Tuesday, August 23, 2011

SCCA Runoffs

John Marine | 8/23/2011 04:25:00 PM | | |
(UPDATED: May 10, 2012)

The SCCA Runoffs is America's premier national championship of racing. This is where some of America's finest talent compete in one race across multiple classes of racing. Many of the racers may never get to compete at major racing events worldwide. However, a win in the SCCA Runoffs is just as big as winning the Daytona 500, Indy 500, 24 Hours of Le Mans, or any other major motor race. Many of the competitors probably aren't even any degree of pro racer. These racers would certainly trade their usual day-to-day duties to partake in racing competition. Champions of various divisions of SCCA are invited each year since 1964 to compete for gold medals in one of over 24 different championships and classes.

This blog post is not so much a detailed discussion of the SCCA Runoffs, but more of a casual blog post of mine regarding the SCCA Runoffs.


The 2011 SCCA Runoffs take place between September 19 through September 25 at Road America (Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, USA).

--- SCCA Runoffs at a Glance (and Why Should You Care) ---

SCCA Runoffs
^ from: theautochannel.com - Are you the best amateur-level racer in the United States? If you are great enough in your SCCA region (explained later), you have a chance to become National Champion in the SCCA Runoffs. Picture was from the 2008 SCCA Runoffs at Heartland Park Topeka.

The SCCA Runoffs can be thought of as the Olympics of four-wheel motor circuit racing, at least in the United States. You have a variety of classes ranging from production-based machines to purpose-built racing cars competing in a number of individual classes. All the action takes place on one track each year. As I mentioned, champions of individual chapters of SCCA competition are invited to compete for National Championship glory in the SCCA Runoffs.

You don't have to be any kind of pro race car driver who has miles of experience in high-profile racing events. You can, however, be any number of racers that have competed or used to compete in SCCA Pro Racing. Why should you care about the SCCA Runoffs? Simple- it's the best showcase of national racing talent in the United States. These drivers may not have loads of money or lucrative sponsorship deals, but these are ordinary people who do what they love- race. It's the best assembly of racing talent in the United States in one of the biggest racing events every year. Also, it's not a "World Championship" where winning in a domestic series somehow makes you a "World" champion. You become National Champion of a great racing body if you manage to win in any of the different classes of SCCA Runoff competition.

--- What I Think About the SCCA Runoffs ---

There is a reason why I have so much respect for the SCCA Runoffs and what it all entails. The thing that sticks out to me is just that these are people who just love racing and cars. These are people who love racing at the limit as much as they do their day-to-day jobs. If you are talking about embracing motorsport the right way, the SCCA Runoffs represent having a love of racing while doing it at the race track; not on the streets, where lives (including the drivers themselves) are threatened.

You don't have to have the pedigree of the Andretti racing family to be a star in the SCCA. You don't have to have hours running Sebring or Le Mans. You likely don't even need to have even run an inch of road at Daytona or Indy. You don't even need any experience in some million-dollar, ultra-sophisticated race car to be a great race car driver. Then again, you don't need to have any of this experience. You can be great talent racing on the limit on some of America's finest racing facilities. You can be among some of the many whom have raced and/or still race in some level of SCCA competition. If you're fortunate enough to make the SCCA Runoffs, you may even go up against some of the finer competition in SCCA Pro Racing.

So that is what I think embodies not only racing in the SCCA Runoffs, but just racing in the SCCA in general. These are mostly ordinary people who just have a love of racing and competing. You could (for example) be a High School teacher through the week, but then wear your racing suit and hit the track on the weekends in your SCCA-legal race car. The SCCA is all about ordinary people taking part in extraordinary racing action. Many of the SCCA's talent may never compete in the most high-profile racing events or in the most high-profile series, but the ability to head out onto the track to compete and enjoy racing is what makes competing in the SCCA so rewarding. Those that are great are invited to take part in the SCCA Runoffs for the chance to shine and emerge as champions. These SCCA Runoff winners are not only some of the best in the SCCA, but they are also ambassadors of motorsports. They are promoters of what makes motorsports fun. Those who love racing don't have to do street racing or playing video/computer racing games (not that there's anything wrong with games). Considering some of the many stars who emerged from SCCA Runoffs fame (some of these you may have heard of before)- Bobby Rahal, Boris Said, Paul Newman (R.I.P.), and Skip Barber among MANY others; being a racing superstar isn't guaranteed in SCCA Runoffs, but you have the best chance to show you are a racing champion in SCCA Runoffs action.

