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#4645986 - 01/25/18 01:12 PM Making Sportscar Racing Great Again
gofast182 Offline


Registered: 04/30/13
Posts: 1699
Loc: NJ

When we think of sportscar racing our minds may wander toward GT cars and exotic prototype machinery coming out of Europe, the 24 hours of Le Mans, and respectful competition. There is also an air of superiority in the product Europe produces, some might even say snobbery. Jean Girard in Taladega Nights is a caricature of this and, as with all good humor, it contains an element of truth. Yet as sportscar racing in Europe is being suffocated by an overzealous and politically correct ACO, an unlikely savior is emerging: the good ole US of A.

For purists, the acquisition of the ALMS (American Le Mans Series) and IMSA (International Motor Sports Association) by the France family (which controls NASCAR ) in 2014 was a hard pill to swallow. Most of us could not shake the idea that NASCAR , with its “managed competition” philosophy, spec. hardware, and questionable race control was lurking somewhere in the background. Sure enough, the years of joint LMP2 (Le Mans Prototype 2) and DP (Daytona Prototype) racing saw the acquiring series’ old-school tube-framed DP cars beefed up, the faster and more modern P2 cars slowed down, and several questionable caution flags. Some saw this as legitimate Balance of Performance (BoP) while others saw it as politics. How would IMSA’s good ol’ boys, paying entrants to be fair, feel if a bunch of new guys in their Jean Girard-type machinery came in and cleaned house? Neither path was going to satisfy everyone.

The answer was DPi, or Daytona Prototype International...


Click over to TOV Motorsports for the full story!
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#4646030 - 01/25/18 02:06 PM Re: Making Sportscar Racing Great Again [Re: gofast182]
gman2304 Offline


Registered: 08/11/11
Posts: 3058
Loc: n.c.
Interesting. I hope it happens. I couldn't help thinking of Ford and Shelby vs Ferrari at LeMans in the 60's with the GT40's. I remember Shelby saying in 1966. This year, Ferrari's { } is mine!


Edited by gman2304 (01/25/18 02:06 PM)

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#4646225 - 01/25/18 06:10 PM Re: Making Sportscar Racing Great Again [Re: gofast182]
CT8 Offline


Registered: 10/09/14
Posts: 11012
Loc: Idaho
sports these days are so ,,,, lacking charm.
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#4646226 - 01/25/18 06:11 PM Re: Making Sportscar Racing Great Again [Re: gofast182]
CT8 Offline


Registered: 10/09/14
Posts: 11012
Loc: Idaho
sports these days are so ,,,, lacking charm.
_________________________
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#4646279 - 01/25/18 06:58 PM Re: Making Sportscar Racing Great Again [Re: gofast182]
Carmudgeon Offline


Registered: 04/26/05
Posts: 540
Loc: Under the hood
IMSA currently has a formula on an up cycle, and very well suited for the times, but as any sports car fan knows, that will last only as long as the manufacturers remain interested. DPi is no more immune to the Achilles heel of sports car racing -- the fickleness of the OEMs -- than Group C, GTP, ALMS, WSC, DP, blah, blah, blah, were.

And I can't take seriously any author who lacks the fundamental understanding of how the ACO laid out the prototype classes.

P2 "essentially become a spec. racing class with virtually no value to automobile manufacturers?"

That's precisely what it was set up to be, with four chassis builders and one engine, and suitable for Am drivers!

P1 is the manufacturer's class, with more liberal regulations and full pro lineups, not P2.

And before anyone thinks that IMSA's poo doesn't stink, ask the shrinking field of GTD teams about the state of their class.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Rinse, lather, repeat.

Don't get me wrong, it's a good time to be a fan, but enjoy it while you can.

