Is SRF really safe?

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:57 am
A) I am new to SRF
B) I am not new to racing
C) Part of my apprehension of SRF was open cockpit AMATEUR racing
D) Several times this year SRF cars have had scary accidents with "real cars"

I heard friends tell me of a scary accident at LRP earlier this summer where the run group included closed cars. Last weekend, Joe Doyle suffered a broken shoulder and 3 ribs in an accident at WGI when a STU Honda clobbered him. Then this photoset from LRP yesterday has me seriously questioning what WE as SRF drivers can/need/should do to protect ourselves:

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set= ... 130&type=1

I own an ITS 944 as well as my SRF and I shudder at the thoughts running through my head this morning after looking at these pictures. Makes me wonder "what will it take?" and "what's it worth?" to continue running an SRF in run groups containing much larger cars.

What steps must we take to enact some change? CRB? Protest by not entering races with these mixed race groups? It certainly seems we would be better matched in small-bore formula cars, even though I am sure they would think about the same of us as we feel about the "door-knockers" being in our run groups.

Call to arms? Or am *I* simply over my head in this? I have been following the post threads of the concerns of a Newbie looking at our class and agree with most of the rabid responses defending our class - this this adds a new dimension to the SAFETY issue of our class and run groups, let alone the impending engine change.

HELP!??!?!?!?
You lose 100% of the races you don't start.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:43 am
Brad:

Tom Brown, the SRFer on the receiving end of that horrifying crash is drafting a letter to the powers that be to request that Spec Racer be run a separate race group at all times. We've endured running with full production-style cars for many years and been relatively good sports about it.

But, after what happened to Joe Doyle last weekend and Tom Brown yesterday, enough is enough.

The regions may start squawking about losing a few thousand bucks of revenue from not being able to allow "class sticker engineered" Miatas, Porsches, Acuras and BMWs and production class cars run with us but no one should accept revenue over safety in any instance, at any time.

Anyone else who feels the same way should send your letter to the SCCA Club Racing Competition Board. We must run as a separate race group -- in regionals and nationals -- from now on.

This is now proving to be an unacceptably dangerous situation that must come to end.
Last edited by Bob Devol on Sun Sep 23, 2012 5:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 1:29 pm
Having been in this race I will certainly craft a letter. In all the years I have been driving (33) I have never seen such reckless conduct of driving by any single group of drivers (the STL drivers). On the opening lap the fastest miatas were able to drive up to the 15 or so SRF's that were separated by less than 1 second in total as we sorted things out. In my case they pressed me hard entering west bend and I believe the 1st place miata was willing to punt me out of the way for the position. Having conceded I got passed by 3 miatas. After Tom's incident I got a run on them at the restart. The 1st place miata saw me coming and moved 3 times nearly driving me off track under start finish. When I backed out the 2nd place car then moved right pressing me even closer to off track and forced me hard on the brakes to not make contact. When I say there was an inch between us that isn't an understatement. About 4 laps later the 1st place miata and one of ours I think pressed each other at the bottom of the hill. The outcome wasn't good for the miata and he had huge hit into the tire wall with parts from his car flying everywhere. On the 1st pace lap he stepped out on track and brought the line of cars to nearly to a dead stop with fists raised and threatened gestures. Why this rant wasn't addressed by the Stewards is beyond me.

For what its worth I approached the Chief Steward about this after the race and voiced my concern not only about the grouping but also the conduct of the drivers in the Production class. I also told him we very lucky that Tom didn't killed from that decision. In my view mixing production cars with SRF is just plain stupidity and these pictures send this message better than I can ever explain it. Please speak up on this subject.

Jim Regan
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 1:58 pm
Happy to hear he is OK, the helmet might not be.

After looking at the pictures my first reaction was; It is a miracle all is well and he walked away! Take this as a message from someone higher up! Let's not wait for a stronger message.

