Class 5 only

Zac Reish

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I am shooting for the Parker 425. Rage sounds fun, but I need more time to get the car right. And I have always wanted to do Parker. And its a class 5 coalition race.
I have never been there before. I know its a highly restricted BITD race. How is the camping and Pitting. I am trying to talk my wife into going. She doesn't want to be the dust bowl of Generators and crap music.


@CJ I'll be at rage. Hoping more people sign up. Thanks Jakes Fabworks for the $500 Bonus!
 

CHASETHISTOO

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I am shooting for the Parker 425. Rage sounds fun, but I need more time to get the car right. And I have always wanted to do Parker. And its a class 5 coalition race.
I have never been there before. I know its a highly restricted BITD race. How is the camping and Pitting. I am trying to talk my wife into going. She doesn't want to be the dust bowl of Generators and crap music.
There are definitely areas you can get away from the dust and crap music. We always camp away from everyone for that exact reason.
 

jon coleman

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i miss the pitt squirrels on pit bikes racing All night, heard they outlawed that crap ...Really miss foot to floor graded ralley roadso_O
 

dhjeepgeek

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I see there is 12 signed up for RATR. Still a good showing, not 20+, but still a race.
 

dhjeepgeek

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I hear Parker is going to be a two day event, as in us 5 car guys get to race Friday. Heck, I can go do something else for the weekend. I am not sure how this will work for the starting times. I can guess we will start in the day light.
 

DrZero

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I'm trying to learn more about the different classes in desert racing, and am particularly interested in the Class 5 Unlimited.
I've read most of this topic, consisting of 250 pages of posts, and so I am aware that the rules for the class were changed a few years ago to permit a wider variety of engines, not just air-cooled VW type.

I'm not a current racer or car owner.

I was looking at the results for the 2019 Score Baja 500 (hoping to find the 1000 results, but they are not up yet) and got them:

*1 527 Dustin Grabowski Upland, CA SUB 1 16:04:53.393
DNF 505 Gerardo Gonzalez S RValle De Las Palmas VW 0 00:00:00.000
DNF 501 Trey Hernquist Encinitas, CA VW 0 00:00:00.000
DNF 510 Gerardo Ibarra Calexico, CA VW 0 00:00:00.000

So that made me interested in this Subaru powered Class 5 car and I found some pictures of it:

class 5 suburu-2.jpg
Class 5 Suburu.jpg



So, this is a very nice looking buggy, and obviously (from looking at their Facebook Team Page) they have excellent sponsorship from Subaru.

What I'm wondering about is if the class rules have changed so that the "must be a VW Type 1 based" is no longer required. What I mean by this is that,for instance, the top of this thread (page 1) has this vehicle pictured:

1574700832205.png


So they aren't *that* different, but clearly the bottom one is a highly evolved Bug and the top one isn't.

I went to the rules and they say:


CLASS 5 Unlimited
OPEN WHEEL – Unlimited Baja Bugs
Revised – 02/20/2016

DEFINITION

Vehicle must be a VW Sedan Type 1 Hardtop or Convertible. 181 Safari, 900 Series Porsche and Karmann Ghia are included


and then, a bit later:

CR38 DOORS and LATCHES
Doors must remain in original stock location and maintain stock shape and size. Doors may be welded or fastened

Single piece front ends allowed. Any body, made of metal or fiberglass may be used as long as Baja Bug appearance is
maintained

If convertible body is used, windshield framework must be retained and rear crossover piece forward of engine cover may
be removed.

Windshield and window glass is optional but must be shatterproof if retained.
Wheelbase may be altered to a maximum of 105" as measured from front wheel centerline to rear wheel centerline.
Combined measurement of both sides cannot exceed a maximum total of 211". This measurement will be taken at ride height.


So, what it seems like is that these are in reality "100% tube chassis" buggies, in both cases. Looking at the Subaru it doesn't look like it was ever a VW. Is it supposed to look like a Subaru? In the bottom red one the "VW Bug" look is still there, but it's very abstract, like how a funny-car version of a Camaro looks like a real Camaro.

Who makes the buggy chassis for these new Class 5U cars? Are they simply modified versions of the Class 1 and Class 10 buggies, or are they different in important ways?

It appears that actual car doors may be used to fabricate the "doors", but the don't open anymore and the chassis - well there really *isn't* an old Type 1 VW skeleton hidden in that Subaru, is there? Exactly what does the rule "Vehicle must be a VW Sedan Type 1 Hardtop or Convertible. 181 Safari, 900 Series Porsche and Karmann Ghia are included" mean at this point? Do you need a VW Vin plate but literally replace everything else on it?

If someone wanted to build one of these it seems like you would start with a tube chassis and near the end bolt on some fiberglass body parts to look "bug like", but the rules don't exactly say that.

