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jguerdat
06-26-2013, 02:28 PM
Just to take this out of the previous thread, I thought I'd post my email chain with the Central Carolina Region Solo chair so the whole rationale is known:

My name is Jeff Guerdat, from the Finger Lakes Region. Last night I asked Alan to inquire as to the status of allowing Fiat 500 Abarths at the upcoming joint autocross at zMax since there were a flurry of posts on a forum (http://www.fiat500usaforum.com/showthread.php?10557-Neu-F-Rear-Bar-really-stiff!) about the recent decision to ban Abarths. I have been autocrossing since 1973 and currently own and autocross an Abarth.

This decision seems rather arbitrary based on incidents and photos that have little to no bearing on autocross and one of a kind incidents. This is what Alan sent me from his contact:

I can say ccr, aka mike n I, will not let them participate in our events, autox. They are far too much a risk, especially at zmax. This has been proven by ***** last year at darlington and a video of ***** at cota in world challenge trim.

It seems to me that these are out of context, especially a road racing situation. If the event at zMax even approximates the speeds of track racing, it falls outside of SCCA Solo guidelines:

Section 2.2.A
Courses must be tight enough so that cars run the entire course
in their lower gears. Speeds on straight stretches should not normally
exceed the low 60s (mph) for the fastest Stock, Street Touring,
and Street Prepared category cars.

If there is concern for Abarths rolling, I would submit that the course design is flawed according to the rules. I don't want to rain on anyone's parade but the rules and allowed vehicles have been set up with good reasons. My wife was hit by a spinning car in an approved spectating area near the finish line of an FLR event a few years ago but I'm not advocating banning spectating. Many other vehicles have rolled using either R-comps or street tires. I suspect you're not banning those vehicles.

I have run my Abarth with Dunlop Direzza ZIIs on both off-camber parking lots and kart tracks with zero issues. I *might* understand limiting certain cars to non-R-comps but not street tires. I also agree that you and the Region have the power and right to make unilateral decisions relative to safety of the running of events. I simply disagree with this specific issue based on limited information that specifically relates to autocross.

I hope you reconsider your decision. Thanks for listening.

--
Jeff Guerdat

Reply:

Jeff,

I am sorry to say we are not going to change our mind on the allowance of Fiat 500's at our autocross.

This decision is not made lightly and is NOT based on a picture, it is based on:

1st -the cars height to width ratio, which is pretty important when is comes to a cars roll over risk.
2nd -my experience of seeing a Fiat toggle back and forth on 2 wheels through a slalom (on stock Pirelli tires).
3rd -my personal experience driving my roommates Abarth 500, which will NOT run at our autocross events.

Personally I feel the SCCA has truly dropped the ball when it comes to allowing many unsuitable cars to compete at SCCA events. They try and make everyone happy and are too lenient about what vehicles can and can't compete. The SCCA has a graph saying that a 60” wide car with a height of 60” is fine to compete at an autocross. And I totally disagree with them about what is considered safe.

Here are some numbers to show you about your car and others that are*unsuitable for autocross,*as well as some FWD cars that are quite popular and competitive.

89'-91' ST Civic - 52.5" tall and 66.3" wide for a height of 79.1% of its width
VW GTI - 57.8" tall and 70.0" wide for a height of 82.6% of its width
Mini Coopers - 54.4" tall and 66.3" wide for a height of 83.6% of its width
Mazda 3 - 57.9" tall and 69.1" wide for a height of 83.8% of its width
Mazda 2 - 58.1" tall and 66.7" wide for a height of 87.1% of its width
Nissan Juke Crossover- 61.8" tall and 69.3" wide for a height of 88.9% of its width
Hyundai Santa Fe SUV - 66.1" tall and 74.0" wide for a height of 89.3% of its width
Honda Fit - 60.0" tall and 67.1" wide for a height of 90.0% of its width
Toyota Rav 4 - 65.4" tall and 72.6" wide for a height of 90.1% of its width
Kia Soul - 63.4" tall and 70.3" wide for a height of 90.2% of its width
Nissan Pathfinder - 69.6" tall and 77.2" wide for a height of 90.2% of its width
Jeep Compass - 65.0" tall and 71.4" wide for a height of 91.0% of its width
Chevy Equinox - 66.3" tall and 72.5" wide for a height of 91.4% of its width
Scion XB - 63.4" tall and 69.3" wide for a height of 91.5% of its width
Fiat 500 Abarth - 58.7" tall and 64.1" wide for a height of 91.6% of its width

I have seen a Mazda 2 on two wheels before, and feel any car from the Mazda 2 down is unsafe, and will not compete at our events. It may be as you said a "one of a kind incident", but people do make serious errors when autocrossing and push too hard. So this is my decision to keep as many “one of a kind incidents” away, which is all we need to loose the premier autocross site in the Carolinas.

