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#1
Johnny D

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TOPEKA, Kan. (May 16, 2018) -- Planning for the potential expansion of Runoffs-eligible classes in the Summit Racing Equipment SCCA® Road Racing program, Sports Car Club of America’s Board of Directors approved a process by which classes would be selected for future National Championship Runoffs® events. The new process will provide each class an opportunity to guarantee its invitation based on its respective entry total over the previous two seasons.

 

Beginning in 2019, any Runoffs-eligible class averaging 4.0 cars per event over the two previous U.S. Majors Tour® and Runoffs seasons will automatically be invited to the Runoffs. Additional classes will be added as venue space and event format allow.

 

Eric Prill, SCCA Vice President and COO, said this new method provides a clear, understandable and transparent process for participants to have control over their class destiny, should the number of classes and run groups need to be limited at future Runoffs.

 

“Planning the Runoffs is a delicate balance of providing a championship event, a significant motorsports atmosphere and a quality experience all while being respectful of everyone’s time and resources,” Prill noted. “For Sonoma [2018] and VIR [2019], we have shortened the time commitment by two days total with one fewer test and one fewer qualifying day. But the one thing we have not found a way to solve is the limit of time available in any given day. There is only so much time for on-track activities, and therefore only so many run groups in a day. We were able to manage 969 entries at Indianapolis, but that is very close to capacity and wouldn’t have worked at most facilities. Given the CRB’s initiative to add new SCCA classes that make sense in the motorsports market, we need to prepare for additional growth and how we can manage it at this hallmark event.

 

“Having this process in place is not an indication that we will need to limit the classes in 2019 or even 2020, but it provides the Club a framework for including classes at the Runoffs, should it be needed,” Prill continued. “Having a process that puts the control of a class’ Runoffs future in the hands of the racers themselves is what the Club is about. And knowing that every entry at these events counts for future Runoffs consideration is valuable information as racers make their plans each season.”

 

SCCA has developed a tracking system to follow the progress of each class over the two-season period. For the 2019 Runoffs at VIR, the 2017-2018 seasons will determine which classes are guaranteed positions at the Runoffs. With 35 Majors events in 2017 and 34 in 2018, plus the two Runoffs events for those years, a total of 71 events will be counted. To achieve an average of at least 4.0 cars per event, a class will need to total 284 entries over that two-year period. The 2019 Runoffs participation tracker can be viewed online at https://www.crbscca....ffsTracking.php, and will be updated following each Majors and Runoffs event. SCCA will announce the full list of classes for the Runoffs no later than January 1 of that year.

 

Unlike previous participation-based criteria utilized, the new system does not automatically put a class in a probationary status or exclude it from the Runoffs if it does not meet the number. Additionally, it does not define a finite number of classes eligible for the Runoffs, but rather allows organizers to determine what it can accommodate through class groupings. Prior to the new proposal approved by the Board of Directors at its April meeting, the SCCA Road Racing General Competition Rules section 3.7.4.C stated that “The Road Racing Department, in consultation with the Club Racing Board will determine the number of Runoffs-eligible classes invited to the Runoffs consistent with the event format and venue.”

 

The revised section 3.7.4.C states: "All classes with a combined two-year event average of at least 4.0 participants in Majors and Runoffs competition will automatically be invited to the following year's Runoffs. Classes not meeting that criteria may be invited as the event format and venue permits. The Road Racing department, in consultation with the Club Racing Board, will determine and announce by January 1 the Runoffs-eligible classes invited to the next Runoffs consistent with the event format and venue. For example: If the two-year period includes 68 Majors weekends and two Runoffs, for a total of 70 events, a class would need at least 280 participants over that period to average 4.0 per event."


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#2
Danica Davison

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I like it. Get rid of some of the weak classes. Even with the Runoffs Hype, these are the classes that averaged less than 4.0 participants in 2017:

FA   3.80
GTL 3.74
T3    3.74
P2    3.60
P1    3.43
FM    3.20
B-Spec  3.03
FB     2.89
GT3   2.89

 

Having a spec class for the FRS/BRZ would be very popular imo. And allow them to still race in T4 with minimal changes (restrictor plate). Also having something similar to NASA's Honda Challenge could be popular as well.


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#3
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IMHO

 

FA can not be combined with other open wheel classes, hope they reach 4.0 as I started wrenching on these cars in 1988

GTL could easily be combined into a prod class with some work

T3 should come around with the Global cars in club racing

P1 would need to be combined with P2. Sorry Ralph, if they are not supported, combine

FM could be combined with several of the open wheel "wings and slicks" classes to form one large class

Bspec, great idea, just tooooo slow

FB, see FM above

GT3, restrict them into Eprod?


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#4
Danica Davison

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Agreed:
FA can not be combined with other open wheel classes, hope they reach 4.0 as I started wrenching on these cars in 1988
GTL could easily be combined into a prod class with some work
P1 would need to be combined with P2. Sorry Ralph, if they are not supported, combine. Agreed.
FM could be combined with several of the open wheel "wings and slicks" classes to form one large class
Bspec, great idea, just tooooo slow
FB, see FM above
GT3, restrict them into Eprod?

