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The ideal club meeting - What does it look like?

3481 Views 44 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Michael363672
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 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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QUOTE Is there any way you can make your track bigger or longer? 4 seconds for a lap - blink and you'll miss it.

No. Maybe 5 sec is closeer but we can already get sub 5 sec. At home I only have small rooms. Even in our church hall we only get about 6 sec. Typically doubleing a track size does not double the track time.

QUOTE 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.

Clearly a track size function. 0.5 sec on our track is an age.

QUOTE 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.

Seems about every 10 ft is about standard. I have 8 to 10m tracks with 3 CL's, maybee another XLC (2 total) would be better.

QUOTE (ggonsalves @ 3 Oct 2011, 13:21)
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.

I am comming round to this idea, explained it looks like a least worst option ;-).

Yet more questions since the answers are so helpful. So far we have always used auto power on at start. The reasoning is warped, without it carnage results. However ours is a small track. What are the opinions on this. Auto start with say 1 car spacing, auto start with 2 car spacing (between cars on the same rail). Good old fre for all and re-start if too much carnage.

We sometimes volunteer to be at the back even if we get pole just so we can avoid the carnage. So far this has proved a good strategy. With pace cars in the mix its a necessity.

This is why I started the thread, to get good ideas! I like the idea of allowing gentle push pasts, hurt pride but not mush else.
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We don't race with pace cars. There's enough rubbin' without cars that have no drivers in the mix.

We always start with power off so that the lead guys can punch it and wait for the power to kick in. It's up to those behind to time their starts to avoid causing a pile up at the first turn. I prefer being in back so that I can wait a nice long time and take it easy while getting into my groove for the race. In front is OK, as long as you can punch it and make it through turn 1. The middle is the worst. Car spacing depends on the track, though. Most of the time cars are about one full straight apart, and slightly staggered. Sometimes they're stepped so that the nose of a car in lane one is at the tail of the car in lane two, and so on. The closer the cars are at start, the more important it is for drivers to time their starts and not ram into the leading cars. We consider this aspect part of the experience. Again, it's important to remember that ramming another car doesn't always mean you'll get through. In some cases, it means you get deslotted and they stay on just fine (Pioneer Mustangs, for example ;-).
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QUOTE (MrFlippant @ 3 Oct 2011, 22:49) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>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.

We solved some of these issues through trial and error. Here are a couple of excerpts from our racing regulations:

Gridding and Sub-Groups:

1. Cars are gridded for the first race based on their qualifying times, lowest times at the front. Thereafter cars are gridded based on their previous race finishing positions.
2. In the event that there are more than six and less than nine entries, excess drivers will cycle out for each race. For example, if there are eight entries, the last two qualifiers will sit out the first race. Thereafter, the last two finishers in each race will step out to allow the previous two to take their places.
3. If there are nine or more entries in a class, the class will be split into sub-groups (A, B, C. etc.), according to the following:

9 or 10 entries - first 5 in sub-group A, rest in sub-group B.
11 or 12 entries - first 6 in sub-group A, rest in sub-group B.
13 or 14 entries - first 6 in sub-group A, next 6 in sub-group B with the excess drivers cycling out.
15 or 16 entries - first 6 in sub-group A, next 5 in sub-group B, rest in sub-group C.


1. Races take place either over a fixed number of laps ("Grand Prix" - referred to as GRP on the Power Base) or time period ("Enduro" - END on the Power Base). Number of laps per race (or time per race) and number of races per class will be decided at each event. (We generally try to do three 30-40-lap races per class.)
2. For each class, cars are gridded based on their qualifying times for the first race, thereafter based on the previous race finishing positions.
3. A car may be substituted for another provided it complies with the class requirements, however substitutions cannot take place during a race.
4. For each class, drivers are allocated to hand controller stations based on their qualifying grid positions and race there for all the races in that class for the event. Fastest qualifier uses Station 1, second uses Station 2, etc.
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Do you qualify more than one car/driver at a time? All 6? How many laps/minutes do they have to qualify? How does a driver/host decide what ID/station the driver(s) qualify at?

