North American Time Attack Council

Discussion in 'Road Racing Forum' started by VoodooBoss, Dec 9, 2018.

  1. VoodooBoss

    VoodooBoss Rick Moderator

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  2. ArizonaBOSS

    ArizonaBOSS Because racecar. Moderator

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    I personally know a couple of the people involved in this and I'm not really sure about the whole thing. Need to talk to those guys and get their perspective on it...
     
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  3. orng302

    orng302 TMO Race

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    The writer is totally right in the demographics of it all.
     
  4. Bill Pemberton

    Bill Pemberton TMO Addict

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    Thanks Voodoo , I read this post the other day and I guess I am an eternal optimist, as I just see it as a definite ladder for many who actually want to gravitate to wheel to wheel racing. When I first joined SCCA I autocrossed , because it was available nearby and that was my budget for automotive competition. Time trial competition is the logical next step up, today, with many who begin competing now , likely to find themselves interested in the next step , road racing, as time progresses. I think once there is a full integration of Time Trials with road racing, all will benefit , as many will eventually be quite aware that road racing is not much different , cost wise, in many instances. I think the ladder now has more defined steps, and I do believe it will lend itself to more automotive events in the coming years?!
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2018
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  5. domesticpower

    domesticpower Track Addict

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    I can't relate to this problem because we only have one Time Attack tournament locally and one road racing (W2W) tournament. Both are organized by the same sanctioning body (different level licenses for each). With that said, the problem of attracting new blood (and the coffee house scene at Time Attack vs high school reunion scene on race day) is all very true here too. Anything that safely helps bring more people to the sport or makes it easier to progress, I'm a fan of!
     
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  6. Fair

    Fair Go Big or Go Home

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    This was a strange meeting during the 2018 PRI show. I went to this because I was told it was about Global Time Attack rules updates for 2019. I got there and saw the Gridlife people and a bunch of SCCA officials... and immediately knew I had been duped.

    [​IMG]

    The opening remarks at this meeting were a press release, about why NATA council that had been formed between SCCA, GTA and Gridlife. Notably absent were anyone from NASA, Optima, and a few other Time Trial groups in the USA and Canada. The reason: politics and old grudges.

    We have since spoken to Adam of Gridlife and he explained what his group and GTA get out of this: better track insurance and a defined TT licensing program. The rest of the meeting was discussing changes in rules for 2019 in GTA then Gridlife. The SCCA folks disappeared the second the Press Release was finished, however.

    Frankly I was disappointed in how this went down - mostly by which large groups are conspicuously missing from NATA - but I understand why GTA and Gridlife was eager to partner with a bigger group to get these much needed additions for their events.

    The issue I see is the SCCA group - which is the group in charge of the cross-group TT licensing - has had only 7 months of TT events Nationally (with a total of 3 TT events across the USA in 2018?) under their brand new TT program. They have a spotty schedule for 2019 (with all of 8 events Nationwide + their National Championship), it is going to be difficult to see how this works out for everyone involved. GTA is regional - West and East Coast events. Gridlife is centered around Chicago area. But SCCA TT is not all that popular yet, with not nearly enough events around those two other groups' regional events.

    There are serious questions about SCCA's TT classing, which we have discussed at length with the SCCA officials (with zero results) and online. Some weird loopholes, unusual ways to delineate categories and classes with massive over dogs and mis-matches. This is to be expected when you have people making rules for a type of motorsport they have never attended, in a brand new series. That doesn't affect NATA, just makes it dofficult for people wanting to run GTA or Gridlife to get their licenses at SCCA TT events.

    Then there is how you get that license. To get a TT license in SCCA you have to attend 3 events. And... that's it - its an attendance thing. With a brand new series they don't really have the established HPDE groups, classroom program, and experienced instructors to vet the applicants. In a group like NASA there are all sorts of guidelines, experiences, and multiple check rides to earn that license.

