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JHS18

Sports Car Racing Thread

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That's an interesting article. I'm not sure it's actually the case that more mainstream coverage would significantly increase viewership of motorsport in the UK. There are millions of people who know F1 exists, for example, but they just don't watch it, out of choice. That's F1, something which they have at least a concept of, whereas something like F3 or Sportscar racing or BTCC they have even less of a concept of, so I'm not sure it's fair to blame ratings or attendance on a lack of publicity.

Newspapers, web sites and TV channels are all just businesses, competing for their slice of the pie. The former especially are struggling to survive in an increasingly difficult market, and have to cater to "what they know", which is that a lot more people have an interest in football than motorsport, simple as that. If you ran a newspaper it would be very stupid to use as many column inches on motorsport as you do football. I don't see a massive issue with that, either. Motorsport as a whole is doing pretty well by any standard as far as I can tell, and the coverage reflects the level of interest. A BTCC or Sportscar race will never get as many viewers as even a mildly important football matches over here.

Anyway, what that article is really saying is: I like motorsport, it's great, therefore it should have lots of publicity and everyone else should want to read about it and follow it. In truth, there is no connection between how good something is and how much publicity it receives or how much it should receive, or how popular it is. More people might know Justin Bieber's album than Bach's most famous symphony (I know neither which happily balances out, but you see the point). If you don't see the point: plenty of great things do get coverage, publicity and recognition, and plenty more don't. For every motorsport fan who wishes it would get more publicity in newspapers there are a million fans of something else (a certain type of sport, music, comedy, art, whatever that you've never even heard of) with the same argument. If you argue against the ignorance of newspapers and other news outlets about one thing, you better also recognise that there are a ton of other great things which deserve the same type of selfish argument, that are struggling much more than motorsport.

The point is that it's impractical for every good thing to be publicised and massively popular and motorsport is one of those things. You have to find the good things in life yourself, and in any case, discovering motorsport is still massively more easy than discovering other great things to follow. As long as it's surviving and doing okay, the fact other people don't share the enthusiasm should't bother us whatsoever. It's our thing, and their loss. Le Mans is still great; be glad you know it.

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That.

Besides, I don't like it when other people like what I like, because they quickly become more intelligent about it than I am and that's no fun. tongue.png

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Damn Skippy George! I mean, I'm freaking amazing and the newspapers are ignoring me too!!

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A shame to hear that. I hope the same isn't the case for the rest of the Lola teams around the world.

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Well, Black Swan's situation was unique. They damaged their B11/80 at Long Beach and planned to upgrade the bodywork to B12/87 for Lime Rock. They skipped Laguna Seca as it didn't make sense to repair the car just for one race when they were going to have to rebuild it for Lime Rock anyway.

So Black Swan basically got caught in never ordering B11/80 parts, thus having none to repair the B11/80, and never receiving B12/87 parts, so they can't do the upgrade.

A team like Dyson, for example, has two B12/60s and one B09/86. They are using the second B12/60 to pull parts for the first one when needed, so they can probably make the year.

A team like Rebellion seems to have the means to switch to another supplier (i.e. Dome) if needed, whereas Black Swan is too small for that.

Obviously there are other Lola teams beyond that, but Black Swan's situation was just bizarre and weird to begin with, all starting with not entering Sebring until a few days before, having Jeroen Bleekemolen as their lead driver but never having him race (it was Pappas, Curtis, and Fogarty), testing an OAK P1 to determine that they wanted to be in a Lola P2, and leasing that Lola P2 from Level 5 who are in serious criminal ****...then you had the wreck at Long Beach and it was just odd.

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Wow that is a messy situation. Sucks for them. I guess they couldn't do something like running an LMPC/GT car for the remainder of the season, and then find a new car for '13?