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#4646302 - 01/25/18 07:15 PM Re: Making Sportscar Racing Great Again [Re: gofast182]
gofast182 Offline


Registered: 04/30/13
Posts: 1699
Loc: NJ
I'm the author. I don't see anything inaccurate in my statement and it doesn't seem like you do, either. What I do have is a fundamental understanding of what the P2 class was. Any class with value to manufacturers has value to fans. P2 has lost some of its value to both therefore I do not think they did it right.
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#4646538 - 01/26/18 01:20 AM Re: Making Sportscar Racing Great Again [Re: gofast182]
Garak Offline


Registered: 12/05/09
Posts: 24620
Loc: Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Originally Posted By: gofast182
P2 has lost some of its value to both therefore I do not think they did it right.

What OEM really has any interest or is able to get any real value out of the P2 class, other than, perhaps, an engine manufacturer? I think Carmudgeon's point was that it was never designed to do anything for the manufacturers. It was designed to get privateers and amateurs into a class other than the GT class.
_________________________
Plain, simple Garak.

2008 Infiniti G37 - Shell ROTELLA T6 Multi-Vehicle 5w-30, NAPA Gold 7356
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#4646939 - 01/26/18 12:07 PM Re: Making Sportscar Racing Great Again [Re: gofast182]
gofast182 Offline


Registered: 04/30/13
Posts: 1699
Loc: NJ
There's no question P1 has been the "premier" class in European sportscar racing but P2 used to offer more value to manufacturers and fans than it does now. A few examples of manufacturers, yes engine manufacturers, and fans getting something out of it were Porsche and Honda. When is the last time you went to a race and saw a fan flying a Gibson flag? DPi currently occupies a gray area between P2 and P1 but the point is they have managed to do most of what ACO P2 intends while at the same time offering benefits to manufacturers and fans. IMSA deserves credit for that.
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2017 340i xDrive - Black Sapphire - Dlr Fill, 114...898
2011 MDX Tech - Aspen White - Dlr Fill, PLM-A01

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#4647404 - 01/26/18 07:55 PM Re: Making Sportscar Racing Great Again [Re: gofast182]
Carmudgeon Offline


Registered: 04/26/05
Posts: 540
Loc: Under the hood
Originally Posted By: Garak
I think Carmudgeon's point was that it was never designed to do anything for the manufacturers. It was designed to get privateers and amateurs into a class other than the GT class.


Precisely.

Originally Posted By: gofast182
There's no question P1 has been the "premier" class in European sportscar racing but P2 used to offer more value to manufacturers and fans than it does now. A few examples of manufacturers, yes engine manufacturers, and fans getting something out of it were Porsche and Honda. When is the last time you went to a race and saw a fan flying a Gibson flag? DPi currently occupies a gray area between P2 and P1 but the point is they have managed to do most of what ACO P2 intends while at the same time offering benefits to manufacturers and fans. IMSA deserves credit for that.


You keep trying to argue a logical fallacy that P2 has anything to do with manufacturers. The sanctioning bodies have been trying to steer manufacturers away from the sub-class and toward the top classes since the demise of LMP675 in 2004.

P2 is a cost-capped, spec class with a spec engine. It is designed to provide a less-costly avenue for privateers and pro-am lineups to compete in prototype-class cars at LM, and in the ELMS and A(sian)LMS. Those are its intended beneficiaries, not manufacturers.

That IMSA has used P2 as a basis for its own top class, with manufacturer involvement, has no bearing on the ACO, WEC, or the other LMS in the rest of the world.

The ACO firmly believes that P1 is its class for manufacturers, with a technology component, to the benefit of both the LM24 and the WEC. Not P2. Even in the face of the troubles caused by VAG's budgetary epiphany and attempt to rehabilitate its image as the result of Dieselgate. Toyota has stood by the ACO and stated that is has no interest in continuing if it was not allowed to promote its hybrid technology, something that would not be affordable for IMSA.

Yet there seems to be a contingent that repeatedly ignores that and believes the ACO should disrupt its own class structure and admit DPis to the LM24. The 24 is the ACO's show, and it has been running it for almost a century.

Would it be interesting to see DPis at Le Sarthe? Certainly. Would it make sense for sports car racing to harmonize the regulations to allow commonality for all the series? No doubt.

But the ACO. while far from perfect, is no more liable to allow IMSA to dictate how it runs its own race than the Hulman-Georges would be to allow the FIA to dictate how the Indy 500 is run.

