Competitive racing isn’t what it used to be. Once upon a time the rules when it came to SCCA racing were pretty basic, essentially limiting a few factors on engine size and car weight, but mostly letting competitors run what they brung. These days though the rule book is more like a Bible, and the restrictions and allowances have become so convoluted that some racers feel certain teams are being given a competitive advantage
This weekend things reached a boiling point at Mid-Ohio Raceway double header when all the Boss 302 Mustang drivers staged an informal protest by parking their cars after the formation lap. This was done to bring light to an issue regarding SCCA rules that the Mustang drivers feel unfairly penalizes them, and damages their expensive engines as well. The video above shows driver Justin Bell explaining why the driver’s protested…and the man has a point!
After a successful first season last year, which saw Boss 302 Mustangs dominating most every SCCA World Challenge race, new rules were put in to severely restrict the Mustang’s power. This came in the form of an air restrictor, which has the bonus effect of causing the Boss 302 engine to run between 30 and 70 degrees hotter than normal. On Saturday, the top-finishing Mustang came in 10th place, and the Tiger Racing Team blew not one, but two engines in the course of competition, something they blame on the air restrictors.
Rather than risk ruining their cars, on Sunday the Boss 302 Mustang drivers all pitted their cars after the first formal lap in protest. Forgetting for a moment any biases we may have towards Mustangs, the facts seem pretty obvious; after a very successful debut season, the fastest Mustangs are running about 1.4 seconds per lap behind the race leaders, and the top three fastest Mustangs are all within 1/10th of a second of each other.
1.4 seconds a lap may not sound like much, but over the course of 100+ laps that could add two minutes or more to a race session. This is part of the reason why no Mustang driver has placed on the podium since the first race, and it seems like the Mustang drivers have had it. And who can blame them? It must be intensely frustrating knowing you have a faster car, but the rules are keeping you at the back of the pack.
Will this protest effect SCCA rules? Or is it a hollow effort?