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Autocross (was: Ofest Suggestions)

Discussion in 'Oktoberfest 2013' started by gvcmel, Feb 2, 2013.

    • Member

    gvcmel

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    Almost afraid to interrupt this discussion but the heading is "Ofest Suggestions" so here we go.

    For years now the autocross FTD award has gone to someone on slicks. What that means is the tire sponsor (Bridgestone for a while now, Michelin before if memory servers me) has been awarding a Hoosier slick driver for kicking their butt. And since confession is good for the soul I can be accused of running slicks in pursuit of that prize for a few early years.

    Let's change the qualifications to compete for the FTD prize. Anyone chasing the FTD prize (tires) has to be running on tires with a treadwear rating of 140 or higher. That means that the vast majority of entrants in the autocross meet the basic qualification to actually have a chance for the prize. The FTD prize could then possibly be awarded to someone running the sponsors tires which would be a big boost for the sponsor.

    We might still award the FTD trophy to someone running slicks on a BMW. They would then be recognized for their effort/skill in the competition. Looking at the participants slicks represent a very small percentage of the entries but has taken home an abnormally large number of the tires in the autocross.

    Yes, it's a change but maybe change is good.
    <a voice off stage commands "Raise shields", "prepare phasers" >
    • Member

    steven s

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    We will be using a new autocross classification system this year.
    Fewer classes and hopefully this will mean better competition and no longer a trophy simply for showing up.
    It won't be all M3s one day and everyone else on the other but a mix depending on car and mods.

    Will have more details after this week's Pacific Regional Conference.
    • Member

    gvcmel

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    So you are saying i should hold off on buying new tires until i see the classification? :D
    • Member

    steven s

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    You do have time. We are looking to open registration March 1 and will need to have the autocrossing class system in place. It's similar to others where you enter the car and mods and you get the class.
    Only problem we face is the problem we always face.
    There are people that don't know what model car they have, let alone engine and mods.
    We'll see. If people like the classing system hopefully we can continue using it.
    We all know the current system sucks and vastly out-of-date.
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    dschultz 07 Z4 M Coupe

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    You say that like it's a bad thing. I say a ribbon and a snack for everyone!
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    MGarrison

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    (Steven, you might want to move these into a new thread, perhaps something like O'Fest Auto-X Suggestions)

    I would suggest the following 'Preparation Stage' rules modifications -

    In Stage Two, modify to:

    Tires with a treadwear rating of 80 or higher are allowed.

    Then, add a 4th preparation stage, where Stage 4 preparation elevates a car 3 levels (D or C would be elevated to A, D/C > A)

    Stage 4
    Tires with a treadwear rating below 80 are allowed.

    This would effectively bump-up anyone running dedicated auto-x tires to the highest available class, and lessen to some degree the advantage of running tires specifically engineered for autocrossing in the other classes.

    Tires with a treadwear rating below 80 are almost assuredly R-compound tires, and using treadwear for classification should effectively cover all dedicated auto-x tires, and eliminate debate about whether some sticky gumball tire might not technically fit some "R-compound" definition.

    The O'Fest auto-x has almost gotten to the point where to be really competitive (Mel's fine performances due to skill & talent notwithstanding) you nearly have to be running Hoosier's auto-x soft A6 compound, and to hope to be in-the-running, you have to at least be on the competition's dedicated auto-x tires, the 30-treadwear rated Kumho V710, or the C71 compound 40-treadwear Hankook Z214. Wishfully thinking for an outside chance at a trophy means running on the R-compound non-auto-x track tires of the 40-treadwear rated BFG G-Force R1, 60-treadwear Yokohama A048 or Pirelli P-Zero Corsa-system, or 80-treadwear rated Michelin Pilot Sport Cup.

    In any case, for the competition level to have gotten to the point where it takes a set of dedicated expensive Hoosier auto-x tires to win a B or C class, or FTD... seems a bit much.