 

Disagree:
T3 should come around with the Global cars in club racing.  Because I thought the Global MX5 cars were reclassed to EP.


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#5
Jim Drago

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IMHO
 
FA can not be combined with other open wheel classes, hope they reach 4.0 as I started wrenching on these cars in 1988


FA and GT1 take a trust fund or someone with a lot of much that just doesnt want to go pro IMO..
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#6
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Disagree:
T3 should come around with the Global cars in club racing.  Because I thought the Global MX5 cars were reclassed to EP.

 

Not reclassed, they were also classed there so they could run their native tires.  Global cars came on native tires to T3 and were disqualified.



#7
Danica Davison

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Not reclassed, they were also classed there so they could run their native tires.  Global cars came on native tires to T3 and were disqualified.

 

Gotcha. But is a Global MX5 car on DOT tires even competitive at a national level in T3? I know Todd has won a race or two with them, but I am talking about a runoffs.


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#8
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DSR / CSR would have made the numbers but since they did the P1/P2 thing to them the classes are dead. Dave the platforms are now too far apart to put them as one. Back when it was CSR/DSR it could have been done. Also the class has been a performance adjustment class. So if you win the rules will change so you can't again. Its happened the last 4 years that way. 

 

FA and GT1 have mostly all gone pro. 

T3 has been dying off for years now. The reorg of T and SSB/C made that a mess. 

B-Spec was dead before it even started. Run as regional. 

FM has outrun its life cycle. Run as regional

FB should be a strong class but just can't seem to get the numbers. I guess too fast for many. I would hate to see that class die. 

GTL, either get the numbers or become regional. 

FE/FE2 might be in trouble soon as well. 

 

Open wheel is dying out in this country. Indy car series is having a very hard time at it. But then again NASCAR is not what it once was. 

 

Too many places to race your car these days. NASA, CHAMP, Lemons, WRL, SCCA, Local series, Vintage, Track day stuff, Time Attack, Pro. There are only so many that have the means to race and a lot of series looking to grab a chunk. 

 

 

In reality the only two heathy classes are SM and SRF.  If you moved the average to 5 cars much more would fall. 


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#9
38bfast

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I like it. Get rid of some of the weak classes. Even with the Runoffs Hype, these are the classes that averaged less than 4.0 participants in 2017:

FA   3.80
GTL 3.74
T3    3.74
P2    3.60
P1    3.43
FM    3.20
B-Spec  3.03
FB     2.89
GT3   2.89

 

Having a spec class for the FRS/BRZ would be very popular imo. And allow them to still race in T4 with minimal changes (restrictor plate). Also having something similar to NASA's Honda Challenge could be popular as well.

Its easy to say ditch them until you are the one getting ditched. 


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#10
Jim Drago

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Its easy to say ditch them until you are the one getting ditched.

That's always been the issue and always where the BOD looses its testicular fortitude :)
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#11
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You could have a class with 50 cars accrost the country that can make the numbers. If you ditch them thats 50 members that are pissed. Or you can have parts of the country that have great numbers in their class and are dead in other parts so the combined don’t cut it in the end.

The other way is just run it on Runoffs entries per yer.
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#12
Steve Scheifler

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Way overdue, but also too late? The line about needing room for larger fields and further expansion sound ludicrous given the current trend (Indy aside). Look at TOTAL car counts per “Majors” races lately. Even some Super Tour events look weak. People east of the rockies taking a year off because the Runoffs are too far, or signs of an accelerating death spiral?
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#13
Walter Vetter

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"Open wheel is dying out in this country. Indy car series is having a very hard time at it."

Ralph, you need to get out more. IndyCar ratings are up. Long Beach and Barber were packed, I bet the Indy 500 will be too.

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That's always been the issue and always where the BOD looses its testicular fortitude :)

Yes but if they do not do something to free up some track time, they are going to shoot themselves in the foot. They need to run this like a business, even though its a club.

 

At least they developed the Majors platform and limited the number of events. We have been complaining to PCA for years that their approach to fielding 36 + races a year with a substantially smaller number of racers than SCCA makes it difficult for regions putting on races to make money.

 

In SCCA I think the Regional and Major program is a good way to allocate resources and gives people what they want.

 

Now if we could just make the Runoffs something less that a 10 day event.


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For the runoffs its simple. The weaker classed get combined with other weaker classes in one run group. Not as good as your own group but better than losing your class. They did some of that at Indy. Just like what we see in most run groups at majors. 

 

 

I don't think you will retain many racers if you tell them that their $150,000 (GT1) car is no longer welcome. its a sure fire way to lose membership. Especially when NASA is very inclusive. 


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#16
Tom Sager

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Just far too many classes but also a challenge to solve it while maintaining happy members who have a lot invested in cars in thinly subscribed classes, but we've made our bed in SCCA.  Seems like there should be an opportunity to combine a lot of classes.  Example: While there are meaningful rule differences comparing prod classes, touring classes and the likes of STL, there is a sameness among the types and models of the cars competing and many of the lap times. We should not need 3 separate categories here.  Same with some of the formula car classes.  Gotta be a way to put some of them together, grandfather in existing log booked cars and move forward with a single set of rules for new cars built for the newly combined class.  Equalization is a b-word though.  Thankless job and some won't be happy but we've got to go on a class diet IMO. 

