Rule changes and X cars

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Kary's post

Postby tb911 on Fri Jul 30, 2004 11:03 pm

I think Kary brings up some important and valid points. The club is here to provide it's members an enjoyable experience, but in a certain context; that context being "Porsche". It is not the club's goal to be everything to everyone.
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Postby Gary Burch on Sat Jul 31, 2004 7:50 am

Kary, you do bring up some valid points concerning the x-car question. If you want an autocross car, instead of building one why not get an early 911 or even a 914/6. I don't think you would mind running with the little guys at the top of the alphabet. The competiition is tough.javascript:emoticon('8)')


I don't know why people want to continue the x-car question. Like Tom says it is a Porsche club. We provide a venue to accomodate the members that want to drive their Porsche's and at the end of the year we have an x-car autocross. It is such a hassle to deal with the x-car thing, speaking here as an event chair. And, that is for members, non-members bring a whole new set of problems. Plus, there is no way to win on an x-car. If you let it in people are upset and if you disqualify it people are upset.

8)
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Postby ttweed on Sat Jul 31, 2004 11:29 am

kary wrote: I am not really interested in running three laps for an event.
Kary- SCCA runs many practice events where you get as many laps as PCA does. The 3-lap thing is for championship points events only, and some people enter their cars twice and take X-runs at those events also, along with fun-runs afterwards, and get as many laps as we do.

If we were to exclude X cars from the last auto-x we would have gained back 44 laps at around 100 seconds a lp on average.
This is not really true. The additional time involved is 44 x 20 seconds (the average interval between cars) not 44 x 100 (the average lap time). Those four X cars probably added a total of 15 minutes to the event, but only if the drivers would not have entered in another car if X cars were not allowed. I think at least 2 of them (the Hauptman brothers) would have entered in their 914 if their Spyder replica wasn't allowed.

I think over time we will get into trouble with technical inspections, safety of cars and the fitness of these cars to run
As a tech inspector, I have no problem in determining whether a car of another marque meets our technical requirements, according to the rules. I may not know how to get the hood up easily and where everything is located on the car as well as with the Porsches, but that shouldn't be a problem. Maybe it would take slightly longer.

we might get into trouble with our insurance
That hasn't been a problem so far, and we have had X cars run at the fastest, most dangerous venues we use (WSIR and CA Speedway).

we might displace members who really want to run Porsches
Again, if the member would have run their Porsche instead of their X car, have we displaced anyone?

We end up putting a great burden on our chair people to make decisions that are really not necessary which only adds further stress to volunteers that dedicate much time and effort to make our events fun and profitable for our club.
All the more reason to make a Regional policy at the Board level that takes the decision-making out of their hands. I thought we had one already that said if more than 100 Porsches show up, no X-cars? Apparently, that wasn't applied at the last autox.

So I still ask why do we really need to accommodate X cars? There are consequences to our events if we try and do this.
The original discussion around this centered on under-attended events, like the Q-DEs and some TTs at away tracks, where the extra entries have helped the club break even or maybe make money instead of losing money. This seems to me to be an obvious benefit to the club. If the drivers are a known quantity, I don't see why there would be any safety concerns in sharing the track with them either.

There are some valid points in what you are saying, Kary, but I don't see why their couldn't be some reasoned policies adopted that let us have the best of both worlds. To simply say "this is a Porsche club for Porsches only" is a little close-minded, I think, and throws the baby out with the bathwater. I think we could maximize the fun factor for our members by allowing them to run their other cars occassionally in specific events, when it wouldn't put an undue burden (and hopefully help out on $$$) on the event.

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Postby kary on Sat Jul 31, 2004 3:29 pm

Tom, you have taken an interesting approach responding to my post by divide and conquer. Unfortunately what I was doing was putting out a series of (mostly) factual statements about auto-x that sum up to something I am not sure people realize will happen if X cars are adopted. It is difficult at best to make rules for all the combinations of situations that will and have arisen.

1. X cars as a member
2. X cars as an affiliate member
3. X cars as a friend of a member

Then double those situations with DE/TT and you have created a nightmare of a rule set in which anyone can continually argue their case and how the rule does not apply to them. Then there are the other members who will complain about X cars and taking track time away (auto-x). I have been there and lived this for multiple years. It is no fun and you have already heard from a current chair the same feelings.

