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Tech Line Improvements Thread. IDEAS ONLY....No complaining


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I noticed a really good list of ideas on how to speed up the tech lines buried in the Daytona Results thread and wanted to give the topic it's own thread as it impacts everyone.  Try to keep this thread full of ideas for new improvements or maybe call out things tech is already doing that you like.  

 

If you posted in the Daytona thread, please move your suggestions in here so we can keep it all together.

 

I'll start with something I liked at the Harris Hill race that mostly happened because of the bad Friday weather.  There was a sign up list for Tech where they would SMS Message teams when it was there time to show up.  This worked really well for the teams (not sure how it was for tech guys) because we could keep working on our car until we "got the call" to get in line.   Each time a car finished, they would message the next team on the list.  If you missed your call, you could just get back onto the bottom of the list.

 

Edited to add....they usually had 3 cars in tech at a time, so when you got the SMS to come next you usually had about 15 min to get there.  Plenty of time to roll over but also the Tech guys could keep going with the other cars already at the front.

Edited by QuaTTro
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27 minutes ago, QuaTTro said:

I noticed a really good list of ideas on how to speed up the tech lines buried in the Daytona Results thread and wanted to give the topic it's own thread as it impacts everyone.  Try to keep this thread full of ideas for new improvements or maybe call out things tech is already doing that you like.  

 

If you posted in the Daytona thread, please move your suggestions in here so we can keep it all together.

 

I'll start with something I liked at the Harris Hill race that mostly happened because of the bad Friday weather.  There was a sign up list for Tech where they would SMS Message teams when it was there time to show up.  This worked really well for the teams (not sure how it was for tech guys) because we could keep working on our car until we "got the call" to get in line.   Each time a car finished, they would message the next team on the list.  If you missed your call, you could just get back onto the bottom of the list.

In expansion to that idea, as to not cause more work for staff, have the list of people and their phone number handed to the Finished people in tech line to call the next three

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35 minutes ago, Team Infiniti said:

In expansion to that idea, as to not cause more work for staff, have the list of people and their phone number handed to the Finished people in tech line to call the next three

"Before we put the tech sticker in your car, please text the next person on the list"  

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1 hour ago, Team Infiniti said:

In expansion to that idea, as to not cause more work for staff, have the list of people and their phone number handed to the Finished people in tech line to call the next three

Y’all are getting lots of spam calls next week after I sell all your numbers to my friend in India!!!

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2 hours ago, wvumtnbkr said:

I like the "reservation" idea.

WRL does this. It works great, especially during testing/qualifying so teams can plan their day instead of sitting in a tech line for hours. 

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I think we have a couple options, and in reality I think the real solution is a combination of all of these

 

A:  Modify current system:  With the current set-up ( First come first serve) there are a few good ideas I have read in the couple posts.

·       Have a roaming team go down the line of cars to verify dates of safety dates.  This team would walk down the line to look at belt / net  dates, fire bottle date.  Maybe these cars get a small dot sticker on windshield.  Another team to also check lights, kill switch, etc. 

·       Make two distinct lines, a renew line for cars that have passed tech in the past year/years. 

·       At Daytona in particular I have noticed that we review 3 cars at a time but these cars are stacked nose to tail.  One simple solution would be to review the 3 or 4 cars at a time Side by Side.  This way when one car is done the next one will fill in.  Reason for this is because some cars are quick and others are longer the side by side will make the line move quicker.

 

B: Make a new system:

·       Appointments:  As stated above we can make it like Disney fast pass.  In that I mean schedule blocks of time in 15min increments.  This way you can schedule you day. 

·       Express tech:  For cars who have already been pass tech in the past we could do an electronic form with pictures submitted prior to the 1st event.  Take a picture of the belt dates, net dates, fire bottle date, picture of battery hold down, etc…  This would go along with the digital tech sheet. 

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Issue as a whole is a throughput issue. So the shotgun approach would be to beef up staff at "premier" events and those at the beginning of the year when most cars are racing for the 1st time that season.