 

When all is said and done we should have classes that are:

 

Spec or limited prep  (most classes should be of this type as this is where the greater entries come from)

Greater prep and more open rules (some of these classes)

A few wealthy person's and/or engineer's playground classes (not many of these)


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Everyone says we need less classes, why? What does it take away by having a lot of classes. If we combine classes in run groups where is the down side. Car counts at most events aren’t overbooked. So why push away a class. I agree if a class gets pitifully low participation then it should go regional only. But when you try and combine it doesn’t work. Most cars are built to thier specific rule set and when you change the rule set a lot can’t be undone. I was on the raw end of the stick going from DSR to P1, so I have lived the nightmare. And the consolidation of S2, DSR, CSR to p1/P2 has cost the club car count and members. We have seen the same fallout when we redid all of T and SSB/C. To top that off we added Bspec that wasn’t ready in numbers to become a national class. The worst thing you can do to a competitor is take his competitive car and turn it into a also ran.

Just think how this forum would explode if the NC and ND became part of SM. It’s all sounds great and dandy until it hits your class. Hell SM still has not gotten over adding the NB to SM.
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#18
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When can we put all the SM prep shop cars in their own class?


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#19
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Everyone says we need less classes, why? What does it take away by having a lot of classes. If we combine classes in run groups where is the down side. Car counts at most events aren’t overbooked. So why push away a class. I agree if a class gets pitifully low participation then it should go regional only. But when you try and combine it doesn’t work. Most cars are built to thier specific rule set and when you change the rule set a lot can’t be undone. I was on the raw end of the stick going from DSR to P1, so I have lived the nightmare. And the consolidation of S2, DSR, CSR to p1/P2 has cost the club car count and members. We have seen the same fallout when we redid all of T and SSB/C. To top that off we added Bspec that wasn’t ready in numbers to become a national class. The worst thing you can do to a competitor is take his competitive car and turn it into a also ran.

Just think how this forum would explode if the NC and ND became part of SM. It’s all sounds great and dandy until it hits your class. Hell SM still has not gotten over adding the NB to SM.

 

I guess it depends on how you define "pitifully low". I'd say we are already there in many classes, probably close to half of them.  If you push them down to regionals only then Majors races become threatened turnout-wise.  Looking at your P1/P2 example, did the consolidation really cost car count and members or was it just a continuation of the decline in interest in racing those cars?  We used to have ASR, BSR, CSR and DSR and I'd argue that we should have never had 4 sports racer classes as there was never a time when all 4 were well subscribed.  No offense to the brave souls that gave it a shot.  Then came along Spec Racer, cheaper, easier and more fun and more entries.  Success.  

 

If we were to start from scratch in SCCA you'd never end up with the classes just as we have them now so why keep it that way?  It doesn't feel like we are attracting new racers at a rate to replace the old ones.  To your point though combining classes without regard for the cars and members that exist would be bad for business. 

 

The failure of B-spec to grow as a class shoots a hole in some of my points.  I thought that class would be popular as it's relatively cheap and should be competitive.  Maybe it's just too much like T4 except slower (call it T5) and 5 Touring classes along with STL and STU are too many if we want decent turnouts in each.  Or maybe it's just easier to jump into Spec Miata which offers similar prep level, similar or less cost and looks like a lot more fun.  Or maybe it's sports racer like in that Touring classes are a good idea but not 5 of them if you want fields that offer some level of actual participation and competition.  For now B-Spec should be rolled into T-4 and give those cars lower weights and some performance goodies to keep up.  Otherwise it's headed for no Runoffs and a slow death for the class.  I'd argue that doing this gives these competitors a better opportunity for fun with their cars. 

 

If you look at SCCA over the years and currently, the best subscribed classes are most often those that are or were less prep effort, less cost and had competitive fields making the racing more fun and rewarding.  Too many classes aren't that now and we aren't likely to attract many new racers into those classes for those reasons so those classes have no chance of long-term survival IMO. 

 

Better IMO to get started now on a formula that lowers the barrier of entry and the barriers to staying in and increases the competitive fun, but somehow protects those that have already made the investment.  Not an easy thing to solve though. 


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#20
Danica Davison

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Look at TOTAL car counts per “Majors” races lately. Even some Super Tour events look weak. People east of the rockies taking a year off because the Runoffs are too far, or signs of an accelerating death spiral?

 

I honestly think that it the Runoffs locations have A LOT to do with it. Why would people want to spend way more time, way more money, travel more, etc to do at least three majors when they know they aren't going to try and go to Sonoma.  You see people only doing the majors/super tours that are relatively close to them. You see all the California guys who usually only run NASA, are now running for the first time in SCCA this year.  I am sure next year, all of the Majors will have high participation because the Runoffs will be moved to VIR.


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