What’s the difference between the Majors program now, and National racing a couple of years ago?
What you’ll see differently probably depends on the part of the country in which you race. One of the concerns of the old National program was that while it was National in name, it was not necessarily consistent around the country. Now, with the Majors program, the same elements are happening at each event, coast to coast. Are there still differences? Yes, and we will continue to celebrate the nuances of each track, area and Region. But we will continue to streamline consistent structural, operational and promotional practices throughout the program.
The most obvious change is that there are fewer events, which brings racers to the same events for better competition. The calendar has been, and will continue to be, managed from the Club Racing department, which allows us to minimize conflicts – in the Conference, and outside the Conference. There are still nuances outside of SCCA’s direct control, but we’re working to ensure that we minimize our own conflicts as much as possible.
Operationally, Conference Series Administrators, Series Chief Stewards, Tech Managers and PR staff provide competitors familiar faces and consistency at each event. The management structure, using these positions as the key, helps us give you a quick response and a more nimble program.
At the track, the victory circle and trophy presentations happen immediately following the race. There’s no more waiting until results are official – which includes the occasion when another class in your run group filed protests, holding up your results (and your prize!) through no fault of your own. Victory circles now include significant door prizes, ranging from gift certificates to video cameras at every race weekend. Contingency prizes have also been improved in many cases by the centralized event structure.
Additional bonuses include event recaps of every day of Majors racing on SCCA.com and Racer.com, which are also distributed to the local media. Live timing happens at every event, and, where possible, live audio, and even streaming video, for those at home to follow along.
Each conference has a year-end celebration to recognize the class champions and gather your fellow competitors together for one last social evening at the track.
Why are my Saturday races now shorter in length?
Races were shortened to allow time for more run groups. More run groups are needed for a quality on-track experience. Nobody likes racing with incompatible classes. Our goal is to minimize this as much as possible.
You may notice, however, that for tracks with 30-minute timed Saturday races, green flag-to-flag races often hit the same distance as Sunday’s schedule. In 2014, some of the quicker classes actually ran more laps than scheduled on Sunday, creating an occasional fuel issue. In 2015, none of Saturday's races will run longer than the scheduled distance of Sunday's.
We want more track time. This weekend cost me more per minute than before.
While value is always of utmost importance, the Majors program is less about overall track time and more about meaningful track time. The Majors defines meaningful track time as time spent on track battling with other drivers in your class with as few disruptions from others as possible. Some events, generally with very low participation, run as few as three or four run groups. While this provides plenty of track time on the schedule, it is inconsistent with grouping compatible classes together. It goes back to one of the primary goals of the program – more good racing, less driving around fast.
What happened to Sunday qualifying?
Switching from qualifying to warm-up on Sunday came from direct feedback, where days ran extremely long and it was suggested that an opportunity to scuff tires, bed brakes or test a repair was truly desirable. There is always at least an opportunity to run a lap on Sunday morning before racing begins.
I’m towing to tracks that I’ve never been to. We need some practice time.
For every driver that wants a practice session, there is at least one that would rather it be a qualifying session. On a two-day weekend, additional sessions mean additional down time, which is extremely valuable when trying to provide a good racing experience (with good run groups). Every minute of track time that doesn’t count for something takes away from actual racing.
Nearly every Majors event (both two and three-day) is preceded by a track-operated test/practice day. While run groupings are not ideal, it provides a tremendous amount of on-track minutes at a cost lower than a private rental, often $100 to $300.
There is too much travel involved in the Majors program. How am I supposed to be able to get to all of those events?
In order to expand the pool of racers in any given class, the geographic net needs to expand. The way to bring drivers from other Divisions to your home racetrack is to make the race a big part of their Championship effort. Similarly, to make the out of Division but in Conference races successful, the Majors program encourages you to reciprocate.
It is understood that, while some drivers will attend every Conference race, the majority will not. That is why the Championship only counts eight races.
The great part is that you can make this program anything you’d like it to be. If you’d only like to run a handful of events close to your home, we encourage you to do so. If you’d like to tow across the country to your favorite tracks, even out of your Conference, it’s a great way to spend a summer. The program encourages you to participate where it works, for you.
I don’t like _______ about this program.
There is no single program that fits the needs of each and every member. It is recognized that this program, like our Regional programs, is not for everyone. With many decisions made, an argument can be made to do the exact opposite. The overall direction of the Majors program is to be a premier season-long Championship with a semi-pro experience. Decisions are made with this directive in mind.