No Comp License Required: NASA Introduces New Endurance Series

You don't need a comp license to race in NASA's new Team Racing Endurance Challenge (TREC). Seriously. Have a driver's license, enjoy lots of track time and want to have fun? You're in! The series even accommodates minors who race with NASA—they're in, too.

Read the press release below, check out the rules and let us know your thoughts in the comments. 

 

The Team Racing Endurance Challenge (TREC) is a new NASA enduro series that focuses on fun and lots of track time — and you don’t need a competition license to be part of the action.

Anyone with a driver’s license can participate in a TREC race. Minors who race with NASA are also eligible to participate. Cars are classed using a combination of time brackets and base classing listed in the TREC rules, and all vehicles compete on tires marked with treadwear 180 or higher by the manufacturer. This new series is a definite departure from the typical NASA competition event with a heavy emphasis on fun above all else.

NASA’s High Performance Driving Events have introduced thousands of people to the joys of driving their cars on track,” said NASA Vice President Jeremy Croiset. “Now, with our new TREC series, drivers with little to no experience can get in on the fun of wheel-to-wheel endurance racing with a professional sanctioning body like NASA. This new program establishes a new pathway for people to attain a NASA Competition license.”

Drivers who complete four TREC events may apply for a TREC license qualifying them to participate in the fastest TREC class. Anyone with previous racing experience may apply for a TREC license. Those who holds a TREC license and successfully complete six TREC events will be eligible to apply for a full NASA competition license

TREC events will be offered in various NASA regions in the latter half of 2019 with many additional regions coming online for the 2020 season. Check out #DRIVENASA Community for updates when new TREC events are added to the calendar. You can also contact your local NASA region to find out when their first TREC event will be.

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ross2004
ross2004 Reader
7/23/19 2:12 p.m.

Cool- we'd be interested if the price and location(s) is right. 

slowbird
slowbird Reader
7/23/19 2:40 p.m.

This seems like it could be a good place to take a Lemons car if you want more opportunities to use it. Or a great place for a lot of former Challenge cars with the addition of a roll cage, probably.

bearmtnmartin
bearmtnmartin SuperDork
7/23/19 3:15 p.m.

I always thought competition licences were just a way to keep the old boys club elites and exclusive anyway. Too many other forms of wheel to wheel racing that do just fine without a license.

sleepyhead the buffalo
sleepyhead the buffalo Mod Squad
7/23/19 3:22 p.m.

I see this as "Champ/WRL/GLTC are eating into our grids", so we're going to {ahem} riff their rules concepts

although, after reading the "rules"...

The drivers of a car overtaking and of the car being overtaken are responsible for safe passes. In a passing situation, “defending” or “protecting” a position is strictly prohibited. This means that a driver must maintain the standard racing line in the braking area. That means staying to the right for a left-hand turn, thus “leaving the door open.”

... I can't say I have a whole lot of interest; and this seems like they've lowered the bar to the point where they're not going to be educating/advancing people.  Especially when combined with:

Q: What about slow drivers? What happens to “moving chicanes?”

A: Any driver observed to be driving so slowly that he/she hinders or otherwise significantly interferes with other drivers may be ejected from the competition

I realize "rolling chicanes" aren't good for everyone else, and increase the risk of contact/offs/stupidity... booting someone 'cause they're too slow, without offering some kind of "here's some compensatory HPDE to get you up to speed" seems.... short sighted, and against the point of the series (i.e. get more people into the hobby) 

WonkoTheSane
WonkoTheSane SuperDork
7/23/19 3:24 p.m.

Apparently you don't even need a fire bottle guy over the wall while fueling OR have to have everyone in full nomex, either!  :) 

infinitenexus
infinitenexus Reader
7/23/19 3:56 p.m.

Section 15 of their rulebook still applies for the sake of safety, but other than that it seems very much geared towards driving a cheapo car to death.  If one knew how to weld, this could probably be done on a $20XX challenge budget.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
7/23/19 4:53 p.m.
bearmtnmartin said:

I always thought competition licences were just a way to keep the old boys club elites and exclusive anyway. Too many other forms of wheel to wheel racing that do just fine without a license.

Outside of Auto-X and HPDE, where have you been able to "race" the last few decades without a license? Maybe Saturday night dirt tracks? 

I've seen driving at an HPDE, multiple times, that makes me think there isn't ENOUGH instruction for even that. 

 

One of my buddies has a competitive WRL GP3 car (Miata), won races, podiums, etc. I bet at this point after purchased price, cage, etc, he's north of $20k for the build before you include maintenance for tires/brakes/wheels and so on. The average driver I see on the road, or guy that bought a fast car and thinks they can drive, would absolutely not make me risk my own money/car/safety in such a series. 

EDIT: I realize the cheap series just want some HPDE experience, but that wouldn't be enough for me to risk it on track with my money and safety. 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
7/23/19 4:54 p.m.

I realize now there are going to be people say, "I could build a competitive GP3 for $1759 and a bag of burgers."

But even that doesn't include spares, the tow rig and trailers, necessary, etc. Even amateur racing is not a cheap endeavor.

bearmtnmartin
bearmtnmartin SuperDork
7/23/19 5:03 p.m.

In reply to z31maniac :

There is the elitist thing in action. I have a friend with a late model that cost him over $100,000 to build. Gosh, no licence. Lots of those "Saturday night dirt track" cars have your little 20k in the motor alone. 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
7/23/19 10:58 p.m.
bearmtnmartin said:

In reply to z31maniac :

There is the elitist thing in action. I have a friend with a late model that cost him over $100,000 to build. Gosh, no licence. Lots of those "Saturday night dirt track" cars have your little 20k in the motor alone. 

I'm not sure why you're directing it this way, sounds like your friend is it a bit better off than the average WRL team, at least not in GP1.

You still didn't answer my question past "I know guys who spend way more."

 

Why is it elitist to want people you're sharing a track with to have more training? Ignore the money aspect, it's also people's safety. Yes, sure, racing is dangerous, but the average middle-class team going racing probably doesn't want someone on track that doesn't even understand the traction circle or how to manage it.

 

How is that elitist? Because the guy with a $20k engine (as you said) can't afford a $3k weekend racing school? That will let you run in NASA, SCCA, etc. 

I guess I'm missing what you're getting at.

bearmtnmartin
bearmtnmartin SuperDork
7/23/19 11:48 p.m.

Outside of Auto-X and HPDE, where have you been able to "race" the last few decades without a license? Maybe Saturday night dirt tracks? 

 

Your condescension reads loud and clear. 

racerfink
racerfink UltraDork
7/24/19 12:57 a.m.

Champcar has never required a competition license in it’s ten years.  WRL doesn’t either, but they at least want you to have wheel to wheel experience.

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
7/24/19 7:01 a.m.
racerfink said:

Champcar has never required a competition license in it’s ten years.  WRL doesn’t either, but they at least want you to have wheel to wheel experience.

Neither has LeMons.  I've been racing LeMons for going on 11 years now.  Never have I ever had a competition license.  

Matt B
Matt B UltraDork
7/25/19 1:10 p.m.

Having been part of the LeMons circus, the licensing thing doesn't bother me.  The fire safety (or lack thereof) around fueling kinda does, but I got like, kids and stuff, man.  I need to really pour over the rules, since I'm just curious what else makes this different than LeMons/Champ?  

 

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