Formula Libre change of class name

Discussion related to classification of cars in the NEHA series.

Formula Libre change of class name

Postby Kiwi » Thu Dec 19, 2013 3:59 pm

I propose a class name change from Formula Libre to Unlimited.

Formula Libre seems a bit antiquated now, particularly since we don't have many (or any) formula cars currently competing.

I suggest the class name Unlimited because it is self-descriptive, there are no limits to this class (other than the technical regulations for safety purposes). This name is used by Pikes Peak (PPIHC) for the anything-goes class.

Another possible class name for Formula Libre could be Open. However, PPIHC already uses the class Open to refer to a class with many rules, very different from Formula Libre. Also the class Open exists in Rally America, again with different rules. And NASA Rally also has Open classes with different rules!

Any reasons to stay with the current name of Formula Libre?

Thoughts anyone?
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Re: Formula Libre change of class name

Postby KevinGale » Fri Dec 20, 2013 10:35 am

A few of us have been talking about this in an email thread as well. We just had an instance where we had to get several people involved to convince someone that just because our class name of Formula Libre matched an FIA class name he couldn't enter his formula car as is without meeting our cage rules. It didn't help that our class description talks about formula cars.

We don't want to outlaw formula cars and in fact we are not proposing changing the rules about them in any way. But given this confusion and the fact that FL hasn't been used by formula style cars in ages it seems like a good time for a class name change.

The following names have been proposed to replace Formula Libre

Prepared Zero
Prepared Open
Prepared Free
Open
and now Jamie's
Unlimited


The problem I have with Unlimited is that is starts with a U which is the same as the Unprepared classes. That just seems to confusing. People talk about U classes all the time.
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Re: Formula Libre change of class name

Postby Mopar 151w2 » Fri Dec 20, 2013 3:18 pm

I say we change it to P/0, or P/O, and then leave it vauge enough that a generation of campfire drunks can argue about the meaning of "O" ("0"?) ;)

If I put on my Pit Road Lawyer wig for a moment - It would not be a truly "unlimited" class, being for wheel-driven cars only, and the rules requiring some sort of chassis 'n all... Prepared "Open" fits better, as in open to any car which fits the safety specs for Prepared. Maybe P/X? (Prepared/Experimental).

As far as the language on tires goes - We do need to say, explicitly, that all tires not DOT approved must run in Prepared. E'ver oncet in a while, somebody shows up with tarmac rally tires - "They're just like DOT, sort of - really!" The last inquiry was about using them on a Sooby running under the breakout rule. :roll:
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Re: Formula Libre change of class name

Postby Kiwi » Fri Dec 20, 2013 4:27 pm

A couple more thoughts.  To prevent confusion between Unlimited and Unprepared, especially with the abbreviations, we could use:

U - Unlimited
UP - Unprepared

However, I'm now thinking that maybe the name Unprepared could use changing.  If we are going to change one name, why not rethink the whole naming system.  How about this set of names?

Race Category (any tires):
U - Unlimited

P1 - Prepared 1
P2 - Prepared 2 etc.

Street Category (DOT-only tires):
SP1 - Street Prepared 1
SP2 - Street Prepared 2 etc.

ST1 - Stock 1
ST2 - Stock 2 etc.

I like Unlimited because it does imply a vehicle without limits, and is also the term used by Pikes Peak. But safety limits are always recognized and required. If Unlimited seems to invite a racing machine that we would not approve of (ummmm, perhaps a snowmobile with front wheels instead of skis), we could consider a rule that defines the absolute minimum requirements for a vehicle racing at a NEHA event. Something like "4 wheeled vehicle with minimum wheelbase and track", and of course, "and motorcycles with 2 wheels".

I do support the entry and use of formula and sports racing cars, but also agree that the open cockpit nature of these cars might require more safety than when used on a racing circuit. (Though it doesn't stop the PHA series run by the SCCA from allowing formula cars, nor anywhere else in the world that I'm aware of...).

I much prefer "Stock" to Unprepared, the latter sounds like you're not prepared for racing!  And we do allow you to prepare your Unprepared car, specifically with a roll cage if you choose, and you can use DOT approved tires such as Hoosier A6 autocross tires that have been developed specifically for racing (but still pass DOT requirements). Another term could be Production, but the short form PR suffers by being close to P of Prepared...

One of the reasons I am for a name change is to better align ourselves with other sanctioning bodies. How many other organizations use the term "Unprepared"? Stock has been in use for a long time and implies "not changed from OEM", though one could argue that "Stock Cars" are actually prepared race cars...

