Your favourite 'cheats' in motorsport

Your favourite 'cheats' in motorsport

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rob.e

2,833 posts

224 months

Wednesday 17th February 2016
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I remember vaguely a story a motorsports-y chap told me about refueling at le mans.

Apparently the rig could be made to dispense fuel faster with a magnet strategycally placed on the top.

During the race, an engineer would leave what looked like an open can of coke (containing said magnet) on the top of the refueler..

No idea if its true or not.

ribiero

410 posts

112 months

Wednesday 17th February 2016
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I was relistening to the Jonny Mowlem RadioLeMans "tyler long one" today where he went into (without naming names) some guy in the Porsche Cup (pre PCC days) who got caught with another ECU wired into his horn relay.

Great thread, love that TTE turbo!

mat205125

15,672 posts

159 months

Wednesday 17th February 2016
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Silent1 said:
Jon C said:
Silent1 said:
Has there been any other 'creative' rule interpretations in motorsport?
I overheard a good one several years ago in the pits at Santa Pod.
At the time, there was a class called 'Production', designed as an entry level class with very few mechanical modifications allowed.

One of the cars was being protested by another racer (who shall remain nameless) and the point of dispute was the inlet manifold;

Racer 1: "That manifold isnt standard, the rule book says 'OEM inlet and exhaust manifolds must be retained'"

Race Director: "That is correct, and that is clearly not the OEM manifold."

Racer 2: "Thats right."

30 seconds silence, then bemused Race Director says "so can you explain this transgression in the rules?"

Racer 2: "The inlet manifold has been retained, and so there is no protest"

Race Director and Racer 1: "!!!!????!!!"

Racer 2: "The manifold has been retained. It has been retained by the bloke I sold it to"
hehe That's brilliant!
I've heard of similar examples where the OEM parts have been retained and fitted to the car ...... just that they've been retained in the boot, and "fitted" to a random fixing point. Under the bonnet, an alternative part has been used "as well" as the standard OEM part.

The "unless specifically permitted", and "within the spirit" statements in most regulations ensure that silliness is kept to a minimum.



Ahonen

4,365 posts

225 months

Thursday 18th February 2016
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ribiero said:
I was relistening to the Jonny Mowlem RadioLeMans "tyler long one" today where he went into (without naming names) some guy in the Porsche Cup (pre PCC days) who got caught with another ECU wired into his horn relay.

Great thread, love that TTE turbo!
Yep, in the days when the Porsche Cup had 944 Turbos in it there were all sorts of bent cars with extra ECUs hidden away.

Historic racing these days has some fantastically bent cars, with far too many examples to list.

Oilchange

5,707 posts

206 months

Thursday 18th February 2016
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I hear they build an entire replica car purely so they don't have to race the multi million pound original...

shirt

19,128 posts

147 months

Thursday 18th February 2016
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rob.e said:
I remember vaguely a story a motorsports-y chap told me about refueling at le mans.

Apparently the rig could be made to dispense fuel faster with a magnet strategycally placed on the top.

During the race, an engineer would leave what looked like an open can of coke (containing said magnet) on the top of the refueler..

No idea if its true or not.
i thought the refueling was done under gravity only, otherwise what the point of raising the tanks above ground? fuel flow is restricted by nozzle diameter as they changed them a while back when diesel gt cars became dominant.


rallycross

10,299 posts

183 months

Thursday 18th February 2016
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Production saloon racing (like group N, saloon racing based on road cars).

When turbo cars first started to appear (things like Starion Turbo, Escort RS turbo) there were devious hidden methods of increasing the boost in car - for example one of the leading cars was eventually found to have a system where if you turn the cigarette lighter to the right that would give a big increase in boost.

FourWheelDrift

78,099 posts

230 months

Monday 7th October
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There's a few shown on here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfq7-1ePW-M

Robmarriott

1,827 posts

104 months

Monday 7th October
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Watched that last night, the restrictor plate cheat is great!

Robmarriott

1,827 posts

104 months

Monday 7th October
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Just scanned through the thread and didn't spot anything but apologies if I've missed these -

My old college lecturer used to tell a story about one of the Supertouring era cars having power fold mirrors, which could be folded in on the straights for an extra couple of mph.

He also said when he worked for one of the teams, the scrutineers measured the width of the front wings to ensure they were within the regulations and they'd get the lead mechanic to assist, who would lean on the wing opposite the scrutineer to get them back into spec.