I am new to SRF, watched them for 2 years deciding before buying, one big reason was the single run group! Have had similar experinces, for example miatas in particular, almost crash me multiple times during test sessions when I was driving my Corvette. That test day end with me leaving thinking SCCA drivers were the worst I have driven with, what happend? Also same day flat spotted my tires when one pulled onto the track and jumped right in front of me into the race line going into T1 at Thunderhill.

BTW I am very happy with my SRF and everyone I have met or talked to across the country, drivers, families, dogs, kids, fans! :D

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 2:00 pm
Tom,
Thank goodness you're ok. I will send something off to SCCA to voice my concerns... This is supposed to be fun.
Mark SRF 04
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 2:24 pm
mpeyser wrote:Tom,
Thank goodness you're ok. I will send something off to SCCA to voice my concerns... This is supposed to be fun.
Mark SRF 04


Exactly, Mark. The president of SCCA, Inc. tells us that the Club's prime directive is "fun."
Really ? Well, when an SCCA Club Racer racer puts his or her head down on the pillow the night before a race worrying about the unnecessary dangers of running within inches of cars that outweigh us by more than 600 pounds that is not having fun.

Same goes with the drivers of the bigger cars. Last weekend at The Glen we were grouped with a similar tossed salad of street cars. I was gridded right next to what would turn out to be the fastest car in our field -- a fully tricked-out BMW M3, sporting a big rear wing, running in SPU.

Reckoning that "discussion is the better part of valor" in this case, I sidled over to the M3 driver before the start to go over what we could expect at the start and what to do about it. He turned out to be another guy who was there for fun at the erstwhile "Fun One," but clearly wasn't enjoying much of any of it due to his great consternation over having to start the race surrounded by much more diminutive Spec Racers. Partly as a result of our chat, he did a smart start and first lap or so, and then carefully picked his way up to the front.

That said, what happened with the M3 driver is often the exception and I mentioned it primarily to emphasize that mixing SRF with street-style cars is neither fun -- nor safe -- for anyone. Us or them.

Guess what happens when people aren't having fun? They stay home.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 5:04 pm
I just spoke with someone who knows these things and was advised that the best people to whom to address your letters on this is the SCCA Comp Board.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 5:19 pm
I fully concur about SRF having its own race group. BUT in Rocky Mountain Division a one car race is somewhat out of the question. That was Memorial Day double. For the Invitational Majors series race in June, a three car national was embarrassing to the class and SCCA in general - on Sunday, the group was four only because a ProdCar driver had a hard failure. So, to have National mandate a SRF run group would be detrimental to our club racing program.

Bob Cancellieri
Continental Divide Region

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 5:45 pm
As that was me being run over by the 944 I would like to say something.

I understand the problem the Stewards have. The man had a valid license and a legal car. he has every right to race. My problem is why with us? Look at the first picture. Look at the difference in size and road height. My nose was loading ramp. Sadly, I was at the end of the ramp.
A split start might have delayed the inevitable. I am willing to race with Miatas. I don't want to but a regional is not always well attended. I would never expect to see this in National event. Whoever let the Porsche in our group made a serious mistake. A similar car showed up for an event at NHIS and was moved to a different group. Anyway I will be writing letters this week. As Jim noted the officiating was a bit off. I was near the back and by the time we were on the hill I was 3rd gear flat with a shift to 4th just to catch the green. I fully expected a wave off. As for the incident, I have replayed my video several times. I need to find an SRF so I can adjust for eye height vs camera height. The Go Pro picks up Trevor's spin but it would have been out of my line of sight. I might have had a second shot later but I was focused on setting the Miata up for a pass on 4.It was pretty much all Miata before my eyes. It is possible that had my eyes been focused a bit higher I might have seen something. The poor Porsche driver Anthony was near tears as he thought he had killed me. No one needs to suffer this. My estimate is that I was 1/4-1/2 inch away from being in a casket or a wheelchair. Anyway, yes Spec Racer is safe and not allowing STU in the group will make it even safer. Anyone need a slightly used helmet-comes with a can of rubber remover.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 6:04 pm
Tom,
So glad you are alright. I will add my voice (and letter) to the Comp Board.
Les Kurz
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