A couple of thoughts on the ideas expressed above.
1. Cost - Track rentals are a local, not a national, marketplace. The fact that SCCA is a national body cuts no ice with the track owner. His market is within a day’s tow.
Related to cost is business risk. Topeka and the Regions are separate business entities. This will not change. The only event that Topeka stages (and for which it takes the business risk) is the Runoffs.
Individual Regions stage every other event, including Super Tour. They take the business risk.
You can count on the fingers of one hand the number of Regions that can afford a serious financial loss. Many Regions have essentially zero reserve. They cannot afford to cut price when virtually all of their event cost is fixed (rental, track services like EV etc.).
2. Market and Marketing – Keep in mind that SCCA faces some demographic headwinds: income distribution, two working parents, rising costs for education and medical care, and decline of car culture (tracking decline of manual transmissions?). These are entirely out of the Club’s control.
That said, the Club continues to apply a 70s mentality to the problem, with multiples tiers of racing, splintered organization, and a persistent attitude that we are still the top banana.
Mike Cobb appears to be trying mightily. However, it is extremely difficult to change the culture of a long-established voluntary organization.
3. Classes and Groups - If we were starting with a clean sheet, we would not have the proliferation of classes (e.g. FC, FE, FM all are essentially the same). The problem in merging classes is that some/many of the affected drivers simply leave (e.g. G Prod).
In truth, the only place where number of classes matters is the Runoffs. There is a mechanism for determining which classes get invites. The political question is how many races, and whether to stage multi-class races.
For all other events, the critical measure is run groups. Group composition will always depend on local car demographics. The GCR will let you combine into a small number of run groups, which translates directly into individual track time.
Maintaining a run group for a small number of cars is a waste of the most valuable resource – track time.
4. GCR complexity, Tech, and Administrative Inefficiency - I am not sure that the GCR needs totally to be rewritten. Yes, it is thick and unwieldy. However, most of it is spec lines. When I raced, I focused on the FF section, and ignored the rest.
Tech is a problem. The overall decline in Tech reflects the growing complexity (i.e. ‘electronification’) of cars. Tech is overmatched. I am not sure that there is a good answer. I do note that sealed-engine classes have the fewest controversies.
I agree that the at-track process is cumbersome. The Club has been talking about automation since I joined, but virtually nothing has come of it. We have to conclude that SCCA lacks the skills and resources for this. MSR may be the way forward on a fully integrated event package.
5. Volunteers - Like it or lump it, SCCA is largely a volunteer organization. Events are over-staffed or under-staffed, and there is little we can do because, unless we are paying people, there is little we can do to compel them. There are (surprisingly few) bad apples. It is staggeringly difficult to weed them out because they are ‘members’.