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Ferrari/Maserati/Grand Am Cup

Discussion in 'Other Racing' started by WCH, Jan 31, 2004.

  1. WCH

    WCH F1 Veteran
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    Mar 16, 2003
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    Forgive my likely ignorance - does anyone know why there seem to be no Ferraris or Maseratis in Grand Am Cup? Thanks, Will
     
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  3. Armand

    Armand Rookie

    Jan 11, 2004
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    Well Im watching the Rolex 24 @ Daytona on my fav channel, Speed(Vision), Masers were running 4 and 5 in class w/ a 360 running 6th, but now I see the 360 up to 4th, w/ a Maser Light in 5th.
    We'll see how things look in the morning.
    Meanwhile they showed a 360 w/ a driver named Alessi, no not him, crash out a few hours ago.

    Armand.
     
  4. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
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    Grand Am Cup is basically an amatuer racing series that runs with Grand Am. 4 Ferraris and 2 Maseratis running the Grand Am Daytona 24 hours. I think the only Ferrari that qualifies for Grand Am Cup is the 360 Challenge, but it's not competitive and more expensive than the 911 Cup, so everyone runs the Porsche.
     
  5. WCH

    WCH F1 Veteran
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    Armand - I'll bet most of the Board are watching, at least the US folks. The rain makes it especially interesting. The British GT Championship looks great, too.

    I'm referring not to the Rolex series but to the Grand Am Cup, which ran its race Friday, and in which my friend Guy Cosmo co-drove to second place. It seems like Grand Am Cup would be an interesting venue for a privateer.
     
  6. WCH

    WCH F1 Veteran
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    Rob - I wonder whether teams have carefully assessed the potential competitiveness of the Ferraris and Maseratis and concluded that the results might not justify the effort, or whether the cost has scared folks off, or ....
     
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  8. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
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    Who knows, for a low cost amatuer series like Grand Am Cup I think the 911 Cup cars are the most attractive. At Indy the Cup cars run 5-6 seconds a lap faster than a 360 Challenge. The Ferrari would make you stand out from the crowd, but no fun to get beat week after week for more money.
     
  9. WCH

    WCH F1 Veteran
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    "basically an amatuer racing series"

    Rob, I rate the series higher than you do, I think. Take a look at the drivers at the Friday race, a number of names, some probably getting extra seat time for the Rolex no doubt. But the field at the front of Grand Am Cup isn't glorified Porsche Club stuff, I think there are some good pro drivers. To pick only one example, Cosmo (guycosmo.com) has come up through the open wheel ranks, won a formula car development series championship, etc. Also Heinricy, Hayner, Borcheller, etc.

    Perhaps ultimately it comes down to the cars just not being competitive under the series rules, and cost issues.
     
  10. JSegal33

    JSegal33 Rookie
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    Nov 6, 2003
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    Quick correction... 911 Cup cars and Ferrari 360 Challenge cars are NOT eligible for Grand Am Cup. The only Porsche eligible for the Grand Am Cup series is a regualr 996 911 converted to race specs by a private team, not Porsche Motorsport department. The Cup and Challenge cars run in the SGS class of the Rolex series. In fact, the 360 Challenge car is EVERY BIT the match for a 911 Cup car, and at VIR with a 360 Challenge not even prepared to the limit of the rules, we were only ~.3 tenths off of the pole speed by a 911 Cup. Our car was a stock Challenge car, with a rear wing and Hoosier tires. We had no front aero kit, and no suspesnion upgrades. So the Challenge car should DEFINATELY be a 911 Cup beater in the right hands.
    I think the fact that the cup cars are so much quicker at Indy is more likely a result of the Porsche Cup drivers being of a possibly higher caliber, maybe differences in the tires, and just the fact that a unique track like Indy might tend to favor the Porsche's strength's and highlight the Ferrari's weakness (lack of torque).
    The reality is that a 360 Challenge car IS capable of winning the SGS class of Grand Am's Rolex series. The costs are not too far beyond what it takes to run a top level 911 Cup car, assuming you start with a nice used Challenge car. The main differences come in the event of an accident, where the price of the 360 is much higher to repair. I think that scares people away, even if the car itself is fast enough to win. Having said that, I'd bet there are a few running by the end of this year.
    -Jeff Segal
     
  11. Papa G

    Papa G Formula 3

    Dec 29, 2003
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    I was hoping that FoW or Risi would campaign a 360 in SGS class for the 24 hr of Daytona and mix it up with the gaggle of Porsches in that field as well (+1 'vette).
     
