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ISSCA Road Course Events

400 Views 15 Replies 0 Participants Last post by  Navy Lifer
Hey Road Racers!

I am wondering what minimum modifications to an Impala SS are required to drive a road course? (if any?) I have driven Willow Springs and would say that you need at a minimum a power steering cooler.

What about other tracks?
I have been told that you can not run stock brakes on some tracks such as Thunerhill. True/False?

What about Button Willow, Sears Point and Laguna Seca? other tracks?

- Does it make sense to have a "pure" stock class for ISSCA Road Course events?
- Should we have mandatory modifications for safety reasons? (such as brakes or power steering coolers, etc.)

What do you think?


Mike Preszler
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As far as mods a power steering cooler and even an underdrive pulley are a must in my book. I should know because I fried to power steering pumps in one day at the track. Stock brakes do OK at Willow but some tracks are much harder on brakes then others. For instance at Las Vegas Motor Speedway my Power Slot rotors and PF pads got so hot they were somoking and my ABS light came on and the pedal would go to the floor and have little stopping power. If you are running stock brakes I would flush the sytem before every event and put some fluid in with a high wet/dry boiling point. I also think racing harnesses help a lot. They really reduce fatigue and can actually improve your lap times, while also providing more safety.
Lets keep this going and see what others think.
Hi Jared,

I am compiling DRAFT 2001 - ISSCA Road Course rules and have some difficultly classifying the "Stock" class.

My first thought was to require the vehicle to be pure stock. But, this doesn't make sense to me. Like you, I have burned a power steering pump (at Willow Springs). I think it is necessary, (or at a minimum should be allowed) to install a cooler and underdrive pullys. These items are "safety" items and not just performance modifications.

Hearing that your brakes had little stopping power at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is another problem (I have heard that from other people on other tracks). I am thinking that big brakes are a "safety" item and not only a performance modification.

By performance modification I mean, things that just increase vehicle speed (or lower lap times). I know that underdrive pulleys and big brakes can give you a faster lap. But, I'm thinking that these things should be allowed in the stock class because of safety.

You bring up racing harnesses. Good point. I think this falls into the same category. They are safety items first. They do lead to faster times. They could be allowed in the stock class too.

What modifications do you think should be allowed in the stock class?

Big brakes?
Power steering cooler and underdrive pulleys?
Brake proportioning valve?
Racing harnesses?
Roll bar?


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Hey guys!

Just a couple of thoughts here. There are not really a lot of people Road Racing Impalas out there in any one area. Most people seem to be Drag Racing these cars. It might be tough to get competitive classes with enough people in them.

Any modification done in the interest of safety should not be considered a Mod but rather a smart car owner/driver. Safety, Safety, Safety should always be the foremost concern here in road racing. As some of you are finding out this is a bit more dangerous than drag racing.

I can not speak to Thunderhill, but Buttonwillow in the Big configruation can be tough on brakes. Laguna Seca is very hard on brakes. John Dearing had racing rotors on his SS and the rotor literally cracked in half and fell on the ground in the pits. The advise on changing the fluid before and after every event is great advise and cheap insurance.

Trying to get an all stock class is going to be tough. You will soon find out that at our level of driving it will be the driver not car that will be posting fastest times. For example, In my Corvette I can out accelerate John Dearing and Jeff Coffman all day long in the straights, but these guys outcorner me every time because they are better drivers than I am. My Vette in the right hands is a better road car by far than the Impala but it comes down to the driver ultimately.

If you really wanted to classify the cars by mods I would say that the Classes would be separated by Engine mods only. What they typically do when classifying such cars is by engine displacment. That might be where you want to start. I would not divide the cars up based upon braking systems or P/S or tires.

But hey that's just my opinion. I could be wrong ;)
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The overall philosophy at each ISSCA Road Course event will be the same: "A competitive driving experience for all ISSCA enthusiasts in a fun, safe, and friendly environment where the primary emphasis is on clean driving and machinery preservation."

We have a pretty good idea of how to make the driving experience fun, safe and friendly. Making it competitive is the hard part. I agree that we should allow any safety modification to all cars.

Greg makes a good point. Road Course speed is less dependant on car modifications than other types of driving (like drag racing). Do we NEED to class the cars? Could we group the drivers instead of the cars?

I used to watch the local sprint cars on the ¼ mile dirt oval. They would have time trials first and separate the group into two. The "B" group (slower group) would race against each other and the "A" group would race against each other.

There was always a concern of fast drivers "sandbagging" to be place in the "B" group so they could take a win. On the other hand, it was much more prestigious to race in the "A" group.

I haven't worked out how season points could be handled with this type of approach.

How can we best set up competitive classes/groups, that can be scored, that would work with a variety of numbers of cars (say 5 to 25 cars)?

Keep the ideas flowing!