Regards,
Mike Licursi
CCR Solo


My response:

Thanks for your well-reasoned response. It adds credibility to your decision, whether I agree with it or not. I do believe that there is, and will continue to be, a growing crop of small vehicles that push the limits of safety with regards to height vs. width. However, it's not fair nor in our best interests to ban them but, rather, to find ways to include them through rules and course design. I think the upcoming Street class goes a little ways in addressing this, even if unintentionally.

In any event, I appreciate the thought and effort you've put into making this decision. Thanks.

Ryephile
06-26-2013, 02:37 PM
Lower the 500 2" [like it should've been from the factory, IMO], and add 1" wheel arch extensions, and the ratio becomes 56.7"/66.1" = 85.8%, or between the Mazda 3 and 2.

My only logical rebuttal to his argument is he's completely ignoring the CG of the cars in question. That may or may not hurt the 500's case, but I don't like seeing obvious and relevant data left out of an equation when it comes to equal rights. LOL, kinda a relevant parallel to today's Supreme Court topic.

redred
06-26-2013, 02:39 PM
Basing their decision on the two cars that rolled at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) is just wrong. First of all, they are TCB class, stock 500 sports, not Abarths. Secondly, they are talking about completely different speeds as well. I would be shocked if an Abarth could even come close to reaching those sorts of speeds on an Auto-X track.

Giuseppe
06-26-2013, 02:57 PM
I do not currently presently run autocross as I find it boring. However, I have run the Abarth once. Any car is at risk of rolling over. Some more so than others. To sum up his decision in one word, I would choose asinine.

trevc
06-26-2013, 02:58 PM
Seems a little elitist to me.
If he doesn't like decisions that the SCCA have made nationally maybe he shouldn't be a regional chair and instead resign?

FTY
06-26-2013, 03:43 PM
seems a little elitist to me.
If he doesn't like decisions that the scca have made nationally maybe he shouldn't be a regional chair and instead resign?

this.

Tweak
06-26-2013, 03:49 PM
Seems a little elitist to me.
If he doesn't like decisions that the SCCA have made nationally maybe he shouldn't be a regional chair and instead resign?

I don't AutoX but I figured this is a good place to ask a question since you run it Trevor, with our Dragon run if an Abarth would/could flip, didn't we push them hard enough both modded and non modded suspensions for this to have happened like one might have happen in an AutoX event?

2Cool
06-26-2013, 04:00 PM
I do not believe he actually has the authority to countermand decisions by the SCCA board. If so he could ban vehicles he doesn't like, or possibly just does not want to personally compete against.

I would elevate this matter up a lot higher. http://www.scca.com/contact/ looks like a fair place to start for an executive email bomb.

shagghie
06-26-2013, 04:24 PM
Lower the 500 2" [like it should've been from the factory, IMO], and add 1" wheel arch extensions, and the ratio becomes 56.7"/66.1" = 85.8%, or between the Mazda 3 and 2.

My only logical rebuttal to his argument is he's completely ignoring the CG of the cars in question. That may or may not hurt the 500's case, but I don't like seeing obvious and relevant data left out of an equation when it comes to equal rights. LOL, kinda a relevant parallel to today's Supreme Court topic.

This ^. You would think that a COG study would be done as part of due diligence in deciding to ban a car that is obviously MEANT for the track to begin with. You would also think they'd contact Fiat NA to inquire about how they run stock abarths on stock rubber all year long on very fast courses, topping out 5th gear on the straights, and still without a single roll-over.

Jeff, I think your best counter-point that they did not address in their response was the SCCA guidelines to begin with, concerning speeds allowed. There are plenty of other types of racing that allow for higher speeds and higher risk dynamics...auto-X is considered to be and designed to be the ONE event that accommodates all ages, all skill levels of drivers. That is its primary reason to exist for the SCCA to begin with. Chassis dynamics are a least as important as height/width ratios, and are not the primary means of establishing a car's road worthiness, to say the least.

At the very least they should at least allow the Abarth in stock trim, and the base model 500's to run when lowered with 2" drop, and kept on street legal rubber.

Anything less and it is a clear case of chest thumping and flexing power that serves no one: not the driver, not the spectator, not the SCCA. Anyone can justify a decision based off of a simple height/weight ratio...but that reduces that person's capacity as a thinking human being in a leadership position to that of a rock.