Thanks in advance for helping educate me.
 

Zac Reish

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The blue subaru that doesn't look like an actual baja bug does not have a "legal" appearence. People would rather it look like a baja. Everyone looks the other way as its a body and we'd rather have the entry than not. That particular car is an amazing machine. heavy but once it's up to speed the bumps worry about the car VS the car worrying about the bumps.

The current push is to get all cars to run stock production, watercooled 2.5 liter or less powerplants to keep the costs of racing these cars down.

The majority of the winning cars are class 10 cars with VW beam front suspension. The body needs to look like a VW. You don't need to worry about doors..

I would not base all your research on the uncontested baja 500 or baja 1000 results I'd look more at races like this years parker 400, mint 400, and the past years of SNORE rage at the river results to see what set ups and cars are doing well when there is a larger car count.
 

DrZero

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I found this article about the blue Subaru, I don't think it's been posted previously.

Grabowski Brothers Racing’s Unlimited Class 5 Crosstrek Isn’t Your Grandma’s Subaru

Which, I think sort of shows what I was talking about. The rules-as-practiced and the rules-as-written seem very different.
Clearly no actual Volkswagen was used in the making of this vehicle!

I'm not complaining about that, I'm just trying to understand it. (And of course the look of the "Baja Bug" is fantastic, and part of their charm, so I do hope that's maintained.)

If I was going to spend tens of thousands of dollars to build a racing machine, then I do want to make sure it's going to be legal to race when it's done. I know that's been an issue with engines (from reading olders postings on this thread), but it hasn't seemed have been on the chassis.


CR
48 CHASSIS and
BODY

Single piece front ends allowed. Any body, made of metal or fiberglass may be used as long as the Baja
Bug appearance is maintained.
If convertible body is used, windshield framework must be retained and rear crossover piece forward of engine cover may be removed.
Windshield and window glass is optional but must be shatterproof if retained.
Wheelbase may be altered to a maximum of 105” as measured from front wheel centerline to rear wheel centerline.
This measurement will be taken at ride level.
Combined measurement of both sides cannot exceed a maximum total of 211”. This measurement will be taken at ride height


Is there a maximum track width, or vehicle width? It doesn't say so in these rules, but the the rules were written when people were using vintage Volkswagens to build these buggies, so that was implied. The width came from the VW chassis you were required to use. But now - that's not how they are actually built.
At least from the many from the pictures I've seen here.


This came up a few pages back: "
Glen Greer said:
Question, the interior cab width of new bug compared to old bug body from what I find is 72" to 60". Due they check your width at drivers seat area? Glen
And Zac replied:

Nobody has ever checked cab width. There are a few 5 cars that have a widened chassi. No one has cared about interior cab width. Maybe that’s not true. Mine is too narrow. I wish it was wider. I don’t see it creating any significant advantage. What are you working on?

"Nobody ever checked" is not the same as "Class Legal", but it seems like when the constraint of the actual VW body & chassis was informally dropped the Open nature of the class became more "wide open". Am I missing something?
 
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DrZero

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The BITD rules are a little more detailed:

SCR49: CHASSIS & BODY Vehicle must retain original steel body and doors. Metal may be added to strengthen the body and floor pan. Floor pan is optional. One-piece front ends are permitted. Removal of front and rear sheet metal is permitted but only enough as required to allow for installation of Baja kit or one piece front end. Body may not be cut any farther forward then the upper line of the original engine cover. Hardtop sedans must retain top, removal of top is not permitted. If convertible body is used the windshield framework must be retained. Rear crossover piece forward of the engine cover may be removed. Stock body width must be retained. A body lift of a maximum of 3.625 inches from the floor pan is permitted. Wheel wells may be cut out a maximum of 2.5 inches. Any other combination of raising or cutting is permitted as long as combined modifications do not exceed the 3.625-inch limit. Windshield and window glass is optional but must be shatterproof if retained. Wheelbase may be lengthened to a maximum of 105 inches as measured from front wheel centerline to rear wheel centerline. Combined measurement from both sides cannot exceed 211 inches.

These seem a lot more "strict" than the SCORE rules, for instance Hardtop sedans must retain top, removal of top is not permitted -- but there are all sorts of cars in this thread that appear never to have had a single piece of actual VW sheet metal attached to them, body, top, or anything else.

Stock body width must be retained.
 
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swiftracing5

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I’ll get in-
The class rules from its inception to the 2000s was followed almost to the “T”. For a handful of reasons, some of which include the cost to keep an air cooled engine running/running fast, the growth of reliable water cooled engines and their respective electronics, the class died. I raced by myself a couple times, sometimes one other car. It was dead.