    I generally agree with Mel's points above, but am unsure how best to make a chance for winning any FTD prize (not title or trophy), more fairly attainable.

    First, I think for any O'Fest FTD prize other than trophies or title of FTD or Overall FTD, it should be specified that the awardee must be a competing BMW or BMW-made Mini, since O'Fest is, after all, a BMW-centric event. Non-BMW-class auto-x competitors should only be eligible for O'Fest trophies and/or FTD titles.

    If there could be additional FTD prizes, it would be easier to specify an FTD-on-street-tires prize, and FTD-on-anything prize. Limiting eligibility based on any criteria, including my for-BMW's-only suggestion above, will have somebody, someplace, unhappy, because they fall within the exclusion criteria. Defining street tires is a whole other can of worms, what with BMW equipping it's new cars with tires that outperform the dedicated racing tires of 25 years ago!
    • Member

    steven s

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    Good idea.

    We are doing away with the past autocross rules for this year.
    We now limit winning tires to a BMW (or Mini).
    We had a non-BMW get FTD at Road America. Fortunately there was an extra tire certificate to give to the BMW.
    And to note, nothing says that FTD has to get a set of tires. It's just something we've been doing and grateful that Bridgestone has been providing them to us.
    Maybe FTD on Bridgestones would be better.? :)
    • Member

    MGarrison

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    I know that any substantive prizes or tire sets are solely at the discretion and beneficence of the sponsor, and subject to disappear at any time.

    Although logical, unless required by the sponsor, it seems to me difficult to restrict a sponsor's FTD-awarding solely to their brand. There might still be just as many auto-x competitors, but that would substantially limit who is eligible for the prize.

    Sounds like the setup is to be some automation of determining a competitor's classification, vs. doing away with auto-x rules altogether? If we were to have a free-for-all auto-x, the only winners would be those in the most setup, powerful cars with the stickiest of tires - anyone running anything remotely stock would almost assuredly stand no chance for any trophies.
    • Member

    gvcmel

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    Comments so far:

    Treadwear - I suggested 140 as that is the rating SCCA uses for the Street Tuner class. Its often one of the best attended and competitive classes on a weekend. Their influence has driven the tire manufacturers to build a whole series of tires in that wear rating.Lets dismiss the constant confusion and complaining that the wear ratings are all questionable.;) It also means that someone can buy one set of tires to drive daily or to OFest, compete on them and go home. Cost to compete goes down overall. Its interesting to see that Mr Garrison has also noticed you need qualifiers to get in the hunt for the prize. GVC has eliminated slicks from competition in our Top Gun Challenge just so more drivers can score points without added costs.

    Eligibility - FTD should only go to BMWs entered in the week long event. MINIs maybe too, I know there is a big marketing issue with a different brand being involved. I have no problem allowing people to come out for the day to play but competition prizes (be they whatever) should only go to participants entered in multiple days. Awarding the prize to someone who brings out a purpose built car for one day is slightly unfair to those who drove large distances to participate <whine mode off>.

    Suggested New Rule - Steve, I reviewed the GGC rules last night. Knowing the large number of amateur autocrossers involved in OFest this looks like an administration nightmare. I know ever modification on the E46 and found myself bewildered by a couple of areas. Wear your firesuit if this becomes the OFest rules. LOL
    • Member

    steven s

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    Why should this year be any different than any other year?
    Fact is the majority of the people have a good time.
    Past autocross rules were confusing.
    While every chapter has the best set of rules, none are perfect.

    GGC being the host chapter asked if they could use their classes.
    It was their suggestion. My suggestion after reviewing them. But not my decision.
    I will stand behind the suggestion and decision.

    I [we] would like everyone please everyone, it just doesn't happen.
    This will be Ofest 16 for me. I too had complaints. Still do. No event is perfect.
    My enjoyment is making sure people don't see those imperfections.

