Let's fold FST into FV

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Let's fold FST into FV

Postby Stan » August 15th, 2013, 5:05 pm

I finally bit the bullet and sent this letter to the CRB.

With the CSR/DSR/S2 merger into P1 and P2, and the proposed merger of F5 and F6, I request you merge FST into FV effective 1 January 2015.

Formula Vee participation has been fairly stable in recent years, but in my opinion FST's growth has been hampered by its lack of national class status. Now FV is considering allowing disc brakes (Yes!), link-pin beam parts are getting hard to find and the one remaining source of 1200cc cylinders and pistons has quit making them. Meanwhile, over in the 1600cc world there are many sources of all parts, and they are less expensive than FV parts.

SCCA now has years of experience watching FST. The class has a mature set of rules. Nearly 100 cars are built or converted. We know how fast they are at every track in the country, and adjusting them pack to the pointy end of FV is a simple matter of reducing their inlet restrictor slightly.

For instance, at Road America the FV race record is 2:41.4, while the FST record is 2:39.1. All that would need to be done is reduce the inlet restrictor from 32mm to 31mm or 31.5mm. Jim Shing at SR Racing could tell you, as he is the guy who developed the FST engine package.

I recommend keeping the FV name. Just divide the FV rules into two sets called (for instance) FV-1200 and FV-1600. The current FV rules would form the first section, with the current FST rules forming the second (with the smaller restrictor). No other changes need to be made to either set of rules.

Thank you and keep up the good work!

Stan Clayton


Pullin' on my fire suit now... :mrgreen:
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Re: Let's fold FST into FV

Postby SR Racing » August 15th, 2013, 9:00 pm

Stan, I respect your bravery.. :lol:

As you mentioned, we have done lots of testing with restrictor plates. Your suggestion of just decreasing the restrictor plate will not make the cars competitive.

This is a problem with any two engines of different displacements (and a few other issues.) With the restrictor we currently have, we are only VERY slightly faster than an FV at top speed. (and almost as fast as an FF at corner exits.) We have much greater HP at the lower RPM's (3000-6000) Giving the FST a smaller restrictor will just drop our peak HP point and a Vee would probably be faster at top speed. This means that FST's would still dominate at some tracks and the FV would be better at other tracks.

Peak HP is not the number to worry about when trying to equalize engines. The HP curves must be the same shape. Can't be done on a 1200 vs a 1600.

We selected the restrictor we have, to try and make sure the FST would be 2 to 4 secs a lap faster than a FV, but not be able to rev well much past 6300. This helps longevity of parts, but still makes it an attractive step up for FV drivers. (Not many want to go slower.)

Believe me, we really tried to come up with a competitive solution. It just don't work.

So I think most FST (and FV) drivers will be opposed to your suggestion.

But at least you ar doing SOMETHING... :idea:
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Re: Let's fold FST into FV

Postby Stan » August 15th, 2013, 9:55 pm

Hi Jim,

Thank you for the kind words of encouragement, as well as correcting my misconception.

And I apologize for misspelling your name. 8)

I have already heard over on ApexSpeed that the restrictor alone won't do it, so maybe it will take short boxes (or not), a weight adjustment and possibly other small changes to make it work. In any case, that was the REAL purpose of my letter -- to get the conversation rolling. FV seems to be at a cross roads (and wouldn't you know it...I just bought one!), so if ever the time was right, this is it!

Thanks again, Stan
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Re: Let's fold FST into FV

Postby sharplikestump » August 17th, 2013, 4:18 pm

Stan, Just a couple of points to add to the conversation:
Are you not aware that there are now readily available and very reasonably priced 1200cc piston/cylinder sets, right there in your state?
Also, to say that "we know how fast they are at every track in the country" is a gross overstatement. I have visited and/or driven on over 40 tracks, and have only seen them at a few. I know they are much more popular in areas that I do not travel, but what I say is true. As to the "simple adjustment" of the restrictor plate, no one is more qualified on that topic than Jim Schings.
On the issue of disc brakes, I would have no problem with SCCA allowing that option on FV, as it would instantly make all of my Vees with their old-fashioned drum brakes that much more competitive.
I have no bone to pick with FST. I watched the 5 or 6 that ran at the 50th. and it appeared that they were having fun. I would actually like to see that number increase ten fold...I really would. I just cannot believe it would make for good racing for either class to combine them.
A side thought on the restrictor plate concept: While it can work for a situation such as NASCAR where there is a "restrictor plate god" who hands them out, and collects them afterwards, with all racing on the same track on a given day, I have always considered it as the perfect tool for cheating, being there is no oversight at different events being conducted all over the states. It could be a huge and unfair advantage even if someone chose to remove it just for an important qualifying session, so how about this: What about coming up with a smaller spec carb in place of the plate? Just babbling.
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Re: Let's fold FST into FV

