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60% Body, Frame Rails, Crumple Zones - Discussion


Bodywork  

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  1. 1. Do you support a change to the 60% bodywork rule with the intent to reduce the number of "cut up" cars



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  • Technical Advisory Committee

Hi everyone.

 

The BOD is interested in specific input from the members regarding their opinions on the current 60% body rule, its enforcement, and its implications.

 

The BOD's general opinion/consensus is to move the club more towards "complete" cars that are recognizable.    

My summary is a "50-50" rule - Identifiable make/model from 50 feet at 50 mph.

 

From a racer standpoint, we all understand that reducing weight is an unrestricted method to go faster in champcar. 

This has lead to many cars cutting off entire ends, roofs, floor panels, any and every thing possible to get weight off the car.  

 

This thread discussed the topic a few weeks back, including references to a few of the known example cars.  

 

I want this to NOT turn into a witch hunt and start out by saying this is not intended as any sort of specific attack at certain teams or cars. 

 

The BOD feels that the health of the series is better served by trying to move the field more towards "complete" appearing cars versus exo-karts. 

 

Thus I am on here and planning to reach out to as many members as I can to determine if that feeling is in-line with the majority of the members, and if so, to get opinions on how to do that in a fair and equitable manner.

 

The goal would then be an "Enforcable" rule that is clear and concise.  It would replace the "60% body rule":

9.5.2. Each car entered must have a minimum of SIXTY PERCENT (60%) of the total ORIGINAL body work and panels on the car.

which has not been enforceable because how do you enforce 60% of a complex surface? 

Tech has been interpreting it as 60% of panels - IE hood, Fenders, Doors, Roof, Quarters  so you can cut off any two and be OK.

 

 

The common rule suggestion objections are:  

1. Difficult to enforce

2. Subjective

3. Confusing to understand

 

Ideas suggested so far:

 

1. Require leaving the floorpan, (other than drop pans for driver seating), "frame rails", and bumper beams intact.  (gray area at extents?  Would not address appearance as major body panels could still be missing)

2. a silhouette requirement (subjective?  How precise does it need to match?  What about frame rails within the silouette?)

3. the original crash structure AND MOUNTING needs to be retained (confusing? What constitutes crash structure?)

4. no removing material from the structural crush zones. ie bumper replacement is ok  (confusing? What constitutes a structural crush zone?)

5. needs to look like a car (Subjective.  current cars look like cars, just not "specific cars", more like a car I drew in pre-school)

6. you can't cut the car to be shorter than stock (Difficult to enforce.  Can i bend it to be shorter than stock?  How long is a rope?)

7. Front and rear crash absorption structures must remain intact.  They may be replaced with OE components if damaged. Lateral front and rear bumpers may be modified with the exception of extensive lightening.  (Subjective - what is "Extensive lightening? - seems like reasonable wording otherwise)

8. Vehicles must maintain at least 80% of their original bodywork.  (difficult to enforce - same as current rule - what is 80%, is it # of panels, surface area?)
9. OE windshield frames, B-pillars, and C pillars must remain intact. Removal of interior supports for bodywork is allowed.  (seems like reasonable wording - does it achieve the stated goal?  Cars with no C pillars or B pillars from the factory - ie convertibles? 
What do we do with 1/3 of the series that has done away with 1 or more of these)

10. minimum weights based off of a % of the  listed curb weights (difficult to enforce.  Requires scaling of cars.  requires teams to buy scales to scale their own cars to make sure they fit the min weight)

11. minimum weight based off of swap weights (difficult to enforce.  Requires scaling of cars.  requires teams to buy scales to scale their own cars to make sure they fit the min weight)

12. OE Crush Structures. Modifications that reduce the size and/or effectiveness of OE crush structures—including but not limited to shortening or removing frame rails or unibody structures outside the wheelbase—are discouraged in the strongest possible terms. Cars with compromised OE crush structures are exceedingly likely to fail tech. Non-OE replacement crush structures are not an acceptable substitute; you and your stick welder ain’t NHTSA. (Copied from Lemons rules.  Subjective and not "concrete" but pretty well matches up with the above goal so probably the best suggestion yet?)

