SCCA Club Racing


Getting a License

SCCA club racing requires that you demonstrate your ability to drive safely and aggressively before you can have a license to compete.Typically,people demonstrate their ability by attending SCCA drivers schools, where lots of people who don't know what they are doing get out on a track and show how fast they can go. I personally found it an enlightening experience. If this doesn't scare you off, the race is a snap.

One drawback to SCCA driver's schools is that you need a car that fits into a SCCA class and meets the safety requirements. On the good side, this pretty much means that the car is pretty safe. Cars are generally available for rent (from other racers or race shops), so you can give it a try before making a big investment.

My schools were tough - on my car, at least:

  • My first school came shortly after I had bought my Fire Arrow. I got it out on the track, got past the initial shock of going around turns with cars on each side of me (even with hours of track time, I had never been next to another car on a turn), when a bearing holding a harmonic balancing shaft decided to go on a trip through the rest of the engine. All this in the first 7 laps. This led to no oil pressure, and a badly smelling engine.
  • My second school started much better-in the first two twenty minute sessions I got very comfortable with the car - I was passing lots of cars, only spun once (the track was a bit wet), and generally having a ball. In the third session I had a little trouble finding fourth, and put it in second instead. This is the kind of situation they tell you that rev-limiters can't help. As it turns out, my engine was stronger than my bolts holding the flywheel on, and so I only damaged a few bolts. A true racer would have pulled the engine there on the spot and been back out for the next session, but I had noticed a "race car rental" sign at the track, and plopped down my Mastercard, and I was back out in a Nissan 240SX. Nice car, I completed the school.

Classes of Cars

There are 6 major groups of car classes involved. Within each group, there are several classes, which try to keep things competitive. The following descriptions are probably somewhat accurate, however, are certainly not completely accurate. Send me an e-mail if I really blew it. See the SCCA photo gallery for pictures of representative cars.

Class

Description

Showroom Stock Not quite off the showroom floor, however most of the modifications are limited to adding safety equipment. It is amazing how fast these cars can go when driven properly. Because the cars can't be tweaked much, the races tend to be very, very close.
Improved Touring These are the budget cars, old, with limited modifications. A fair amount of tuning of the suspension is allow, Also known as the NASCAR of SCCA racing (contact between cars is not uncommon). They are very plentiful, but also are restricted to regional races.
GT Production car based, but significantly modified (i.e tube frames and such).
Production Similar to GT, however older cars, and allowing somewhat less in the way of modifications. This is where you will see the MGs, Sprites, Minis, and of course, the Lotus 7s.
Sports Racers These cars are built for the track. There are spec classes, where the cars are "identical", and more open classes where cars from different manufactures will compete.
Formula These are the open-wheeled cars (they look like little Indy cars), that range from fast (VW and snowmobile engine powered), to very fast (Formula Atlantic - the fastest of SCCA racing).

My First Race

Once I got through the drivers schools, race was fairly uneventful. All the other drivers seemed to know what they were doing, and while they were very aggressive, no one did anything stupid. There was a bit of a spin in front of me, and as I slowed a bit to avoid it, I did get clipped in the back, but we all just kept on going.

 

Stop back soon for some videos from my first race.

 

My Event History

Date Track & Car Time & Position Comments
       
Fall 95 Nelson Ledges - Fire Arrow N/A Blown Engine (see above)
Spring 96 Nelson Ledges - Fire Arrow, Nissan N/A Sheared flywheel (see above)
6/29/96 Mid-Ohio - Fire Arrow 17th - 2:00.448 My first real race - tried to keep my nose clean (I did), and win (I didn't). Learned that racing is incredibly hard work.
6/30/96 Mid-Ohio - Fire Arrow 14th - 1:57.202 Started with less fuel (really needed to shave that 10 lbs), as a result the engine started cutting out after right turns. Didn't really matter - I finished my second race and got my regional license.
9/7/96 Mid-Ohio - Fire Arrow never mind Missed the practice, qualified poorly (first time in the rain), so I started 55 out of 66 for the Enduro. Cooked the brakes big time, so I exited after 40 minutes or so. Missed the regional race on Sunday because of the brakes. Oh well.
9/21/96 Mid-Ohio - Fire Arrow qualified 23/49 - 1:56.42

finished 16th/13th in class - 1:56.36

First time in the front half of the pack on the start (click for a pace lap pic). Marvelous fun - close racing throughout, first time my brakes gave me no problems (real race pads this time).

Links - SCCA Stuff:


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Please send us your comments (really).

Eric Leininger
eric@madmotors.com

Copyright 1996 Madness Motorsports
Most recent revision Monday, August 26, 1996