The Rebellion/Dome thing confuses me a little bit. The Dome 102.5 I believe from memory raced in 2008, and then that was it. It was effectively what Toyota used as a test mule before the TS030 came along, and hasn't really been developed or used an awful lot recently. If you look at Pescarolo as well - one of the most experienced teams around, they suffered an awful race. That car was delayed for a long period of time and it seemed every time it came back into the pits for what looked to be a scheduled stop, it ended up being pushed back into its garage and then only came out at the end again for the last lap.

Basically what I'm saying is that it'd be a bit of a risk for Rebellion, who are leading the WEC standings, to run that car given it clearly isn't quite as strong as the Lola chassis. I'm not sure if there are even two of those cars in existence, or whether they'd run one Dome and one Lola to manage the spares better. For Silverstone in August, they should, should be okay. I can't imagine they're going to do an awful lot of testing between now and then, so they should still be able to run two Lolas. But after that...well, it is a long season, and they're going to places like Bahrain, Brazil, Japan and China...so it might become tricky for them.

I hope not, because they're a great team. In fact, I'd say they did the best job of anyone, even better than Audi in a way, in LMP1. Both cars ran reliably for most the race until the clutch went on the #13, and they avoided crash damage. Only that clutch problem on the #13 stopped them getting both cars potentially into the top five, as they were for much of the night hours.

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Lola owners can do the following:

Make their own parts - copy what you have / reverse engineer and the like

Buy the moulds for the body work, or, money permitting, make new moulds off existing bodywork.

That's how historics get by, and at the guts of it, the cars are not that complicated in an engineering sense. They look tricky, but really they're not.

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Lola owners can do the following:

Make their own parts - copy what you have / reverse engineer and the like

Buy the moulds for the body work, or, money permitting, make new moulds off existing bodywork.

That's how historics get by, and at the guts of it, the cars are not that complicated in an engineering sense. They look tricky, but really they're not.

Absolutely.

Most machine shops are happy to do it for you as well, when it comes to brackets, mountings or suspension parts.

For bodywork, GRP repair kits (Chopped fibre mesh + resin + hardener) are widely available at boating stores and its fairly easy to use. My brother, who has little experience in these things actually did a lot panels for his old Toyota this way. Its not difficult once you know how. If you are quite advanced you can use the PrePreg stuff (requires autoclave so can be tricky to get right).

Its pretty surprising to see how much you can actually do to rebuild a car without any manufacturer parts, as long as you are willing to put in the time and the effort. I suppose if you are running a Lola, passion is not a problem.

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Lola owners can do the following:

Make their own parts - copy what you have / reverse engineer and the like

Buy the moulds for the body work, or, money permitting, make new moulds off existing bodywork.

That's how historics get by, and at the guts of it, the cars are not that complicated in an engineering sense. They look tricky, but really they're not.

I think to be honest, if it was that simple, these teams would be already doing that.

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Fastest car down the Mulsanne straight last week? Group C Sauber C9 - 211mph.

Wow. In a car that old, that is a terrifying prospect.

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Wow that is a messy situation. Sucks for them. I guess they couldn't do something like running an LMPC/GT car for the remainder of the season, and then find a new car for '13?

The Rebellion/Dome thing confuses me a little bit. The Dome 102.5 I believe from memory raced in 2008, and then that was it. It was effectively what Toyota used as a test mule before the TS030 came along, and hasn't really been developed or used an awful lot recently. If you look at Pescarolo as well - one of the most experienced teams around, they suffered an awful race. That car was delayed for a long period of time and it seemed every time it came back into the pits for what looked to be a scheduled stop, it ended up being pushed back into its garage and then only came out at the end again for the last lap. Basically what I'm saying is that it'd be a bit of a risk for Rebellion, who are leading the WEC standings, to run that car given it clearly isn't quite as strong as the Lola chassis. I'm not sure if there are even two of those cars in existence, or whether they'd run one Dome and one Lola to manage the spares better. For Silverstone in August, they should, should be okay. I can't imagine they're going to do an awful lot of testing between now and then, so they should still be able to run two Lolas. But after that...well, it is a long season, and they're going to places like Bahrain, Brazil, Japan and China...so it might become tricky for them. I hope not, because they're a great team. In fact, I'd say they did the best job of anyone, even better than Audi in a way, in LMP1. Both cars ran reliably for most the race until the clutch went on the #13, and they avoided crash damage. Only that clutch problem on the #13 stopped them getting both cars potentially into the top five, as they were for much of the night hours.