13. Existing rule 9.5.4 (9.5.4. Body panels significantly supported or held solely in place by fabricated tubular, sheet metal and/or other forms of fabricated framework or brackets shall be charged for the materials associated with this structure. Body panels must maintain their original placement, shape and profile without the aid of other supporting brackets, rods, tubes or frames.)  Increase interpreted enforcement of the final sentence to include all body panels, including ones "missing" from the car?  (subjective and difficult to enforce and confusing to understand, so really the perfect trifecta of champcar BCCR!)

14. Minimum weight (80% of listed curb weight as minimum starting point suggested).  (difficult to enforce.  Requires scaling of cars.  requires teams to buy scales to scale their own cars to make sure they fit the min weight)

15. the car cant be hacked up that much (Subjective, but meets the goal perfectly)

16. Car must have 100% of the body.  Allow convertible conversions but require windshields/A pillars (difficult to enforce - same as current rule - how precise does 100% need to be - trim panels? lights? sideskirts?)

 

 

 

Are any of those ideas workable?  If so, how would the wording be written specifically in the BCCR.  If you have a specific suggestion lets hear it.  Please try to stay on topic.

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  • Technical Advisory Committee
20 minutes ago, Bill Strong said:

a silhouette requirement. Just like every other road racing series. 

Do you have anything more to add, based on the concerns outlined above regarding this suggestion?  It’s #2 in my list.

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How is this? 


The ChampCar Endurance Series is for competitors participating using front engine, mid-engine, or rear engined automobiles limited to mass-produced (over 1,000 units), four-wheeled vehicles certified for US or Canadian street and highway use at the time of the vehicle’s manufacture.   

The side silhouette of the cars body shells must be based on and recognisable as those of mass produced saloon, pickup, van, or a coupe.  Modifications may be made to the front and rear of the car to allow modifications to the aerodynamics. The overall length of the race vehicle may not change from the manufacturers specifications + or -  25mm overall. This measurement also includes the splitter and rear diffuser and wing. No part of the car can go past the front and rear bumpers +/-25mm overall when viewed from the top.

All race vehicles must retain the A-pillars and windshield. Only cars that had an OE option as a convertible may be made into a convertible, but they must use all of the components that a convertible came with, excluding the soft top and frame. Fiberglass or composite convertible covers are allowed to be used in place of the soft top and frame.
Composite hard tops are allowed to be used on convertibles that had the option for one. Hard tops may not be modified and must retain their OE shape. 

The onus concerning eligibility and provision of original manufacturer documented proof of eligibility shall rest with competitors at all times, and competitors are advised to check with the Eligibility Scrutineer if they have any doubts or queries concerning the eligibility of their cars.
These Technical Regulations are applicable to all competitors competing in the ChampCar Endurance Series.

 

Example - Miata pictured below is 3950mm. The total length of the car can not exceed 3975mm as measured. That includes the wing and it's side panels, and the splitter.

 

24.jpg

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4 minutes ago, Bill Strong said:

Modifications may be made to the front and rear of the car to allow modifications to the aerodynamics. The overall length of the race vehicle may not change from the manufacturers specifications + or -  25mm overall. This measurement also includes the splitter and rear diffuser and wing. No part of the car can go past the front and rear bumpers +/-25mm overall when viewed from the top.

 

The length requirement may have to change or be eliminated.  Right now it is listed under aerodynamics  << 9.221  Maximum wing drop-back 12” behind car. A splitter is any horizontal device installed from the centerline of the front axle extending a maximum of 12” out of the front of the vehicle.>>

 

 Having a splitter required to extend only 25mm (1") past the bumpers will effectively eliminate splitters that are on most of the cars now. 

 

I'm with Chris on the 50-50  rule. That seems common in other organization's rules.