 

I only have direct experience with Road Atlanta and Daytona. But 1 car at a time just isn't efficient enough. Two or more sets of inspectors would be the easy button, assuming you have manpower.

 

Have people go down the line and check the easy stuff like equipment dates and brake lights. Then when you get in the shed, its kill switch,  boom done.

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In the past at Harris Hill races we've used the approach of having someone walking up the line to pre-check cars for specific items like date expirations, cut off switches, brake lights checking welds on cages and roll bar padding.  It works really well as teams have time to make repairs in the line or pull out of the line if the repair is more major.

 

Another suggestion that might help is to have a section on the race event sign up form that asks if the car you're bringing is a new build (or first time in CCES).  For anyone that identifies as this, they can get contacted by tech before the race or maybe passed along to some volunteers/mentors to help do a video pre-check.  The key is to get cars ready before arriving at the race so anything we can do to help our fellow racers before race weekend is a benefit to us all.

 

Perhaps also a detailed tech inspection form that not only states the requirement, but also HOW they will be checked.  For example the flashlight method for looking for firewall holes,  a link to the exact firewall foam that's approved, or the fact that on the harness separation prevention padding that you must use a hose clamp and not a ziptie to secure the padding?  It's the little details that get you caught out in Tech.  If you can perform the same check with the same method before arriving at the race you will be more likely to succeed.

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  • Technical Advisory Committee

I keep asking the question of "why"?

 

Someone above made a good point that tech is a fundamental requirement for our series - I wholeheartedly agree.  The ability for total beginners to come race with us is why we are even here, but that beginner-ness means they need an experienced set of eyes on the car before it gets on track.

 

 

Long discussion ahead so buckle up (or skip to next post...)

 

The premise of Tech now is to verify safety equipment.  Champcar has said that they aren't going to tally up your points anymore at Tech, its up to teams to properly fill out a tech sheet.  If that is true (and in my experience it is about 95% true), than what specifically is Tech verifying?

 

1. Dates - Fire Bottle, Belts, Window Net

2. Roll Cage Construction

3. Installation of parts - Quality of work

4. Required safety gear is present or not (steering wheel lock, roof nets or arm restraints if required, etc)

 

How much of this stuff actually changes year to year?  Once you weld up your roll cage, do you ever go back and "un weld" it or change it?  If we "trust" teams to not do that for 1 year, (IE we assume they arent going to cut the door bars out after road atlanta before daytona), why do we not trust them to do it perpetually?

 

Teams over and over again are complaining that they got busted for xyz that has been on the car for years.   Why?  If the car passed champcar tech last year, and we are only looking at safety items, we don't need to look at the cage again.  We don't need to look at anything really - just confirm the dates and slap a sticker on it.

 

Tech to me is a colossal pain in the ass/waste of time.  Each year, I roll my car through to have someone look over the same stuff that was there last year, only to tell me that the window net is too small or the seat wiggles too much or something else that is a judgement call in part of the rules. 

 

This past weekend our pit mates got busted in tech because their lap belts were bolted in with all-threaded bolts.  They spent half of Friday looking for replacement OE collared seat belt bolts.  This was to ensure the bracket was able to rotate around the bolt.    Its shown as a recommendation in our BCCR Appendix, but it is NOT a requirement.

image.png.8f1cf3391cc549eae81df892dadc77df.png

So my point is why was this team sent away from tech with no sticker and told to fix it before the race?  Thats just stress, confusion, and anger to existing customers.

 

Here I am again "Arguing against safety" as I'm sure Tech will chime in and accuse me of, but at some point "good enough" has to be where we are at.  

 

I have no problem with tech making suggestions to teams on how to improve safety, but it shouldn't come at the cost of making them stand in the sun all day (while tech makes these recommendations to teams ahead of them in line) or spend the day before the race panicking if they will get to race or not depending on if they can find some part.

