Introduction

NASA introduced its newest series, Team Racing Endurance Challenge, to create more opportunities for people to go racing — just for the fun of it. With no competition license required, TREC racing was designed to be open to everyone who wants to compete in an endurance racing format, with a simple rules set that focuses on safety and fun. Because endurance racing is a team sport, TREC allows for several drivers to share expenses, which helps make motorsports more affordable.

Class Description

Tired of red tape and hassle just to go racing on a real track? This is a cool series where you don’t need anything other than a car that meets safety specs and a great attitude to make racing fun. No previous racing experience, no license, no medical, no history tests!

Eligible Makes and Models

Anything and everything! Run what you brung! Obviously there has to be some safetystuff, so make sure the vehicle complies with the CCR. We don’t want Mr. Pro Racer and/or superfast cars. If your car is too fast, we’ll just move you to the highest class and subtract 100 laps (or something worse)!

If you bring a tube frame and/or factory built racecar, it better fit within the spirit of our series or you can take it home. Cutting edge, high tech is not welcome… get it?

There should be a session for us to determine your lap times. Call it warmup, qualifying, practice, or your own pity party. Classes will be made by grouping cars, with spankings for those that sandbag. So, you should absolutely put your fastest driver in for this session.

Donor Prices and Availability

BMW E30 $500 to $3,000
BMW E36 $1,500 to $3,000
Honda Civic $500 to $1,500
Mazda Miata $500 to $2,500
Mazda RX-7 $500 to $1,500
Porsche 944 $1,500 to $4,000

Engine Specs

There are no engine specs for endurance racing. Everything from rotaries to four-, five-, six-, eight-, 10- and 12-cylinder engines are eligible for use. And oh yeah, it’s not going to be cool if you run NO2 or methanol. So if you’re ride is hooked on this stuff get your car through 12 steps before you show up!

Weight

In TREC racing, weight isn’t a measured specification. Because of the required 180 treadwear tires, lighter is better. Most likely 99.9 percent of all cars fall into one of TREC’s base classes, 1-4. The remaining .1 percent are probably too fast anyway.

Fuel Required

Permitted fuel is any grade of commercially available unmodified gasoline, E85 Ethanol, biodiesel, or diesel. Methanol is not permitted as a fuel.

Average Cost to Build Car

The whole point of TREC is to have fun, so car costs are greatly reduced. You should be able to have plenty of fun with a $5,000 car fully equipped with all the safety equipment you need.

Average Cost to Buy Built Car

Some recent listings from RacingJunk.com
1990 Acura Integra $5,500
1993 BMW E36 $9,500
2005 Ford Focus $7,500
1985 Porsche 944 $11,000
1999 Volkswagen Jetta $7,000

Typical Modifications

Because of the rules that require tires with a treadwear of 180, modifications that create lots of horsepower are going to be hard to put to use. Remember, the faster you go, the higher the class, so keep modifications cheap, and keep it fun to maximize the value of your racing dollar.

— Larger fuel cells, but no more than 34 gallons.
— Good radio communication system.
— Fast-fill fuel cans.
— Pit lighting.
— Supplemental lighting on the car for night races.

Cost Analysis

Average cost to run a TREC race $750 to $1,000

Consumables Prices

Tires, brands and prices

Tire sizes vary greatly, but here’s a sampling of popular brands and sizes.

BFGoodrich g-Force Rival P225-45-17 $178
Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R P205-50-15 $139
Dunlop Direzza ZII P225-50-16 $148
Falken RT-615K P205-50-15 $108
Federal 595RS-Pro P205-50-15 $112
Hankook Ventus R-S3 Z222 P245-40-18 $241
Nankang CR-1 P205-50-15 $139
Yokohama Advan AD08R P205-55-16 $180

Brakes, brands and prices

Hawk DTC 70 $300 – $350
Hawk DTC 60 $200 – $300

Available contingencies

TBD

Factory Participation

None.

Benefits

— TREC is the easiest way to go racing with NASA. No competition license required!
— With TREC, the emphasis is on fun.
— Endurance racing is a team effort, so when a driver wins, the whole team wins.
— Cost-sharing benefits for car, entry fees, tires and other expenses.
— Mandatory five-minute pit stops.

Challenges

— Unlike sprint racing, you cannot go endurance racing by yourself. You need help. That means coordinating a team effort.

— Racing at night requires supplemental lighting, and it takes no small amount of effort to get it right.

— The fastest cars need not apply. Cars that are too fast will be “forgotten and unscored.”

