LEXINGTON, Ohio (APRIL 1, 2016) – In a first of its kind move for road racing, the SCCA will require all competitors to run at least one “Joker Lap” in the 23-lap SCCA National Championship Runoffs races at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
At the event, 22 of the laps will use Mid-Ohio’s “pro course,” without the chicane headed into the Keyhole. Drivers are now required to use the chicane once on a lap of their choice during the race. The Joker Lap must come under green flag conditions.
Performing an effective strategy falls solely on the competitors. Is it better to take the longer Joker Lap early in the race, falling behind in a crowd but leaving ample time to make up ground? Or is the move to build a lead and then, as the tires fade, try to hold on in the closing laps?
“Returning to Mid-Ohio with a bang started last year, as we watched the fireworks punctuating an incredible night race in Daytona,” Eric Prill, SCCA Chief Operations Officer, said. “We immediately started thinking about what we could do to top that in 2016. The Keyhole layout offers a unique opportunity for our top road racers to strategize and negotiate the Joker Lap. It’s been wildly successful in rallycross programs worldwide. What could possibly go wrong?”
It wasn’t lost on Prill that some traditionalists may not like the concept of the Joker Lap at a National Championship event.
Love it or loathe it, the concept will draw attention from around the motorsports industry.
“First things first, we aren’t doing anything crazy here,” Prill said. “It’s not like we added a jump.”