I encourage you to read the rest of this blog post. However, you can learn more about the SCCA Runoffs by visiting www.scca.com/runoffs, or learn more about the SCCA itself by visiting www.scca.com. These links will be posted again towards the end of this blog post.

Click "Read More" to find out more thoughts of mine on the SCCA Runoffs by taking a look at individual classes that compete in the Runoffs.

--- SCCA Runoffs: Classes of Competition ---

Here is a basic look at how I understand most of the basic classes. I did have to consult the SCCA's website for better clarification of certain classes. I am providing videos for all of you for educational purposes. I'd like to thank all whom allowed their videos to be embedded so I can share these with my blog readers. I've tried to find brief videos so that you get a general idea of each class of SCCA competition. Another thing to note is that not all of these videos regard the SCCA Runoffs. In fact, some of these videos are provided just to showcase certain classes of SCCA competition that compete at the SCCA Runoffs.

I have consulted the SCCA's Car Classification page for some (or all) of my information. Please send me an Email if there is something you think I should add to this blog post to make it better for ally of my readers.

Production Classes.

^ A Porsche 914 racing in the F Production class in the 2004 SCCA Runoffs.

Many of the Production classes are devoid of their tops. The canopy of these cars are basically replaced with racing roll cages. There is no age limit to these cars and those that can compete in the various Production classes. So don't be surprised to see Production-class cars ranging from a 2001 Mazda Miata to an old Austin Healey Sprite competing in this class of SCCA competition.

Super Touring Classes.

[~~~ no video... :( ~~~]

Super Touring is fairly new to me. I don't really know how to explain this class of competition. All I do know is that there are different levels of competition featuring mostly production cars vastly modified for racing. The cars are similar in specification to the SCCA World Challenge.

Showroom Stock Classes.

^ A Showroom Stock C class race at Road Atlanta, uploaded to YouTube in 2008.

Rather than out-and-out racing machines, this class of racing is purely production-based. No tuning of any kind of allowed on these cars except for a racing rollcage and a fire extinguisher. Victory in a series is surely depending on driver skill rather than so much having the most powerful car on the track.

Grand Touring Classes.

^ Highlights of the GT-Lite class at the 2008 SCCA Runoffs at Heartland Park Topeka. It features Peter Zekert (the #45 car).

^ A GT-1 class Camaro racing at Eagles Canyon. Listen to this car as it passes by!

Personally, I love the GT-1 class the most. It's basically SCCA Trans-Am style racing with high-horsepower V8s making beautiful engine music. The cars in the GT classes are purpose-built silhouette race cars.

Sedan Class.

(WARNING: You may need to turn down the volume!)

^ American Sedan (or A-Sedan) race in 2008 at Heartland Park Topeka.

The only class that comes to mind for me is American Sedan (or A-Sedan). This is where big American cars all compete at once. Enjoy the roar of American engines as they go at it on the track!


^ This was the start of the 2009 SCCA Runoffs in the Touring 1 class. The car in question is (I'm assuming) some variation of the Chevrolet Corvette C6. The track is Road America.

Touring features some of the latest production-based sports cars tuned for racing.

Sport Racer Classes.

^ The West WX10, a D Sports Racer (or DSR) class car, runs a lap around Road Atlanta in this video.

^ The Spec Racer Ford class features purpose-built racing prototypes powered by Ford engines (Ford V8's?).

I LOVE the Sport Racer classes! These machines represent purpose-built sportscar racing machines being raced to the limit. The classes I've come to know are C Sports Racer, D Sports Racer, and Sports 2000. I think Spec Racer Ford also is part of this class. I've seen two kinds of these prototypes- proper prototypes and formula cars with prototype bodywork added to give them the appearance of a prototype. An example of a proper prototype is the Radical SR3, which can be raced in the C Sports Racer (CSR) class. One manufacturer that makes machines for CSR and DSR is a company called Speads. Some formula cars can be fitted with a kit that turns a formula car into a prototype that can compete in the Sports Racer ranks. It's a more cost-effective and versatile way to enjoy racing in the SR classes.

