Track Events: Mid-season Update
It’s always important to look ahead when driving while occasionally checking the mirrors for what is behind you. As we pass the mid-point of traditional Summer, let’s take a quick look in the mirror at prior events and then look ahead to what’s coming up quick on the track events schedule.
Track Days – Completed: 4; Upcoming: 3
We started the season off with a new earlier date of May 11th at Autobahn Country Club on the Full course. Weather was less than ideal (rain and wet), but after a winter that didn’t seem to want to leave, attendance and enthusiasm for this event was very good. The conditions on the South Course on May 31st could not have been better – sunny and clear with temps in the mid-70s. Again on the South course, the June 8th event initially saw some very light precipitation, but as the event progressed, the track dried out and the course conditions improved dramatically. The July 5th event was another Full course configuration with excellent weather (a bit humid though).
The addition of a Track Touring session to our events has been very well received. About 2 hours into our track day sessions, we have a track touring session that is open to all at no cost — just your signature on the event waiver. This session is led by a pace car to keep speeds reasonable, helmets are not required and passengers not only allowed, but recommended! We’re now seeing more and more participants coming out specifically to take part in the touring session.
Three events remain: Monday, July 29th, our full day at Blackhawk Farms Raceway which will include Time Trials sessions and an hour of TrackSprint for all participants (more on that below); Friday, August 9th on Autobahn Country Club North course, and Friday, August 23rd on Autobahn Country Club South course.
Time Trials – Upcoming: 3
Time Trials sessions are run much like our track day sessions with point-by passing rules but add transponder timing of laps. Times are recorded and posted after every session and the grid order is set by lap time for the next session so that the need for passing is minimized. We have traditionally had time trials sessions at our full day track day will again have them at Blackhawk Farms on Monday, July 29th. Last year, for the first time, we added time trials sessions to a club racing weekend. This year we’ll be added to two club racing weekends: on Sunday August 18th at Road America, and on Saturday, September 7th at Blackhawk Farms. We utilize the SCCA Time Trials National classing for timing and scoring. Our goal is to expand this format to to other regions in the Central Division and establish a division wide series.
TrackSprint – What’s that?
TrackSprint is an exciting blend of autocross style timing and scoring using a segment of an existing race track. There are no cones placed on the track – we run it as is with a standing start at pit-out and a flying finish approximately 2/3rd of the way around the course. After the finish, cars return to the pit lane to make another run. These are NOT lapping sessions, and there is no walking the course before runs or any time allowed for practice runs — for practice we recommend you attend a track day. Participants are grouped by experience and take 3 runs per session. As conditions allow, the sessions will be repeated giving each group another 2 to 3 runs. These are evening events – on track for 3 hours before it gets dark, so the time commitment is considerably less than a typical autocross event. Bonus: no working the course and no cones on course means nobody fixing them!
This event format was initially tested in conjunction with our sister autocross club Tri-State Sports Car Council at Autobahn Country Club last November and has been refined to a 3-event stand alone series this season. The first event on June 22nd on the South course saw excellent weather conditions and 74 drivers each got 6 runs on the course. Using the same SCCA Time Trials National classing for timing and scoring, trophies were awarded within each class at the end of the event. Two more stand alone TrackSprints remain on the schedule, Saturday, July 20th and Sunday August 25th — both on the North course. Entries for these events are limited to 80 drivers.
TrackSprint has also been added to our full day track day at Blackhawk Farms on July 29th. Instead of a 6th session on track for the 3 run groups, the course will be set up for TrackSprint and all drivers will take runs on about 2/3rd of the course.
For the driver who might be hesitant to commit to a track day — even our half day evening format — TrackSprint offers a taste of track driving with much less stress to car and driver. The highest speed and heaviest braking parts of the track are avoided in a TrackSprint, so a typical street car can more than handle it.