The rules didn't allow a flat floor but didn't specify the shape/size of the sump, so Ford (?) ran a suspiciously long and flat section on the rear of theirs.

Audi used engine blocks which had 'factory part numbers' stamped on them but bore little to no resemblance to the block they were supposedly based on - https://clubgti.com/forums/index.php?threads/audi-...

They also interpreted the rules a bit liberally with the 'suspension mountings must remain in the original position' rule meaning a bracket was bolted to the original mounts and the arms attached to that

My old boss who worked for a well known roll cage company has seen cages with thicker walls where they would be inspected. Some championships specified a hole to be drilled at a certain point in the cage to allow it to be measured and that's the section where the wall thickness would be correct.

I've also seen first hand that people still hide ECUs in cars which race in fairly top end tin top championships and club racing is rife with all sorts, bigger cams cast with manufacture logos and part numbers, rear beams from lower spec models (thinner material and therefore softer) for wet races, all sorts of stuff which the scrutineers 'don't see'


grumpy52

4,003 posts

112 months

Monday 7th October
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I used to get the RAC MSA news letter that gave all the cheats that had been uncovered.
Some of these go back many years .
Formula Ford back in the Kent engine days , the engines were very close to standard spec with very very little in the way of modifications. They discovered that if the cams were bent just slightly a certain way they gave a touch more lift and a couple of BHP more .
With the introduction of on board extinguishers it was not long afterwards that they were running NOS instead of extinguishant .
As mentioned by others the cars that changed tyres at the end of practice and prior to being put on the scales . The car was noted to be rocking slightly, caused by the water in the tyres sloshing to and fro .
The rallycross racer who was found with a tank within a tank that contained some very special fuel .
Truck racers are limited to 100mph and used to run tacho systems to check for overspeeds . The trick was to have an electronic pack built into the drivers overalls that fooled the tacho when plugged into the dash .
Many drivers in some road going series ran tyres that were not legal for road use and had the markings buffed out . This came to an end with the introduction of series nominated tyres .
The original Vic Lee drugs case discovered drugs hidden in secret compartments within the race transporter , the transporter became the property of HMRC who used it as their display vehicle at public events . Several other racers or teams have been caught over the years at the channel ports . I know at least 3 senior members of HMRC who are also pretty well up in the motorsport official roles .
It might be just coincidence that most of those caught have professed to be attending circuits that were not open .
The other interesting case involved a rallycross team that had a high profile TV person due to drive for them at a big televised meeting at Brands Hatch in the 90s. The police were due to raid the team as they arrived at the circuit but were persuaded by the organisers to postpone it until after the meeting .
The investigation discovered that several of the race cars were stolen vehicles , many of the spares , much of the workshop equipment, a couple of the race trucks and several high end vehicles all found to be stolen . The TV person was totally inoccent in the whole thing .

bucksmanuk

1,296 posts

116 months

Tuesday 8th October
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As a scrutineer, I love reading these….
As a guide, I assume at least 30% of the grid is cheating in some way. There are certain individuals, one who may (or may not) have been named in previous pages, are well known for never turning out a legal car.

Illegal fuel is an issue, but you can usually smell it. It’s not the fact it’s illegal, it’s someone willing to put up the protest fee to pay for the fuel to be tested - £400. Control fuel is the answer when this starts, but the cost rockets. The fellow competitors know who is running bent fuel- they can definitely smell it – especially single seaters.

It’s not the fact we suspect the engine is bent, its someone willing to put up the protest fee, and be willing to fund an engine rebuild if the engine is found to be fine. Although I have seen some competitors willing to have it done and shoulder the cost to shut up the dissenters. There are some wealthy racers in Historics for whom this cost is irrelevant, they just want to see legal racing. One of these racers was a running a 4.7 litre Jaguar. It was actually thought to be impossible to get that much capacity out of a 3.8 litre engine block.

ECUs are very common cheats; twin ECUs in the car, the on-display one, and the one hidden under the dash. Hidden switches etc.…
The correct ECU case, but a different PCB/chipset inside. Obvious one.
ECUs linked to the video camera, they were warned about that… luckily they weren’t much good as a team and were at the back of the grid. They were asked to start the car with the cable removed from the camera. It wouldn’t. The video camera SD card had a different map in it.
ECUs with Wi-Fi functionality. Picked up with me having a Wi-Fi scanner in Parc Ferme. Just warned not to do it again. The car developed a "fault" and they weren't seen in race 2.