Well, the Green Hornet GTC entry is basically Black Swan Racing, so I assume Tim Pappas will at least run some races for them.

There's no doubt in my mind that Muscle Milk Pickett Racing and Rebellion are the two best non-works teams out there...

...even if both were beaten by Dyson at Sebring. :P

Maybe Rebellion get the call to do the 2014 Porsche factory outfit?

I think to be honest, if it was that simple, these teams would be already doing that.

A team like Black Swan with no money and no real facilities isn't going to, but a team like Dyson could if they started to run low (right now they have an entire spare car left).

What I was wondering, though, is if there would be any kind of legal hang-up with copying the parts? Could they copy the parts, get sued by Lola, and lose such that Lola uses the funds from the lawsuit to revive itself? :P

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I think to be honest, if it was that simple, these teams would be already doing that.

Most likely are...but why tool up when you don't have to. If spares have run out, they will be forced to tool up.

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Well, the Green Hornet GTC entry is basically Black Swan Racing, so I assume Tim Pappas will at least run some races for them.

There's no doubt in my mind that Muscle Milk Pickett Racing and Rebellion are the two best non-works teams out there...

...even if both were beaten by Dyson at Sebring. tongue.png

Maybe Rebellion get the call to do the 2014 Porsche factory outfit?

A team like Black Swan with no money and no real facilities isn't going to, but a team like Dyson could if they started to run low (right now they have an entire spare car left).

What I was wondering, though, is if there would be any kind of legal hang-up with copying the parts? Could they copy the parts, get sued by Lola, and lose such that Lola uses the funds from the lawsuit to revive itself? tongue.png

Not if you could prove force majeure - which could easily be done as the company was belly up and you had no other option. Unless it was something patented, but there wouldn'y be an A-arm in history that was patented...

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John Dagys: DeltaWing will return for Petit Le Mans.

Meanwhile, the ALMS LMPC field has lost on entry. Pickett Racing (Team Muscle Milk) will be LMP1 only from now on. Hmm...

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I know you guys don't like Grand-Am and all but...

Grand-Am is running a race in a month or so on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, on the same weekend that NASCAR uses the oval, and while that track is horrible and awful, there is something cool, in that Ganassi is fielding an extra Daytona Prototype, in a partnership with Chevron (their old sponsor, Texaco, a long long time ago) for Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray. I think that's pretty awesome personally.

Carry on...

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Oh by the way...

The Six Hours of Watkins Glen is on Sunday. 11:00 AM GMT -5. It's Grand-Am, I know, but there isn't much else this weekend and endurance racing is still endurance racing, no matter what the cars (DPs run the same pace as an LMPC, which means they're slower than an LMP2 and quicker than an LMGTE. The GT cars in Grand-Am are the same as GTC cars in ALMS, just with a bunch of manufacturers outside of Porsche, including Ferrari, Audi, Mazda, Camaro, Corvette, and maybe a few others I've forgotten).

So if you're really desperate...there's that. It's worthy of your LMP2 class winners Ryan Dalziel, Enzo Potolicchio, and Starworks and part of the "American Endurance Championship" that Grand-Am created this year as a response to the WEC. :P

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Thanks for letting us know. I followed the Daytona 24 hours closely and I did enjoy it. I have to say that I think the new generation of Daytona Prototypes, especially the Corvettes, look brilliant. Shame it is a bit of an obscure series away from the Daytona 24. But I guess it is similar to Indycar being obscure away from the 500. :P

I really don't understand their GT class though. Why don't they just use standard GT3s rather than having a type of hybrid thing?