 

It just seems like we are getting into a lot of things that will need defining so they can be objectively enforced. Heading towards the rules of spec cars in other series.

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- Front and rear crash absorption structures must remain intact.  They may be replaced with OE components if damaged. Reinforcement is highly suggested if new structures are welded in.

- Lateral front and rear bumpers may be modified, reinforced etc. 

- Excessive lightening on any front or rear crash structure is not allowed.  

 

- The following item/areas may be removed or lightened:

1.  Material anywhere under the exterior "skin" of the car.  Examples include hood, door, decklid support structure, quarter panel and fender inner supports etc.  The OE “Skin” of the car must remain intact. 

- If the vehicle came with "B" or "C" pillars and a roof, they must remain intact. Supporting structure may be removed, and the "skin" may be supported by the rollcage with tabs that conform to (list section on tabs). 

2. Exterior bodywork behind the front wheels not exceeding the height of the wheel opening and upto 20" along the length of the car for underhood venting purposes.

3. Rear bumper covers below the vertical distance to the center of the wheels. Example: 25" tall tires, the rear bumper cover may be cut 12.5" and below (measure from ground)

4. Mirrors, trim, factory wings, light assemblies, grill openings, badges, door/hood handles and latches.

 

- OE floor pan/firewall must remain with the following exceptions:

1. Minor rust repair

2. Seat pan installation

3. Fuel cell installation

 

Convertibles are free to use aftermarket "hardtops"

 

 

Although not the simplest wording, something like that would cover most of the issues.

 

If someone has cut the roof/pillars off of their car, finding a donor car and adding the top "skin" back on is not going to be a terrible job. 

I think that the current rules for wing and splitter locations are good and this wouldn't change them at all. 

"Excessive lightening" would be pretty easy to spot and call out.  Drilling holes to mount splitter braces....that's fine.  Twenty 3" dia holes in the frame horns....not so much.

 

Convertibles are easy. If your model came with an option of a convertible, you can use that or make one.  If a 1985 tunaslapper came as a 2 door convertible, you can make a convertible out of a 2 door coupe provided its the same engine/trans etc. Basically its a platform swap.  

 

Edited by petawawarace
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The 50/50 rule has good intentions, but I think there would be alot of discrepancy there.  Even missing 60% of the body, a Vette will be easily identifiable.   Other, similar cars, may need 95% of the body to be identifiable.  Seems like way too much of a judgement call IMO.

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9 hours ago, Bill Strong said:

How is this? 

Too wordy

 

8 hours ago, petawawarace said:

-

Also too wordy

 

 

Here's my problem with wordy rules and lots of specifics... You'll inevitably miss something or overstep something else while writing this very specific long rule (or you put the reader to sleep halfway through). Once you do, someone shows up with a car that doesn't meet the spirit of the rule, but does meet the letter of the rule, or someone else does meet the spirit but not the letter (in Bill's case, someone who had a 5 mph crash who's bumper got pushed in a little won't meet the +/- 1" length rule even though the structure is probably just fine).

 

Regarding the crash structures and safety side of this, I think you leave it vague and put it in the hands of tech. The lemons rule looks the best to me: 12. OE Crush Structures. Modifications that reduce the size and/or effectiveness of OE crush structures—including but not limited to shortening or removing frame rails or unibody structures outside the wheelbase—are discouraged in the strongest possible terms. Cars with compromised OE crush structures are exceedingly likely to fail tech.

 

Someone asks 'how much cutting is too much'? Well, you say "I know it when I see it"

 

 

Regarding the question of the 60% body rule and keeping cars looking like the original cars (unrelated to crumple zone/safety), I don't have anything to add to the discussion at this point, but I do like the feel of a 50-50 rule.

Edited by enginerd
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I'm thinking this wording isn't fully baked, but what about something on the lines of no structure outside the perimeter of the roll cage can be removed with cutting tools

 

In otherwords if you need a saw/torch/plasma cutter/wiz-wheel to remove an item that is outside of the cage, you can't do it.  It lets the cage supplement the structure, the rest you have to keep.

