# CAR-251: The Cheap Air Racer Discussion thread.

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#### Swampyankee

##### Well-Known Member
My thought as well. Might be interesting to resurrect this old thread?

But $45K is way too much. For that we could all buy used 150s and re-license them in Experimental-racing/exhibition and still have money left over for a bunch of modifications. The amount's something that the organizers will have to sort out. Too little, and nobody goes in; too much and it's too easy to buy a trophy. Setting that amount is above my pay grade #### nerobro ##### Well-Known Member Log Member This is the best idea ever. "you need to build your plane to these specs, and keep in mind, that your plane can be claimed at any time" Claiming rules are the best way I've seen about ensuring an even playing field. The actual amount needs to be enough to discourage the practice, but not so high as to make it ~never happen~. It needs to be a real threat. In some racing series, if you claim someone is running a cheater engine, you pay for the gasket seat to get them to teardown the engine. In LeMons racing, you can can have your car bought for$500 at any time.

Just throwing it out there, Say 200% materials cost?

I need to do some drawing again, and work on the engineering.

#### cluttonfred

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
A racing series with a very modest price point -- not quite 24 hours of LeMons but far from Red Bull and Formula I or even Formula V -- would be a fantastic thing to encourage more participation. A low-powered racing class around a standardized industrial V-twin class or even the tried-and-true stock 1600cc VW would be a great place to start. With such modest power, aerodynamic cleanliness and careful piloting would determine the outcome, not big dollars. Maybe a claim price of $15,000 or$20,000?

##### Well-Known Member
I would never race in a class where someone can buy the product of your blood sweat and tears....

Engine maybe.

#### Raceair

##### Well-Known Member
"Supervee Air Sports"…3 different VW engine Classes. (1600-1700 c.c. 'FV', 1834 to 2180 c.c. 'Sport', 2180 c.c. and above, fuel injected and turboed, 'Unlimited' ) Airframe rules similar to the old Formula Vee rules. Initial competition with short 'Outback' XC competitions, and 'Challenge Competitions' which are measured half mile speed runs. 'Eventual' return to closed course pylon racing…..
This Racing class has been in the works for a few years. This will be 'Cheap air Racing'…... I will be conducting a forum at Oshkosh this year….Ed

#### Swampyankee

##### Well-Known Member
I would never race in a class where someone can buy the product of your blood sweat and tears....

Engine maybe.
That is, of course, your choice, but claiming races also likely to be the most effective method of keeping people from pricing everyone with a finite budget out of the series. They're actually pretty common in the horse racing world (https://www.toba.org/owner-education/claiming.aspx).

#### Swampyankee

##### Well-Known Member
Is this supposed to be a one-design class or just built around a specific engine and some other requirements, like accommodate a 95% percentile American male, have tricycle gear, and an open cockpit? If it's the former, great: it will tend to give priority to good build quality and good piloting. If the latter, it would give more scope to creativity.

#### BJC

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Any way that you want it, since it is a thought experiment.

BJC

#### Swampyankee

##### Well-Known Member
Tricycle gear? Really? On a lightweight, low power, inexpensive race aircraft?

As I said before in the other thread, any class of air racing, from Mini-Maxes and Airbikes to IF-1 to 4360 powered Corsairs... is NO place for a new pilot. The very first fatal crash will kill the class, and 100% absolutely dead-to-rights HARM general aviation instead of promote it.

Just like scratchbuilding a V-173 replica, or a Falco, or a hand-hammered cowling for a Gee Bee is no place for a brand new homebuilder...

Someone can start a new thread about a cheap "air rally" or "air treasure hunt" competition class, where nosewheels are the norm. All the energy that had been misplaced into the cheap racer thread promoting Clark Y wings, 180 square foot wing areas, two-control Ercoupes, biplanes, and the Winter Zaunkonig can be funneled into that thread.

To go fast on 30-35 HP, and make (even 2-3G) pylon turns, USELESS weight and drag are the kiss of death. These airplanes need to look like gliders, or Arnold AR-5's, or SD-1's, or MC-30's, or Moni's, or Cassutts, or EZ's, or even RV's.

Some of us, myself included, strongly support general parameters instead of a fixed "one-design" racer. How many builders are you going to have if they can only use one construction method and design? There will not be any race pilots until after there are builders.

(edit) Sorry, this was NOT meant to insult or belittle anyone. I stand by my reasoning, but if I let the sharp tongued smart-aleck a little too far out of his box then please forgive any unintended nastiness.

I don't think the problem is so much pilots killing themselves in crashes, as those crashes killing spectators.

##### Well-Known Member
That is, of course, your choice, but claiming races also likely to be the most effective method of keeping people from pricing everyone with a finite budget out of the series. They're actually pretty common in the horse racing world (https://www.toba.org/owner-education/claiming.aspx).
I'm aware of them (almost exclusively on your side of the pond). The difference I see is between people winning due to big \$ investments and people simply being cleverer or working harder on stuff. I wouldn't want my airframe work to be up for sale to the highest bidder. Say 2K in material in there, but hundreds of hours of work?

That's where just doing your bidding system on the engine system might work out. I feel that the engine is the only aspect of the airframe where putting in more money improves your performance markedly. Just having to give up your engine if desired for a fixed price (say 20K for a O200 in F1?) makes a lot of sense to me, just not including the rest of the airframe.

