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SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
10/23/17 1:47 p.m.

Serving as a judge for the $2017 Challenge was truly a privilege. It was encouraging to see the staff make such big efforts to make it work well, pick great judges with varied experiences and perspectives, and inspiring to see how serious the judges took being fair.

But the best part was the competitors.  You guys were truly awesome.  You responded great to us, treated each other incredibly, and brought a wide range of wonderfully varied stuff.  Thank you for the privilege.

This is a really hard job. Coming up with a way to compare a 9 second dragster with a mid engine RWD MINI,  a Scooby Do micro van, a daisy wheeled nearly stock Miata, and a legit Challenge car that was built by a team whose AVERAGE age was 14 years old (with NO adult supervision) is a gigantic job, and I think the staff has laid a wonderful groundwork to accomplish this. 

BIG kudos to both the efforts of the staff, and the patience of the competitors.  It was awe inspiring.  Thank you.

There is a lot to say, and I can't say it all right now, but I thought I'd start a thread to discuss. I know the Concours is the least understood part of the event, and I am hoping this thread can begin to help answer some of the questions, and help everyone understand why it is so important.

I am a fellow competitor first, and consider all of you my friends. I welcome any questions you have, and will do my best to respond fully. 

 

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
10/23/17 1:50 p.m.

 

So let's talk about the  GA Tech Insight (my personal perspective)...

If anyone wonders, I don't actually like the car.  It is a bit of an abomination, and I think it could have been executed better (which I say with all love and respect). smiley

The scoring system completely disengaged us from overall comparisons. As I walked into the banquet hall, I honestly didn't even know who I had ranked the highest. There are a few cars I'd like to adjust a little in the standings, but this is where the math ended up without adjustment.  We didn't know who had won.

Remember the scoring.  Maximum for Innovation is 10 points, Execution is 10 points, and Presentation is 5 points.  Judges can't award more than that for any category.

NO ONE earned a 25.  There was a lot left on the table by all competitors.

When readers see pictures of the car, they are MOSTLY looking at execution.  And the Tech car had some issues with execution- they got dinged.  

However, they NAILED innovation.  A Subaru engine mounted in the back of an aluminum shell Honda with a trans converted from AWD to FWD (but used in a RWD configuration), shifted by a scrap Toyota shifter assembly with custom linkages, a BMW steering column, front end from something else (sorry, my memory is fuzzy), custom 1 piece fiberglass nose (it's not the aluminum one from previous years).  They earned top scores for Innovation.  

On Presentation, they also earned great scores.  They were well rehearsed, clear, covered the car well, and were instructional.  Plus a comfy couch to sit on. Lol!

They didn't do as well on Execution.  Kinda average.  But they DID dominate the autocross by the widest margin ever, so I think there is some evidence that some of their execution was successful.  Perhaps not visually appealing, but functionally successful.  Don't forget, "pretty" is not a criteria for the Concours.  Spit and shine WILL earn points, but creativity will earn more.

Other cars may have earned similar scores with different formulas.  Some were exceptionally executed with modest innovation.  

There was plenty of space at the top for someone to have beaten them.  No one brought the perfect package of Innovation, Execution, and Presentation.

 

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham Associate Editor
10/23/17 2:04 p.m.

Well put, Paul. Thanks for posting your thoughts and thanks a TON for acting as a judge at the Challenge. You guys did a fantastic job. 

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
10/23/17 2:19 p.m.

Never mind.  I've beleaguered my point enough.  I was going to ask some questions, but there's no point.  Other than that kind of score for that kind of car says a lot to some.  In a bad way.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
10/23/17 2:23 p.m.

In reply to alfadriver :

I understand. 

Let me put it this way... you have often said you have considered bringing a nice CSP or ESP car.  I hope you do. If well executed, it would have earned a LOT of Concours points, and probably beaten the Insight. 

smileysmileysmiley

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
10/23/17 2:28 p.m.
SVreX said:

In reply to alfadriver :

I understand. 

Let me put it this way... you have often said you have considered bringing a nice CSP or ESP car.  I hope you do. If well executed, it would have earned a LOT of Concours points, and probably beaten the Insight. 

smileysmileysmiley

I wish I could believe you.  But I totally don't.  Not with those scores.

The good thing is that I can concentrate on other pie in the sky dreams.

FreeEMSFred
FreeEMSFred New Reader
10/23/17 2:32 p.m.

Front end was crown victoria due to four-bolt mounting setup and alloy light-weight design. Shocks are worth a mention and were bump/rebound adjustable hayabusa bike shocks.

Very clever group of kids IMO :-) The ONLY team to remind me of the dead-serious FSAE teams that I saw at the Silverstone F1 circuit in 2013. Cool to see that kind of cunning applied to old junk instead of expensive carbon fibre and high-end bike engines.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
10/23/17 2:37 p.m.

In reply to alfadriver :

The one car that could have proven it to you chose to take the 12 points. 

I'm afraid your gonna have to just try. smiley

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
10/23/17 2:41 p.m.

In reply to SVreX :

Not worth the risk.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
10/23/17 2:46 p.m.

In reply to alfadriver :

You'd have a nice ESP car when you're done!

mazdeuce
mazdeuce MegaDork
10/23/17 2:48 p.m.

Thanks for the explanation. Did I miss where we can see the breakdown of our concourse score? It's nice to know what we need to improve if the car comes back.  

