Introduction

Everything You Wanted to Know About NASA's TREC Racing Series

NASA introduced its newest series, Team Racing Endurance Challenge, to create more opportunities for people to go racing — just for the fun of it. With no competition license required, TREC racing was designed to be open to everyone who wants to compete in an endurance racing format, with a simple rules set that focuses on safety and fun. Because endurance racing is a team sport, TREC allows for several drivers to share expenses, which helps make motorsports more affordable.

Tired of red tape and hassle just to go racing on a real track? This is a cool series where you don’t need anything other than a car that meets safety specs and a great attitude to make racing fun. No previous racing experience, no license, no medical, no history tests!

Anything and everything! Run what you brung! Obviously there has to be some safety stuff, so make sure the vehicle complies with the CCR. We don’t want Mr. Pro Racer and/or superfast cars. If your car is too fast, we’ll just move you to the highest class and subtract 100 laps (or something worse)! If you bring a tube frame and/or factory built racecar, it better fit within the spirit of our series or you can take it home. Cutting edge, high tech is not welcome… get it? There should be a session for us to determine your lap times. Call it warmup, qualifying, practice, or your own pity party. Classes will be made by grouping cars, with spankings for those that sandbag. So, you should absolutely put your fastest driver in for this session.

 

  • BMW E30 $500 to $3,000
  • BMW E36 $1,500 to $3,000
  • Honda Civic $500 to $1,500
  • Mazda Miata $500 to $2,500
  • Mazda RX-7 $500 to $1,500
  • Porsche 944 $1,500 to $4,000
There are no engine specs for endurance racing. Everything from rotaries to four-, five-, six-, eight-, 10- and 12-cylinder engines are eligible for use. And oh yeah, it’s not going to be cool if you run NO2 or methanol. So if you’re ride is hooked on this stuff get your car through 12 steps before you show up!
In TREC racing, weight isn’t a measured specification. Because of the required 180 treadwear tires, lighter is better. Most likely 99.9 percent of all cars fall into one of TREC’s base classes, 1-4. The remaining .1 percent are probably too fast anyway.
Permitted fuel is any grade of commercially available unmodified gasoline, E85 Ethanol, biodiesel, or diesel. Methanol is not permitted as a fuel.
The whole point of TREC is to have fun, so car costs are greatly reduced. You should be able to have plenty of fun with a $5,000 car fully equipped with all the safety equipment you need.

Some recent listings from RacingJunk.com

  • 1990 Acura Integra $5,500
  • 1993 BMW E36 $9,500
  • 2005 Ford Focus $7,500
  • 1985 Porsche 944 $11,000
  • 1999 Volkswagen Jetta $7,000

Because of the rules that require tires with a treadwear of 180, modifications that create lots of horsepower are going to be hard to put to use. Remember, the faster you go, the higher the class, so keep modifications cheap, and keep it fun to maximize the value of your racing dollar.

  • Larger fuel cells, but no more than 34 gallons.
  • Good radio communication system.
  • Fast-fill fuel cans. Pit lighting.
  • Supplemental lighting on the car for night races.
Average cost to run a TREC race $750 to $1,000

Tires, brands and prices

Tire sizes vary greatly, but here’s a sampling of popular brands and sizes.

Tires Brands Prices
BFGoodrich g-Force Rival
P225-45-17
$178
Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R
P205-50-15
$139
Dunlop Direzza ZII
P225-50-16
$148
Falken RT-615K
P205-50-15
$108
Federal 595RS-Pro
P205-50-15
$112
Hankook Ventus R-S3 Z222
P245-40-18
$241
Yokohama Advan AD08R
P205-55-16
$180
Nankang CR-1
P205-50-15
$139

Brakes, brands and prices

Hawk DTC 70 $300 – $350

Hawk DTC 60 $200 – $300

  • TREC is the easiest way to go racing with NASA. No competition license required!
  • With TREC, the emphasis is on fun. Endurance racing is a team effort, so when a driver wins, the whole team wins.
  • Cost-sharing benefits for car, entry fees, tires and other expenses.
  • Mandatory five-minute pit stops.
  • Unlike sprint racing, you cannot go endurance racing by yourself. You need help. That means coordinating a team effort.
  • Racing at night requires supplemental lighting, and it takes no small amount of effort to get it right.
  • The fastest cars need not apply. Cars that are too fast will be “forgotten and unscored.”
  • 6.2. No blocking! You get ZERO MOVES. That means no defending your line either. If someone is on the inside of the corner, MAKE ROOM! Because of this rule, you’ll get them back on the next corner! Think of this as fun and courteous racing. (Note- This is different than the CCR)
  • 8.2. TREC 1, 2, 3, and 4 only require a valid state driver’s license (or, of course, an accepted racing license as outlined below). Participation in the shameful TREC FU, class requires drivers to hold one of the following NASA Licenses: TREC, Time Trial, Instructor, or Competition. Additionally, SCCA, FIA, JAF, BMWCCA, et al. licenses are cool too. Any team that enters a vehicle classifies in TREC 1-4 but gets moved to TREC-FU will be held to this standard. In other words … if you plan to screw up and bring a fast Sprint/WERC car, all drivers must be properly licensed.
  • 8.5. Anyone that completes six (6) NASA TREC events while possessing a TREC license, may apply for a NASA provisional competition license (good for NASA sprint racing, Championships, WERC, etc). However, you must be able to pass the HPDE4 level checkout ride and pass the CCR test as the minimum prerequisites.
  • 12.8. During refueling, two properly dressed fuelers are allowed over the wall while refueling, as well as one fireman holding a fire extinguisher 7 to 10 feet away. The fireman is not required to wear driver-safety gear. No other personnel over the wall except as listed in the next section.
  • 12.1. Any team that enters the pit lane and stops for fuel will need to remain stationary for a period no less than 5 minutes.
  • 12.5. All fuel must come from a standard 5-gallon can. Do not screw around with this term. If you need help understanding that, refer to Appendix A. However, you can add hoses and funnels; typical stuff you find at the home improvement center.
  • 12.18.112.17.2. Two tires must be in contact with the ground for the purpose of tire changes. (This means you can jack up either side, the front or the rear at a time.)
  • 12.18.1. Pitlane speed limit is 25 mph.
  • 12.9. All competitors are required to keep two gallons of water, at least one 5 lb. or larger BC or ABC rated fire extinguisher (with a gauge indicating fully charged), and at least 5 pounds of oil absorbent in their pit space. CO2 and Halon / Halatron are highly recommended as they do not leave a mess to clean up. Additionally, if Dry Chem or Sodium Bicarbonate is used, there are chemicals such as vinegar that can be kept on hand to remove such chemicals. Sharing of required equipment, such as fire extinguishers, is not permitted between pit spaces, even for the same team.
  • 12.18.7. No car is permitted to use reverse gear in the pit lane. However, crew members may push the car backwards.