    But for the SCCA this NATA deal is great - they get more series to spread insurance costs over, and guaranteed entrants for at least 3 events for new folks trying to get a license recognized by GTA and Gridlife. And it helps legitimize their painfully new TT program, to some degree. I think this is why they were anxious to sign onto this NATA council.

    [​IMG]

    Still, the USCA/Optima folks could have been invited (they were at PRI), as they have over a decade of Time Trial events and a unique experience level / vetting system - that works. Similarly, nobody from NASA had heard a peep about this "council". they have been doing TT events since 2003 Nationally and hold many dozens of events per year.

    Regardless of who it was formed and who was left out, I hope the NATA Council can bring more people into Time Trial and grow the sport in general. Maybe some SCCA committee member will actually go to a GTA or Gridlife event and see how their events run (well) and how classing is done (better)? Who knows - one can dream! ;)

    [​IMG]

    And yes, the one thing that GTA, Gridlife, Optima and SCCA TT have that NASA TT does not is 200TW tire based classes. I have been working on a solution to try to solve this for a while and for 2019 we are sponsoring a series of NASA sub-classes in TT1-TT6 for 200TW competitors within NASA Texas series (this NASA region has almost as many 2019 TT events than all of SCCA TT, Nationally). Read more about that here.

    [​IMG]

    Disclaimer: I am no official with any of the groups mentioned, but I have run competition events with NASA (since 2006), SCCA (since 1988), Optima (since 2011), and GTA (since 2012). I am a sponsor of both SCCA and NASA Time Trial events as well in the Texas region, and run in both of their events regularly.

    I wish all concerned the best of luck! :)

    Cheers,
     
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  7. modernbeat

    modernbeat TMO Advanced

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    Bill, I think SCCA is dropping the ball here by not integrating the Time Trial program with their Road Race program. The rules and classing are too far apart to really be a ladder. And by not having the events at the same place on the same weekend the TT competitors don't get to see how the race groups operate. I know SCCA has typically had issues with scheduling track time for non race groups at races, but other groups seems to be able to do it that way. And it's a good way to expose your HPDE and TT competitors to road racing.
     
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  8. Bill Pemberton

    Bill Pemberton TMO Addict

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    Sure appreciate the conscientious write up , as many of your concerns are those of mine. I have been a member of SCCA for over 37 years , starting in Autocrossing and later getting involved in Road Racing. The concern about Classes and the safety requirements are probably the most relevant , as a Time Trials session assumes you are driving amongst those that have met more strict criteria and actual licensing. Instructing in NASA , the parameters for a Time Trial License come only after the powers that be deem the driver to be skilled enough to proceed at high speeds with his fellow competitors in a safe manner. This is after accepting the responsibility and awareness that he/she will be passing without a point by, or other restrictions similar to HPDE events - not to mention going through 4 levels of HPDE driving to determine license qualification. Just throwing folks into the fray after three events ( attendance only, as you mentioned ) is not only haphazard, but quite dangerous. A similar thought process is being used with the idea of Track Nite with SCCA , where novices are thrown out on circuits with little if any instruction ( or control). Part of the reason I have no desire to ever attend one of these events, as being on course with a bunch of adrenaline , red misty eyed , would be Mario Andrettis would be borderline foolish on my part. I have a Competition License ( racing ) with both SCCA and NASA, and they each have strict rules to acquire , so it baffles me why SCCA follows such a foolhardy system for something with such potential high speeds as Time Trials. For years I was one of only two Safety Stewards in the State of Kansas ( yes, this was long ago, ha) for Solo Competition, but the guidelines SCCA had for that was tight and very much based to make the events fun and secure for participants and spectators. They ( SCCA ) need to go back and review their years of control and strict guidelines for overall safety and get those interested in Time Trials into a comprehensive Licensing program.

    Until then, I will continue to recommend NASA for those wanting to go into Time Trials, as it is a great step for drivers to go through , especially prior to going into door to door racing- imho.
     
