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Thread: Derestricted FSAE cars in SCCA

  1. #11
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    I believe the intent of the thread is running unrestricted in AMod Solo.

    On a 4 cylinder, this makes sense... However, on a single, you can make almost as much (naturally aspirated) more than stock power behind the restrictor as you can without it.
    Any views or opinions expressed by me may in no way reflect those of Stewart-Haas Racing, Kettering University, or their employees, students, administrators or sponsors.

  2. #12
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    Originally posted by AxelRipper:
    I believe the intent of the thread is running unrestricted in AMod Solo.
    The point was made by Darth Royce that FSAE cars *generally* do not meet A-Mod rules. This is usually due to wheelbase, as A-Mod minimum is 72" if I recall correctly.

    I think the answer from a SCCA Solo racing perspective may be to have two FSAE classes: one that complies with the FSAE engine rules, and another that doesn't. If you read through the A-Mod rules, there really isn't anything spectacularly different from a rules-legal FSAE car except for the engine rules. My guess is the only reason that A-Mod doesn't accept FSAE cars with open arms is that there are a ton of 'standard' A-Mod cars that would get their feelings hurt if FSAE cars could really stretch out their legs. Heck, most formula-esque A-mods are just slightly longer homebuilt FSAE-esque cars with big wings and 1000cc+ engines. You don't see anyone dying or getting hurt on the A-mod grid. Over the years I have talked to a LOT of engine guys from a LOT of different schools from all around the world, and it is NOT an uncommon thing to run cars unrestricted in practice before the engine hardware and tuning is sorted out. If you believe otherwise, then you simply need to talk to more people!

    The reason I'd love to see an de-restricted FSAE class comes down to simplicity. There are a TON of former-spec FSAE cars out there, and personally I think it's a shame there aren't more being used more often. As an owner of a couple of our old cars, it's a GIANT pain in the ass to bring an old car up to the restrictor rules. Old cars are rarely transferred with the engine or engine hardware. This means you have to fabricate a ton of specialized parts to get up and running again, as well as wire up and tune an ECU to deal with the restrictor. Once you're out of school, this is a whole lot more difficult than it should be due to access to proper facilities (for most of us, at least). It would be a whole lot easier to allow stock TB's and stock ECU's in the interest of simplicity. Leave it a max 600cc spec, disallow turbos, and chuck the restrictor. Someone running a lower displacement single will undoubtedly complain that it's not fair, but they probably also haven't run their single against good 600cc competition in a Solo. Well, that's "racing" as they say, and not FSAE. Outright power actually does make a difference in the real world! Haha.

    Personally, I find it pretty funny that everyone is so concerned by the extra power. Anyone else here ever driven shifter karts? Haha. You're going faster, wheel to wheel, and there are all sorts of barriers to hit all over the place. I'm not suggesting that's wise with FSAE cars. Rather, I'm suggesting that running with a little more power on a bigass autocross course with nothing but some silly cones to hit is hardly something to be so concerned about.

    -Kirk

  3. #13
    Being from Canada, I honestly can't say much aboot the SCCA and it's operations. However, I have thought many minutes about my post-FSAE motorsports hobbyism. So, my thoughts are as follows:

    I agree with just about everything Kirk said, except one tiny thing... "Leave it a max 600cc spec, disallow turbos..."

    I am surprised to hear this from you in particular! But really, if people wanted to develop a smaller engine package with a turbo they should be able to, even in this completely theoretical competition class. As they say, there's no replacement for displacement (add: except boost), and this type of limitation would just mean every car will have a 600. Not to say that every car wouldn't then be a 600 turbo, but it generally seems to be more difficult to turbo a 600-4 than a lower displacement single/twin (compression, packaging, head design, etc).

    I think an FSAE+ type class would be awesome, but the FSAE class in SCCA is relatively new, correct? Perhaps with time...

    I also think the safety concerns may be valid in some regions more than others, as it may not always be the "big parking lot with squishy cones" platform. As for general safety, as long as the car is decoupled from the university and all possible litigation issues are taken care of, hopping in an unrestricted FSAE car is no different than (other) extreme sports. You understand the risks associated, take steps to mitigate them, and proceed to get your funk on. Technical inspection and corner worker safety are another matter to complicate things, but it honestly can't be any worse than a rusty, stripped down and modded '89 civic being pushed far beyond it's limits.