IMSA is riding a wave now, because GM, HPD, and MNAO see the value in a North American series with relatively affordable budgets and a promising ROI. There are absolutely no guarantees that would translate internationally.

GM, in the face of increased competition in the WT series, has shut down its PWC program. It clearly has budgetary constraints. Where would the budget for a LM assault with a DPi come from? The Vette GTE budget?

HPD is an Honda's NA racing operation. The parent company has its hands full with its F1 grenades. Penske, being a smart businessman, doesn't pay to race out of his own pocket. Who pays for that theoretical program? And Penske, as unimpeachable as its record is, has largely achieved that in the U.S., not internationally. An overall LM24 win is a bucket list item for him, but he has clearly expressed his disdain for flyaway races that do not benefit his sponsors.

Mazda is a small company, that, to its credit, invests a lot in racing. But can it afford to do more? Getting Joest to run its program was a win, and it did spend the money to try to salvage the Riley, but what would it cost to do it properly, to Audi standards, if it wanted to go back for another shot at LM?

The bottom line is that IMSA is IMSA, and the ACO is the ACO. They share a lot, but are also very different, and not the same thing, nor can the same set of criteria be applied to both.

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#4647537 - 01/26/18 10:54 PM Re: Making Sportscar Racing Great Again [Re: Carmudgeon]
gofast182 Offline


Registered: 04/30/13
Posts: 1699
Loc: NJ
I'm well aware of the intent of the new P2 regs. but you must remember this isn't necessarily a P2 discussion; a lot of the talk between the ACO and IMSA was around P1. IMSA has the upper hand at the moment and even if the series don't align regs. for 2020 you'll probably see the ACO looking closer at IMSA's formula. With that said, it would be great if there could be some basis for joint competition at least at Le Mans.

Budgets do not have to be a zero sum game; if GM wants DPi cars to compete at Le Mans it doesn't mean it has to come from the Corvette racing program. And HPD has a history of supporting cars at Le Mans.
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#4648584 - 01/28/18 02:32 AM Re: Making Sportscar Racing Great Again [Re: gofast182]
Garak Offline


Registered: 12/05/09
Posts: 24620
Loc: Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Originally Posted By: gofast182
There's no question P1 has been the "premier" class in European sportscar racing but P2 used to offer more value to manufacturers and fans than it does now. A few examples of manufacturers, yes engine manufacturers, and fans getting something out of it were Porsche and Honda. When is the last time you went to a race and saw a fan flying a Gibson flag? DPi currently occupies a gray area between P2 and P1 but the point is they have managed to do most of what ACO P2 intends while at the same time offering benefits to manufacturers and fans. IMSA deserves credit for that.

I will state that every time a manufacturer has gotten themselves directly involved in P2 (aside from providing engines and so forth), I've been bitterly disappointed at the news. If they want to be involved in running a team and constructing something special, that's what P1 is for. If they want to demonstrate something a little more akin to what's available in dealerships, that's what GT is for.

Plenty of fans know about customer teams of one sort or another. Of course, they're not going to get the following that an OEM would, or an historic F1 private team.

As far as the classes go, and ACO in general, there certainly can be some improvements done in WEC. But, we see this all the time, no matter what direction the regulations go. Someone's budget goes kerflooey, a company runs into financial or legal trouble, or a new pecking order shows up at the board of directors, and some OEM vanishes from one tier of racing or another. I'd love to see every major OEM from North America, Europe, and Asia involved in P1 and provide a GT platform, but much of that is wishful thinking. And, of course, budgets don't have to be zero sum games; I agree completely.
_________________________
Plain, simple Garak.

