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Standing-starts in historic racing today


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#1 Joe Gordon

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 20:31

I'm doing research on the use of standing starts in today's vintage racing and am curious to know what the various clubs in various countries do for starts. I know there are concerns with standing starts so I am trying to get an idea of what countries are using standing starts and for what girds/cars.

When I raced in New Zealand in the Southern Festival of Speed they used standing starts for all the grids except for F5000. Here in the states I race with SOVREN and they use rolling starts for all grids.

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#2 David Birchall

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 20:43

Hi Joe, We used to use standing starts for some of the races at the Historic Weekends at Westwood which cannot be all that far from you if you belong to SOVREN. We found that the American entrants in particular, did not like them. I used to call them the 'Borg and Beck Challenge' because of the stress that some people put on their clutches during standing starts. They no longer use them at Mission Raceway--the replacement for Westwood-- but it is a different group running the VRC now. The club used to be English dominated but is now Canadian dominated--different ideas.... I am not aware of any club in N.America using standing starts.

I always found that the best way to do a standing start was to hold the engine at peak torque revs and simply release the cluch the fastest way possible at the 'go' signal. This transfers the slippage to the tires and is easier on the clutch and transmission whilst keeping the engine in the power band.

#3 Alan Cox

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 20:57

In the UK, scratch races (i.e. not handicaps) at meetings organised by the VSCC (Vintage Sports Car Club) are all standing starts, from two-by-two grids, and are started by the fall of the Union Flag - the only club in the UK to retain the use of the flag in preference to starting lights.

Generally speaking, these would be for races featuring pre-1961 racing and sports cars, except, on certain occasions, when 'guest' categories, such as Group C or TGP which run on slick tyres, are invited to host a race.

#4 Joe Gordon

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 21:38

Alan do the standing starts apply to all levels of cars? For instance, 2L sports racers, FA/F2/F5000 etc... Here we have an exhibition grid which includes the various Formula levels and Sports racers. I'm interested to know if there are concerns with standing starts and the more advanced cars.

#5 Michael Henderson

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Posted 10 January 2007 - 06:04

Joe, all historic racing in Australia routinely uses a standing start. One or two clubs have done the odd experiment with rolling starts, but they have never been generally accepted here.

The starts apply to all cars, from pre-war through F5000 to our handful of turbo F1 cars. The grids are two by two, and most starts are at the drop of the Australian flag.

When the Kiwis race their 5000s over here, they have to learn to do standing starts.

We are as careful as we can be (depending on entries) about mixing very different cars in race fields, in regard to types and speeds, and have a rule about the maximum allowed qualifying lap speed range. When problems arise on the grid, it's usually the result of a stall or botch-up, or a quick car at the back after qualifying problems. Nothing new in all that.

Also not new are the problems with drive trains - as it was, so it shall be now! Most of us carry spare drive shafts and CV/universals.

I imported a Lola T560 Atlantic from the US several years ago. It had only ever done rolling starts, and I wrecked the single-plate clutch almost immediately. It is now very reliable with a proper twin-plate clutch.

MH.

#6 Alan Cox

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Posted 10 January 2007 - 08:42

As I said, Joe, the standing starts only apply to pre-'61 categories. 2l sports racers, FA, F2, F5000 all fall outside this, and are not classes for which the VSCC caters, except as "guest" categories.

The VSCC run races for Edwardians, Vintage, Post-Vintage Thoroughbreds, 1950s Sports Cars and Grand Prix cars built before the end of 1960, all of which would have used standing, flagged starts in period.

#7 Jan-Bart

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Posted 10 January 2007 - 09:42

Hi Joe,

In the Netherlands all the starts in historics used to be standing from a 2 by 2 formation.
However, we 've had a nasty starting accident with a historic monoposto race a few years back when a stationary car was hit from behind, so the monoposto's now have a rolling start.

Personally I prefer a standing start. In historic racing there usually is quite a big speed difference between the cars. With a rolling start this can lead to a very strung out field even before the start. Also, a standing start adds an extra dimension, some people are very good it it, some not so, so it makes for more interesting racing. For the spectators anyway, which is what I am, since I am the chief timekeeper at Zandvoort. I can imagine a driver's or a mechanic's viewpoint being different!

regards,

Jan-Bart

#8 JSF

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Posted 12 January 2007 - 23:37

We use Rolling starts with all the Orwell Supersports Cup races that compete in Europe, which feature the Big Block Can Am cars and 2 litre sports cars etc. A standing start is very hard on the big torque cars on slicks. The only place we do a standing start with the Can Am car is at the Goodwood Festival Of Speed, and post that we replace the gearbox input shaft and inspect the driveshafts, CV joints and all the gearbox bearings, the clutch geared driveplate tends to start to crack too, the whole drivetrain takes a hell of a battering.

With the races we do with the McLaren M1's (pre 66 and post 66 on treaded tyres) it varies depending on the race series, mostly it's rolling starts but we have standing starts at the Goodwood Revival. It's not too hard on these cars as there isnt much traction on the treaded tyres and only half the torque.

Personally i prefer the rolling starts, it's a lot safer, especially when you might have a Big Block car starting last on the grid due to a failure in the first race or problem in qualifying as they accelerate so quickly you could be doing 150MPH+ and hit a stationary car stalled at the front of the grid.

#9 Rob G

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 00:53

I've been to several HSR and SVRA events at Virginia International Raceway as a spectator and have only seen rolling starts there.