|Country|| United States
The Optima Batteries ChumpCar World Series is a series of automotive endurance races held on paved road race courses across North America. The races range in length from 6 to 36 hours. The name is a parody of Champ Car, a defunct open wheel professional racing series. Races are sanctioned throughout the United States, as well as in Canada and Mexico. Teams are encouraged, but not required, to decorate their cars with themes.
The series is similar in some ways to the 24 Hours of LeMons, another $500 "Crapcan" endurance racing series. The series has a different overall philosophy, however, placing more emphasis on racing and less on decorations, costumes, and themes. ChumpCar's slogan is "Real Racing, Real Tracks, Real Cheap Cars", and its stated mission, as stated on its website, is to be "...a throw-back to the era when racing was fun and cheap... when Bondo beat carbon-fiber; when a crescent wrench was the most valuable tool in your box; when home-made engineering made everyone sit up and take notice; and when adding a little theme to your car didn't get you laughed off of pit lane. Those were good times... and they're back." Competitors generally refer to themselves as Chumps.
ChumpCar World Series founder John Condren was the owner of Altamont Raceway Park in California when the first 24 Hours of LeMons events were held at the track. Condren entered a team in the early LeMons races, but was dissatisfied with the party atmosphere and tongue-in-cheek mockery that continues to characterize the LeMons series. After finding that other racers were interested in cheap endurance racing and shared his dissatisfaction with LeMons, Condren formed the ChumpCar World Series and organized the first ChumpCar race in October 2009 at Portland International Raceway. In the first full year of the series, ChumpCar hosted 9 events across the United States at tracks that included Texas Motor Speedway, Iowa Speedway, Portland International Raceway, Hallett Motor Racing Circuit, and Putnam Park, among others.
ChumpCar races resembled LeMons races in the beginning, as many LeMons teams participated in lavishly decorated cars and costumes. Likewise, many of the rules in ChumpCar mirrored those in LeMons to allow teams to easily switch between the two race series. Over time, ChumpCar's rules evolved to form a more coherent, distinct series unlike any other in North America. ChumpCar's popularity grew, and as of 2013 the series schedules over 40 events across North America at some of the best-known road racing venues on the continent, including Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Sonoma Raceway (Sears Point), Road America, Virginia International Raceway, Watkins Glen, Road Atlanta and Daytona International Speedway.
Notable ChumpCar competitors include NASCAR Sprint Cup champion driver Tony Stewart, well known NASCAR teams Hendrick Motorsports and Roush Fenway Racing, and Ars Technica contributing writer Jonathan Gitlin.
Preparation and rules
To enter an event, competitors are required to field a vehicle that could have been purchased for $500 or less prior to race preparation. The $500 value is proved by a survey of internet prices from public sources, like eBay and CraigsList. If the value of the vehicle is less than $500, additional money may be spent on performance parts, as long as the total value of vehicle plus performance parts does not exceed $500. This value excludes required safety equipment, as well as maintenance and replacement of wear items with OEM or OEM-equivalent parts. No credit is given toward the value of the vehicle for selling removed parts. Vehicles with a value in excess of $500 are allowed to compete with penalty laps subtracted from their total. While the assessed vehicle value goal is $500, typical actual build costs can run anywhere from $4,000 to $10,000 to prep a car. Most of this budget is safety related such as brakes, roll cage, tires, racing seat, fire suppression system, and fuel cell.
The races run for a fixed length of time. The team that completes the most laps net of penalty laps is the winner.
The event organizers impose a complete set of safety rules that typically are on par with other road racing sanctioning bodies, including the Sports Car Club of America and National Auto Sport Association.
Events are held at major road racing tracks across the US and Canada, along with a street race in Mexico. The most common event format is a two-race weekend, with one seven hour race each on Saturday and Sunday. However, a variety of other formats are used, with lengths ranging from six hours to 36 hours. Starts are most commonly a random start, without qualifying for position. Teams are scored and ranked by the number of laps completed during the time allotted for the race net of penalty laps.
Teams are required to include at least three drivers (more for longer events). Each driver is required to complete at least one hour in the car. No stint is allowed to exceed two hours, with a minimum one hour rest. Pit stops where fuel is added to the car are required to be at least five minutes in length to ensure safe refueling.
The top three finishers on laps in each race are recognized with a trophy and a credit toward future participation in the series. Additional awards may be given for notably good (or bad) driving, especially dedicated repair work, or good overall spirit. Overall spirit is specially recognized by the Spirit of ChumpCar award, given to the team in the race that the organizers feel best exemplifies the competitive spirit of the series.
There is no points title in each season of the series, but podium finishers and selected other teams in each race qualify for regional championships held near the end of the season. The regional championships (officially, Chumpionships) allow open entry, but only the qualified teams race for trophies in these races, with the winner claiming the title of Regional Chumpion.