 

 

Our BCCR should establish minimum safety requirements to meet business best practice (IE equivalent to other orgs) and the requirements of our insurance company, SFI, FIA regs, etc.   Anything above and beyond that needs to be OPTIONAL at the choice of teams.  If they want to go out and buy the best automatic discharge 24 liter 34 nozzle fire system, more power to them, but don't make it mandatory as that just adds cost and complexity to teams.

 

 

Rolling tech is the answer I am pushing for really hard.  Its the least offensive to Tech, as they still get to go over your car every year like they do now, but at least it can be buffered and shifted from everyone having to do it at ATL, Daytona, WGI to letting teams do it at different tracks.  

 

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13 minutes ago, Chris Huggins said:

 

Rolling tech is the answer I am pushing for really hard.  Its the least offensive to Tech, as they still get to go over your car every year like they do now, but at least it can be buffered and shifted from everyone having to do it at ATL, Daytona, WGI to letting teams do it at different tracks.  

 

 

What's the best way to implement rolling tech?  Is this more like your inspection lasts 1 year from the actual inspection date so that not every car "expires" at the same time?  With the Electronic forms now this could be tied into the registration process so that you are notified when you register for an event IF you will need to go through tech at that event.

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56 minutes ago, Chris Huggins said:

I keep asking the question of "why"?

 

Someone above made a good point that tech is a fundamental requirement for our series - I wholeheartedly agree.  The ability for total beginners to come race with us is why we are even here, but that beginner-ness means they need an experienced set of eyes on the car before it gets on track.

 

 

Long discussion ahead so buckle up (or skip to next post...)

 

The premise of Tech now is to verify safety equipment.  Champcar has said that they aren't going to tally up your points anymore at Tech, its up to teams to properly fill out a tech sheet.  If that is true (and in my experience it is about 95% true), than what specifically is Tech verifying?

 

1. Dates - Fire Bottle, Belts, Window Net

2. Roll Cage Construction

3. Installation of parts - Quality of work

4. Required safety gear is present or not (steering wheel lock, roof nets or arm restraints if required, etc)

 

How much of this stuff actually changes year to year?  Once you weld up your roll cage, do you ever go back and "un weld" it or change it?  If we "trust" teams to not do that for 1 year, (IE we assume they arent going to cut the door bars out after road atlanta before daytona), why do we not trust them to do it perpetually?

 

Teams over and over again are complaining that they got busted for xyz that has been on the car for years.   Why?  If the car passed champcar tech last year, and we are only looking at safety items, we don't need to look at the cage again.  We don't need to look at anything really - just confirm the dates and slap a sticker on it.

 

Tech to me is a colossal pain in the ass/waste of time.  Each year, I roll my car through to have someone look over the same stuff that was there last year, only to tell me that the window net is too small or the seat wiggles too much or something else that is a judgement call in part of the rules. 

 

This past weekend our pit mates got busted in tech because their lap belts were bolted in with all-threaded bolts.  They spent half of Friday looking for replacement OE collared seat belt bolts.  This was to ensure the bracket was able to rotate around the bolt.    Its shown as a recommendation in our BCCR Appendix, but it is NOT a requirement.

image.png.8f1cf3391cc549eae81df892dadc77df.png

So my point is why was this team sent away from tech with no sticker and told to fix it before the race?  Thats just stress, confusion, and anger to existing customers.

 

Here I am again "Arguing against safety" as I'm sure Tech will chime in and accuse me of, but at some point "good enough" has to be where we are at.  

 

I have no problem with tech making suggestions to teams on how to improve safety, but it shouldn't come at the cost of making them stand in the sun all day (while tech makes these recommendations to teams ahead of them in line) or spend the day before the race panicking if they will get to race or not depending on if they can find some part.

 

 

Our BCCR should establish minimum safety requirements to meet business best practice (IE equivalent to other orgs) and the requirements of our insurance company, SFI, FIA regs, etc.   Anything above and beyond that needs to be OPTIONAL at the choice of teams.  If they want to go out and buy the best automatic discharge 24 liter 34 nozzle fire system, more power to them, but don't make it mandatory as that just adds cost and complexity to teams.