    Just my 0.02 Loonies.
    Owen Thomas
    University of Calgary FSAE, Schulich Racing

  4. #14
    +1000 to everything Kirk said. I would be all for an official unrestricted naturally aspirated FSAE class (heck call it FSAE-S..."S" for senior citizen).

    Restricting an engine is an expensive pain in the butt and honestly I do not think it makes the naturally aspirated cars as slow as SAE likes to think. We had a few restricted cars that made more torque at a lower RPM than their unrestricted versions and would easily walk away from an unrestricted car entering a straight; the unrestricted car could only catch up towards the end when the restrictor started to choke.

    If driving an unrestricted car is a death wish, I should have been gone years ago. The trend towards short and narrow makes driving much more difficult than no restrictor yet no one has a problem with a 60" wheelbase and mid-40" track.

  5. #15
    I agree that a University-owned car should be driven with all safety precautions taken, but that doesn't mean it has to be rules-legal. We run our 2006 car as much as we can for driver training and testing and it is nowhere close to legal today(template?)...Neither are anyone else's cars from that era. That doesn't mean they are unsafe, though. I know this is a litigious society, but I think it is very unreasonable to expect old cars to be kept rules compliant.

    I agree 100% with everything Kirk said.
    -Cole
    Cole Easterling
    Brendon & Lawrence Mfg.
    2011-2012 TAMU FH/FSAE

  6. #16
    The death wish that people are talking about is in refrence to running an FSAE car on a track (they are right, that would be sucide), not running them without a restrictor.

    The Solo rules permit any FSAE car to run provided that is meets FSAE rules for any year. Wanna' run a car built to 2005 rules... go for it, but it must meet all rules for 2005. Same with any other year. That includes restrictors. Keeping the restrictor rules isn't about keeping the cars safe, but about the can of worms that is opened anytime that you allow exceptions to established rule sets.

    I don't think that the restrictors are about saftey anyway. They provide a meens by which the rules makers can attempt to equalize the power levels at the upper end. Another major reason is to introduce an extra challange to an engineering competition. Autocross style events were chosen by the SAE because Solo is the safest and most accessable motorsport venue available, but this is about engineering, not motorsports.

    If FSAE really wants to get serious about saftey, then they can forget about all the worthless front and side impact stuff and focus on fire and high voltage (for electric and hybrids) saftey. Those two areas are much, much more likley to hurt someone than an impact of any kind. In both these areas the SAE has done a better job than the SCCA, but there is still a lot of room for improvment.

    Impacts with hard objects are very, very rare on any autocross course that meets the SCCA Solo course design standards (Section 2.3 of the SCCA Solo Rulebook). And yes, I am a SCCA Solo Saftey Steward and my regions Chief of Tech (responsible for pre event vehicle saftey checks).

    A quick note about SCCA Tech inspections; we are currently seriously lacking in the necessary knoweldge for inspecting high voltage electrical systems. This is an area that I feel we really need to get up to speed on, and quick, because it's comming. I was not in the Tech tent at Nationals this year so I don't have any first hand knoweldge, but a hybrid FSAE car ran during competition and I'm wondering how much those that approved it really knew about it's electrical systems. None of the course workers were briefed on how to safely approach the vehicle in the event of an on course incident, and this concerns me greatly.

    Another quick note:
    As someone who hopes to one day build the fastest autocross car on the planet , I've done a fair bit of study on the differences between the FSAE and A-Mod rulesets.
    Regarding national level autocross potential, I see the key differences as follows;


    A-Mod:

    + Sliding skirts
    + Two strokes
    + No restrictors or displacement limit
    + No overhang limit (diffusers & front wings)
    + No "open wheel" requirement
    + No cockpit template

    - 900 lbs ! min weight (with driver)
    - 900 lbs !! min weight
    - No traction control or active diffs
    - No unsprung aero
    - No active aero
    - 72 in min wheelbase

    ? 42 in min track
    ? Max height


    FSAE

    + No min weight!
    + Unsprung aero
    + Active aero
    + Traction control
    + 60 min wheelbase
    + No min weight!

