Sports Car Club of America
|Sports Car Club of America
The Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) is a club and sanctioning body supporting road racing, rallying, and autocross in the United States. Formed in 1944, it runs many programs for both amateur and professional racers.
The SCCA traces its roots to the Automobile Racing Club of America (not to be confused with the current stock car series of the same name). ARCA was founded in 1933 by brothers Miles and Sam Collier, and dissolved in 1941 at the outbreak of World War II.12 The SCCA was formed in 1944, at first as only an enthusiast group.3 The SCCA began sanctioning road racing in 1948, with the inaugural Watkins Glen Grand Prix. Cameron Argetsinger, an SCCA member and local enthusiast who would later become Director of Pro Racing and Executive Director of the SCCA, helped organize the event for the SCCA.
In 1951, the SCCA National Sports Car Championship was formed from existing marquee events around the nation, including Watkins Glen, Pebble Beach, and Elkhart Lake.4 Many early SCCA events were held on disused air force bases, organized with the help of Air Force General Curtis LeMay, a renowned enthusiast of sports car racing. LeMay loaned out facilities of Strategic Air Command bases for the SCCA's use; the SCCA relied heavily on these venues during the early and mid-1950s during the transition from street racing to permanent circuits.5
By 1962, the SCCA was tasked with managing the U.S. World Sportscar Championship rounds at Daytona, Sebring, Bridgehampton and Watkins Glen. The club was also involved in the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix. SCCA Executive Director John Bishop helped to create the United States Road Racing Championship series for Group 7 sports cars to recover races that had been taken by rival USAC Road Racing Championship. Bishop was also instrumental in founding the SCCA Trans-Am Series and the SCCA/CASC Can-Am series. In 1969, tension and in-fighting over Pro Racing's autonomy caused Bishop to resign and help form the International Motor Sports Association.6
The SCCA dropped its amateur policy in 1962 and began sanctioning professional racing.7 In 1963, the United States Road Racing Championship was formed. In 1966 the Canadian-American Challenge Cup (Can-Am) was created for Group 7 open-top sportscars. The Trans-Am Series for pony cars also began in 1966. Today, Trans-Am uses GT-1 class regulations, giving amateur drivers a chance to race professionally.
Current SCCA-sanctioned professional series include Trans-Am, the SCCA Pro Racing World Challenge for GT and touring cars, and the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup. The SCCA also sanctions professional series for some amateur classes, such as the Mazda MX-5 Cup (Spec Miata), Spec Racer Ford Pro, Formula Enterprises Pro, and the F2000 Championship Series.
The club racing program is the road racing division where drivers race on either dedicated race tracks or on temporary street circuits.8 Competitors require either a regional or a national racing license. Both modified production cars (ranging from lightly modified cars with only extra safety equipment to heavily modified cars that retain only the basic shape of the original vehicle) and designed-from-scratch "formula" and "sports racer" cars can be used in club racing. Most of the participants in the Club Racing program are unpaid amateurs, but some go on to professional racing careers. The club is also the source for race workers in all specialties.
The annual national championship for Club Racing is called the SCCA National Championship Runoffs and has been held at Riverside International Raceway (1964, 1966, 1968), Daytona International Speedway (1965, 1967, 1969), Road Atlanta (1970–1993), Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (1994–2005), and Heartland Park Topeka (2006–2008). Since 2009, the Runoffs are held at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, for a minimum of three years. The current SCCA record holder is Jerry Hansen, (former owner of Brainerd International Raceway), with 27 national titles.9
The Solo program is the autocross program.10 up to four cars at a time run on a course but but interfering with one another on a course laid out with traffic cones on a large paved surface, such as a parking lot or airport runway.
Competitions are held at the Regional, Divisional, and National levels. Each Division typically crowns a Divisional Champion in each class, awarded by winning a single event. Similarly, a National Champion in each class is awarded by winning the class at the National Championship (usually referred to as "Nationals") held in September. In 2009, the Solo Nationals moved to the Lincoln Airpark in Lincoln, Nebraska.11 Individual National-level events, called "National Tours," are held throughout the racing season. They have now introduced "match tours" which are a combination of a pro solo event and an autocross event. At these tours is where our kart drivers became champions among adults.A prime example of this is Kate Regganie and Kevin Teague. They are the youngest km and kml drivers to have ever driven, they complimented this succession with both of them trophying at the 2013 National Championships. The SCCA also holds National-level events in an alternate format called ProSolo. In ProSolo, two cars compete at the same time on mirror-image courses with drag racing-style starts, complete with reaction and 60-foot times. Class winners and other qualifiers (based on time differential against the class winner) then compete in a handicapped elimination round called the "Challenge". Points are awarded both in class competition and in Challenge competition, and an annual champion is crowned each September at the Pro Finale event in Lincoln, Nebraska.