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  13. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
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    JSegal33, I think I got confused because they said those cars are eligible for the SGS class and the SGS class was based on last years Grand Am Cup top class.

    I think the average Porsche Cup drivers are better than the average Challenge racers, but the top Challenge racers can hang without almost anyone (i.e. Steve Earle). From series to series and year to year there are changes that impact how quick a car is. For 2000 thru 2002 a series 360 Challenge can't come anywhere close to a Porsche Cup car all else being equal.

    WCH, organizers and drivers can call any series they want pro. In my books anything you pay for a ride isn't pro. That includes most of the Grand Am Cup field. There are many out there like Terry who are paid to race and it gives them more track time on the weekend. Even in the 24 there are racers that even my middle of the pack SRX7 group could beat. It's about who pays, not who's the quickest.
     
  14. WCH

    WCH F1 Veteran
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    Would Grand Am homologate, for Grand Am Cup, say a Maserati street car converted into a race car? I realize that there is a list of car approved for Grand Am Cup, but wonder how approval is gained.

    Really thinking out loud, looking for something to drive in 2005.
     
  15. WCH

    WCH F1 Veteran
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    Rob, I understand what you're saying about what is and isn't a "pro" series - it gets very hard to define. I raced a season in the old American City Racing League and won a little money, but never have been under the illusion that there is anything "pro" about my racing! There is a lot of what I consider more or less "semi-pro" racing, and a lot of gentleman racing, and sometimes they mix with real pro racing. That's the sportscar world, isn't it? Even the Rolex series has its share of gentleman racers.

    If you define a pro as someone who makes his living driving, there aren't many of those folks around!

    A very smart young niece once asked me: "are you a race car driver, or do you just race cars?" Very smart child.
     
  16. JSegal33

    JSegal33 Rookie
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    I think when you compare what it would cost to make/develop a Maserati street car into a decent racecar, you will find that you are not far away from running in the Maserati Trofeo Light GT car. And you will have an inferior car, without a doubt. I can't see any way that starting from scratch could be cheaper than an already well priced factory car. We have a few openings at select races in Grand Am Rolex series for a paying co-driver in our (Algar) Trofeo Light GT in 2004. Our car will be finished in April, and run with Scuderia Ferrari of Washington's team, just privately owned/funded. E-mail me for details and pricing. JSegal33@comcast.net

    -Jeff
     
  17. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
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    I'm with you WCH. I will/would be a paying racer if I had the money. I would love to run the 24 or World Challenge. There's nothing wrong with it but I would love to see more series that had a complete field of talent vs. money. I think ALMS has more pro drivers because so many manufactuers dominate the series vs. Grand Am. Heck, even F1 has drivers that bought a seat through the sponsors they bring.
     
  18. WCH

    WCH F1 Veteran
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    "I can't see any way that starting from scratch could be cheaper than an already well priced factory car."

    Jeff, that's certainly been my limited experience with Porsches. For what it costs to turn a street 996 into a race car, you'd have been better off buying a SuperCup car.

    I believe the Mas race car is 160k Euros - used Mas street coupes are pretty inexpensive, and I have no idea what mods the Grand Am Cup rules would allow.

    Probably a very silly idea, but there are some good minds on the Board, and thought I'd throw the idea out. If you think about it, there already are a zillion Porsches out there, a Maserati might attract more attention.

    Jeff, I'll PM or mail you about the Trofeo.
     