Your point about X car additonal time is accurate, but what happens when many more people want to do this if somehow we came up with an enforcabel set of rules? That was my point in making that statement to make people think about the time involved in an auto-x for X cars. This thread (and others) started, I believe, with the notion that people wanted to invite friends who were affiliate members with X cars and also themselves (members) wanted to run thier own X cars. I am sure there are other variations that were discussed in these threads but all of them center back to why would we become another type of club.

This is an additional load no matter how you slice it. The affiliate member or guest policy is in existence to try and bring additional members into the club by allowing them to drive friends Porsche cars, not bring other non-Porsche cars in. People like Jack have tried to strengthen our TT events by allowing others to particpate. This is probably a necessary evil but it to will suffer as has auto-x when the participation numbers increase to the levels of success that auto-x has had.

Additionally, I was trying to keep Time trial/DE out of the equation becasue there were some very serious close calls the first year of the CFoS with some Corvette guys who did not follow the point by rules and almost hit me as well as other Porsche club members. This is an issue and will get worse if we allow many non-Porsche cars into the DE/TT events seeing as we only have the drivers word in many cases to establish there skill set. Note, the Corvette guys were not allowed to particpate any longer in our events as far as I know and part of the reason for accepting them was because we needed additional participates. What would have happened if there were a serious accident in that event? Maybe banning of non-Porsche cars?

I think we all need to realize that auto-x and time trial are different animals and trying to mix the topics only confuses the situation further. Suffice it to say, they are not even close to the same type of event and require different analysis if you want to allow X cars.

Tom, if you want to run X cars or anyone else wants to do so, there are plenty of venues by which to do this. SCCA, TracQuest, Speed Ventures, NASA, to name a few. I think once many of you run in those venues and see the mixture of driver and car capability, you will realize that you will like our current model, particularly in DE/TT.

That is just my opinion and if you would like to submit a change to the rules please do so, and good luck!
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Postby ttweed on Sat Jul 31, 2004 5:48 pm

kary wrote: Then there are the other members who will complain about X cars and taking track time away (auto-x).
So wouldn't enforcing the limitation on X-cars whenever there were more than 100 Porsches entered at an autox do that? I thought we already had that covered, but apparently not. I don't have any problem with that rule.

This is an additional load no matter how you slice it.
Sometimes we might want an additional load, in an under-subscribed event.

Additionally, I was trying to keep Time trial/DE out of the equation becasue there were some very serious close calls the first year of the CFoS with some Corvette guys who did not follow the point by rules
Shouldn't they be black-flagged, then? There are ways to deal with that situation. I was in that run group at the first CFoS event and he didn't cause me any problems, except when blocking the track at the exit one time.

We aren't quite on the same wave length here, Kary, as I was really ONLY talking about Q-DEs, but TTs should be addressed also. Your arguments about the problems with autox I agree with entirely. But a simple regional policy statement, like "When Porsche entries to a PCA-SDR autocross exceed 100, no X-car entries will be accepted" would take care of that, no?

This is an issue and will get worse if we allow many non-Porsche cars into the DE/TT events seeing as we only have the drivers word in many cases to establish there skill set.
If you want to stop that problem, make a policy that requires outside drivers to be Zone 8 TT licensed or signed off by an instructor ride-along in at least the first session, if equivalent credentials can be provided by the driver.

What would have happened if there were a serious accident in that event? Maybe banning of non-Porsche cars?
There have already been 5 or 6 serious incidents this year, and we're still running, aren't we? This issue needs to be addressed by course design and safety policies.

Tom, if you want to run X cars or anyone else wants to do so, there are plenty of venues by which to do this.
I know that, Kary, and I have run with them, in and with a wide variety of cars. I've had a lot of fun doing it.

