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All About ProSolo

24786 Views 29 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  SLKado

What is it?
ProSolo combines the excitement of drag racing and the skill of Solo II on side-by-side, mirror-image autocross courses. Lining up at the familiar “Christmas Tree” start, drivers compete heads-up in various classes by combining their fastest times from each course. After class competition is completed, all ProSolo events feature the top drivers from each class, competing head-to-head in a variety of single- elimination, handicapped Challenges.

The ProSolo NationalSeries provides national-level competition in a series structure using the all the regular national Solo II classes. While entrants must be SCCA members, a ProSolo license is not required until their second ProSolo event of the season, when they officially become part of the ProSolo NationalSeries Championship series.

There are two championships up for grabs in the ProSolo National-Series, the Class Cup, where series points are scored based on the best two (2) finishes of the first three (3) events in class plus the Championship Finale, and the Challenge Cup, which counts the best two (2) challenge finishes of the first three (3) events.

The ProSolo NationalSeries Championship provides opportunities and excitement for every level of Solo competitor. From the casual competitor that wants the thrill of "racing" against their buddy from a drag start, to the national level competitor wanting to run a limited series, to the accomplished competitor looking for the ultimate "challenge", the ProSolo NationalSeries Championship has something for every Soloist. Check the schedule for the event closest to you!
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Okay, but what is it?

Basically, it is a race in a race in a race. One of the cool things is you can do well in any of those races. But first, let's take a look at the format.

The very short answer is ProSolo is dragracing with turns.

You line up at a dragracing style "Christmas Tree" that has starting lights on it. Your time starts when the tree drops and the green light is on. You launch with a fury and then negotiate around an autocross style course, while your competition is doing exactly the same thing on the opposite side. The two courses are mirror imaged and designed so that they are close to even. It's a race back to see who is first. Then you swap sides and do it again. Best combined times from the left and right win.

The race takes place over Friday through Sunday. You race in your class, trying to win as high as you can. You are also setting up for the Sunday afternoon Challenges when the fastest cars from different classes run against each other. They use indexes based on the Sat-Sun racing to determine your index, so a slow Mini can run against a Modified Turbo Porsche.

The Challenges are sudden death elimination. Top 32, become 16, then 8, 4 and finally a winner.

The race for the weekend in the class. There is a race for the challenge for the weekend. You are racing to determine your seeding in the challenge (and money is paid out based on this). You are also racing in two series points races for the year. Your class series and the Challenge Series.
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Why you should do it

It's a freaking blast. Adrenalin. Waiting for the lights to drop. Hearing the competitor roaring his car. Burn outs. Balls out totally insane racing. Racing back to the finish while looking at your competitor and gauging his position.

You get 12 runs minimum. If you do it right, you can get up to 24 in one weekend.

And there are the best drivers running this. You get see a lot of cool cars driven by the best. Well prepped Corvettes, Ferarris, Porsches. Heavily modified Supras or DSMs, Miatas and Spyder. Shifter Karts and ground pounding Mustangs and Camaros.

Being able to win consistenly all year means more to me than winning over 6 runs at Nationals in Topeka. I will drive to Kansas to run a ProSolo Finale. I drive thousands of miles for ProSolos.

Typically each year I will do Southern California, Northern California, Utah, and Kansas. Sometimes Texas. Sometimes I will fly into Michigan or somewhere to drive someone's car. Always a lot of fun.
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What about the Elise in ProSolo?

I think it will be a great car for it. If the clutch can handle it, you can do a 6k rpm dump and have that bad boy squat on the rear tires and launch. It should launch very well. I expect 60 foot times under 2 seconds.

Then it should be able to handle it's way very well and rocket down the straights.
Okay, I want to try it, what should I know?

1. Bring everything like any other national event. If it's your first Pro, you don't need a license. If it's your second, they will remind you if you have not paid for one, and you can pay using a credit card form at the trailer.

2. It's important if it's at all possible to arrive at the event early enough Friday afternon to do practice starts. I suggest buying 6 for $10. The starts commence at 3:00pm. Sales of tickets normally end at 5:30pm, but don't wait as they can get cut off early doe to too many people. If possible arrive by 3:00pm and allow time to relax and prep the car.

You will need to tech the car before you can do the practice starts. Kinda odd, but just look for the secondary SCCA trailer and weight scales. Ask to get teched. You will register later.

Walk into the trailer and ask to buy your start tickets. If you arrive late, do this first!

3. Get a paddock spot, like any other event. Respect other people's spaces. Closer is better.

4. If you can't arrive on Friday, you can late tech/register on Saturday morning. You will be rushed though

5. Starts- Use the practice starts to determine your launch technique and rpms. Some general rules or thoughts:

A) You want more rpms to get a good 60 foot time. You can get a wonderful Reaction Time (RT) but be slow off the line. Don't get too caught up in the RTs and ignore the 60 foot times. The 60 foot times is very important as that is the speed you carry (and increase) on what is often the fastest part of the course.

B) too slow or too fast may cause wheel hop. Severe wheel hop is bad. You can adjust the rpms to remove it, often by increasing them.