 

Crash structure is harder.  Any OE crash structure that is removed from the car must be replaced with similar from another car or re-fabricated in similar fashion.

 

 

Weighing of cars is not hard.  A set of scales is $1000 and most tracks have them.  They get set up in the morning, you're free to roll across and check yourself.  All cars in impound go across the scales on their way to the jackstands.  It is a very definitive method that is easily enforce.

 

 

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7 hours ago, enginerd said:

Too wordy

 

Also too wordy

 

 

Here's my problem with wordy rules and lots of specifics... You'll inevitably miss something or overstep something else while writing this very specific long rule (or you put the reader to sleep halfway through). Once you do, someone shows up with a car that doesn't meet the spirit of the rule, but does meet the letter of the rule, or someone else does meet the spirit but not the letter (in Bill's case, someone who had a 5 mph crash who's bumper got pushed in a little won't meet the +/- 1" length rule even though the structure is probably just fine).

 

Regarding the crash structures and safety side of this, I think you leave it vague and put it in the hands of tech. The lemons rule looks the best to me: 12. OE Crush Structures. Modifications that reduce the size and/or effectiveness of OE crush structures—including but not limited to shortening or removing frame rails or unibody structures outside the wheelbase—are discouraged in the strongest possible terms. Cars with compromised OE crush structures are exceedingly likely to fail tech.

 

Someone asks 'how much cutting is too much'? Well, you say "I know it when I see it"

 

 

Regarding the question of the 60% body rule and keeping cars looking like the original cars (unrelated to crumple zone/safety), I don't have anything to add to the discussion at this point, but I do like the feel of a 50-50 rule.

This isn’t bad, except “leaving it to tech ends up with inconsistencies and puts too much on tech that they don’t have a rule to back them.   “I know it when I see it has caused plenty of the issues we have now.   If the words strongly discouraged, were changed to prohibited this would be better. 
 

I suspect this will get discussed a bunch and not much will change. 

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This is a bit of a side track, but the idea that weighing cars is too hard and expensive is just ridiculous to me.   Weight is one of the top two or three things that matter in racing performance and every legitimate racing series in the universe measures it and takes into account in the rules.   

 

Thanks for your 22 seconds it took to look at my rant. 

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  • Members

A lot of rules in this series wouldn't need to be written if we would just fall back on one simple rule we already have:

"The race director has final say"

If you think a car is showing up that isn't safe, isn't in the spirit of the rules, etc.... send them home or give them a one race "fix-it" waiver with a huge note in their log book what needs to be addressed.  The more rules you write, the less attractive our series becomes to new people looking for a place to race.  

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39 minutes ago, riche30 said:

A lot of rules in this series wouldn't need to be written if we would just fall back on one simple rule we already have:

"The race director has final say"

If you think a car is showing up that isn't safe, isn't in the spirit of the rules, etc.... send them home or give them a one race "fix-it" waiver with a huge note in their log book what needs to be addressed.  The more rules you write, the less attractive our series becomes to new people looking for a place to race.  

I’m sorry, but this is just not how to set it up.  We all drive the car at ten-tenths on the track.  If you plan to be competitive you need to plan on driving the rule book that hard too.  If the rule book just said “do what you want, but if we don’t like it you’re going home” I think most people would go somewhere else.  
 

nothing worse than going through tech and getting flunked for something that is not in the book, but a subjective opinion of the guy holding your tech sticker.   Especially when that opinion keeps changing.   

Edited by MMiskoe
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25 minutes ago, MMiskoe said:

If the rule book just said “do what you want, but if we don’t like it you’re going home” I think most people would go somewhere else.  
 

Nothing worse than going through tech and getting flunked for something that is not in the book, but a subjective opinion of the guy holding your tech sticker.