Formula Classes.

(WARNING: Turn down the volume!)

^ SCCA Formula Atlantic racing at Road America in the 2009 SCCA Runoffs. Love the engine sounds!

The Formula classes feature the only open-wheel racing machines. You won't see any super-powerful open-wheelers (like Indy cars or F1 cars), but you will see some very competitive formula-type cars competing in this class. The most unique racing among the Formula machines can be found in Formula 500 (or F500). You will see some of the most unique-looking formula cars competing in this division of the Formula classes. The only manufacturer I know of best in Formula 500 is Novakar. Besides Formula 500, there are divisions such as Formula Vee, Formula Atlantic, and Formula Continental.

Spec Miata.

^ Get your Zoom-Zoom on! :) Spec Miata is a great way to enjoy racing with one of the most affordable and most basic sports cars on the market.

Devoted entirely to the Miata/MX-5, this is where loads of Mazda Miatas square off in fierce competition. Harness its capabilities to win on the track. I hear you could get a late model Miata and purchase some sort of kit or something to be able to compete in Spec Miata.

You now have a basic idea of what each class of the SCCA Runoffs entails. For more detailed specifications of each class, visit SCCA Club Racing - Car Classification on www.scca.com. For more YouTube videos on the SCCA Runoffs, please check out the YouTube search results for "SCCA Runoffs" to see more videos, including much longer videos featuring onboard video from races and more.

--- SCCA Runoffs: What's YOUR Division? ---

I've talked ad naseum about different divisions of the SCCA. If you want to take part in SCCA competition but are unsure of your nearest division, I have provided these links to help you find your division and to help you get started in becoming an SCCA member. There are two ways I can point you towards the division you are based in.

--- OPTION 1: All Divisions ---
Visit the site below to find the SCCA Region you are in. If you want to find out more about each division, click on the region that represents your sector of the United States:

SCCA Divisions - all divisions
^ all Divisions of the SCCA. You can contact representatives of each region and even visit individual region websites.

--- OPTION 2: Individual Divisions ---
And here are the individual Divisions of SCCA competition. Each are listed by the individual states and regions that make up each division. Find one that suits your sector of the United States (NOTE: each described region is just a rough sketch of each represented state in each SCCA region):

Northern Pacific SCCA
^ Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, western Montana, northern Nevada, and northern and central California

Southern Pacific SCCA
^ Southern California, most of Nevada, southwestern Utah, and all of Arizona

Rocky Mountain SCCA
^ central and eastern Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, most of Utah, all of New Mexico, and western Texas

Southwest Division SCCA
^ Texas (except Western Texas), Louisiana, and southwestern Mississippi

Midwest Division SCCA
Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Arkansas, Missouri, western and southwestern Iowa, Missouri, most of Mississippi, and southern Illinois

Central Division SCCA
North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, northern and northeastern Iowa, central and northern Illinois, and Michigan's upper peninsula

Great Lakes Division SCCA
lower peninsula of Michigan, Indiana, western and central Ohio, and most of Kentucky

Northeast Division SCCA
^ Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, (Washington, D.C.), West Virginia, and northern Virginia.

Southeast Division SCCA
^ southern Virginia, central and eastern Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

I hope this helps for you all.

This concludes my blog post on the SCCA Runoffs. I hope my insight (as a racing fan) can help you to appreciate what all the SCCA Runoffs is all about. Special salute to those who have competed in or are competing in SCCA competition. Equal respect for those whom have competed in the SCCA Runoffs. As promised, here are the links from earlier:

www.scca.com - the Sports Car Club of America's official website.
www.scca.com/runoffs - the SCCA Runoffs' website.

Thank you for reading!

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John B. Marine said...

thx for ur nice comment!

ur blog is always very informative! keep up the good work ^^ 

xoxo HitomiNeko xoxo

John B. Marine said...

I think you should write for a magazine, you're really good! 
=)  Little Petite:)

John B. Marine said...

Wow this run-offs seems intense!

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