IMO the west coast cars as a general group are about 3 years behind the midwest/east coast cars. No one on the west should take offense to that. I also believe that we have the most rule compliant cars in general compared to the mid/east coast(THIS COMMENT DOES NOT MEAN CHEATING, IT MEANS DEVELOPED). Because of that, I think we have very good NA cars out here. So yes, I have seen a NA 1.6 walk the field multiple times out here. Because of that, because of my environment, I probably have a skewed perspective from the mid/east. It probably has also contributed to my feeling that in the right hands, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, with the right setup and rule consideration, the NA 1.6 and 1.8 are wonderful cars. I also believe that especially in the hands of a young driver fresh from karting it is a better car for them for an array of reasons. So I do acknowledge that I am biased by a multitude of things.
The NA 1.8 was my first car and I fell in love with it. I never believed it needed a change. I still believe the car is absolutely capable. To make the car East Coast fast, yes, it probably needs SOME help. Out here, I completely believe that the majority of times that the car can't win is because of setup. If the setup is right, the driver is right, the car wins. Two cars of two different models walking away from the field doesn't mean anything as you said. Two cars racing together as they pulled away from the field MAY mean something. The point is I don't know. Doesn't everyone get that (people on this forums actual point!!!)? Doesn't everyone that doesn't have the expertise understand that the reason for asking for what success looks like is so that we people that don't have 5 decades of experience like Bench, and shops that have been building winning engines for years, can participate in the development of the cars that people like us tend to drive???!!!! The fast guys driving all the decisions on our cars don't drive our cars Bench!!! They have little motivation to help us. They do so kindly yes. They do so graciously yes!!! But the fact of the matter is that they do not have the PASSION to devote the time and energy that you do as an owner of an NA. My comments about SMAC and the other rules committees have nothing to do with the appreciated effort and time they give to do this. My comments are actually in respect to these guys. I have hated the process of what it took for them to give you that bone. I hated your pestering and bickering, and I hated the way you were considered and not appreciated by some. But pestering and complaining is what they tell us we have to do to get action. As Jim RIGHTFULLY pointed out; no one is complaining so for the majority everything is hunky dory. Doesn't everyone want a different way of doing this? Something that we can at least agree on how we are going to go about doing it and what constitutes a fact/data point and what constitutes noise or other unknowable A factors? To make the consideration process so much better than your experience with bones? To make the process so much less contentious for the people that do volunteer time to do this? So they can point to data points instead of having to defend subjective unquantifiable opinion only allowed to be given by people that don't even drive our cars (acknowledging that Tom does in fact drive our cars)???!!! The process of self interested drivers bitching and moaning to committee members seems a disservice to both parties. If we could just work on how to go about accessing a cars parity , what we would use as data points or judging criteria, it would allow even non pointy end drivers like me to participate in the process. At the very least it helps us learn how to access a car. This forum is supposed to be about sharing information and learning and coming together as drivers. Well we are all drivers so we don't share our individual secrets sure. But this is an area that we can learn from each other. You know where todays comments are coming from? They are coming from Rob asking about data that we both collected at a race. But in that request, we had to ask ourselves, what should we look at and how should we evaluate it? That question pointed out to me anyway, that we don't know. And every idea we had could be countered as Jim pointed out by a number of other factors like differences in tire wear and setup. My lack of ability to evaluate this has caused me to turn back to the people that have the power to make change and ask....... how should we evaluate this and with your way of evaluating can I actual participate in it because I have a vested interest and an emotional interest in the car I fell in love with.
So, I believe these things to be true: 1. You and Jim and others from your area and with SCCA are right and I trust you guys. 2. The SMAC and Xav and NASA are doing everything they can to do things right. 3. You, Jim, Johnny, Todd, Danny, others are right and I respect you guys. 4. As Jim agreed with, there is nothing wrong with my logic.
5. You, Jim, Dave, Danny, Johhny Todd and others are right and have my trust and respect. 6. Evaluating this may not be as simple and empirical as I want. 7. You, Jim, Rob, Todd, Kyle, Dave, Danny and others I respect and trust your opinions. 8. That we should strive to only make improvement adjustments to cars that are thought lacking if we are unable to implement empirically analysis of a compound adjustment to performance that includes negative adjustments like weight add or plate reduction. This again acknowledges what you and others have said that empirically analysis may not be reasonably possibly. 9. That if we do make a change that could have potential negative affects that can't be reasonably measured, we agree to be swift, dynamic and flexible in pulling it back.
Thats all. I don't think any one is after me personally or is nefariously harming the NA 1.8 . But you should also understand how it might feel to someone that isn't in the trusted club that they are changing my car and they can't tell you how they are going to decide how the change impacts you and I? But trust us, weight means nothing. But in another conversation on another topic all the sudden weight has a much more significant impact? This particular discrepancy in what people say isn't nefarious or intentional. But it certainly can't be true that weight is meaningless and significant all at the same time.