Unlimited Air Racing Dead?

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rv6ejguy

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There were two fairly clean sheet auto engined designs underway for sport class but both have pulled back to see if there will be a venue in the next few years. Hard to justify the effort to develop a dedicated race plane for one race weekend and even less so if Reno disappears.
 

TFF

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Inverted starts have been done in lots of racing. Racers hate it always. Why qualify good if it’s taken away? That in its self causes sandbag qualifications where everyone is trying to be the slowest, which cause BS eliminations of having to run within a bracket of your own time or called BS and get thrown out during the race.

With all racing, someone will be Roger Penske and someone has to be the guy that misses the bubble. It’s keeping the guys who miss the show coming back to try again that keeps a series alive. When those guys quit, that’s when it shrinks.
 

Hot Wings

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Reno is uniquely suited for this sport and the logistics of expansion are prohibitive.
Reno draws 150K spectators each year? If there were a circuit that number would likely drop significantly while the overall attendance would be greater due to travel and scheduling flexabality for those that can't justify the travel. For comparison:

Reno
KCPR at the same scale Accommodating 50K* people for a weekend here would be a challenge. Extend the drive time from motel to site to 2 hours (in the middle of nowhere) and it would be no problem.

There have to be other similar locations west of the Mississippi closer to population centers?
*The chosen locations would likely have much smaller attendance numbers for the first years? The nearby cities infrastructure could then slowly adapt.

I think he’s solely responsible for all my misfortunes.
He is also likely largely responsible for your good fortunes. ;)
 

lelievre12

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There were two fairly clean sheet auto engined designs underway for sport class but both have pulled back to see if there will be a venue in the next few years. Hard to justify the effort to develop a dedicated race plane for one race weekend and even less so if Reno disappears.
Are designs like the Pond Racer still allowed at Reno?

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It seems such a logical way forward where auto-engines now routinely put out 1000+ HP for modest $$. All the money saved by not exploding Lycosaurs could be invested in custom and cool airframes. There is not much for the audience to see when an old airframe goes from 380-->400mph, however seeing Star Wars on earth sure is appealing for the crowds.
 

BRAAP

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Tough times....
The history and nostalgia of the good ole days, when “unlimited” meant just that and in that time it so happened that surplus war fighters were the penultimate when modded to “unlimited”.
Is there a way to capture and maintain the nostalgia with the old school race prepped war birds “and” continue the progression of Aviation performance through racing allowing truly “unlimited” builds, or within reason, allow crazy-limited designs to play in the skies at Reno? Possibly Revamp classes to encompass such without changing so much that the original intent and spirit is lost...
Publicity, sponsorships, advertising/marketing etc, all at play here... In today’s world where most people enjoy 90% of their entertainment from the handheld device that was originally a phone, it seems to be more and more difficult to get them off that device and out to a venue...
I digress.
 

Victor Bravo

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We had a pretty big discussion a few years ago on this forum about a small cheap entry level 'one design' racer or something like that, started by nerobro IIRC. In that discussion, I posted what I believe were several detailed and 'reasonably well thought out' ideas that would be relevant to the success of air racing going forward, regardless of whether it's a cheap or one design class.

One of the things I thought would have a chance is a smaller, slower, tighter race course that can fit inside the airport boundary of a military base or regional airport. Not having to shut down city streets, not having to move people out of their homes, not having to get an FAA waiver for racing over people's property... IMHO that would take a very large chunk out of the problem. This is why "circle track" and small "dirt track" racing was viable all around the US. You could do it at the County Fairgrounds. The Long Beach and Monaco Grand Prix races are world famous, but there's only a small number of them comparatively, because they have to shut down an entire city to do it.

So a Formula 2 race class, maybe 200 MPH at most, but with longer wings to turn tighter and keep the course small enough to be viable at many more typical airshows, is the place to start. Electric is certainly an option, as is the little V-twin industrial engines limited to about 75 or 80 HP.

It's definitely not "unlimited" but it's a hell of a lot better than watching the entire sport of air racing die off.
 

TFF

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Red Bull has a certain audience they try and capture. If they don’t think they are getting through, they stop the advertising money. They have been having temper tantrums in F1 because their cars are not winning.
 

Vigilant1

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Why did Formula V air racing become less popular? The planes were inexpensive and engines/parts were widely available new.

It would be interesting if B&S, Honda, Kohler, etc would sponsor a race for planes using one of their larger V-twins as a base, few restrictions on engine mods or airframe specs. Impossible/not advantageous due to liability, I'm sure. B&S does (did?) promote cart racing with a high performance single cylinder engine that they sold just for that purpose.
 
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mcrae0104

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Are designs like the Pond Racer still allowed at Reno?
Yes. And I look forward to hopefully seeing the designs Ross mentioned.

It seems such a logical way forward where auto-engines now routinely put out 1000+ HP for modest $$. All the money saved by not exploding Lycosaurs could be invested in custom and cool airframes.
I'm all for auto-derived engines, but I'm not sure that "exploding Lycosaurs" are a problem. (Blowing up a Merlin, OTOH, certainly is a problem.) Lavelle, Findlay, and others have demonstrated reasonably reliable performance and I'm amazed that these 550s & 580s will put up with the pressures they're being fed.

That said, if I were charged with developing a new design for Sport class, I'd carefully examine the potential of 1) a large displacement, heavily turbo'd, direct-drive V-8 spinning in the neighborhood of 4,000 rpm, and 2) a twin-turbo IO-720. At some point, more power will require airframes with higher Vne than the current crop--many already exceeding the designer's Vne--can deliver without a lot more modification.
 
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