The Howston Dissenter, 1974, inspired by premier class stock car racing, represents the most competitive racing of its time.
With a 358-cui small block, the engine is capable of around 475hp, and this helps the car achieve a top speed of approximately 185mph (and more in the draft). The setup parameters are quite open, but there are also limits to what can be adjusted. In fact, the cars are fundamentally quite similar to modern stock cars just less refined and less developed.
Our Howston Dissenter comes with two configuration options. You can specify ‘roadcourse’ or ‘speedway’ to alter the base setup for road or oval racing.
Although both powerful and torquey, the tires are quite forgiving and you will be able to recover the car even if you apply a bit too much throttle on exit. The fastest way to exit a corner is to gently increase the throttle and keep the car held in a shallow slide. With shift durations being quite long, it may sometimes be faster to hold a higher gear to prevent the quarter second cut in power transfer, adjusting the gear ratios on a per circuit basis is important to achieve the best lap times.
The cars are quite large, and heavy, and so are not the most manoeuvrable, however are perfectly at home on the higher speed, banked circuits. Even so, they are no slouches on road circuits, and run the latest in bias-ply slick racing tires of the time allowing them to corner and stop and accelerate effectively. The bias-ply tires tend to offer controllable grip with the peak slip angle generally operating in the 7-11° range. Essentially, this means sliding the car to get the best lap times.
Being a car without downforce (in fact, slight lift on the front axle), the handling is fairly consistent between high and low speed corners. This also encourages closer racing than many modern series, as counter-intuitively, you’ll actually find MORE grip following in the wake of the car ahead.
The car has a straight-cut 4-speed manual transmission. With a fairly wide power band in the engine, there is usually plenty of torque to play with despite having only 4-speeds. For most oval circuits, it will be best to keep the car in a single gear rather than shifting which transfers no power to the ground for approximately a quarter of a second. Rev matching is required to prevent locking under braking (blipping) and wheel-spin during upshifts (lifting).
The car is quite powerful, but doesn’t have the grip of their modern descendents, short shifting can be helpful (especially in the wet). Likewise, when learning a track, or if a track is green it may be wise to stay in a higher gear than you would normally use.
Sliding the car will get the best lap times, but there is a fine line between driving and over-driving the car, particularly in high speed corners which can overheat tires rapidly. Although the tires are also extremely durable, without much degradation over a stint, you can still damage them with abuse in the higher speed corners.