East Coast Notes
East Coast Notes
Don Rosendale, TMS E. Coast Editor
Today's Motor Sports
Art Riley and Bill Rutan, who've won more "Little Le Mans" races at Lime Rock than you can shake a stick at, did it again this year, outdistancing the opposition in their usual Volvo.
The victory came despite the fact that Riley/Rutan drove the last part of the race sans clutch. It was an all-Swedish day, too, with the top finishers all Volvos or Saabs, and only a BMW breaking up the monotony.
Here's an interesting question: How come one of the biggest sports car dealers around, who owns not just one but two dealerships, doesn't have his own men prepare his racing car, but instead sends it to a shop in Brooklyn, many, many miles away?
Our pet gripe today is mediocre race drivers (I'm not mediocre; I'm lousy) who don't let a faster car by?
There are the types who, when a faster car pulls up behind, go through all sorts of manipulations and blocking tactics to keep him back. It takes three or four laps to pass a clown like that, unless you're very much faster, and what does it prove? All he's done, by sweeping back and forth across the road and "shutting the door," is to slow down the faster car's lap time by three or four seconds a lap.
Maybe it gives them some kind of satisfaction and lets them feel like a hero driver or something, but it's interesting to note that at the Grand Prix of the U.S., the slower drivers among the really GOOD ones, guys like Roger Penske and Jim Hall, made a point of giving plenty of room whenever a car even slightly faster pulled up behind.
'62 SCCA Production Rumors
Here's the supposed inside dope on what SCCA's production car rules will be. There's no change anticipated for 1962, but for 1963, the requirements for a production car will be raised radically, probably to a figure of 1,000 a year or more having been produced. Then these production cars will be run strictly showroom stock, with no modifications whatsoever—even balancing and polishing—allowed, and no options except heavy-duty suspensions. (This mostly for the benefit of the TR3's)
What happens to the owner of a car like, say a Morgan or an Elite or a Porsche Carrera?
For them, SCCA proposes to set up a separate Grand Touring category, run strictly under FIA appendix "J" (or Improved Production) rules, which are pretty much what SCCA rules are today. These cars will run in four classes: 1000 cc., 2000 cc. and over 3000 cc.
The winners? You can buy yours today and have a jump on the rest of the boys: Abarth 1000 ($6,000); Porsche Carrera ($6,000); Ferrari Berlinetta ($15,000) and FI Corvette ($6,000).
To Cheat or Not . . . ?
As for the production "showroom stock" category, we don't see how the SCCA people propose to enforce the rules against things like balancing polishing, etc., when they make little or no effort to enforce the present rules which permit extensive modifications. There'll be more cheating than ever, because the guy who cheats just a little will be at an advantage over the rest; today, you've got to cheat a lot to have an advantage, because most cars are cheating sort of medium. (We know of five acquaintances who have winners, and all five admit to cheating to a certain extent. Nuff said?)
Know the latest gimmick for cheating with a Sprite? Seems, we're told, that BMC has a number of different crankshafts and blocks, depending on production tolerances. A type "A" crank, then, would only go into a type "A" block, a "B" crank into a "B" block, and a "C" crank into a "C" block.
By mixing them up, and, say, putting an "A" crank into a "C" block, etc., it seems you can come up with some pretty interesting combinations and still look pretty un-cheating.
Rosendale's Rally Cry
Who says we're not interested in rallies? TMS gave gold Sturtevant torque wrenches to the winner of the big Bella Vista rally on Long Island in October, and I gave a trophy to the best finishing car with no IBM computers, short wave radios, Univacs, spare mathematicians, and such.
We're running on a platform of honest sports cars, slow drivers who let faster cars by without a big fight, sensible competition rules in the SCCA, rallies than can be won by someone other than Einstein who occasionally likes to drive fast, and pretty blondes in red Porsche convertible D's. Preferably with Super 90 engines. But then, who'd vote for anybody on a silly platform like that?
My Plea . . .
(As for pretty blondes in Porsche Super 90's, anybody know one who also has a Corvair station wagon, knows how to lap chart and remember what spark plug we used last week, and who won't complain because every weekend is spent standing either in the rain or dust at some place like Bridgehampton or Marlboro? Ah well, perfection probably doesn't exist, but I think I'd propose sight-unseen).
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