The Lotus Cars Community banner
1 - 20 of 30 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
103 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have not competed in any official timed events before and don't know the rules. My questions specifically relate to modifications. For example, would the modified HRM Elises be placed in a competetive group where only experienced drivers with highly modified cars compete, or could the HRM cars compete with any stock Elise? Are the HRM cars likely easier to drive cometetively, for a novice, or more difficult?

Any guidance is appreciated.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
29,081 Posts
Basically, paint and color, upholstery are not illegal per the rules.

Boiling it down, the rules are that you can make changes to a car for comfort and convenience... as long as the change does not provide ANY performance advantage... and does not reduce weight in the car.

There are specific things you can do that can affect performance and might reduce weight. Those are the things refered to in the rulebook.

The other thing is... if the change you want to make affects performance or reduces weight... if the rulebook does not say you can... you can not. That mainly covers:

Filters and fluids. Gas must be pump.
Shocks (using same mounting points).
Wheels (but must be same size and within 1/4" of offset)
Alignment (whatever you can get without modifications not covered from the factory).
Tires (must be DOT legal and legal per SCCA)
Front swaybar
Exhaust behind the cat.
Brake pads.

These are some potentially common mods in the Elise that would be illegal per SCCA stock class rules:

Stage 2 exhaust because you had to trim the diffuser.
Removing your sun visors.
Putting LSS width rims on, without changing the springs to LSS.
Changing the mirror.
Stainless steel brake lines.
Shift gate.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,198 Posts
Randy Chase said:

These are some potentially common mods in the Elise that would be illegal per SCCA stock class rules:

Stage 2 exhaust because you had to trim the diffuser.
Removing your sun visors.
Putting LSS width rims on, without changing the springs to LSS.
Changing the mirror.
Stainless steel brake lines.
Shift gate.
I'm so glad I don't compete for real, It would be a pain to have the SCCA rule my life.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,941 Posts
Randy...have a read of the SCCA's stock class rules for shock absorbers.

SCCA Stock Class Shock Absorber Rules...

There are HUGE holes in it. Folks run high end shocks that don't meet the rules for where the spring is located along the length of a coilover (doesn't affect anything at all, ride height or whatever). Apparently it's never been protested though - over a 25 year period. I'm informed that it would take about a year plus to get the wording corrected, clarified, or changed. So 2006 or 2007 season!?!? They want the spring perches to be located the same distance from the end mounts as stock but provide no tolerance for this...maybe that is how they handle the vagueness? If a shock such as the Ohlins comes with a damping adjuster installed so as to require moving the perch away from that end, you then move the other perch closer to it's end to achieve the same preload, ride height and so forth without affecting spring rate, alignment, clearance or anything else.

You could find or make a shock to fit the SCCA wording to be legal. This would render a car "legal" but provide no other outcome other than that for the time, money, hassle and potentially less convenient adjustability. I think it's yet another weanie protest issue for nonlocal autocrossers. Keep that in mind for the Penske project.

Oh yeah...you CAN legally run shocks whose length varies from stock within a 2 inch range. Since the spring perches are located relative to the ends whose overall eye-to-eye length is okay to change over a wide range, you can legally change spring preload and wheel travel!! That might help / hurt some cars. And it could lead to safety issues related to bind on some cars since the suspension can travel further. Same thing in terms of the wheels/tire/suspension hitting things since they can move further than stock. But that is legal?!

On the mirror thing. A smaller mirror or no rear view mirror is not legal. For many people that would change their view of the sky. You don't use the RVM when autocrossing. SCCA allows LARGER than stock mirrors for road racing. I'm told that using a small mirror would provide a performance advantage since SOME drivers may then enjoy a greater view of the course. Like Lee Piccone? It IS legal to twist the position of the stock mirror so that it presents less blocking of the view through the windshield. That way it would block as much view as the smaller mirror, which cannot be used because it would open up the view as much as twisting the stock mirror! I left my stock mirror mount in place so that the large stock mirror could be reinstalled. Neither mirror blocks or changes my view of the course at all.

I agree with Fred's points about staying local in a sense. More common sense and logic prevail at times.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,941 Posts
>>>For those who are interested in seeing what Stan was told, the online exchange to which he is referring is here:

http://www.sccaforums.com/cgi-bin/u...gi/topic/7/885?<<<

I think the SCCA is too Bureacratic if you want to do the big events. It doesn't affect me very much as I'm a local guy.

I took a few hundred pictures at the 2003 Nationals. I had a last second chance to spectate there as I was returning from a trip and was able to do a stop over. After you do your three runs in your classification each car that just competed parks in another area together with the rival cars. Each has one side jacked up off the ground and the wheels yanked so that you can see the F/R suspension. This is maintained for a decent amount of time so that cars can be scrutinized by others for any reason. It was cool to see so many nicely prepared cars and great people.

