The first round of the clubs Group 5 proxy race had five quality entries. Not the biggest field we have had but during these times of COVID cases rising its good to have anyone prepare a car to run in a proxy series.
The rules for this series were based on the Racer Sideways Group 5 cars with modifications limited to those to improve the performance of the cars for our track as well as those to keep the cost and work needed to set up the cars to a minimum.
Specifically, the rules mandate the cars run an inline configuration with a short can motor – either a NSR or Slot It. Motors are limited to 23K @ 12 volts. The change was made as the anglewinder set up does not work well on our track and the cars would be more difficult for our proxy drivers to control. Tires were open choice as long as it was a Slot It tire with F30’s and N22’s working best on our track. Gearing was also open with any Slot It inline crown and pinion. Other than that, the cars were stock.
Racer Sideways offers a great range of Group 5 cars with models that include the Ford Capri, Ford Mustang, Ferrari 512bb, Porsche 935, BMW 320, BMW M1, Lancia Stratos, Lancia Beta Monte Carlo, Toyota Celica and the Nissan Skyline.
This all begs the question – What is so special about Group 5 cars anyway? If you haven’t seen these cars run you owe it to yourself to check them out on YouTube. They are absolute beasts with wide fender flares, tons of horse power and sound that shakes the ground. They were purpose-built race cars that loosely resembled the cars they were based on with the rules stating that only the hood, roof and door panels be stock. This helps explain the massive fender flares on so many of these cars.
The first round of the series had some great examples of the Sideways Group 5 cars – two BMW M1’s, a BMW 320, a Ford Capri and a Lancia Stratos. All of these cars have different wheel bases, heights and lengths as you can see from the chart below. This unique mix of cars should make for some interesting racing.
Our track usually works better on a car with a longer wheel base that is more stable and as a result more predictable. This is highlighted on the back stretch of our track where the cars stability in the fast left – right flick is key to a fast lap.
The races were fun to watch and to drive but the cars were not as fast as the last time we ran them when the rules more open – more like the real Group 5 racing. Just because the racing was not as fast does not mean it was not as fun. The cars were well behaved and it made for an enjoyable time running them. Like all proxy races each car had its unique caricaturists that made it fun and challenging to drive.
The car on the top of the podium was the Lancia Stratos in the all black livery. It was surprising to see how well the short wheel-based Lancia performed when other cars with a similar wheelbase have been unstable. The second place car was Mark’s BMW M1. His car was stable and had good speed on the straights. The third placed car was Russell’s, another BMW but this one was the 320 in Jagermeister livery. This car seemed to be better as the race went on and it was easier to control as the tires came in. The fourth place car was John’s BMW M1. This car was more difficult to control and its top speed was never realized as it was too unstable to push that hard. This car also was involved in a major crash that took off the rear wing. Come to think of it, maybe that is what caused the car to be so unstable at the entry of the turns. The fifth place car was the Ford Capri of Randy. This was the beautiful Zakspeed Gold Leaf livery. The car looked amazing but was a handful in the turns and lacked speed down the straights.
With a full month until the next round there is plenty of time for these racers to make some tweaks to their cars and search for the speed and handling they may have lacked in the first round.
There is also time for new cars to enter the series as everyone is allowed one race to drop there is no penalty to entering a car in the second round.
I can’t wait for the 13th of February and the second round of the Racer-Sideways Group 5 Proxy.