Driving back from Mid Ohio and thinking about tires and the amount of tires needed and i am going through to compete and it really got me thinking..
Mid Ohio has typically been a 3-10 session tire track, not so this weekend. Most of the front runners went through at least 1 set of stickers. I used two. Heading to the Sprints, hoping to use two, but likely will be three sets. This is out of control.. It is also discouraging to those that don't want to buy tires ( none of want to buy tires btw)
Here is what I sent in to the smac.. Feel free to comment. FWIW, we are under contract with Hoosier and while I hope the SM8 is a great tire.. Limiting the number of tires is not the same or really even related to getting a longer lasting tire. We need both! But first we start limiting the amount we are permitted to use.
Tire costs and management
Tire costs and the required budgets are hurting our class and it is eventually going to contribute to its’ demise. Tires are by far the most expensive part of racing in general and that should not be the case in a spec class. Tire wars are senseless and counter spec class philosophy, yet we see it in SM at EVERY Super Tour race, most majors and even some regionals. My average tire cost at this point is $235 per each session on track.. That is insane! The current SM7 tires are raceable three sessions, maybe four. After that, they are practice tires. Even at Mid Ohio, the last of the “Old Tire” tracks.. the top guys almost all went through two sets of stickers. I did for sure.
We have tried for years to find the magical tire that doesn’t need to be shaved and lasts 15-20 raceable sessions, it doesn’t exist. 200 treadwear tires are basically a myth and trying to reinvent the wheel with a brand-new tire likely will be expensive and not likely work, in the end we will find ways around it and to make them better and end up where we are now anyway. You need to save the class from itself! We need to limit the number of tires used per event.
I think I have a very good plan that I am sure you guys can start with, tweak and make even better. It would likely cut my annual tire budget by 50-60% as I go through a minimum of two sets of stickers per Super Tour and Three at the Sprints. It will level the playing field as now guys can show up and know they are competing on the same level regarding tires or at worse only losing to a guy buying only one set of tires, not three.
Here is what I am proposing…
When you register for each race and you get your tech sheet. You will also be handed a sheet that has 6 tamper proof stickers on it. That sheet will have four individual stickers approximately 1.5x 1.5 in and two stickers approx. 4x6 in. The small stickers will go on each tire. The bigger stickers on the doors like a runoff’s stickers. Each sticker will be serialized and tamper proof. The door stickers and your tire sticker numbers will match. These can even be bar coded if you felt it would be easier, but don’t really see the need.
You will be required to run these four tires for the entire weekend for any qualifying or race sessions. You can run unmarked tires for practice if you like.
You will not be required to buy 4 new tires.. When you get to the track, you decide what four tires you want to run in the timed sessions. You can run four new, 4 used or any combination you like. But once you chose the tires, they are your tires for the weekend.
The tires now become a techable part of the car.. no different than a restrictor plate. If you are teched post qualifying or race, the stickers on the tires and the doors must match. If you try and run someone else’s tires, tamper with the sticker etc. you are disqualified for the weekend, times disallowed or whatever the appropriate penalty should be. What if someone puts a new set of stickers on and they don’t get pulled in to get teched? Well, what if someone pulled their plate and didn’t get teched? It’s the same thing. I believe most will be happy to comply and want to be on a level field and save some money and only sticker up for an advantage or not to be at a disadvantage.
Obviously wet tires can be used any time and no need for a sticker or marking program their imo.
There are no legitimate objections to this plan, it accomplishes the main goals and will be VERY easy to implement and will take very little to no additional man power. Start in Super Tours and majors only.
- We can run the Sm7 or SM8 , no need to change tires.
- We don’t need more than one set per weekend regardless of opinions. That’s only 4 sessions at most
- It does not force you to buy new, addresses budget conscience or those thinking older tires are the right tire for a specific track.
- If you are on some management plan where want to work in old and new or two sets, well I’m sorry. Think about what is best for the class, not your personal program. We need to address the majority, not the minority at the front or at the back. This is best for most of the class.
- Man power, this is basically a zero-man power solution, zero logistic solution.
- Tech is already looking at things and always looking for one more thing to look for, now they have one.
Addressing Flat spots, Punctures, cuts, wreck damage…
- You can replace 1 tire at any time if you have any issues with the tires at all, no questions asked. It MUST be replaced with a USED tire. No penalty applied.
- If you have to replace 2 or more tires FOR ANY REASON, you can change up to all four( again only with used tires), but you will be starting the next session from the rear of the field, no exceptions. If it is race one, you can use that time to qualify for race two. It should not be a compounding penalty IMO. But should and must discourage competitors from changing tires unless necessary.
I realize the testing is ongoing on the SM8.. This plan while is about tires, it is completely different issue than SM7 vs SM8. If the SM8 is a success, that is great. But we still need to implement this program and limit the number of tires we are using. If the Sm8 is an improvement, then perhaps we can get back to running the same set for two or three weekends. You can simply put new stickers on the same tire for each event. This system still works and is desperately needed. This will help the class tremendously!