  9. Fair

    Fair Go Big or Go Home

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    Bill - agreed on all points. As a 32 year SCCA member I have seen much more stringent safety standards in autocross. How on earth did this laissez faire attitude work its way into TNiA and SCCA TT, is anyone's guess.

    The TNiA events always worry me, with their complete lack of instructors or classroom or vetting of any kind. They just keep saying #FunWithCars and "get a better attitude" when anyone chimes in with concerns. I think this is literally an accident waiting to happen. I have been to a few TNiA events and I just try to stay in their most advanced group and are super cautious.

    The SCCA TT folks at the National level are basically taking the same attitude of TNiA and applying it to TT. A dangerous combination of you ask me. But hey, they didn't ask. ;)
     
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  10. Bill Pemberton

    Bill Pemberton TMO Addict

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    It is baffling , but it is no wonder so many SCCA members have gravitated over to NASA. It seems that SCCA took the laid back attitude NASA worked to foster over the years as one that skimped on safety. In reality they focused on safety and knowledge in order to promote more fun and alleviate some of the concerns many have when they try a high performance driving event the first time. Mandatory instruction only makes sense and helps insure you don't have a half wit egomaniac with the driving talents of a ham fisted lobster out there running at 100 mph. SCCA needs to follow the lead of their competitive neighbor, in this case. I know I have failed to move someone up a tier when I did not think they were quite ready, and to think there are folks out there who can get a TT license by just running around a track during three quick events is insane. SCCA does killer for autocrossing, Pro Racing and other areas , but TT and Track nites could be their downfall if they do not review and correct.
     
  11. TymeSlayer

    TymeSlayer Tramps like us, Baby we were born to run...

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    I'll add that I know what I speak of when I say going up the ladder in HPDE with Nasa is something you earn.
     
  12. ArizonaBOSS

    ArizonaBOSS Because racecar. Moderator

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    NASA National office took some legal action against GTA/GridLife earlier in 2018 which is why they were left out of the discussion.
     
  13. Bill Pemberton

    Bill Pemberton TMO Addict

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    Right now , NASA has the safest and most comprehensive program. This is coming from a guy who helped start an SCCA Region and still thinks there are areas where they do things quite well. I do believe, in the long run, that competition will improve all the racing/time trial/HPDE programs for the consumer.
     
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  14. domesticpower

    domesticpower Track Addict

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    Sounds like a familiar problem... there're people who want to see new comers get licenses quickly to keep fresh blood interested. We (locally) require anyone to have an instructor on track, unless they were signed off by one; approved for a lapping license or higher (i.e. time attack or racing).

    I haven't had many opportunities to sign people off... I think it should be a slow process and think people should be required to have instructors in the car for a lot longer than typical. Some students are thankful for it and appreciate it. Others think you're holding them back. It is scary to think of someone who's had one or two days on track in their lives going at it against the clock.
     
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  15. Bill Pemberton

    Bill Pemberton TMO Addict

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    With constant Classroom Time and Instructors in their HPDE levels , NASA moves at a measured pace based on individual skills. There is a further safety structure, in that after each track session there is a group meeting to make sure all drivers are aware and following course protocol. I have moved folks up relatively quickly if they show high awareness ( in many areas ) and have solid ability. In our Region, though, Instuctors can only move folks up a level, and then to step up to the top tiers, another designated Instructor has that task - basic fail safe to have more than one person's bias determine the driver's ability. My basis on safety came from years when I was a Safety Steward with SCCA ( Autocrossing ) which carried has over to all types of racing, in my personal estimation. With these origins of thought for racers/drivers I applaud the NASA structure, because even with some drivers moving up due to their talent, there are safeguards to make sure many involved approve said movement within their tiers. I still recommend newcomers to automotive driving events in the Autocross vein that SCCA is the star, yet for Time Trials and HPDE, NASA has the best structure, imho, for those looking for that motorsports hobby.
     
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