Tyre softeners used, although this is more common in karting.

Fiddling turbo boost is well known and all championships with turbos have their issues.

A noise testing guy at a major circuit asked an Italian team running a Ferrari to put the engine at ¾ revs so he could take a noise reading. The Italian engineer with the laptop asked him what was the noise level allowed, and what noise level would he like and to see the car pass at, and he would adjust it via his laptop. The Italian didn’t see anything wrong in this. The team manager spent some time in race control being told that the circuit DID see a problem.

We hear of most cheats from mechanics that have left the team and/or honest people at engine builders let it be known. Especially if the bent racer was late in paying their bill… I’ve had team owners say their car has never been altered in any way since the last race, and within a minute, someone has shown me a video taken on their phone of the car going into a workshop for some “special work”. There is a lot of this…

Gearbox ratios, diff ratios, LSDs fitted, rose jointed suspension, bent cams, "leaky" waste gate hoses, incorrect brake master cylinders, missing rear suspension parts, larger discs, illegal brake adjustment devices, the list goes on. For those mentioned, I’ve written out non-compliance forms or far more likely, warned people to take it off/put it back on and never let me see it wrong again.

If people want to put nitrous in fire extinguishers, part of me says - go ahead, let’s see what happens to you when you crash and the marshals find out… Darwinism in action.

As for people building weak roll cages, again Darwinism in action.

I see rule books with engine hardware to be OEM, but no information is given as to what is OEM, no drawings, cross sections tolerances etc.… how on earth am I supposed to check? I could go on with this, but it’s just depressing.

Kraken

1,170 posts

146 months

Wednesday 9th October
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Robmarriott

1,827 posts

104 months

Wednesday 9th October
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bucksmanuk said:
ECUs linked to the video camera, they were warned about that… luckily they weren’t much good as a team and were at the back of the grid. They were asked to start the car with the cable removed from the camera. It wouldn’t. The video camera SD card had a different map in it.
ECUs with Wi-Fi functionality. Picked up with me having a Wi-Fi scanner in Parc Ferme. Just warned not to do it again. The car developed a "fault" and they weren't seen in race 2.

I see rule books with engine hardware to be OEM, but no information is given as to what is OEM, no drawings, cross sections tolerances etc.… how on earth am I supposed to check? I could go on with this, but it’s just depressing.
Both those ECU cheats are fantastic, the one I saw was an extra ECU hidden in the boot lid of a car and tapped into the CANBUS wiring, never caught by the scrutineers or the manufacture (it was a one make series), but there was an investigation carried out when the car was crashed and the boot lid wiring was cut at the circuit rather than being removed carefully to be threaded into the new part, there was a lot of ‘explaining’ going on...

As for the rule book thing, when I built my old race car, the rule book said the original inlet manifold must be used and not modified but there were no reference dimensions as it was a multi class championship... easy few HP with a tickle of the die grinder!

Cyder

6,516 posts

166 months

Wednesday 9th October
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I can’t remember if I’ve posted this before.

It’s long been known that the 2002-07ish generation of World Rally Cars were bloody noisy and yet passed the noise test every time without issue.

The cars had a laptop type screen in front of the co-driver that allowed them to see when fuel status/temps/pressures etc.

Rumour has it... via a combination of switches and buttons the cars could then engage a noise test mode, when the scrutineer requested 4.5k rpm the Rev counter did indeed say that, but of course the engine was really only doing 3.5k or so in a different fuel map mode.
But on idle and at the limiter the Rev counter read correctly.
Simple yet devious and almost impossible to detect unless you knew how to engage it.

The Wookie

11,718 posts

174 months

Wednesday 9th October
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bucksmanuk said:
We hear of most cheats from mechanics that have left the team and/or honest people at engine builders let it be known. Especially if the bent racer was late in paying their bill… I’ve had team owners say their car has never been altered in any way since the last race, and within a minute, someone has shown me a video taken on their phone of the car going into a workshop for some “special work”. There is a lot of this…
Funny enough, someone I know who used to run a race team, many moons ago used to go to the workshop with his fabricator over holiday periods or at 3am in the morning to work on the cars so even the mechanics wouldn't know what had been done to them.

