Just kinda guessing here, since I don't do a lot of Pro Solo (but as
motorsport journalist I have some understanding of how drag racing works) --
it seems part of the problem stems from one of a couple of major differences
between a Pro Solo and a drag race.
No, not the corners. But the fact that the first time you trigger the finish
lights, your race is only half done. Pro is more analogous to pro slalom
skiing, two guys on sorta mirror courses ski down, go back up, and ski down
again on the opposite side. Quickest total time wins. When you see them do
the second side you get "Wolfgang has to make up half a second on Jean-Luc,"
but reaction time does not even play in.
But could it? In the "old" pro the clock started with the green light. In
the "new" pro the clock starts when you break the start beam, but now a
dragrace style redlight (as Dennis described below) is possible if your r/t
is too quick. Okay, so you get a realtime readout as to how long it took you
to run that course. That may be useful information to you in setting up your
next run on it. But nothing says that, in the pairing, they cannot also
determine the difference between the two finish times. That is, Car Left
breaks the beam 0.035 ahead of Car Right, and so gets an 0.035 headstart
when they flip sides. It is not how long it took to run the course, it is
who breaks the beam first. Since you do a 2-sided run, the first run
determines the handicap applied to the second.
But now, with TWO launches per match, the slower car could make up all that
time just with a good light! This is cool.
Uh, something else occurs. In Pro Solo class runs, the few times I've done
it (most recently ... wasn't too recent), it really did not matter who was
first to the finish in the class runs. What mattered was strictly ET. You
could have two cars paired all six runs, one beating the other every time,
and those two still end up finishing 1-2 in the class because it was all
based on time. As in, it was NEVER a real head-to-head match until the
Challenge rounds. It was just two cars running for time that happened to be
out on course at the same time. Has that changed?
Actually, if it hasn't, IMHO it should, and could. IMHO, class competition
ought to be moved closer to the dragrace motif -- qualify Saturday, brackets
set up based on ET, eliminations Sunday. I guess the questions is -- how
many runs would it take to get eliminations in that way, and could you get
the event done? But then, perhaps with no qualifying, random-draw brackets
and double elimination ladders (instead of qualifying-based
single-elimination ladders) you could get the event in.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>
To: Randy Chase <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: HEYWARD WAGNER <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org
<email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>
Date: Friday, January 19, 2001 9:22 AM
Subject: RE: BREAKING NEWS: New ProSolo Timing System
>>> You mean I spent the off season perfecting my lights for nothing??
>> Assuming you don't make the challenges....yes. :-)
>But as the Challenge is the whole point of the event, that R/T is still
>pretty damned important. And there's the bonus money for best class comp.
>> Dennis, what is an Announcer Repeater Panel and what do you mean by
>> consistant rollouts? I have no experience with legal drags.
>An Announce Repeater panel (which may or may not be a separate panel on
>this design - it may be built in to the main timing display) is a display
>that puts information in front of the announcer in a timely manner, and in
>a ready-to-announce format. At the very least, it'll have who won, and by
>how much. Fancier systems include driver/car data, and will highlight *why*
>the winner won too. The idea is that the announcer has all the info he
>needs, right in front of his nose, all the time.
>Or in other words, no more waiting in the staging lanes for Howard to
>mentally carry the one and figure out who won - the announcer will know the
>winner the instant they cross the finish beam.
>"Rollout" has to do with the way the timing systems work. On a drag race
>system, the ET clock starts when the front wheels leave the Stage beam, and
>R/T is the time between the green light lighting and the clock starting. On
>the old ProSolo system, the clock started when the light went green, and
>redlights were triggered by a third beam placed a little downsteam of the
>The distance you can roll forward before triggering a redlight is called
>"rollout", and it is an essential part of knowing when to launch. Because
>all drag systems work the same way, the timing of the launch point is
>pretty well the same everywhere you go. But the ProSolo lights had
>different rollouts from the rest of drag racing, so the timing you used
>everywhere else in the world didn't work at a ProSolo - and because the
>system was incapable of presenting a reaction time, there was no way to
>tune it. Frustrating as all hell, and the number one reason why I've been a
>champion of an R/T capable timing system.
>Lemme put it this way - if one were to spend lots of time on a simulator or
>a dragstrip practicing lights, expecting to have that practice carry over
>into ProSolo, it doesn't work with the old timing system, because they
>don't work the same way. With the new system, it will work.
>For the curious, if I used my normal drag racing staging technique (well...
>ritual is more like it) with my normal drag racing reaction point (the
>first flicker of the last yellow) I'd redlight every time. If I
>shallow-staged, and left of my normal launch point, I'd redlight about 1 in
>3. So in competition, I'd shallow-stage and give the last yellow until it
>was fully on before launching. My drag racing average R/T is 0.545. In
>bracket competition (actual eliminations, not just time trials, when I'm
>really trying) it's 0.514. Based on some experiments I did last season
>during practice starts, I estimate that my average ProSolo R/T was about
>0.750, which is well and truly asleep at the switch in drag race terms.
>That's over 2 tenths a side....