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Mid-season rule changes


David VerHoef
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Please forgive a bit of a rant here but I feel that we’re losing sight of why many of us came to this organization.  We love racing.  We have day jobs.  To make those two things work together we need an affordable competitive platform. 

 

As the racing has become more competitive the cars have become more serious.  When’s the last time you saw a car with a plywood whale tail or a broom bristle mohawk?  There are still mid-pack teams that pull the same car out of the storage shed, gas it up and go to the track for a fun weekend.  A lot of good racing goes on in the mid-pack.  It’s the pointy end of the field where things have changed the most. 

 

These days it is not uncommon at all to see multi million dollar haulers with full factory supported and professionally prepared “legal” race cars at the big tracks these days racing Champcar.  I’m sure they are enjoying a weekend of low stress racing.  The question is how does the average guy keep up?

 

Our team has been racing a 1990 NA Miata from the start of our Chump/Champcar experience.  We started with a NA 1.6, swapped in a bone stock 1.8, and two years ago went with the Ecotec swap.  It is a reasonable swap that a couple of guys can do on weekends in the off season.  The biggest challenge is the exhaust and intake swap sides from a stock Miata engine so you have to get a little creative in routing the pluming.  In the end you have 150 to 160 crank HP from an economical reliable power plant.  Yes you can get that from a “stock” 1.8 Miata motor, and we have been pulled in straight line performance by a few of those.  The difference is that you can get a good used Ecotec motor for $400.  The “bone stock” race prepped Miata 1.8 engine with the same or more HP will run you $15K and last a couple of races before you have to spend another $5k to get it refreshed.

 

So for our low budget, (if that really is a thing in racing) team the Ecotec gives us a chance to compete with the big guys while not emptying our collective wallets. We’ve spent the last couple of years working out the kinks and now we have a reliable, maintainable, competitive car.

 

Now comes my rant. 

 

When a board member can push through a mid-season rule change that impacts the low budget teams that are trying to compete with essentially factory race teams there really is a problem.  Yes, it is clear that some in Champcar don’t like the Miata platform at all and really take offense at the Ecotec swap.  So now in the middle of the season the Polaris header is deemed illegal.  The board member will make the argument that having a legal header for one platform is not fair unless all platforms get one.  Fine, if you want to make that argument, but it was legal during the off season, it was legal at the start of the season, and changing mid-season is just bad form.  It creates a hardship on teams that in good faith followed the rules as they were at the start of the season.

 

All of the above may sound like sour grapes to some of you, but consider the following;  The Ecotec swap is affordable and I believe it follows the spirt of low cost racing.  The race prepped million dollar teams do not.  The Polaris header likely adds 5 or 6 HP.  What it really helps with is the plumbing issue I referenced earlier.  If it becomes illegal we have to reimagine the exhaust system.  Not a small task and not a reasonable mid-season expectation.

 

So come on Champcar!!  If you want to make changes here are a couple of suggestions.  Focus performance rule changes at limiting the advantage of the big budget teams.  Get the super expensive race prepped engines out of our series.  Don’t pick on the small teams trying to compete within the letter and spirt of the rules.  Limit mid-season rule changes to critical safety concerns.

 

If you agree or disagree, comment below.  I would love to hear thoughtful responses.  I also hope that the board as a whole will rethink this mid-season rule change.

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Personal opinion- It's bad form to change non-safety critical things mid season. It's also bad form to give one platform freebies. Should it be updated? Yes. Could it have waited till January 1st, 2021, also yes.

 

We're another "non pro" team, we run a couple races a year mainly due to time off and scheduling conflicts.  I've come to the conclusion that we're much better off building a 480 or 475 point car that is 0.1 sec/lap slower so we don't loose laps on a surprise 20pts or mid-season value change. For us it's easier and cheaper than having a trailer full of parts to swap out at the drop of a hat. 

 

 

While I agree it sucks to have to make changes or take points, if it does add 4 or 5 hp, it's a performance advantage and therefore should be assessed points. To me that's the better approach to rein in costs (and speeds) than to give everyone free headers.

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2 hours ago, David VerHoef said:

 

 

As the racing has become more competitive the cars have become more serious.  When’s the last time you saw a car with a plywood whale tail or a broom bristle mohawk?  There are still mid-pack teams that pull the same car out of the storage shed, gas it up and go to the track for a fun weekend.  A lot of good racing goes on in the mid-pack.  It’s the pointy end of the field where things have changed the most. 

 

These days it is not uncommon at all to see multi million dollar haulers with full factory supported and professionally prepared “legal” race cars at the big tracks these days racing Champcar.  I’m sure they are enjoying a weekend of low stress racing.  The question is how does the average guy keep up?

 

 

David,   I think plywood is dangerous on a race car.  I think broom  bristle mohawk is rinky dink. 

There are No multi million dollar haulers in ChampCar with factory support  They may be professionally prepared and are legal.  I know of some cars prepped in a backyard that are "illegal"

There will always be those that throw more money at a hobby than the next guy so what.  Those teams can and have been beaten.  Prep your car car to the best of your ability and go have fun. That's what ChampCar gives you the opportunity to do that otherwise you not be able.  You are involved in one of the greatest sports with The Best Organization in the United States with some of the nicest people I have ever met.

