Mufflers or not?

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Mufflers or not?

ofracer
Administrator
For now, HRG's charter allows us to run unmuffled, subject to local ordinances and track rules.  More and more tracks, promoters, sanctioning bodies and localities are imposing strict noise levels for events. Lime Rock is a classic example of this where they only have a limited number of unmuffled days available per year. New tracks, such as Palmer and Club Motorsports in NH, have strict limits for every event that prevent most of our cars from racing there.

I personally believe that part of the allure of racing is the sound. The sights, smell and noise found at a vintage event all combine to enhance the experience. The same can't be said for a modern race like Formula E, which are really fast, cool, High Tech cars driven well by professionals. The wheel to wheel aspect is as good or better than we have but there is something lacking about the experience. None the less, based on manufacture, advertiser, sanctioning body and promoter support, it is the future.

The discussion I'm proposing is, do we as a group, voluntarily, proactively, adopt noise reduction techniques to our cars? It doesn't necessarily mean mufflers, although newer designs can be effective without much too impact to exhaust flow. Simple tricks like an exhaust tip pointing down at the track instead of straight can lead to a reduction of noise at trackside.

To be clear, we are not, as a sanctioning body, imposing noise limits.  Every event we have on the schedule, including our two events at Thompson this year, will be open exhaust.

This is just a way to start the discussion and explore options for us that may be needed in the future to assure we continue to have a place to exercise our machinery. A side consideration, if our cars are too loud to race anyplace in the future, what does their value become? I have 50W oil in my veins (exposure to leaking british cars I assume) and do not want to see these great machines become hidden away in barns or forced to have a Tesla drive trains because of something that may be preventable.

Please use the HRG forum link, here, to post your responses, options and suggestions.

thanks
mike
Mike H
63 Triumph Spitfire
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Re: Mufflers or not?

Bill Shields
Mike,

I agree that this is an issue which we should start to address, even informally, as a group and as individual owners/drivers. I think it easier for us to design and construct exhaust systems with some sound control now, under our own terms, rather than wait till we suddenly get hit with tighter limits on our events and cars. I re-did the exhaust on my Alfa this past year and included a straight-through muffler. Also bought a tip that can be pointed down for more sound control if needed. One of the appeals of the Alfa Romeo is the sound of the DOHC hemi head engine at full throttle. That being said, adding a little sound control doesn't diminish the enjoyment of the car and makes for one less issue to deal with down the road. Most of us remember the Lime Rock sound battle of the late 60s, which could have been catastrophic for the track and our hobby. If our cars and events were just a little quieter, maybe we could prevent future headaches like that one.

Bill Shields
#46 green Alfa Romeo
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Re: Mufflers or not?

ofracer
Administrator
Thanks Bill.

mike

On Mon, Jan 14, 2019 at 8:59 PM Bill Shields [via Historic Race Group] <[hidden email]> wrote:
Mike,

I agree that this is an issue which we should start to address, even informally, as a group and as individual owners/drivers. I think it easier for us to design and construct exhaust systems with some sound control now, under our own terms, rather than wait till we suddenly get hit with tighter limits on our events and cars. I re-did the exhaust on my Alfa this past year and included a straight-through muffler. Also bought a tip that can be pointed down for more sound control if needed. One of the appeals of the Alfa Romeo is the sound of the DOHC hemi head engine at full throttle. That being said, adding a little sound control doesn't diminish the enjoyment of the car and makes for one less issue to deal with down the road. Most of us remember the Lime Rock sound battle of the late 60s, which could have been catastrophic for the track and our hobby. If our cars and events were just a little quieter, maybe we could prevent future headaches like that one.

Bill Shields
#46 green Alfa Romeo


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Mike H
63 Triumph Spitfire
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Re: Mufflers or not?

Greg Amy
In reply to this post by ofracer
My take: we adapt or die.

Paraphrasing your points, Mike, I'd rather race a less-noisy car than use a noisy one as a coffee table. Almost all tracks have sound limits, and those that don't will continue to further restrict. Palmer, for example, will never allow open exhausts - ever - so that's one venue we can never race under the current allowances. We get few exhaust weekends at Lime Rock but otherwise the SCCA Regional weekend is 103 (or is it lower now?) so that's out. Thompson doesn't necessarily enforce its limit, but SCCA does not appreciate anything over 103 so the opportunities for invitations will decrease.

If we *encourage* members to reduce the sound level of their cars, we get more opportunities to play, and potentially run every place and every weekend with SCCA, NASA, and others. And if certain members
(the big bore V8s are pretty abusive) do not wish to reduce the sound level then they can stay with the limited schedule of open weekends while the rest have more weekends, and then keep their fingers crossed those events don't go away.

More events for those that want it. Same number, though possibly fewer, for those that don't. Everybody gets to choose their personal priorities.

And honestly, how many of our cars are actually over 100db? Did anyone bother to go check their sound readings at Thompson (they were posted after each session)? I have a single short cone muffler on my 914 and I was blowing around 93-94dB.

We need to adapt, or watch our opportunities to put these cars on the track dwindle.
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Re: Mufflers or not?

Vfracing@aol.com
In reply to this post by ofracer
Not too much more to add to what Greg and Bill have said. I also agree with Mike that sound is very much a visceral part of this sport, and it’s rich history. However, if we are to be allowed to continue, we will need to become quieter as the social acceptance of sports such as our that are not only noisy but use carbon dioxide producing fossil fuels will be less and less socially acceptable. If we control ourselves there will be less incentive for others to want to regulate us. Our two Triumphs both run mufflers (one Flowmaster, one Dynomax), meeting Autocross standards (95 dB at 75 feet). Yet the cars still sound cool and run pretty well. In short, (race) mufflers don’t spoil the fun.
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Re: Mufflers or not?

vtjagnut
In reply to this post by ofracer
to muffle or not to muffle that is the question. weather tis better to enjoy our cars as we always have and face the eventual banning of our cars (like palmer) yet enjoy the noise we make everywhere else which
basically means less and less places to run or admit that we as a club we need to adapt or go home and
watch racing on tv .  I do not use earplugs (probably should) under my helmet but still have to say
I can't really here or enjoy the exhaust of my car from in the car as such. nobody is going out on the track
without a helmet just to check out the "beautiful exhaust noise" of our cars rather that noise is really for
everyone else at the track. where I live in Vermont it is a VERY QUIET place to live. yet across the valley
someone runs a dirt bike with little or no mufflers and yes I hate the noise intrusion on my sunday afternoons.  my car does have VERY small mufflers welded into end of the headers and like greg says I did
check at Thompson and elsewhere to find i'm usually about 93db's which I think is under most noise
limits. I do believe lots of trackworkers, drivers in other classes, and the general public likes to view our
cars with or without the (excess) noise of open exhaust. it  would be difficult for me to add additional
mufflers but a downtip towards to track is possible if necessary at some later date. I may not be the most
"socially responsible" person in this world but agree with mike its probably in our best interest to (sadly)
draw a line in sand at some point. scott #48 jaguar of black rock racing - note new crew chief this year -
same driver, mechanic and support crew, but the new crew chief is tough - you'll see - just as soon as I can figure how to attach a photo to this sight/email


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Re: Mufflers or not?

ofracer
Administrator
Here's Scott's new crew chief, looks like he know's his way around (at least over) a race car.

Mike H
63 Triumph Spitfire