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New RallyCross Class - Classic American Muscle (CAM)

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  • New RallyCross Class - Classic American Muscle (CAM)

    Many drivers come to RallyCross because of their love for Rally racing. I am not one of those people. I come from a potentially larger group of drivers who were raised watching "Smokey and the Bandit" and "The Dukes of Hazzard" reruns. Watching big American cars sliding around on dirt roads still makes me smile. Our sport is actually closer to the driving on those shows than it is to Rally racing if you think about it.

    My first season of RallyCross racing I chose to drive a 1985 Chevrolet Camaro. It was an absolute blast! This racing fulfilled all of my dirt road dreams. It also seemed to make others happy also. I don't think a single event went by without people coming up to me and saying how cool it was that I was running American iron. I did well regionally, but that was mostly because there was no real competition. When I went to Nationals it was a different story. The first course I ran I had to get the car straight after cresting a hill and coming out of a corner so I could make it through a gate. It was a challenge that involved brakes, quick steering and a lot of prayers. As I watched the rest of my group run I realized that the Miatas would come over that hill sideways and continue sliding sideways through the gate. There is no way I could have done that due to the dimensions of my car. The rest of the weekend continued in similar fashion. I was having fun, but I was not doing well in the standings. By the end of the event I managed to be in 7th place (oh wait, there were only seven cars).

    I already owned a Miata that I autocrossed, so I decided that would become my RallyCross car. I sold my Camaro (single tear...) to my son and bought a hardtop and a set of snow tires for the Miata. The next season I was definitely faster. You can drive a Miata in RallyCross almost the same way you drive it in autocross. It is quick, fairly precise and ..........boring. No offense to the amazing Miata drivers I saw this year. They are quick but they are missing something. A big wide American ass end sliding around corners thundering out V8 sounds. That is what was missing. Plus, I am American sized and I don't fit into a Miata very well. Me getting into a Miata is similar to putting a rain poncho back into the tiny bag they came in. It works, but there is still a little bit sticking out the edges and the bag looks like it is going to explode.

    At Nationals this year there were only three American cars. A Mustang, a Cavalier and a Fiesta. I am not counting the re-branded Mazdas and Mitsubishis (sorry guys). I think the reason for that is because most v8 American car drivers probably had the same experience that I did. You come out in all of your thunderous glory and a tiny Miata hands your ass to you. The two main problems with most of these cars are their size and the solid rear axle out back. What I would like to purpose is a new class where all of these cars can compete on a more even level. I am even providing a proposed rule set based on another groups CAM class (I can't say SOLO this thing is dead in the water, right?). It will basically allow for American cars with an engine in the front, solid axle out back and weighing at least 3000 lbs. Most modifications are allowed, but the car has to be street legal and licensed (that licensed part may be optional).

    Roadkill is an automotive YouTube show that has a massive following. They have over 1.5 million followers on Facebook and they are part of the Motor Trend On Demand Network. Their focus is on old American cars and in their latest episode they go to a SCCA RallyCross. There will be a ton of people with big American cars wanting to come try RallyCross out next year and I think we need to be ready to embrace them. Plus, I just want to slide a big American car around a dirty corner again.

    Please envision this next part with American flags waving behind me, fireworks going off, the national anthem playing and a bald eagle flying by screeching. I know the idea of minimizing the classes is to keep things simple, but because of the design of the courses and .....well physics we are eliminating a massive amount of cars. Three American cars out of 123. That should speak for itself. And it will be easier to find people for this class than the already approved "Open" class. You don't have to build a special car. These potential members already have the car sitting in their garage. There is only one thing left to say.......Yee Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaw!

    Here is the proposed rule set.

    CLASSIC AMERICAN MUSCLE (CAM)

    Rationale: The purpose of CAM is to attract automobile enthusiasts who
    are currently interested in muscle cars and vintage vehicles manufactured in North America by “The Big Three”
    based in the US - GM, Ford, and Chrysler (AMC is also included). These avid
    enthusiasts would largely be a new and different group to join us as SCCA®
    members and participants. Regions are encouraged to offer this great recruitment
    tool to encourage Classic American Muscle car enthusiasts to join the fun at your SCCA® RallyCross® events!

    Eligible Vehicles
    • Vehicle must be either a domestic automobile or “pick-up” truck of front engine/rear-wheel-drive
    (FE/RWD) configuration.
    • Vehicle must be licensed and insured and considered fully “street legal”
    (lights, wipers, etc.).
    • Windshield and side glass must be present. Lexan® or equivalent may be
    used.
    • Vehicle must pass the mandatory safety inspection (tech).
    • Vehicle must have a solid rear axle.