Based on his logic and decision making structure, a Jeep Compass, and Nissan Juke, and Scion BOX, are all more suitable cars for Auto-X than the Abarth. I think my grandmother could see that this is absurd, and she's been dead 20 years now.

In a word: Deplorable.

I'm going to shoot an email to these two guys to see if they think the Abarth is 'stable':

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S07ek4dxW5M

Oh Noes! A Fiat 500 ROLLED OVER!! Obviously these cars are not suited for racing! (wait...isn't this an entire event based on racing these cars? Wait, what just happened? Something doesn't make sense... RACE cars, that are not fit for RACING? Mind = Blown. From now on, only Lotus' will be allowed to race on any track in the world. Those are nice and LOW cars! I've done it! I've solved the problem for good!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9-Sh1ZaCkw

Oh wait STOP THE PRESSES! A LOTUS ROLLED OVER! OK THAT DOES IT, **NO MORE RACING IS ALLOWED ANYWHERE, PERIOD!**

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efFVoXEM8pE

500ways
06-26-2013, 04:33 PM
Seems a little elitist to me.
If he doesn't like decisions that the SCCA have made nationally maybe he shouldn't be a regional chair and instead resign?

This dude is elitist, arrogant and ignorant, to say the least. I think he's afraid of losing to the Abarth or any Fiat for that matter, so in order to protect his fragile ego, he puts out this "reasoning." Maybe he's compensating for something - hmmmm???

Talk to the hand.

abarth&911
06-26-2013, 04:45 PM
This is a much better explanation that what he send us originally, that's what he should have send us in the first place.
But he is having a flaw in his list of cars. He is using car width instead of track width as indicated in the SCCA rule book.

The graph show in the book for cutoff point as example is: 60" height to 55" track. Using the calculation he used that will give
a # of 91.6 so everything lower than this # is unacceptable.

So here some car recalculated.

Track Height Calc.
GTI 60.4 57.8 104
Mazda2 58.1 58.1 100
Juke 60 61.8 97
Honda Fit 58.1 60 96.8
Equinox 62.9 66.3 94.8
Abarth 55.4 58.7 94.3
Compass 59.8 65 92
Edit: somehow the space I put between the # are not transfer to the post.

Funny my wife Juke as a better #.

But the real calculation in the SCCA book is using CG.

This chart is for all vehicles
not specifically listed in Appendix A.
The measurements are to be taken from the ground to the tallest
point of the vehicle for the Overall Vehicle Height and the normal
track measurement as stated in Section 12.5 for the Average Track
Width.
The SEB may use Static Stability Factor (SSF) for classing new vehicles.
SSF is defined as ˝ track width divided by the height of the
center of gravity above the road. Vehicles with an SSF of less than
1.30 should not be permitted to compete in SoloŽ events due to the
higher risk of rollover.

I think that local Region Chair are allowed to have stricter rules.

But I still doesn't agree with the ruling. I'm going with my track Miata, I want to see if the course is fast as he his saying and I want also
to see some old friends.

trevc
06-26-2013, 04:57 PM
I can't speak for other SCCA regions but here in Memphis we have the use of two great locations that are long and wide. So, we can do some pretty drastic directional changes at relatively high speeds (running against the rev limiter in 2nd :clap:). Not something I would do on the Dragon with those drop-offs and rocks!

If you are sliding or spinning and were to hit a curb there MAY be more of a chance in something like an Abarth but generally speaking on road tires I have never felt near to rolling and I have spun a few times on concrete and grass while autocrossing.


I don't AutoX but I figured this is a good place to ask a question since you run it Trevor, with our Dragon run if an Abarth would/could flip, didn't we push them hard enough both modded and non modded suspensions for this to have happened like one might have happen in an AutoX event?

redred
06-26-2013, 05:22 PM
If you are sliding or spinning and were to hit a curb there MAY be more of a chance in something like an Abarth but generally speaking on road tires I have never felt near to rolling and I have spun a few times on concrete and grass while autocrossing.

I'd say, with that scenario, that there is just as much of a chance of rolling several vehicles.

redred
06-26-2013, 05:31 PM
Maybe it's because of videos like this one (check it out at 0:37)



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IR8Eac2yjS0


Of course, he didn't roll....just lost control early in the race

Ryephile
06-26-2013, 05:34 PM
...
Oh wait STOP THE PRESSES! A LOTUS ROLLED OVER! OK THAT DOES IT, **NO MORE RACING IS ALLOWED ANYWHERE, PERIOD!**
...

