B-Spec Car Test Under Watchful Eye of SCCA

TOPEKA, Kan. – The B-Spec concept is becoming a reality, with four manufacturers putting cars on track last week at Grattan Raceway, near Grand Rapids, Mich., in an effort to firm up specifications for 2012.

A Fiat 500, Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit and MAZDA2 were on hand on Wednesday, October 12 for the test under the watchful eye of Sports Car Club of America, Inc., staff and rule makers. Participating manufacturers have tasked SCCA with creating a rules and car specification package that will be universal to the B-Spec program, no matter what sanctioning body conducts the races.

“This was the first opportunity to run these cars at race speeds at the same time to evaluate the performance potential of each model,” SCCA Club Racing Board representative Tom Start said. “We were able to gather a lot of useful data that will go directly toward the specs for 2012. We expect to have an additional test sometime in January, with additional manufacturers participating as well.”

BFGoodrich Tires provided control tires for the single-day test that included running the cars on the road course, as well as on a chassis dynamometer. Drivers Charles Espenlaub (Mazda), Peter Cunningham (Honda), Kuno Wittmer (Fiat) and Andy Vrenko (Ford) took five lap sessions around the track, before coming in and debriefing with the technical staff.
Each of the drivers also took turns driving other manufacturers’ cars, with that data included in the overall test data gathered through the AiM system installed on each of the cars.

The cars involved in the test were later run with engine restrictors and then with 100 pounds of ballast to see the difference in each car’s lap times.

More importantly to the test, the real-world conditions coincided with simulation software that automotive engineer, Kevin Fandozzi, a Championship driver and member of the Showroom Stock/Touring advisory committee to the CRB, had on hand, including the addition of weight and engine restrictors.

While SCCA will be including the B-Spec platform in its Club Racing Showroom Stock C class, other professional series will be free to use the universal rule set in their series as well. Grand-Am Road Racing officials Mike Kraemer, Support Series Manager, and David Pettit, Director of Sales and Partnership, were on hand at the test, and the SCCA Pro Racing-sanctioned Pirelli World Challenge has also expressed interest in the package.
Plans for the second test are currently being explored before a final rules package will be announced. The tentative test date will most likely come during the month of January.
One of the fastest-growing segments of the automobile business, B-segment cars are among the most affordable, and enjoy great support from younger demographics. “B-Spec” refers to all cars meeting a common set of rules that can be adopted bay an race circuit or sanctioning organization. Together, Honda and Mazda solicited SCCA, as an independent body, to develop a set of vehicle specifications that will be available for all to use – the motorsports equivalent of “freeware.”

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