The SCCA sanctions RallyCross events, similar to autocross, but on a non-paved course.12 SCCA ProRally was a national performance rally series similar to the World Rally Championship. At the end of the 2004 season SCCA dropped ProRally and ClubRally. A new organization, Rally America, picked up both series starting in 2005.
Road rallies are run on open, public roads.13 These are not races in the sense of speed, but of precision and navigation. The object is to drive on time, arriving at checkpoints with the proper amount of elapsed time from the previous checkpoint. Competitors do not know where the checkpoints are.
In recent years, SCCA has expanded and re-organized some of the higher-speed events under the "Time Trials" banner.14 These include Performance Driving eXperience (PDX), Club Trials, Track Trials, and Hill Climb events. PDX events are non-competition HPDE-type events and consist of drivers-education and car control type of classroom learning combined with on-track instruction.
The SCCA is organized into nine divisions and 115 regions, each organizing events in that area to make the events more accessible to people throughout the country. The number of divisions has increased since the SCCA's foundation. Northern Pacific and Southern Pacific started as a single Pacific Coast Division until dividing in 1966. Rocky Mountain Division is a relatively recent split. The Great Lakes Division was split from the Central Division at the end of 2006.
The Northern Pacific Division consists of Alaska, Northern California, Idaho, Western Montana, Northern Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. The Southern Pacific Division consists of Arizona, Southern California, Hawaii, and Nevada. The Rocky Mountain Division consists of Colorado, Eastern Montana, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. The Southwest Division consists of Louisiana, Texas, and coastal Mississippi. The Midwest Division consists of Arkansas, Southern Illinois, Western Iowa, Kansas, Northern Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Western Tennessee. The Central Division consists of Northern Illinois, Minnesota, Eastern Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Wisconsin. The Great Lakes Division consists of Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Lower Peninsula of Michigan, and Southern West Virginia. The Southeast Division consists of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Eastern Tennessee, and Southern Virginia. The Northeast Division consists of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Northern Virginia.
- See footnote15
- Jaslow, Russell. "The Ardent Alligator and The 1949 Watkins Glen Grand Prix". Auto Racing History. Retrieved 29 May 2010.
- "The History of VIR and Road Racing". Virginia International Raceway. Retrieved 29 May 2010.
- Welty, Richard. "Introduction to the SCCA". North American Motorsports Pages. Retrieved 29 May 2010.
- Krejčí, Martin. "SCCA National Sports Car Championship 1951". Racing Sports Cars. Retrieved 29 May 2010.
- "SCCA Announces 2007 Hall of Fame Class". Sports Car Club of America. 22 November 2006. Archived from the original on 5 December 2006.
- Gousseau, Alexis (23 April 2006). "A tribute to John Bishop". IMSAblog. Retrieved 29 May 2010.
- 70 years of the SCCA - Racer Magazine, 30 January 2014
- "Club Racing". Sports Car Club of America. Retrieved 29 May 2010.
- "Jerry Hansen Race Car Driver | E3 Sparkplug News". Retrieved 16 May 2012.
- "Solo". Sports Car Club of America. Retrieved 29 May 2010.
- "SCCA Solo National Championships Move to Lincoln". 11 November 2008. Retrieved 29 May 2010.
- "Rallycross". Sports Car Club of America. Retrieved 29 May 2010.
- "Road Rally". Sports Car Club of America. Retrieved 29 May 2010.
- "Club Racing: Time Trials". Sports Car Club of America. Retrieved 29 May 2010.
- SCCA Awards webpage. Retrieved 7 August 2010.
- SCCA official website
- SCCA Pro Racing official website
- SCCA Awards
- 1950s SCCA Race Results
- How professional racing changed the SCCA – and the world - Jeff Zurschmeide, Racer Magazine, 10 February 2014