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Well, here we are almost 3 years down the road and I am up for re-election for YOUR Board of Directors and would appreciate your support.

 

It was the best of times; It was the worst of times.

Some bullet points:

 

I have been on several BoDs in the past in my professional career as a lighting designer in the live events industry. I am retired and busier now than when I was employed seems to me..

I have been involved in the racing business it seems like my whole life, first as a fan, then motorcycle roadracer, then a stills photographer primarily on the IMSA circuit during the GTP heyday, and then about 6 years ago as the ChampCar Endurance Series came to my attention.

I am a car owner with the Brew Krewe Racing BMW 325is.

I am on the ChampCar Live broadcast crew as the analyst/color commentator where I mostly tell old stories, bad jokes, and swing dead cats. Oh, and I make fun of @Bill Strong at every opportunity I get.

I am indeed the Secretary of the Club which makes me the Vice-President. This is in our By-Laws and as the first person appointed when we formed the new Board I got this position by default, not based on any experience.

The most important job of the VP is to make sure the President stays alive so you don't have to take over. His security detail is my personal expense and is not covered or reimbursed.

The most important job of the Secretary is to keep the records of the Club. This involves a lot of data entry into Excel sheets for race results. I track our race entries to see where we are trending growth wise. I attend BoD meetings and make sure we are in compliance with our By-Laws. We are as I helped revise them at a picnic table at VIR in the Summer a few years back. They were a mess and frankly could still use a bit of work.  I'm sure I do other things as well.

 

The MOST important job overall is to listen to you, our members, to understand your concerns,  insights, fears, hopes, dreams, expectations. It is not to agree with you. It is to take your input and to merge it with over 3500 diverse members, all of which live across a vast  country and race very eclectic vehicles that were NEVER designed for what we are doing to them.

Oh yeah, then you have to take the members' opinions, your opinions, and merge it with another group: Your fellow BoD members who I can assure you also have their own opinions. Strong ones. Then you compromise, seek a consensus, lobby for your ideas, and merge them all to make a big, happy family knowing all the time that what you are attempting to do is impossible.

 

And then, and only then, can you make it work. I think our growth is proof we have done a good job so far, but there is much more to do as we grow into the future. I think we are on the right track. I understand your concerns on speed creep: My car used to be a rolling chicane and now that it is faster my budget for races has been blown out of the water. We have to keep costs down in this regard, but we still have to keep up with the times, to innovate, to grow. 

I am committed to rebuilding attendance at the West Coast events and competing in that market successfully. 

I am for being fiscally conservative to build up our cash reserves should we suffer a recession for surely the most disposable income sport in the world. 

At the same time we must be aggressive in our marketing to future potential car owners/builders by exhibiting at industry events, races.

We have to provide value to you, to keep you involved in the series by choosing to spend your hard-earned with us. In this regard we need to improve our communication to all of you, but this might be the hardest part of the position as a lot of us do not do this as a full-time job. We only have 3 full-time employees, all overworked. The rest are temporary. It's unrealistic to expect an immediate answer on Monday, should you need one, from a person who you know dang well worked a 14 hour race on Saturday, drove home 12 hours on Sunday, and then went to work at 7AM on Monday. There are many ways to get answers out to you, but they don't all work for each of your individual tastes. Email, phone, Forum, FaceBook, IMs, blasts, etc....

 

I would like to really push for a comprehensive demographic survey to gauge our economic impact as a series, both nationally and locally, so we can reach out with solid data to potential sponsors. I firmly believe we have more economic clout than ANY of us realizes. We need to work with our existing sponsors to make sure they are seeing the ROI of their financial investment in our series or they will move their marketing dollars and we will have to replace them to our detriment.

 

That's enough pontificating from my lofty perch at 4AM in the morning. I welcome your questions, observations, criticisms, recipes, financial contributions. Send it.

 

Doc Waldrop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The following was sent to my private messages and I thought others might be of interest in my thinking. The original post is in italics and my thoughts on the topic being discussed are in bold.

 

I am reaching out to each of the people running for the board.

