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SV reX
SV reX MegaDork
12/14/22 4:10 p.m.

Roll cages have been debated for 20 years. 
 

Interestingly, the strongest opponents to them are the fastest competitors. They know darned well that there is a performance advantage, and think that anyone building a car fast enough to need a roll cage should either work it into the budget, or build a slower car. 
 

There are a lot of ways to poorly build a roll cage. 

CrustyRedXpress
CrustyRedXpress Dork
12/14/22 4:22 p.m.
darkbuddha said:

Should roll bars/cages as budget exempt safety equipment?  The weight they add would surely balance out any chassis stiffness/structural integrity improvement they provide.

Probably not. General consensus is that the stiffness advantage outweighs the weight. Additionally, a cage is required if the car is faster than a certain time in the drags, so it actually serves as a disincentive to faster drag times by increasing the cost.

SV reX
SV reX MegaDork
12/14/22 4:30 p.m.

Writing the exemption will not improve safety unless fuel cells are then required. They won't be. 
 

Requiring fuel cells will not improve safety  unless thorough inspections are made to verify proper installation. They won't be. 
 

Requiring fuel cells would eliminate more than half of the participants, so that won't happen.
 

So, an exemption wouldn't accomplish much from a safety perspective.

It WOULD make things easier for people who want to build for other sanctioning bodies or events.  Since when was the Challenge about making it easy?
 

UNLESS it helps GRM's relationship with their insurance company. If it does, then do what you need to do. 

Captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
Captdownshift (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
12/14/22 4:32 p.m.

In reply to Patrick :

Calcuttas are the answer going forward. Within the unlimited class get a group of entries to compete, amongst themselves, within a pre determined budget cap with no exemptions. Then have an additional entry for the unofficial subclass (say $100) if 6 people enter, with build book and receipts, then the winner takes the $600 pot (or if they decide to split it up with the winner taking home $300, second $200, third getting their $100 back; or do a 50:50 with a charity where the winner gets $300 and $300 gets donated to a charity of their choice). 

 

maschinenbau
maschinenbau UberDork
12/14/22 5:27 p.m.
Stampie said:

To the free roll cage crowd, I'm sure a roll cage for my Model A frame will be for purely safety reasons and give me no performance benefits at all. 

See also: Lotus Europa

nocones
nocones PowerDork
12/14/22 6:18 p.m.

I for one am not concerned with getting beat by a Boogeyman car with a Free performance enhancing roll cage.  

You guys are going to run those cars down the strip with $2000 spent on performance anyway.  Adding a free roll cage is only going to result in less carnage if something bad happens.  

 

But that wasn't really the question.  I think a true FIA fuel cell is consistent with the current exemptions.  If the format of exemptions being part of the event is being considered that is a different discussion.  

bumpsteer
bumpsteer New Reader
12/14/22 10:46 p.m.

Could we compromise on a required, but budget-exempt fire extinguisher on board, budget exempt but required fire suit for non-stock fuel tanks (I.e. you couldn't drive the Insight in a T shirt like I did this year), and more fire extinguishers on hand for corner workers at AutoX? IMO, the primary places that a legit fuel cell offers a safety advantage at the challenge are: smashing into a light pole on the AutoX, and crashing on the drag strip. I think the three things I mentioned would mostly mitigate risk at the relatively low speeds on the AutoX, and those combined with continuing to follow NHRA tech (which is designed to mitigate risk for a variety of vehicles on drag strips) would mitigate most of the risk on the strip.

 

As an aside, most of our exemptions are based on prior incidents and looking to prevent reoccurrances in the future, because the potential risks are near-endless, and the best data we have to prioritize them are close calls and incidents. Not that I'm saying I'd need to see someone get immolated due to an E36M3ty fuel containment system for me to change my view, but the times I've been to the challenge I haven't seen anything that really stood out from a fuel cell sketchiness standpoint or accidents that resulted in fuel fires. It seems like a very high potential severity, but low occurance, and fairly detectable/preventable risk to me.

It also seems a bit oxymoronic to exempt them from the budget for the convenience of using the car outside the challenge.

Bigben
Bigben HalfDork
12/15/22 1:07 a.m.