For analog racing, it's common for each driver to take a turn at the same lane and same car. That way lane and car set up do not effect qualifying time. This doesn't match up with digital racing, but the same car/station can be used to mimic this. But when people bring their own cars, it makes sense they should qualify with their own car, not someone else's.
Bit of feed back. Last night was just 2 of us, but now we have 4 Porsche 962/956 with scaley motors. So its 2 drivers, 2 fixed pace. Heats were 100 laps at about 4.6 sec average (pacers at 5.6 and 6 sec) so race about 8 min plus some marshalling time (yellow flag in operation). Fuel burn in operation each full load giving 20 laps +ish. This was best racing ever! Interestingly after a heat you needed a break! The concentration needed to "Thread the needle" through that traffic on a small track is intensce and ,dare i say it an adrealine rush! The slot.t low power cars were perfect, only comming off due to screw ups. Cars that behave seem to be crtical to the ideal race meeting. Cant wait to get 5 cars on at once! We actually packed up earlier than usual as the raceing was so intence we had done enough for one day!

Having rambled the comments are:-

Heats of about 10 min includeing some marshaing time are about optimum for a typical race. Maybe less generally applicable is about 3 to 4 re-fuels per race, not really in line with real simulation but adds to the work load in interesting ways. Drivers need min 5 min between heats just to get back together again. While we are not good drivers, more cars will up the workload so the exhaustion level may well not drop with experience.

Still failing miserably to get it together but having two classes at the same time, like Le Mans looks a good solution. Even on an APB 3 cars Group C and 3 cars slower (GT) would add flavor and interest both visual and tectically. Would fail miserably for F1 of course. Need to get trialing raceing on low power, is it interesting in traffic? In a 100 lap race for LMP what would the ideal GT lap target be, based on our pace cars abouy 80 laps?

While definitely not in the hate CLC camp 3 CLC and 1 XLC is not optimum. In time I thing this will be an issue and will change to 2 CLC and 2 XLC on an 8 to 10m track. I think it may be possible to have too many XLC's.

Again as part of the ultimate race, is it possible to liven the flippers to minimise dead spotting liks Scorpious.
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We run 50% drivers, 50% marshals. The track is 33m digital with 6 major corners. A perfect scenario for this track is 6 marshals (one on each corner) and 6 racers on rotation. However generally the attendance is around 4 to 8 but still 50/50. Track call is not used as it breaks the rhythm and generally favors those who deslot more than those don't. Fuel and pitstops are used along with penalties for false start and speeding through pits. You have 3 laps to serve your penalty or you are disqualified. Penalties are stop n go, drive through or timed stop. If you get penalised then get penalised again before you get a chance to serve the initial penalty you are disqualified. For some reason we rarely have collisions on LCs or tailgating, I guess that's due to the good sportsmanship and experience of the drivers. We run non mag only LMPs and GTs with a 25k limit on motor size. Voltage is between 10 and 12 depending on how many cars, drivers skills and what mood everyone is in. All races are 25 or 30 laps although we have a 6 hr enduro coming up with 15 cars.

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Double posting.
Lots of interesting ideas in this thread.

Our digital (Carrera) club is still young and very informal, but I've run with an analog club for several years.

At my analog club, we normally have enough racers to fill the four lanes and marshal every corner. Our digital group rarely has that many. We haven't used a qualifying session yet, and quite a few of our races have been IROC format. We've tried crash and burn, track call for every off (yuk!), and variations in between.

I have to say that in both analog and digital I find the best racing to be with corner marshals. The marshal is watching his corner, and so has the best chance of knowing who caused the occasional multi-car incident. Probably even better than the drivers involved. He replaces the victim(s) first and the aggressor last. If he gets it wrong, too bad. That's racing. With experienced drivers, an off can make or break the race, so the off itself is enough of a penalty. I like having the option of a track call. At my analog club, only a marshal can make a track call- never a driver. We have very few. Most heats have none. Only needed for the odd off that can't be reached quickly and safely and endangers other racers.

