.

As for a low bucks or basic class is my thought is something like Spec 1275; you can run any car that had a BMC 1275 at a set weight (say 1600-1800 lbs with driver) allow a moderate cam, twin SU or Weber DGV,  header & electronic ignition but everything else stock. For suspension sway bars and a list of low bucks dampers (no more than $100 a corner)'or any weight oil in the lever shocks. Any brake pad or shoe.  Any synchro trans that was standard behind a 1275 provided the prices aren't outrageous.  For tires say a 185/60 and something like a long wearing Toyo that would do several races. 

VARA does group 1 cars for vehicles with interiors and pretty much still in street trim.  With cars from the 80s becoming more and more eligible if you had a class where the driveline was stock and the suspension mods were dampers and sway bars driving to events would be very doable.

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
9/28/17 6:12 a.m.
frenchyd said:

In reply to Adrian_Thompson : the no contact rule  is very important to Vintage/Historic racing.  I can drive "aggressively" but I better darn well know who I'm dicing with and how far we can go. 

If I don't feel comfortable with you I'll avoid you until you become someone I feel I can trust.  

 

frenchyd said:

In reply to Adrian_Thompson :

My experience with track days is it's a glorified parade. No racing, no dicing,  passing only in certain locations or when waved by. 

A lot of poseurs steering powerful and fast cars slowly and carefully around corners and letting the car show itself off on the straights. 

To me racing means driving at or very near your limits. Skill and strategy provide you with the real pleasure to be gained.  

I think we are all pretty much in agreement with each other.  I think it's perception from the outside.  I grew up going to historic events in the 70's and 80's with my parents in England as well as lots of hillclimbs.  Historic racing in the UK is just racing in old cars.  No holes barred.  Actually from what I've seen club racing in general in far more rough and tumble in the UK that here although my experience is now way out of date.

 

I agree, track days are a lot of poseurs, but there are a lot of really genuinely fast guys as well.  I think a) The perception of some of those track day people is, due to the intentional no contact rule in US Historic racing, that there isn't really much difference between track days and historics.  Wrong I know.  b) I honestly think the biggest threat is sh!tbox racing.  How many old Miata's and E30, Neons, old Civis etc. are out in Chump/LeMons?  Those cars are 20-35 years old.  Twenty 20 years ago those are the cars that would have been racing with Historic/Vintage groups.  Now they are cheap sh!tboxs that people can put a cage in and Race for cheap with friends in many other venues.  Those venues didnt' exist 20 years ago. 

LanEvo
LanEvo HalfDork
9/28/17 10:11 a.m.

@TR7

I haven't attended vintage races at LRP. I've run the Canadian Historic Grand Prix at Mosport, which is hosted by VARAC. Very cool, group of guys. Welcoming to a newbie like me. Classes for everything from prewar cars, old formula cars, all the way up to '80s and '90s touring cars. They didn't seem overly concerned about "period correctness" or mods. The racing was spirited and reasonably close, but always respectful. Huge amounts of track time, too. Felt very much like the British model of historic racing to me.

I also ran the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix at PIRC, which was a standalone event following VRG and VSCCA rules. I found it a little more anal retentive in terms of scrutineering. They definitely seemed more concerned about putting on a good show for the spectators, whereas VARAC felt like they only really cared about the drivers. A lot more downtime in the schedule as well. I guess this is closer to the current American model of vintage racing, but I honestly didn't find it to be particularly uptight.

Having said all that, I really felt like both of these events were very laid back and spectator-friendly overall. The paddocks were wide open. Folks were able to walk everywhere, take pictures of the cars, and pretty much do whatever they wanted. Everyone seemed to be having a great time. 

frenchyd
frenchyd HalfDork
9/29/17 9:32 a.m.

In reply to Tom1200 :you are absolutely correct the 13/13 rule is critical to make vintage racing work.  I'm only willing to dice or drive aggressively with those I trust  

In 47 years of racing I've had only one minor contact with another car.  It was my fault but I couldn't control it.  

The throttle stuck wide open as I was driving the cool off lap.  Time from throttle sticking to contact was the blink of an eye.  Nope! I didn't hit someone on the track  Rather   spun out and hit a car waiting for a tow. ☹️

 

Tom1200
Tom1200 HalfDork
9/30/17 12:33 a.m.

On the same note I've made contact with other cars twice (knock wood) in the last 27 years; Once incident occurred while I was glued to the bumper of what I thought was an ITA RX7 but it was actually a Spec RX7, there's about a 30 horsepower difference between the two classes. We'd just come onto the back straight and I assumed he was already in 3rd, he was in 2nd and when he upshifted and I gave him a giant shove forward. I was driving a friend's ITC Corolla, which had those shock absorber bumpers, it bottomed out the shocks and flung him forward like a carrier launch, while he was doing a minor tank slapper I was praying "please don't crash please don't crash" for fear of landing in front of the stewart. Fortune of the guy kept it together, a split second after he gained control he frantically wave me past. I apologized profusely after the race.