I know nothing about the header deal.  I agree with you about mid-season changes, unless it concerns safety. 

 

 PS   Check out the horse show  people and you'll see the discrepancy in money spent.

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1 hour ago, 55mini said:

Let me assure you that the "Polaris Turbo Header" provides not performance gain. Our team was one of the very early swaps and started with a 2.2l as that was all that fit

the swap formula at the time. The main reason for the header was the stock cast for a 2.2 went out sideways into the front strut tower. The header dropped down and allowed

and exhaust to be built. Swap rule changed and we moved to a 2.4l and the same header and as everyone complained we took it upon ourselves to find a stock cast manifold

that would work, thus the Equinox manifold and changing the front head pipe was needed but was easy to have the muffler shop provide. We have run that stock cast manifold

for the last year plus so we know it works fine

 

Lets talk about the hp increase that everyone claims like 5-9 hp gain. Really everyone needs to read what I am posting here as we did the research with our original Turbo Header 

setup and the replaced cast manifold. I have both setups and took everything to the dyno tuners shop, we spent a day running each setup with the un bolt and swap of each. 

So no one can say we just compared old runs to a later change, did them at the same day and same dyno. Anyone care to guess at the results??? You can plot one over the other

and see no real difference and I am happy to share that with anyone that wishes to see.

 

Back to the question of does it suck that change happened mid year? No question it truly does and is  not a good practice in my opinion but with all the questions on the knowledge base many things are being forced to change or take points. This is all about racing and trying to not give free parts with not points and we too have had to spend lots of extra money with changes mid stream.

 

 

If I get Dyno numbers for my car that show that headers don't provide a performance gain can I install them for free?

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It's still unclear to me why anyone was attempting to use the Polaris or other aftermarket header on the argument that "it was needed to make the swap fit" when the ecotecmiata.ca FAQ page has always had the following information:

 

Exhaust, what are my options?
The kit is currently offered without any exhaust manifold, or header. If you want the most basic bolt-on solution, we suggest the exhaust manifold for a 2009-2012 Malibu or 2010-2012 Equinox/Terrain. If you are a modest DIY type person, the Ecotec Cavalier header we use on our race car is fairly straight forward to modify and install. If we have enough interest, we may offer these headers as a ready modified option in the future. Further to the header, we recommend you upgrade the exhaust system to at least 2.25”. The Ecotec exhaust exits on the passenger side of the engine bay, so a cross over pipe can be made by your local exhaust shop to connect the engine to an existing Miata exhaust.
 
 
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Since you guys wish to continue to argue the header swap and I have attempted to explain it for you and continue to get wrong information posted I'm out and you can carry on. 

Posts removed.

 

As to the rule change mid year I also thing it is wrong timing.

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13 minutes ago, QuaTTro said:

It's still unclear to me why anyone was attempting to use the Polaris or other aftermarket header on the argument that "it was needed to make the swap fit" when the ecotecmiata.ca FAQ page has always had the following information:

 

Exhaust, what are my options?
The kit is currently offered without any exhaust manifold, or header. If you want the most basic bolt-on solution, we suggest the exhaust manifold for a 2009-2012 Malibu or 2010-2012 Equinox/Terrain. If you are a modest DIY type person, the Ecotec Cavalier header we use on our race car is fairly straight forward to modify and install. If we have enough interest, we may offer these headers as a ready modified option in the future. Further to the header, we recommend you upgrade the exhaust system to at least 2.25”. The Ecotec exhaust exits on the passenger side of the engine bay, so a cross over pipe can be made by your local exhaust shop to connect the engine to an existing Miata exhaust.
 
 

FYI, when this swap first came to the table, none of that info was available and the car that was raced was not the LE5 engine, but an early 2.2 ecotech with cams.  The original swap that needed a mainfold, (ie: 2.2L) swap required the header as the stock manifold flange exits into the front shock.  Staff approved its use under the argument to make it fit because at the time it was the easiest way and fit under the $$ amount for the total swap.

 

That was the rule and teams played by it.  Now, the rule has changed and it is pretty easy to swap to a cast manifold, other than the $$ of having a new exhaust built, or you take the 25 pts.  Also, as a word of advice, check the headers really close.  Ours cracked in 4 different places and when we contacted the company they told us that endurance racing was not something they recommended for it.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, KoneKillah said:

If you have a reliable 150-160 hp in a Miata there is no reason you shouldn't be at the pointy end of the field if you interpret the rules properly, have half decent drivers, and nail your pit stops.

145hp seems to be working well for us.

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4 minutes ago, KoneKillah said:

If you have a reliable 150-160 hp in a Miata there is no reason you shouldn't be at the pointy end of the field if you interpret the rules properly, have half decent drivers, and nail your pit stops.

Absolutely, other than when you get to the hp you get to be more conscience of fuel burn and understand an extra stop will need to happen.  Some how we still seem to struggle with those 2700+lb e30s in laptimes though....

1 minute ago, LuckyKid said:

145hp seems to be working well for us.

