How to Fix Sportscar Racing

March 13, 2013 at 1:15 pm


Photo By J. Grabowski - From 2011 Baltimore GP

I love Sportscar racing because it blends teamwork, technology, all out speed and tactics. I’ve been hooked recently on watching many old World Sportscar Racing and Le Mans year end review films on the great site

While it remains a love of mine, I’ve grown disheartened with big time Sportscar racing over the past few years. The combination of small car counts (and therefore lack of competition), no worldwide rules standard and what has become the annual Volkswagen parade in France each June has made me think of how Sportscar racing can get back to the glory days of the 70’s and 80’s

1. Four Classes: IMSA had it right when they had two prototype classes (GTP and Lights) and two Gran Touring classes (GTO and GTU). Have prototype classes be divided by dimensions, engine size and car weight, allow things such as hybrid technology in the “GTP” class but not in the “Lights” class. In the Gran Touring classes have it set up similar with more supercar like racers race in a GTO class and smaller lighter, less powered cars in a “GTU” class.

2. Give Privateers a chance: Porsche had it right in the 80’s: have a factory team but sell cars to privateers who can be competitive and beat the factory on occasion. Porsche understood that a Porsche winning (factory or not) makes the breed better, improves development (by having more cars out there) and helps the cash flow with people buying cars and spares. Also, don’t forget the win Ads, the average Joe is impressed when a make sweeps the top five, factory team or not. Make it mandatory that any factory racing program must sell cars to privateers and sell them cars that are the least the previous year’s spec. Enforce a ceiling on the amount that a manufacturer can charge for a car and spares and create a rule where for every two cars entered by a factory program there must be a car entered by a privateer.

3. Rules: Create a global rules package so domestic series can operate and those cars running in domestic series can enter the world championship event in their home country. In watching old end of the year WSC films one of the more interesting things was when the championship went to Japan and the race featured an influx of those teams and manufacturers running in the domestic championship.

4. Open Engine Formula: What killed big time sportscar racing was there was clear divide between the haves and have nots in the early 90’s when the WSC went to the then Formula 1 3.5 engine formula (Which was Bernie’s way of getting the manufacturers in WSC to go to F1…gee look you already have an engine that fits our rules). One of great concepts of John Bishop when he created the GTP rules was to base the engine equivalency formula off of a Chevy 350 that anyone could buy and go racing with. Base the top class engine formula off of the Judd engine (or whatever the basic customer engine is) that anyone with enough cash can buy. Allow for different types of cylinder configurations and turbos if desired.

5. Cost: At the end of the day it all comes down to cost, keeps the finances in check. Cap budgets in all areas except for driver salaries. By keeping costs down the potential is there to have a grid full of professional teams all with a chance to be very competitive.


Copart Dreamin’

March 12, 2013 at 11:37 pm

OK. Bad news. The cheaper-than-an-Escort W8 is long gone, replaced by trusty Land Rover Disoveries and Audi TTs. But have no fear – Copart is here.

Copart is the Easter basket of bad ideas. It has a dedicated section just for cast-off projects, cars that were under a tarp in your neighbor’s carport yesterday. Heck, Hurricane Sandy’s victims are a common sight at Copart auctions, so if you’re in the market for a Chevelle littered with salt-cakes, give the Long Island district a call.

But enough chatter. On to Deal of the Day, v 2.OH NO.

A 1980 Saab Turbo. From Arizona, land of prison camps, undocumented citizens and rot-free Swedish goodness. This particular Copart special has a minty interior and the requisite aero bits, like a rear spoiler and those tasty pizza-slicer wheels. Good Lord, I love the 80s. It’s even baby blue!

Salvage title, but who cares. These cars are hard to come by and offer a perfect excuse to invest in rear window louvers and a set of obnoxious Bosch fog lamps. Need I say more?


I just can’t W8

March 12, 2013 at 6:07 pm

So, as this blog grows, we’re going to try and sneak in updates whenever we can. In a test of the emergency project car broadcast system, we have breaking news.


An auction company in New Hampshire is seeking a measly $4,500 for a Passat W8. Who among you has the stones to roll the dice on an eight-cylinder project car that makes jumping rope blindfolded while holding a burlap sack up around your waist look like elementary school gymnastics?

I’ll bet you don’t. I’ll throw the link up later for colorful and passive-aggressive commentary.

Sons of Taki Fantasy Garage: Jonathan’s $150K challenge

March 12, 2013 at 1:46 am

The first Sons of Taki fantasy garage challenge is fairly easy; three cars and $15oK in the bank. I was given the assignment to find an everyday vehicle, a weekend house/mountain bike hauler and a classic. For me it comes down fun, fast and purposeful.

The Everyday Car – 2013 Cadilac CTS-V Wagon. 

Cost – $ 67,155

I picked the CTS-V Wagon because it fits my profession. I’m the Executive Director of a Community Access center. I need a car where I can load in a lot of camera equipment and get to shoots in rapid fashion but also go to meet with business partners, government officials and potential donors while looking as professional as can be. The CTS-V gives me what I need for my job: room, speed and class

The Weekend Hauler – 2013 Ford Raptor SVT

Cost – $50,885

While I’m a GM guy a heart, the Raptor fits my weekend needs of hauling around power tools, lawn furniture and muddy mountain bikes.  The HP allows for quick trips to Lowes and the ability to sneak that quick Sunday morning ride in.


The Classic – 1969 Camaro RS

Cost – $29,900

Credit: Hemmings Motor News

Credit: Hemmings Motor News

I’m redeeming myself with the Camaro. I love the first generation F-Bodies and this RS in Hugger Orange does it for me.  The perfect summertime cruiser for me with the hideaway headlights for cruise nights.  This car can be found on the Hemmings Motor News website:


Give me old or give me death

March 12, 2013 at 1:33 am

So, by way of introduction, my name is Jeff. You can see my ’03 330i ZHP and the project E30, a 1987 Alpine White 325is coupe. I’ve become a bit enamored with the BMW brand over the last few years, and more so, the last of the truly analog cars.

And after this weekend, I want to get rid of the ’03 for something older. Now, not just any old thing – but a 1999-2000 Z3 M-Coupe with the venerable S52 motor. So, not a bad way to go if you’re going deeper into the automotive nursing home.

The strange thing is, the more I see older cars, the more I want to step back in time and buy the antiquated instead of the cutting edge (much to the chagrin of the wife). My ’87 E30 went through hell before I got my hands on it, and still has a long way to go. I look at the E46 and realize what a difference it makes when cars have caring owners who keep the carpets clean and do repairs correctly, bodywise or other. In the E30, I’ll need to invest in repairs to the floor before I put a proper carpet kit in. In the E46, I just needed to buy new floormats with the original mounting tabs still intact for it to be perfect.


Take the photo captured here. I spotted this old Alfa in a field in Vermont this weekend. If only someone had been a bit more sensitive to how much easier it is to take care of a car a little bit now – small projects, a worthwhile investment sooner to stave off major overhauls later – this once viable project car might have more of a chance than it currently does, what with rusty fenders sinking deeper into winter’s moisture-rich blanket.

It’s my mission. Save them now before they succumb to low resale and owners who can barely afford the badge on the hood, let alone synthetic motor oil.

Now, to figure out that latest coolant leak on the E30….

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