 

I am  very concerned about the direction of our organization.  I honestly want the Chump put back in.  Speed is $... and speed creep is very real.  The club claims rules stability however when many new cars point values are adjusted down that claim rings false.  Z33, Honda S2000, Boxster, several BMW’s have all had massive point drops since 2016.  Rules stability is always a concern. We try and maintain a balance between the "we need more rules" and the stability crowd. Safety items will ALWAYS go to the top of the priority list. We try and  get it right and shift some petitions, therefore rules, to the SOPs and this seems to have slowed rules changes down to a reasonable level. Significant changes such as the dash bar and Flagtronics implementation are given as much notice as we can because we realize that not everybody can budget/plan on shorter notices. More and more we are trying to clarify rules rather than make them. Point values are not rules so as far as changing them goes, we have to act on them as new information comes to light. We try and limit the frequency so owners can plan into the future. Rest assured the petitions are given very serious thought. Some are acted on immediately, some are tabled awaiting further study, others approved, and others denied, but all are considered.

 

I have a few cars in my garage at the moment… … if I were to build something new it would have to start out as a much newer and costly car… I have my eye on the NC miata or the BRZ… these don’t feel like Chump cars.  These are fast cars… this is supposed to be an entry level race series with a massive volume of track time.  You have people coming straight off the street into to race with us.  I think that is a good thing… however I don’t think it is safe to have them on track in or against some of the cars in our field (I am not talking about the EC cars). The faster cars are indeed a "problem" for us. Without new cars coming into the series though we are limiting our growth. Look at the extensive havoc OBDII created for us. It was a quantum leap in technology that necessitated a complete revaluing of the VPI tables. As a BoD member, we relied heavily on the technical portion of our staff and was in part responsible for the creation of the TAC whose very creation came about from a member's petition. I just don't know how we could have done a better job. We all have different backgrounds, history, mechanical aptitude, and a variety of experience to draw upon and we must rely on others opinions. I have total empathy for the crowd responsible for BoP decisions where serious $$$$$ are at stake.

 

Some cars should be moved to EC as they have been extensively reworked, such as certain MR2s and Miatas

Aero should have more points associated with it.  There are teams  that are claiming huge $ wind tunnel testing and again huge lap time improvement for very few points.  This MUST be corrected. Not sure on this one where  we saw recently where a "bare" E30 won at Indy on Day 2 and a fully aero E30 gave him a run for the money. We have to consider if this was a "horses for the courses" win, better drivers, or anyone of other considerations. Who tests at a wind tunnel? Most arrive at their decisions based on track days, some yarn, and a camera. We cannot limit testing for teams, but there is no question there is some serious money being spent to win these races. I personally think we should look at incrementally  raising some cars values, but which ones? Is the team that better, or the drivers, or the car prep, or the car itself. So many variables, but values should be raised in small amounts, say 10 points: a lap inotherwords.  

 

Active Aero should be made illegal.  There are several teams playing around with wings that adjust for more or less aero as the car moves around the track.  This is a total Pandora’s box. Totally agreed . More moving parts lead to more opportunities for failure and what is safe is subject to too much opinion and speculation.

 

Classifying cars on the VPI table so they can be used in the Swap calculator must stop also.  If a car isn’t raced it shouldn’t be on the VPI table.  Honda CRV, odyssey, silvirado… these cars aren’t here for them to be raced.  They are helping unicorn’s.  True, but many of the engines are attractive for pricing and availability. I would have to defer to other's judgements. Like the TAC.

 

Honestly I also feel more points need to be assessed to motor swaps.  I don’t think any car that gets a swap should be on the pointy end of the speed curve.  They should be swapping in reliability and have a slower power to weight curve, however the reverse is true.  Swapped cars are lightning fast.  I also HATE the political games associated with the swap math… e30 weight is a great example of political tom foolery. UGH, I am with you on this one, but that ship has sailed. We are changing the word "weight" to make the formula/calculator work for us.

