Lotus Elan

FIA Parts ?

PostPost by: Lotus14S2 » Mon Dec 24, 2018 10:32 pm

As we don’t seem to have the same rules in the U.S. for what I assume is for vintage or historic racing, could someone explain what FIA parts such as main bearing caps are?
As I raced in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and we either bought Ford based engines with steel caps, added them, or the later large cast cap, we never had a sanctioning body, which required the parts have a particular appearance.
At that time, in the U.S. the SCCA, which was the main sanctioning body, had rules about what we called production cars; each car had a printed list of approved options for each model or make of car, and a set of rules which limited the modifications that could be performed, in general, on the production part. An example would be you could not use an aftermarket connecting rod; they had to be based on the factory production part. You could lighten, polish, shot peen, or heat treat the parts, but they had to be recognizable as factory production parts. You could not use a forged steel crankshaft if your car came with as cast iron crank, unless the factory had a production model with a forged crank. Some manufacturers, who recognized that winning races sold cars, did have a longer list of options, and technical help for competitors, but some car companies didn’t. Lotus was a good example of limited assistance, and relatively short lists of options. BMC or Triumph on the other hand had enormous lists of options which were available through the dealer network. I had a Sunbeam Alpine for awhile, and you could legally have aluminum doors, trunk lid and bonnet, as well as such things as “Microcell’ light weight seats; otherwise you had to use the stock factory seats; no “racing” seats.
Of course all that changed as the sanctioning bodies changed, and people wanted to go faster. By the late ‘70s or early ‘80s it was pretty much anything goes.
In sports racing and formula cars the modifications were more or less free, within the rules of the class.
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Mon Dec 24, 2018 10:44 pm

In Europe you can race an Elan in many historic series if it is FIA compliant which means it is based on a Elan S1 or S2 plus the homologation options listed for the 26R.

Exactly how closely you need to comply depends on the ease of recognition of the change. i,e, Lotus never homologated modern .49 lift cams and modern springs and valves to suit but i am sure most of the winning Elans are using them !

Other clearly visible mods seem to be allowed such as big inlet tract modern head castings, I guess based on the argument that original heads are not readily available.

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PostPost by: Frogelan » Mon Dec 24, 2018 10:47 pm

Here is some light reading for Boxing Day...to help answer your questions!

1. App K: https://historicdb.fia.com/regulations/appendix-k

2. Have a look at the Homologation paper 127... https://historicdb.fia.com/car/lotus-elan

You will note that the Elan is homologated as an Elan with a book of racing parts which include the "26R" parts. The main period of historic racing for the car is period F (pre-31/12/1965) although it also raced in period G (with a dry sump which was homologated in Feb 1966).
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PostPost by: vstibbard » Wed Dec 26, 2018 12:42 pm

My 26R is full Group G spec with Cosworth all steel bottom end, dry sump etc.

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PostPost by: Lotus14S2 » Wed Dec 26, 2018 9:22 pm

Thank you for your replies.
This is very interesting.
The only car that I raced that even required Homologation papers was early sedan (Saloon?) cars; precursors to the Trans Am series. After the series started, the SCCA had a set of rules that superseded the FIA.
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PostPost by: prezoom » Thu Dec 27, 2018 3:29 pm

Up until the late 70's a copy of the FIA papers were required for cars that ran in the Sedan classes. Production sports car modifications were covered under the GCR. One difference between the FIA and sedan rules was the method of assigning the minimum weight. Cylinder head configuration, number of ports, crossflow/noncrossflow, OHC, DOHC, given a different weight based upon weight per cc. If memory serves me, a 5 port head noncrossflow, i.e. BMC, .95 lbs per cc. 8 port noncrossflow 1.0 lb per cc. All that changed in 1980 when the FIA papers were dropped and a separate set of rules were established for what would now be known as GT cars. Performance weights were now assigned to individual cars, along with intake restrictions. Much the same today, but far more complicated.
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PostPost by: Lotus14S2 » Thu Dec 27, 2018 9:52 pm

Quite interesting:
I ran cars in the ‘60s and '70s, and I ran the early pre TransAm sedans for awhile; these were known as A Sedans, at the time, they required FIA papers. But when TransAm came into existence, the rules changed. With TransAm all the cars had to weigh a minimum weight, 3200 lbs, if I remember correctly, and any car could run 5 Litre maximum engines. I ran Chrysler products, and we didn’t have a 5000cc engine, so the 318 or 340 were “stroked” to the capacity. Before that, with the FIA papers, you could only run up to 5 Litres, and it had to be a production engine. Ford and GM came out with the 302 motors, while we only had a 273, but with the FIA papers, we could weigh around 2700 pounds, while the Fords were heavier. The Dodge was acid dipped, and hand brazed together, originally to get the weight down; and to alter the location of the suspension. Special side quarter panels and front fender stampings were made to shift the opening of the wheels. This allowed us to win the first championship, but we couldn’t compete with the Ford factory backing. Chrysler decided to quit after 1966, and we never had a competitive car, until they got back into it in the ‘70s. The Mustang and Cougar were initially limited to the 283, but that didn’t last long, once Ford saw the potential for advertising. The Ford Homologation papers were about 100 pages long and those of the Dodge were about 10. Ford put everything they could think of as an option, off just about every car they made. The Mustangs were running Lincoln brakes for example.
For the TransAm, it was pretty much anything goes, plus a lot of creative design to get around rules. One very famous episode related to me by Ed Leslie (at the time a driver for Dan Gurney), was when Smoky Yunick took one of his Camaros through the tech inspection and they made him remove the fuel tank to measure it for capacity. They declared it illegal, and told him he had to change it. He told the inspectors, “Well you’ll probably not like the rest of the car”, and drove off with the fuel tank sitting on the ground.
As far as the production sports cars were concerned, my introduction to SCCA racing was when I went to driver’s school in 1962, in my Lotus Elite. I still have a collection of my old SCCA regulations, and GCRs (General Competition Rules). The basic method of determining class was more or less by performance, and not a little politics. My Elite, with SUs, ran in E production, while the Elites with Webers ran in class C. As new cars came in, or an older car was thought not to be classed correctly they would be move around. The production regulations, pretty much were very close to what would be later called “Showroom Stock”. The written regulations limited what you could do to a car, for example, the car had to run with a pretty much stock interior, but with such things as carpet removed (for fire safety); you still had to run with the interior door panels stock dash. The early cars could not run alloy wheels, and the rim width could only be increased by something like an inch. Flared or cut out wheel wells were not allowed. The initial idea went back to the ‘50s racing, with the idea that you drove your car to work during the week, and raced on Sundays. It was truly to be “Gentleman’s” racing. Later in the ‘70s and ‘80s, after I got out of production cars, it seemed to be anything goes. Of course by then the gentleman had gotten out of the sport.
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