LOL yes indeed! Curious how both of those were from off-course excursions. Are there any sand traps in Auto-X? [that's rhetorical]

shagghie
06-26-2013, 05:45 PM
LOL yes indeed! Curious how both of those were from off-course excursions. Are there any sand traps in Auto-X? [that's rhetorical]

No sand traps, lol. But don't you know, if these were STABLE cars, they would never, ever loose control and get into the sand in the first place. Once again, I declare, there will be no more racing of motor vehicles, ever again. Not until all drivers are removed from the equation and SkyNet is able to control vehicles in a predictable manner, and avoid any chance of instability, "getting it all wrong", and rollovers. In fact, based on extensive YOUTUBE research, we have determined that the more race-bred, high-performance vehicles actually have a HIGHER CHANCE of rolling over and going off course, compared to videos of Toyota Camrys, Hummers, FED-EX Delivery Trucks, and dump trucks. For the next years SCCA rules, therefore, we MAY allow some of these vehicles to race, but we will NO LONGER allow any fast, sporty, race-bred, I-talian or British vehicles to race.

jguerdat
06-26-2013, 05:47 PM
This is really the issue. I was involved about a year ago when this was first being debated. Someone had a contact within Fiat USA that was supplying rollover data to the SEB for consideration and my questions/comments were being forwarded to him to see if we could light a fire. I have no idea if my efforts were what caused the board to at least accept the Abarth or if I just added noise. It might be worthwhile to contact the SEB about this and see what they say. I should point out that I shouldn't be the only one - there's strength in numbers.


This is a much better explanation that what he send us originally, that's what he should have send us in the first place.
But he is having a flaw in his list of cars. He is using car width instead of track width as indicated in the SCCA rule book.

The graph show in the book for cutoff point as example is: 60" height to 55" track. Using the calculation he used that will give
a # of 91.6 so everything lower than this # is unacceptable.

So here some car recalculated.

Track Height Calc.
GTI 60.4 57.8 104
Mazda2 58.1 58.1 100
Juke 60 61.8 97
Honda Fit 58.1 60 96.8
Equinox 62.9 66.3 94.8
Abarth 55.4 58.7 94.3
Compass 59.8 65 92
Edit: somehow the space I put between the # are not transfer to the post.

Funny my wife Juke as a better #.

But the real calculation in the SCCA book is using CG.

This chart is for all vehicles
not specifically listed in Appendix A.
The measurements are to be taken from the ground to the tallest
point of the vehicle for the Overall Vehicle Height and the normal
track measurement as stated in Section 12.5 for the Average Track
Width.
The SEB may use Static Stability Factor (SSF) for classing new vehicles.
SSF is defined as ˝ track width divided by the height of the
center of gravity above the road. Vehicles with an SSF of less than
1.30 should not be permitted to compete in SoloŽ events due to the
higher risk of rollover.

I think that local Region Chair are allowed to have stricter rules.

But I still doesn't agree with the ruling. I'm going with my track Miata, I want to see if the course is fast as he his saying and I want also
to see some old friends.

Felnus
06-26-2013, 05:52 PM
My first thought upon seeing this was, "What does Creedence Clearwater Revival have against 500s?"

...carry on.

banzaitoyota
06-26-2013, 06:19 PM
The Sports Car Communists of America strikes again.

JackandSue
06-26-2013, 06:39 PM
What a bag of worms we have here! First let me start my saying that my wife Sue is the SCCA RE (boss) for region 72 (southern NV and western UT.) This is a situation that depends on how far you want to push it.
1. Under the SCCA National Rules the Fiat Abarth is allowed in stock or modified classes and is fully insured as all other allowed SCCA qualified cars.
2. A certified safety steward HAS the right to disallow any car that he fills is not safe and does not meet SCCA standards. This in most cases involves loose battery, missing lug nuts, dripping fluids. worn tires and any car or truck that the SCCA rule book disallows. We mostly have problems with trucks having larger tires etc.but I feel here the safety steward is using his personal standards and not those of SCCA National.
3. Problem is National SCCA rules says that the Abarth is allowed and can perform at all regional and national events so with that being said you could take this matter to the national board and that is what I mean by pushing it. In our club we allow all Abarths and standard Fiat 500 with a lowering kit in place.
4. the utube above showed Fiats in a bumber to bumber pass when you can race which I assume means roll cage 5 point seat belts etc, not your daily driver.

Andree
06-26-2013, 07:14 PM
"What does Creedence Clearwater Revival have against 500s?"



