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What does the ultimate race meeting look like.

Ground rules

• This is a digital discussion, analogue racers contributions are welcomed but must be constructive and "analogue is better" is not constructive.
• The race meeting has at least 6 folk , one of which is a rookie adult - Children can come in only as honerary adults.
• The doors open at 18:30 hrs for play/chat/ad hoc testing. Official festivities finish at 22:30 and kick out is 23:00
• The track is up for the duration and packing away bits is not a time limiter.

My Straw man of the ideal race requirements-

1. Drivers should spend most of the time driving not marshalling.
2. Some time should be allowed for Chat, vital repairs, Confort breaks and tea (very English me).
3. More than one class to be raced in an evening , if your car class A breaks you have only lost half of the evening at most because you can race in class B.

This leads to some basic requirements/organisation

• Auto yellow flag is a requirement towards meeting (1) and is set at Race stop in current positions. All drivers may re-slot/check and re-align car (but not move) prior to the re-start.
• No marshals are available as none are required under yellow flag.
• The obligatary cards for re-slotting are as follows:-
• Utter rookies 1 card, They should be lapping well inside their abilities in formal racing and just getting into the scheme of things. They need to satisfy the marshals they are sufficiently capable of meeting reasonable standards before given Mid standard i.e with 3 cards they can reasonably expect to make the end of the race. 3 de slots in a lap is definitely back to Rookie without a VERY GOOD EXCUSE.
• Mid level, 3 cards but are not eligible for the elite championship.
• Top level 1 card (they should not be making mistakes). I have seen analogue racers come close to this anyway. Any mid level driver is welcome to upgrade to Elite, but can only count results toward the standard they are driving at the time. This will encourage mids to become elite. The one slot looks (to me) possible if the cars are of high quality (i.e.on my track slot.it with magnets are not prone to de slotting for no good reason). With less able cars this may have to be increased.

The meeting
• Class qualification periods 10 mins for each class. 5 min between periods. Two periods each (Class A Class B, ClassA, Class B,Time now 20:30.
• Racing proper Heats 3 (Class A, ClassB, ClassA) 10 min duration (or equivalent laps) 5 min between heats.
• Race interval 30 min.
• Racing proper Heats 3 (ClassB, ClassA, ClassB) 10 min duration (or equivalent laps) 5 min between heats.
• As its all computer regardless of whose system results for evening will be avialble in last 30 min of evening.

Result with two cars you get 40 min driving in qualify mode. 1 hr in racing mode. That is just under 2 hrs. This is a bit on the low side but probably acceptable. Should qualification be dropped 1 1 15 min session a bit longer for each and extend racing? Is ½ hour break too long for chatting/tweaking? More shorter heats?
 

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Top post UshCha - hope to learn a lot from it.

So far, I've managed to have two mates come around seperately, a few family members, and thats about it. Very short on clubs around here - but that might be changing over the winter, I hope.

Keep up the sound advice (and thanks for the tip about the Jag spoiler).
 

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Hi! You should go to the Fairways Racing Complex forum and check out their racing and class regulations for some ideas.
I've raced with these guys, and they really have it figured out, although tea is not the beverage of choice!
 

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It's unrealistic to expect to get everything perfect first time. There are differences of opinion as to what is best. What's important for your racing is what your racers prefer, that may or may not be the same as other groups of racers.
It is well worth trying a few variations on your plan to see what you and your group of racers prefer.
It is well worth visiting some other clubs and see what you can learn from them.

Length of races, length of chats etc. are a matter of personal taste.
Many clubs run heats shorter than 10 min, 3 min being common - its not right or wrong, just different.
Why not try different lengths and see what the group you race with like best?

There is a limit to the number of cars that can be on the track at once.
If there are more than that number of people at a meeting, they cannot all be driving. That leaves spare people who could do race control, marshal, chat, make the tea or whatever.
Exactly how many turn up on a particular race meeting will be somewhat variable. For example, a club might have mostlye between 8 and 12 racers turn up, they need a schedule that works with any of those numbers and have a plan B for the less common meetings when more or less that that turn up.

