2014-spec dual element rear wing.
The release of draft regulations for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship has led to a week of heated debates, major decisions and a variety of pleas from within the Prototype paddock.
RACER spoke with Scot Elkins, the man in charge of writing the TUDOR Championship rules on behalf of IMSA, the series' sanctioning body, to gain further understand the process and what's to come in the days ahead.
MARSHALL PRUETT: When we spoke a few weeks ago, you said the regulations would be released in the second half of October, and I know I was one who expected those rules to be final. How do you walk the draft rules forward and lock them in so teams can plan and spend accordingly?
SCOT ELKINS: Well, it's one of those deals where we tried to tell everybody this wasn't going to be the final set. So every time we'd talk to somebody we'd say, look, we're going to do a draft set of the rules, we're going to put them out. We want to get feedback from everybody and once we get feedback we'll go final with the rulebook. That's the way we've done it with the ALMS rulebook for the past three or four years. We get everything together as much as possible for a first look. You're not going to catch everything, so we try to put the draft together and send the draft out.
We've always said that fourth-quarter was where we were going to try to get the technical regs out. Obviously, the big changes are coming to the Daytona Prototypes, so we wanted to get what we were thinking out and into everybody's hands so they could give us the opportunity to tweak on it after getting feedback from the teams. And we've pretty much been doing that all this week.
MP: We've heard every possible comment and critique on the proposed DP changes – what kind of feedback have you gotten from the paddock? Any united input on specific changes to make?
SE: It's been all over the place, honestly. Everybody has their own opinion about everything, which is good and that's the whole reason for doing this type of process. Everybody kind of agrees on one thing and then some half agree on this and half disagree on this. It varies.
And I'm not 100 percent sure everyone had the understanding that the purpose we were doing this was to generate feedback. So we had to reach out a little bit harder than what we had intended on to get some of this information flow coming back to us. But we've heard from pretty much everybody now. Spent most of (Friday) afternoon putting together a comprehensive spreadsheet, as it were, on all the topics and where everybody's feelings are. It's been pretty varied.
MP: Where do you go from here? Teams are meant to be on-track testing in less than a month – are you able to give teams an idea of what to go buy or do right now, or does that need to wait until the final regs are published?
SE: The intention is to try to get something out within the next few days to give everybody an idea of how we've taken the feedback and what direction we've gone. This particular part of the technical specs will still be a draft but it will be more locked down on the second version to get everybody the ability to go out and make decisions. The idea was to try to get some things done prior to the test and that would cover technical regulations and sporting regulations. I don't know that we're going to get completely there, but the sporting stuff, we have a little bit more time but not a lot more time, because that covers pit stops and pit equipment and some of the other items everybody's trying to get sorted out and budgeted for before we get to Daytona.
So I think there'll be a draft version 2 that will settle the waters a little bit and give everybody a good direction.
The tests at Daytona and Sebring are where we'll get the final data to finalize everything. And then from there we'll continue to keep working on what we're doing. I don't know that anybody can appreciate how difficult a process this is in taking two different rulebooks and putting them together.
The ALMS rulebook was initially created off the international sporting code, it was originally written in French. So we've been able to tweak on that over the last five or six years that we've been a part of IMSA. And then now we're taking the Grand-Am rulebook, which is structured completely different. It doesn't have a base code to it. It has a base technical regulation and it has specific regulations for the classes. It's quite a task to try to put all these things together where it makes sense.