  19. Armand

    Armand Rookie

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    I love watching the British series, they run hard.
    Congrats to your friend for 2nd place.
    The Rolex looks interesting this year, but so far, not as good as
    last years. We'll see what happens.

    A.
     
  20. FLATOUTRACING

    FLATOUTRACING F1 Rookie

    Aug 20, 2001
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    Will,

    I have been watching GA cup since last summer with great interest. The race car I bought (Acura) is a GA Cup car that is no longer eligible. I am thinking however of renting a ride in some other car for two races (VIR and the Glen).

    GA Cup is no amateur series, though how you define amateur is a bit tricky. The Formula Mazda series is called a "professional" series but you would be hard pressed to find any of the young kids there getting pay checks to drive.

    On the other hand the GA Cup has many drivers who are for-hire paid professionals. Many of the people who race in the Rolex Series also race in the GA Cup so I would call it a professionals series.

    Cort Wagner, Terry Borcheller, Mike Fitzgerald, Mike Stanton, Stu Hayner, Hugh Plumb, Neil Sapp, Will Turner, Justin Bell, Andy Lally, Tommy Drisi, Johny Miller, and even Boris Said on occasion drive in the series.

    They even drive the slower cars in GA Cup. STII class which my car came from was regualry driven my SpeedWorld Challenge and Rolex racer Mike Fitzgerald.

    The field is close to SpeedWorld Challenge in terms of driver talent though the cars are much cheaper and less modified.

    GA Cup is much more cost effective than SWC racing. In touring division in SWC the cars cost $150,000 and we aren't talking about 360's but Mazda's, Honda's and such.

    A good GA Cup ST car will run 40K at most while a decent GS car (think 996) will run 50-80K.

    I know you were wondering where to race this year and we had talked about the cost to race a full season in Rolex with FOW was a bit unreasonable. GA Cup looks pretty enticing at this point.

    In addition you may still want to talk with Glen at FOW as he told me over the weekend that the Maser GT car is looking like it's much cheaper to run than the 360 C's and GT cars.

    Regards,

    Jon P. Kofod
    www.flatoutracing.net
     
  21. rob lay

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    Jon, I think WCH agrees with you, I'm the one saying Grand Am Cup isn't a pro series.

    Jon, when you run two races this year, how much will it cost you? :) That's a hobby my friend. That's the case for 75% of the drivers out there too.

    I can guarantee that every single one of those Grand Am Cup, Grand Am, World Challenge, Trans Am, and ALMS self "funded" drivers gives the impression to his family and friends that they're in a pro series because of "talent". Most are talented, but they're there because of money first of all.

    Go to www.sccaproracing.com and look at all the teams asking for drivers. Talent is never mentioned, just the cost of the seat.
     
  22. FLATOUTRACING

    FLATOUTRACING F1 Rookie

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    Rob,

    Much of what you say about talent vs. money can be applied to all levels of motorsport including F1. Do you really think Zsolt Baumgartner is better than Justin Wilson, or that Ralph Firman is more talented than Wilson. The list of names that got into F1 because of money is quite long. The same can be said for many series.

    Daytona is a great case in point. The 24 hour race saw at least 2/3's of the field of drivers made up of paying participants, many of whom don't race in the series full time.

    As for GA Cup and SWC, I think the number is closer to 50-60% of the drivers driving the majority of races. In SWC it's more than GA Cup but your 25% figure is way too low.

    Certainly there are many people who, like me, either don't have the budget or time to do more than a couple of local races but the definition of a professional driver is a very vague concept.

    My definition of a pro series is that the majority of racers are for hire drivers (they get a paycheck to drive or have huge sponors that foot the bill). Also most pro series have TV contracts though more amatuer events are getting on TV.

    In racing you need money and talent to get to the top. But again here we are talking F1/CART/IRL/ALMS/ etc. You only need money to get to GA Cup or WSC or even the Grand Am Rolex Series. Without the money you can have all the talent but you ain't racing.