How much time is needed for repairs is a matter if luck, some nights nobody damages anything, other nights there's a lot of things to fix.
 

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300SLR

I think to some extent you missed the point (no offence meant). With digital there is no issue with how many folk turn up. As you can run 20 cars at a time and there is no ideal track then the schedule can be done. 3 min heats are really too short (my opinion only), to allow a re-fuel whicy will take upto 20 seconds from entering the pit lane (speed limited) re-fueling and going out. That would be a lot of the 3 minutes. Plus because everybody is raceing in eacj heat chat time needs sceduling. There are no/very few folk not raceiong at any time. Already my lot (only 3 of us) as poor beginners with 5 sec lap times, run 50 lap heats which is just over 4 min min allowing 1 full re-fuel and perhaps a splash and dash to finish. Digital is in its infancy and this post is about gererating new ideas and ways for Digital to grow which are not possible with analouge.
 

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QUOTE (UshCha @ 30 Sep 2011, 17:36) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>300SLR
As you can run 20 cars at a time and there is no ideal track then the schedule can be done.

Which digital system are you using to run 20 cars at a tme?
 

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Not running yet, but both Oxygen and Scorpious can run 18 to 20 cars. Not an issue for me yet as 6 cars is currently the limitof useable drivers.
 

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QUOTE (UshCha @ 30 Sep 2011, 17:36) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>With digital there is no issue with how many folk turn up.
In my experience digital racing doesn't work out well with too many cars on a short lap. The solution to that is a longer lap.
Then there are issues like how much space is needed for the longer lap and how much space is needed for all the extra bodies.
Affordable club rooms are an issue for many slot car clubs. What's affordable for 20 racers looks expensive for 6.

More cars on the track means more potential for cars to come off.
Cars can be reslotted (if it is chosen to allow that) or removed from positions where they are blocking the track.
Either way somebody has to go and do it.
If everybody is driving, the race is suspended while a driver walk round and sortsout the deslotted car
If there are marshals, they can sort out the deslotted car without interrupting the race.
There will be different opinions about which is better - interruptions to the race or taking a turn at marshalling?
The answer could be different depending how many cars are on the track at once.
No substitute for experience to sort out what works best. There is some experience of digital racing up to the 6 car limit of SSD, Carrera etc. Who knows what will develop as experience of greater numbers grows? It's a safe bet that it'll need experience of running races with larger numbers and not just figuring it out on paper or trying it out with small numbers on the track at once.
 

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Some thoughts, but please bear in mind I've never been to a club night and only raced with a maximum of three peeps at a time!

If there is a small number of racers, 3 or 4 perhaps, then wouldn't track calls with reduced power for the rest be best - your responsibility to reslot your own car. Works well most of the time for me.

More than that, perhaps the race should be n - 1 in rotation , the person (Mr minus 1) sitting out that particular practice/quali/race is the marshall, race co-ord etc If many turn up, not an issue.
 

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QUOTE (snurfen @ 1 Oct 2011, 18:49) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>If there is a small number of racers, 3 or 4 perhaps, then wouldn't track calls with reduced power for the rest be best - your responsibility to reslot your own car. Works well most of the time for me.
That's one of a range of options, it penalises falling off more heavily than a fully marshalled race, but not as heavily as "crash and burn". Obviously it only works on tracks that have the right sort of reduced power facility.

There's always room for discussion of just how much penalty should there be for falling off.
Normal practice at a lot of clubs is marshals at each corner whose job is 1. clear the track so cars still in the slot can proceed 2. reslot the cars knocked out of the slot by somebody else's accident 3.reslot the car that caused the accident
Another way of racing is "crash and burn" where if you fall off you are out of the race. There is some variance in how to deal with deslotted cars blocking the track and cars knocked out of the slot by somebody else's accident.
An in between option of reduced power track calls and marshal your own car does still leave the question of deslotted cars blocking one or more lanes of the track. With digital it is sometimes possible to get round an obstruction by changing lanes, but experience shows quite often you just have to stop till the offending car is removed.
Some places have local difficulties with one driver causing the others to loose concentration when squeezing past to get their car - this is often an issue when the maximum track has been fitted in the track room leaving a rather tight space for the driver's rostrum (which is common enough).