Tambourines and Elephants

redred
06-26-2013, 08:38 PM
4. the utube above showed Fiats in a bumber to bumber pass when you can race which I assume means roll cage 5 point seat belts etc, not your daily driver.

Yeah it was mainly posted sarcastically. Referencing the COTA race or any Trofeo Abarth race as a reason for not allowing the Abarth in Auto-X is just plain silly in my opinion. They are two totally different scenarios.

jguerdat
06-27-2013, 08:28 AM
I've submitted a letter to the SEB asking for clarification (letter #11794). It's about as lengthy as the email thread I posted earlier so am not including it here in its entirety but here's a clipped version:



Title: Individual regions disallowing approved cars
Category: Event Operations
Class: EO
Car: Fiat 500 Abarth
Request: It has been brought to my attention that the CCR (Central Carolin Region) Region has unilaterally banned all Fiat 500s, including Abarths in GS and STC, from being able to run regardless of SEB rulings to the contrary. I have had a brief email exchange with Mike Licursi, CCR Solo chair, about this on behalf of fellow Abarth owners who were planning on attending an event at CCR's premier site, zMax in Charlotte, NC, even though I am a member of the FLR region.

...

Of interest is the use of height and width rather than track or CG. Also of interest is whether such action is allowed or condoned by a single region's officers, overriding National rules and guidlines. Other regions have no problem with Abarths running in stock form or modified. I understand one region's RE (72 (southern NV and western UT)) is an Abarth owner and competes with the car without question. I have been autocrossing with SCCA since 1973 and have few qualms about allowing the car even understanding both the SEB's and CCR's concerns. While it may not be a preferred vehicle to be allowed, the observation may be made that there already is, and likely will continue to be, a growing group of small cars that could be artificailly eliminated from competing. I feel the new Street class rules are a step in the right direction to help allow such cars compete safely but it should be noted that in the face of such growth rules may need to change so that we don't shrink the possible base of allowed cars over time. Thanks.

Scootin159
06-27-2013, 10:51 AM
I too am an RE and licensed Safety Steward, as well as one who has been auto-crossing for much too long. I'm interested in how this plays out.

Personally I feel the Abarth should be allowed to run... it's specifically classified in the rule book, and allowed at all national events (on much grippier tires than what Jeff is running). If they feel that the Abarth is unsafe at their events, I'd question the safety of their events in general - what are they doing that's unique and making their events more unsafe than what's allowed by the rule book?

That said - regions are always allowed to supersede the rule book - they can't break any of the "mandatory" sections in the rule book, but they can add their own sections. An good example of this would be the "Pro" classes that a lot of regions run. A bad example of this would be running courses where stock/st/sp cars are regularly seeing top speeds in excess of the "low 60's" - the "top speed" rule in course design is in one of the mandatory sections, and cannot be overruled. I guess a region could make their courses slower, but they can't make them faster.

To extend that example, regions are also not allowed to allow vehicles specifically banned by the rule book. We had a classic example of this a few weeks ago at one of our events. I had to turn away a Jeep SRT8 (Grand Cherokee) - even though everything logically tells me that the Jeep would've been entirely safe to run at the event (it's less tippy than my Abarth), the current wording of the rule book disallows it, and if it were to have an accident, heads would roll (hopefully just figuratively).

However, the question to me is if the opposite is true - can regions ban specific vehicles? There's clauses in the rulebook that support banning long wheelbase vehicles due to concerns over navigating the course, and banning karts based on safety concerns with vertical objects. However, I was unable to find any provision in the rule book that supports a region banning specific vehicles based on arbitrary grounds. And one of the "mandatory" sections (3.1) goes on to say:


A SoloŽ event is open to any vehicle that can pass safety inspection,
has the minimum bodywork specified by these Rules, and is properly
muffled, except that vehicles with wheelbases exceeding 116” may be
excluded by the Event Chairman if he determines, at his discretion, that
they cannot readily negotiate the course.

Bart
06-27-2013, 01:38 PM
As the Suzuki Samurai dealer once said, "We'll stand behind them, but not beside them"

Seafarer61
06-27-2013, 10:30 PM
Bart, you just made my day with that quip. I had a friend long ago who owned a Samurai. At speed, it felt like we were rolling blading down Pikes Peak.

Small&Wicked2013
06-27-2013, 11:46 PM
Sure am happy that I compete in the coastal empire events...some of the most responsible and coolest people anywhere...this ccr guy makes me ...well never mind angryfire

btw I ran all the SRT vehicles on an autocross course back in October at the Chelsea proving grounds and the Grand Cherokee was impressive. The new Viper was amazing.