Since then, Zac and a few others opened the door and kicked the lock off that door by pushing the ecotec as a legal class engine. It took a year or so, but the class exploded. There was no turning back, the focus of the class was engines though. A couple guys tested the waters with new chassis, but the emergence of jakes fab works has put the class in another level.

My point is- the class took off faster than it should have probably, people just wanted to get an Ecotec in Their car and race, nobody cared bring up the rules issues as custom tube chassis cars set the bar now. We are fighting this battle now on engines, trying to reign it in.

It doesn’t justify it, but Most of us in the class feel body rules “don’t affect performance” and we would rather support entry numbers than to turn guys away. The class will always Be a drivers class. There are a handful of guys that can win at any given race. Not because of the body, but 10000s of miles driving 105” wheelbase

I’ll be the first guy waving my Baja bug Pom poms and be bummed the body rules are more of a suggestion these days, but the spirit of class 5 being a Baja bug class died when we allowed ecotec. But 20+ 105” wheelbase class 5s at races is pretty bad a—
 

tapeworm

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Class 5 “unlimited” originally started as a class that was an upgraded vw beetle. In the 80’s they were a vw beetle with the steel pan, stretched in the front to 105 inch wheelbase, 6 inch wider beam, 1 1/4 inch longer front arms, 3x3 arms in the back, a bus box and a big type 1 motor. You were not allowed to chop the roof off the car so convertibles were the cars to have because it allowed more options for cage creativity. I think in the late 80’s or early 90’s, the rules were opened up and the rear louvers were no longer a requirement for the convertible cars, essentially creating full tube chassis cars with metal skins to retain the VW appearance. Big expensive type 4 motors became necessary for class domination in the mid to late 90’s. These motors quickly pushed up into the 30-40 thousand dollar range for a build and required a full tear down after every race. I believe Mr. Varshay (I could be wrong about this) was the first vehicle to have the fiberglass front windshield frame made that was widened to fit his new wide tube chassis car. Im not old enough to remember if there was a verbal riot that ensued with that car, but that was the beginning of the “lesser restrictions” on the body rules. The class was completely dead into the beginning of this decade when the great engine debate began. The class rules were opened up, water cooled motors were allowed with less restrictions than class 10, and the class saw a resurgence. Zac raced BAP with his baja bug when it had a 107 inch wheelbase, didn’t win, and was chastised and subsequently dq’d fog having an illegal car. There is more to that story, but it is an important note that I will tie in later. With the allowance of the new motor option new cars started to be built. The class hasn’t really exploded, as class 10 and TT spec have seen more growth, but the class has seen more cars built and the owners of these cars keep their cars and show up for the big coalition races. The Subaru 5 car started out as a big baja bug with a mildly built Subaru motor. They have since gotten more support, a fully built and expensive Crawford Performance motor, and the wildly controversial “crosstrek” body. Other cars have shown up to races within the past couple of years without fenders and been told they can’t start the next race if they show up without fenders again, but the Subaru hasn’t been protested yet. Now, the majority of tge class wants to restrict the engine rules to stock motors. Most likely a good move, as it will keep the motor costs down but will eliminate that Subaru from being competitive because that car has morphed into being built around that engine and is now too big and heavy to be powered by a stock Subaru.

So the class is now essentially a tube frame race car with a fiberglass baja bug resembling body. The front suspension is still VW beam style, they still use a transaxle, they are all still rear engine, and all still use the VW IRS style rear suspension. Different front end designs have been used but haven’t proven to be faster than what is common.

The 5 car has morphed into a cult class much like class 9 and 1600 have. The cars are becoming very reliable with minimal maintenance costs and the owners are for the most part only selling cars to build a new car. The class has seen a resurgence with cars and racers that will stay around.

It seems as though the major rule that will be enforced is the 105 inch wheelbase rule. Zac had his car fixed immediately after the race he was dq’d because no one was willing to allow any grey area on the wheelbase. Bodies have gotten more lenient.

It is probably time for the class 5 guys to setup a committee and do a rewrite of the rules to conform to the new standards so their isn’t all of the grey area cars racing. In conclusion, if you plan on building or racing a 5 car, don’t show up with a buggy. It needs to have some sort of vehicle looking body on it. Dont show up with anything that has a-arms up front. You won’t be allowed to race. And finally, dont show up with anything that has over 105 inch wheelbase. Dinosaurs from the past will go to an ATM and give someone in the class the protest money to DQ your car just to prove their point. Follow the engine rules and you have a very fun and fast car to race. Hopefully I’m not offending anyone with my post, but it’s the internet and I’m technically a millennial so I don’t really care if I do.
 

DrZero

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Class 5 “unlimited” originally started as a class that was an upgraded vw beetle....
Thanks! This was really useful and interesting.

