The Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) has a long history of creating rules for classes that ensure parity between all entrants. While the organization makes an effort to ensure its rules are fair for all and promote competitive racing, sometimes it misses the mark.
This gets more complex when you consider that certain series are sanctioned by the SCCA, but not governed by them. The World Challenge series, for example, is sanctioned by SCCA Pro Racing, but governed by rules established by WC Vision, which oversees the World Challenge series.
A group of teams running the Mustang Boss 302S in World Challenge competition has raised issues over rule changes for the car during the 2012 season. At last weekend's Mid Ohio race, six separate teams encountered heat-related problems, and Tiger Racing (Justin Bell’s team) lost two engines to heat related failures.
As Mustangs Daily explains, the issue doesn’t lie with the Mustang itself, but rather with how the World Challenge series penalizes the Boss 302S for its performance. Instead of simply requiring ballast, the series requires the Boss 302S to run a restricted air intake, which limits horsepower but also creates the temperature-related problems experienced by the Mustang teams.
Saturday’s heat-related failures were compounded by the fact that the Boss 302s, despite being dominant throughout last season, were never a factor in the event. In fact, no Boss 302S ran higher than 10th place, and the fastest Boss 302S was 1.4 seconds per lap slower than the front runners.
To protest this season’s World Challenge rule changes in regards to the Mustang Boss 302S, none of the teams campaigning the car ran in Sunday’s main event. Instead, the cars took to the track for the formation lap, but pitted in protest before the green flag dropped.
By taking a unified stance, the teams hope to attract the attention of Ford Racing, which can better pressure WC Vision officials in regards to rule changes. As Justin Bell explains, “we’re not asking to be faster than anyone else, all we want to do is race on an even and fair playing field.”
We suspect the tactic will work. After all, Ford developed the car as a (relatively) inexpensive way to go pro racing; if it’s rendered uncompetitive by rule changes, teams will quickly move on to more competitive cars. In other words, no one has more to lose than Ford.
We expect that the World Challenge series will issue a response in advance of the next round, scheduled for August 24 at Sonoma, California.
Update: WC Vision President and CEO Scott Bove has isued a statement in regards to this weekend's protest. It reads:
“The teams and drivers that race in our series are passionate competitors who, at times, will express their opinions and we respect their decision to do so. Geoff Carter, Director of Competition for the Pirelli World Challenge, and his technical department have met at length with the Mustang teams and have explained their technical rulings."
“To maintain parity between the vastly different models of automobiles in each of the series' four categories, the technical department collects data from every car model, measuring performance in a multitude of areas, including rate of acceleration, cornering performance and rate of deceleration. The Mustang Boss 302 is currently among the fastest GTS cars in acceleration and top speed, it has at times demonstrated lateral capabilities on par with the best in the class, yet it appears to require further development under braking. Thus far in 2012, the Mustangs have achieved significant success with two victories, including seven podium and 15 top-five finishes. As we have done all year, the data garnered from each of the cars at Mid-Ohio will be evaluated in the 72 hours after the event. Any positive or negative adjustments to enhance parity in each of the classes will be made at least seven days prior to the 2012 season finale in Sonoma at the end of the month.”