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View Full Version : Gauging Interest: FV1200 Driver Search Shootout


Steven Scala
12-07-2015, 05:17 PM
An FV1200 opportunity has come up, and the guys at Junction Autosport (http://www.junctionautosport.com) and myself are thinking we'd like to put it to use to find ourselves some new hotshoes for our multi-pronged 2016 race season.

Gauging interest in a pre-season shootout for a full-season Ontario FV1200 ride. Actual costs would depend on the number of entries at this point, but I know it'll have to be under $1,800/entry (which is what I paid for the cheapest school-series driver shootout available back in 1999).

I've participated in one such shootout and observed a couple more, so I've seen how easy it is for issues of fairness and equity to arise. We have some ideas on how to mitigate these issues while maintaining the interests of the team and its sponsors, but at this stage we're also open to other ideas as well.

So what do you all think? Is this kind of thing just too 'nineties' to work these days, or is it about time we see this happen again? Looking forward to seeing some feedback from hotshoes and armchair ganassis alike.

HarlandG
12-08-2015, 11:32 AM
Hey Steven,

What's your target market for drivers?

Being relatively fresh from Karting, I think that's a fair price to offer. Their already spending between $700-900 on registration fees alone at regional races. But yes obviously the cheaper it is the more people that can afford to do it. It's a great opportunity for someone to come out and test a car without having to spend/invest a huge amount of money and creates an equal playing field.

You probably already know this, but I'd suggest weighing each driver and adding/subtracting weight from the car so everyone is the same. (No excuse if your EXACTLY the same as the other person)

-Harland

Shane_AVR
12-10-2015, 12:38 PM
Interesting concept. Few questions right off the bat:

- how would a driver be eligible? can a driver have previous racing experience?
- how would the competition be handled? what car? track? time trials or wheel to wheel racing shootout?
- do the entry fees for the shootout fund the ride for the year? or is the funding coming from a title sponsor?
- is there a team/car already in mind to run this driver?

I like the idea, great way to promote regional racing and get more people out to the track

Steven Scala
12-12-2015, 02:08 AM
Junction Autosport's a relatively young team - though the core personnel go back 15 years in import drags, JA's got one season of ChumpCar and CSCS Time Attack under their belt. Their performance and capability, however, have convinced me that their CASC, CTCC and eventual IMSA aspirations are plausible.

That being the case, I think it would serve them well to work with a driver who's got some experience, particularly in single-seaters. At the same time, I've been conferring upon them my own observations from 15 years of scraping together any and all rides possible, so if we've got a gifted young driver who's talented but totally green, we can cover that too. Long story short: we haven't got a single particular type in mind.

At the same time, I can't nail down the competitiveness of our car at this point: I know it's a relatively old chassis, though I get the impression that this isn't as much of a factor in Vees. Shane, is this assumption off-base?

As to some of your other questions, Shane, Junction's stable of lapping, chump and timetrial-spec cars could be an asset for such a test, but I'd expect that the Vee itself would be a necessary and critical component of the tryout.

Shootout revenue would have to cover the lion's share of the season's running, crew and logistical costs, though to keep entry fees low I'm thinking that the driver would have to cover entry fees on his/her own.

Back in 1999, I was in touch with some guys doing an Ontario FV1200 driver search just like this - Redline Performance, I think they were called. Though advertised in the back pages of PRN when it was a lively tabloid, the driver search fell through. IIRC it was down to a lack of entries, and this was at a time when overall interest among young drivers was arguably higher. It may have been a matter of having had to compete with other great choices, particularly among school series tryouts. Either way it leaves me with a big question mark over the idea, hence the idea's current status as a preliminary 'feeler.'

DavidSim
12-12-2015, 12:47 PM
>>I like the idea, great way to promote regional racing and get more people out to the track<<
>>Long story short: we haven't got a single particular type in mind<

Both of the above are interesting comments, my response would be to target people who have a realistic chance of actually continuing on with racing in the future when all is said and done. To me that means people with the desire, AND THE MONEY, to do so, most likely someone older and more established with the necessary resources.

