Normally, the purpose of these “Class Syllabus” stories is to give you a good idea of what a class is all about without having to dig through a rulebook, and normally you can understand a class pretty well after reading one. However, for Performance Touring, you must be intimate with the rulebook to be successful. That said, let this installment of “Class Syllabus” serve as an overview.

“The big thing about PT, it’s very open bringing what you have and being able to class it,” said PT and TT National Director Greg Greenbaum. “A lot of people didn’t have a spec car or didn’t have a car that fit into those other rules, and we purposely designed a series where you could bring just about any car, whether it had a motor swap or whether it had significant modifications or no modifications and get them to be able to class fairly and be able to race.”

Initially devised with base classes based on vehicles and points for modifications, Performance Touring allows someone a great deal of freedom to build the car he or she wants, to use the points system to the distinct advantage of each individual chassis as the driver sees fit. In recent years, however, PT has been trending away from the points system toward dyno re-classing, which also is available.

“We’re moving toward dyno-based classing for the Performance Touring series that we’ve had so much success with in the Super Touring Series,” Greenbaum said.

In the offseason between 2016 and 2017, PTB was added to the Super Touring classes as ST4. More class rules will shift in Performance Touring in the coming years to simplify them and to reduce costs, create larger fields and foster better competition. Greenbaum said he hopes to have new rules out, at least in preliminary form, sometime in 2017. Those rules also will apply to the Time Trial program.

Class Description

“NASA PT provides a venue for spirited on-track competition with a high degree of both safety and convenience. NASA PT, along with its big brother series, NASA ST and SU provide a home for nearly every type of racecar to compete in a fair and logical competition environment.”

Eligible Makes and Models

Virtually anything from Acura to Volkswagen.

Donor Prices and Availability

From a couple of hundred dollars to several thousand.

Engine Specs

There are no engine specs, per se, but according to the rules, “Each competition class has been assigned a minimum “Adjusted Weight/Power Ratio.” Regardless of how many points a car has, or which base class it begins in, it may not exceed the minimum “Adjusted Weight/Power Ratio” for its competition class. Any vehicle found competing with an “Adjusted Weight/Power Ratio” less than the minimum level assigned below will be disqualified, and additional penalties (Section 6.4) may be assessed.”

Based on the chart below, it looks like PTD would be faster than PTC due to less weight per horsepower. However, the PTC weight to power ratio is determined using the Super Touring 4 formula and average horsepower. It is calculated as follows:

The following ten (10) data points will be obtained from the Dyno’s 50 RPM data export numeric RPM/HP table printout:

Horsepower at: 500 rpm, 1000 rpm, 1500 rpm, 2000 rpm, 2500 rpm greater than Max HP rpm Horsepower at: 500 rpm, 1000 rpm, 1500 rpm, 2000 rpm, 2500 rpm less than Max HP rpm

(If any of the above data points at higher RPM than Max HP RPM do not exist due to redline, then those potential data points will not be used in the calculation of Avg HP.)

The three (3) highest data points of the above ten (10) will be used in the calculation below:

Avg HP = Max HP +(sum of the three highest data points) 4

The rest of Performance Touring classes will be calculating their weight to power ratios like that in coming years.

PTC 14.50:1 (using ST4 formula and Avg HP)

PTD 14.25:1

PTE 16.50:1

PTF 19.50:1

Weight

Varies by car and horsepower. You can download the PTC-PTF class calculator here:

https://www.nasaproracing.com/rules

Fuel Required

Any grade of commercially available unmodified gasoline or diesel — all octane levels of retail available race gas are permitted. No “home brewed” methanol/ethanol/alcohol mixtures are permitted. Methanol injection systems are illegal. Fuel additives are prohibited with the exception that rotary engine vehicles may add any commercially available oil designed for two-stroke engines as a pre-mix. Retail available E-85 is permitted.”

Average Cost to Build Car

Figure $10,000 to $15,000 for a PTF or PTE car. The numbers go up from there.

Average Cost to Buy Built Car

Allison Legacy cars, which class into PTD, have sold for $4,500 and you can spend up to $30,000 depending on the car and the quality of the build.

Typical Modifications

That’s the beauty of PT. You choose with modifications work best on the car you have chosen to build.