You only drive like what, 65% of an actual miata?😁

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4 minutes ago, 55mini said:

Since you guys wish to continue to argue the header swap and I have attempted to explain it for you and continue to get wrong information posted I'm out and you can carry on. 

Posts removed.

 

As to the rule change mid year I also thing it is wrong timing.

 

I'll agree that making a mid year change wasn't the most ideal solution.

 

That being said, the series seems to be working to eliminate some of the loopholes and freebies that certain teams have been taking advantage of.  This is a good thing, and I hope to see more moves in this direction.

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The arms race has been on for a while and it will kill the series.  As of yet, no one has put serious money into a car.  But it will happen.

 

Mid-season rules changes will drive out people as they don't have the resources to make changes quick enough to react before the next race.  Doing mid-season rule changes is very short sighted.  A stable rules platform is another characteristic of a series that has healthy sized fields.

 

Funny that in 2019 there was a list of items being changed for 2020 and no ability to appeal or suggest changes for the upcoming year.  All suggestions would take effect in 2021.  Yet we can have a change like this that gets implemented basically instantaneously.

 

 

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  • Technical Advisory Committee

  So let me say this f@%&$$$ . 

  With that out of the way this swap header crap has been put on here for multiple years contaminating most every thread most every day . YOUR elected board AND YOUR nominated TAC decided to handle it, giving almost 4 months to comply, and still to fast for some and to late for others. We cant win no matter what or when it is done.

   Suck it up buy a manifold fix exhaust or add 25 points that is what the club wanted that is what the club got. Now I have got to go wash my hands y'all do the same.

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This really isn't a rule change.    Read the BCCR.   Read 4.5.3   That section hasn't change for a couple of years.    It clearly states stock.   The BOD and TAC have finally decided to enforce the rules as written instead of having unwritten rules and different rules for different makes and models.    Good on them!  Step in the right direction.        

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10 hours ago, David VerHoef said:

...All of the above may sound like sour grapes to some of you, but consider the following;  The Ecotec swap is affordable and I believe it follows the spirt of low cost racing.  The race prepped million dollar teams do not.  The Polaris header likely adds 5 or 6 HP.  What it really helps with is the plumbing issue I referenced earlier.  If it becomes illegal we have to reimagine the exhaust system.  Not a small task and not a reasonable mid-season expectation...

 

No one should have been using a points free header within a motor swap. That is literally what causes speed creep and makes racing more money. 

 

spirit of low cost racing

The Equinox exhaust manifold can be found for $50 on car-part.com. The Polaris Header is $295. The $50 dollar used OE manifold certainly follows the spirit of low cost racing more than does an aftermarket header. 

 

Changing the interpretation mid year is unfortunate, but giving folks 4 months to change it is more than reasonable. Keep the header and use 25 points, or sell the header, buy a used manifold, and pocket the change. 

 

 

 

Edited by veris
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1 hour ago, Ray Franck said:

  So let me say this f@%&$$$ . 

  With that out of the way this swap header crap has been put on here for multiple years contaminating most every thread most every day . YOUR elected board AND YOUR nominated TAC decided to handle it, giving almost 4 months to comply, and still to fast for some and to late for others. We cant win no matter what or when it is done.

   Suck it up buy a manifold fix exhaust or add 25 points that is what the club wanted that is what the club got. Now I have got to go wash my hands y'all do the same.

#like.

 

I feel like that sometimes. 

 

I, for one, am happy about this change.  However, I am building a new car and saw the writing on the wall so I decided to find OEM exhaust manifolds that I could make work.  Therefore,  I am pretty dang biased.

 

I do feel for those people that need to make changes.

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On 3/18/2020 at 6:46 AM, David VerHoef said:

I also hope that the board as a whole will rethink this mid-season rule change.

 

I think you meant to say "mid season enforcement of an existing rule I had an exemption to...."

 

Trust me, allowing manifolds required to make a swap happen would save me points as well. Seems silly I cannot reuse the stock neon intake when I swap in a taller deck version of the same engine (2.4 swap from 2.0). However this has been a rule for a long time, and I have either eaten the manifold cost or cut huge holes in the hood, moved oem engine location and raised the seat in the car. Unless you have a 240SX and have that level of lobbying power, manifolds that don't fit require points or a welder. 

 

It stinks when you have an exemption to the rules and it evaporates. This will cause real trouble for you, and I hope a reasonable solution comes out for you like the equinox header......

 

But be honest with us and yourself, this was a mid year change to your rule exemption (aka freebie) and not an actual change in the rules.

Edited by Black Magic
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  • 3 weeks later...

The board can't even agree with themselves, I just copied this from the knowledge base 5 minutes ago.

 

ChampCar Website Home ChampCar Tech Desk Knowledgebase
2019-11-28 18:16:54 - Ecotech swap to include headers

2019-11-28 18:16:54 - Ecotech swap to include headers

Updated 6/7/2019 Jay Mauney - Chief Tech Director

Rule 4.5.3. & Swap Form item #3 What’s included in a motor swap / Tech interpretation and enforcement is that ECOTEC Miata swaps require the use of a header and get one for no points.

 

If this isn't valid then it should not be in the knowledge base.

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