Different Timing Line, Restart Procedures Highlight '22 Runoffs Supps
Supplemental Regulations for the 2022 SCCA National Championship Runoffs, Sept. 24-Oct. 2 at VIRginia International Raceway, have been posted at the Runoffs event page. New items for 2022 include a shift of the official timing loop during test and qualifying days, as well as the introduction of an acceleration point for race restarts.
To maximize available green flag time in the day, SCCA has taken a cue from professional racing organizations, and will shift its official timing loop for both test and qualifying days. For those days (Saturday, Sept. 24, through Thursday, Sept. 29), official times will be set at the South Start/Finish line, adjacent to the South Tower after Turn 12 (Oak Tree Curve). All sessions will receive the green and checkered flag at this station, meaning drivers will be able to pit five corners later, rather than complete a 17-turn, 3.27-mile cool-down lap.
“We checkered the sessions during the 2019 Runoffs test days at the end of the back straight,” said Deanna Flanagan, SCCA Director of Road Racing. “After analyzing green- and checkered-flag times for those days, as well as those times during qualifying days that utilized the traditional timing line, we learned that several minutes can be gained between sessions if we eliminate the full cool-down lap. On average, the transition time between checkered flag and green flag was more than three minutes quicker during test days. That extra time allows for an entire extra session in the day throughout qualifying, which means one fewer combined-class run group each day.”
Benefits to drivers include the ability to save an entire “in” lap after completing an official timed lap, should they wish to pit and then return to the track. Drivers can also start a hot lap and evaluate if their run up the back straight, through Rollercoaster and Hog Pen, are quick enough to continue the lap, or potentially duck into pit lane.
While the Start/Finish line for the test and qualifying sessions will relocate, the event will utilize the North pit lane along the front straightaway throughout test days, qualifying and racing, as was the case in 2019.
SCCA is working with data industry experts to develop instructions on how to work with the shift of official timing lines, both with data analysis and onboard lap timers. Details will be posted in the coming months.
Restart Acceleration Point
Another significant change for the 2022 Runoffs is the introduction of an acceleration point for race restarts. Noted by a cone, or similar recognizable marker, the point signifies when the leader may begin accelerating to the green flag once the safety car has turned off its lights and entered the pit lane.
“This is another situation where we are taking cues from some professional racing series by providing the drivers a definitive point where they can accelerate from the speed of the safety car on a restart,” added Flanagan. “This is done to take some of the inconsistency and gamesmanship that we’ve witnessed out of the equation.”
Full information on these two changes, as well as all event Supplemental Regulations, are available at the 2022 SCCA National Championship Runoffs event page, at www.scca.com/runoffs.