 

 

Rolling tech is the answer I am pushing for really hard.  Its the least offensive to Tech, as they still get to go over your car every year like they do now, but at least it can be buffered and shifted from everyone having to do it at ATL, Daytona, WGI to letting teams do it at different tracks.  

 

 

Well said Chris.

What exactly do you mean by "a rolling tech"?

Would a yearly inspection work?  As in you get a sticker that has a date on it and you must be within 1 year from that date?  I would think that could work pretty well.  New teams to the series would need to go through tech at their first race, but then you would be good for a year. If there are any 1 race "warnings" from tech they would just put that weekends date on it so the car would need to go through tech at their next race.

If you are planning to go to a big race like Daytona, WGI, etc you could get a new annual sticker at a fall race to save you that time at Daytona.

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  • Technical Advisory Committee

Yes, the idea is that the sticker lasts 1 year from date of tech inspection, or until a dated piece of gear (belts, fire bottle) expired, whichever is greater.

 

If tech sticker is expired, system flags car and won’t let you register for the race (I.e get your driver bands from Laura or Jackie) until you go through tech.

 

If something big changed (like the dash bar requirement) we could pull everyone’s sticker or flag them for a quick re-inspect at the next race

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1 hour ago, Chris Huggins said:

I keep asking the question of "why"?

 

Someone above made a good point that tech is a fundamental requirement for our series - I wholeheartedly agree.  The ability for total beginners to come race with us is why we are even here, but that beginner-ness means they need an experienced set of eyes on the car before it gets on track.

 

 

Long discussion ahead so buckle up (or skip to next post...)

 

The premise of Tech now is to verify safety equipment.  Champcar has said that they aren't going to tally up your points anymore at Tech, its up to teams to properly fill out a tech sheet.  If that is true (and in my experience it is about 95% true), than what specifically is Tech verifying?

 

1. Dates - Fire Bottle, Belts, Window Net

2. Roll Cage Construction

3. Installation of parts - Quality of work

4. Required safety gear is present or not (steering wheel lock, roof nets or arm restraints if required, etc)

It would be great to see an actual checklist of items that Tech will be verifying. That way teams can reference that list during their race prep and can verify prior to arriving at tech. It seems now the goalposts move a bit. Trying not to complain, rather make a suggestion. A known checklist of safety items. Sort of like a tech sheet for VPI.

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Years ago at Road Atlanta there was a person going down the line and checking some of the safety items. Why not do that again? It sped things up.

As Chris had noted:   Dates - Fire Bottle, Belts, Window Net

They also checked the size and thickness of the roll cage tubing. I haven't seen that done since.

 

Why not stamp a number into the cage tubing. Once the cage is approved, the number gets noted, and the number is all that's checked in subsequent years.

(standard practice in NASA and SCCA)

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I remember, years ago we were pre-checked by a volunteer at Sebring and in the past I have volunteered to be the pre-check guy road Atlanta, we had a list of things like checking if the stop lights go out and the engine cuts off with the Killswitch, that the points forms were filled out, the dates were good, etc. I don’t know why that stopped.   Actually, that stopped after Jay left

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Lots of options here.  First is consistency.

 

Tech often takes forever because what was perfectly good last time is now no good. ("Garbage" was the word used to describe my car by tech on its 5th or 6th trip through tech).  Examples include:

    - Window net arrangement

    - harness attachment

    - roll cage construction

 

Some history in the log book would help too - when was it last teched by, who did the tech.  I have no doubt the guys doing tech are not going to remember each car.  But if they can look at the book and know that they did the tech last time they can probably not treat each car like a new build.  Also include how many races the car did since last teched.

 

There is also some simple math to be done - know how many cars are arriving, expect a certain percentage will need to be teched (this number will be higher at the early season races).  The group has to know about how long it takes to get a car through the process (15 minutes?).  Then look at when THE FIRST SESSION is and make sure that tech is open for enough time to get EVERYONE through before that session.  For example you estimate that 50 cars at 15 minutes each = 750 minutes or 12 1/2 man hours.  Only have 1 guy?  Then you need tech open for 12-13 hours before the first session.  Don't have 12 hours in the schedule, then you need more guys.