I'm not really leaning strongly to either side, but if it does get added as an exception I think it should be a straight trade with no positive or negative impact to the budget.  You have to be trading out a fuel tank that came with the car in order to get the fuel cell, and of course the no budget shenanigans and don't be a jerk clauses also apply. (No selling your fuel tank for recoup and then buying a rusty swiss cheese tank for next to nothing and then swapping the garbage tank for a fuel cell.)

rich911s
rich911s Reader
12/15/22 9:14 a.m.

In reply to bumpsteer :

The more fire extinguishers the merrier, and I'm all in on requiring fire suits for non stock fuel tanks.  The last thing you want to see in your life is another charred human being, I've seen too many in my life.     

With regard to rules being based on prior incidents, I totally agree.  However that is NOT how things should be done.  As I'm sure the many engineers that participate in this event will attest, planning to fix things after they fail is a recipe for disaster.  If it's something you care about, why not plan ahead to make sure something is a success rather than wait on fate to decide.      

As far as convenience goes, sounds good to me!  The ability to use the car at other venues is not the primary reason, just a secondary benefit.  For example, Nocones ran his challenge car at Nationals and plans to run it at UTCC and other events where the safety features are mandatory.  What a pain for him to have to fit them in after the fact.  IMHO The car would be much safer if  he could have designed in a few additional safety features during the build and not taken a budget hit. 

As far as budget, safety items should still fall under recoup rules.  Trading that stock fuel tank, windows, seat belts, seats, brackets, etc. should be allowed towards recoup but subject to the recoup limit.  

SV reX
SV reX MegaDork
12/15/22 9:28 a.m.

In reply to rich911s :

You are contradicting yourself. 
 

Safety items are either exempt, or not. Applying them toward the recoup limit is the same as dollars.  That's not an exemption, and it won't happen.

I think you are a bit too new to the event to fully understand the depths of inconvenience that are usually associated with building a $2000 Challenge car. Most of us have put massive efforts into things JUST to save dollars, which often need to be reworked after the event for other venues. That's what makes it a challenge.

I'm onboard with safety, but you will definitely NOT get my vote for convenience. 

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) UltimaDork
12/15/22 9:35 a.m.

The current rules allow you to build anything you want and run it in an "over $2000" class. If someone wants to have a car eligible for other sanctioning bodies there is already a group to run in, it just isn't the "under $2000" class. Rather than adding more exemptions the limit should be increased and have everything count. 

SV reX
SV reX MegaDork
12/15/22 9:36 a.m.

Many of us have developed our cars using high budget after market parts, then replicated the performance in less expensive ways, removed the higher cost parts for the event, then re-installed them after the event. We do 3-4X the work in order to keep it under budget.
 

It's a huge effort, and makes no sense.  That's part of the point. 

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) UltimaDork
12/15/22 9:40 a.m.
SV reX said:
It's a huge effort, and makes no sense.  That's part of the point. 

This is what makes the Challenge special.

SV reX
SV reX MegaDork
12/15/22 9:40 a.m.
DeadSkunk (Warren) said:

The current rules allow you to build anything you want and run it in an "over $2000" class. If someone wants to have a car eligible for other sanctioning bodies there is already a group to run in, it just isn't the "under $2000" class. Rather than adding more exemptions the limit should be increased and have everything count. 

Drops the mic

Indy - Guy
Indy - Guy UltimaDork
12/15/22 9:58 a.m.
SV reX said:

In reply to rich911s :

.....

I think you are a bit too new to the event to fully understand the depths of inconvenience that are usually associated with building a $2000 Challenge car.

.....

No need to be condescending.  He's built a Concourse winning entry car in the past: (that was also ribbed for safety after the fact)

 

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) UltimaDork
12/15/22 10:00 a.m.

I'll also add that I think upping the budget to $3000, or even $4000 would detract from the specialness of the event.

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
12/15/22 10:01 a.m.

Si.ple answer: no. Should not be exempt. 

We have another thread lamenting the growth of rules and complexity of xs autocross,  many threads about how tge challnge is really missing the "2k race car mark" to the point of recoup and trade rules being radically changed. 