Sure there are lots of young people who would like to give it a go no doubt, but it takes cash to tango in the long run, plain and simple.

iamthewheelman
12-12-2015, 08:25 PM
I would participate in an event like this for a price like that. I have been out of karting for 4 years because I couldn't afford to race anymore at the regional and national level and the club scene in Rotax was dying out.

I have been doing time attack since then and this off season made the decision to sell my car and use the money to get my road racing licence and to try and rent some rides in Chump car and regional weekends to get some experience because it's what I can afford.

Tough to say if there is interest in something like this from enough people though. I think most young guys with aspirations of reaching the higher levels of IMSA or beyond, have the money to run in the US in the proper feeder series to gain experience.

It would be ignorant for me to assume that if I had the money I would be able to reach my goals (or perhaps dreams would be more appropriate) in racing because I am a good enough driver. But events like this could help and I would gain more experience and see where I need to improve if nothing else. I love racing and would love to go further with it and stuff like this is great for learning and networking with people.

Shane_AVR
12-14-2015, 11:07 AM
Steve,

I think the idea is a great idea and could definitely take off. You mention that the idea didn't work back in 1999. Only a few years ago, this was done again, successfully, through Bill Vallis' team. Matt Garwood (younger guy, in his 20's) won the award and received a free ride for a full season, and was on his own dime from then on. He's still racing now, it's been a number of years. Bottom line is it can work.

If you can give me the info on the car that you guys have, I could probably have a pretty good idea of how successful it can be. You are right that chassis age doesn't factor into it too much, it is more about the driver and engine that you have in it. Michael Iamundi won 5 championships in a car originally built in 1972 against modern, very competitive chassis.

We ran a F1200 team for 5 years, and I would be able to help you through this if you would like. I have a few young aspiring drivers, some with experience and some without, that I know would be interested in this. I can't donate my time as that's already at a premium, but I can definitely help promote and donate my knowledge.

you can reach me offline at spviccary@rogers.com if you'd like.

Steven Scala
12-14-2015, 03:16 PM
>>I like the idea, great way to promote regional racing and get more people out to the track<<
>>Long story short: we haven't got a single particular type in mind<

Both of the above are interesting comments, my response would be to target people who have a realistic chance of actually continuing on with racing in the future when all is said and done. To me that means people with the desire, AND THE MONEY, to do so, most likely someone older and more established with the necessary resources.

Sure there are lots of young people who would like to give it a go no doubt, but it takes cash to tango in the long run, plain and simple.

Certainly a good idea to weed out 'flash in the pan' prospects, but I think it's difficult to couch a prospect's potential longevity in terms of funding alone. A funded-to-F3 rising star would certainly provide a short-term boost to the team and series, but is likely looking to move up an open-wheel notch every 1-2 years, which outpaces the growth prospects of even the best of the operations I moonlight with. Conversely, over the past 15 years I've worked with and continue to see a lot of the guys that I'd once struggled and toiled alongside when we were young, underfunded and driven. Certainly never rich, but all 'lifers,' even if you don't see them at the top of our region's standings every year.

In any case, having seen the benefits of being less-than-ideally funded as a driver (yes there are benefits in terms of versatility, adaptability and risk management), and having allied with a multi-platform crew, I'd be remiss to exclude those who are learning these attributes. We don't necessarily have to find the next Bruno Spengler. We'd do just as well to find the next Eric Cote.

Steven Scala
12-14-2015, 06:06 PM
Here's a thought: it might not be asking too much to require entrants to have - as a prerequisite in this particular program - an active membership in one specific CASC Ontario affiliated club.

Added memberships would be to the club's benefit, and there are clubs that could provide their intrinsic advantages in return. For example, a club like DAC has with it a membership base that may itself be a conduit toward technical support vis. aircooled VW engines; other clubs might be good at young driver development, or might have a working relationship with the FTDA. A small detail, maybe, but maybe something to think about if things move ahead?

