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GTA Compliance Team (Daytona Double SARRC)

Sorry to be late with this, but I struggled trying to be diplomatic with my remarks. Failing that, I decided to let it fly and if your feelings get hurt I’ll have to get over it…

It should come as no surprise to you, but most race drivers have large egos. As such, if they’re not winning then they need to find a reason outside their own talent as to why not. To paraphrase George Carlin, it seems that many racers feel, “Everybody I’m outrunning is a moron and everybody that’s going faster than me is cheating their ass off!” By far the most common complaint we get as class organizers is, “That SOB is cheating” followed closely by, “What are YOU going to do about it?” 

Although the SCCA protest procedure is clearly spelled out in the GCR, most racers don’t want to risk being thought of as the bad guy by actually filing paperwork against those they think are the worst offenders – rather than assuming responsibility for making sure their fellow competitors follow the rules they really want someone else to take care of it. The Tech crews at most SCCA events are responsible for literally hundreds of different types of cars in 40+ classes, so they really don’t have the time or expertise to devote much effort to ensuring compliance with all the rules. Now at least part of the enforcement problem has been resolved by the creation of the SEDiv GTA Compliance Team.

Some of you may be aware that starting with the 2011 SARRC season each host region now pays a $10 per race charge for each GTA entry that participates at their event. Those funds are used to purchase test equipment and defray travel expenses for GTA-savvy people to attend selected events to work with the region’s Tech Inspectors while focusing on GTA cars. The August 6 & 7 weekend at Daytona was selected as one of those events.

Steve Tye, Ron Ogletree, and I showed up at Daytona with the express intent of making sure the GTA cars at that event were compliant with the 2011 GTA-SE rules. We checked basic items like tire choice, ride height, nose height, track width, overall width, and rear spoiler dimensions on every GTA car that raced that weekend. We also verified with each driver what their minimum weight should be (and you’d be surprised how many had no idea what that was). On the top three finishers each day we re-checked the above items, verified minimum weights, looked at oil pumps, and also checked RPM chips & carburetors on the carbureted cars plus throttle body size & configuration on the LS-1 cars.

What we found is a couple of spoilers that were maybe ½” too wide and one of the podium cars was two (2) pounds underweight. In the case of the rear spoilers we told them to have it fixed by the next event and the guy that was underweight drank two bottles of water so he was over the minimum by the time he was re-weighed. In short, there was NOTHING glaring!

Granted we didn’t check compression ratios or engine size, we didn’t check for titanium components in the drive train, and we didn’t check for carbon fiber clutches. However the GTA Compliance Team will continue to show up (unannounced) at future events on the SEDiv SCCA calendar so we MIGHT check for those things next time!

In almost forty years of racing it’s been my experience the guys running at the front are there for three basic reasons:

 

  1. They know the rules – including what their minimum weight is
  2. They prepare their cars to the absolute limit of those rules
  3. They drive the friggin' wheels off the car

 

We saw nothing at Daytona that makes me think any different.

If you’re running mid-pack or worse, I’ll be glad to talk to you about what you might be leaving on the table. Another thing you can do is get someone quick to run your car during a test session (especially if you have data acquisition to compare segments on each lap) but you need to leave your ego at the door if you do that. Back when I imagined I had the budget to run GT-1 at a National level I coerced Johnny Miller into doing a test day with me. After I turned what I thought was a fairly solid lap Johnny got into the car and ran five (5) seconds faster than I did!!! Rather than getting pissed off and accusing him of cheating (we were in the same car after all) I went to work and found three of those five seconds (I was overslowing the car on corner entry), but I never would have if Johnny hadn’t driven the car to set a baseline for me. BTW - the last two seconds are the reason he was making a living as a race car driver and I wasn’t.

I’m sure there are those of you who think I’m living in a PollyAnna world and no argument will convince you that everyone in front of you is not cheating their asses off. For you guys I can only say the GTA Compliance Team will continue to show up at selected events, but in the meantime feel free to complain loudly in my direction. If you convince me the guy’s cheating I’ll be glad to help you fill out the protest forms, and if you’re not willing to help police the class then I’ll help you put the ‘SPO’ stickers on your car.

See y’all at the track…