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What Gary and I do when we host the Willowsprings events is group the drivers by times rather than by car. That way we have less of a chance of a really fast car coming up on a really slow car. Again, for safety.

Now if a guy wants to sandbag that's fine. But then the top three finishers move up in class provided that the time will hold up in the higher class. If the times will not hold up then when you win three or so events you automatically get moved up regardless.

I think the big problem here will be getting enough guys in an area to compete. We tried to get a show of hands here once before and got very little interest.

Let's also get a show of hands here as to who would be interested in running.

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> What Gary and I do when we host the Willowsprings events is group the drivers by times rather than by car. That way we have
less of a chance of a really fast car coming up on a really slow car. Again, for safety.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

This makes sense for separating the run groups. But, what about separating car classes for competition? I don't think we can have a fully modified car running against a stock car in the same class for points. They could run on the track at the same time. But, they shouldn't be placed in the same class for points. Right?

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>I think the big problem here will be getting enough guys in an area to compete. We tried to get a show of hands here once before and got very little interest. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

You might be right. For now I want to get the rules drafted. The next step will be trying to get an event organized.

If we don't have enough interest, I guess I will just have to challenge Gary and Jared for a threeway shoot out! ;)

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For road course events, which are unlikely to be as taxing on the car as a multilap session, I say it's OK to break out the cars by mods. Safety mods that don't affect the performance of the car should be OK for the stock class (i.e. power-steering cooler, 6-point belts, maybe the 9C1 brake backing plates, etc.), but something like the TCE brake upgrade really should take the car out of the stock class.

It all comes down to how "seriously" people want to treat a road-racing event that involves old-tech 4200 lb cars ;) Trying to put too fine of a point on the rules is only likely to turn off people. Then again, I'm not accustomed to "fair" rules since the SCCA thinks that I've got a fair chance against a equally-modified F-body in Solo II events
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Does anyone have any idea how many cars would participate in this program? How many have expressed interest? Just wondering.
G*ahem* OK dude? :(
Hi Eric,

"It all comes down to how "seriously" people want to treat a road-racing event that involves old-tech 4200 lb cars"

Good point. We hear this a lot. It's true smaller/lighter cars might be better platforms to road race. But, I/we have Impala's, so that is what I/we race.

And, to tell you the truth, I get a HUGE rush from catching those smaller/lighter new school cars through the corners. At my last road course event I chased down a BMW twice catching him through the turns. It took many laps to "real" him in. I can only imagine what he saw in his rear view mirror as my two ton black beast inched closer and closer and over took him. I video taped my track time and get to relive my "rush" while sitting on the couch. :D

I also like the racing "underdog" feeling. Anyone can go out and buy a Vette Z06 (OK, assuming we were all rich
) and eat up a road course and everyone on it. But, how many can do it in a 4200 lb taxi cab!

I also subscribe to the theory that racing is racing. It doesn't matter what your driving. I like to watch guys road racing 18 wheelers, snow mobiles, garden tractors and bar stools! A 4200 lb Impala SS seems to fit right in! :cool:

Man, all this road course talk has got me wishing I was out on the track!

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:D :D :D Yeah I'm ok Mike I was just playing with the new toys ;)

Too bad you live too far away man, Gary and I will be at the new infield road course at the California Speedway. Brand spanking new :cool: 1.55 miles of adreneline pumping fun!

I will have a full write up and pics at soon after the event.
I think one fo the problems is the lack of tracks across the country. I would LOVE to take my SS out on a big road course, but the nearest would be around Dallas. That's 120 miles away. However, the nearest dragstrip is 20 minutes away. Which one do you think I go to more? The dragstrip.
To revive a previous portion of this thread, after my own and others' experience at Willow Springs last April (been too long, I know), I have been keeping in touch with Lee Manufacturing (Sun Valley CA), and it looks like there may be hope for a better PS pump. The addition of a cooler only treats a symptom--heat. It turns out that the pump GM used on the LT1 B-body package is junk--it has only a bushing to support the pump rotor, and only on the pulley end. This design is a major source of heat all by itself. There is another GM pump that Lee wants to try to make work, that has a needle roller bearing on the pulley end and another bearing supporting the pump rotor on its back end. If that works, things will be MUCH better, and while it would be nice to run the pump slower, that will become much less of an issue--so a dedicated cooler will still be a good thing.
Lee is still looking into the fluid reservoir issue I promised action on previously, and I hope for something there soon.

As anxious as we all may be to have resolution on this stuff, please realize that Lee Manufacturing's focus is on racing systems, and NASCAR has dominated their time for quite a bit of the last couple of years. They are willing to work this issue, but as a fill-in. I hope to be able to report something positive once the Daytona 500 is over--but I just can't say exactly when.

This particular post may need to roll into the Suspension section, but for now, I'll keep it here.
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