    I guess there really is no definition of what a Pro series really is. Like I said I don't really consider Spec Miata, SRF, or even Formula Mazda and F2000 real pro series but I do lump GA Cup and SWC there.

    Regards,

    Jon
     
  23. WCH

    WCH F1 Veteran
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    Mar 16, 2003
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    I think some would say that the existence of prize money distinguishes pro from amateur series. If so, then I have raced and will be racing this year in pro series, but Heaven knows I'm not a pro driver, by pace or income! So perhaps my definition of "pro" depends on whether we're discussing drivers or series. I'd be willing to characterize as a pro a young driver who hopes to make a career of it, even if he's not yet supporting himself by racing.

    Rob - A long time ago I asked someone if I needed an SCCA license to run in a particular series. The answer was S-C-C-A, no; V-I-S-A, yes.

    First some FChat guys tell me my 575 is ugly and slow, now you tell me that all those teams want my money instead of my talent and good looks. Another dream dies .... ;-)

    Edit: with respect to drivers, I also feel that there is a "pro" as opposed to "amateur" or "club" approach to racing, disciplined and informed.
     
  24. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
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    I think WCH is on to something, I think pro is defined by the driver and not the series in most cases.
     
  25. SR Ferrari

    SR Ferrari Rookie

    Dec 1, 2003
    48
    Rob the WCH will be great racing.
    The drivers are real pros and on any given day when they deside to pucker up they can put a GT3-RS in the top 6 in an ALMS field.
    I prepared a posche cup car with Mike Fitgerald behind the wheel and he was unbeatable until I had over 220lb of lead in the car Mike went on to win the World Porshe cup driver Championship that year.
    Putting a GT3-R in 2001 with Mike Fitzgerald IST in class and 2ND overall
    in the Rolex 24HR.
    These drivers are the best in North America the Hu PlumS ,Randy Probst
    But to run against the best the factory has to offer like the Timo Bernards and Bergermisters,Luhr,s and Massans its tough for these guys.
    All these drivers drive up to three series each year so they get alot of seat time .
    No matter what series these drivers drive in it will be worth the admission and if you ever have the chance to be on track with these guys it would be a real treat.
    Kind Regards
    Wayne Hynes.
     
  26. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
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    I was refering to user WCH, not World Challenge.

    I think World Challenge is some of the best racing out there to watch, especially the Touring class. However, there's still many paid drivers in that series. Sad that great drivers and past season podium finishers like Neal Sapp have a hard time finding a ride. When someone that "earned" his way up the system from autocross to club racing to world challenge has a hard time finding a ride, only answer is 'Cash is King'. But we all knew that. :)
     
  27. SR Ferrari

    SR Ferrari Rookie

    Dec 1, 2003
    48
    Rob .
    The paid shoes in the cars are expected to perform at the factory level and there is always a young driver waiting to take there place as you know.
    Johnny Mowlem drove the Orbit car to great result for Roger Holly and Orbit Racing, but Johnny was released by White Lightning and two young European factory drivers will take his seat this ALMS season.
    It is to bad that guys like Neal Sapp struggle to find a ride they almost have to pony up $30.000-$40.000 out of there own pockets to secure a
    seat for one race and guys like Neal are more likely to look after the equipment better.Like a good racing driver with some raw tallent has worked his way up from the club level to an even more challenging series.
    Money talks. Its so expensive that if you have to worry about what it cost to be a front runner for a season you certainly wont be.Take a Porsche GT3-RS running for one hour and fourtyfive minutes then getting a full load of fuel and a fresh set of stickers in a twenty four

    Hour Race then add rain tires and add tires and fuel for testing just for
    example.One driver that I feel has come on of late is Cort Wagner.
    Cort a Infinion and Laguna this past season was able to post times as quick as Lucas and Cort works real hard to stay at this level.
    That attrihion in motor sports is high in every aspect of the sport and you said it is all about the cash.
    Kind Regards
    Wayne Hynes.
     

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