The other incident was the guy who sold the Corolla to my friend; ironically enough he tapped me going into the corner leading on the back straight, about 50 feet from the spot where I used the same Corolla to punt an RX7

A couple of years back I was coming up on lappers; a guy in a Lister E type, following his driver coach in an immaculate E type convertable, I gave them a reeeeeeally wide berth as the thought of even flicking up rocks on those gorgeous cars gave me pause. 

Even before I started reading Road & Track back in the late 70s I was always intrigued by old race cars. While I love my formula car on it's grippy slicks there is just something magical about the slippery smooth driving style needed to make an old car on threaded bias plys go fast. If more young guys witnessed "4 wheel Drifting" we'd see more of them competing.

frenchyd
frenchyd HalfDork
9/30/17 3:45 p.m.

In reply to Tom1200 : Thats exactly what I love to do.  Tossing a car sideways into a 4 wheel drift  controlling the direction you go by the throttle instead of the steering wheel may not be the fast way anymore but it's a skill that pays huge dividends when control has been lost.  Besides a well executed 4wheel drift is absolutly beautiful

They don't teach spin recovery in flying anymore and they don't  teach how to drift in drivers schools. The resulting lack of skills Has cost more than a few accidents

Sorry I'll get off my soapbox 

 

frenchyd
frenchyd HalfDork
9/30/17 3:49 p.m.

In reply to OFracing : I think you are worried needlessly.  Horses didn't disappear when cars became common.  People still ride horses, some even race them.  

People will still drive Cars in the future,  some will even race them.  

 

frenchyd
frenchyd HalfDork
9/30/17 3:59 p.m.

In reply to Adrian_Thompson : You made a lot of great points that I agree with 

please indulge me one exception.  In the 70's& 80's SCCA regional racing allowed cheap racing without too much contact.  Minor rubbing did occur but was usually quickly apologized for and help offered by the guilty party. If it happened the during driving school the chief instructor simply didn't pass the student.  Licensed drivers were set down for a race or two  and duly noted on their license.  

Bug eye sprites were the Miata of the day  and just as affordable.  Early Formula V also served as cheap trianing cars  

 

200mph
200mph New Reader
10/12/17 11:21 a.m.

I've seen some vintage racers actively discourage younger drivers.  

No driver in their 50s or 60s enjoys being embarrassed by a fast 20-something hot shoe.

 

Vintage is a great place for older racers to act like they are still as fast as they once thought they were.

Leave it alone.

frenchyd
frenchyd HalfDork
10/12/17 2:35 p.m.

In reply to 200mph :Your perspective is wildly different than mine.  I'm one of those old guys and I accept that my reflexes aren't as fast as young guys.  I also understand that the closer we old timers get to the long dirt nap the less we are willing to risk.  

My friends and I are always eager to welcome youth. Without new blood the game dies.  So we'll show young guys everything we can and get out of their way when they go by us.  

We will however try to get newbies safe so their mistakes don't wrap us up along with themselves.  

 

Gary
Gary SuperDork
10/12/17 4:25 p.m.
200mph wrote:

I've seen some vintage racers actively discourage younger drivers.  

No driver in their 50s or 60s enjoys being embarrassed by a fast 20-something hot shoe.

 

Vintage is a great place for older racers to act like they are still as fast as they once thought they were.

Leave it alone.  

I don't agree. Most vintage racers have been racing for 30+ years, and many of them came up through SCCA racing, so they know how to mix it up with the competition. There's no lack of cohones, and they know how to get through a corner quickly without contact. As an example, Vic Edelbrock, who passed away recently in his eighties, vintage raced a number of big bore cars until his late seventies and didn't care if his competition was in their twenties or their seventies. There are many other examples. Vintage racing isn't Chump or Lemons or SCCA Majors, where the younger drivers tend to hang out. There, it's a badge of honor to have dents and paint smudges on your car. (Take a look at Spec Miata cars). You can't make contact in vintage racing or you face a penalty or suspension. So you shouldn't conflate older age with shrinkage of cohones or loss of talent. Experience is king. I really don't think the dearth of young drivers in vintage racing is due to the old-timers telling them not to compete because they might out perform them. There's more to it than that.

Incidentally, I'll leave you with this video of Frank Grimaldi, who is pretty typical of your average "elderly" vintage racer:

Frank Grimaldi

PS ... I talked to John Fitch about older drivers at LRP several times when he was alive. He would've thought you're suggestion is preposterous.

LanEvo
LanEvo HalfDork
10/13/17 11:48 a.m.

In reply to 200mph :

That hasn't been my experience at all. I'm a young(ish) guy who showed up to a couple of relatively big-time vintage racing events in essentially a modern car (1987 Mercedes 190E Cosworth) with an obnoxious color scheme. Everyone welcomed me warmly and made me feel right at home. 

racerdave600
racerdave600 UltraDork
10/13/17 1:01 p.m.

I remember a few years ago (OK, more than 10 maybe crying) I showed up as a spectator at Road Atlanta and was talking to a youngish guy with a MGA.  That was his first vintage race and he was swarmed with help all weekend with everything from car help to driver coaching.  I always found vintage events to be welcoming and laid back. 

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