    - No ground contact except for tires
    - Max rear overhang (limits diffuser area)
    - No Two strokes
    - Restrictors and displacement limit
    - Cockpit template
    - Unnecessary impact requirements (costs money and development time)
    - Rear pushbar


    I think that a car can be built faster under FSAE rules, but it remains to be seen if anyone can consistently do it. Most FSAE cars don't get the devlopment time required to be top finishers at Solo events. The other big factor is the drivers. No offence, but most aren't anywhere near the level of national Solo drivers.


    Cory

  7. #17
    It's is especially popular where I am from to build the lightest car possible and fit a large motorcycle engine in the back. It's done in sheds and by pro's too, if you need convincing, have a look at the PCD saxon, a 220kg hill climb car with a >1000cc in it.
    In my opinion, as long as the cars are competed in a proper event/enviroment which is suitable to the way in which the car has been designed then there should be no problem! (I should point out that we have a minimum wheelbase rule though.)
    I believe the owner of the only (?) saxon is a member of this forum incidentally.
    Please enjoy this video of him at Doune HillClimb
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRZu64dTUcc
    Regards
    Jon

  8. #18
    Originally posted by Jon Burford:
    It's is especially popular where I am from to build the lightest car possible and fit a large motorcycle engine in the back. It's done in sheds and by pro's too, if you need convincing, have a look at the PCD saxon, a 220kg hill climb car with a >1000cc in it.
    In my opinion, as long as the cars are competed in a proper event/enviroment which is suitable to the way in which the car has been designed then there should be no problem! (I should point out that we have a minimum wheelbase rule though.)
    I believe the owner of the only (?) saxon is a member of this forum incidentally.
    Please enjoy this video of him at Doune HillClimb
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRZu64dTUcc
    Now that looks fun.

  9. #19
    I don't think it would be any more dangerous to run a car without a restrictor than with. I'll even say an N/A non restricted car could run in FSAE no problem if the rules allowed. The car wouldn't go much faster on an FSAE course, only be harder to drive, as it is we are rarely power limited. Where the power would be nice is on an auto-x course where an FSAE car is tiny compared to the track.

    We aren't as fortunate as some schools, and our school does not want us running a non rules compliant car. As far as they are concerned it is unsafe and is a liability. If we did this it would require taking the old car before it is junked, stripping off anything associating it with the school or sponsors, and run it as our own car at SCCA or something.

  10. #20
    Senior Member
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    Feb 2012
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio
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    117
    Originally posted by rrobb:
    Another quick note:
    As someone who hopes to one day build the fastest autocross car on the planet , I've done a fair bit of study on the differences between the FSAE and A-Mod rulesets.
    Regarding national level autocross potential, I see the key differences as follows;


    A-Mod:

    + Sliding skirts
    + Two strokes
    + No restrictors or displacement limit
    + No overhang limit (diffusers & front wings)
    + No "open wheel" requirement
    + No cockpit template

    - 900 lbs ! min weight (with driver)
    - 900 lbs !! min weight
    - No traction control or active diffs
    - No unsprung aero
    - No active aero
    - 72 in min wheelbase

    ? 42 in min track
    ? Max height


    FSAE

    + No min weight!
    + Unsprung aero
    + Active aero
    + Traction control
    + 60 min wheelbase
    + No min weight!

    - No ground contact except for tires
    - Max rear overhang (limits diffuser area)
    - No Two strokes
    - Restrictors and displacement limit
    - Cockpit template
    - Unnecessary impact requirements (costs money and development time)
    - Rear pushbar


    I think that a car can be built faster under FSAE rules, but it remains to be seen if anyone can consistently do it. Most FSAE cars don't get the devlopment time required to be top finishers at Solo events. The other big factor is the drivers. No offence, but most aren't anywhere near the level of national Solo drivers.


    Cory
    Having done similar research, I believe the max height in A-mod is 66" (rule 18.4B 11) and max aero device width of 75" (Rule 18.4B 10). The way I read the roll hoop rules, for a car up to 1000lb without driver, the main hoop only needs to be 1" x .060 as well (Appendix C Section B 2), and if you're building a car to be 900lbs with driver, then this should be no problem.
    Matt Davis
    University of Cincinnati
    Bearcat Motorsports: 2012-2013: Suspension guy

    Bilstein: 2013 - ??: Product Engineer

    This post is a collection of my own thoughts and opinions, and in no way, shape or form reflects the thoughts/opinions of my company, my university or anyone else but myself.

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