 

The idea that cars miss the test sessions that they paid for because tech line is so long is a really poor customer service aspect of Champ.  It creates a land rush for tech line as soon as the gates open.  How many races are there cars getting unloaded in the outer parking lot and the first session of racing is from the front gate to tech area?

 

 

 

 

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From my experience and talking to multiple teams, the tech experience is a major point that pushes teams to race with another series. I have not had a single safety item change in the last 4 years (besides updated belts,nets, etc), but every time we tech something needs to be fixed and nearly every time we miss paid track time. I really really wish we could have a waiver that says car is deemed safe per the rules and would never have to be re-teched unless a safety rule has been changed. I would be fine with an hour long tech for my car if I only had to do it once. 

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1 hour ago, cowboys647 said:

From my experience and talking to multiple teams, the tech experience is a major point that pushes teams to race with another series. I have not had a single safety item change in the last 4 years (besides updated belts,nets, etc), but every time we tech something needs to be fixed and nearly every time we miss paid track time. I really really wish we could have a waiver that says car is deemed safe per the rules and would never have to be re-teched unless a safety rule has been changed. I would be fine with an hour long tech for my car if I only had to do it once. 

So what is changing that suddenly needs to be fixed?  Is it strict rules that should be followed (belts must swivel on mounting bolt) or interpretation by the inspectors, like the open part ahead of the window net might be a little bigger than it should be and could let a finger slip past it.  

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2 hours ago, jmabarone said:

So what is changing that suddenly needs to be fixed?  Is it strict rules that should be followed (belts must swivel on mounting bolt) or interpretation by the inspectors, like the open part ahead of the window net might be a little bigger than it should be and could let a finger slip past it.  

I think the answer to your questions is yes its those things.    And that you bring the same stuff year after year and sometimes it gets kicked out.  

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4 hours ago, cowboys647 said:

From my experience and talking to multiple teams, the tech experience is a major point that pushes teams to race with another series. I have not had a single safety item change in the last 4 years (besides updated belts,nets, etc), but every time we tech something needs to be fixed and nearly every time we miss paid track time. I really really wish we could have a waiver that says car is deemed safe per the rules and would never have to be re-teched unless a safety rule has been changed. I would be fine with an hour long tech for my car if I only had to do it once. 

 

2 hours ago, jmabarone said:

So what is changing that suddenly needs to be fixed?  Is it strict rules that should be followed (belts must swivel on mounting bolt) or interpretation by the inspectors, like the open part ahead of the window net might be a little bigger than it should be and could let a finger slip past it.  

 

While this stuff may come across as complaining, it's real. It seems to happen to us every year as well. And it definitely contributes to bogging down the tech line. A recent example was the size of the washers on our battery hold-down (that were ok the previous 3 years). We were sent away to fix it and then back to tech for a sticker. This is infuriating after spending all that time in line wasting your test session away.

 

I like the idea of having 2 approaches to tech. One for the new builds and another for returning cars. Also, if you want 4" diameter washers on the battery hold-down, that's fine with me. I have no issue with making everyone safer. Just put it in the rule book. Then it's on me when I fail tech.

Edited by B-Rad
Trying to be less complainy
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I have had my run ins with tech.  I usually, politely, ask them to show me in the rule book where the rule is that they say I am not compliant with.

 

So far, I'm 100%.  They are human.  They are pushing for safety.  I am absolutely fine with that and regularly hang out with both Ray and Thomas.  I am polite, and usually mention that if they want something to happen (especially simple things like bigger washers on the battery hold downs), just add it to the back.

 

I wouldn't want to put up with all of us donkey-holes in the tech line.

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On 4/8/2022 at 1:30 PM, Chris Huggins said:

 

 

If tech sticker is expired, system flags car and won’t let you register for the race (I.e get your driver bands from Laura or Jackie) until you go through tech.

 

I dont think jackie has done registrar stuff in awhile.  

 

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