You seem to have assumed that I am advocating for wide open X car entries, by member and non-member alike, in any type of PCA-SDR event. That is not the case. I think the club serving members only is a fine principle. Limiting events to members only makes sense to me. I actually don't even care if we want to ban all X cars from big track Time Trials and DEs, if that's what the club thinks is best. I have already stated that I would never enter my current Lotus race car in such an event. But the issue under discussion was letting X cars run in a parking lot DE, where speeds are lower and driver skills/passing issues can be easily controlled. All I want to be able to do is run my X car in a DE at the Q, in the parking lot. The convenience of being able to do some setup and testing on it without driving 200 miles would be immense and a great benefit to me, and possibly other members. If the event is under attended, it is also a benefit to the club.

That is just my opinion and if you would like to submit a change to the rules please do so, and good luck!
It has already been stated by others in this thread that this is not an issue with Zone 8 rules. The current Zone 8 rules already allow X cars, at the discretion of the event chair. If you are really so concerned about the hordes of bad-driving Corvette and rice rocket owners who are about to overrun our club, why don't you submit a rule change that no X-cars are ever allowed?

What I am trying to do here is stimulate discussion of a regional policy, established by the SDR board, not the Zone, that limits and defines the extent of X car entries more clearly, to everyone's benefit. If such a policy was stated and adopted, it would take the heat off the event chairs, who currently hold this discretion under the current rules.

I would be fine with a policy that included any number of necessary limitations (as discussed above) in order to satisfy everyone's concerns. I would be completely happy if the policy only allowed X car entries at parking lot events (not big tracks) when Porsche entries were less than 100, or something, but I don't think that would be the best rule to serve the club's interests. Let's come up with a better one, by discussing it.

My intention in quoting your message is not to "divide and conquer", but to make my comments easier to understand in this medium. It is a common practice on the internet, dating back to the early days of Usenet, before the World Wide Web was built. I wish everyone would do it. It makes it easier to understand people's comments if you know what message they're responding to. Threads can get lengthy and confusing on these BBS forums.

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Postby kary on Sat Jul 31, 2004 7:56 pm

Tom, I can't tell if you are somehow offended or just too close to this topic. All I did was present my thoughts on X-cars in general without any agenda personal or otherwise. My tenure of being safety chair (both auto-x and DE) and auto-x chair provides a perspective that few in the club can really appreciate if you have not gone through it in recent years when the participation has been so high. We are now in a debate that is down to picking at specific words and phrases without an understanding of the concepts and issues that affect the entire club. The approach of setting a rule with the intent that it handles all the issues is naive at best. And yes, I do know the forum by which people quote to stay on topic in a thread, unfortunately I have not seen this format from you is such an exaggerated manner. There is some sort of clue in that for sure.

I think Tom Brown summed it up well above and I would add I have little or no influence on this topic and nor do I care to. When I want to run something other than a Porsche I will attend other club events as I already do.

As I said before, good luck on your quest!
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Postby ttweed on Sun Aug 01, 2004 8:01 am

kary wrote:Tom, I can't tell if you are somehow offended or just too close to this topic.
Kary, let me assure you that I am not offended, and yes, I am very close to this topic as I was caught up in the controversy at the last DE, and ultimately denied entry, after several flip-flops on the issue.

All I did was present my thoughts on X-cars in general without any agenda personal or otherwise.

I respect your opinion and those of everyone else in the club, but feel forced to defend mine, as those that you have expressed read to me like you consider any X car entries at any PCA driving events (except possibly "bring your other car", no-points autocrosses or Instructor training days) as a dangerous trend, possibly snowballing eventually into the "End Of The Club As We Know It."

I don't agree with that, and I think that it is very possible to establish some firm guidelines or policies that make it possible and reasonable to allow limited X entries at some events. No, you cannot make rules that will please everyone all the time. But the existing Zone rule is obviously not adequate, as the event chair was not allowed to exercise his discretion at the last event. Dan C. told me he had no problem with me or my car running in the DE. But because of another unknown driver in a similar car, pressure was brought to bear on him from unnamed sources which made it uncomfortable or difficult/impossible for him to exercise his discretion. I would like to bring those concerns out into the open and have them addressed by reasonable policies that will allow everyone to be comfortable with a little diversity in club events, and maximize the opportunities and benefits for our members. I think that this can be done in a simple, safe and sane manner that does not detract from the quality of our events or jeopardize the future of the club.