Of course that requires a minimum number of people. When there aren't enough to meet that minimum, I am starting to like crash and burn as well as anything. It can be brutal and harsh, but everyone quickly learns that caution is a virtue.

As to heat length- I like 5 minutes or less. So depending on the digital track, it could be anywhere from 10-50 laps. This may be because I've done so much racing with the analog club, and there it's always between 2-4 minutes. I just get worn out on anything longer than that, and even more so with the extra mental effort needed in digital racing. Not to say that the occasional enduro isn't a blast.

Sometimes we use fuel, sometimes we don't. I think as the digital group matures, we'll find ourselves using fuel more and more, if not all the time. I think it really adds to the race experience.

Always have food and drink available! Whether it's just munchies or something more like pizza or sandwiches for lunch. A break to socialize and eat and drink makes for a better day and, I think, a happier, healthier club.
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QUOTE (MrFlippant @ 4 Oct 2011, 18:56) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Do you qualify more than one car/driver at a time? All 6? How many laps/minutes do they have to qualify? How does a driver/host decide what ID/station the driver(s) qualify at?

For analog racing, it's common for each driver to take a turn at the same lane and same car. That way lane and car set up do not effect qualifying time. This doesn't match up with digital racing, but the same car/station can be used to mimic this. But when people bring their own cars, it makes sense they should qualify with their own car, not someone else's.
We used to qualify one at a time over three laps, but in the interest of expediency we now qualify up to 6 at a time per class using the Power Base qualifying mode set to two minutes. If we have more than six entries in a class, we split qualifying for that class into roughly even numbers (eg. two q-sessions of 4 cars for eight entries). Driving stations for qualifying are generally decided on a first-come, first-served basis although in our one-make classes (Porsche Cup and Lambo Series), we roll a dice for qualifying stations or skip qualifying altogether and roll the dice for first race driver stations. These classes are unique in that the cars belong to FRC and not to individuals and each car is set to a station for the night with the drivers rotating to a different station/car for each race.

Incidentally, for these special classes, the car bodies are swapped around in between race meetings (events), so the fast green Porsche one week may be on the slower red one's chassis the following week. Makes things even more interesting.
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Your special class is what we call IROC (International Race Of Champions). It's because the cars are provided by the host, just like the real IROC.

I like the idea of rolling a dice to determine station. That way it's fairly random, and people can't really complain about how their position around the track is "chosen".
QUOTE (MrFlippant @ 5 Oct 2011, 20:36) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Your special class is what we call IROC (International Race Of Champions). It's because the cars are provided by the host, just like the real IROC.
Oh. Now I know
IROC it is!
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The interestig thing about all of this is that the "ideal race" does not exist! It was with supprise (not hostility) to find that injector man would have 2 heats of 4 cars and marhalled, than 8 car heats on yellow flag. That would be unthinkable to us as we would miss "Threadding the needle" through 8 cars. So the next issue, how many cars on a rail. This is more of a straw poll as thers is no right answer, just of interest on where (if anywhere the concensus lies). We like 3 cars per rail. I,e even on our small track 6 cars on 2 lanes. full scaley. Only whish SSDC could run 2 pace cars on the same rail keeing a timed diffrence between them. On a longer than 8m (about 26 ft for our US friends) track could you have more than 3 per rail?

At the end of this thread I thought I would do a Mr F and produce a definative guide. However there is a glorious range of opinion on what an ideal race is. There have been lots of good ideas and rational for the various approaches and that is geatly benerficial as it lets everbody select they way they want to race with the help of others experience.

If/when digital starts to have a national series the competitors will face a vast array of race types from fully marshalled, sparcely populted tracks not too far from todays analouge racing, to complex traffic heavy events where staying on is premium, as a too many de-slots will cause a retirement, and the winner may just be the one who can drive consistently within their safe limits.
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No, of course the ideal race does not exists, because it is all a matter of opinion, based on previous experiences; and that point of view changes as we get more experience (I used to love magnet cars, but not anymore).

