RALLY: ProRally: New closed-course rally program announced

SCCA Announces New Rally Program, Department Off-Road Sport Will Focus on Closed Course Events INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Dec. 10, 2004) -- Sports Car Club of America, Inc. announced today at the Performance Racing Industry show a new Closed Course...

SCCA Announces New Rally Program, Department
Off-Road Sport Will Focus on Closed Course Events

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Dec. 10, 2004) -- Sports Car Club of America, Inc. announced today at the Performance Racing Industry show a new Closed Course Rally Program and Rally Department, combining elements of its former stage rally programs with elements of autocross and road racing.

"SCCA remains focused on providing a new direction for the future of the sport of rally," SCCA President and CEO Steve Johnson said. "Although the environment for traditional stage rally is changing dramatically throughout North America, SCCA is committed to making rally-type competition more accessible for spectators and participants alike."

"Part of SCCA's heritage has been its rally programs, in non-speed events such as Time Speed Distance RoadRallies, as well as closed course RallyCrosses and stage-based high-speed Performance Stage Rallies," the five-page document detailing the program says. "As with most programs that span decades, development and adaptation is required to remain relevant with the times. In 2004, an important part of rally met a crossroads, resulting in the cancellation of one type of program, and now the creation of another.

"To better serve its members and grow the sport of rally in the United States, SCCA has crafted an all-new program to bring many of the elements making stage rally exciting together with elements of its other forms of competition. Most importantly, it is structured to address many of the insurance and liability concerns from the previous program.

"Sports Car Club of America is pleased to introduce its all-new Closed Course Rally program. Overseen by the SCCA Rally Department, the objective of the closed course rally program is to provide new membership activities that blend the elements of SCCA's traditional circuit programs (Solo and Race) with the key features of performance rally."

Closed Course Rally features three distinct programs, including the existing RallyCross competitions, a revised RallySprint program and a new CircuitRally program. The three programs are targeted at a number of participants, including recreational rallyists in street cars, hobby rallyists in multi-purpose cars (street and rally), sportsman rallyists in fully-prepared rally cars and professional and semi-professional rallyists in fully-prepared rally cars.

Beginning in 2005, RallyCross, which is an off-road Solo (autocross), will hold approximately 125 events nationwide, with a focus on consistent operations, procedures and rules.

RallySprint combines elements of performance rally with the Performance Driving Clinic program and Club Racing. Events will be held on circuits in a primarily off-road setting. Events can either be of the lapping format, where participants navigate their cars on the course with others, or single-car events similar to hill climbs depending on the venue. Speeds will be limited in these events, as will the passing areas for a multi-car format to limit the risk of car-to-car incidents. Competition is based on fastest times turned by drivers around the course. There will be approximately 10 Regional RallySprint in 2005, expanding to 50 events by 2007.

CircuitRally is new to SCCA, combining road racing and performance rally. CircuitRally events will be held at existing motorsports facilities and feature wheel-to-wheel heat-based sprint races on mostly non-paved surfaces. Presently, there are several organizations holding similar events with motorcycles, ATVs and trucks. These organizations have thrived since adopting a controlled environment model as opposed to that of a wilderness adventure. CircuitRally fills a need for events featuring automobiles.

CircuitRally events will largely fill the void left by the cancellation of the SCCA ProRally Championship, as it is geared toward spectators and has a television-friendly format. There will be two CircuitRally events in 2004, expanding to 30 National events by 2007.

With the announcement of the Closed Course Rally program, SCCA also announced the restructuring of its Performance Rally department. Now simply called "Rally," the department, headed by Sue Robinson, will also include RoadRally, which was previously managed by SCCA's Solo department.

-scca-

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Series SCCA
Drivers Steve Johnson