Inside SCCA: The Rule Process

Last week, in this space, we had a discussion of FasTrack, the “minutes” of the SCCA and updates on rule changes.

But are you aware of HOW those rule changes come to be?

It may come as a shock, but nearly every rule in SCCA’s major competition platforms are there because of a request and a submission from competitors just like yourself and Road Racing and Autocross use the same system to track these requests.

So how to suggest a rule change? It’s actually a simple process on its face. In the “olden days,” a written letter was sent, but now everything comes through an online submission at www.crbscca.com.

Once there, fill in the form with your contact information; select which program board the letter is intended for (Club Racing Board or Solo Events Board,) the category of car your rule proposal may apply to, and the specific class.

From there, it’s as simple as typing or pasting your letter and hitting submit – and then kicking back and waiting for the rules to make your car faster!

Ok, real talk – the process is that simple. Except for the small part that it’s not that simple. Not every rule is going to be approved – I can’t propose that my B-Spec car be allowed a Corvette swap. Nor, can I say “My car is too slow, fix it.” Yes, that happens – no, it doesn’t work.

What does work?

For starters, a well thought out plan. Do you have data that shows the rules are unbalanced, or that a part swap will make things more cost-effective, or that there’s a safety hazard in the way the rule currently sits? State your case.

Be clear, as concise yet detailed as possible. This isn’t the place to ramble, or call names, or push an unrelated agenda.

Understand the philosophy of the class. Yes, you may want your autocross Street-class car to be able to upgrade its suspension, or modify the motor, or run on lower treadwear tires. But that’s not what that class is intended to do.

Be fair in a self-assessment. Is the problem with the car, or with the loose nut behind the wheel? Just because you can never beat competitor X doesn’t mean a rule change is necessary. It may – gulp – be that competitor X is just better than you.

Be ready for rejection. The CRB and SEB receive lots of rule requests every month. Most are not approved. Sometimes there’s a good reason – maybe you’re not aware of secondary issue. Maybe it’s a situation that’s been looked at in the past and doesn’t seem to work. Maybe the Board is just missing the boat (rare, but some would argue that it does, occasionally, happen.) If you truly believe this rule is important for the Club, continue to build the argument. Have a one-on-one talk with a Board member about the thinking, or what you may need to show. Convince other like-minded members to write a similar letter on the topic. Just be polite and understand that while you may not get the answer you hoped for, it’s not personal.

Finally – while you’re at crbscca.com, there are a handful of other things that can be done. Once a letter is submitted, you can see where it stands in the process by clicking the “Track a Letter” tab. “Download a VTS sheet” provides you with a form to start the process to get a brand new car approved for competition.

“Get a Rule Clarification” is a process for road racers outlined in the General Competition Rules (GCR) section 8.1.4 to ask for a specific clarification on a specific rule. Please note that there is a fee for this service.

Finally, if you have a question about the process, or need some clarification before submitting a letter, there is a link to send an email to letterlog@scca.com. Note – this is NOT to submit a letter, but to ask a question about the submission. All submissions must go through the form on the website in order to be considered.

Want to write a letter for Time Trials or RallyCross? Those program boards use a similar process, but in a different platform. For Time Trials, all inquiries and requests may be submitted through the contact forms at TimeTrials.SCCA.com. RallyCross uses an annual rule change process that allows for proposals to be submitted during the first half of the year, allowing the RXB to consider them for the following year’s official rules. This is done through a thread on the RallyCross Rules Forum. Want to start a discussion or seek feedback on a rule-related topic? The Forum is also the place for those conversations. Finally, if you have a question about the RallyCross rules and would like an official answer, you can submit those via email to rxb@scca.com. The official answer from the Rules Committee will be returned to you directly and posted publicly on the Forum.

 

Photo by David Spratte

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