New From the SCCA: Solo Spec Coupe Autocross Class

We had heard the rumors, and today at the Tire Rack SCCA Solo Nationals was the big unveil: the SCCA’s Solo Spec Coupe autocross class.

What is it? Basically a pre-2017 Subaru BRZ or Scion FR-S fitted with approved parts sourced from Tire Rack: Koni dampers, Eibach Pro Kit springs and adjustable anti-roll bars, SPC alignment aids and upgraded tires and wheels.

You can scroll down and read the official release. After the release you’ll find a live video we recorded with the car and SCCA officials.

New Solo Spec Coupe Class Unveiled for SCCA Autocross Competition   TOPEKA, Kan. (Sept. 4, 2017) — The Sports Car Club of America® officially announced today the creation of a new Solo Spec Coupe (SSC) class for autocross competition. The new supplemental class for 2018 national and regional events was developed to be unique in that it primarily focuses on a competitor’s driving skill by having racers participate in nearly identical cars.

Mike Cobb, SCCA President & CEO, said SSC leverages the knowledge and market strength of longtime Club partners Tire Rack, Koni, Eibach and SPC Performance to produce a turnkey competition platform that is both cost efficient and fun.

When you take an exciting car model and add great partner support, a dedicated Solo Spec Coupe class in which to play, and terrific drivers, you get an outstanding SCCA member experience we’re sure many people will enjoy,” Cobb said.

The base platform selected by the Solo Events Board will be the 2013 to 2016 Subaru BRZ or Scion FR-S. Howard Duncan, SCCA Rally/Solo Senior Director, said the BRZ and FR-S were selected because the cars are modestly priced, rear-wheel drive, late model enthusiast vehicles useful as both a “daily driver” and for autocross competition.

These cars offer aftermarket modifications embraced by enthusiasts who enjoy the driving experience,” Duncan said. “The vehicles are readily available and modifications fairly simple. The cars have shown reliability, which should help with cost containment. And a street ride can be maintained for daily use while also allowing for fun autocross performance. It’s a very positive package all around.”

Vehicles will be able to compete with original equipment. But the Solo Spec Coupe will also have a two-stage upgrade option. Tire Rack is SCCA’s Stage 1 Performance Package coordinating partner. The components will be offered to SCCA® members at a discounted price, and an opportunity for non-members to join the Club before purchase. Drivers interested in the package can learn more at Tire Rack’s SSC webpage, but the basic elements include:
- Koni Sport Shocks, factory sealed (front left strut, right front strut and rear)
- Eibach Pro-Plus Kit (F/R springs and F/R adjustable anti-roll bars)
- SPC Front Alignment Kit (camber bolts, adjustable lower control arms and toe arms)

Tire Rack is also the preferred supplier of the Stage 2 Performance Package that includes 17”x 8” wheels, running a minimum of 17 pounds with minimum offset of 40 millimeters. There will also be a 225/45R17 spec tire used in SSC with a minimum 200 treadwear. The specific spec tire brand will be named later this year.

A Stage 3 Performance Package, consisting of a PCM/ECU retuning module, is currently being researched and considered for future use.

For components not specifically listed in the Stage 1 or Stage 2 Packages, the Solo Street Category allowances will apply. Vehicles will be allowed to compete “under prepared” without all permitted modifications being installed. Where applicable, Solo Spec Coupe cars can also compete in the STX class.

For more information, please visit the SCCA Solo Spec Coupe webpage.

The Sports Car Club of America®, Inc., founded in 1944, is a 67,500-member motorsports organization that incorporates all facets of autocross, rally and road racing at both club and professional levels. With headquarters in Topeka, Kansas, the SCCA annually sanctions over 2,000 events through its 116 Regions and subsidiary divisions. Much of the SCCA’s activities are made possible with support from the following Official Partners: Chevrolet, the Official Truck of the SCCA; Hawk Performance, the Official Brake Products of SCCA; Mobil 1, the Official Oil of SCCA; Sunoco, the Official Fuel of SCCA; and Tire Rack, the Official Tire Retailer of SCCA. To learn more, please visit www.scca.com.  

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Comments

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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
9/4/17 11:57 p.m.

And here's a simulcast of our live video:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/-ByGytGJQn8

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
9/5/17 9:10 a.m.

