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Old 03-02-2006, 10:47 PM   #1
MattDell
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Default Interesting Column by Brock Yates in Car & Driver

Pretty good read.



-Matt
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Old 03-02-2006, 11:09 PM   #2
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That is a very good article along with making a lot of sense. Racing has now became a sport where money dominates, without money or sponsors you can't compete. Even at local level dirt tracks around the country an average competitor who wrenchs his/her own car can only make a couple events a year due to the huge costs involved.
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Old 03-02-2006, 11:10 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattDell
Pretty good read.



-Matt

very nice read...innovation is (almost) dead at the top.

touring and sports car series are really the only racing with real differentiation between cars these days.
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Old 03-02-2006, 11:26 PM   #4
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Hear hear.
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Old 03-02-2006, 11:53 PM   #5
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some good points in that
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Old 03-03-2006, 12:01 AM   #6
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One problem he doesn't adequately address is that, at the top level of motorsports, if there were not restrictive rules, the cars would quite literally be too fast to drive. I agree that production-based racing is where it's at, but ultimately, we'll all still want to see things that are wildly faster than that. But where do we draw the line?

I think it really comes down to engines, tires, and downforce. Make a spec with like 1.5 liter normally aspirated engines, with absolutely no restrictions on architecture, but restrict allowed materials to keep costs down. Then spec a tire that simply can't take a huge amount of aero load. Then leave everything else open and see what everyone comes up with.

EDIT: I don't think it's a shame that motorsport is so expensive. I think what is really a shame is that so much money is spent on small improvements within arbitrary boundaries. If sanctioning bodies could identify the correct performance choke points and restrict only those, then at least people would spend their money trying new things and making discoveries, instead of just going over the same ground over and over again.

-Mike
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Old 03-03-2006, 12:43 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grippgoat
One problem he doesn't adequately address is that, at the top level of motorsports, if there were not restrictive rules, the cars would quite literally be too fast to drive.
good point.
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Old 03-03-2006, 01:09 AM   #8
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Really, Touring car and Rally should be much more popular with their resemblance to real autos.
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Old 03-03-2006, 09:23 AM   #9
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I agree with him on most points, except for the parts about race cars needing to be test beds for thier real-world counterparts. Eventually you have to draw a line between a street car and a race car. You don't want to have to crawl through a tiny window to get out of your car at the grocery store, and I doubt Jaques Villeneuve wants to be fiddling with iDrive to make adjustments to his Grand Prix car.
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Old 03-03-2006, 10:12 AM   #10
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Xeno- I think you missed the point and went off the deep end here. Race cars have been the test bed for production cars for quite some time. I think what the point is here is to see cars racing that look like and share technology with your daily driver. That helps people make connections and affection to/for motorsports. Take Honda's VTEC or Subaru's AWD system, especially the STi's. The use of aluminum and carbon fiber in production cars today is a direct development from race-engineering. We're not talking about i-drive on race cars or crawling through windows for your grocery getter. The line has-been drawn and will continue to exist. I think what Brock is getting at here is NASCAR SHOULD BE stock bodies with touring car-like suspension and safety. Heck, make the things fwd if the production car is fwd. Maybe then we'll see rwd in more production cars and maybe, just maybe American manufacturers will understand that they need to be innovative and build good quality fun cars.

Dave Mac
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Old 03-03-2006, 10:18 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buster
Really, Touring car and Rally should be much more popular with their resemblance to real autos.
Major corporate sponsorship of series like Nascar and F1 is what has prevented touring car from being more widely broadcast.

It's an exposure problem... most of the general public don't even know that touring car and rally exist.

The BTCC for example... I don't know of a more exciting closed-track motorsport to watch. It's not an appeal problem... it's politics.
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Old 03-03-2006, 10:22 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoobie Doogie
Xeno- I think you missed the point and went off the deep end here. Race cars have been the test bed for production cars for quite some time. I think what the point is here is to see cars racing that look like and share technology with your daily driver. That helps people make connections and affection to/for motorsports. Take Honda's VTEC or Subaru's AWD system, especially the STi's. The use of aluminum and carbon fiber in production cars today is a direct development from race-engineering. We're not talking about i-drive on race cars or crawling through windows for your grocery getter. The line has-been drawn and will continue to exist. I think what Brock is getting at here is NASCAR SHOULD BE stock bodies with touring car-like suspension and safety. Heck, make the things fwd if the production car is fwd. Maybe then we'll see rwd in more production cars and maybe, just maybe American manufacturers will understand that they need to be innovative and build good quality fun cars.