In conclusion, if you plan on building or racing a 5 car, don’t show up with a buggy. It needs to have some sort of vehicle looking body on it. Dont show up with anything that has a-arms up front. You won’t be allowed to race. And finally, dont show up with anything that has over 105 inch wheelbase. Dinosaurs from the past will go to an ATM and give someone in the class the protest money to DQ your car just to prove their point. Follow the engine rules and you have a very fun and fast car to race.
Sounds like good advice.

It is probably time for the class 5 guys to setup a committee and do a rewrite of the rules to conform to the new standards so their isn’t all of the grey area cars racing.
It's amazing that everyone involved has informal rules that they understand and work, but it's pretty baffling coming from the outside to try to understand. So, from the outsider's perspective, I think more people might consider building new cars if the rules were clear. It's odd to read the rule book, and then see the winning cars and realize they are not in conformance with the written rules.

For a newbie it becomes clear that the road to building a competitive car requires ignoring a lot of the rules.

Coming from most other sports (like sailboat racing, for instance) - that's a recipe for disaster. It's disconcerting if one is considering dropping over $50K to build a car to "hope" that the transgressions taken are the OK ones, and not ones that will get you DQ'd and homeless (without a class to race your new toy in).

But, there is also something cool about it, a bit anarchic. A working group consensus, unwritten, and a bit impenetrable to outsiders rules the class.

Thanks to everyone who has helped explain all this to me. Much appreciated!
 

McCredie A

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Thanks! This was really useful and interesting.



Sounds like good advice.



It's amazing that everyone involved has informal rules that they understand and work, but it's pretty baffling coming from the outside to try to understand. So, from the outsider's perspective, I think more people might consider building new cars if the rules were clear. It's odd to read the rule book, and then see the winning cars and realize they are not in conformance with the written rules.

For a newbie it becomes clear that the road to building a competitive car requires ignoring a lot of the rules.

Coming from most other sports (like sailboat racing, for instance) - that's a recipe for disaster. It's disconcerting if one is considering dropping over $50K to build a car to "hope" that the transgressions taken are the OK ones, and not ones that will get you DQ'd and homeless (without a class to race your new toy in).

But, there is also something cool about it, a bit anarchic. A working group consensus, unwritten, and a bit impenetrable to outsiders rules the class.

Thanks to everyone who has helped explain all this to me. Much appreciated!

I do not think you will build a winner for 50K. I think it will be closer to 80-90K. You can probably get a used one for around that price.
 

bhernquist

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Thanks! This was really useful and interesting.



Sounds like good advice.



It's amazing that everyone involved has informal rules that they understand and work, but it's pretty baffling coming from the outside to try to understand. So, from the outsider's perspective, I think more people might consider building new cars if the rules were clear. It's odd to read the rule book, and then see the winning cars and realize they are not in conformance with the written rules.

For a newbie it becomes clear that the road to building a competitive car requires ignoring a lot of the rules.

Coming from most other sports (like sailboat racing, for instance) - that's a recipe for disaster. It's disconcerting if one is considering dropping over $50K to build a car to "hope" that the transgressions taken are the OK ones, and not ones that will get you DQ'd and homeless (without a class to race your new toy in).

But, there is also something cool about it, a bit anarchic. A working group consensus, unwritten, and a bit impenetrable to outsiders rules the class.

Thanks to everyone who has helped explain all this to me. Much appreciated!
I just built a 5 car that I believe will be competitive and comply with the current BITD rules as I saw them the most restrictive. I used a steel VW convertible body and windshield frame - limited the cab width to "stock" VW. I also used all "top" quality parts, Mendeola S5 trans and completed it for under $60k. I had the chassis built and most all fab/aluminium and tabbed by Curry in Mexicali for $16k. There are options that are available.
 

DrZero

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I just built a 5 car that I believe will be competitive and comply with the current BITD rules as I saw them the most restrictive. I used a steel VW convertible body and windshield frame - limited the cab width to "stock" VW. I also used all "top" quality parts, Mendeola S5 trans and completed it for under $60k. I had the chassis built and most all fab/aluminium and tabbed by Curry in Mexicali for $16k. There are options that are available.
Thanks! That's some excellent first hand experience. Yes, I noticed the BITD rules are more restrictive than the SCORE rules, but even under the SCORE rules the Grabowski Suburu is clearly illegal, even to a mere amature observer like myself. It's not like you need to go over it with a micrometer and a tape measure to see that. But then, as explained above, there is a gentleman's understanding not to enforce a bunch of the rules.

You took the smart and safe route, which makes sense so you don't end up having hassles on race day. But there is clearly a disadvantage to hauling a couple hundred pounds of VW sheet metal around to comply with the letter-of-the-law, when some of the people you are racing against have just slapped on some lightweight glass and aluminum body panels and called it good.

There are also the obvious limitations needed to get the cage in the body, notably width, that you've accomodated. Hat's off to you!

Got any pictures?
 
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