Exempting fuel cells would just muddy the waters even more. 

maschinenbau
maschinenbau UberDork
12/15/22 10:54 a.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13-michael :

I too see the parallels in these threads... the longer the rules list, the less approachable the race is. 

SV reX
SV reX MegaDork
12/15/22 3:51 p.m.

In reply to Indy - Guy :

I wasn't being condescending. Just expressing my opinion. 
 

I sense a heavy dose of sarcasm about that car...

rich911s
rich911s Reader
12/15/22 6:47 p.m.

That car was so sketch it makes my skin crawl just thinking about doing 110 mph in it.  Thank god the head gasket let go on the first drag run.  Bicycle chain reverse gear steering, plywood and 2X4 front pedal box, cereal boxes covering holes under my feet, bicycle brake cable for throttle, a cantilever lever arm made of 26 gauge scrap steel for the brakes, schedule 40 pvc roll cage pieces, engine mounted to the car with 1/8" steel hoop straps welded with a HF stick welder to the unibody.  I have no idea what I was doing or (not) thinking, but it was not about safety... it wasn't in the budget.   Yeah, ... but did you die? smiley   

 

SV reX
SV reX MegaDork
12/15/22 6:49 p.m.

In reply to rich911s :

The wooden stake steering column pointed at your heart was exciting. 

rich911s
rich911s Reader
12/15/22 8:45 p.m.

In reply to SV reX :

I agree,  it was definitely a seat squeezing moment going down the track.  BTW we're not so new to building challenge cars, or to the insane effort involved.  Looking to my left right now I see 5 $2000 Challenge awards/trophies on the shelf and that does not include my daughter or sons other 5 awards.  Been coming for 9 years now and have competed 5.  Working on challenge cars is one of my all time favorite evening and weekend activities.  However I personally hate having to make budget related decisions on safety equipment during my builds. I guess I'm getting old and more concious of mine and especially my kids mortality.  Seems to me such a  rule would be pretty straight forward:

Items that increase safety of the driver(s), track workers, GRM staff, bystanders, or spectators are encouraged and do not count against the challenge budget.  Examples of such items include: One set of tires, stock brake pads, fire extinguisher - bracket - and activation system, roll bar, roll cage, fuel cell, fire suit, helmet, seat belt, racing harnesses, battery cutoff switch, window nets, race seats, race seat brackets, safety blankets, heat insulation, harmonic balancers/dampers, lug nuts.  All safety items must be listed as such on the budget sheet and marked exempt.  If there you have a question about wether or not an item falls under the safety allowance budget exemption please submit an inquiry prior to purchase to avoid potential disuse or disqualification.      

Written this way you no one is forced to buy any safety equipment, but they can without being penalized and it would make the event safer.  BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, I want to save the budget hit for a safe race seat and instead spend it on a bottle of nitrous!    

Stampie
Stampie MegaDork
12/15/22 9:06 p.m.

In reply to rich911s :

Then you don't understand the Challenge.  It's not let's see how fast we can go.  It's how fast can we go safely within the budget constants.  Let's remove all exemptions.  Require new brakes all around.  Require safety to meet NHRA time constants.  Watch us half budget builds kick all the shiny.

Stampie
Stampie MegaDork
12/15/22 9:16 p.m.
rich911s said:

That car was so sketch it makes my skin crawl just thinking about doing 110 mph in it.  Thank god the head gasket let go on the first drag run.  Bicycle chain reverse gear steering, plywood and 2X4 front pedal box, cereal boxes covering holes under my feet, bicycle brake cable for throttle, a cantilever lever arm made of 26 gauge scrap steel for the brakes, schedule 40 pvc roll cage pieces, engine mounted to the car with 1/8" steel hoop straps welded with a HF stick welder to the unibody.  I have no idea what I was doing or (not) thinking, but it was not about safety... it wasn't in the budget.   Yeah, ... but did you die? smiley   

 

Quoted for record.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
12/15/22 9:20 p.m.

I think this thread has run its course so I'm going to lock it--we're all at the track tomorrow and won't have time to moderate, and it seems to be sailing towards troubled waters  

Thank you, everybody, for the feedback.

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This topic is locked. No further posts are being accepted.

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