    Body Allowances
    • Body panels may be modified or replaced in the original standard locations.
    Frame may be modified. Vehicle perimeter and wheelbase must be
    full-scale to original model. Incidental wheelbase changes resulting from
    the allowed replacement of suspension components or modification of suspension
    design are allowed. This is not an allowance to shorten or lengthen
    the chassis/body (e.g., change the scale from the original).
    • Interior and exterior must have a “finished” look.
    • Rear seating may be removed or modified. If removed, seat bottom area
    must be finished (e.g., carpeted, metal). The front seat(s) must not cross
    the vehicle longitudinal centerline and not intrude into the OE rear seat
    cushion area.
    • Upholstered interior panels (door panels, kick panels, etc.) may be replaced
    with another upholstered or finished panel. Non-upholstered interior
    panels may be replaced with a panel of any material. Alternate panels
    must cover any opening(s) the OE panel(s) concealed.
    • The dashboard may be modifed, but must be finished and cover the original
    area.
    • Headliner may be replaced or removed.
    • Exposed metal interior surfaces must be covered, painted, and/or coated.
    (No “race car” interiors allowed, please.)
    • Fuel tank/cell may be modified or replaced and must be separated from
    the driver/passengers as originally manufactured or by a metal panel/
    bulkhead if the OE structure is modified. Fuel must not vent into the driver/passenger
    compartment directly or indirectly.
    • Front splitter, air dam, and/or spoiler may be added below the bumper,
    but must not extend past the perimeter of the original body excluding
    non-integral bumpers except OE or equivalent for the body style.
    • Rear spoiler may be added, but may extend no more than 8” from the original
    body nor past the perimeter of the body. No rear wings may be added
    except OE or equivalent.
    • Body electrical system components and wiring are unrestricted.

    Wheel and Tire Allowances
    • Any wheels and tires are allowed as long as the meet the existing RallyCross® Rules for Modified Cars.

    Brake, Suspension, and Steering System Allowances
    • Components, lines, hoses, and method of attachment are unrestricted.

    Engine and Drive Train Allowances
    • Engine must be manufactured by GM, Ford, Chrysler or AMC.
    • Components (internal and external) are unrestricted.

    Vehicle Weight
    • Weight without driver (lbs., minimum) ..................................3000

    Thank you all for considering my proposal.

    Michael Lasater
    Kansas City Region RallyCross Chair
    American

  • #2
    Good luck, not too long ago rwd cars ran with fwd in mod class. I'm going to go make some popcorn.

    Comment


    • #3
      I'd definitely love to see Mustangs and Camaros rallycrossing. I don't ever see them in our region though.
      Charles
      RXB
      RX Rule Committee chairman
      MR 1986 Mazda RX-7
      SA 2000 Subaru Impreza 2.5RS

      Comment


      • #4
        A few questions.

        1. Any age requirements? Can I run a new Camaro? I would not be able to run a new Mustang because they are not solid axle?
        2. No restriction on motor HP/Torque or size?
        3. If the car does not originally weigh 3000lbs. (chevette, vega, etc.) would it not be allowed to run?
        4. I could run a kit car?

        Mark Macoubrie
        RXB
        Kansas City Region
        2005 STI 41 PA

        Comment


        • #5
          There was a Dodge in pa that was dam fast, fastest second run time.
          Winner of five national championships in a row.

          Comment


          • #6
            Domestic meaning made 100% in the USA?
            Winner of five national championships in a row.

            Comment


            • #7
              Also can't forget about the crown Vic that ran.

              Although being the driver of the Dodge Stealth. And proudly the 2nd heaviest car and 2nd largest footprint at Nationals only to the Vic. The size complaint about a 85 camaro isn't really valid.

              That said I​​​​​​ believe it a good idea. And a valid option. Would prolly open up to a handful of more people that otherwise wouldn't run.

              ​​​solid well thought out proposal just needs a few more specifics. On the other side, what can of worms would this open up. Make this it's own class then make that it's own class then sooner or later we have a rulebook that is equally as annoying as solo.

              Comment


              • #8
                This sounds like we're trying to make a class for a group of competitors that doesn't exist. Locally, I've only seen one car in 5 years that would qualify for this group. I think this would have to be successful at the local level before we include it in the national rule book. These cars are fun to watch, but they're just not very good at this sport. It's cool that we got some coverage on Roadkill, though.

                Also, my Mistubishi was designed by Chrysler and built in Illinois, so there's that. Doesn't have a V8, though.
                Christian Retterer
                PA - 1990 Eclipse GSX
                Atlanta Region

                Comment


                • #9
                  The 3000GT and Eclipse are both AWD. I was thinking the same thing and maybe getting a syclone but as written it would be a RWD class only.

                  In the KC region we have had a few cars come out like camaros, crown vics, etc.

