Rules for 2015.... Electric cars and events to drop

General Regulations on how a NEHA hillclimb should function, how the series works, etc.

Re: Rules for 2015.... Electric cars and events to drop

Postby RacingFrog » Tue Dec 30, 2014 11:00 am

walterclark wrote:I think that in In U class - where engine modifications are not allowed at all - using engine displacement as the basic value to determine power, yields the largest performance discrepancies between same class cars.

Without doing a lot of study and a fair amount of math I dont know if using published HP and or torque numbers would be significantly better or not. Theoretically it should help with the issue of older models having less power:cc than newer ones. However defining power such that it is equitable from manufacturer published info may be difficult since to really get a good picture of it requires knowledge of the output across its operating range combined with gearing and tire size to predict how it would translate to acceleration. Who exactly would be responsible for developing this and ensuring it is correctly used for each car entered? I know who will not. The present tech team.


I don't get why when using the manufacturer published cc you don't need to know about gearing, tire size, etc... and it just becomes an issue when you use the manufacturer published hp/torque. I don't think that any metric is perfect but on a stock car, the manufacturer published numbers (hp & weight) are likely to be more accurate than taking cc and applying some random factors for valves/turbo/type of gas/etc... especially with the current trend that delivers way more hp per cc.

I guess the more fundamental question is why do you define classes for? If you look at the championship standings, there are only 3 classes with 3 drivers of more (P2, S1, S5), every other class has 0 to 2 championship eligible drivers. To me this is an indication that there are too many classes but on the other hand, people feel good at the end of the weekend when they finish first in their class even though they were the only competing after themselves (ask my wife! :D).

To come back to the original point about drops, I would not drop a single event. If someone can make it to all the events, more power to him/her. This would avoid the discrepancies of having different events dropped for people in the same class.
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Re: Rules for 2015.... Electric cars and events to drop

Postby drummingpariah » Tue Dec 30, 2014 12:18 pm

RacingFrog wrote:I guess the more fundamental question is why do you define classes for?


This was my thought regarding Sherman having to bump up a few classes.

RacingFrog wrote:If you look at the championship standings, there are only 3 classes with 3 drivers of more (P2, S1, S5), every other class has 0 to 2 championship eligible drivers. To me this is an indication that there are too many classes but on the other hand, people feel good at the end of the weekend when they finish first in their class even though they were the only competing after themselves (ask my wife! :D).


This is what I'd like to see. Fewer, more clearly defined classes. Rally America (using them as an example again, because it suits my needs) has 7 classes in the Regional Championship. I like how simple their layout is, and how easy it is to categorize your car. Add a few classes for unprepared (do we really need 6 unprepared classes?), and you're up to 10. Assuming around 45 entries per race, that's ~4 cars per class per event. Those (partially fabricated) numbers sound encouraging to me.
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Re: Rules for 2015.... Electric cars and events to drop

Postby walterclark » Tue Dec 30, 2014 12:46 pm

If we were to change away from using displacement in U, the purpose of that would be to significantly increase the accuracy of predicting performance. As soon as we were to adopt a power formula the same people who dont like the way it is now will start bitching about different transmissions and wheels sizes creating inequalities. Might as well take as many variables as practical into account up front to reduce the need to substantially rewrite the rules every year. Hence the inclusion of other driveline variables in my "what if". By the way...none of this applies to SP or P because the competitor is free to do whatever it takes to bring a car to 100% of its theoretical potential within the restrictions and formulas of a given class if they so choose.

The displacement factors are not random numbers. In fact all the factors and ratios that define classes have evolved over lots of years of hillclimb experience. They may not always reflect the latest evolutions of cars and engines but they are far from random and do produce cars that are pretty close in terms of times on the hills. If there is data to suggest one factor or another is not accurate, then any member is welcome to propose a change at the rules meeting.

You might as well forget the notion of counting all events. That might work for championships featuring pro level race teams but there are way too many things that can legitimately keep good working hillclimbers from being at every event to essentially make it mandatory in order to be successful in a NEHA championship. It would never fly at a rules meeting.
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Re: Rules for 2015.... Electric cars and events to drop

Postby walterclark » Tue Dec 30, 2014 1:15 pm

RacingFrog wrote:I guess the more fundamental question is why do you define classes for? If you look at the championship standings, there are only 3 classes with 3 drivers of more (P2, S1, S5), every other class has 0 to 2 championship eligible drivers. To me this is an indication that there are too many classes but on the other hand, people feel good at the end of the weekend when they finish first in their class even though they were the only competing after themselves (ask my wife! :D).