Meanwhile the confusing situation that is the FIA GT1 World Championship for GT3 cars continues. They only had 16 cars out at the last round and had been hoping for a grid of around 20. It is a bit of a shame that the series continues to struggle because I really do think that GT racing produces some of the best racing around at the moment. Look at Nurburgring 24 hours. Look at the GT battles in something like Le Mans. I really don't see how hard it is to run a successful GT championship. It didn't help that Ratel had a bright idea of an FIA GT1 World Championship the moment manufacturer interest in GT1 died, but it is possible if you look at something like Blancpain Endurance Championship which often enjoys grids of over 50 cars for its races.

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I think they do a hybrid thing because Mazda is one of the most prominent investors in American sports car racing. They considered switching to GT3 with the new DPs, but when they got Ferrari to build a special F458 and Audi a special R8 just for Grand-Am, they decided whatever they were doing was fine. I don't know how the costs compare, but Grand-Am is all about production-based and cost control, so I assume that plays some role. The Chevrolet Camaros are my favorites because they're just Camaro bodies thrown on Pontiac GTO chassis that were adorned with Pontiac G6 bodywork for some time. So much for production-based. :P

Grand-Am also sanctions the American Ferrari Challenge series, and wanted to sanction an American DTM with the FIA, so I guess they're trying to become something.

As for obscurity, even the Rolex 24 is obscure. The Rolex 24 drew fewer viewers than most F1 and IndyCar races do in the United States...so the entire series, even the big one, is obscure. Of course, amongst sports car racing fans, the Rolex 24 is known and the rest of the series is not.

Entry list is here with all the usuals, including an additional DP (the #77 with Paul Tracy and Jim Lowe). The GT field is huge, just as it was for the Rolex, as many extra teams come out to do the American Endurance championship.

http://www.grand-am.com/scheduleResults/entrylist/1/EntryListDetail.aspx?eid=3442&sid=1

And that's the last I'll mention of it. :P

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As for FIA GT1...didn't they say in the last few weeks that they'd end the GT1 part of it if they didn't get ten different manufacturers? Or did I make that up?

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Well, the thing is GT1 exists only as a name these days. There are no GT1 cars racing in anything. ACO scrapped the GT1 class at Le Mans after 2010 and that was really the final nail in the history of GT1 cars. Why would you really bother racing GT1 cars when they're no longer eligible for the biggest sports car race around?

Fun history that you'll be bored by:

Up until 2009 there was the FIA GT Championship. There were two classes of cars, one for GT1 cars like Maserati MC12s, Aston Martins, Corvettes, Lamborghinis, Saleens etc. There was also the GT2 class for Ferraris, Porsches and a bunch of others as well. Even when the number of cars entered in the GT1 began to drop, series promoters Stephane Ratel and the SRO (also in charge of British GT which happens to be thriving at the moment) had a bright idea to turn the FIA GT Championship into the FIA GT1 World Championship, basically by dumping the class that had the most cars in it (GT2) and by dropping the biggest race of the championship's calendar, the Spa 24 hours (which Blancpain now run).

They also came up with the strange logic that only two teams could run the same car and that existing GT1 cars like the Maserati, Corvette, Aston etc would be ineligible after a couple of seasons but that there should still be ten manufacturers present on the grid, meaning he expected all the major supercar manufacturers in the world to build new GT1 cars to race in one championship, where at the same time the ACO were scrapping the GT1 class from Le Mans, the GT1 class for ALMS also died and there were only one or two cars racing in the GT1 class in the LMS before it too ended.

