Rally America introduced a rule this year that limits inexperienced novices to Group 2 and Production class cars. As with any drastic rules change, speculation and rumors have been flying around for the past few months. Although the rulebook has been out since January, few people have actually read the rule:
A Novice ClubRally Drivers License will restrict a driver to compete only in a Group 2 or Production Class car. Exception: Until December 31, 2005, any Novice wishing to compete in a class/car other than those listed may request a special waiver for their car. These cars will be subject to special restrictions to be determined by Rally America, e.g. they may be required to run a 28mm restrictor on a turbo car. Such requests must be submitted in writing and will be noted on the Drivers logbook.
I received my novice exemtion from Rally America yesterday, and I’m officially allowed to drive my 1996 Subaru Impreza 2.2 L (PGT 762 Non-Turbo 137 HP). In hopes of squashing some of the rumors, I posted my findings on the Rally America Licensing Questions Forum. I also received a forum reply from J.B. Niday, the Rally America Managing Director:
I’m sure Sean means well by posting the information above. Here’s the problem: there seems to be a desire to create a FORMULA for getting an exemption. There is no magic formula.
Novice exemptions are issued based on a number of factors:
- Your Driver experience. The more one relies on this over everything else, the better this experience needs to be. We’re looking for competitive motorsports at serious speeds. RallyCross is nice, but all by itself, it is never enough.
- Your Vehicle. If one is going to rely on the vehicle over their experience, then less is more. If your PGT, G5 or Open car is comparable to typical G2 cars, then there is more room for consideration… thus the 28mm restrictor, non-turbo, etc. exemptions.
- Who will your co-driver be? The more experienced the better, particularly if it is someone who has worked with new drivers in the past.
- Attitude. Maturity. Willingness to accept the need for these policies.
In other words, if you have no experience other than RallyCross and a powerful car with your best buddy who is a HUGE fan co-driving and a serious desire to prove something to the world at your first rally; you get a fast “NO”…
So, the Subaru Impreza 2.2 L is definitely slow enough to be considered for exemption on a case by case basis; it all boils down to your previous driving experience and attitude.