When groups of racers are just racing amongst themselves the technology is the only restriction on them all doing it differently.
Once groups start racing one another there is inevitable pressure to standardise at least some parts of the racing system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Having read this it does seem that the approach for digital does need to be fundametally diffrent, rookies do need to be taught that there job as the rookie is to keep clear and just get rond the track without de-slotting. Personally with the right cars de-slotting is fundametaly a driver issue, not a technology issue. Good drivers in digital will have to learn to slow down and stay on. Rapid de-slotting as at an analouge club is not the way to encourage driver. Like in real racing De-slotting (comming of the track in real reaceing) should come at a very high price. personaly after practices 3 drivers and 2 pace cars 6 cars on a 9m track is perfectly acceptable and 6 card would be the same. It does make for traffic jams at the start, require patience to "solve the puzzle" but tha is the point. It does need longer reacers to allow time to get through the field but that is acceptable.

Slot Raceing Al does have a point, somewher along the line digital will have to have a rule set(s) to cover inter group raceing.
Interestingly nobody has mentioned the use of anti-collision systems, variable power on rookies, Multi class raceing. This Thread was here to generate some out of the box thinking on digital not (no offence ment) analouge with more problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Slotraceing Al- I read the FRC REGULATIONS and it is a good start. It does raise the issue that the stewards need to be trained and be keen to enforce the rules. I do like the "reasons for rules" as it sets out the underlying Ethos of the group.
The driver walk round is a good idea but It is probably only good in purpose built tracks. In the church hall, I would still not want drivers walking round as the track is on the floor and drivers not on a well defined rostrum. I sit them down so they cannot obscure the vision of others. Interesting on how you deal with first corner canage! Why is it thay you decided to re slot not re-strat with penalties for the offening drivers, and none for those offended against? The rules as written appear to be a bit harsh aginst those knoked off for no fault of their own. Again no criotisim this is about understanding the art of the possible.
 

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Thanks guys, you've just made me aware of one of my glaring newbie mistakes! The "race element" - self and pals are still falling for the "go like the clappers from the off" syndrome. Of course, it's all about finishing first, not being in front from the first wheel turn., which naturally leads to plenty of "offs".
 

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QUOTE (UshCha @ 2 Oct 2011, 06:48) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Having read this it does seem that the approach for digital does need to be fundametally diffrent, rookies do need to be taught that there job as the rookie is to keep clear and just get rond the track without de-slotting. Personally with the right cars de-slotting is fundametaly a driver issue, not a technology issue.
Keeping rookies from inconveniencing more experienced racers is OK up to a point, but rookies need encouragment too.
Rookies need to learn how to drive quickly, they need to learn how to make cars work well. Without that they will never develop into the next set of experienced competitive racers that just about any club needs. Nobody is going to learn without making some mistakes along the way. Rookies need to be encouraged, we all started out as rookies at some time in the past and racing will die out without rookies.

QUOTE (UshCha @ 2 Oct 2011, 06:48) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Like in real racing De-slotting (comming of the track in real reaceing) should come at a very high price.
Watch any full size GP and you'll see cars take the escape road round a chicane or go on other run off areas very much more often than you see them retiring on the spot. Unless the driver is judged to have gained a place or hits other cars on his return to the track, the organisers rarely hand out penalties for this, and the delay from most trips through the "grass" is rarely more than a few seconds out of a race of well over one hour.
If you are of a mindset that slot racing should reproduce full size racing as closely as possible, the majority of offs should involve very little penalty although if you have a really big one and damage the car then it needs fixing. That equates pretty well to the marshalling at each corner that occurs at many digital clubs as well as most analogue ones.

An alternative mindset is that digital or analogue slot racing is real slot racing, so run the way which suits slot racing best. Full size racing has its own constraints and traditions not all of which work well in slot racing. In both digital and analogue slot racing you are competing against the other drivers - real people just like the competitors in any other form of competition.

In some ways the "lets make slot racing as much like full size racing as we can" and the "think of slot racing as a real competition in its own right" approaches are separate branches of our hobby and its an individual choice which you prefer.
 