Rulebook Highlights

6.2. No blocking! You get ZERO MOVES. That means no defending your line either. If someone is on the inside of the corner, MAKE ROOM! Because of this rule, you’ll get them back on the next corner! Think of this as fun and courteous racing. (Note- This is different than the CCR)

8.2. TREC 1, 2, 3, and 4 only require a valid state driver’s license (or, of course, an accepted racing license as outlined below). Participation in the shameful TREC FU, class requires drivers to hold one of the following NASA Licenses: TREC, Time Trial, Instructor, or Competition. Additionally, SCCA, FIA, JAF, BMWCCA, et al. licenses are cool too. Any team that enters a vehicle classifies in TREC 1-4 but gets moved to TREC-FU will be held to this standard. In other words … if you plan to screw up and bring a fast Sprint/WERC car, all drivers must be properly licensed.

8.5. Anyone that completes six (6) NASA TREC events while possessing a TREC license, may apply for a NASA provisional competition license (good for NASA sprint racing, Championships, WERC, etc). However, you must be able to pass the HPDE4 level checkout ride and pass the CCR test as the minimum prerequisites.

12.8. During refueling, two properly dressed fuelers are allowed over the wall while refueling, as well as one fireman holding a fire extinguisher 7 to 10 feet away. The fireman is not required to wear driver-safety gear. No other personnel over the wall except as listed in the next section.

12.1. Any team that enters the pit lane and stops for fuel will need to remain stationary for a period no less than 5 minutes.

12.5. All fuel must come from a standard 5-gallon can. Do not screw around with this term. If you need help understanding that, refer to Appendix A. However, you can add hoses and funnels; typical stuff you find at the home improvement center.

12.17.2. Two tires must be in contact with the ground for the purpose of tire changes. (This means you can jack up either side, the front or the rear at a time.)

12.18.1. Pitlane speed limit is 25 mph.

12.9. All competitors are required to keep two gallons of water, at least one 5 lb. or larger BC or ABC rated fire extinguisher (with a gauge indicating fully charged), and at least 5 pounds of oil absorbent in their pit space. CO2 and Halon / Halatron are highly recommended as they do not leave a mess to clean up. Additionally, if Dry Chem or Sodium Bicarbonate is used, there are chemicals such as vinegar that can be kept on hand to remove such chemicals. Sharing of required equipment, such as fire extinguishers, is not permitted between pit spaces, even for the same team.

12.18.7. No car is permitted to use reverse gear in the pit lane. However, crew members may push the car backwards.

What Racers Say

Jeremy Croiset, NASA Vice President

“This program was created specifically to bring new blood into the NASA ranks. And what better way to do that than to give them a taste of road racing in a low-cost environment that’s centered on fun and establish that desire to be competitive? And if they do possess that, then they build their own car and they come race with NASA. It’s supposed to be fun. It’s the closest we can come to the local electric go-kart track. You go there with your buddies. You don’t need any experience. You go and you have some fun racing.”

Alek Paterson, NASA Southeast

“For years, my dad and I have run with NASA in the West and Southeast in our Mustang and now in our Spec E30. We’ve also raced in other endurance series and were excited to try TREC. We did our first TREC race last year and enjoyed being able to endurance race during NASA weekends with a great group of racers in multiple classes. My dad and I are a two-man team that wrench on the car, fuel, and drive so it’s nonstop action. Close multiclass racing on great tracks with other like-minded fun racers … what’s not to like about TREC racing? Our 2021 racing season now revolves around doing as many TREC races during our regular NASA sprint race weekends. Many thanks to the NASA team who created and run TREC. A great way to go racing!”

Samuel Siemon, NASA Southeast

“I enjoy the long stints in the car that TREC racing provides. Racing door to door for two hours like Philippe Pellerin and I did in January 2019, is absolutely the most fun I have ever had in a racecar. Maintaining focus over a long race is very challenging. I think the experience makes you a better racer. The more laps you do consecutively, the more a pattern and rhythm emerges. It’s a ton of fun!”

Jessica Moore, NASA Southeast

“Funny story, I was actually required to race in the TREC race to complete comp school. That is something NASA Southeast has implemented. However, I enjoy the TREC racing because not only is it a more affordable way to race and get more seat time, but it’s a great way for a team to really work together and harness some of the skills you can’t practice while doing sprint racing.”

Lapping Video

Images courtesy of Jim Voss, Brett Becker, Alek Paterson and Bill Land

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