It is a little difficult knowing that a bunch of time and effort spent choosing a base car wisely is overshadowed by cutting and welding. It makes me want to start with a terrible car because quite frankly, it's easier to pick up three concourse points than three seconds on the drag strip. 

Thanks for judging. 

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
10/23/17 2:57 p.m.

In reply to SVreX :

I stopped autocrossing 5 years ago.  I still have my GTV, which is somewhat ESP already.  I really don't need another one.  For that matter, I really need to get rid of a vintage race car.

darkbuddha
darkbuddha HalfDork
10/23/17 3:00 p.m.

First, this being my first time there, I have very little real perspective on how any of the judging was done in the past, or currently really. But I want to thank you, and all the other judges for giving the time to do it.

One additional comment: we greatly appreciate that the judges recognized our innovative ventilated transmission casing, though we understand dinging us for its poor execution. We'll try harder next year. 

Cheers! 

spitfirebill
spitfirebill UltimaDork
10/23/17 3:06 p.m.

So a bone stock Miata that is clean and with good paint gets a low score for innovation? 

Robbie
Robbie PowerDork
10/23/17 3:07 p.m.
mazdeuce said:

Thanks for the explanation. Did I miss where we can see the breakdown of our concourse score? It's nice to know what we need to improve if the car comes back.  

It is a little difficult knowing that a bunch of time and effort spent choosing a base car wisely is overshadowed by cutting and welding. It makes me want to start with a terrible car because quite frankly, it's easier to pick up three concourse points than three seconds on the drag strip. 

Thanks for judging. 

Agreed. There needs to be a little more to innovation than "well heck, i've never seen that before!".

But I think that is what Svrex is saying. Tech scored well in innovation because they were fast AND not normal. If you are just abnormal but not fast that isn't really (useful) innovation in my mind.

Robbie
Robbie PowerDork
10/23/17 3:12 p.m.
alfadriver said:

In reply to SVreX :

I stopped autocrossing 5 years ago.  I still have my GTV, which is somewhat ESP already.  I really don't need another one.  For that matter, I really need to get rid of a vintage race car.

Someone needs to call you out so I will be the bad guy:

You're doing a lot of bellyaching about how easy this is but at the same time just posting excuses for not doing it. You're quickly becoming the honorary armchair quarterback of the challenge! Plus, we need you on our x1/9 team.

So waddya say? Wanna join up?

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
10/23/17 3:18 p.m.

In reply to Robbie :

I'll defend him a bit. 

Alfa has been there, and brought one of the best executed cars that's ever come. That was, however, a very long time ago  

We could really use his presence. 

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
10/23/17 3:23 p.m.
spitfirebill said:

So a bone stock Miata that is clean and with good paint gets a low score for innovation? 

I'd say that is correct. 

From the rules:

“Innovation” covers things like design, engineering, creativity and modifications.

 

It might, however, get a 10 for Execution. 

Bobzilla
Bobzilla MegaDork
10/23/17 3:27 p.m.

Grumpy people gonna be grumpy. I want to know more about the C10 high school team.

stafford1500
stafford1500 HalfDork
10/23/17 3:30 p.m.

Paul, just wanted to add another thanks for jumping to the judges side of the fence for this year.

It's not an easy job to compare such a wide variety of cars on the day.

It will be interesting to see which competitor turned judge is in place for next year.

mazdeuce
mazdeuce MegaDork
10/23/17 3:31 p.m.

I think a lot of us want to know how we can score better within the existing rules. Especially if we plan to bring the car back.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
10/23/17 3:34 p.m.

In reply to Bobzilla :

3 siblings whose Dad suggested they do this, then completely kept his hands off and let them build it themselves. 

Aged 16, 15, and 10.  The 15 yo daughter was the spokesperson, the 16 yo son did his own autoX driving.  The 10 yo may have been the enabler!   

They admitted they had not performed well, but had the biggest smiles of anyone at the event, and were a joy to judge. 

Their takeaway was that they learned an incredible amount.

I'd say they stand as a testimony to all the folks with excuses who don't bring a car.

I think they will be back, and that makes me happy! smiley

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
10/23/17 3:35 p.m.
mazdeuce said:

I think a lot of us want to know how we can score better within the existing rules. Especially if we plan to bring the car back.

If you'd like some direct feedback, feel free to PM me. 

GTXVette
GTXVette Dork
10/23/17 3:38 p.m.

 

Ok let me say this in a positive way, I LOVE Ga.Tech, But if that was my class to teach I would have Failed them on the Front end . It Had an Awful finish No Lights at all ( a HEAD Lamp strapped to your Head should have DQ them) hell I spent over an Hour Installing Light's on the Bus and they could have also.

They had a huge number of Helpers but  apparently no  Electrical Engineers,  and with no aero space engineers it missed the mark on Finish by a mile. It was just Butt Ugly.  Still I am GT all the way. They have the support of the school but I don't think they Have a course with a Teacher.  P.S. Tech's  Colors are Gold and white or Black and Gold.

           I will still tell everyone how kool it is that Tech won, but you need a new Instructor.

DeadSkunk
DeadSkunk UberDork
10/23/17 3:38 p.m.
spitfirebill said:

So a bone stock Miata that is clean and with good paint gets a low score for innovation? 

Yes, I did. Not unexpected though. And it wasn't bone stock, it just looked it.

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