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Old 06-07-2016, 06:34 PM   #1
Matt Covert
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If you could magically solve 1 problem in your racing world, what would it be?

Hey everyone! My motorsport company is conducting some research into the autocross industry/culture. I'm a professional stunt driver in the Northeast and an autocrosser from Maine to DC, and I want to understand more about what autocrossers are going through. I feel like the best place to start is to poke your sore spots.
  1. If you could magically solve any one problem in your racing world, what would it be?
  2. What are you currently doing to solve the problem, or what have you tried before?
  3. Why hasn't that solved your problem?

Thanks in advance. -Matt Covert
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Old 06-07-2016, 09:34 PM   #2
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1. No track. (Oahu, we have no track on island)

2. We've had a track trying to be built, but it fell through. State/County don't care even though we try to convince them.

3. Land in Hawaii is ridiculously expensive. The local government doesn't care.
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Old 06-07-2016, 11:22 PM   #3
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Garage
With the way Chicago solo was last year, and the constant reminder to take really good care of the site in Milwaukee lest it be lost, I have to agree. Facilities/locations. We have some great track options out here, but lots for AutoX are scarce.

I suspect that's not really what you meant, so I'll provide a more survivors answer.

I'm having a tough time tuning the handling of the car, knowing if it's actually holding me back or not, and then being happy driving it home. The latter could be helped with softer springs, maybe some by money into differently parts, and likely more compromise on performance. The former is a ton of reading and some talking and trial and error, but may just take time. I'm not sure it's a completely solvable problem beyond gaining experience either...
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Old 06-08-2016, 01:43 AM   #4
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Make motorsport skill based, instead of money based.
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Old 06-08-2016, 08:28 AM   #5
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I need to learn more on course. Took a class. Haven't been able to utilize enough of it yet. Oh and race cars cost too much
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Old 06-08-2016, 09:57 AM   #6
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In the Autocross world, I think the biggest issue will always be lot/venue/location availability.


I am the Director of a SCCA region, my region is the full state of North Dakota. We lost our best venue last year due to an issue with a lot repair which makes the location basically unusable, our next best location is being closed after this year as they are turning it into a parking ramp. Another locaiton had a hotel built next to it, thus creating noise complaints, so no more use of that lot. Then another place asked us to have k-rails around the venue(would cost 3-4k per event) so its not financially accpetable.


etc....
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Old 06-08-2016, 10:23 AM   #7
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  1. If you could magically solve any one problem in your racing world, what would it be?
I would eliminate the SFI and replace it with something useful.

  1. What are you currently doing to solve the problem, or what have you tried before?
I primarily race with organizations that haven't sold their soul to the SFI and I buy belts/seats etc that are FIA rated as opposed to SFI rated.

  1. Why hasn't that solved your problem?
The SFI still still exists.
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Old 06-08-2016, 10:25 AM   #8
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Sound checks, I find it ridiculous that we have sound checks on tracks that are miles and miles away from any civilisation. What am I doing? Swapping exhaust every time that I go there, a real pain in the ass. Why it hasnt solved it? Well, because I cant do jack s**t aoubt those regulations and swapping exhaust or not going to it would be the only other solution. Not going to be will leave me out for the championship (time attack season with several events/tracks) and that would only really hurt the organizers of the event, not the actual track management
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Old 06-08-2016, 10:36 AM   #9
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The problem with motorsports is money

he who has the most money and is willing to spend it wins...no matter what level, class, skill or type of racing it is

this will never change.

I spent money and had some fun
I got tired of spending money
I understand money wins and I am content on not necessarily always winning
my bank account thanks me.
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Old 06-08-2016, 10:51 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x808drifter View Post
1. No track. (Oahu, we have no track on island)

2. We've had a track trying to be built, but it fell through. State/County don't care even though we try to convince them.

