I found the new rules helped my car. IT3 works well for 89-91 Civic’s, but perhaps not for others. I tried to run my car in IT3, it’s not competitive with the additional 340lbs for the class. This year I was able to remove 300lbs from the car, and I don’t have carbon fiber anything.
I think PTE is 3 seconds faster for two reasons. We removed the ballast block required to add weight, and gutted more of the interior, making the cars lighter. Second, there has also been a driver improvement. I know I improved this season, we are each pushing each other, resulting in closer racing and faster lap times. Al you mentioned you needed R-Comps to stay out front because the rest of us are not making the mistakes we once did.
Yes the lap times are faster but I see the cars are more equal. Look at the three wide drag races we had down the straight at GMP this year, or the starts with a pack of cars nose to tail. I don’t see where there was less competition than previously. The points between 2nd and 5th, came down to the last race of the last weekend to sort the order out. PTE allowed more cars in the same class, without splitting the group into IT3,IT2, and wherever Darin and Sarah’s SUV fit.
Basically the exact same cars that ran IT3 last year ran PTE. The only real change was the allowance for less weight. The tire rules for IT are wide open. There is no make it fair factor there, those running the dot R-Comp tires in PTE ran the same tires in IT3 and did not have to take a weight penalty for it. Perhaps we need to look at a cheap spec tire for Gimli due to the cheese grater effect, but that's conversational.
I hope this new classing does not discourage new racers. We all want this to continue growing. I don’t see the car costs being much different than previously. You could spend just as much or more in IT. (eg: $400 suspension, $4000 suspension, both equal under IT rules) I’ve about $2500 in my junk yard racer, with most of my own labour. My biggest expense is tires. I used eight tires this season, one set of pads, one set of rotors, and a bunch of 87 octane pump gas. Made every event and every race.
The NASA rules seem to give you options, spend money on HP adders, fancy suspension bits and brakes. Or, get the saw and bathroom scale out. Or perhaps a combination of both. For new racers on a budget like most of us, there is competitive racing other than the front. Show up with a cheap car that’s under powered, does not handle well, and I think you will learn more, and have just as much fun.