 

Are you going to do anything about the speed creep?  We are doing our best to slow it down, but it will never go away. It just won't. Is the Flagtronics implementation speed creep? Or is it safety? Requiring the owners to buy it was a hard decision, but we have OVER 650 individual cars that race with us so far this year. It would be impossible to purchase that many units, keep them maintained, and distribute them at every race. Hell, there are invariably transponders that are not returned and we have folks credit cards in hand. It would be a logistical nightmare. I'm not sure how much we spend on missing/damaged egg timers a year and the Flagtronics system is really not that bad, cost wise. If it is not ready for the intended roll out day we will certainly not require it, but that is well in the future. 

 

Anyway, I hope this goes a little ways to explaining my position on these issues going forward. Thanks for posing them.

 

Doc Waldrop

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I didn't even read all of Doc's answers yet - but to whoever wrote the questions - THANK YOU!!!!!!

You hit many nails right on the head!

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Ok, I now took a few minutes to go over this.

Good answers for the most part Doc.

Please keep the series' roots in mind when the BoD discusses and votes on these items. 

Nothing against the teams campaigning certain cars, but I'm surprised at some of the cars that are now on the VPI list that weren't there - and weren't considered ChumpCar/ChampCars - just a few short years ago. Same thing with some of the swaps now available to do for under 500 points.

Thanks for posting.

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3 minutes ago, mcoppola said:

Same thing with some of the swaps now available to do for under 500 points.

We do keep the history in mind and the mission statement in mind when we are looking at everything.

I DO need to get more of an understanding of the history of swaps and how we got to where we are now so I can understand where we are going. To me, I understand the necessity of them, but they do pose some dilemmas as well.

I know it sounds like I am waffleing but there are SO many variables at play. It would be SO easy if this was a spec series, but most already complain there are too many Miatas and E30s as it is. 

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2 minutes ago, BigMoneyWasters said:

Could any of you imagine 10 years ago we'd be chasing Boxters and 370Zs around? C class is getting very crowded.

Funny, we were discussing that recently. Any change to the classing system needs to be carefully thought out though.

You are going to anger both the existing B class cars and potentially the A and C class cars on either end of the displacement charts. 

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Hey @Doc - we personally know you as an early and fervent supporter of the ChampCar Sim Series. Do you think that the sim series (and online league racing more generally) has a part to play in the evolution of the CCES, and how would you intend to develop it further?

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9 hours ago, Rapido said:

Hey @Doc - we personally know you as an early and fervent supporter of the ChampCar Sim Series. Do you think that the sim series (and online league racing more generally) has a part to play in the evolution of the CCES, and how would you intend to develop it further?

I certainly think it plays a part in our series going forward. Frankly I am a bit surprised it does not get more participation than it does. I certainly thought the Grand Prize of a free race would have brought sim racers out of the woodwork. I know I have dang near begged a couple of the guys that race with me  and I KNOW they are on iRacing to participate and they are a no show every week. We have changed the day we race on. I know  I have a hard time making the Wednesday night date, but that is what the majority felt best so we changed it. We talk about it a lot on ChampCar Live so I think most of our racers know about it. There is WAY more info on the Sim Forum than you need to get started in Sim racing. What are we missing???

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1. What, if anything, would you change about the flagtronics rules and roll out?
2. What are your thoughts on including *all* rules changes (including those written by tech, the board, Mike) being included in the yearly petition/review process in the attempt to gain some transparency in rules changes?

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5 hours ago, Slugworks Paul said:

1. What, if anything, would you change about the flagtronics rules and roll out?

I think we should monitor it's rollout date and IF it proves to be difficult, or encounters problems, it certainly should be delayed. Otherwise, I am all in favor of the system being deployed and required.
2. What are your thoughts on including *all* rules changes (including those written by tech, the board, Mike) being included in the yearly petition/review process in the attempt to gain some transparency in rules changes? I think that is a great idea and am all in favor of that. Hell, I will even push that to become a reality. As a BoD member, we all lobby each other to garner support for our ideas.

 

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Not my thread but I agree, Doc.  There shouldn't be unwritten rules and point values.  Let's push this down on the Board and get the BCCR updated.  

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21 minutes ago, Jer said:

Not my thread but I agree, Doc.  There shouldn't be unwritten rules and point values.  Let's push this down on the Board and get the BCCR updated.  

@Jer this is awesome to hear. Unwritten rules have always been my pet peeve and even before being on the TAC I've worked toward getting things in the BCCR that either surprised teams at Tech, or different teams were being assigned different point values for the same items. 

