November 19th, 2023

Request for Comments - Appalachian HillClimb Series Classification and Ruleset Development

Request for Comments - Appalachian HillClimb Series Classification and Ruleset Development

Hello HillClimbers! We are now well into the offseason which brings with it an opportunity for continuing development of both competition classifications and the commensurate ruleset. The Appalachian HillClimb Series Board has met and discussed several proposed revisions to the classing matrix and ruleset for the 2024 season which are summarized below. It is the ask of the Board that interested members submit feedback on these concepts via the email address no later than December 8th. Yes, these topics can, will be and should be discussed openly online. However, if you have a position that you would like the Board to consider, please send us an email so we can ensure your thoughts are shared with all members of the Board.

Classic StockCar Challenge - The board is proposing a Classic StockCar class for 2024 designed to bring retired racecars from series like NASCAR Cup, Truck and ARCA to HillClimb Rules would be intended to include a wide range of cars (and trucks), allow for period correct configurations as well as modern modifications and technology if desired. The Board is interested in hearing from those engaged in the series with recommendations for existing rulesets that can be utilized to govern the class.

Tie-Breakers - Some may have noticed that one of our classes had a championship tie in 2023 (Congrats x2!) which isn’t what we had envisioned… Recommendation for 2024 is that ties be broken with head-to-head competition - whichever driver finished ahead of the other 2 out of three times would win the championship. And, if they both happened to have a first, second and third, then the total margin of victory, across the head-to-head competitions, would be used to break the tie- essentially, whoever beat the other by the most.

Aero Rule Clarification - Currently, the aero rule for Street Unlimited, all Modified Classes and Special Open is that aero is “open.” For 2023, the Board is recommending that the rule for SU and Modified classes be changed to "Open Fixed (active aero not allowed)." This change, perhaps obviously, would limit active aero to Special Open, which is currently a class that only allows formula cars and sports racers. There is an option to allow active aero in Mod Unlimited as well, so that active aero could be utilized on a production-based car. Regardless, the interest of the Board is to limit the cost and performance thresholds in classes with limited rulesets.

Update to Street Unlimited - In short, the Board has identified a mistake in the presentation of the 2023 rules- specifically that the AHS website stated that “if the vehicle is street legal, it is Sport Unlimited legal,” while pointing to rulesets that have more restrictive language. There are many layers to this issue, but at the core, the intention of the class was to adhere to this language from the Solo Street Modified Rules -

Any minor modification, intended to allow or facilitate any allowed modification, is permitted as long as it does not provide any intrinsic performance benefit in and of itself, does not provide a weight reduction of more than 1.0 lb., and is not explicitly prohibited elsewhere within these rules. This rule is intended to allow minor notching, bending, clearancing, grinding; the drilling of holes; affixing, relocating, or strengthening of brackets; removal of small parts, and similar operations performed in order to facilitate the installation of allowed parts or modifications. Minor strengthening, without relocation, of original chassis/suspension pickup points is allowed. Examples include welding washers restricting control arm mounting bolt movement, local reinforcement of control arm chassis mounts, etc. Competitors are strongly cautioned to make the minimum amount of modification required to affix a given part and to not make unduly tortured interpretations of this rule. Modifications to the firewall in order to allow for increased engine setback, and any modification that changes the location of a suspension pickup point, are explicitly forbidden. Plastic under-trays and covers below the vehicle may be removed or modified as necessary to facilitate other compliant modifications, but not added or enlarged.

The confusion and complexity around this issue was increased by allowing the CAM ruleset as one of the "must otherwise be legal for" classes listed for Street Unlimited, which was intentional but perhaps not well vetted.

To address this issue, the board is proposing the following:

  • Require that Street Unlimited vehicles meet the build requirements and are within the modification allowances for TT Max or Solo Street Modified.
  • Not require that vehicles meet the minimum weights of these classes as those weights are more a function of competitiveness in other sports than they are safety driven.

The net effect of these changes would move at least one car from Street Unlimited to Modified Unlimited. In doing so, it is the intention of the Board to reset the SU records to the fastest time from a 2024 eligible car AND to reset the MU records at hills where SU went faster than the standing MU record (Pine Mountain and Flag Rock). There is no intention to change results or championships as those are settled and do not carry over into the next year(s) as records do. It should be noted, the Board is of the opinion that the record times set in SU in 2023 were done so in good faith, this is a case of correcting rules to intentions, not an issue of a driver being outside of the rules as written.

Introduction of Sport Max (SX) - The Board also believes that there is a developing challenge between Super Sport and Sport Unlimited- specifically that Sport Unlimited has massive participation across a wide variety of preparation levels, and vehicles in SS by virtue of the SMF or ESP ruleset, can exceed 400hp creating a meaningful performance delta between Sport and Super Sport. To address this, the Board would like feedback on a class above Super Sport that would capture SMF, ESP and some of milder prep Street Unlimited cars. The concept is class is being called Sport Max and would borrow aero rules from TT Max category, meaning that wings and splitter could be run here but limited to more common off-the-shelf solutions rather than the fully open rules for Street Unlimited.

Proposed Revisions to the Sport Class Classing Matrix

HillClimb Class Displacement limit Safety Level Tire Allowances Aero Allowance Prep Limit Examples of Classes
Sport (S) Small displacement, lightly modified street legal and limited prep race Internal combustion engines (ICEs) up to 2.5 NA, No FI Level 2 Any D.O.T. Approved Tire Splitters and Spoilers per Solo SP rules Must otherwise be legal for one of these or the above listed classes: S4
Super Sport (SS) High perfromance, lightly modified street legal and limited prep race Internal Combustion Engines up to 5.0 NA / 2.5 FI (2WD) / 1.9 FI (AWD) Level 2 Any D.O.T. Approved Tire Splitters and Spoilers per Solo SP rules Must otherwise be legal for one of these or the above listed classes: S2
Sport Max (SX) High performance modified street legal and limited prep race Internal Combustion Engines up to 6.0 NA / 4.0 FI (2WD) / 3.0 FI (AWD) Level 2 Any D.O.T. Approved Tire Must be legal for Time Trials Max Category Must otherwise be legal for one of these or the above listed classes: S1
Sport Unlimited (SU) Highly modified street legal and limited prep race Unlimited Level 2 Any D.O.T. Approved Tire Open Must otherwise be legal for one of these or the above listed classes: M1
Note: Solo SM and TT Max minimum weights do not apply