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Postby kary on Sun Aug 01, 2004 12:37 pm

Tom I do not disagree with your statements relative to your situation. You should not have had a flip flop on a decision. What I tried to voice is the concern that making a rule is difficult when all things are considered. If we are able to make a rule that handles club members only that is clear and concise for the admission of X cars then it seems to me we will have more members trying to create a rule around affliate member X cars and maybe even non-member X cars who are guests of a member. While people might think I am going beyond what is possible it still is in the realm of possibilities.

For me one concern is that auto-x is too busy. I just attended one after a long vacation from auto-x and found that it is clearly over subscribed. I was still sitting there waiting for my time run session at 5:45pm completing around 6pm. The elimination of any X cars would have helped that issue as would some more efficencies during the day.

My second and primary concern is the DE/TT. I do not do events in the stadium anymore for many reasons so I will only talk about the big track issue. I have run with other groups, including our own, and see some interesting situations as I am sure many of you have seen in your travels throughout your careers in driving. The safest environment I have seen is POC time trail by far. There are many reasons for this, but the primary reason is that people are qualified, their cars are check out with more rigor (paper work and stamps), and the 13/13 rule is enforced without exception. They do not allow anyone in without these credentials so individual discussion will not supercede rules of admission. Having run almost the equivalent number of events between our Time trial series and POC Time Trial series I have had far less close calls and seen far less accidents in POC than PCA.

So you might be asking what does this have to do with X cars? The qualifications of a driver and a car and the rigor by which a club administers events is critical to safety in these big track events. While Jack does an excellent job (Thank you Jack!) our Time Trail series is still growing up. We need to have far less accidents and close calls than we currently do. My feeling that adding X cars only raises that risk higher. It is difficult to determine a drivers credentials and technical inspect a car that you know nothing about. Having a person tell you they have driven at this club or that club does little to verify that. driving with them also does not tell you what there temperament really is. They do not know what the philosophy of our club is and may or may not realize that is is different.

Now I completely understand that we need to break even at a minimum for our Time Trail series and have helped out by evaluating and instructing new drivers so we can have the additional dollars. This applies to new big track drivers as well as others who have shown up such car brands as Corvettes, BMWs and Honda's. I can tell you first hand that it is a crap shoot, sometimes it is ok and other times it is scarey! It is not comfortable riding in these situations and also somewhat death defying when we have to drive on the track with these situations.

If we could come up with something that can remove the needless dangers as POC has come up with I am all for it!
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Postby MikeD on Sun Aug 01, 2004 1:00 pm

kary wrote:For me one concern is that auto-x is too busy. I just attended one after a long vacation from auto-x and found that it is clearly over subscribed. I was still sitting there waiting for my time run session at 5:45pm completing around 6pm. The elimination of any X cars would have helped that issue as would some more efficencies during the day.


I do not think the solution to this particular problem has to do with the rules regarding X-cars/drivers. It has more to do with an excess of demand for the Autocross product. I see two ways to solve this problem. Gear up for 2 autocrosses a month (more chairs, more workers, new points rules, etc., etc...) OR simply limit the number of entries (which seems like the easiest solution). Looking at Kary's graph maybe 130 in the west lot, and 120 in the east lots seems be a good number. Most events have an attendance level under this, and it seems most complaints come in shortly after events that exceed this.

It's hard to say no to more business and would be out of character for this club. However, while it is important to accomodate as many members as we can at each event, it is MORE important to maintain the consistant quality at each event.

Just my opinion and ideas...
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Postby MikeD on Sun Aug 01, 2004 1:14 pm

kary wrote:... The safest environment I have seen is POC time trail by far. There are many reasons for this, but the primary reason is that people are qualified, their cars are check out with more rigor (paper work and stamps), and the 13/13 rule is enforced without exception. They do not allow anyone in without these credentials so individual discussion will not supercede rules of admission. Having run almost the equivalent number of events between our Time trial series and POC Time Trial series I have had far less close calls and seen far less accidents in POC than PCA.


Well, I'm not sure I agree with this statement 100%. I have seen some sort of incident at almost every POC event. Almost exclusively in the race groups, but still a LOT more mishaps than at the PCA events. As near as I can tell there were only 2 incidents at PCA TT's in the last 1+ years I have been attending.