I'll look for your help when issues arise in the hopes that we can get things in writing and clarified, one of the goals of the TAC when it was formed. 

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14 minutes ago, mcoppola said:

@Jer this is awesome to hear. Unwritten rules have always been my pet peeve and even before being on the TAC I've worked toward getting things in the BCCR that either surprised teams at Tech, or different teams were being assigned different point values for the same items. 

I'll look for your help when issues arise in the hopes that we can get things in writing and clarified, one of the goals of the TAC when it was formed. 

Yeah, just as the BoD members have real jobs, so does the TAC members so changes roll out slowly. I certainly don't need to hear about everything, but rules and VPI clarity are essential to be in the loop on BEFORE they become the law of the land. Jerry and I have helped push many things through and we basically agree on most things so I consider him a valuable ally in addition to a friend.

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BTW, Under the "issue of transparency" I was the one that pushed the Championship eligible team rule to a minimum of 5 races to qualify. Here is the reasoning behind my push: I keep the records and with our low car counts at certain races the whole field could qualify with one decent weekend. This affects teams on the East Coast to their detriment as it is harder to place a car with a decent finish out here.

The second consideration in that regard is the legitimacy of the Championship. If a car should win it should reflect how hard it was to win that Championship.

Thirdly, our Championship team should show some "devotion" to our Club in my mind. Three weekends is not that much to ask to my way of thinking. Remember, the two best finishes are still what gets you in. Winner take all is a good idea so that even though a team will be seeded near the back of the grid they still have a chance to win the Championship.

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1 hour ago, Jer said:

Not my thread but I agree, Doc.  There shouldn't be unwritten rules and point values.  Let's push this down on the Board and get the BCCR updated.  

 

We have tried this before internally with the BoD. There's going to be a moving BCCR as tech comes up with more point values each year. I'm fine with disclosing the point values in the BCCR as well but it seems tech finds something new every race or every couple so are we going to be doing updates to the BCCR after every time tech assigns a point value? Do we just go ahead and say if it's not in the BCCR do we put the car to EC?

 

I suggested that after every race the National Tech Director gives his list of rule interpetations to the CEO or TAC to have them sign off on it then it's put out to members about rule interpetations. 

 

A stable BCCR is important but if we are going to be updating the BCCR after each race or a new interpretation by TAC it will be a mess. Just my thoughts. 

 

Sorry for hijacking your thread Doc. 

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1 hour ago, E. Tyler Pedersen said:

 

We have tried this before internally with the BoD. There's going to be a moving BCCR as tech comes up with more point values each year. I'm fine with disclosing the point values in the BCCR as well but it seems tech finds something new every race or every couple so are we going to be doing updates to the BCCR after every time tech assigns a point value? Do we just go ahead and say if it's not in the BCCR do we put the car to EC?

 

I suggested that after every race the National Tech Director gives his list of rule interpretations to the CEO or TAC to have them sign off on it then it's put out to members about rule interpretations. 

 

A stable BCCR is important but if we are going to be updating the BCCR after each race or a new interpretation by TAC it will be a mess. Just my thoughts. 

 

Sorry for hijacking your thread Doc. 

 

@E. Tyler Pedersen I agree with some of this, but take hubs for example. If you don't read the forum (and management tells us that only a small percentage of members do), you would never know that hubs were reduced from 10 points/side to 2.5 points/side this past summer.

If you think it's hard to build to a moving BCCR, it's even worst trying to build to secret rules that aren't published anywhere but are only discussed on the forum.

More pet peeves -

I had friends that failed Tech at VIR a couple years back because their window net was out of date. Even though at the time there was no rule saying that the date of the net mattered. (I helped to get that in the BCCR btw.)

An even bigger example was when GWR started showing up with full belly pans, splitter, diffuser, wing, etc. and FOR 2 YEARS, it never made it into the BCCR that each aero device is 10 points! Many people including me were wondering how they could afford so much material, as that's how these items were previously assigned value.