Now that I think of it, when I entered the Horizon Driver Search in 1999, an HRC club membership was packaged with the tryout entry. Guess that establishes precedent, at least.

Vee guys: does the FTDA have a specified club membership requirement? Shane, I might e-mail you on this. (I could also maybe catch one of your erstwhile AVR cronies around the water cooler here at the office and pick their brains as well, at least at a moment they're not busy imagineering big time pro racecar stuff. ;) )

Shane_AVR
12-14-2015, 07:30 PM
Steve, FTDA does have their own series membership, which enables the competitor to get points and series sponsored prizes throughout the year. That is not however a CASC affiliated club. BARC is the club directly linked to FTDA. You do not have to be a BARC member to be a FTDA member, but many of them are.

Those AVR cronies are hard ones to nail down. Believe me, I know!

Steven Scala
12-17-2015, 11:24 AM
Okay, noted. I don't mean to muck with pre-existing clubbie arrangements, not that bringing six or seven new members is that much of a big deal anyhow.

In any case, it looks like I've got the car owner and Junction Autosport on board, as well as a backup support crew to cover F1200 weekends that conflict with other events where Junction may be entered.

Now it's a matter of securing some track time, finding some interested drivers, and setting out a schedule.

Shane_AVR
12-17-2015, 03:01 PM
that`s great. Please let me know as soon as you have some more details. I definitely have a few interested people who might want to give it a go.

Also, any chance you can share some info on the specific car involved?

Steven Scala
12-17-2015, 03:48 PM
Well I have my choice of two chassis': one is Steve Adams' old car (a four-shock chassis, which I'm told it has a bit more grip overall but feels a bit funny as it takes a set), and another car with monoshock rear suspension, though I'm unclear on the spec. I'll try and follow up with the owner tonight.

Steven Scala
12-17-2015, 06:50 PM
Well I have my choice of two chassis': one is Steve Adams' old car (a four-shock chassis, which I'm told it has a bit more grip overall but feels a bit funny as it takes a set), and another car with monoshock rear suspension, though I'm unclear on the spec. I'll try and follow up with the owner tonight.

Okay, so I was clearly out to lunch on FV suspensions. In any case, here's the spec as verified by the car owner: it's a Lynx 'B' with Z-bar rear suspension and a fresh SR motor. So there you have it. Car arrives on Saturday. Re-prep starts January.

Stephen
12-17-2015, 09:42 PM
well i have my choice of two chassis': One is steve adams' old car .

Holy crap!!!! Really??? Wow!!! That's awesome!

Shane_AVR
12-18-2015, 10:37 AM
Okay, so I was clearly out to lunch on FV suspensions. In any case, here's the spec as verified by the car owner: it's a Lynx 'B' with Z-bar rear suspension and a fresh SR motor. So there you have it. Car arrives on Saturday. Re-prep starts January.

Well you aren't entirely incorrect. The Z-bar suspension is still 4 shock suspension. The majority of the cars in F1200, and all the newer build cars are rear monoshock. That's not to say the Z-bar can't be just as fast. Major reasons they do monoshock is for simplicity, saves weight, and aero advantage. They do take a bit more work to get quick, but it's it is Steve's old car, it has speed in the blood! SR builds good motors, should be good there.

uptownguy
12-18-2015, 11:30 AM
Originally Posted by Steven Scala View Post
Well I have my choice of two chassis': one is Steve Adams' old car (a four-shock chassis, which I'm told it has a bit more grip overall but feels a bit funny as it takes a set), and another car with monoshock rear suspension, though I'm unclear on the spec. I'll try and follow up with the owner tonight.

Do I hear two car team :)

Steven Scala
12-18-2015, 02:36 PM
Haha. Would maybe be a bit much for us to manage this year on top of the 2-3 other one- and two-car programs our guys are running.

Plus, Kijiji hasn't gifted us with the right 40-foot trailer just yet... ;)

Shane_AVR
12-18-2015, 04:23 PM
Haha. Would maybe be a bit much for us to manage this year on top of the 2-3 other one- and two-car programs our guys are running.