First, your reference to numbers in classes is taken after the elimination of drivers who did not compete enough to qualify for a championship. I take exception to that approach to determine what classes are viable or competitive. I am one of the classes that ended the season with only one championship eligible driver...me. However that is not the true story. I did not win because I was the only one to show up. P3 was very competitive all season. We had a high of 5 cars and averaged 3-4 per event. Each driver who did not qualify for the championship had their own reasons, but at the start of the season there were 7 potential class champions and thru the course of the season there were 3 different P3 event class winners. I believe that every driver who started the season has won the class at some event in the past. At the events that I won this year I had to beat 2-3 other very skilled and very competitive drivers.

There are years when a class is under-subscribed (as in one competitor pretty much all season), but that ebbs and flows from season to season and is not in itself a good reason to eliminate it. Consolidating our present classes, in my opinion is a mistake. Too many of us have built a car to a class set of rules to willingly move. I know that if P3 were eliminated or opened up to what is now the P2 displacement allowance, I would simply stop racing as I have no desire to turbocharge my car and do all the other upgrading added power to that degree would require (e.g. drivetrain and brakes), which is what it would take to stand a chance of being competitive against P2 cars.
Last edited by walterclark on Tue Dec 30, 2014 4:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rules for 2015.... Electric cars and events to drop

Postby drummingpariah » Tue Dec 30, 2014 1:24 pm

That's a good point that SP/P cars are assumed to be at 100% of their potential, that's an assumption we HAVE to make.

Rabbit Farmer wrote:But equal cars would come with equal tires; comparing apples to apples.

Yes, the Z06 could have 15" wide rims and my car came with 6.5", but we aren't in the same class.


The Miata is significantly less capable than my Datsun, but comes with 15x6 wheels. Would it make more sense to use the contact patch size as a modifier, rather than using whatever the OEM used as a baseline of comparison? The Miata isn't penalized because it was manufactured in a time when better wheel choices were common. That's the only classification rule that I really see as arbitrary, and flies in the face of a car being prepared to 100% of its potential.

Thanks for taking the time to explain how things came to be what they are. Not all of these rules make sense without knowing some of the backstory or logic behind them.
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Re: Rules for 2015.... Electric cars and events to drop

Postby RacingFrog » Tue Dec 30, 2014 1:55 pm

walterclark wrote:You might as well forget the notion of counting all events. That might work for championships featuring pro level race teams but there are way too many things that can legitimately keep good working hillclimbers from being at every event to essentially make it mandatory in order to be successful in a NEHA championship. It would never fly at a rules meeting.


There might be people against it but I think anyone should be eligible for the championship no matter how many events he/she entered. In the final count, we just add up everything.
The current system that allows different drop is unfair anyway, so I won't see why this system would be more unfair?
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Re: Rules for 2015.... Electric cars and events to drop

Postby RacingFrog » Tue Dec 30, 2014 2:18 pm

walterclark wrote:Too many of us have built a car to a class set of rules to willingly move. I know that if P3 were eliminated or opened up to what is now the P2 displacement allowance, I would simply stop racing as I have no desire to turbocharge my car and do all the other upgrading that would require, which is what it would take to stand a chance of being competitive against P2 cars.


You raise a very good point. The current rules are not made to fit existing cars in classes, rather you have to build a car to fit a class. Otherwise you will end up wherever the current spreadsheet is going to put you.
Basically, if my neighbor wants to be competitive with his 1975 Vette, he has to buy a Z06. If you have a WRX and want to be competitive, do an STI swap. And as the majority of voters will be the 'too many of us [that] have built a car to a class set of rules' it is unlikely that these rules will ever change.
I am lucky that I ended up in a class with very good close competition (because the much faster than us upgraded themselves to FL, not because the rules dictated them to but because they chose to). This doesn't necessarily mean that the current set of rules is good, it means that people have adapted to it over time. And if people have been able to live with it, then it's probably not that bad!

