CONCORD, N.C. – Several questions and concerns have emerged as a result of WKA’s October 10, 2012, Pit Board announcement regarding the 2013 rule changes in our Mazda / Bridgestone Manufacturers Cup Series.
This letter addresses the philosophy and thoughts behind these rule changes and it is my goal that this letter answers many of the questions and concerns some of our faithful members have presented.
ACCUS / CIK / FIA affiliation
WKA’s affiliation with ACCUS / CIK / FIA has a long history. For those not aware, WKA is the only karting affiliate with ACCUS (Automobile Competition Committee of the United States), which is the National Sporting Authority (ASN) of the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) for the United States.
From the ACCUS website: “ACCUS is comprised of the seven major motorsports sanctioning organizations (known at the FIA as "member clubs"): Grand Am, IMSA, IndyCar, NASCAR, NHRA, SCCA and USAC, each nominating two directors to its Board. Additionally, a number of independent directors are elected annually. The World Karting Association (WKA) is an associate member.”
At one of the recent ACCUS meetings, Cary Agajanian made a presentation about the noise issues facing all industries, including motorsports. All member clubs of ACCUS were sent documents to complete with regard to noise levels at events. This was a very detailed report about length of races, time between races, air tools used, compressor usage, generator usage, etc.
The noise level concerns originated from the music industry and the incoming claims on hearing loss of concert workers and others.
The clear message was that racing organizations needed to begin programs, rule changes, etc. to prove we are aware of and working on the noise issue.
In 2012 WKA began this “noise reduction” effort in the National Road Racing Series. Rule changes were implemented that eliminated the PP Can (four-hole SSX can) laydown-enduro classes. WKA also canceled the use of the four-hole can in the Junior Enduro and Yamaha Can Sprint classes, replacing the four-hole can with the quieter SBX muffler that has been used for years in the Yamaha Sportsman laydown classes.
In 2013, WKA has made its first round of rule changes in Manufacturers Cup, canceling the use of the four-hole can in Yamaha Senior and replacing it with the pipe. Additional changes are forthcoming in 2014 to continue our efforts toward noise reduction in our 2-cycle series.
Please read the following question-and-answer segment for more explanation on these rule changes.
Q. Why did WKA replace the four-hole can with a new type of exhaust for the Senior Yamaha class?
A. For many years it has been a known fact that a large concentration of heat generated by the four-hole can exhaust was causing excessive cylinder wear and high maintenance costs. The four-hole can also is one of the loudest setups currently in use for Yamaha engines.
After testing many different options, we have introduced a system that we feel will eliminate the two aforementioned concerns, as well as produce more power.
Unlike the expansion chamber pipes of previous years, this new system still produces a wide, user-friendly power curve that is very much like the former four-hole can. This new system should not require any major changes to the engine configuration or setup. Naturally, some minor setup changes will emerge from the change, but overall, WKA feels this is the most positive change that we could have made for the Yamaha Senior Manufacturers Cup classes to prosper into the future.
Q. Why did WKA feel it was necessary to reduce the speed of the Junior classes by implementing a restricted air flow filter cup?
A. As explained in the Oct. 10 Pit Board release, a reconstruction of the ladder system is needed. The step up from the Sportsman category was too large and the step from Junior to the comparable Senior classes was a step down in speed.
After a study of many different methods that could be used to reduce the performance of the Junior classes, we determined thru dyno, flow bench and track testing that the restricted air cup did the job needed.
This method is a very low-cost solution that works well in the field with only adjustments to the carb settings. The September 17 on-track testing at New Castle Motorsports Park produced the needed results in speed to position the Junior classes properly between the Sportsman and Senior classes.
Q. Why were these changes implemented only three months after the announcement was made?
A. It was determined that the best time for these changes was during the current off period in the Man Cup schedule. Because we feel none of these items will require major alteration to the existing equipment, it was felt that this was the time to implement them, even though the notice time was short. We felt this was a better alternative rather than introduction during the racing season or waiting another full year for the 2013 season to end.
Q. Will WKA make any future changes to the Yamaha Sportsman exhaust systems?
A. The RLV three-hole can now in use for these classes does not produce the high levels of heat nor the noise that the four-hole model does. Currently, no plans are being entertained for any changes in the Yamaha Sportsman class.
Q. Will WKA implement any changes to the exhaust system for the Junior Yamaha classes?
A. YES. As announced in the Oct. 10 Pit Board, a new pipe will be coming for the 2014 season. This system will be similar to the new Senior model but with a lower performance level. The original intent was for introduction in these classes for 2013 however the testing done indicated our test pieces did not satisfy the goals so this project was put on hold until 2014 so as to afford for prototyping and testing time.
Q. Why would WKA make changes to classes that currently boast such impressive entry counts?
A. As stated earlier, the ladder system that progresses a driver from the younger Sportsman / Cadet classes to the faster TaG classes has gotten off track as a result of individual changes made over many years.
Also, improvements in equipment have been a contributing factor. We felt the time was right to implement some changes to try and get the system back on track. We knew that these changes would prompt some resistance and questioning from the racers but we felt they were needed to insure the long-term health of the entire program.
WKA officials, myself included, are aware of the many public claims and comments made since the announcement of these changes. Many are upset about the changes. Many understand and are pleased with the changes. Others have simply questioned why the changes have been implemented.
I hope this will help to clear up some of the questions and comments, as well as explain the reasoning behind our decisions.
The research and testing of these changes begun early in the 2012 and were concluded at an on-track test in September after the Man-Cup event at New Castle. Many items were discussed and many were tested.
The changes are based on solid dyno and on-track documentation.
It should be noted that WKA is not the only organization currently undertaking the job of slowing down the Junior classes. While there are many avenues available to accomplish this task, we believe we have selected the one that will cause the least impact to the current equipment as well as the lowest cost to the racers.
I hope this helps to explain some of the concerns we have heard and offer an explanation regarding these new rules.
We’re looking forward to a great new racing season in 2013 and hope everyone has a terrific Thanksgiving and holiday season.
We look forward to seeing you in Daytona to kick off the 2013 season.