As you'd expect, there was little manufacturer support for the new championship. In fact, only Nissan entered a purpose built GT1 car, the Nissan GTR. A privateer built GT1 versions of the Ford GT but all the other cars were "grandfathered" cars from the days when there were two classes. The series struggled through with pretty thin grids for two years, until Ratel and the SRO decided to switch to GT3 specification, but now had the rule that there couldn't be two teams running the same car. Also, before that, there was talk this year that the grid would be made up of old GT1 cars restricted to GT3 pace, with a few teams running GT3 cars in order to increase the grid, but teams rejected that proposal. So basically right now you've got AF Corse running the 458, defending champions Hexis running the McLaren MP4-12C, All Inkl running the Mercedes SLS, Vitaphone running the BMW Z4, Reiter Engineering running the Lamborghini, and then there's a couple of other teams the promoters are basically funding because otherwise they'd only have about a 10 car grid.

Just to make it even more confusing, you've then got the European GT3 championship which run identical spec cars to the "GT1" championship and the Blancpain Endurance Series which, yep, you guessed it, run GT3 cars as well. Of the three championships, Blancpain is by far and away the strongest right now in terms of grid numbers, mostly down to the fact that anyone can run whatever car you want as long as it is a GT3. There's so "oh no, a team already runs that car, you'll have to use something else" like in the GT1 championship.

If you've followed that, I'm impressed. My head hurts just from writing that. tongue.png

Edited by JHS18

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:lol: Well...

Something I do understand: Sébastien Bourdais will be alongside Le Mans champs Dalziel and Potolicchio for Starworks this weekend in Grand-Am. I wish they'd add him to their WEC lineup. I know he has some IndyCar commitments, but man, Bourdais in an HPD...that'd be awesome.

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On the basis of the Le Mans results, he'd probably have been better off in Starworks car than he was in the Dome. :D

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Atherton: ALMS will use the 2014 ACO rules, but will grandfather old cars in to keep car counts higher. I wonder if some teams with current-spec LMPs would look to ALMS in 2014? I know Aston Martin, for example, thought about campaigning the Lola DBR1-2 after it was no longer legal in Europe.

http://auto-racing.speedtv.com/article/alms-atherton-applauds-2014-lmp1-regs/

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Something I'm hearing regarding the future while the 6 Hours of Watkins Glen is going on live until around 5:00 PM GMT -5 if anyone has an interest in that:

ALMS might be abandoning LMP1, at least for 2013. They have pressure in two directions.

The first: Muscle Milk Pickett Racing might be aiming to do the full World Endurance Championship next year. That takes away 50% of the full-time LMP1 field and one-third of the full LMP1 field. Pickett have a very, very strong package, as shown at Sebring against Audi, where they were faster than one of the R18s all week and had only a few tenths off another. They'd be a great addition to the WEC and they want to audition to have a future either with HPD or Porsche in 2014.

The second: Starworks and Michael Shank Racing are both very upset with Grand-Am, for some reason I'm not yet aware of. Peter Baron of Starworks has made it clear: if ALMS makes LMP2 the top class, he will field his HPD ARX-03b full-time in the ALMS in 2013 instead of doing Grand-Am (no idea if that impacts the WEC program). His driver, Enzo Potolicchio, has suggested that LMP2 has actually become cheaper than the new DPs (perhaps the reason for being upset). Making P2 the top class could lure MSR as well, and anyone else unhappy with Grand-Am. They are more than open to ALMS (other teams have explored it in the past), but they want to be competing for overall wins, as they do in Grand-Am.

Additionally, Dempsey Racing is still choosing between ALMS and WEC. It largely depends on sponsorship (Trina Solar, who have a presence all over the world, so it could go either way), but those sponsors could be swayed by being able to compete for wins outright in ALMS while also getting to do Le Mans.

Moving to P2 would leave Dyson up in the air, but consider this: if Mazda are shifting the focus to the Skyactiv-D engine for P2, which they are (Dyson gets little support from Mazda these days and actually build their own engines), it may make sense to go that route financially. Plus, if Dyson have to buy new equipment for 2013 anyway due to Lola's troubles, it's the perfect time for ALMS to switch to P2. Dyson was a P2 team all the way until ALMS merged P1 and P2; then Dyson upgraded their P2 to P1 spec for 2011 and went full P1 for 2012.

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