Doing your first Pro Solo
Evolution will be holding an Evo Hole Shot Program at Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ on Friday May 19th in conjunction with SCCA’s Pro Solo event. This program is designed to help students better understand how the SCCA’s Pro Solo events run. It will also give participants an excellent opportunity to learn how the Drag Race start works with an instructor by their side. Please keep in mind that this is not your typical Driving School, as the actual driving is limited to practice starts. The Evo Hole Shot will cover the following:
- The Lincoln Drivers Center
- Grid Sheets / Grid A & Grid B / Grid Order
- Staging Lanes
- Burnout Box
- Different Styles of Staging Cars
- Qualifying for Challenge Competition
- Practice Starts
Your First ProSolo
So…. Are ya ready to do your first SCCA ProSolo event? Are you a bit anxious? Don’t worry, that’s normal. I remember participating in my first Pro Solo back in 91 and then again in 95, with much anxiety, so I thought I’d spend this article on how to participate in a ProSolo event without getting overwhelmed with all the details! If nothing else, just remember to relax and have a great time no matter what happens! The best way to minimize the anxiety to be as informed as you can before you start, so you won’t be surprised.
Get there early:
Plan on getting to the event a little earlier than you would for a Solo II event. There are two courses to walk and you will need to grid up a little sooner than normal in a pre grid. The event flows very quickly, so it’s important to have everything ready before hand.
Working a Pro is similar to working an regular event, except there are two phases of work. Regular class competition rounds and Challenge rounds
When checking in at registration, you will be given a form that lists all the classes and the run group order. The form will also contain your work assignment. Note that you will be working once for each of the three run sessions of class competition. These sessions are numbered 1,2, and 3, which are Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon, and Sunday morning respectively. Within each session there are four work groups, labeled A,B,C and D. So an example work assignment would be group B, while you might run group D. Be clear on when you run, and when you work, before leaving registration. Just ask if you need help understanding it better. Also make sure they don’t accidentally have you working when you run. They don’t make many mistakes, but sometimes thing happen, so politely ask them to clarify it with you if you see a conflict. The only times I’ve seen this happen, is with a co-driver situation, for the second or slower driver will make there runs in the next group after the first or faster driver runs in the regular class group.
The class competition is not the only work assignment needed for the Pro Solo. The hosting region is asked to work as needed for the challenge round competition on Sunday Afternoon. The chief of workers will be looking for region members for this, so contact him to help with these work assignments. If you don’t make the challenge rounds, please stay and help the NWR put on a great challenge show. If you make one of the three challenge rounds, you of course do not have to work during your challenge round, but if you can help during one of the other challenges that would be great.
Pre grid and grid:
Before you run, you put your car into pre-grid, then as your group nears it’s run time, you will be moved up to grid. Drivers are lined up based on car number for the first run session, and then by class position for the other two rounds. The faster drivers go out first. The grid’s are two side by side lines, which is one line for each course. If you are put into the right line, you will be running the right course first. When your group is moved from pre-grid to grid, you need to be ready to race at this point. When it time for your group to run, they move 4 to 5 cars from each line up into the staging lanes. These are the two lanes that lead up to the tree light starts. You follow the car in front of you, and move up as each car starts their runs. The staging lanes will be marked with colored cones. Once you get up to the cones right before the lights, no adjustments or tending to the car is allowed.
Taking your runs:
To take your run you first need to stage your car at the start light. When you pull up to stage your car in the staging lights at the start, no one can touch the car. As you pull up to the start you will see two white lights at the top of the start tree. One is the “Stage” light and one is the “Pre-Stage” light. As you move up the pre-stage light will light first then the stage. You pull up until you see the top white light (stage light) turn on. Then creep up the car slowly till the second white stage light comes on. Most drivers will actually drive up till both lights are on, then back up till the stage light goes off, then move up slowly till the stage light goes back on. This is to get what is called a “deep” stage. At this point you are staged and ready for your run! Once the timer is at zero you must have the stage light lit. It does not matter if the pre-stage light is lit but it usually is.
As you are staging, note the count down timer below the staging light tree. It will be counting down from either 20 or 25 depending on the pace of the event. When the clock gets to zero a buzzer will sound the second stage light must be on. If not, that run will be nullified. Next, the yellow count down lights will start. There are three and they sequence down every half a second, and then the green light goes on, which is when you want to start. To maximize your start, you want to wait until you see the third yellow light come on, and go then. This works really well for the “deep stage” as discussed above. By the time you engage the clutch and the car moves significantly, the green light will be on. If you go before the third yellow light, there is a very good chance you will be to early, and instead of the green light going on, you will get the red light, which nullifies that run. If you red light, I recommend still running the course for practice. This is the time to experiment also, for it won’t count for anything. Don’t worry if you red light here or there, for it’s good to push the lights every once and a while to see how fast your launches are. If you want to do this, I suggest doing it during the first session, for invariably most of the fastest runs come on Sunday morning if the conditions are equal, so the Saturday runs are mostly practice anyway.
You will take all four of your group runs all at once. You will alternate from one course to the other until you have run each course twice. As you finish your current run exit the stop box and proceed over to the staging lane of the other course and repeat what you just did. Watch for other cars, for this is a busy place as cars come off and switch sides. Once finished with your other course run, you then go back to course you ran on your first run. Once you finish your 4th run (two on each course), you are finished for that run session, and you can go back to your pit position on Saturday morning, but both Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, you will need to proceed to impound. If you have co drivers, you will need to go right back to pre-grid so they can take there runs. They have a separate section to the side for co-drivers.
If you do well enough to qualify for one of the challenge round competitions, you will have to park your car in another impound type spot after normal impound on Sunday morning, and leave it there until you pre-grid for your challenge round. The reason for this is the rules prohibit any changes to the car between your last class competition runs and the challenge round, so the impound area is for this. The only exception is if you have corded a race tire, you can replace that tire only. This is also true for the challenge rounds them selves.
If you don’t make the “Open Challenge” or “Ladies Challenge” don’t give up, for there is a great “Bonus Challenge” also where 8 luck folks are chosen by pulling names from a hat at the end of regular class competition. This will be announced as in when to drop your name in the hat and when they will be pulled, and you must be present when the names are pulled to be included, so don’t miss out!
So… sounds busy doesn’t it. Well, don’t let it intimidate you, for once you do it, it will feel pretty natural and you can get a lot of help and suggestions from all the friendly competitors in our solo community. So, sign up and enjoy your first ProSolo event! Forms are available on the NWR web site, national office web site, or by using the generic form available in every issue of SportsCar magazine. The fee includes at least 12 runs! The deadline for the Seattle Pro is the national office must have received your entry by Monday prior to the event to avoid a late fee.
Just remember to have fun and I’ll see ya on the start line!
copied from NWR-SCCA