This has been my beef since day one of my Chumpcar involvement: I couldn't build a competitive and legal car using only the rule book. I consulted closely with the regional tech as I built my car to make sure it would pass tech and be allowed to race after a 15 hour tow one way. 

 

The Mantra: "Go ahead, read the rule book and ask lots of questions but don't worry too much about things until you actually go to a race and see how the rules are applied." 

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2 hours ago, riche30 said:

The race director has final say

And to go a little further the race director is not going to see any cars going thru tech before a race. They are busy with other responsibilities.

Not seen that one wants to send anyone home as money talks.

Edited by 55mini
wording
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  • Technical Advisory Committee
2 hours ago, riche30 said:

A lot of rules in this series wouldn't need to be written if we would just fall back on one simple rule we already have:

"The race director has final say"

If you think a car is showing up that isn't safe, isn't in the spirit of the rules, etc.... send them home or give them a one race "fix-it" waiver with a huge note in their log book what needs to be addressed.  The more rules you write, the less attractive our series becomes to new people looking for a place to race.  

 

This is 100% correct, however it is a delicate line to walk between giving Tech/RD ultimate say to stop the "BS" or "extreme" stuff but still be consistent and clear in enforcement of other things.

 

I am complaining like crazy, to the point of yelling, about tech enforcing things not in the rule book like seat belt collars, dash bar bends, seat belt bolt attachment details, hans and fuel cell expirations, etc.  

If Tech was turning away cars with chopped off rear clips, I could Just as easily be yelling at them for that, since its not explicitly in the bccr.

 

In the case of cars with no rear clip, I personally agree that either Tech or RD should just step in and say "nuh uh, not here", but not everyone would agree with that, and where do I draw the line of giving tech the room to make decisions like that but not ones that I don't personally agree with.  

 

Hopefully that makes sense and you can see how muddy the water is.

If this was easy, it would be solved already...

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On 6/8/2022 at 11:45 AM, Chris Huggins said:

9.5.2. Each car entered must have a minimum of SIXTY PERCENT (60%) of the total ORIGINAL body work and panels on the car.

which has not been enforceable because how do you enforce 60% of a complex surface? 

Tech has been interpreting it as 60% of panels - IE hood, Fenders, Doors, Roof, Quarters  so you can cut off any two and be OK.

 

 

That right there is what strikes fear into the heart of any team looking at getting into the series whether your name is Joe Racer or Roger Penske.  I have been in this series since 2011 and at no time have I ever heard of the unwritten policy that it is OK to cut off two but what happens if you cut off three?  Are doors at 2/3 considered one of the three?  How on earth does one think they will tow 10 hours and actually pass tech with unwritten rules still casually being stated today?

 

23 hours ago, Bill Strong said:

How is this? 

Only cars that had an OE option as a convertible may be made into a convertible, but they must use all of the components that a convertible came with, excluding the soft top and frame.

 

More insanity.  Take the Fox chassis for example, the Mustang convertibles had extra chassis bracing because of the added flex when cutting off the roof.  Therefore:

 

If I have a Fox chassis Mustang hard top I can cut the roof off even though the Ford chassis bracing is not present.

If I have a Fox chassis TBird hard top I cannot cut the roof off because Ford never sold a TBird convertible.

 

Wait a sec... makes as much sense as having identical chassis and drivetrain but different fuel capacity so I guess there is that.

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6 hours ago, riche30 said:

A lot of rules in this series wouldn't need to be written if we would just fall back on one simple rule we already have:

"The race director has final say"

If you think a car is showing up that isn't safe, isn't in the spirit of the rules, etc.... send them home or give them a one race "fix-it" waiver with a huge note in their log book what needs to be addressed.  The more rules you write, the less attractive our series becomes to new people looking for a place to race.  

 

Nothing will drive away racers more then this suggestion.  Most of the west coast issues are due to this type of thinking. People want clear and consistently applied rules. This is literally the opposite. The race director has final say is a fair statement, but it should be invoked VERY VERY sparingly.