2008 Infiniti G37 - Shell ROTELLA T6 Multi-Vehicle 5w-30, NAPA Gold 7356
1984 F-150 4.9L - Quaker State GB 10w-30, Wix 51515

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#4649760 - 01/29/18 05:50 AM Re: Making Sportscar Racing Great Again [Re: gofast182]
gofast182 Offline


Registered: 04/30/13
Posts: 1699
Loc: NJ
Bitterly disappointed...because a mfr. got involved in P2? That just doesn't sound right and it sounds like you might be missing the beauty of IMSAs current P class. We have an entire class directly based on spec. P2 chassis with a different engine and a very limited amount of aero being the only "significant" deviations of DPi and at the same time you can run essentially a full ACO spec. P2 and be in the hunt for podiums. While even a spec. P2 program can blow budgets, DPi inherently has some respectable cost controls built in and we have some exciting manufacturer/driver involvement which you don't get with ACO P2. At the same time the "benefits" of ACO P2 are there because teams with those drivers/budgets can also run and compete. It's a win-win; the involvement of both P2 and DPi teams in 2018 and projected for 2019 speaks for itself.

Because mfrs. got involved in P2 is why me and others became race fans. Acura debuting in LMP2 in 2007 is what hooked me.
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2017 340i xDrive - Black Sapphire - Dlr Fill, 114...898
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#4651699 - 01/31/18 03:33 AM Re: Making Sportscar Racing Great Again [Re: gofast182]
Garak Offline


Registered: 12/05/09
Posts: 24620
Loc: Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
I'm talking a little more about ACO, over IMSA. I don't follow IMSA as much, but there do seem to be some positive changes. Given the state of racing, it can only pay to have an open mind.

What I'm getting at is when I see a big manufacturer with a racing history forego P1 to run a P2, all the while with their competition in P1, that's where I'm disappointed. I don't need to see, hypothetically, Nissan fielding P2 to combat privateers while not competing against Toyota directly.

P2 in Europe and North America aren't exactly demonstrating a bunch of "frugality," for a better term, when it comes to driver lineups. Snatching guys with current Super Licenses likely isn't terribly cheap, and it looks to me like loading up a car with ringers. Maybe the ACO needs to revisit how many platinum rated drivers can be on an LMP2 team.

Acura debuting in LMP2 might have some interest to it, but from my perspective, there are better options. If you want to race with the big boys, hit P1. If you want to showcase the vehicles you actually sell in your dealership, that's what GT is for. I would worry if a P2 class gets too reliant on OEMs. ACO P1 is in a big enough mess as it is, without OEMs playing the same games in another class.
_________________________
Plain, simple Garak.

2008 Infiniti G37 - Shell ROTELLA T6 Multi-Vehicle 5w-30, NAPA Gold 7356
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#4651752 - 01/31/18 07:08 AM Re: Making Sportscar Racing Great Again [Re: gofast182]
gofast182 Offline


Registered: 04/30/13
Posts: 1699
Loc: NJ
Thanks for the distinction between ACO and IMSA, it makes a bit more sense in that context. I won't speak to what some teams are doing with driver lineups but in terms of mfr. involvement, not all budgets are created equal. The costs of mfr. P1 programs are bordering on vulgar so I hold absolutely nothing against a mfr. who wants to race, wants to design an engine, not design a chassis, and wants to use factory/team drivers. That's why what IMSA is doing is brilliant, IMO. Teams with skinny budgets can take advantage of what the P2 regs are, mfrs. can run DPi, and they're all in the hunt for a good result and they all know what they're signing up for.
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#4652420 - 01/31/18 06:11 PM Re: Making Sportscar Racing Great Again [Re: gofast182]
Garak Offline


Registered: 12/05/09
Posts: 24620
Loc: Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Yes, I haven't paid enough attention to the IMSA side of things to know where all the eggs lay, as it were. You're obviously well aware of the mess in ACO P1 right now. As for obscene budgets, I guess that's all relative. I guarantee you that Gene Haas will never again even think of complaining about a NASCAR budget after what he's going through to run two cars in F1. Similarly, another guise of Manor felt pretty flush with cash after leaving F1 for prototypes.

However, anything that encourages more involvement in racing these days, be it by OEMs or privateers or gentleman racers, is fine by me.
_________________________
Plain, simple Garak.

2008 Infiniti G37 - Shell ROTELLA T6 Multi-Vehicle 5w-30, NAPA Gold 7356
1984 F-150 4.9L - Quaker State GB 10w-30, Wix 51515

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