                  It is an intriguing proposal. I wonder if the development of the class would draw more cars similar to what has happened in the CAM class in Autocross. Prior to the CAM Class old american muscle was not showing up because the cars were not competitive. Now that there is a special class there are a lot more of these cars showing up. Prior to CAM classes these cars were only running in places like good guys and the SCCA was missing a market segment. I am not sure the same would be true for RallyCross because a lot of the muscle cars that race are purpose built cars and people may not want to get the cars out in the dirt.

                  Either way it is a fairly well put together proposal.
                  Mark Macoubrie
                  RXB
                  Kansas City Region
                  2005 STI 41 PA

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The success of CAM in Solo was that it captured an existing, well-funded, well-realized classing structure already being advertised and run nationally in the pro touring community (Optima, Goodguys, etc.). The SCCA had nothing to do beyond roll out the red carpet with CAM category.

                    We have already engineered a sort of miss with RallyCross Open category because it doesn't similarly hold captive an existing body of unpaved vehicle builds. In other words, most of the rulebook-illegal stuff people want to run in RallyCross wasn't captured by Open allowances. New classes succeed when they co-opt an existing enthusiast base. I'm not sure that the pro touring muscle car builder overlaps much with the RX muscle car builder.

                    What I do agree with is that RallyCross classing may eventually fracture by weight. A large number of enthusiast cars will never keep up with decades-old featherweights like vintage Miatas, CRXes, Beetles, Imprezas, etc., in national competition. There are plenty of powerful, heavy, crash/comfort-feature-laden vehicles with giant brakes and wheels that aren't going to succeed against old favorites as the years go on. Likewise, fun and affordable things like Camaros and Mustangs have consistently different strengths and weaknesses than lighter cars from the same time.

                    Big Fun Cars may need their own RX sandbox in the future, but I wouldn't limit to American marques. Many American cars now resemble "Japanese" or "Euro" cars (Cobalt SS, Focus ST/RS, Neon SRT-4, Cadillac ATS, etc.) and vice versa.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I can't believe I forgot about the cop car! That was one of the inspirations for the post. Here are a couple of responses to questions.

                      The age of the car doesn't matter, but the solid rear axle does. IRS helps out massively in RallyCross (and most forms of racing). The solid axle is an equalizing factor.

                      It is not domestic cars it is the "Big Three". This would also exclude kit cars.

                      The Camaro I drove is only 6 inches wider than a Miata, but it is three feet longer. A Crown Vic is 4 1/2 feet longer than a Miata. That is why Miatas can get away with sliding sideways through obstacles and the American cars can't.

                      It is true that there is not an existing group of cars competing with other organizations that we can poach. That did make it easy for the SOLO group. I am also sure that some regions don't have a lot of entrants that drive cars like this, but they do show up, especially in the mid-west (actually, mid-west events are all I have ever been to).

                      I don't think ProTouring style cars will show up to this. People who are afraid to scratch their paint will not come to this sport. It will be the people wanting to live their Smokey and the Bandit dreams.

                      I know people aren't currently beating down the doors for this class. I also know that adding a class will take a long time. I tried to make the rule set as complete as possible with valid reasons for the rules. I knew if I didn't it would die from the "what ifs" and probably be morphed into something like the current "Open" class.

                      RallyCross is a young sport and as we grow there will be more people who show up who's interests align with mine. I just want us to think about that as we grow. We don't want to exclude people, especially if the solution is as simple as giving them their own class to compete in.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The "solid rear axle" is just silly. If there was a movement to create a class for American Muscle cars why exclude newer Camaros, Mustangs, Challengers and others? How about older Cobras that came with IRS from factory?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Iowa region (he also ran at Nationals last year.) There is a 77 Corvette that runs. And if I recall those are irs so you'd be eliminating him out of the class by the solid axle rule. Also a 70s Chevy pickup runs with us also in mod rear. That does surprisingly well.
                          Detroit region also has a 70/2? Dodge demon/Challenger come to some of thier events.

                          I'm not saying the opportunity isn't there, and the ability for them to be competitive in stock class is definitely not there in most cases. But when prepared or mod prepped there's no reason the cars couldn't be competitive with the current ruleset.

                          I definitely agree with the fact our ruleset will need to progress eventually. And allow more classes in the future.
                          But currently if you mention Solo in any sort of rule proposal it will get shot down instantly and refused to get considered. Certain people act like Solo kicked thier puppy and close thier minds after hearing that word.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Quadracerjr View Post
                            But currently if you mention Solo in any sort of rule proposal it will get shot down instantly and refused to get considered.
                            This is accurate and concerning.
                            Christian Retterer
                            PA - 1990 Eclipse GSX
                            Atlanta Region

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hmmm.....87 Z28 for sale just down the road from the house. Might have to go check it out. I was actually looking for a camaro or mustang for my 1st RallyX car. All I could find in my area were automatics when I was looking. Ended up with a 95 Impreza instead.

                              Comment

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