 

A combination of no deleting crash structures and silhouette or 50 at 50 rule is probably best. Both are a little subjective.

 

I actually like a combination of no deleting crash structures and minimum weights based off a percentage swap weight best. Luxury cars might need a larger percentage off swap weights. ex STS. The rule probably would be unpopular, but it isn't subjective, solves a bunch of issues with the series by adding checks/balances, and give those that want to tweak a number to optimize for. 

 

Bill's verbose wording suggestion would eliminate splitters so probably not a good idea; plus it would double the size of the rule book. ;)

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1 hour ago, Ron_e said:

 

That right there is what strikes fear into the heart of any team looking at getting into the series whether your name is Joe Racer or Roger Penske.  I have been in this series since 2011 and at no time have I ever heard of the unwritten policy that it is OK to cut off two but what happens if you cut off three?  Are doors at 2/3 considered one of the three?  How on earth does one think they will tow 10 hours and actually pass tech with unwritten rules still casually being stated today?

 

 

More insanity.  Take the Fox chassis for example, the Mustang convertibles had extra chassis bracing because of the added flex when cutting off the roof.  Therefore:

 

If I have a Fox chassis Mustang hard top I can cut the roof off even though the Ford chassis bracing is not present.

If I have a Fox chassis TBird hard top I cannot cut the roof off because Ford never sold a TBird convertible.

 

Wait a sec... makes as much sense as having identical chassis and drivetrain but different fuel capacity so I guess there is that.

Ron, I believe Chris is trying to eliminate the current inconsistency by polling the community for ideas for the best replacement of this rule. 

 

Don't shoot the messenger here. Chris's intention here is awesome. 

 

If you were to replace the rule, what would you suggest?

 

Goals being: 1. preventing unsafe cars 2. preventing the need for all competitive cars to be exoskeletons that don't look like racecars. 

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1 hour ago, veris said:

I actually like a combination of no deleting crash structures and minimum weights based off a percentage swap weight best. Luxury cars might need a larger percentage off swap weights. ex STS. The rule probably would be unpopular, but it isn't subjective, solves a bunch of issues with the series by adding checks/balances, and give those that want to tweak a number to optimize for. 

 

Not sure why a minimum weight should be any less than the swap weight... would seemingly clear up a lot of contention if they were the same.

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55 minutes ago, Grufton said:

 

Not sure why a minimum weight should be any less than the swap weight... would seemingly clear up a lot of contention if they were the same.

What do cars do that are under that weight?  I imagine 50% of the field is under swap weight.

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Why not just say something like:

 

Cars need to have bumpers in the stock locations.  Cars can not have major external body parts removed.  Vents, and ducting is allowed.  

 

 

Not sure if this would also alienate a large portion of cars....

Edited by wvumtnbkr
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8 hours ago, Grufton said:

 

Not sure why a minimum weight should be any less than the swap weight... would seemingly clear up a lot of contention if they were the same.

Swap weight was based on a typical race weight (originally 90% of curb weight).  Most competitive cars are significantly under that. 90% of swap weight would be my recommendation on minimum weight. It works for most cars. An 85% of swap weight or modified swap weight would be needed for odd luxury cars like the STS. 

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Weight no less than 90% of published curb weight, stock silhouette within 1" of published dimensions.  Establish either a database or single point of reference.  Use the lightest curb weight published and allow it to be updated "if" someone can present factory documentation to correct/dispute it.  If the data is "not available" for a car in the VPI, remove it until factory data can be provided (and/or require it to be submitted if someone requests a vehicle to be added).

 

Yes, this impacts aero and flare rules as written and cut down doors, removed roofs etc.  Oh, yea...call it "limited prep" and have a sunset period on the current generation of cars not in compliance - or allow in EC if determined to be "safe".

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stock looking, that might be doable on some level but … People, what’s with with the minimum weight thing ?!? This series has always rewarded folks willing to do the most, racing is not an easy button.

 

Anyone that wants cars to be completely stock can go SCCA   IT racing.

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