Postby SR Racing » August 17th, 2013, 8:11 pm

sharplikestump wrote:A side thought on the restrictor plate concept: While it can work for a situation such as NASCAR where there is a "restrictor plate god" who hands them out, and collects them afterwards, with all racing on the same track on a given day, I have always considered it as the perfect tool for cheating, being there is no oversight at different events being conducted all over the states. It could be a huge and unfair advantage even if someone chose to remove it just for an important qualifying session, so how about this: What about coming up with a smaller spec carb in place of the plate?


Mike good points in your post. However on the restrictor: We had them produced by a vendor who is a US government manufacturer of Submarine pumps etc. They are all the same size, radius, etc. They are also hard blue anodized. Someone could remove it and cheat, but it is just as easy to cheat with any other method in FV or any other class. And a restrictor is VERY easy to check, visually and with measuring. Lots easier than a FV manifold, carb, etc. So, I don't think it is much of an issue.

I might also point out that they are sold at cost pricing. ($18.90)
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Re: Let's fold FST into FV

Postby Stan » August 17th, 2013, 9:40 pm

Thank you for the comments, sharplikestump. Yes, my presumption that a simple restrictor adjustment would be enough to achieve an acceptable level of parity was incorrect, but I am confident this conversation is still worth having. After all, I recently purchased an FV and I want to make sure the class has a vibrant future ahead of it.

But there are clouds on the horizon that we should be aware of and begin to plan for. Those cylinders and pistons you mentioned, for instance. Yes, we can still buy them new on the shelf, but the manufacturer has announced they are dropping production, and finding a reliable replacement source appears problematical.

Cases are another. Brian McCarthy posted on ApexSpeed today that VW have ceased production of the AS41 universal case, and the last run of 50 is on its way to the USA from Brazil. We aren't the only folks who use this engine, either, so it stands to reason that they won't last long. I'm told an aftermarket aluminum case is 20 lbs heavier than the AS41 and can't accept cylinders under 85.5mm. What then?

Then there are link pin parts, which haven't been manufactured in what, 45 years? When I bought my car an FV acquaintance told me to be sure to crack check frequently, as he is seeing more an more breaking.

As for me, if the choice is between crabbing sideways into a quasi-FST car, I'd probably rather bite the bullet and convert if that is an option that gains me access to the races I am interested in. My worst fear is that the FV community will do nothing, leaving us twisting in the wind. I watched that happen in Formula Ford and would prefer not to repeat the experience.
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Re: Let's fold FST into FV

Postby BLS » August 17th, 2013, 10:44 pm

Stan,

The cyl/pistons are not disappearing, just KS. Are the Chinese made any good? According to what I've read seems OK.

Cases, easy to solve by changing min weight rule. New cases have not accepted the 1200 cyl for a long time as I understand it, requiring a spacer.

As far as I can tell, every front end part is available with the exception of the beam itself, and even those are sometimes advertised. In any event, the beam is just two pieces of tubing joined together, not an insurmountable problem.

There are certainly issues, no new heads available for one. But, there seem to be enough parts available to keep FV the largest formula class in SCCA and 3rd largest class overall.

Sooner or later changes will be required. Or desired, like disc brakes. But it's not dead yet, not even close in my opinion. A lot of the death knell is nothing more than a bad economy coupled with fewer people wanting to race cars than when I was growing up. With that said I'm not opposed to making changes. I like the FST cars. As far as I'm concerned they are FV, with technology from the late 60's instead of the mid 60's 8)
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Re: Let's fold FST into FV

Postby SR Racing » August 18th, 2013, 11:15 am

BLS wrote:Cases, easy to solve by changing min weight rule. New cases have not accepted the 1200 cyl for a long time as I understand it, requiring a spacer.


Been that way for years on all cases. Spacers are no problem.

As far as I can tell, every front end part is available with the exception of the beam itself, and even those are sometimes advertised. In any event, the beam is just two pieces of tubing joined together, not an insurmountable problem.


FV Spindle assms. are available, but only as a junkyard part 40 years old. King pin and link pin kits for them are available. (at least currently)
Good Link Pin beams are tough to get, require work and are expensive. Yep. rules COULD be changed to allow for an aftermarket beam of some type, but that would get VERY expensive and everyone would NEED one. They would be needle bearing'd and a much better design. No one is going to want to build and market a cheap one.

There are certainly issues, no new heads available for one. But, there seem to be enough parts available to keep FV the largest formula class in SCCA and 3rd largest class overall.