That whole debacle put @Hi_Im_Will in a bad position of having to explain to other teams how he could run all that aero, when nobody else had it. I remember Will getting quite angry over the bickering about it, and he has stayed away form the forum since then. He still races ChampCar because I think he feels it's still the best thing going, but he's not sharing all his car build and development tips like he used to.

 

These type of things leave a bad taste in racers' mouths, and make them very unhappy.

While I agree with parts of your thoughts and statements above, Secret rules are not good for anyone.

 

edit/add: I've always felt that we need to work toward publishing a set of rules that a builder can build to, without surprise assessments made at Tech. Sure, there are grey areas that can, and will, be argued, but teams should generally know what is spelled out and what is open for interpretation/creativity.

Edited by mcoppola
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I've suggested this before but you can make the Fixed Value List a separate document that the BCCR refers to in the rule set.   The FVL can be as long and as detailed as needed, it won't make the rules longer.  I don't think this would be hard to do or have a negative effect.   I think racers would appreciate a more extensive list of fixed value parts.    Sorry, for the slight derailment but I figured we were close to this topic. 

Edited by Snake
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1 hour ago, mcoppola said:

 

@E. Tyler Pedersen I agree with some of this, but take hubs for example. If you don't read the forum (and management tells us that only a small percentage of members do), you would never know that hubs were reduced from 10 points/side to 2.5 points/side this past summer.

If you think it's hard to build to a moving BCCR, it's even worst trying to build to secret rules that aren't published anywhere but are only discussed on the forum.

More pet peeves -

I had friends that failed Tech at VIR a couple years back because their window net was out of date. Even though at the time there was no rule saying that the date of the net mattered. (I helped to get that in the BCCR btw.)

An even bigger example was when GWR started showing up with full belly pans, splitter, diffuser, wing, etc. and FOR 2 YEARS, it never made it into the BCCR that each aero device is 10 points! Many people including me were wondering how they could afford so much material, as that's how these items were previously assigned value.

That whole debacle put @Hi_Im_Will in a bad position of having to explain to other teams how he could run all that aero, when nobody else had it. I remember Will getting quite angry over the bickering about it, and he has stayed away form the forum since then. He still races ChampCar because I think he feels it's still the best thing going, but he's not sharing all his car build and development tips like he used to.

 

These type of things leave a bad taste in racers' mouths, and make them very unhappy.

While I agree with parts of your thoughts and statements above, Secret rules are not good for anyone.

 

edit/add: I've always felt that we need to work toward publishing a set of rules that a builder can build to, without surprise assessments made at Tech. Sure, there are grey areas that can, and will, be argued, but teams should generally know what is spelled out and what is open for interpretation/creativity.

 

This is why I suggested a rules interpretation document post race at every event the CEO or TAC would sign off on and then get published to the membership. So the question is if someone shows up with a fixed point item not on the list like today what do you do in tech? Send them to EC and not let them race or assess a value on the spot and let them race?

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11 minutes ago, E. Tyler Pedersen said:

 

This is why I suggested a rules interpretation document post race at every event the CEO or TAC would sign off on and then get published to the membership. So the question is if someone shows up with a fixed point item not on the list like today what do you do in tech? Send them to EC and not let them race or assess a value on the spot and let them race?

Sending them to EC would be pretty harsh IMO. Just like current practice, assign them a point value for the item and let them race. If it puts them over 500, it's penalty lap(s.)

Or they could remove things to get back under 500 if there are surprises they didn't expect.

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3 hours ago, E. Tyler Pedersen said:

Sorry for hijacking your thread Doc. 

Dude...get your own thread....they are free; no points. LOL

 

1 hour ago, Snake said:

I've suggested this before but you can make the Fixed Value List a separate document that the BCCR refers to in the rule set.   The FVL can be as long and as detailed as needed, it won't make the rules longer.

Not a bad idea at all. Just playing devil's advocate here, but there are too many places for folks to look. The Forum is a perfect example: Too few folks are on it to make it a viable communication device for the masses. So then the best place is the website, but then that is just another place for items of interest to get lost on. It's also rather impractical to email every member when we do make a change. I'm not sure there is a best way, but one that folks will have to adapt to.