Dave Mac
Agreed.

Additionally, in the touring car and rally car formulas (unibody), if a given architecture or platform is responsive and safe enough to race, then it will make an exceptional street car.

There IS a grey area between "race" vehicles and street cars, and that is very clearly occupied by unibody-derived racing vehicles like rally cars and production-based touring cars.
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Old 03-03-2006, 10:31 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoobie Doogie
The line has-been drawn and will continue to exist. I think what Brock is getting at here is NASCAR SHOULD BE stock bodies with touring car-like suspension and safety. Heck, make the things fwd if the production car is fwd. Maybe then we'll see rwd in more production cars and maybe, just maybe American manufacturers will understand that they need to be innovative and build good quality fun cars.

Dave Mac
Bingo, I remember as a kid watching Richard Petty in stock car racing. And the cars actually looked like something you saw drive down the street. They need to get back to that.
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Old 03-03-2006, 01:06 PM   #14
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I'm not so sure that it's a great article. I mean, there are some systems that carry over from the high-end in racing to the low end but it's more like coming from NASA than anything else (Velcro or Tang anybody?). I mean, the F430 has a traction/yaw control system that's derived from F1 but it isn't like most people can afford it.

And his second to last paragraph highlighted exactly why that type of racing still works: advertising. Whenever I go to Home Depot, I see at least 5 or 6 NASCAR shirts floating around in there. I see advertising of Home Depot's car, and other NASCRAP floating around in there. The American market is completely saturated with this type of racing, so it's an uphill battle to popularize anything else. And, since the market is there, why would a business sponsor anything else?

I have to agree on the BTCC. It's is simply incredible to watch, and a touch better than DTM for me. The Aussie V8s are OK, but they almost remind me of Trans-Am type cars with the constant spinning and sliding around. But I do like seeing cars that are remotely close to the current production cars. Otherwise, I would rather watch ALMS, Rolex Series, or F1 for extreme cars.
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Old 03-03-2006, 01:28 PM   #15
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A well written article perhaps and there is no doubt of Yates credibility on the subject but I almost completely disagree with overall point. I watch and follow a lot of grassroots racing, SCCA runoffs being a good example.

The fields for Ford Spec and other classes that follow a tight formula like F1 or NASCRAP does seem to be shrinking while T1, T2 and the stock classes grew last year. They aren't neccesarily cheaper but ppl seem to be more interested in racing them.

On the televised front WSC seems to do well enough on SpeedTV as well as filling the grandstands. The same goes for Grand Am where the Touring class is quite popular with both teams and sponsors. Rating have improved with the addition of the Daytona Prototype class which has several engine suppliers and chassis suppliers. I see plenty of innovation there and ratings for the series continue to grow.

For full disclosure I find NASCAR, Indy, Champ Car and F1 just plain boring. I only watched the Indy 500 to see how well Danica did. I think the Runoffs presented the best racing I saw all season.

Maybe Brock is just watching the wrong series.
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Old 03-03-2006, 03:43 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Porter
The BTCC for example... I don't know of a more exciting closed-track motorsport to watch. It's not an appeal problem... it's politics.
+1

BTCC was the best Tivo grab of the year. I had almost turned off Tivo suggestions before that find. Awesome series, though Plato should be booted for his antics. There was a lot of legitimate contact, but he was over the line.
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Old 03-03-2006, 07:46 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoobie Doogie
Xeno- I think you missed the point and went off the deep end here. Race cars have been the test bed for production cars for quite some time. I think what the point is here is to see cars racing that look like and share technology with your daily driver. That helps people make connections and affection to/for motorsports. Take Honda's VTEC or Subaru's AWD system, especially the STi's. The use of aluminum and carbon fiber in production cars today is a direct development from race-engineering. We're not talking about i-drive on race cars or crawling through windows for your grocery getter. The line has-been drawn and will continue to exist. I think what Brock is getting at here is NASCAR SHOULD BE stock bodies with touring car-like suspension and safety. Heck, make the things fwd if the production car is fwd. Maybe then we'll see rwd in more production cars and maybe, just maybe American manufacturers will understand that they need to be innovative and build good quality fun cars.

Dave Mac
You're right, I was being extreme on purpose. I was just trying to convey that eventually every piece of a race car (under loose ruling) eventually gets engineered way beyond what could even be remotely useful on a street car. Safety equipment becomes too intrusive/cumbersome, and performance parts become too expensive and/or unreliable for street use. There are good recent examples though, like the Evo X coming with a new sequential transmission (which I'm assuming is a result of thier WRC involvement).
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