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Discussion Starter #1
My favorite mag is Racecar Engineering, and they often talk about rules and restrictions in racing, and their effects.  

I'm curious if you guys think racing at the top levels should be like it used to be....unlimited (or at least practically so).  Mandate safety gear, (like chassis integrity, restraints, seats etc) but free the engineers.  

IMO it should be.  The main reason is that a limited rule book actually hurts privateers and underfunded teams.  There is no room to be wildly creative in design (which is cheap), and go after the high buck factories.  It is a fact that the factories and high buck teams are the ones who argue hardest for restrictions.  This is because they do in fact favor people with huge budgets to go after incremental performance increases with lots of engineering.  Witness the extraordinary cost of a restrictor plate motor in NASCAR compared to an unrestricted short track motor. I also HATE the fact that racecars and bikes in any given series are all looking the same nowadays.

Britten is an excellent example in bikes of what can be done on the cheap if you're creative.  Smokey Yunick built a destroked turbo'd SBC that was very competitive with the Cosworth's and the like at Indy but was outlawed.

Let's hear youn's $.02.
 

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I agree, unlimited. I like this in GP, because it really lets the engineers push the envelope, ex. RC211V. I hate the restriction crap, it makes me turn the channel. It's great and all for the smaller teams and privateers, but that is what the other classes and leagues of racing are for.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
An open rulebook lets the privateer think outside the box and come up with an elegant solution that can make them competitive.

The fan cars in GP racing were a perfect example.  By adding a cheap fan, suddenly any car could be #1.  This advantage was so strong, it could easily make up for a dramatic loss in horsepower.  

I also think history proves me right.  There used to be a lot more privateer or 'under-funded' that could win.  Now it's almost always who spends the most money.

(Edit: I didn't disagree, just have different reasons)
 

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What I meant was the racing media saying how the restriction makes it so much better for the privateers and what not.
 

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I'd like to see at least one series in the US and one international with unlimited rules. I've been able to watch the Tularis run a few times in person and while it's built to CCS/Formula USA rules, I'd love to see what Dr. Tuluie would come up with if there weren't restrictions.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Ah yeah, OK. They're journalists...they aren't typically engineers who understand design.
 

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count my vote as one in favor also....I would love to see some sort of unlimited racing on a national or world level....but I would also like to see the abilities and talents of the rider decided the outcome of the race, not b/c he has more HP or lighter wheels or something....eliminate a common variable...like tires for instance...in this 'unlimited class', run a spec tire..that way, at least we know one of the major factors in a race, tires, can not be a deciding factor. I know it sounds similar to MGP, but it's something I think would interesting to watch.......just my $.02
 

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Discussion Starter #8
QuikMike : I know it sounds similar to MGP, but it's something I think would interesting to watch.......just my $.02
Yeah kinda, I'm currently thinking more of cage racing...but the 'superbike' series are all starting to add some serious rules and I see it coming. The 'formula extreme' used to be 'it' but it got ruined by the manufacturer's too. Now everyone seems to want to emulate NASCAR rules because of that series' success.
 

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I absolutly think restrictions hurt the little guy, I've seen it in several sports.  Most familiar is Boat racing as it is part of my career.  Even in Factory classes when boat hull and motor and weights are spec'd, the winners are usualy the guys that can afford to buy 6-8 $40 k motors, dyno them, and keep the best ones.  Little guys cant afford that.  Same would be true with other formes of spec'd classes, be it cages, bikes, etc.   If everyone has to run the same part, the big boys are going to spend a ton of cash finding the best one based on tolerance stacking during manufacturing, and testing the hell out of it to optimize it.  Sure the big boys and the lowley priveteer are running the same part, but if every part on the priveteers bike is .05 precent slower, its going to add up.  Of course, the flip side of this coin is when there are no rules, the big boys will also win with super trick bikes made of unobtainim and 1000 hrs of wind tunnel testing.  We saw this in motorcross in the 70's and 80's with the factory riders on one-off  bikes that had not a single part in common with a production bike.  So it boils down to the guy with the most money will win most of the time
 

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I also like the idea of a completely unrestricted series but I'm not sure that it will bridge any gaps. What would stop the factory teams from fielding a different vehicle to suit the track. A huge horsepower monster for bigger faster tracks and a smaller quicker bike/car for tighter more technical tracks. I doubt many privateers can support multiple bikes/cars. But then again this rules thing isn't working all that well either.
 

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The IMSA Camel GT Prototype series died several (actually quite a few) years back because of the fact that there were so few restrictions.  The racing was becoming boring since either one of two highly financed teams were winning all of the races (Nissan or Jaguar).  The fields became more and more elite since the cost of no-limits engineering were skyrocketing.  If you were not factory supported, you had no chance at all in the series.

That's really the reason why, in sports car racing anyhow, there are so many strictly regulated classes... I suppose the theory being that a level playing field with respect to machines will allow the competition to be soley between drivers rather than equipment.

I like to no-restrictions, though... Camel GTP was and will always be my favorite racing series.


edit: too early to worry about grammar
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I never followed it, but I know Camel GTP, and it was awesome.

So, when rules came into play, did those 2 teams with their huge budgets stay dominant?
 

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Interesting...I never thought about restrictions being harder on the privateer/little guy before. I personally like either end of the spectrum...either unlimited or spec racing.

