Monday, January 16, 2006
Vehicle classification in automotive racing(JH)
An attentive spectator at an automobile racing course realizes with surprise that similar, apparently same vehicles divided into different classification groups are taking part in the race.
This is especially noticeable in the Touring Car categories. But the categories setup is no big “secret”, when the classification criteria are known.
In automotive racing, other than the driving skills of the pilot, the vehicle in its capacity as technical “sports equipment”, plays a decisive role in defeat or victory.
For this reason, and to guarantee equal chances of success, the cars must abide by a set of “technical rules and regulations”. Depending on modifications or tuning efforts, the same car can become faster differently. That is why there are three International Touring Car classification groups: A, B, and N.
For every car that wants to participate in International racing, there is a homologation list corresponding to the classification group in which the vehicle is supposed to go. The manufacturing network must file the homologation form and register directly with the FIA (Federation Internationale de l‘Automobile) in Paris. The vehicles are then subdivided according to engine cylinder capacity groups within the International classifications
There are also cars, which look distinctly different and, which can be recognized as racing vehicles specially designed for racing in closed circuits. These cars are also divided into the 3 international classification groups C, D, and E.
But it would be too simple, if not still within the area of the route cars the organization of group of valuations a supplement had to be made.
It would all be too simple if it wasn‘t for an additional addendum to the categories of the Touring Cars. When implementing today‘s valid international regulations, the DMSB (German Motorsport Association) deemed appropriate to add more start possibilities, which lay outside the realm of these rules and regulations. The resulting classification groups G and H are only valid inside Germany. The following types of vehicles are entitled to race in Group G: those holding an ABE (General Operating Permit from the Motor Vehicle Federal Office), those who hold a permit to drive on public roads according to StVZO, and finally those which are listed in the Group G list of the German Motorsport Association. The aim of the German Motorsport Association in creating Group G is to promote the mass sport, allowing any individual to participate in motor sports with their everyday vehicle.
The German Motorsport Association created Group H = Hobby Cars for “hot” cars, which had previously been classified in the special touring cars group, and whose homologation had expired, thus offering such older vehicles the possibility of continuing to take part in the sport.
Summary of vehicle classifications:
Group A (Touring Cars with big production numbers):
Minimum production of 2500 identical vehicles in twelve months. Only series parts of the vehicles are permitted, but those can be modified in their form. This makes it possible to double the engine‘s performance and to improve road holding with modifications on the suspension system.
Group B (Grand Touring Cars):
Analogous to Group A, except for the weight and tyre width. The minimum production must be 200 identical vehicles in twelve months. They must have at least two seats. The most renowned representatives of this group are the Audi Quattro, Opel Ascona 400, Peugeot 205 with up to 500 HP.
Group N (Large series production touring cars):
At least 2500 identical vehicles must have been produced in twelve months, and the vehicle homologated with the FIA in group A. The vehicle must have at least four seats. Only series components are permitted, whose modifications are minimal. It is possible to improve road holding by modifying the suspension system. Improvement of the engine‘s performance is only slightly possible
Group C (Two-seater racing vehicles):
These are two-seater race-cars, which have been especially built for races on closed circuits. They differ from groups D and E in that, all mechanical parts except for the suction and exhaust pipes must be covered by the car body.
Group D (single seat racecars):
These are vehicles with four wheels, which have been built exclusively for speed races on closed circuits. Formula II vehicles with 2000 ccm capacity and a high HP. Formula III cars with 2000ccm capacity, whose engines deliver about 190 HP with limited air intake.
Group E (Formula-free racecars):
This is where the numerous national and trademark formulas are grouped. For instance Formula V 1300 and 1600, Formula Ford and Formula Renault. A Formula Vau 1300 is propelled by a strong beetle engine, which releases over 90 HP.
German Super Touring Car Championship (STW):
Here, vehicles, which are compatible with the technical rules and regulations laid out by the FIA for the Super Touring Car can take part.
The rules and regulations are similar to those in Group A, but for vehicles up to 2000ccm, maximum 6 cylinders, RPM of 8200 U/min. These series are run in various countries such as England, Italy and Australia. At the end of the year, a world final (FIA Touring Car World Cup) takes place.
German Touring Car Challenge (DTC):
National championshipfor vehicles with FIA homologation in group N or DMSB homologation in group DMSB-2000. Maximum capacity limited to 2000ccm. Larger technical modifications on the engine and suspension are allowed as opposed to the FIA group N rules.
Group G – DMSB:
This new national Formula encompasses passenger vehicles, which are in their original series status. Only slight alterations to the body and springs/shock absorbers are allowed. The vehicles are divided in a vehicle list based on performance weight classes from 1 to 7 (i.e: vehicle weight divided by KW engine output = performance class).
Group H – Hobby Cars:
These are vehicles, which are no longer homologated. A model‘s homologation is void five years after its series production ceases. After that, these cars can only go to the start as Hobby Cars. Currently, this group mainly consists of NSU, BMW 2002 and older Porsche models.
International (FIA regulations):
FIA created independent regulations for vehicle categories, which are broadcast as European or World championships:
Grand Touring Car Championship (FIA GT)
Touring Car World Cup
World Rally Championship
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