This is one chassis where I have seen driver skill really stand out.  At the Match Tour, people were asking one FR-S driver if his car was supercharged or running nitrous...they just could believe that tires and shocks and setup were all he did.  Even locally, I have seen these cars punch well above their class with only simple mods.  

Stock for stock, I'd take the FiST over the twins to win any day.  Add sticky tires and shocks to the mix, and the reverse is true.

iceracer
iceracer UltimaDork
9/5/17 10:47 a.m.

If we add enough class's, soon every one can be a winner. 

Neat way for TR to increase sales.

Two_Tools_In_a_Tent
Two_Tools_In_a_Tent Reader
9/5/17 10:58 a.m.

I'll say ! Tire Rack sells over priced tires for E36 M3's sake, now they've muddled into and dictating what happens with an entire class in the SCCA? Hate to see a simple tire distributor have this much influence over the supposedly neutral SCCA. Very similar to what NOPI did in import drag racing and look how all of that turned out. Nothing wonderful happens when corporation get their noses into the mix.

Meat
Meat New Reader
9/5/17 11:53 a.m.

So much negativity. Racing (even at a grassroots level) has always benefited and even relied on partnership and sponsorship.  Done right it can save organizations, promote membership and participation, and lower costs for racers.

I like this SSC idea. It seems that many solo classes end up as virtual spec classes so why not create one explicitly? The Tire Rack tie in makes things easy for everyone. 

collinskl1
collinskl1 Reader
9/5/17 12:52 p.m.

I know this information says "sealed" dampers, but are they different than the normal Koni bits available for this platform?

If not, I don't see why Tire Rack has to be the source of the parts.

Meat
Meat New Reader
9/5/17 2:46 p.m.

In reply to collinskl1 :

I don't think the entire kit needs to come from TR based on the usage of "minimum" wheel specs (meaning you can deviate from these unilaterally?) but the "sealed" verbiage brings the source restriction of the Koni's into question.

PeterAK
PeterAK Dork
9/5/17 4:08 p.m.

I'm not jumping in as I'm focused on other hobbies, but this is a great idea.  I'd take the spec autocross idea a step further (forward for a guy like me, but probably backward for people without families) and make it a fun car that mom or dad can also drive the kids around in.  New Civic Si would be a great option for something like that.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
9/5/17 4:17 p.m.

Wow, just what nobody ever asked for.  Another SOLO II class, with even odder restrictions than usual.

Feedyurhed
Feedyurhed SuperDork
9/5/17 4:40 p.m.

Yep, I am kind of liking this idea too.  A few pitfalls maybe but also some great potential. I didn't read all the first post so maybe it says it in there but TR should offer some sort of discount on parts to participants in this category. Sort of like what Mazda Motorsports does,  meaning you have to post results to get the discounts.

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
9/5/17 6:09 p.m.

In reply to Duke :

Actually, people have been asking for classes like this. 

Showroom stock is supposed to be like this, but no one will close the DOT-R and shock loopholes, so its a huge expense to be at the pointy end of that class. 

Street Tire was close, but regulated the wrong things along with the correct ones.  Again, its too expensive at the pointy end to be competitive no matter how good a driver you are.

This sounds like a great answer for people with busy lives, who want to run and potentially do well and if they make it to Nationals, they could arrive and drive.

Bottom line?  If you don't like it;

1) Don't run the class. 

2) As a dues paying member of the SCCA you can take it up with them and work to change/improve the classing in general.

bigben
bigben Reader
9/5/17 9:29 p.m.

I know this is off topic, but since odd class restrictions came up. . . One that has been bothering me is the engine disparity in Street Modified. It seems that you can yank an anemic 4cyl and drop a V8 in it's place and as long as it's from the same automaker your still eligible for SM, but swap a 4cyl for another 4 cylinder that happens to be from a different automaker and Bam! Automatic bump to XP or EM regardless of any other mods.

Meat
Meat New Reader
9/6/17 8:38 a.m.

TR will supposedly offer discounts to SCCA members and allow non-members to purchase a membership at checkout.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
9/6/17 10:11 a.m.

I love this idea.

ojannen
ojannen Reader
9/6/17 11:47 a.m.

In reply to bigben :

Originally, street modified was supposed to be the class the the muscle vs tuner guys ran.  The idea was to make a class for streetable cars that worked for Civics with JDM engine swaps and Mustangs with head and cam work.  Something that allowed body kits and big wings that were already on the cars.  With that starting point, the engine restrictions make sense.  I don't know that they make sense anymore but those are the rules.