Also, I took my PCA TT license to my FIRST POC event. Got a check-out ride from an instructor and granted a POC TT license. I do know that POC is very strict and probably has THE best racer's training program in the West. But there are going to be people on track with you who may not have come up through the ranks (as Kary suggests).

Again, just my perspective.
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Postby kary on Sun Aug 01, 2004 8:55 pm

Also, I took my PCA TT license to my FIRST POC event. Got a check-out ride from an instructor and granted a POC TT license. I do know that POC is very strict and probably has THE best racer's training program in the West. But there are going to be people on track with you who may not have come up through the ranks (as Kary suggests).


Mike you are correct that the incidents in POC are race groups. Very different environments than time trial. Haven't seen any POC time trail incidents in the past two years. Just because you got a check ride and made it through the time trail process does not mean that they are soft in their approach. May be you are just a great driver :D If a newly granted TT license has an accident it is immediately revoked. I was told that you need to complete 6 events before they would take you off of "probation".

Well, I'm not sure I agree with this statement 100%. I have seen some sort of incident at almost every POC event. Almost exclusively in the race groups, but still a LOT more mishaps than at the PCA events. As near as I can tell there were only 2 incidents at PCA TT's in the last 1+ years I have been attending.


PCA has had four incidents this year on BIG tracks that I know of. Three at California Speedway and one at Buttonwillow. Maybe there are other smaller incidents but these four were good levels of damage from totaling of a car to multiple fender/door damage. Still a few more in auto-x though I do not know all of those nor the specifics. Given those incidents, if we were in POC, those drivers would be on probation I believe and for those that have had a second would be out for a period of time.
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Postby mnettles on Mon Aug 02, 2004 6:19 am

POC had a roll-over incident in the time trial group this year at WSIR too.

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Postby kary on Mon Aug 02, 2004 12:34 pm

MJ, do you happen to know what the driver status is within POC now?
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Postby mnettles on Mon Aug 02, 2004 8:06 pm

No, I don't. I haven't seen him at an event since. He was a student.....
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My thoughts

Postby David J Marguglio on Tue Aug 03, 2004 4:02 pm

Guys, (and MJ) I have been content to sit back and allow Tom to nearly exactly represent my thoughts on this matter; now I feel compelled to step in and add my own two cents or at least underscore one of Tom's ideas.

First, I think we are on the verge of taking this string off on a tangent regarding the safety of time trial events and the efficacy of POC licensing vs. PCA. Let's get back to X-car admission and regional policy (or lack thereof) on their admission.

Lets not even distinguish between AX, QDE, DE, TT; the question is: “Do we want to allow X-cars to participate at all?” If so, under what conditions would we allow them?” I am sure that it will come as no surprise that I in favor of allowing X-cars, but indulge me a brief antedote.

Like Kary, Martin Reinhardt had a desire to build a fun and quick little car to occasionally autocross; he also has very close ties to the club and wanted to stay involved. He endeavored to build a 550 spyder to the highest standards and succeeded. Because of his use of a lot of modern (mostly Porsche) running gear, his car was likely far superior car to the original 550. Upon completion, Martin was told by "the powers that be" that he would never be allowed to enter that car in an PCASDR driving event. After much anguish and little driving (not as much fun on the street I would guess) Martin sold his car.

Now who among us would like to have seen Martin drive his car at an occasional auto-x or QDE? I for one.

Who among us has enjoyed seeing Tom drive his Lotus at the occasional event? I for one.

Who among us would like to see me drive my Ferrari 250 GTO at the occasional event? I wish!

Anyway, my point is that everyone can probably think of a scenario where a member (or affiliate) has access to a great car and would like to bring it out to show it off and share it with the club. If you can concede that, isn’t it just a matter of defining a clear policy?

Here's my suggestion:

Members and affiliate members will be allowed to enter an X car at any event with less than 100(?) entrants subject to successfully passing tech. inspection.

Does this settle most arguments? Only members, only undersubscribed events, only if they can pass tech. Since these would be undersubscribed events, it would be worth (for the sake of profitability) a little extra time to tech. Driver experience is driver experience and should be evaluated individually X-car or P-car.

Isnt this supposed to be fun??? :lol:
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