 

30 minutes ago, mcoppola said:

This is why I suggested a rules interpretation document post race at every event the CEO or TAC would sign off on and then get published to the membership. So the question is if someone shows up with a fixed point item not on the list like today what do you do in tech? Send them to EC and not let them race or assess a value on the spot and let them race?

See above. I'm not sure how we address this. There are talks about really drilling down at tech on lighting which will increase the time to get a car through tech and at certain races the tech line is long enough. Writing down interpretations at the time is yet another time killer.

 

1 hour ago, Snake said:

Sorry, for the slight derailment but I figured we were close to this topic. 

Not a derailment at all. Thanks for your input. I also appreciate your concerns about the second pace car on the Sebring thread. It is time we do something now and not wait until Flagtronics tries to fix it electrically somehow. It's getting out of hand. Not only does it create track rage, but a lot of us have high blood pressure already. I think it might be time to go back to driver bands to prove you were at the driver's meeting...hard to prove you were listening, but....

On a somewhat related note. My notifications of comments is not working, only "reactions". I'll try and check back periodically....

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59 minutes ago, mcoppola said:

Sending them to EC would be pretty harsh IMO. Just like current practice, assign them a point value for the item and let them race. If it puts them over 500, it's penalty lap(s.)

Or they could remove things to get back under 500 if there are surprises they didn't expect.

 

But then you contradict and then now there are secret points none of us know about.....this is what I was trying to explain. I am all for putting in point stuff into the rule book but when do you do it and how do you get tech to publicize new rule interpretations or points not in the rule book. 

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26 minutes ago, E. Tyler Pedersen said:

 

But then you contradict and then now there are secret points none of us know about.....this is what I was trying to explain. I am all for putting in point stuff into the rule book but when do you do it and how do you get tech to publicize new rule interpretations or points not in the rule book. 

 

I think you add them to the 'rules interpretation' document until the yearly petition cycle, then you add to rulebook. Unless I suppose it's changing something already written, then it should wait until the yearly cycle.

Edited by Slugworks Paul
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On 9/25/2019 at 6:32 PM, Doc said:

I DO need to get more of an understanding of the history of swaps and how we got to where we are now so I can understand where we are going. To me, I understand the necessity of them, but they do pose some dilemmas as well.

I know it sounds like I am waffling but there are SO many variables at play. It would be SO easy if this was a spec series, but most already complain there are too many Miatas and E30s as it is. 

Here's my opinion as a builder who embraced swaps early and has been following the process closely since 2012.

 

1. Initially, swaps were not taken seriously because of the poor reliability of some prominent swaps. The general feeling at the time was that no one needed to worry about them because they didn't finish races, and because of that attitude there was a pretty long leash.

 

2. Then it was discovered that a lot of other swaps worked well and in some cases the reliability was improved with a swap (Fiero 2.8 was a good example). Swapped cars were now finishing races and went from underdogs to overdogs.

 

3. Much hue and cry from the non-swapped teams resulted in the swap formula, which featured an asymptotic equation to target a specific power to weight goal. There was now a pretty well defined limit on how much acceleration a swapped car could achieve - at least theoretically; there was a lot of resistance against using actual race weights as the basis for the swap formula. That lead to the "90% of curb weight" list, which put the small econo cars that needed the extra power (less weight to strip out) at a disadvantage compared to the luxury cars (substantially more weight to strip out) that already had more power. Hamstrung before the ink was even dry.

 

4. Then the swap formula was rendered essentially useless by the rule that allowed the listed weight to be the heaviest model available. Rather than lowering the E30 VPI by 7 points to allow a particular swap and thereby achieving a specific end, the swap formula was compromised by this global change of allowing the use of a listed weight that is known to be as much as 25% higher than a typical race weight. The supposed 12.5:1 power to weight ratio is now essentially a 10:1 ratio. The unintended consequence is that by catering to a swap on one end of the swap formula, the other end was left wide open. 

 

The swap formula could be restored to work as originally planned but that would require getting rid of the fake swap weight list that ruined the formula and the very transparent manipulation euphemistically referred to as a fudge factor. Real numbers, real limitations. I know Champ has the typical actual race weights that should be in the formula. 

 

Edited by mender
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