    Since I'm the only one who posts here from the club, of my own choice, I understand the risks I take. It's the 15 years of membership that has be posting here.
    Sometimes difficult to be a member and employee at the same time.
    • Member

    steven s

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    I didn't mean to suggest that there would be no rules. Just different ones. Sandlapper Chapter has one rule. To have fun.
    MrsBee likes this.
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    Bimmerdan

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    I see no issues with allowing the host chapter to determine the classification system they want to use. It could actually make things pretty interesting year to year.

    There's also always the option of throwing out the classification system all together and simply using the SCCA PAX index. Just sayin'...

    Lastly, has anyone ever approached the sponsor to see if they might do what BF Goodrich used to do several years ago, which was to present a really nice jacket (with custom O'Fest logo and all) to anyone that trophied if they were on the sponsor's tires? I still have those jackets and people ask about them all the time. It actually gave you a reason to run that particular manufacturer's tire.
    • Member

    gvcmel

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    Steve, you're doing a fine job! Take one atta boy from me as a small token of the appreciation for the job you are doing. Don't interpret anything as being directed at you as the architect of the autocross rules. I was just making a joke after experiencing the years of complaining about the autocross in 2008 at WGI. And that was only a scoring change. :eek: Hate think what I would still hear if the rules had changed.

    So, I've stirred the pot and the brew appears to be a little toxic. I'll review the autocross rules when published and see where I can cheat, err creatively interpret their meaning and come prepared this fall. :D

    BTW - like the jacket idea. Bridgestone has been pestering me for two years to come over to their side. Might be just the incentive I need.

    Kart racing this weekend. A couple of more weekends with the road racers bending up karts wholesale and a bunch of us may end up banned from running.:( Still too much winter to go for that to happen.
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    Bimmerdan

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    I'll second that! Steven does an incredible job and wears more hats than anybody I know! Keep up the great work and don't hesitate to reach out if I (we) can help in any way!
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    mrsbee

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    Not to mention us lucky saps in the Sandlapper Chapter get to use the Performance Center for our Autocrosses.
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    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    It probably makes sense to use GGC's rules, whatever they are, because I know that chapter has a very successful autocross program. But I also like the San Diego chapter's classification system, partly because it's so simple. We call it Modified if your tires have a "wear number" (actually a misinterpretation, but at least there's a number) of less than 140.
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    mattm

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    FTD is supposed to be "Fastest Time of Day" not FTD in Bridgestone/BFG/Hankook. FWIW top performers will have a dedicated set of rims and tires to have the best set up no matter what rules offer.

    Apply SCCA PAX/RTP to the various flavors of BMW might be interest (I'd be happy to help since I drink the SCCA Kool-Aid pretty heavily).

    @Satch If I keep my basically stock 1M (or stock to SCCA A Stock classing) being dumped into a "modified" isn't fair to me. I'm not thrilled about being penalized because I autocross on a regular basis, rather than the infrequent competitor who runs their street tire only a few times a year. NASA uses your suggested schema, but a more just system that scales their classes a tad more fairly via "points." To be bumped into a modified class where to level the field for my 1M means extraordinary changes to the car to be competitive.
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    gvcmel

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    I like the San Diego chapters classification. Simple is good. Also run a lot of SCCA events (30 years) and have no issues with their classifications either. SCCA has a lot more participants and the PAX creates some interesting contests. Nothing more challenging than finding out you have to go two seconds faster than a well driven Mazda3 to win a class.
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    mattm

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    Jack Burns had me in his Mazda3 in 2007 (I was in the E36 '96 318i). I felt we were properly matched in heads up competition. MINIs also appropriate in H Stock, too. It had a National Championship win in 2002 and a Pro Solo Super Challenge win in 2011. Sadly the 318i was getting longer in the tooth and was a click off the MINIs in 2011 at the Solo Nationals. Then "Sandy" flooded the car in October. So it was sort of a Viking funeral (at 183,000 miles). Insurance payout was pretty good though. :) I am still searching for a nice replacement with low miles.
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    steven s

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    How many classes does SCCA have?

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