|The new regulations have resulted from a complete overhaul of the technical elements of regulation K37 for stage rally cars, which had not been reviewed for more than 15 years.
The review was instigated for a number of reasons:
• Firstly, to bring the UK regulations closer in line with those of the FIA
• Secondly, to reduce performance (and therefore speeds) of the vehicles competing in stage rallies
• Thirdly, to ensure that the Motor Sports Association is able to demonstrate that every care has been taken to address and minimise the risks involved in a sport that carries an inherent danger
• Fourthly, to move the sport of stage rallying towards production-based machinery and away from higher performance vehicles.
The new regulations will come into effect for all new cars on 1st January 2009, while all current cars will remain eligible to compete until at least 1st January 2012.
After this time, existing cars will be required to incorporate certain safety measures, but these are, in the main, part of the general progression of technical and safety requirements emanating from the world governing body, the FIA.
Colin Hilton, MSA Chief Executive, commented:
“It has taken a long time and a great deal of hard work to arrive at these final regulations and I must commend the dedication of the members of the Rallies Committee, in particular its chairman John Richardson, who have put so much effort into this project.
“It may have taken more than two years, but it has been an excellent example of the consultation process in our legislative procedures. Many changes have been incorporated as a direct result of the feedback we received from the sport and we have now arrived at a set of regulations that achieves the original objectives and provides a framework for the future development and success of stage rallying in this country.”
SUMMARY OF THE NEW REGULATIONS
(Please note the full regulations can be found in the accompanying PDF to this document)
All cars submitted for a new Competition Car Log Book after 1st January 2009 must comply fully with the revised requirements. There are two Categories as follows:-
Homologated cars, Series Production Cars (with limited modifications permitted) and Specialist Rally Cars (these being low volume, manufacturer production cars).
Cars must retain the configuration as supplied by the manufacturer. Engines may be changed (but may not exceed 25% increase in capacity of the model or the specified capacity limit in MSA Regulations) and must remain in the original manufacturer`s location.
Drive configuration must remain as manufactured, other than 4WD cars which may be converted to 2WD without structural alteration. Specialist Rally Cars must retain their original manufacturer`s drive configuration.
Category 2 cars are those which will not comply with Category 1, but are acceptable to the MSA by incorporating only those modifications detailed in the revised K37.
• The original manufacturer`s chassis/bodywork/unitary construction must be retained as space frame chassis will not be permitted.
• Front wheel drive cars may be converted to rear wheel drive or 4WD subject to modifications made rearwards of the bulkhead being limited to FIA prescribed modifications. These are detailed within Art 279, 3.2.2 and shown in Appendix J, Drawings 279-1 and 279-2 of the FIA Yellow Book.
(These permitted modifications are currently utilised in the construction of FIA Super 2000 stage rally cars and FIA Rallycross cars.)
• Material added in the conversion must be ferrous and must be welded to the original chassis/bodywork/unitary construction of the car.
• The car doors and windscreen must remain in the manufacturer`s original material.
Any engine detailed below, may be fitted to a Category 1 car, (remembering the 25% capacity increase limitation,) and to a Category 2 car. These are:
• Any Series Production Engine with a maximum of six cylinders, for which the following capacity limits apply:
o Petrol, forced induction, with a maximum capacity 2000cc and a 34 mm restrictor.
o Petrol, forced induction with a maximum capacity of 2500cc and a 32mm restrictor.
o Forced induction diesel engine with a maximum capacity of 2500cc and a 37mm restrictor.
o Naturally aspirated petrol engine with more than 2 valves per cylinder and 3000cc maximum capacity.
o Naturally aspirated petrol engine with 2 valves per cylinder and 3500cc maximum capacity.
• Any Specialist Competition Engine meeting the following criteria:
o Naturally aspirated, no more than four cylinders, no more than four valves per cylinder, maximum capacity of 2500cc.
The following details apply to all Category 1 & 2 cars:-
• Transmission systems will be free, other than that active front and rear differentials are not acceptable, unless originally homologated for that model of car. On 4WD cars, centre diffs may remain active. Entirely mechanical systems are permitted. Further, active suspension systems will not be permitted (these are in line with FIA requirements).
• Wheel and tyre sizes have been brought into line with FIA requirements. These are 7” for up to 1150cc, 8” to 1600cc and 9” for over 1600cc. These measurements are at the widest point, above hub level, of the wheel/tyre assembly at normal operating pressure.
