October 30, 2003
To All Star FM Pro Car Drivers
We are writing to bring you up
to date on the testing and development of the New Formula Mazda Pro Car. We list
below information, which was covered at our lunch meeting following the tour of
the Panoz/G Force facilities (EMT), during the week of Petit Le Mans. We hope
you find this information interesting and useful as you plan your program for
2004. We wish to emphasize that the car and the rules are works in progress and
that your thoughts and suggestions are always welcome. Cars are now in
production, with the first deliveries to customers targeted for the first week
of December. The delivery rate is planned for one car per working day on
average, about 21 cars per month.
We are now in the process of
freezing the design for the first year and writing the detailed rules for 2004
competition. We plan to publish the first draft of the rules in December with
the target for “official” rules being January 30th. This should
give several drivers and teams time to work a bit with the new car and give us
any feedback they wish before the rules are “in stone”. Of course, if any
overriding consideration should arise at any time it will be expeditiously dealt
with. Otherwise, we will strive to maintain rules stability season-by-season,
with only occasional year-end updates for the subsequent season.
Here is a summary of items
covered at the lunch meeting in Atlanta.
the Star Race Cars debut of the 2004 Pro car at Mazda Raceway in September,
Testing - 27 days on track, over 3000 miles, nine drivers.
Drivers were chosen for varied experience and driving styles, to help determine the range of adjustment needed to accommodate different drivers and tracks, within the new car specs. Drivers were -
Jason La Point
Tracks were -
Hethel, UK (Lotus test track)
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
We also did high-speed runs on Mojave Airport's runway, with Mike Williams driving.
To date, the following changes have resulted:
Radiators/oil coolers - three times
Side pods/ducting - three times, going on four (seen during Panoz/G-Force tour of Pro Mazda car construction)
Drive shaft/tripod cups and plungers
Wheels- BBS F-1 style, forged aluminum (light as die cast mag, but much tougher)
Brake M/cyls resized
Brake rotors and calipers - now Alcon 11inch x 0.70, vented
Differential - open (not limited slip), changed to 9/31 cwp
Tires - 3 compounds tested, two different constructions, and 11-inch rear tread being built for next test
Bell housing/trans adaptor - moved starter to left side for better weight balance/less heat from exhaust
Shocks - Ohlins revalved/ Springs - now 4 inch free length all positions, by Hyperco Sway bars - resized
Rear suspension geometry - twice
Relocated fire extinguisher and battery
M4 engine control unit - renegotiated upgrade to MoTec custom-built M400
required new wiring harness, mapping, and motor controls/traction
wheel/paddle shifter/air piston/regulators/air solenoids/4 different control
boxes/air tank w/remote fill
Header and muffler - three versions
Rain light changed
Wings, camber plates/end plates, wing mounts w/ quick lift hooks
Front wing flap adjusters with detents (Indy style)
Diffuser w/ replaceable skegs
Engine cover/side pods - fewer fasteners to get at motor/rear shocks and sway bar
Rerouted shift cable to avoid heat
Cold air box for motor intake
Reshape fuel filler neck to accommodate servicing around cold air box
"Tall man" cockpit surround, needed by some to ease use of HANS device
1 inch wider opening in dash bulkhead
Front suspension tethers
Many more fasteners now US sizes
Motor - Eight days dyno testing over 18 months
Oil pump/water pump/fuel rail/oil pressure regulator/fuel pressure regulator/throttle body/crank fire ignition systems (2)
"You are going to love this motor" - 7.1 mpg, 0 to 60 mph in 2.87seconds w/spec gears
There will be more updates, but probably not in the first year of competition, unless something urgent crops up.
"Draft" rules outline for 2004 Pro car - input invited, written draft will be published before cars start to be delivered.
ten race schedule for 2004 was announced at 2003 banquet and is on our web site,
1) No modifications - adjust only as explicitly stated by rules.
2) Motor will be dynoed and sealed (two piece ceramic apex seals will be permitted on rebuild).
3) Sealed shocks - no sealastics or packers.
4) Motors, shocks, and ECUs may only be serviced through Series, which will maintain history of each.
5) Limited data acquisition - no load-sensing pushrods. No telemetry.
6) Springs - issued through Series, only marked Hyperco 600, 700, 800, 900, and 1000 lbs/inch, any four, in any position.
7) Spec sway bars (F-cockpit adj, R-adj)
8) Suspension pick ups - only one option, on rear, at lower forward inboard position.
9) Wings - may remove rear, upper, forward element
10) Brake pads - only two compound choices, one supplier TBA.
11) Spec tires - limited to two marked sets for weekend's official schedule (3 x :30 practices, 1 x qualifying, 1 x race). May allow use of previously marked tires for first practice. Comments? Rain tires at drivers discretion, as always.
12) Spec gears - Two stacks, no mixing. Ten total ratios. Short stack to 145 mph. Long stack to 160 mph. First gear ratio never changes. Short stack 4th is long stack 3rd.
13) HANS device required. Or equivalent (prove it).
14) Tub and nose repair guidelines will be published - significant repairs to the "crash structure" must be done by Panoz/G-Force.
15) Suspension parts and fiberglass must be original, unmodified, as delivered.
16) Fasteners - free, as before.
17) An "oval kit" will be developed.
Year end prize money - $500,000 cash guaranteed. Champion gets $100,000
plus a new Mazda RX-8. Rookie bonus is $10,000.
Atlanta we have continued testing and have finalized the suspension geometry,
shocks, springs, and sway bar specs. We are very pleased with the upgrade from
the Motec M-4 to the M-400, an engine control unit that normally sells for more
than twice the price. We have decided to delete the air shifter and
steering wheel paddle for the first season, because we are not yet satisfied
with the reliability of the downshift process. We will continue to develop this
technology, and hopefully, make it available for season two (2005). In the
meantime, the up-shift without lift feature will still be included on the car.
We are still testing variations on tire construction and compounds with
Goodyear, so cars will be delivered on the 430 compound “test” tires we have
been mostly using, with the tire decision soon and final spec tire production
starting in December.
always, our objective is to deliver to you, safe, reliable, and equal racecars
that are as low cost to operate and as fast and fun to drive as we can contrive,
within those parameters. We have made great strides over this last year and are
very proud of what has been achieved. We think you are going to love racing this
list below the complete 2004 schedule for “The Star Mazda Series North
American Championship presented by Goodyear”.
Road Atlanta (Petit Le Mans)
Phoenix 1.0 mile oval
may shift slightly, from Saturday to Sunday perhaps, as the detailed schedules
are finalized. We will keep you posted, and update our web site continually.
has, so far, refused our request for FA classification of the Pro Car; you can
run in FS in regional competition. If you care about SCCA, write to them and
tell them how you feel, and send us a copy so we know.