My ideal digital club meeting would be this:

Minimum 25 meter track, 3 lanes, minimum 5 or 6 LCs, 6 racers, with marshals, but no ghost cars (not sure why the ghosts should get to race all the time if they never take a turn at marshaling).

Personally, I prefer to race against the clock (rather than first past the post) and 5 or 6 minutes is plenty, although I did 6 hours once and actually enjoyed it (but we knew the winner after 5 minutes).

May be how many cars per rail is not the key point, more: How many cars per track length, 35 meter 8 cars, 45 meters 12 cars, etc.

At least 1 national digital series already exists, and perhaps you could find out how they do it to get an idea of what works and what does not.

I am sorry, but I must disagree with the last comment:
"and the winner may just be the one who can drive consistently within their safe limits."
Sounds a bit like driving to the shops to me, not racing. Surely the winner should be the fastest guy on the day.

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Merkit the Grof - Obviously its the fastest man! Just not the fastest man that cannot avoid crashing every other lap.

From all the posts it seems that the common denomenatorsis 1 LC about every about 10 ft. After that its all different.

Some like Traffic, 2 cars is per lane on large tracks and some 3 cars per lane even on small tracks.
Marshaling vs yellow flag self marshalling, again no agreement (Glorious diversity). Some want marshals even if it reduces the traffic potential.
Not everybody sees fuel stops as the way to go.

I think unless there are any major contributions this thread has proably run its course. Thanks for the discussion it was enlightening. Maybe its like will rise again when Oxygen releases and Scorpious gets the abilty to put a real safety car on the track.

Untill then enjoy digital your way and have FUN. THANKS
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QUOTE (UshCha)I think unless there are any major contributions this thread has proably run its course. Thanks for the discussion it was enlightening. Maybe its like will rise again when Oxygen releases and Scorpious gets the abilty to put a real safety car on the track.

Untill then enjoy digital your way and have FUN. THANKS

And I was going to come in with how I run the digital nights at our local club

But if we all done I will leave it

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Then there are major contributions to come so welcome and continue!
Yes, Michael, please share how you guys deal with these issues.
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Right here we go then

1st off Keep it simple (have you seen some of our members)

We run CLUB NASCARS colour coded to each id on the oval

The cars stay where they are the drivers move

We have run upto 80 lap races so far

It takes 2 people to marshal the track so aslong as we get 8 racers or more we run 6 cars

If less than 8 then racers are reduced

The marshal looks after crashes putting cars on in order of off's as they see fit

I am looking into introducing a 1 move blocking rule
ie you can move lane once to block a faster driver then you are fair game for being knocked off
if you move lanes again but ssdc has no way of aplying penalies at present so not really an option

As with real NASCARS if it ain't rubbin it ain't racing

Also scalex NASCARS are great even with some huge offs we have only broke 1 car and that was only a mounting post

As for crashes people are starting to learn to give way at our x over in the track
best sometimes to give way rather than get taken off yourself by a nutter
as that it is always faster to keep driving than be faster and crashing

One thing I like is with the fuel simulation your car goes at different speeds dependent on fuel load
so it is down to the faster driver to pick his way thru the slower drivers
and also use the throttle sparingly to get better fuel mileage

All in all the more the guys race the more they are learing on how to race on digital

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Ah! A man who like traffic! thanks for the info, Two questions come to mind. How mant re-fuels do you roughly set in the 80 lap race. What level of power drop fo a full tank. We use 10% but on our small track where we rarely use even full power on scaley motors this has little effect. we stilll need to experiment further.
Fuel burn set pretty fast
Fuel tank size 65
Fuel tank speed 50

Last race meeting we ran 80 lap races

Pitstops varied from 2 for one driver to 6 for others

Use of the throttle really makes a difference here
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