2013 season schedule
|February 9||All Roads Lead to Atlanta||Road Atlanta||14 Hour|
|March 16–17||Luck O' The Irish" St. Patty's Day Bash"||Hallett Motor Racing Circuit||Double-7|
|March 30||Chump-Draft'n @ VIR||Virginia International Raceway||10 Hour (2 Drivers)|
|March 31||Easter Sunrise Oil Service & Lube||Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca||8 Hour (Laguna)|
|April 12–14||Chumpkins Glen||Watkins Glen International||5+7.5+7.5 Hours|
|April 13–14||April Showers Brings... Chumps!||Portland International Raceway||Double-7|
|April 20–21||Desert Dysfunction 24||Buttonwillow Raceway Park||24 Hour|
|April 20–21||The Landjaeger Cup||Road America||Double-7|
|April 27–28||Grand Re-Opening Grand Prix||Pueblo Motorsports Park||Double Enduro and Survivor Sprints|
|May 4–5||El Cinco de Chump - Streets of Ensenada||Streets of Ensenada||On-The-Streets Race|
|May 25||Vous avez dit, ChumpCar? Mais, bien sur!||Autodrome Saint-Eustache||12 Hour|
|May 26||The 14 Hours of Daytona||Daytona International Speedway||14 Hour|
|June 8–9||Michigan Madness||Gingerman Raceway||Double-7|
|June 22||The ChumpCar Cup Challenge -||Charlotte Motor Speedway||10 Hour+Four Sprints|
|June 22–23||Habanero Hoon||Texas World Speedway||Double-7|
|July 5–7||The Guinness 36||Spokane Raceway Park||36 Hour|
|July 13||The Shortest Longest Day||Nelson Ledges Road Course||12 Hour|
|July 20–21||Mosquito Massacre||Brainerd International Raceway||Double-7|
|July 27–28||Shannonville Stomp||Shannonville Motorsport Park||Double-7|
|August 9–11||The VIR 24 Hour Classic||Virginia International Raceway||24 Hour|
|August 24–25||Wreckless Wroval||Michigan International Speedway||Double-7|
|August 24–25||The Ridge Ride 16||Ridge Motorsports Park||10+6 Hour|
|September 7–8||The No Moon - No Hope" Enduro"||High Plains Raceway||12+6 Hour|
|September 21–22||(Engine) Knockin' at the Gate||Gateway Motorsports Park||12+6 Hour|
|September 28||The Slightly More than 12 Hours of Sebring||Sebring International Raceway||14 Hour|
|September 28–29||Cala...BOOGITY, BOOGITY, BOOGITY—North Region Chumpionship||Calabogie Motorsports Park||Double-7|
|September 28–29||The Lone Star Grand Prix||Texas Motor Speedway||Double-7|
|October 5–6||Pittsburgh Stealers Enduro||Pittsburgh International Race Complex||Double-7|
|October 12–13||Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Mosport)||Canadian Tire Motorsport Park||Double-7|
|October 19–20||Drift Into Winter Classic featuring The Central Region Chumpionship||Road America||Double-7|
|October 26–27||The Octobrew 'n Brats Grand Prix||Portland International Raceway||12+6 Hour|
|November 2–3||The AMP'd up Double 7||Atlanta Motorsports Park||Double-7|
|November 2–3||The L.A. Freeway Trophy Dash for the Cash||Auto Club Speedway||Double-8|
|November 22-23||The Re-Chase||Charlotte Motor Speedway||10 Hour|
|December 7–8||no VIRgins allowed... it's the Eastern Regional Chumpionship||Virginia International Raceway||Double-7|
|December 14–15||West Region Chumpionship||Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca||Double-7.5|
|December 29-31||New Years Rollapolooza||Texas World Speedway||16 Hour and Sprints|
- Gitlin, Jonathan. "Hit the track for the ChumpCar World Series". Autoweek. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
- "What We're About". Retrieved 10 May 2013.
- Krider, Rob. "Racer Boy: ChumpCar Claimer Road Racing". Speed:Sport:Life. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
- Swann, Tony. "The Junkyard Doge: How the 24 Hours of LeMons Became a Sensation". Car and Driver. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
- "ChumpCar Event Results". Retrieved 10 May 2013.
- Farah, Matt. "So, You Want to Race Cheap Cars. Which Series Do You Choose?". The Smoking Tire. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
- Krider, Rob. "Tony Stewart races ChumpCar, no really he did!". Jalopnik. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
- Gitlin, Jonathan. "Can you really learn to race by playing racing games? Ars takes to the track". Ars Technica. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
- "ChumpCar Basic Competition Rules". Retrieved 10 May 2013.
- Vendler, Alex. "Low Budget Race Report International Edition: Ensenada Grand Prix". MotoIQ. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
- "2013 Optima Batteries ChumpCar World Series Event Schedule". Retrieved 10 May 2013.