I have kept my mouth shut on here for all 50+ pages of engine discussions. Here goes:
This was not a rules issue. The problem was simply greed. The rule was very clearly written and was written by an engine builder, who was found non-compliant at the Runoffs. One driver wanted to beat another driver, so he built an engine beyond the rules as WRITTEN. Then engine builder #2 decided to go a little farther. So the next engine had to be better, and better and better. The first engine builder wanted to sell more engines so he went a little farther than the rest. Then he advertised how much power his "tech shed legal" engine put out. Eventually what was illegal become industry standard for all engine builders. Plain and simple greed.
I have not seen the Runoffs heads myself. But I have talked with 3 people who did see them, and touch them. All 3 had the same opinion, the heads where cheaters. No if, no ands and no buts. All the heads that failed the short turn radius protest at the Runoffs where blatantly modified beyond anything remotely allowed by the rules. Some where so bad that the engine builder did not even try to hide what was done. He expected the inspectors to be poorly qualified.
Any engine builder, who knowingly builds an engine that is not compliant with the rules, should not be allowed to be in any kind of a management position within the sanctioning body. Let me point out that Mr Tiley Of Ti-speed is on the "Spec Miata Advisory Committee" (SMAC) and Mr Drago of East Street is a member of the SCCA Compitition Racing Board (CRB). Do you wonder why the new "leadership Team" had to stay away from the current official rules makers.
SCCA (with NASA and Mazda's help) had 3 choices:
1)Leave the rule as currently written
2)Rewrite the rule to allow additional modifications
3)Rewrite the rule to allow less/no modifications
Option 1 would make every head modified beyond the plunge cut (including slight blending) non-compliant and need replacement
Option 2 would tell the cheaters that what they did was ok and force everyone who was legal to do the same modifications
Option 3 forces everyone to go to stock heads, with little or no mods
I am not saying which is the best decision. None of these options are good. They are all bad. But someone had to make a decision and the decision was made. Now we have to live with it. Maybe there is more info coming that has not been made public yet. Maybe the leadership team just got pissed at the Miata world. Blame the people responsible for this problem, the ones that broke the rules.
Any of these options is going to force a lot of new heads to be purchased (if you wish to be compliant). I am making an assumption here, that most of the heads that have been plunge cut, also have some sort of blending. I doubt anyone ever ordered a pro built motor with the phrase "I want to be 100% legal and if I am down on power I do not care". Again an assumption, the majority of "pro built" heads would be illegal even if the current rule was enforced. Is there a small number of heads that have plunge cuts and nothing else, probably. But remember whom to blame.
Which brings me to another point. ENFORCEMENT. Primarily lack of it. Road racing has a history of lack of enforcement. In other forms of racing, tech is not just about safety. It is about finding cheaters. The current process puts too much emphasis on competitor vs competitor protests. Which never happens. Then once a year we have a tear down party at the Runoffs. Where a group of Stewards decide what is compliant and what is not. These people are not experts in Spec Miatas or even in engines or even mechanically inclined. They (supposedly) know how to interpret the GCR and how to shuffle the paperwork. This lack of expertise on the officials was taken advantage of by the offending engine builders. Bringing back the compliance team (or czar) in some form is part of my proposal that was posted here last week.
From my understanding (please correct me if I am wrong) we had heads from East Street, Ti-Speed, Rush and X-factor found non-compliant at the Runoffs. For the record I have engines from Ti-Speed, and X-factor in the shop, I also have a good working relationship with East street. Although my primary engine builder is Stewart. A lot of you also do not realize that this website is owned by Jim Drago of East Street. I know his ownership has caused me to delete posts in the past. It is for that reason that this post may not stay visible very long.
It is the notion started years ago by Jim Daniels of "tech shed legal". Meaning who cares, if what you did was legal or not. If it passes tech, who cares. Well, I for one care! It is the greed initiated by the phrase tech shed legal that got us into this mess. The engine builders who tore open the envelope in the name of profit and fame are too blame. The driver who turned a blind eye, saying make mine better but legal (wink wink). If you want somebody to blame, look no farther than the people promoting cheating in the name of tech shed legal. Whether it be ceramic wheel bearings, bent spindles or ported heads. It is all cheating. Call it tech shed legal if you want, I call it cheating and the cheaters should have to pay.
How should the cheaters be punished? Each and every one of us that has ever been beaten by an illegal car has been cheated. Maybe we lost a trophy or bragging rights. Maybe it was contingency money or tires. Maybe it was the time we have all wasted on this topic on this website.
I have volunteered to rejoin the SMAC, which I was Chairman of for several years. In an effort to eliminate the cheats. Whether the cheats be modified timing components, hidden resistors/switches, reprogrammed ECU, lightened ring gears or anything else.
I would also like to propose moving this discussion to the official SCCA forum which is currently unused (only a single post this year, and 3 last year) as a form of making all info posted unbiased. Visit www.sccabb.com
Thanks for listening
- Tyler Dahl, joe varble, Dave Cox and 29 others like this