• Car weight limits are now defined. Homologated cars must conform at all times to the minimum weights stated in their homologation papers. Non-homologated cars weights are now defined in line with FIA requirements, other than for 2WD Specialist Rally Cars which will use current MSA weights.
• Safety requirements include the location of internal electrical isolating switches, including fire extinguisher activating switches, being so positioned that both crew members may be able to operate them when normally seated with belts fastened.
• FIA homologated seats must be fitted and correctly installed, with appropriate FIA specification seat mountings.
All cars with a current MSA Competition Car Log Book may continue in competition in their current specification until the end of 2011 subject, of course, to complying with any subsequent regulation changes in the meantime.
Current Category 1 and most Category 2 cars will be able to continue competing after 1 January 2012, with the addition of certain features which are mainly safety-related.
Current Category 3 cars will have to be re-inspected and issued with a new Competition Car Log Book by the MSA, subject to them complying fully with the new technical specifications detailed in K37.
Additional features required for existing cars, to enable them to compete after 1 January 2012, are as follows:
a) If side windows are of toughened glass, they must be coated on the inside with a clear transparent safety film.
b) Mud flaps behind all four wheels extending 4mm each side of the tyre tread and a maximum of 8mm above the ground are mandatory.
c) Suitable towing eye fitments front and rear must be in place (these are to be clearly defined by the MSA Technical Advisory Panel in the near future).
d) Have internal electrical isolating switches, including fire extinguisher activating switches, so positioned that both crew members may be able to operate them when normally seated with belts fastened.
e) Have FIA homologated seats correctly fitted, with FIA specification seat mountings.
Clearly all of these requirements may be introduced gradually over the next few years. However, they must all be in place by the 1st January 2012, to enable current cars to continue to be eligible to compete on stage rallies.
We asked John Richardson, Chairman of the MSA Rallies Committee, a selection of the most frequently asked questions about K37. Here is what he had to say:-
How many of the current cars do you think will be excluded permanently from stage rallying?
Hopefully, many of the current Cat 3 cars will be able to be modified to comply with the new regulations, but no doubt a few will be unable to continue.
What about current club stage cars (under category 1) fitted with a non-original engine of a capacity that would be over the permitted increase under the new regulations?
Existing cars will be able to continue competing, subject to satisfying the new safety regulations.
Will people be able to build ‘special` cars to adhere to these regulations?
Absolutely! By complying with the new Cat 2 structural requirements and using an engine as defined, a very competitive car could be constructed.
Will Darrians still be legal?
Yes, though those currently with a motor-cycle engine would need to re-engine with a Series Production or Specialist Competition engine to comply.
What about Metro 6R4s?
Perfectly acceptable to continue, as they are now.
Why are you making the cars heavier – surely that just means bigger accidents?
No, home produced, ultra light cars are not as safe in accidents. Original manufacturer production car chassis/bodywork/unit construction shells are much stronger and consequently, safer.
Are you banning all rear wheel drive conversions on cars like the G3, Toyota Starlet, some MK2 Escorts, etc?
Certainly not! Existing cars may continue after 2011 with the additions of the safety features detailed in the revised regulations. The new Category 2 positively provides a framework within which a vehicle can be converted to RWD.
What about any motorcycle-engined vehicles?
Motorcycle engines are not Series Production Car Engines, so are not permitted. Cars so equipped may substitute a Series Production engine or a Specialist Competition engine (as defined) to permit them to continue.
Will the Millington Diamond engine be outlawed under the new regs because it is not a production engine?
No. Millington, as well as other makes, comply as Specialist Competition engines.
What happens to WRC cars?
They may continue by complying with their homologated specification.
Are active differentials to be allowed?
Active front and rear diffs are not allowed, unless originally homologated for that model of car, though on 4WD cars, centre diffs may remain active.
Are all fibreglass arches or a body kit of any type outlawed?
No. For Category 1 cars, certain items e.g. bonnets, wheel arch extensions, bumpers and boot lids that are not part of a unitary construction may be of alternative materials. For Category 2 cars, the body work must be original. Any homologated bodywork may be included, but copies of homologated bodywork/aerodynamic devices are not permitted.
Release MSA07-064: 31 October 2007