Cost Analysis

Average cost to run a weekend — $1,000 to $1,500

Consumables Prices

Tires, size, brands, and prices

Because wheels vary widely with car choice, figure $176 for 205-50-15 Toyo Proxes RRs to $285 for a 275-35-18 Proxes RR.

Brakes, brands, and prices

$150 to $250 depending on the car you choose.

Available contingencies

AST Suspension, BFGoodrich Tires, Mazda, Toyo Tires, Hawk Performance, Maxxis Tires, Winding Road Racing, Ford Performance, Hoosier Tires, Spec Clutches, Frozen Rotors and Sampson Racing Communications.

Factory Participation

Mazda and Ford

Benefits

  • Build whatever car you want
  • Variety of competing cars
  • Dyno re-classing available to all competitors
  • Lots of creative freedom within the rules
  • Lots of tire choices available

Challenges

Rulebook is extensive and likely to be dynamic over the next couple of years

Rulebook Highlights

The Regional penalty for competing with a vehicle in a class lower than that dictated by the Performance Touring classification system or an otherwise non-compliant vehicle, regardless of driver/owner intentions, will be disqualification for the previous race in that region for the first offense. A second offense in the same region will result in loss of half of season points, a one race suspension, and disqualification from the race. At third offense in the same region, there will be a loss of all season points and a four-race suspension. Any Regional disqualification or suspension will result in zero points that cannot be dropped.

If a performance modification is not specifically allowed by the rules, it is prohibited. A permitted item cannot be modified to perform either a prohibited function, or the function of an item that would otherwise be assessed points under the modification rules. Vehicle legality is the sole responsibility of the driver.

All factory options and other modifications by the factory that are not included in the basic trim package of a model (or in the non-basic trim package specifically listed below in 5.2 to assign a PT base class), must be assessed Modification Points as in Section 5.3.

What Racers Say

Warren Dexter, NASA Central PTE

Warren Dexter

“What attracted me to Performance Touring was the whole concept of ‘designing’ your own car within the rules. As an engineering student, I love working out all of the different ways that might work to make my car the fastest it can be at any given track. What I like about racing in Performance Touring is the fact that you get to race against cars that have different strengths and weaknesses. It really makes a guy think ahead to take advantage of my strengths and their weaknesses, because without doing so you can lose a race to a guy who isn’t as fast as you.”

Dave Schotz, NASA Arizona PTB

Dave Schotz

“What attracted me to Performance Touring was the flexibility, to mix and match performance modifications for points, and that any car could compete against another based on their indexing of BTM weight and assessment baselines.

While you have horsepower-to-weight ratio as a guide to level overall car competitiveness in acceleration, the science or strategy of the class is in maximizing your points taken to get the most out of your vehicle’s performance.

Many modification points don’t actually make a difference in absolute time/handling, yet can cost a lot of your available points. For example, in the case of a third- or fourth-generation GM F body, you could take as many as 7 points for replacing your torque arm, panhard bar and control arms with heavy duty units with better bushings. However if you just replace your factory bushings with poly in your OEM arms, it would be zero points, or what I did, replace the OEM bushings with spherical in all of them for just 3 points. That netted me 4 additional points to use elsewhere.

I really like the competition and diversity within the car manufacturers. It’s been great racing year after year against a variety of makes and models, whether Mazda, Hyundai, Porsche, Mini, Nissan or BMW, to name a few. It forces you to adjust your driving style based on the other competitors strengths and weaknesses and it never remains the same.”

Ron Nielsen, NASA Arizona PTF

Ron Nielsen

“I was attracted to Performance Touring, as it best suited the race car I bought. My ZX2 was born as a showroom stock car, then raced as ITA, before I purchased and raced it in PTF.

In general, Performance Touring tries to create equally competitive vehicles by allowing individuals to create their own combination of power, handling and tires to be as competitive as possible.”

Tommy Lo, NASA NorCal PTE

Tommy Lo

“I was attracted to PT because of the freedom with configuration and setup. I like to tinker and PT allows you to do that. For example, you have to balance between power, handling and aero to engineer a complete solution. The diversity, innovations and creativity you see in PT is amazing. The diversity of cars with different strengths at different tracks is really fun. It pushes you as a driver and as an engineer.”

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