Plus, Kijiji hasn't gifted us with the right 40-foot trailer just yet... ;)

I might know somewhere you can get a cheap dodge 3500 and a 24' trailer, perfect for a two car F1200 team :)

Steven Scala
12-18-2015, 05:40 PM
You can fit two of those buggies in an 24-footer? Wow! :eek:

uptownguy
12-18-2015, 07:31 PM
If the trailer is high enough you can double stack them, they probably won't go over weight:)

Steven Scala
12-19-2015, 03:32 AM
If the trailer is high enough you can double stack them, they probably won't go over weight:)

Ah, right, of course. Benches and whatnot...

So I've got some ideas on conducting the actual tryout. Currently thinking we can score driver consistency on deviation from a target 'stigged' laptime using the ChumpCar, and score outright speed on a third car.

Of course some time in the Vee itself should be essential, if not weighted a bit to score more heavily than the other two criteria. Still, time in other cars - particularly that with the objective of ultimate laptime - should help ease some demands on the Vee's drivetrain, which should be preseason-fresh at the time of the tryout. I'm leaning toward scoring the Vee segment on laptime with some calculation of deviation, potentially with a rev limit. Do these things lose any semblance of driveability if you short-shift them 1500ish RPM to mitigate zing-related kablammo risk?

Need to consider contingency plans in case of any damage and mechanical compromises sustained during the course of the test. In the case of criteria based on ultimate laptime, we'd have to re-test all the drivers. If we have 6 or 7 drivers, this could require an all-day thing without sessions that are mutually exclusive between open- and closed-wheel cars. The cost of tracktime required to conduct this tryout figures heavily into its ability to cover season-long running costs assuming realistic entry fees and driver count.

Steven Scala
12-23-2015, 11:53 PM
Triage:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CW4JdKpWMAEBrEq.jpg

Okay, well the car got here last weekend and it's not a basketcase, but it needs a lot of cleanup to get it running, and lotsa money to get it race legal. Turns out it's the one last run by Chris Freeland. It needs a master cylinder, motor wake-up, and all-round refresh to get the thing working again: basically, could be made to do a test in 'coaching spec' with a couple months' work. Beyond that, it needs serious attention before it's race-ready. The thought of driving this thing in anger has me first thinking about the required safety upgrades, and secondly about the springy-looking chassis.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CW4QtRdWYAAuGVA.jpg:large

Given the (lack of) chassis structure, I can imagine the 'wobble and grip' impression the owner tried to impart on me insofar as that 'Z' bar is concerned. Overall this chassis looks to have been designed to articulate where the rear suspension would not. Those CV joints look funny, as if in comparison with the usual CV/halfshaft arrangement, these shafts lose a degree of freedom while the joints have gained one. What's going on back there? It really looks a bit bizarre to me, really. Maybe I'm missing something, but personally I feel this car's design is appropriate for vintage racing.

I know there are folks who are really into these cars (I know, they're big in Australia, etc.), but unless there's a compelling wave of driver interest, I feel like giving this particular example a nice tidy-up commensurate to the owner's effort in trucking it to me, my aim being to get it back to him cleaned, oiled, and nicely packaged for re-sale or project.

Shane_AVR
12-24-2015, 09:57 AM
Hey Steve,

So there are a few things to note here. It is definitely a Lynx-B, and has updated bodywork from original, but the chassis and suspension seems to be original. The design with the 2x4 bottom rail acting as a the main stiffness of the chassis is very common for formula vee design. You are correct that the chassis will be somewhat compliant through the corners with this style suspension.

The rear axles / boots / transmission all looks fine. They look funny because you will never find anything like this on another formula car. It's all stock, right out of a VW bug rear end, right out to the brakes. The technology dates back to 1963 when FV started, and rules have never changed since.

All of the pieces seem to be there, but yes it will definitely take a lot of work and elbow grease to get it in working order, then competitive.

The wheels and tires tell me that the last time this car ran was in Ontario in F1200. The type of tires would tell you the era. I'm guessing Michelin?