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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello racers, engine builders, and race fans ...

In which SCCA class (FP, GT4 or ITB) is the Opel GT most competitive? In scanning the SCCA 2003 specifications, I don't see much difference in the classes, except in carburetors permitted. In addition ... which class is the simplest to prepare prepare for (build a race car). Nah, I'm not going racing, just curious (well ... who knows .... )

Thanks

Ken
 

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svopel said:
In which SCCA class (FP, GT4 or ITB) is the Opel GT most competitive? In scanning the SCCA 2003 specifications, I don't see much difference in the classes, except in carburetors permitted. In addition ... which class is the simplest to prepare prepare for (build a race car).

Actually, there's a HUGE difference in these classes. A top-dollar ITB car would cost around 10-12k to build, maybe half that if you did all the work yourself. A top-dollar GT-4 car would cost 60-100k to build. In ITB, you can change very little, in GT-4, the only OEM parts that are required to be on the car are the roof and pillars, the block, and the head. Everything else can essentially be fabricated from scratch. Tubular chassis, composite bodywork, flares, slicks, racing brakes, billet engine parts, racing gearboxes, quick-change rear axles....the sky (and your wallet) is the limit.

In my opinion, the best bang for the buck is an ITB Opel GT. You don't have to spend a fortune, but you have to spend the money where it counts. If you can make the GT handle, it will run at the front. Don't rely purely on HP to win races. HP will gain you 10ths of a second, cornering will gain you full seconds in improvement. Bob Dennard of TGSI Racing has fielded an Opel GT very successfully for years on the west coast. Bill Davidson from Michigan ran another very successfully in his region for some time before changing classes. And currently, Jim MacMahon from New Hampshire has had an incredible run of success in his ITB GT. His car is THE car to beat in the northeast, having won 4 championships in the past few years and setting pole position records (11 in a row) and track records too. And he has to contend with fields of 30-35 cars in his class, so it's very competitive.
Basically, the restrictions of ITB allow a blueprinted stock engine, 6" wide wheels, DOT racing tires, stock-type suspension (stronger shocks, springs and swaybars allowed), safety upgrades, and better brake pads. Not much else.

GT-4 has to be the next best class to run a GT in. Tom Drake ran his car for years as a 'tub car' (based on OEM unibody) in a class dominated by tube-frame cars. He even had a 2nd place finish at the Runoffs one year, and has held as many as 4 track recordss at various tracks simultaneously. But Tom has engineered the heck out of his car, and he can DRIVE. His car uses a fiberglass front body section, semi-tubed front clip with handmade suspension front and rear, vented racing brakes, quick-change rear axle, racing tranny and clutch, and a $6500 engine. Expect Tom to upgrade his car to fuel injection this year along with a fresh engine, and to make a full-blown attempt at the National championship.

FP is a tough class to run the GT in. The fastest FP cars are faster than the fastest GT-4 cars in the country. And seeing how the FP rules are stricter than the GT-4 rules, I don't see how a GT will ever be mega-competitive in that class. BUT, Stan Czacki may just prove me wrong some day in his FP Opel GT. If he ever sorts the car completely, it will be very fast at the Runoffs. He's had a run of bad luck there unfortunately, but this may be the year it all comes together. I don't predict him winning if the fastest cars are all there, but a top-three finish is definitely possible.

There, in a nutshell is my analysis of the GT's SCCA class capabilities. I'm sure some may disagree with my opinions, but I'm basing this on the success rates of various GT's run over the years.
 

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can i race?

question for bob,

i am just wrapping up my 2.3T swap...i had visions of racing scca, but i just figured that since i have bastardized the car so badly from stock that there was no hope.

as you know i am running a ford 2.3T, T-5 trans, and ford 8.8 rear. front and rear brakes are ford disks, with custom front a-arms. any thoughts on how the scca would see this car?

i just finished stripping the car to paint, it had been painted 11 TIMES! i have about 30lbs of paint shavings in my trash can.

see you in $2004 bob

later, jon
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks, Bob ...

That was a lot of information in a "nut shell" ... and exactly what I was looking for. Do you have a car ... ITB, I believe ... this season?

Again, thanks ...

Ken
 

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Re: can i race?

jon.haas said:
question for bob,

i am just wrapping up my 2.3T swap...i had visions of racing scca, but i just figured that since i have bastardized the car so badly from stock that there was no hope.