Racing's biggest problem, IMO, isn't rules but the bean counters. It's all marketing driven, constantly being manipulated to make more money. Which is why I enjoy attending club races as much as pro races...I can walk around and talk to the racers, see them do the best they can with what they've got, etc. It's a hotbed of creativity and just plain love for the sport.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
That's because club racing has MANY unlimited classes!


This guy was over at our apartment the other night having a couple beers talking about his GS 500. He'd sawn the ends off a oil cooled GSXR750 head and put it on. It leaks oil apparently, but he says it's quick! Only a club racer...
 

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luvtolean : I never followed it, but I know Camel GTP, and it was awesome.

So, when rules came into play, did those 2 teams with their huge budgets stay dominant?
The series was eliminated rather than rules imposed.  Neither team expanded into different series... it just died on the spot.  The class was suffering from the fact that teams kept dropping out (because of the exorbanent costs of the class) and no one was there to replace them.  I went to the 24 Hours of Daytona in '93 to watch the last 'P' car endurance and I think there were only about 6 or 7 teams in that class.  Very exclusive club.

Mazda began experimenting with a four-rotor Prototype about a year before the series died and that project contributed HEAVILY to their win in Le Mans a few years later.

IMSA has evolved into what is now the American Le Mans Series but I don't think they'll ever go back to the unlimited class that the GTP cars were at.

To this day, I've never seen, with my own eyes, the acceleration from an apex that was demonstrated by the Bud Light Jaguar GTP car coming out of the International Horsehoe at DIS in 1993... unbelievable.
 

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ALMS still has some great racing, but the Rolex Sports Car Series is where it's at now.
There is the new for this year Daytona Prototype class mixed in with the others.
DTP isn't quite what the old GTP cars were, but are as close as we've got. There are a few regulations, and no direct factory involvement, but very exciting cars.
I think they can exist in this series becuase of the other 'support' classes that run at the same time.
It's really neat watching all the classes at the same time in either ALMS or Rolex. Much better racing and much better drivers than exist in any circle track 'racing'.
CART has been systematically destroyed by rules and regulations. Some manufacturers were pissed at Penske racing a few years back when they were running their own chassis with Mercedes engines and winning races 1-2-3. Since then, the series has introduced many new rules each year. Look at it now. Sad, really.

I honestly think that an organization like the AMA could add or change one of the classes on the Superbike tour into an unlimited class and not lose any fan interest. It may actually bring more fan base in.
 

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and on that note, I recall watching that car and a couple of the other Jaguar teams test at Grattan. Can you say track record within 3 laps? They still run GTP in vintage, as the ex-GLRRA financier owns 3 (a couple of Nissans and one Detroit car that I can't remember the name of). They run at several of the big tracks all summer long.

Speaking of U/L classes, I made this observation while running 250 GP bikes for 5 seasons and attempted to bring it to the attention of CCS and WERA to no avail:
(From a letter to Roger Edmondson in 1996)

'After watching the various attempts by your racing organization to present a 'spec' series that was designed to even the playing field for sponsored teams as well as privateers, I have seen your '883' class and '600 SS' class dominated by a handful of well financed teams. Today's featured event was won with a margin of victory of 35 seconds, while the gap between third and fourth place was over 1 minute. It is no secret that fourth place was the first privateer team and this is not competitive racing by any stretch of the imagination.

Had you attended todays race, you would have noted that the L/W GP ended with 11 bikes crossing the line within one and a half seconds of each other. All of these were 250 GP bikes with essentially 'unlimited modifications' allowed by the rules. I would estimate that the difference in RWHP between the winner and the last place finisher of this race to be on the order of 1% (or 7 to 8 HP). None of the experts were lapped at any time, there were no waving yellows (and obviously no red flag) and all of the bikes returned to the paddock wearing the same color as when they started the race.

The 600 SS race on the other hand featured 2 red flags, at least 4 crashes in the first lap of both restarts and 2 privateers no longer own recognizable race bikes due to encounters with the 'Pro teams'.

The 883 class featured 2 teamates lapping in first and second place at least 1 minute ahead of the third place competitor by the fourth lap. The fact that the winning team arrived at this regional event with two 45' tractor trailers, a 50' tour bus, 4 identical bikes, 4 full time mechanics and 2 crew chiefs certainly didn't surprise the local competitors.

I think CCS needs to re-evaluate their series and priorities if they plan to continue to promote a 'spec' series at regional events.'
[end of excerpt]

My contention has always been that since sheer dollars is the limiting factor, and the GP bikes can all make relatively good power without breaking the bank (while any serious HP advantage costs megabucks), the best formula for a 'spec' class is really an 'unlimited' class, especially at a regional or local level.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
BDA116 : Much better racing and much better drivers than exist in any circle track 'racing'.
Careful.  Some of the best drivers in the world are circle track guys.  Gordon definately could drive any series he wanted, and win, with the right team.  Mario Andretti also started on the ovals.

I also think tires are a limiting factor...especially on bikes.
 

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I respect your opinion, LTL, but have to disagree on the (Jeff?) Gordon bit. He proved that when he was 5 seconds off the pace in the overall most balanced F1 car out there.
Yes, Mario started here in ovals, but the vast majority of oval track racers would be no match on road courses for some of these 'no names' in the Rolex series.

Just stereotyping, not saying all are better in any one place.
 
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