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The Digital Racing Alliance of Western Washington is a fairly young club. We really only started in early 2011 and have only raced one series so far, just about to begin our next, along with "fun" race meets and IROC racing. As such, our "rules" are still very fluid as we try different things to see what works best for us. One of the most fluid rules is how we deal with de-slots. Because each track in the group is different in its own way, each one has slightly different rules. The rules can also change depending on how many people are there.

At my track, as long as we have one extra person, that person can stand in the crook of my L-shaped table, which happens to be within easy reach of most de-slot points. That one person can easily manage the majority of offs. When we have that marshal, we usually run with "crash and pit" rules. If you come off, the marshal puts you back on as quickly as possible without pausing or slowing down the race. The drivers that came off, no matter the cause, then have to stop in the pit lane for a penalty. In most cases, that's a two second penalty. Without software to control that, we require the drivers to stop, say "One Mississippi Two Mississippi" before they can leave the pit lane. The race is then "back on" for those drivers.

If we don't have an extra, or if we are at another track where active marshaling is not possible due to crashes that require long grabber tools to reach, we use the Auto Track Call feature in SSDC to trigger a track call after two seconds. That delay is the penalty for the crashers, and is usually quite enough, especially if the driver doesn't remember to release his trigger right when they crash.
The race is paused with a complete stop, and all crashers are put back on, and then the track call is canceled.

Between the two types, I much prefer active marshaling with a stop and go penalty for the crashers. This method doesn't stop the race nearly as much, making race nights much more fun for all, and much more efficiently run. Track calling every lap (or more!) because of offs really slows things down. If there were a good way to re-slot a car on a difficult to reach track without getting in the way of other drivers, I'd like to hear it.

Speaking of crashers, we treat anyone out of the slot the same way, whether it was a one car crash, or a 6 car pile up. If you're out of the slot, you take the penalty along with anyone else. This may seem heavy handed, but without an objective party watching every car/corner/crash to be able to say who caused it, it's too hard to be sure. Many will take responsibility for a crash, but sometimes even the drivers can't tell if they nerfed a guy on their outside, or if that guy just took the corner too fast, and these are the most common types of crashes, the second being lane changes. So, any car out of the slot, for any reason, is a crasher and takes whatever penalty is appropriate for the night. Sometimes that's the track call delay, sometimes that's a stop and go.
 

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QUOTE (MrFlippant @ 2 Oct 2011, 17:08) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>When we have that marshal, we usually run with "crash and pit" rules. If you come off, the marshal puts you back on as quickly as possible without pausing or slowing down the race. The drivers that came off, no matter the cause, then have to stop in the pit lane for a penalty. In most cases, that's a two second penalty. Without software to control that, we require the drivers to stop, say "One Mississippi Two Mississippi" before they can leave the pit lane. The race is then "back on" for those drivers.
I really like this idea, Mr.F.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
QUOTE (MrFlippant @ 2 Oct 2011, 16:08) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>If we don't have an extra, or if we are at another track where active marshaling is not possible due to crashes that require long grabber tools to reach, we use the Auto Track Call feature in SSDC to trigger a track call after two seconds.

This is interesting as we keep track calls to 0.5 sec delay. This is because on a 6 car 4 second lap a crashed car will obstruct an innocent driver almost as much as the guilty party. It may be your track is bigger and so 2 sec is acceptable. Your rational would be very interesting.

More recently the issue is that of "non catastrophic spin offs". With our slo.it card it is possible to slew very heavily ,near 90 deg, stop but not de-slot. It takes 1 to 2 sec of pawer to get the car back. Should this be treated as a de-slot if it obstructs another driver or as a drive through?

This leads to another related question. If your 2 sec rule works for you Mr F. How many seconds appart (typical speeds) would a useable LC be. On my tracks their are currently only 1 XLC and 3 CLC's so a de-slot can be un-avoidable to other drivers as their may not be an LC available in time for a clear follower to avoid 2 sec away.

While not initally being the target of this discussion does the ideal race meeting place some requirements on the track to allow the ideal race.

