Cheating in Vintage Racing?

Whenever we’re at the track, we hear murmurs about cheating. There’s no sound reason why that guy is so fast, so obviously he’s stretching the rules, the voices say. Longtime vintage racing expert and driving coach Peter Krause knows the scene inside and out. He has seen just about every rule infraction possible and knows what it takes to win. He offers some wisdom on the subject of playing unfairly.

The photo above is not a cheater, just a fast racer—proof that you can do well if you follow the rules.

On Cheating

The most common forms of cheating in vintage racing involve tires, minimum weight and displacement. A car will go through tech inspection with the proper, legal bias-ply tires and show up on the grid with modern race radials—the ones with just a shadow of tread. Another will be randomly weighed at the end of qualifying or a race and be 100-plus pounds lighter than the required spec.

Then there’s displacement, where some entrants have openly boasted of maintaining and equipping their cars with “event-specific” engines that exceed the declared displacement by between 50 to 100 extra cubic inches.

On Proper Preparation

The best thing a driver can do to make his car faster is to be fastidious, careful and extremely accurate in not only the basic setup of his car (alignment, corner balancing, chassis dyno check, checking for full throttle engagement, shock absorber maintenance and dyno check) but also in preparing the car for the specific track he’s visiting (gearing, ring and pinion selection, ride height and shock adjustment). Verifying that everything is optimized is very important. Take nothing for granted.

The best thing the driver can do to go faster is to prepare for the specific circuit he’ll be driving (YouTube and iRacing, anyone?) and to use inexpensive data and video tools to review his on-track performance. Our minds are very powerful things. Drivers remember their own on-track performance the way they would have liked it to be, not necessarily as it was. Often, simple video (and audio, for noting that all-important throttle application and commitment) review after each session will show obvious areas for improvement. And there’s always outside help. Try using a professional coach.

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