This particular aspect of the shock rule does not seem to be protested to any degree. Maybe many don't realize that it's a potential issue. In the pics I can see a number of cases of what appear to be infractions. That is, stock class cars with pricey high end shocks with the perch pairs at the stock distance setting from one another on coilover cars but with the perches offset coaxially from the ends of the shocks a nonstock amount.

It's not in writing but a couple folks have told me that it is considered fine to achieve a stock ride height by screwing a threaded adjuster to achieve stock height and then siliconing it in place besides the normal locking method. That way any change in height would be noticeable. Others have suggested welding.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,150 Posts
Fred-as another starting out local autoXer, I understand your feelings well. However, the rules do not appear to be onerous nor difficult to understand, as long as you are know them BEFORE you get started. I have made a lot of mods, but I could run at Nationals, no problem (except I'd get kicked around like a bad cat). All of my mods are allowed to still compete in SS. And I'll replace the shocks next spring, but will research, ahead of time, what is or isn't allowed. Again, no big deal.

The best thing is to check ahead of time on your changes. Guys like Randy, Stan and John are happy to help you if they know the issue. I know that I have steered "around the cones" with their help. Thanks a lot, guys.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,941 Posts
>>>All of my mods are allowed to still compete in SS.<<<

From what I understand...this may not be the case.

You are using the LTS dampers with the LSS springs. The LTS dampers have three height adjustment options. The LSS dampers have only two. We don't have the mount to groove dimensions for the LTS and LSS versions - some or all of the grooves may not exactly correspond to the grooves on the other damper variation. That is the groove you are on now, or the other two on your body may not have a counterpart on the LSS damper. If that is the case then you are not legal. Not that you are gaining an unfair advantage, are cheating, that anyone would care, or that you'd ever be protested.

We do know that the dimension from one groove to another is 5 mm per Lotus. I did not measure this when I put the LSS springs on my LTS dampers which are on the car now. But this appeared to be the case to my calibrated eyeballs.

At one time it was said that the two different dampers had the same exact bodies and so forth except that the internal valving was firmer on the sport versions. The dampers do appear to have the same base bodies but we now know that there is an external difference in the groove(s) that sets the height of the spring perch and that that height is an SCCA lock-in figure. To use the + 10% LSS springs you need to use an LSS mount to groove dimension. I had a quick look at the Penske shock materail - at least some of their models cannot be made SCCA compliant for our cars without the possibility of obscuring an adjuster with a custom dished spring perch mount. I'm not even 100% sure if a dished mount would be legal as the SCCA states that you can use shims to achieve the correct dimensions and this can't be done with shims. Likely it's okay though, but would be a custom machined or fabricated part that would not change any funtionality but would cut off the weanie protesters.

So it is possible that the groove you are now using does not coincide with the groove to mount dimension on the LSS damper. See what I mean? It very well may match. Recall that earlier on those informed by Nick Adams of Lotus were told that the Elise springs would have five height adjustment options. This is definitely NOT the case. But we should hear more in the near future as folks have been working on things such as this and other questions.

Others may disagree but in my view the 25 year old SCCA stock class rule could use some more thought put into it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
162 Posts
Stan said:
In the pics I can see a number of cases of what appear to be infractions.
You would have no way to identify real infractions from photos. So far, you haven't even said which class or which car model(s) were allegedly illegal in this way.

That is, stock class cars with pricey high end shocks with the perch pairs at the stock distance setting from one another
The "perch pairs" don't HAVE a "stock distance setting from one another." That distance varies with suspension position. There IS a well-defined stock distance from the spring ends to the corresponding shock mounting points, however. That is the relationship that cannot be altered.

It's not in writing but a couple folks have told me that it is considered fine to achieve a stock ride height by screwing a threaded adjuster to achieve stock height
It IS in writing. 13.5 specifically allows adjustable spring perches, as long as they are located as specified. I suggest you purchase a rule book and read it, rather than rely on hearsay from "a couple of folks."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,150 Posts
Hmmm. For someone to tell if I'm in violation, I guess they'd need an LSS shock with spring and would hold it up to my setup to see if the spring is compressed into the proper space. Ya think a competitor might do that? I don't think I'll buy an LSS setup just to see.

Stan, would this mean that most after-market dampers would be illegal? I thought this was one area where we had a lot of autonomy. I suppose that if, in 25 years, no one ever has checked, it would be unlikely that someone would do so now.

I think I have other things to worry about before I start in on something like this. Important things like "Where do I put my cellphone?" The odds of me racing Nationals and getting disqualified seem like they'd still be astronomically low. At least I hope so.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
162 Posts
Surferjer said:
Hmmm. For someone to tell if I'm in violation, I guess they'd need an LSS shock with spring and would hold it up to my setup to see if the spring is compressed into the proper space.
No. To tell if your setup is legal, you need to measure the distance between each end of the spring and the shock mounting point at that end. This is the relationship that must be the same as original. The length of the spring on the fully-extended shock is not required to be the same as original.