SCCA is pretty narrow-minded in this regard. Other than autocrossing, (modified class) there's really no place to run the car. Find out where you can run with some local clubs, it'll probably be a lot more laid-back and therefore fun. Here in New England I can run track events with numerous private clubs, or hillclimb, or whatever. They'll find a spot for your car regardless of what's under the hood.

Bob
 

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svopel said:

That was a lot of information in a "nut shell" ... and exactly what I was looking for. Do you have a car ... ITB, I believe ... this season?

I haven't worked on the car for some time, but yes, I hope to run my Ascona this year in ITB.

I also want to keep my options open for other forms of racing. I spent this entire weekend swapping the rally suspension from my Sentra and putting in a road-race suspension and some aerodynamic aids. I still need to build a turbo engine for that particular car, and I'm gonna use it for hillclimbing. Last year I ran my WRX in a hillclimb, but as it's still new and I was running pretty quick out of the box, I figured I'd run the older Sentra to eliminate the chances for wrecking the WRX if I decide to push a bit too hard.

I will possibly also run my friend Gregg's Ascona in some more rallycrosses, and after swapping in the roller-cammed 2.5 litre, we may change the suspension/tires and run that car in some hillclimbs or time-trials at a road race course.

My utimate goal for this year is to run the Targa Newfoundland road rally in Canada this fall in the ITB car. It's expensive, and takes 10 days, but it's a great ride and will be immortilized on film!

RallyBob, RacingBob, HillclimbBob, IceraceBob....running out of names. Maybe LandSpeedRecordBob someday?
 

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BuildinGT4race said:
How many classes are there that are open to engine swaps?
None. There are no SCCA racing classes that allow non-manufacturer engine swaps except for autocrossing (modified classes....be prepared to get your butt kicked by the pros), and I don't really consider that 'racing'. Fun, and skill-building, but not racing.

If you were running an SCCA rally class however, they DO allow engine swaps, but they must be manufacturer-crossovers. So technically, since Opel is GM, I could put a ZR-1 Corvette engine into a GT and run it.

Find a local club that will allow the swap, forget the SCCA if you are going to build a hybrid. Generally, any type of true 'racing' (wheel-to-wheel) requires a rollcage and other safety equipment. Some forms of 'Solo' (hillclimbs and time trials, etc) also require a cage if the car is heavily modified. It only makes sense. Put 4 times the stock power into the chassis, it's gonna be FAST, so it should also be safe.

Nice engine BTW! I've loved those engines since the early '90's when I turbo'd one myself, BEFORE it was the popular thing to do!

Bob
 

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We race (or have raced) all three ... ITB, F-Production, and GT-4. We won 5 regional championships in ITB; 1 regional and 1 National divisional championship in F-Production.

However, in recent years SCCA has made the Opel un-competative in ITB and F-Production. SCCA has moved several ITA cars down into ITB... while they weren't quite at the "front" in ITA, they are "killers" in ITB. Also, SCCA is now allowing "full-tilt" computer modifications to the 90's DOHC cars that are now eligable for "IT" cars. Also, cost has sky rocketed. Out here in the west, or in south-east regions the cost of building a "middle of the pack" IT car is around $12K if you do a lot of it yourself.

In F-Production, the problem is that if you want to run Nationals... especially the Run-Off's... then you are going to go up aginst a couple of PROFESSIONAL teams. Joe Huffaker fields a couple of $100K cars and brings with him a staff of 5-10 full time paid professional race team members. We did what I thought was a "money no object" development the year we won "the National Championship" (not the run-offs) Then we (I) came up aginst Joe Huffaker at Phoenix International Raceway... that's when I decided that money was an object (we had already spent over $25K) and I couldn't out spend Joe. He went on to spend... I mean win three consecutive championships.

Now... GT4. No one has ever really done a "full-tilt" Opel GT. Tom Drake has come the closest. In reality this class will be cheaper than F-Production. Not the initial build, but running the car. For instance, there is no restriction on brakes, differential... and on and on. So once you buy the real race stuff it will hold up. (In Production, you must run the Opel rear end and calipers). The biggest cost is a "rolling" tube frame chassis -> about $25K from Tom Neeley. We (I) firmly believe that a fully developed Opel will be the car to beat.

Sooooo... this year we are going to do an engine development program for GT4. We think that from what we learned in our F-Production development we will be able to make about 225 HP at the flywheel. That's a tall order, but I think that with a big bucket of money I can get there. If we get there, then this fall we'll call Tom Neeley with antoher big bucket of money and build a full tilt tube frame car. Stay tuned
 
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