Let’s examine this HELLA SWEET potential LeMons cheat

There are many ways in which 24 Hours of LeMons competitors can attempt to play fast and loose with the series rules. Cheater-spec parts are the most obvious, of course. Hide some upgraded bits deep in your engine and hope the tech folks won’t find it all. They will, but bravo for trying. There’s another way to cheat that sounds intriguing and would take a lot more work to pull it off.

Welcome to the Eyesore Multi-Car Loophole Gambit.

The idea is to run identical cars in an effort to minimize time spent during pit stops or driver changes.

It’s as hilarious as it is insane… but could it work? For one, you’d have to perfectly copy your original car. You would then have to make sure the other car was hidden until it needed to be called into duty. Have the second car gassed up with a driver waiting to go as the original car pulls into the pits, and you could have a clean switcheroo on your hands.

Of course, the moment you make this move everyone in the pits would figure out something insane was happening. But is it against the rules? Is there a LeMons loophole that would allow for such a Smokey Yunick-esque level of trickery?

Let’s check the rulebook

Technically, it would seem that LeMons rules clearly define an “Entry” as consisting of “one racecar and at least two drivers existing for one race.” A “Team”, however, is defined as “one or more Entries in one or more races, all sharing one Team Name, one Team Concept, and one Team Captain; it exists for as long as the Team Captain chooses. An Entry’s minimum driver count is two; there is no maximum number of drivers, crew, random friends, professional therapists in rumpled gauzy Eileen Fisher outfits, etc.”

The loophole could be that a team enters and attempts to run the mimicked racing machines under the guise of a team and not an entry. Could this be a workaround the single vehicle per entry limit? It’s certainly possible, and a bored lawyer could probably write up a document to work through this loophole.

It would likely be shut down quickly, as both cars would need to be run through the tech inspection and cleared. Otherwise, the team would get kicked out extremely quickly for running a non-inspected car even if the other version of the car already cleared tech.

It would be fun to see a team (and not an entry) give this a shot. Though the headache of getting identical LeMons cars running, and running well, makes this effort foolish at best.

Which means there’s definitely a team considering it right now…

10 Comments

  1. “It would likely be shut down quickly, as both cars would need to be run through the tech inspection and cleared.”

    That’s the main sticking point if a team wants to do this as a genuine surprise. I suppose it might just be possible at one of the larger races to take the second car through tech at a different time and hope that nobody notices, or at least that nobody remembers that the first car actually passed tech on its earlier attempt. Even so there’s no legitimate way to get two tech stickers for the “same” car, as those are distributed separately when the tech paperwork is submitted and checked off the list at HQ. No sticker on the windshield, no entrance to the track.

    Of course, if a team had yet another (third) car actually entered separately, I suppose its tech sticker could be affixed to the clone and the third car left unraced. That would get the clone onto the track but would raise all sorts of awkward questions when someone noticed what was happening. The team had better hope they can convince HQ that both copies of the identical car really did go through tech before the race, as otherwise that sounds like a “pack your stuff and go home immediately” or maybe even a “…and don’t bother ever trying to come back” type of offense.

    As Kamil noted, the transponder is another issue. It would need to be swapped from car to car at each stop. This means there’s no way to rig things so that one car could go on track immediately as the other one exits, because the timing folks would notice quickly that a car either had no transponder or had a different transponder than was assigned to its car number. Roland takes this sort of thing seriously. Do not cross Roland.

    1. It would be simple enough to design a quick change bracket for the transponder. The higher tech way to would be to clone your own transponder.

      Take both cars through tech. One with an extra digit in its number. (like 20 and 201). Get your tech stickers. Peel the “1” off of car #2, and run the #20 car transponder on both.

      Totally not worth the effort involved, because it’s LeMons, but I think if you had a way to hide the cars during the change-over, it could be done. I think the only reason to attempt it is to say that you did, and then that sort of defeats the purpose.

      1. True, the “car 201 magically becomes a second car 20” approach might work, but there would still need to be a fully paid entry for car 201 on the list in HQ in order to get the sticker for it. One would also have to hope that neither the tech inspectors nor the BS judges notice that car 201 otherwise looks exactly like car 20, again assuming the idea is to do this as a genuine surprise. Then again, they wouldn’t have to look the same during inspection, only afterwards…

        Hiding the cars during the changeover might draw more attention than just doing it out in the open. Claim two pit spaces in different rows and keep one car in each space. Quickly carry the transponder from one space to the other during the changeover, or just signal the car in the other space to go if the transponder has also been cloned. If the car/cars is/are sufficiently uninteresting, this may escape notice.

    1. I read “transponder” as “transporter” ala StarTrek. I see that as the the only possible way to make this idea work.

    2. In a 12-hour SCCA enduro this past October (Devil in the Dark at NJMP) a pair of old SCCA Sports Racers had been converted to electric power, but they hadn’t worked out quick charging yet. So they swapped transponders and cars at each pit stop, with approval of the organizers.

    3. I read “transponder” as “transporter” ala StarTrek. I see that as the the only possible way to make this idea work.

  2. Spank attempted to do this at the 24 hour race last year in Houston with two Hyundai Accents. It apparently didn’t work out quite as intended. In truth, for 90% of the teams racing in Lemons, this just isn’t all that beneficial. So many teams struggle to put the correct number on their car, let alone build two cars. There’s simply too many wiener stepping, black flagging, and mechanical issues going on.

    And as stated elsewhere, you’d have to swap the transponder. This can not be done in the hot pits due to Lemons safety rules, so you’d wind up wasting a bunch of time puttering back to your paddock space at 10mph just to swap cars. Even as it is, how much time are really saving? Maybe ten laps worth at most?

  3. Um, have you read Unfair Advantage? Penske did this more or less with their Trans-Am Camaros. They had the car that met all the rules and the “cheater lightweight” car. They would run the legal car through tech, go back to the transporter, swap numbers, run that car through tech inspection again. Then for qualifying they would qualify the cheater car, go back to the transporter, swap numbers and qualify it again.

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