The best one was the two of them going in over christmas to move the A-pillars on the car, as that was the reference point the scrutineers used to measure the cars for legality rofl

Kraken

1,170 posts

146 months

Wednesday 9th October
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I can never get my head around why people cheat in club racing. I can understand it, but not condone it, when it's a top level series with huge amounts of money at stake and, perhaps, jobs on the line if a team doesn't finish at the pointy end. What is the point when you're competing for a plastic trophy and bragging rights though?

FourWheelDrift

78,099 posts

230 months

Wednesday 9th October
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Kraken said:
I can never get my head around why people cheat in club racing. I can understand it, but not condone it, when it's a top level series with huge amounts of money at stake and, perhaps, jobs on the line if a team doesn't finish at the pointy end. What is the point when you're competing for a plastic trophy and bragging rights though?
The business boss ego, thinking they are brilliant drivers then coming last so need to have an advantage to restore ego in front of their fellow powerfully built directors.

bucksmanuk

1,296 posts

116 months

Wednesday 9th October
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Kraken said:
I can never get my head around why people cheat in club racing. I can understand it, but not condone it, when it's a top level series with huge amounts of money at stake and, perhaps, jobs on the line if a team doesn't finish at the pointy end. What is the point when you're competing for a plastic trophy and bragging rights though?
Mainly because some people are rich and old and fat and slow and can’t stand anyone being faster than they are when they have spent so much on their car. So, they cheat “cos everyone does – don’t they?”

In one championship, a new young lad arrived (from karts) and blitzed the field – embarrassingly quick… The car was protested time and time again, legal every time, so there was considerable bad feeling in the paddock. This came to a head at a testing day at Silverstone, and bad words were said about the lad cheating. Young lad said to the main protagonist “OK, you go around in my car and I’ll go around in yours”. The protagonist agreed. The young lad was even faster (by 2 seconds) in the other car. Main protagonist said “OK, I’ll shut up now - he’s obviously quick then….”

I would say there’s more careless cheating in club racing and the sophisticated/clever stuff happens in the upper echelons.

I don’t know why they do it either, it always kills off the championship eventually. There’s a certain attitude/kind of person who does it – we can spot them…

As for the false rpm rev counter stunt, we caught someone last year doing exactly this. Tippex on the crank pulley and the magic tachometer device while undergoing noise testing. FAIL. Back to the paddock for some mods… told some known blabber mouths in the championship of the occurrence which made sure the rest of the paddock knew what was going on in about 10 minutes. How we laughed….

The modified inlet manifold wouldn’t work now, as the wording in most regs has changed to “material must not be removed or added in anyway, and the original cast finish must be retained”. It’s a quick check with a £30 borescope connected up to my phone.

Although getting some people to prepare cars properly for safety reasons (never mind technical) is enough of a headache.

People underestimate what others are prepared to spend in the most basic clubby championships. These are real values for someone who won a bottom of the league hot hatch championship. Most of the grid had £5-10k cars.
£10k on dampers, and the car being returned to the factory in Germany for setting up on their chassis dyno.
Another £10K on the last word in engine preparation.
A £18K tyre bill – I still can’t believe this….
All the suspension bushes were legal but certainly not in the sprit of the regulations.
Trying out 13 ECUs and finding a good working one with the highest rev limiter, there’s a tolerance on them of just +/- 150 rpm.
The driver having tuition off a BTCC driver and at least one days full testing and tuition on the track in the week prior to the meeting.
The car went back to a professional race preparation team every time for further work/repairs, - usually further work.
A budget of £60k a year – EVERY YEAR.
For one driver in one car….in a bottom of the league hot hatch championship….


Robmarriott

1,827 posts

104 months

Wednesday 9th October
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FourWheelDrift said:
Kraken said:
I can never get my head around why people cheat in club racing. I can understand it, but not condone it, when it's a top level series with huge amounts of money at stake and, perhaps, jobs on the line if a team doesn't finish at the pointy end. What is the point when you're competing for a plastic trophy and bragging rights though?
Ego, thinking they are brilliant drivers then coming last so need to have an advantage to restore ego.
Yep, this is it. Put a woman in the driver's seat and they lose the plot completely, unable to accept that any woman in the world could be quicker than them!

The other thing you tend to find is that all the ones who accuse others of cheating tend to be the ones who are, themselves, cheating. "there's no way their engine is standard and they're that quick" say the guys with the dodgy motor laugh

Beating someone (and winning the championship) with a straight car, knowing they're being underhand is the biggest reward you can ask for.