The interesting issue is that nobody has said races longer than 10 min would be better. Real races are 20 min or more and in a very old hobby, model powerboats , heats of 15 min was not unreasonable, why do you think that is (it being digital so getting everybody on every track is not an issue controlling race length).

Nobody has really noted tea break length yet for digital where everybody is raceing all the time surely this is an issue? It is for us, however this may be geriatrics having to sit on the floor. Already its take your own Kneeling mat to survive the eveing ;-).
 

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QUOTE (UshCha @ 3 Oct 2011, 19:05) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>This is interesting as we keep track calls to 0.5 sec delay. This is because on a 6 car 4 second lap a crashed car will obstruct an innocent driver almost as much as the guilty party. It may be your track is bigger and so 2 sec is acceptable. Your rational would be very interesting.

The interesting issue is that nobody has said races longer than 10 min would be better. Real races are 20 min or more and in a very old hobby, model powerboats , heats of 15 min was not unreasonable, why do you think that is (it being digital so getting everybody on every track is not an issue controlling race length).

Is there any way you can make your track bigger or longer? 4 seconds for a lap - blink and you'll miss it.

I think races of longer than 10 minutes can be great fun. I've run team endurance races of 25 mins each which gives enough time for fuel load strategy and driver change pit stops running SSDC. (Track lap record about 11 secs)
 

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Hi Guys,

Very interesting topic I have to say. We at FRC have massaged our racing rules to the point where things are reasonably well organised, however one area that still is a BIG problem is that of others driving through de-slotted cars which block the lane. Our drivers (myself included) are notorious for this. How can this be prevented or minimised?

Also, even though we have a stop and go penalty for people who drive into and de-slot the car ahead in the same lane (another thing I haven't seen mentioned yet here), drivers often times dispute this, arguing that the car ahead slowed unexpectedly or something similar. Perhaps Mr. Flppant's idea of penalising all de-slotters may be the way to go for this.

Any thoughts on these would be appreciated.

Gordon
 

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I'll note again that this is just how we run things. As I said, our group is new, and so we've taken ideas from other places, and are still experimenting with ideas. Some things are likely to change, and some will likely stay the same. I'm certainly not suggesting that everyone (or anyone) should also do it this way.


QUOTE (UshCha @ 3 Oct 2011, 11:05) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>This is interesting as we keep track calls to 0.5 sec delay. This is because on a 6 car 4 second lap a crashed car will obstruct an innocent driver almost as much as the guilty party. It may be your track is bigger and so 2 sec is acceptable. Your rational would be very interesting.

No, the laps are usually between 6 and 10 seconds, depending on the track and the cars. The 2 seconds is so that people try to avoid crashing. Crash and burn is too much of a penalty, we feel, but we also want there to be sufficient deterrent so that drivers try to be more careful. In fact, sometimes we'll do a 2 second delay AND a stop and go penalty. The problem we've had with a short delay like .5s is that cars that coast well and on certain tracks, a driver could actually release the trigger for longer than that in the normal course of driving. Sometimes we use manual track call via the brake buttons, because none of us use the brake button to actually brake. Those cases are rare, though, and usually only when we don't have SSDC running for some reason.

QUOTE (UshCha @ 3 Oct 2011, 11:05) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>More recently the issue is that of "non catastrophic spin offs". With our slo.it card it is possible to slew very heavily ,near 90 deg, stop but not de-slot. It takes 1 to 2 sec of pawer to get the car back. Should this be treated as a de-slot if it obstructs another driver or as a drive through?

Any car that cannot proceed on its own is considered "off". If it can get back to racing with a couple seconds of power, or a helpful nudge from a passing (or following) car, then so be it. If it's still in the slot and rolling, then it's still racing. With auto-track-call, it's really up to the driver to give up on the car and release the trigger so that track call is activated. If he's trying to keep the car going, or even simply forgets to let go, then track call will not happen until he does (or someone else comes off and does ;-). It's not uncommon for all of these things to happen, and so we just "roll with it".

QUOTE (UshCha @ 3 Oct 2011, 11:05) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>This leads to another related question. If your 2 sec rule works for you Mr F. How many seconds appart (typical speeds) would a useable LC be. On my tracks their are currently only 1 XLC and 3 CLC's so a de-slot can be un-avoidable to other drivers as their may not be an LC available in time for a clear follower to avoid 2 sec away.