Yep for awhile. But the items above will take years to change via rules, location of willing manufacturers and some consensus. Good luck.

Sooner or later changes will be required. Or desired, like disc brakes. But it's not dead yet, not even close in my opinion. A lot of the death knell is nothing more than a bad economy coupled with fewer people wanting to race cars than when I was growing up. With that said I'm not opposed to making changes. I like the FST cars. As far as I'm concerned they are FV, with technology from the late 60's instead of the mid 60's 8)



Yep again.. EXCEPT there were 5 times as many BJ beams and 1600 engines type cars built and those parts are still in production. Even if production would stop suddenly (and it won't, due to VW street buggies, aftermarket kits, etc. etc.) the junk yards are full of late model VW stuff. I attend at least 2 VW swap meets every year. I look for FV parts and spend hours trying to find good ones. The FST type parts outnumber the FV ones 20 to one. (and the FST parts are available new.)

Of course all VW bug parts have a horizon of availability, but FST stuff stretches it by at least another 10 years and even more if rule plans are put in place.

Again, no reason to do ANYTHING right now. But a plan should be in place.
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Re: Let's fold FST into FV

Postby BLS » August 18th, 2013, 12:18 pm

Again, no reason to do ANYTHING right now. But a plan should be in place.


No disagreement from me.

FV Spindle assms. are available, but only as a junkyard part 40 years old.


New ones are available at $120 each. In stock. How good they are I do not know.


My only point is not to discuss the class death due to unavailable parts, when they are available. There are certainly parts that are not. And some that are available now may not be in the near future. I just don't see any insurmountable problems today. But, a plan is good. I have no disagreement that the FV future is the FST rule set. The huge investment in current FV spec parts just makes that a difficult transition.

I also agree there is no likely shortage of 1600 or ball joint parts for a long time due to the ACVW aftermarket. Maybe my comment about the late 60's tech sounded like I was saying there was a problem. It wasn't meant that way.
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Re: Let's fold FST into FV

Postby SR Racing » August 18th, 2013, 12:51 pm

BLS wrote:New ones are available at $120 each. In stock. How good they are I do not know.


New? Where is that ?
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Re: Let's fold FST into FV

Postby BLS » August 18th, 2013, 5:20 pm

CIP has them. I have no idea of the quality level.
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Re: Let's fold FST into FV

Postby SR Racing » August 18th, 2013, 6:06 pm

BLS wrote:CIP has them. I have no idea of the quality level.


Maybe I am looking in the wrong place, but I don't see any stock beams. The beams are all different dimensions than stock. Stock spindles do seem to be available at this time. Assuming they are stock, I would guess the quality is at least as good as original. But, at exactly twice the price of a BJ beam spindle. :cry:
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Re: Let's fold FST into FV

Postby BLS » August 18th, 2013, 8:19 pm

You are correct about the beams. They have some standard widths labeled as "raised" and "lowered". New, rebuilt? Look rebuilt. Not sure what they did to call them raised or lowered, maybe nothing more than the angle the adjusters are welded in. In that case easy enough to re-weld in a suitable position. No mention of the ends, bushings or needle bearing type.

The narrow beams advertised are new but they do have a different shock tower and use bushings not needle bearings. Easy enough to weld in 2 inches. Would require a rule change to use due to the "aerodynamic" shock towers. Currently priced at $180. not including bushings or torsion bars.

There are reasonable alternatives. And I think there will be for a long time given the off road folks apparent preference for link pins over ball joints.

I'm also guessing the manufacturer of these new ones could, with a suitable market outlook, be convinced to offer a standard width beam to accept the needle bearings (just turn the ends).

It is my opinion that the front end is not the issue. that is just too easy to fix with a minor rule change. Since FST and FV both use the swing axle rear, that is not the issue. Brakes are really just a preference. Wheels aren't the issue. The FV wide 5 are now worth quite a bit to the VW guys, many are converting their later 4 lug to the wide 5 and buying original wheels at high prices. The problem is the engine. If you are a national level racer with a pair of competitive engines, you've probably got 15K + tied up in those. Changing to the 1600 just obsoletes that 15K...

OTOH, sooner or later. Which is why a plan is needed.
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Re: Let's fold FST into FV

Postby brian » August 19th, 2013, 3:21 pm

MOFOCO has recondtioned link pin front ends for $349. BJ front ends for $389. Link pin front ends have long been the preferred choice for off road.
The above post is for reference only and your results may vary. This post is not intended to reflect the views or opinions of SCCA and should not be considered an analysis or opinion of the rules written in the GCR.
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