According to PAX, XP is only about a second faster than the fastest street modified class over a 60 second course.  It isn't that big of a jump.  Most of it can probably be attributed to tires.

bigben
bigben Reader
9/6/17 11:36 p.m.

In reply to ojannen :

Sounds like maybe I need to do a more extensive reading and comparison of SM and XP.  Your comment about the tires caught my eye. I didn't think there was really any significant difference in the tire allowance between those two classes.

ojannen
ojannen Reader
9/7/17 11:18 a.m.

In reply to bigben :

Street mod needs to run dot-r tires so A7 is as serious as you can go.  Prepared can run full racing slicks.  Avon and Goodyear make some bias ply tires that people run.  Hoosier makes something that is sticker than an A7 too.  

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
9/9/17 12:15 a.m.
collinskl1 said:

I know this information says "sealed" dampers, but are they different than the normal Koni bits available for this platform?

If not, I don't see why Tire Rack has to be the source of the parts.

I was told that they're the standard Koni Sports but dynoed to even tighter tolerances. Plus they're sealed in order to prevent revalving.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
9/9/17 10:59 a.m.

Just thinking about this some more. I think there are other cars that would lend themselves to this idea, like the Fiesta ST and Civic Si. It kinda needs to be a car that's easy to find (in stock form) and available in one spec. ND-chassis MX-5 might be possible but, again, base car or Club? What about the Brembo option? RF cars? Late-model Camaro and Mustang would be tougher because you'd run into final drive options, track packs, and the like. 

NC MX-5 is intriguing because there are so many out there, but which trim level, which engine and which years? C5 Corvette? Again, which engine? Z06? Early or late? Z51? What about my FRC? And how easily can you find a stock C5? If you look at MX-5 Cup, you can see all of the lessons learned from Spec Miata. 

I'm glad to see the aftermarket companies involved, too. It ensures that the parts will be available. What if the class required a part that's slated for a revision or discontinuation? 

I know that we have a lot of classes. We were there when Street Touring launched. I remember several back-and-forths with Howard at the SCCA about the idea and ran an ST Neon at Nationals that first year. We didn't know if Street Touring would work, but it did--and now we have several ST classes.

This could launch something new, too. Or it could be a dud. But at least it's an attempt at something new, and I'm cool with that.

Years ago I drew up some plans for a spec Civic road racing class. That window has since closed, but I think it could have worked. I love open classes, but something about spec classes are intriguing, too.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
9/9/17 11:55 a.m.

IMO Fiesta ST doesn't it lend it self to this purely from a rollover concern standpoint.  Even though those trim levels are legal, with them going up on 2 wheels in street class, I wouldn't expect SCCA to jump behind that chassis for a spec series.  Same goes for the Abarth.  

I could see a spec Mini class.  I know there are a crazy amount of options with those, but I'm not sure how many actually impact the performance but are not items that could be covered by the spec parts package.

I think the development of any chassis can be a lot of fun, but the spec class allows those who don't enjoy that to cut straight to the racing.  I think of it like online racing with Forza/P Cars/iRacing/etc.  The racing part is what is fun to me, esp on a level playing field.  Tuning makes me want to close the game and play Doom instead.

4Msfam
4Msfam Reader
9/9/17 11:19 p.m.

I'm curious how my 128i would stack up against the spec class FRZ.  I always wanted to compare my car on an "even" level, but most of the FRZ's I saw at the autocrosses were prepped to higher ST levels.

I've got koni yellow shocks, BMW "performance (euro)" spec springs, and 225 width 17" BFG tires on 17x8 rims.  I even have the fixed Dinan camber plates.  Hmmm.   Could be interesting!

Meat
Meat New Reader
9/11/17 4:42 p.m.

The engineer in me loves the idea of systematically and analytically building and optimizing a set up...but the busy dad in me who writes the student loan checks each month realizes that is not possible right now. Lots of time to tie up in tires and testing. Having a set spec eliminates a large number of the variables and leaves the set up an order or magnitude below the driving (I hope).

I test drove an FR-S today for the first time since they hit dealer lots. I could see this being a good class so long as some of the current STX and CS crew make the switch to SSC and the participant count is there.

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