Greek, Greek, and more Greek. Dammit....speak English! I know you're talking of something to the effect of Auto X. Take this opportunity to tech some of us Auto X newbies.
I couldn't hear what I was typing cuz I got an F-16 launching right now.....
Funky's Auto-X Primer Course (and classing basics)
Most people have at least heard of Autocrossing. It's a precision driving competition, where a course is laid out with traffic cones, and the point is to drive the course as quickly as possible without hitting any cones.
In SCCA Autocross (also called Solo-II) if you knock over a cone, it adds a penalty to your time.
Rules for SCCA Autocross can be found HERE.
The discussion about classes and cars is an ongoing one. Basically, cars are grouped by 1. Level of modification, and 2. Engine size/car size.
The main groups of classes are:
2. Street Prepared
5. Street Touring/Street Modified
Let's start with stock, since it's the easiest. Allowed mods in "Stock" classes are:
Removal of spare tire and tools
Front anti-roll bar(s)
Suspension/wheel alignment using standard adjustments
High-performance DOT tires (including competition R-compounds)
Shock absorbers/struts (2 external adjustments maximum)
Competition-type seat belts (no shoulder belts in open cars)
Brake linings (pads/shoes)
Air filter element (the “throw-away” part)
“Cat”-back exhaust systems
Wheels of standard size (diameter, width, and offset within ¼”)
Gauges, indicator lights, etc.
Within "Stock" there are sub-groups basied on engine size, etc.
So "SS" or Super-Stock cars will be the fastest, and H-Stock would be the slowest. Just to give you an idea, DS is the second lowest.
The Ion Red Line falls into D-Stock, along with the RX-8, Audi S4, BMW 330ci, Caddy CTS, Neon SRT-4, Talon AWD, and a few others.
The main difference between the "Touring" classes and the rest are tires... you have to use DOT street tires with a certain treadwear rating. All other classes can use R-compounds, which is a huge advantage, and also a huge cost for extra wheels and tires.
I run in Street Touring X (STX) because I can't afford sticky tires, but my tranny mounts bump me out of the Stock group. As you go through the groups, they allow more modifications, and it gets harder to compete. Something simple like a pulley change (and nothing else) would bump me into Street Modified, where there are full-blown monsters lurking... I wouldn't have a chance. So the trick is to modify your car to the limit of what the class will allow, and you'll be competitive.
Now, the fun part. The SCCA has a nifty little thing called the PAX index, which is a rough way to compare cars between classes using a multiplier.
In theory, A-Modified cars are the fastest, and everything else is compared to them by a PAX multiplier.
An AM cars pax is always a factor of 1 (one) and let's say they run a course in 1 minute (60 seconds). It would take a DS car 90 seconds to make the same run, so my PAX index would be 0.66 so that once you applied the multiplier, they would in theory be equal.
This way, a 60-second run in a fast car is equal to a 90-second run in a slower car. According to what class they're in, they get different multipliers (based on the class's averages at Nationals) and can actually win the entire meet with a slow car if they drive well and are in a class with a very good (low) PAX multiplier. See where this is going?
So what happens if a certain type of car is put into a class that it clearly will dominate? Slower classes have better PAX numbers, and if the car is already faster than all the other cars in it's class, then they can easily beat everybody there with a PAX multiplier that is too low for their car. It is considered an unfair advantage.
On the flip side, guys who have medium-fast cars (like us) don't want to be put into a class full of faster cars, because then we'd have no chance of being competitive.
How does this affect me?
Well, look at it this way: the SCCA just officially moved the Cobalt SS (which should include us as well) from DS to GS. What does that mean?
DS Pax is 0.812, and GS Pax is 0.815 So that means on a 60-second run in DS your adjusted time would be 48.72 seconds, and in GS it would be 48.9 seconds... you'd have to run .2 seconds faster to place in the same spot. Not a big deal, right? I agree... but when you get into the Touring classes, it gets interesting.
Let's say, the options for my car are DS, STX, DSP, or SM. I can modify it to meet any of those classes. Here's the Pax indexes:
DS = 0.812
STX = 0.820
DSP = 0.843
SM = 0.860
So stock, my car can run let's say a course in 60 seconds, on Street tires.
In STX, I can run any wheel-tire combo as long as it's street tires. I would have to run a 59.4 in STX to beat my time in DS.
That's doable, I think I could pick up .6 with some mods, probably more, which means it would be better to go to STX.
What about DSP? I would have to run a 57.8 to beat my time in DS. Still, with R-comp tires allowed, it's doable. DSP also allows upgraded intercoolers, injectors, and tuning, but NOT pulleys. With R-comps I could cut 2.2 seconds, no problem. Still a good move, if you can afford the tires and extra wheels.
What about SM? I'd have to run a 56.6 to beat my time in DS. However, in SM, almost anything is allowed... this should be easy to cut 3.4 seconds with a heavily modified car. The question is, however, what other cars are in that class that you will have to beat? And what if the Pax changes next year (which it will)?
For instance, last year, DS was 0.804 and GS was 0.803, almost even. This year, DS is 0.812 and GS is 0.815 which means if your car gets bumped into GS (like the Cobalt SS) then you'll have to run faster than last year to keep up. Not to mention, they're both noticably worse than last year... even if you stay in the same class, you'll have to run faster!
Hopefully this made some sense (to those who read it all) and clears a few things up.