3. Land in Hawaii is ridiculously expensive. The local government doesn't care.
Such a bummer man. I'm originally from Oahu and thought about moving back but not having a race track was one of the factors lol...
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Old 06-08-2016, 11:02 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by CSG Mike View Post
Make motorsport skill based, instead of money based.
Without pay drivers, many classes of racing wouldn't exist.
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Old 06-08-2016, 11:04 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CSG Mike View Post
Make motorsport skill based, instead of money based.
Just my opinion, but there is not a single sport that I can think of where, at some level, money does not eventually trump skill.

Even in something as basic as the 100 meter dash, all "natural skills" being equal, the athlete with the best trainers, best equipment, best training methods will most likely win.

In a sport that relies on mechanics and technology to even exist there is no real way to take money out of the equation.

Probably the closest you could get is the old IROC series where the cars are owned and maintained by someone other than the drivers with the intent of making them equal. Even with that, you are back to the 100 meter scenario where the person with the money to properly train will win.
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Old 06-08-2016, 11:13 AM   #13
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And while saying it should be 100% skill based is good and all, allowing another way to be competitive(money) makes the sport more accessible to people who don't have the skills but do have money. If course skill+ money is best but it's something
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Old 06-08-2016, 12:22 PM   #14
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Before I go off and talk about abstract motorsports, I'll give the OP some feedback, more relevant to becoming successful as a driver.

1. My biggest hurdles are twofold, primarily with a focus on Autocross but with a history of circle track racing as a kid (quarter midgets) and an HPDE or two per year.
A: Talent behind the wheel
B: Setup

2A: Instruction, mostly in a casual capacity & seat time
3A: I haven't gotten enough of either yet! I know it will come but given how often I can schedule an event and budget to go I'm looking at well over a year to get up to speed in class even if I could buy all the parts I need today and go racing twice a month. I don't have the talent to hop in any car and be fast yet, hopefully that will come with experience, the guys who can are amazing.

Getting one of those guys to hop in and take a run or turn a few laps in your car can give you a fantastic amount of feedback on what to improve as a driver and if they are kind enough where to go with the setup as well. Every time I've ridden along in my own car the next time I go out I pick up a significant amount of time, part of that is autocross, 'oh I don't have to slow down there!' and part of that is my own mental roadblocks. Hopefully some schooling leads to significant improvements (given the cost at nearly a set of fresh tires, easily worth seconds).

2B: Test time
3B: Again, haven't had the chance to get enough! A function of autocross where you only get a few minutes per day, test and tunes are great but on big cars making changes at the race site can be difficult, aside from a few easy to adjust things it's hard to try say more than two or three spring rates in a day, and in doing so you'll be guessing at your ride heights alignment and cross weights unless you've brought all your equipment with you, which in hindsight is just jackstands, string, camber gauge, ruler/tape measure and scales...

I took the practice and testing time I had available to me as a kid for granted, along with relatively cheap parts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dadhawk View Post
In a sport that relies on mechanics and technology to even exist there is no real way to take money out of the equation.

Probably the closest you could get is the old IROC series where the cars are owned and maintained by someone other than the drivers with the intent of making them equal. Even with that, you are back to the 100 meter scenario where the person with the money to properly train will win.
There will always be a baseline cost in motorsports, I think the only way you can possibly compete without laying out a $5k budget is at a local indoor rent-a-kart place.

That being said there's plenty of series available that keep costs reasonable, there will always be the guys who can afford fresh tires every weekend up against those who are running their takeoffs for a whole season, but if spending thousands of dollars only nets you a few tenths of a second advantage, an advantage that can be wiped out by a mistake or wrong setup call the playing field stays relatively level it means the guy with a $5k budget can compete against the guy with a $15k budget. And as I continue below, money isn't everything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashikabi View Post
And while saying it should be 100% skill based is good and all, allowing another way to be competitive(money) makes the sport more accessible to people who don't have the skills but do have money. If course skill+ money is best but it's something
The beauty of motorsports is that smarts and experience trumps talent and exuberance more often than not. Take the fastest driver in the world and stick him in a poorly setup Spec Miata against someone who's 'pretty good' in the best setup Spec Miata and I'll put my money on the guy who's 'pretty good'. Same money on equipment and a gap in skill, but the difference is turning the wrenches the right way to get the car dialed in.
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