FAQ

Questions and Answers to Feed Your Curiosity

Nope. Anyone with a valid driver license may participate in TREC 2, TREC 3 and TREC 4. To participate in TREC 1, you need a TREC, Time Trial, Instructor or Competition license. We do recommend that each participant attend NASA HPDE events before participating, though it isn’t required.
Anyone who successfully completes four TREC events may apply for a TREC competition license. Anyone with previous racing experience outside NASA may apply for a TREC competition license.
Yes, after a driver completes six TREC races, he or she may apply for a full NASA Competition License.
Nope, all TREC cars must compete on tires marked with treadwear 180 or higher by the manufacturer. Don’t bring grooved slicks with 180 burned into the sidewalls with a soldering iron. We’ll spot that and make you change tires.
Appendix B of the rules has a huge list of all permitted cars, but suffice it to say you can use almost any mass-produced four-wheel, fendered/closed wheel production road car with an internal combustion engine and the required safety equipment. No prototypes or sports racers, please.
Some will run from day into night, so you will need to have working head, tail and brake lights. No excessive lighting systems that pose the danger of blinding other drivers, and no lights on the roof, please and thank you.
There are five regular classes: TREC 1, TREC 2, TREC 3 and TREC 4 and an unscored class, TREC U. To find where your car fits, check Appendix B of the TREC rules. There are entries from lots of other sanctioning bodies, so we’re sure you can find a home for almost any car in TREC.

TREC 1 uses a 10:1 power-to-weight ratio. These will be the fastest 20 percent of the scored cars at the event. TREC U cars might be faster, but they’re not scored. TREC 2 uses a 12:1 power-to-weight ratio. These will be the next fastest 25 percent of the cars. TREC 3 represents the next fastest 25 percent of the cars, and it uses a 15:1 power-to-weight ratio. The slowest 30 percent of the cars will be in TREC 4, with an 18:1 power-to-weight ratio.

Don’t worry. We’ll do all the math homework, but each team must declare their race class before the start of the event.

In addition to enforcing the base-classing system and the power-to-weight ratios, each vehicle’s declared class will be verified using the official event qualifying session. Any team that has drivers with vastly different experience levels should have their most experienced and least experienced driver complete laps during this session. Failure to do so will likely result in the team being re-classed during the race.

Our very clever race directors and timing and scoring people will be scrutinizing lap times and classes to ensure that there are no “inexplicably fast” cars in slower classes.

Any team that continually exceeds the class performance envelope will be moved up to the next class.

We’ve been doing this awhile. We’ll know.
Any driver observed to be driving so slowly that he/she hinders or otherwise significantly interferes with other drivers may be ejected from the competition
The race director will determine gridding. It could be based on season points, an inversion of season points, lap times from a qualifying session, vehicle number, alphabetical — or even numbers pulled from a hat.
Rubbing might be racing in bad ‘80s movies, but not in the TREC series. Car-to-car contact within the TREC series is strictly prohibited. All car-to-car contact must be reported immediately to a Pit Official or a Race Director. Any team found at fault for multiple contact incidents may be ejected from the event.
Yes, and we’ll have lots of corner workers, too. Read section 19 of the NASA rules for a full explanation of the flags and what they mean. Flags are the only way corner workers can communicate essential information to drivers on track. What’s more, any team that receives more than one penalty for missing flags must report to the Race Director for potential disciplinary action. So, yes, flags are critical to your safety, and your safety is essential for having fun.
Each team is required to obtain and properly install an AMB/My Laps transponder.
The finishing position is determined by the total number of laps completed, regardless of whether the vehicle is running at the end of the race. If two vehicles have completed the same number of laps, the one that crossed the finish line first will be scored ahead. If two vehicles break down on the same lap, then the vehicle that completed the most distance measured from the starting line.
You are going to want to read the rules carefully about fueling and pit stops. Safety is no laughing matter during pit stops and especially refueling, so, no kidding around here, read section 14 of the rules and know them well.
Uh, no. The drivers of a car overtaking and of the car being overtaken are responsible for safe passes. In a passing situation, “defending” or “protecting” a position is strictly prohibited. This means that a driver must maintain the standard racing line in the braking area. That means staying to the right for a left-hand turn, thus “leaving the door open.”
If you find a loophole and hope to exploit it, you’re taking things too seriously. TREC is just for fun, for sharing the sheer joy of the racing experience. If you do find a loophole, let us know so we can keep things fun.

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