Ya think a competitor might do that?
If you take a trophy spot at Nationals (or a National Tour event), you might need to concern yourself with an issue such as that. Otherwise, nobody's going to care.

I suppose that if, in 25 years, no one ever has checked,
Stan's incorrect on that count. There have been a number of shock-related protests over the past 25 years, and the current wording of the rules reflects the outcomes of some of those protests.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,150 Posts
I wonder how "the same" is defined. If you're off by 3 MM, is that close enough?

Boring question, but it is Monday.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,941 Posts
Jay Mitchell wrote:

>>>You would have no way to identify real infractions from photos. So far, you haven't even said which class or which car model(s) were allegedly illegal in this way. <<<

I would not want to cause anyone any stress or whatever. Folks would be able to figure out whose car it was in some of the PICs.

>>>The "perch pairs" don't HAVE a "stock distance setting from one another." That distance varies with suspension position. There IS a well-defined stock distance from the spring ends to the corresponding shock mounting points, however. That is the relationship that cannot be altered. <<<

That makes preload and wheel travel deviations from Stock possible, apparently.

>>It IS in writing. 13.5 specifically allows adjustable spring perches, as long as they are located as specified. I suggest you purchase a rule book and read it, rather than rely on hearsay from "a couple of folks."<<<

Jay... you left off the rest of my sentence. Go back and check!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
291 Posts
I saw in another post you are using a lightweight battery. Is that legal stock class?

Also are pedal covers legal?



Randy Chase said:
Basically, paint and color, upholstery are not illegal per the rules.

Boiling it down, the rules are that you can make changes to a car for comfort and convenience... as long as the change does not provide ANY performance advantage... and does not reduce weight in the car.

There are specific things you can do that can affect performance and might reduce weight. Those are the things refered to in the rulebook.

The other thing is... if the change you want to make affects performance or reduces weight... if the rulebook does not say you can... you can not. That mainly covers:

Filters and fluids. Gas must be pump.
Shocks (using same mounting points).
Wheels (but must be same size and within 1/4" of offset)
Alignment (whatever you can get without modifications not covered from the factory).
Tires (must be DOT legal and legal per SCCA)
Front swaybar
Exhaust behind the cat.
Brake pads.

These are some potentially common mods in the Elise that would be illegal per SCCA stock class rules:

Stage 2 exhaust because you had to trim the diffuser.
Removing your sun visors.
Putting LSS width rims on, without changing the springs to LSS.
Changing the mirror.
Stainless steel brake lines.
Shift gate.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,941 Posts
>>>I suppose that if, in 25 years, no one ever has checked,<<<

Jer - rules like these are enforced by competitors coming forward before/during/after a set of runs. Questions are asked and answered all the time. SCCA folks are hesitant to make any changes if something has been the same for awhile.

>>>Stan's incorrect on that count. There have been a number of shock-related protests over the past 25 years, and the current wording of the rules reflects the outcomes of some of those protests.<<<

I didn't say this. Jay this is the second time you are inferring or taking things out of context for some reason. The 25 years is NOT my number. It refers to the basic language in the rule. It's unclear language and leaves possible safety, cost and other issues in it's wake. The shock rule can be followed for our cars, but it may just take some more time, effort and expense since you can't make a change to the rules with any certainty or with speed. In other words suppose you modify something at some expense in money and time to meet the exact rule. You made no performance change. I'd prefer not to have to do things like that if possible.

Cross the Ohlins off the list unless you modify it or run in a different class. I'll see what they say about the matter, maybe there are some things they can come up with. There could also be other questions as they have not yet been used on the US cars yet. I have the first set around apparently, and am continuing to evaluate these and other options. They appear to be very well made and the cost is not bad on them either.

I took a look under the car earlier with a tape measure in hand and it appears that the stock spring would need to live about 5/8 to 3/4 inch further away from the lower mount both front and rear with the Ohlins. The rear shocks look shorter than stock too, this is fine as long as it's not more than an inch. The fronts appear to be very close in length, OE vs Ohlins. If all else is the same (unconfirmed) then the spring would live that much higher than stock and the same ride height and so forth would be achievable. There is no advantage to the higher spring except that it provide more room for your hand to reach the adjuster.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,941 Posts
>>>I wonder how "the same" is defined. If you're off by 3 MM, is that close enough? <<<

Maybe. First you'd have to be protested. Then whoever looks into it would have to make a judgement, measure, compare to stock, talk to others and so forth. There is no tolerance given and this is apparently on purpose to avoid other issues.
 
1 - 20 of 30 Posts
Top