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Keith GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
5/17/09 1:42 a.m.
andrave wrote: and now... um... its hard to find any die hard rally spectators left!

In North America, maybe. Probably due to a lack of American teams, drivers, cars and events. But in the rest of the world, it's still pretty darn big.

I think the biggest problem rally has right now is simply that of one dominating driver. In the late 90's, there were what, 5 ex-champs running in top-flight cars? Probably more. The championship would come down to the wire. Then Makkinen won four and Loeb has won five, so we just don't see the same mix of ex-champions on the grid. An interesting number-crunching exercise would be to remove Loeb from the results over the last 5 years to see what would have happened.

Rally to me has always been more about the driving than the cars. While I would love to see a Group B in full flight (despite running the Targa in the company of one, the running order meant I never actually saw it on a closed stage), the ability of the drivers to coax such shocking speed out of the current cars astounds me. I do miss the role of the mechanics though, and the hell that Safari put them through.

As for the "F1 car at Le Mans" thinking, I'd love to see the whole package run. There's good precedent for having the engines survive from the sounds of things. Now, how would it perform against the latest Audi? Would it lead for 6 hours and then collapse in a cloud of carbon fibre shards? Would it prove to be too slow on driver changes? Would the driver simply explode from managing such high g-forces and sensory input for so long? Remember that the Nuerburgring record was set in a 956, not an F1 car.

Wally GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
5/18/09 6:01 a.m.
andrave wrote: I miss the old days when people did crazy E36 M3 like active rear wings, 4 wheel front wheels, etc... and then we got to see the results of those crazy modifications.

Those days are gone forever. Unfortunatly we will probably never see experiments like that show up on race day anymore because from F1 to Nascar a large part of their astronomical budget is spent on computer modeling so when they make an actual part they already have a pretty good idea of how it's going to work. If you want to see crazy things show up again you will have to ban the large computer rooms that the various teams have set up. Even track testing has become obsolete as most teams can run an entire race worth of simulation on a seven post shaker rig without even having to see daylight.

Adrian_Thompson New Reader
5/18/09 12:34 p.m.

I don't think the concept of F1 is broken, just that it's become such a ridiculous money pit to compete you are totally screwed without $400m a year. Other than the 'rules' I posted about I think smaller or steel brakes to ensure longer braking distances would help. Also I really think the capacity cap along with an inlet restrictor would make it cheaper to build an engine for the series. If you can't make more than xxxbhp due to the available air unobtanium components with miniscule half lives aren't necessary. I do think there should be a bonus for engine longevity as well, rather than a penalty for lack of it.

Now WRC for another rant. The problem is WRC cars and competition are now boring and worst of all expensive. S2000 cars in the IRC help some with the NA sounds they make, but are still nothing on what they were. Rally cars are supposed to be loud, make unnatural noises and leave you breathless to see them. I've said for a while make all the diffs passive not active, but it maybe time to go beyond that, drop 4wd and make everything 2wd. Rear drive would be most spectacular, but the manufactures would probably want front drive to tie with their products. If you go back into recent (by my standards) history the F2 cars which were 2.0L FWD normally aspirated were nearly as fast on dirt and faster on dry tarmac than the WRC cars. That was mid-late 90's before active diffs though. Make them howl, make them slide make them (relatively) cheap (new for less than $500k) and watch the teams and crowds come back. That way 'real' private teams could compete at the top level again too.

Keith GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
5/18/09 2:37 p.m.

FWIW, I think active diffs were outlawed a few years back. This year, Petter Solberg has a private team running a 2006 Xsara with the active diffs, grandfathered in. Even with this "advantage", he still can't keep up when the fast boys kick it up to the next level.

From what I remember, the F2 car that was faster on tarmac than the WRC cars was driven by some upstart French driver with the last name starting with "L". Call it an outlier

Of course, there already are lots of FWD rally cars in the WRC circus. But that's not what the fans want to see.

Adrian_Thompson New Reader
5/18/09 2:46 p.m.

I think front and rear are passive, but center is still active.

I thought Loeb came up through Super 1600 so I didn't use those as an example. Look back around 97 and you'll see lot's of F2 cars in the top 10 on tarmac rallies not just French Stig's

Keith GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
5/18/09 4:42 p.m.

I'll check it out. I certainly could be misremembering, but I remember the fuss when he beat all the WRC cars at one point.

It was the 1997 Safari that hooked me. Eriksson ripped a wheel off his Impreza and drove to service, where the team only just barely missed getting the car back together in time for him to continue. I do miss that rally, although the reliability of the cars (Subaru excepted) means that it's more racing and less blind luck now. I guess I missed the part where it started to suck, other than Loeb dominating. I still love watching.

Osterkraut Dork
5/18/09 4:58 p.m.
Lightning wrote:
Osterkraut wrote:
Lightning wrote: am I the one of the few that wants to see an "anything goes" kind of F1? If there's no development on different stuff, stuff takes too long to get to production cars as it is....unless it's a Ferrari.
Yep. My only rules would be safety wise, save two: 1) Performance would be limited to a max cornering G force. Gotta think if the drivers, yeah! 2) The car must meet size and weight standards.
I think the F1 teams can afford G-suits like the fighter pilots get.

G-suits help, but they don't solve the G problem. And they barely work for lateral Gs.

jde Reader
5/18/09 9:50 p.m.
Keith wrote: Remember that the Nuerburgring record was set in a 956, not an F1 car.

Not a straight-up comparison. The 956 lap would've been set ~6-7 yrs after F1 quit running the full 'Ring, as I believe F1 stopped after Lauda's accident in '76, which was before ground effects cars came into play.

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