Given that the VW derivatives are the only engines that are proven and have a significant lower price point as the O200, Rotax 912 and the ULpower's, that's pretty much the only way to "cheapen" it up. Instead of complex rules; simply limit fuel consumption during the race with a universal amount of fuel you can use. If you cap this, have a steep but fair penalty for using more and you don't need complex rules to avoid expensive engine mods.

#### Hot Wings

##### Grumpy Cynic
HBA Supporter
Log Member
This will be 'Cheap air Racing'…... I will be conducting a forum at Oshkosh this year….Ed
Can you tell us more now or do we have to wait until Osh?

I would never race in a class where someone can buy the product of your blood sweat and tears....

Engine maybe.
Why not? If your plane is so much superior that you always win, it gets bought. The next time the competitor wins in your plane, you just buy it back. If you win because you are the superior pilot, you still win in the other guys plane. The claimer generally has to have placed in the top 3 spots to be able to claim the winning machine and generally has to surrender his machine in exchange.

If you are really smart enough to come up with a far superior race plane, within the spirit of the rules of keeping things inexpensive, then you are probably smart enough to not win often enough, or by enough of a margin to invoke the claiming option. Many claiming races have clauses that say you have to win by more than Z% or 3 out of 5 races before the other racers can use the claiming rule.

I do understand the sentimental desire to keep the machine you spent so much time, thought, and money to create: but this is racing! Emotion should have no place in the equation, just like good engineering. One poster on the RAH site one time made the comment that "anything more than good enough is unprofessional". This applies to racing as well. If you have better ideas you never implement all of them at one time. Just use what you need to win that one race. When the rest of the field starts to catch up you just take the next step up - but only use part of it :devious::whistle:

#### Raceair

##### Well-Known Member
Supervee Air Sports is a continuation, of sorts, of the very successful low cost racing class called 'Formula Vee' which existed fro 1977 thru 1997. It is a 'Formula', with VW based air-cooled engines, 75 sq. ft of wing area, at least two 500 x5 tires, cockpit width and height restrictions, cockpit visibility requirements., minimum empty weight of 450 pounds, strength requirements of a minimum of 6 'G' + or- , and more details….………We have a small core group building new racers, or re-building old Formula Vee racers, Most notably the Sonerai 1, and the Wittman V-Witt, and two are currently flying with registered race numbers, ready to race. A half dozen more are in the works. We are on Facebook…'Supervee Air Sports', and we are also on the 'Affordable Air Racing' pro boards site…..I feel that we may have already talked about this on this site, but I am continuing to promote the completion of new aircraft, so we can return to competition in the next couple years…You can build a flyable Sonerai 1 for under 12 grand, complete, if you watch your spending….In today's world I find that affordable..Ed Fisher

#### blane.c

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
The big question as I see it, how are the class kept as a cheap class?

An observation from radio control airplane and boat racing. Very often a “cheap” entry class evolves into an expensive class as some spend money to be more competitive.

Only one make or very stringent rules like list’s of approved stock engines and propellers have kept cost escalation at bay. The other option is rules that introduce a certain amount of randomness in the race results, but competitive people often dislike that weather and other “outside” factors decides who wins.
Back when I was young, a long time ago at the local dirt track they had "claimer" races. Anybody could buy a race car (a claimer) for a set price, this prevented people racing in that class from spending to much on there car to be competitive as it was likely to be claimed and then raced by there enemy the following week. By extension if a class of "claimer" aircraft was established by the nature of the class it would prevent those participating from investing more than the claimer price established and would (I think) be a hoot.

#### Raceair

##### Well-Known Member
I went back and looked thru the other , similar topic thread about cheap air racing…..hmmm….44 pages. This ones at 19 and growing. Some interesting and intelligent ideas. But no progress. However,,,,I know what was really inexpensive, and it still is. The little VW has so much going for it….And we are progressing and already have a group preparing several airplanes, to 'race cheaply'. Check out 'Supervee Air Sports' on Facebook…..Ed

#### nerobro

##### Well-Known Member
Log Member
The big idea behind the CAR-251 is to be frighteningly simple to build. Both for the ease of verifying the design is a CAR-251, and for low effort building. A square fuselage, with flat top rails. A wing that builds on a flat surface. Etc...

If any given plane is "much faster", there's something that would need looking at there... Realistically though, I'd like claiming to be "engine first". It wouldn't even need to be flight.. a dyno could tell the truth there.

#### Himat

##### Well-Known Member
Back when I was young, a long time ago at the local dirt track they had "claimer" races. Anybody could buy a race car (a claimer) for a set price, this prevented people racing in that class from spending to much on there car to be competitive as it was likely to be claimed and then raced by there enemy the following week. By extension if a class of "claimer" aircraft was established by the nature of the class it would prevent those participating from investing more than the claimer price established and would (I think) be a hoot.
The "claimer" rules work, kind of, until a group of racers make a "group" and claim each other’s vehicles. Another possibility, there is a team running a racing vehicle, the “claimer” then get to pilot one race. Next race the team or some affiliated with the team claim the airplane back. If the “claimer” is a good pilot they may as well offer him the team support. Someone said it was not proper racing until the driver was paid to drive. Do that go for air racing too?