Like you said, whatever the classing system, some cars will have an advantage and others won't. Even with the zillion classes in the SCCA you always pretty much end up with 1 car dominating a particular class. As far as the U class is concerned, the real equalized is the breakout time (if that was just me there would be only 1 big U class but I know this won't pass either :D).

Actually with modern cars being faster, that also means that breakout times are going to be more easily within reach of U cars (I broke out with the stock Audi on all-seasons at Ascutney and that was the first time I was running the hill). Is there any plan to revise breakout times?
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Re: Rules for 2015.... Electric cars and events to drop

Postby 3rdgendennis » Tue Dec 30, 2014 2:38 pm

RacingFrog wrote:Is there any plan to revise breakout times?
There have been a few attempts. Long story short, no. The current breakout times reflect a speed that can be considered fun, but not overly dangerous. That is the point of the rule. I didn't break out by much in the neon (in fact I don't believe I did at all at Okemo 2) and look at the damage that happened even at "slow" speeds. The spirit of the breakout rule is to allow someone to drive up the hills a few times and make sure they want to run the series before they cage their car. It is not intended to allow people to race slow cars at full speed.

RacingFrog wrote:If you have a WRX and want to be competitive, do an STI swap

Seth might argue with you on that. His car is in S3 instead of S1 with the STIs because he has a 2.0 WRX motor (2.0L vs 2.5L) that lets him be more competitive in his class.
As far as your neighbor, while he may not want to do the modifications necessary to be competitive, multiple drivers (Sim Shortman, Bob Smolenski, and Bob Ericson come to mind) in the past have competed in P1 in Corvettes of that relative era and run some pretty good times.

I think the classification rules as they stand work. When a car is prepared to the extent of the rules (which is why they are there-limitations), and the driver has some experience on the hills, it will be competitive in whatever class it is prepared for, end of story. Hillclimbs are for fun, with no trophies or cash prizes. At the end of the day, if you put yourself in a class where you are competitive, no one is going to complain, regardless of whether you are classed exactly right.
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Re: Rules for 2015.... Electric cars and events to drop

Postby sachilles » Tue Dec 30, 2014 2:55 pm

RacingFrog wrote: Is there any plan to revise breakout times?


One of the great things about NEHA, is that we have our banquet and rules meeting once a year. This year it is February 7. Anyone from a member club may propose a new rule or change one, and have it voted upon at the meeting.

If you feel the break out time(s) need adjustment, submit a proposal. Everyone will be able to debate the merits of it at the meeting, and a vote on it's acceptance. All proposals are suppose to be listed in this forum prior to the meeting, so that folks may go to the meeting with the info to defend their position on the rule change.

The backstory worth knowing is that NEHA has prided itself on having a very small rule book, so a minimalist approach is advised.
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Re: Rules for 2015.... Electric cars and events to drop

Postby sachilles » Tue Dec 30, 2014 3:11 pm

3rdgendennis wrote:
RacingFrog wrote:If you have a WRX and want to be competitive, do an STI swap

Seth might argue with you on that. His car is in S3 instead of S1 with the STIs because he has a 2.0 WRX motor (2.0L vs 2.5L) that lets him be more competitive in his class.
As far as your neighbor, while he may not want to do the modifications necessary to be competitive, multiple drivers (Sim Shortman, Bob Smolenski, and Bob Ericson come to mind) in the past have competed in P1 in Corvettes of that relative era and run some pretty good times.

I think the classification rules as they stand work. When a car is prepared to the extent of the rules (which is why they are there-limitations), and the driver has some experience on the hills, it will be competitive in whatever class it is prepared for, end of story. Hillclimbs are for fun, with no trophies or cash prizes. At the end of the day, if you put yourself in a class where you are competitive, no one is going to complain, regardless of whether you are classed exactly right.


My 2 cents, if you want to be competitive in S1, you need in excess of of STi spec to be competitive, ultimately to be competitive in S1, you need to be in the hunt for FTD.
In S3, a 2 liter wrx can be competitive, though it helps if you get Don to take the day off. :lol: My car is far from the class limits of S3. The motor is completely stock and 179,000 miles young. I'd suggest the car is pretty good in stock form, just that my driving needs a bit of improvement to un-horse Don at the top of the class. Jon Shanks also proved that a non Turbo 2.5rs subaru could also be quite competitive in S3 as well.
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