Most of the tracks have multiple XLC and a couple CLC, easily one lane changer every 10 feet or less. Usually, though, it's about where a lane change is useful for racing purposes, not for getting around a crash purposes. If someone gets stuck behind a crashed car, well... sucks to be them. Most of us drive through a crashed car. Rubbin' is Racin' and all that. We don't try to barrel through a car at full speed, but we also don't wait when we think we can push it out of the way. Races are won or lost by decisions like that.

QUOTE (UshCha @ 3 Oct 2011, 11:05) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>While not initially being the target of this discussion does the ideal race meeting place some requirements on the track to allow the ideal race.

I think that's a good point. In my dream world, the clubhouse would have many amenities in addition to the track. The track being the focus, would have good lane length, good visibility, and easy marshal access at all the major crashing points so that, given enough people, all races could be crash and pit with no track calling. Ideally, software would control a car with a penalty when it enters the pit, and not allow it to leave until it serves its penalty.

QUOTE (UshCha @ 3 Oct 2011, 11:05) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>The interesting issue is that nobody has said races longer than 10 min would be better. Real races are 20 min or more and in a very old hobby, model powerboats , heats of 15 min was not unreasonable, why do you think that is (it being digital so getting everybody on every track is not an issue controlling race length).

I have nothing against longer races, in fact I'm wanting to try a digital endurance race some time soon. I've taken part in analog endurance and digital endurance, and found them to be enjoyable, if not difficult to organize. The reason we run multiple short heats is because we follow the analog style of rotational racing. While position makes less difference in digital than it does in analog, being in front or back at race start does have an effect, if not only on the first turn. Also, different IDs are usually served by different positions around the track, which affect the driver by having a different view of the track, which is especially important on non-flat tracks that have obscured sight lines in some locations.

QUOTE (UshCha @ 3 Oct 2011, 11:05) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Nobody has really noted tea break length yet for digital where everybody is raceing all the time surely this is an issue? It is for us, however this may be geriatrics having to sit on the floor. Already its take your own Kneeling mat to survive the eveing ;-).

Oh, we don't have "tea" so much as snacks. Hosts provide beverages and chips or whatever, and we drink and nibble while we race.

QUOTE (ggonsalves @ 3 Oct 2011, 13:21) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Very interesting topic I have to say. We at FRC have massaged our racing rules to the point where things are reasonably well organised, however one area that still is a BIG problem is that of others driving through de-slotted cars which block the lane. Our drivers (myself included) are notorious for this. How can this be prevented or minimised?

Unless you set rules with penalties for doing that, and police those rules, I don't think it's possible. Just encourage and show by example how to carefully push those cars out of the way. Note to racers that excessive speed through a crashed car is likely to deslot itself.

QUOTE (ggonsalves @ 3 Oct 2011, 13:21) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Also, even though we have a stop and go penalty for people who drive into and de-slot the car ahead in the same lane (another thing I haven't seen mentioned yet here), drivers often times dispute this, arguing that the car ahead slowed unexpectedly or something similar. Perhaps Mr. Flppant's idea of penalising all de-slotters may be the way to go for this.

That's the problem. Even if all drivers agree to be honorable about crashes, sometimes you just can't tell. Even as the driver, you aren't always sure if you tail-whipped someone off in a corner, or if they just "cooked it" and came off on their own. Even lane changes can be debatable, since it's not uncommon for two people to change into each other, and sometimes one of the cars stays on while the other is knocked off.

I'm just as interested in how other people deal with such issues. Like I said, we're trying new things and might very well find that something else works better for us.

For example, one thing we haven't tried yet is a qualification run, followed by a longer race with fuel tracking and such. The question then is how do we decide who gets which driver station? Let each qualifier make his choice in turn? What if we have more than 6 racers? Split them up into classes? Then what? Since we usually run with 7 people, we have to do something to get everyone racing. So far, the answer has been to rotate through each grid place as if it were analog racing on lanes.
 
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