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Re: Formula Libre change of class name

Postby walterclark » Fri Dec 20, 2013 4:56 pm

For anyone reading this and confused by John's last remark...As Kevin stated this very discussion began via email between me Kevin, John and Sherm and it was in regards to a car interested in running our Formula Libre but meeting only the FIA definition of Group E and not our cage rules. Anyway once that was resolved and the discussion changed to finding a more appropriate name for this class under NEHA I suggested that some of the paragraph under the Classification document Part 1 - Prepared Cars, needs some work.

"The following are guidelines for the New England Hillclimb Series. They are meant to be a fair and equal grouping of cars in a competitive nature. All cars are classed as though they were prepared to the ultimate state. The basic dividing point between Prepared and Street Prepared/Unprepared cars is race tires. "

To John's remark: I questioned the need for (and accuracy of) the last sentence. While its not untrue, it is hardly all encompassing, there a number of things permitted in P that are not in U/S and in my opinion the sentence is not needed. The statement under Part 2 - Unprepared and Street Prepared Cars of "Tires must be DOT approved, and a treadwear rating below 50 is not allowed."...covers it nicely. I agree with it and would not be in favor of muddying it with FIA rules to permit "Tarmac Rally tires" in U/S. I got into that at Rally New York out of necessity but it quickly becomes a slippery slope of complexity and opinions that we dont need to get into at hillclimbs. Yes, we did have a competitor bring them to run in S, and may have previously without anyone noticing. It wasnt some sort of trick or secret weapon on his part as a set of Hoosier R8 would be faster, but he had used them on that car at RNY, wanted to get some more use from them and just assumed they would be OK. Technically they are not. We would permit them in P. Speaking of rally - we dont write the rules for the rally class at NEHA events in these rules so its N/A in this context.
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Re: Formula Libre change of class name

Postby 3rdgendennis » Fri Dec 20, 2013 5:01 pm

RallyCross class designations are Stock, Prepared, and Modified. Only problem I see with using those is SP becoming P may cause confusion. I like Unlimited better than Open
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Re: Formula Libre change of class name

Postby Mopar 151w2 » Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:29 pm

I'm fine with Walter's plan on DOT tire designation - we just have to have it on paper somewhere - it need not be redundant.
I don't think we need another U in our class designations, or any sort of Unlimited designation. Our insurance did, last I knew, enjoin us from running a couple types of vehicles. I'm not too worried about atomic power, but we are enjoined from running "thrust powered vehicles in excess of 3500 lb." Jets and rockets are a pretty sketchy proposition in general - fire danger alone should keep us away from 'em. Yes, there are several "jet semis" around - I've seen this monster, and Bob Motz is crazy enough to want to set a record somewhere.

And 'cuz I know you, here's Kent Shockley in-truck:


So, we do have limits, and therefore, are not "Unlimited", but we are "Open" to any car which meets the safety rules., Or, as they say at the Deerfield Fair Ox Pull "Open to the World!"

Details on the "slicks, no belts" Subaru can be found in posts by Tim Mather in regard to 2013 Spring Ascutney.
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Re: Formula Libre change of class name

Postby KevinGale » Sat Dec 21, 2013 10:57 am

Having thought about it a bit I have a slight preference for Open vs Prepared Open. I originally thought Prepared Open made more sense since I think of the open class falling under the Prepared rules. But that isn't completely true. FL our current open class allows any car from any class in addition to cars that don't fit in prepared due to engine size.

So under our rules this class is open to any car that is legal in our series but depending on the car it might be using Unprepared or Street Prepared tech and safety rules. And of course without proper safety equipment cars are still subject to the breakout rule.
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Re: Formula Libre change of class name

Postby KevinGale » Sat Dec 21, 2013 11:05 am

Mopar 151w2 wrote:.. Our insurance did, last I knew, enjoin us from running a couple types of vehicles. I'm not too worried about atomic power, but we are enjoined from running "thrust powered vehicles in excess of 3500 lb."


Ok so no hydrazine, liquid oxygen, atomic power, jet thrust engines or rockets, I can live with that. It's not placing a big cramp on any of my plans. :lol:

On the other hand I'm sure someone who has a atomic power plant with a liquid oxygen rocket booster and jet engine for taxing around the pits will be very disappointed.
Last edited by KevinGale on Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Formula Libre change of class name

Postby Mopar 151w2 » Sat Dec 21, 2013 11:31 am

This actually makes sense to me - as there are things like traction control and electronic stability that are allowable in SP and U, but not in P. Side effect would be requiring street equipment and DOT tires to use traction control, which is a good idea, I think. (Consensus of the meeting a few years ago - we lack the runoff area necessary to sort homemade traction control!) We might well use the P/0 designation - or SP/0, or U/0 on the entry, and lettered on the car - to keep track of the level of tech required.
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