C) too fast rpms means too much wheel spin. You want a little wheel spin and a smooth hookup.

D) the more grip, probably the more rpms you can do. In the rain, idling speed may be the most you can do.

E) As you pull up to the lights, there is a section marked by red cones. You can burn out there to warm up your tires (and hopefully not the clutch) AFTER the car in fromt of you has launched and gone about 20 feet.

F) When you pull up, you normally have 25 (20?) seconds to stage. That is more than enough time. There may be times that you will manually started. If it's a manual start, the starter will ask you if you are ready. Don't say yes until you are. Just nod when you are asked. You don't have to turn and divert your concentration.

G) Pull up and slowly make the PRESTAGE lights come on. Now continue until the STAGE lights are lit. It is important to develop a routine you are comfortable with. I like to put it in reverse and make the STAGE lights go out and then roll forward again. For me, I want to be right on the edge of making the STAGE lights flicker on. Sometimes you can turn the steering wheel to also check that.

H) I like to pull up and release the handbrake to set the brake pads to help stop the car from possibly rolling. If there is a slope, I keep the handbrake up until the lights come down. You might want to consider taping the handbrake button down to make sure when you release the brake, it's fully released.

I) Watch the shotclock time and the lights. Keep one eyeball on the STAGE lights. If you see them go out, go forward before the lights come down. It's not good, but it's better than being DQ'd because of improper staging. Keep the other eyeball on the time. It helps to look like Marty Feldman.

J) As the counter approaches zero, raise your rpms to the number you want. I like to lock the rpms in before the clock reaches zero. Some high hp cars may wait until the lights come down.

K) When the 3rd yellow lights, dump the clutch and leap forward. That should put you in a low reaction time (liek .5-.7).

Now certain things can happen when you dump the clutch. You might get a lot of wheel hop or spin so be prepared to back off the throttle for a quick second to get the car to hook up.

Certain cars require more rpms and slipping the clutch for the launch to keep the turbo spooled or to be in the powerband.
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On courses

A note on ProSolo courses. For me, I find them to be different than most Tour courses. Often there is a blazing fast section coming out and away from your competitor and this section has a chicane and will require some balls to do right. Then there is a turn around with some elements and then gates or slaloms coming back. Then a finish.

Often I divide the course up into these kind of sections mentally. Fast and Furious going out. Can you make it stick? Patience and slow in the turn around. Finesse on the turns coming back. Balls out thru the timing lights at the finish.

Walk the course Friday night and then again on Satuday morning. Walk it as many times as you feel you need to. Walk both sides. Note any differences. Get used to the fact that many ProSolo courses use less cones than you might be used to. I like that better.
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Read the rule book on prosolo gridding. But some common things.

You will be paired in the morning against someone (or not if you are the last odd car). You are gridded by your number. If there are numbers 33, 47, 91, 85, and 99 in your class, 33 would be number 1 and pair up against car 47. Car 99 would run alone. The left lane is the first lane, so 33 would run the left first.

There are two gridding areas. You need to first go to PreGrid. There are two lanes marked with number spots. There will be a sign saying PREGRID and a number sheet showing the car assignments. Sometimes a person has the job of telling you. It's also kinda obvious based on your car number when other cars are already there.

DO NOT BE LATE TO GRID. You need to be there 30 minutes before you run. When exactly do you run? Hard to say, so stay aleart. If you are not in PREGRID when the cars are pulled forward to GRID, you should lose your first two runs.

Relax in Pregrid. Enjoy the company. Be aware of who you are gridded against. Not much to do here but wait and worry.

As the GRID lanes in front of you empty, you need to be ready to pull forward. Someone with the official shirt on will call the cars forward into grid. Now it's getting close to GO TIME.

Make sure your pressures are set and you are ready. You should get a two minute and maybe a 1 minute warning. Your class should then be called up to the lights at the same time.

Make sure you are ready to go. Make sure are staged against the right person. Take a glance over and make sure. If it's the last car from the previous class, just reverse out of the lights and wait.

When it's time, pull foward and do the launch thing. Have a friend help to note your RTs and 60 foot times if they announce them. It helps to hear how close you are and if you need to adjust your launch. If you redlight and you waited until the last yellow light, make sure you are staged as far back as you can be. Otherwise, you might want to wait for the light to be more lit.

After you make one run, you finish and switch sides and run the opposing side. *NOTE*... we used to do this: You then finish and pull back into GRID. At this point, you will have run ONE LEFT and ONE RIGHT. You grid on the same side you finished on.. Now we run all 4 runs in a row.

If you have a co-driver, you need to pull the car into the 2nd driver GRID lanes (they are marked). For the most part, it seems to not matter much if you pick LEFT or RIGHT for the second driver. Later on, this can be a tactical move on your part.

After you (single driver) or the co-driver has finished the runs, YOU HAVE to go to IMPOUND. Look for someone pointing where to go.
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Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning run the same with the exception that you are gridded, not by number, but by finishing order. That is kinda cool.

Be aware that Sunday normally starts 1 hour earlier, cars run at 8:00am. Don't be late.

Another note, impound can take a long time. Mainly because of 2nd car drivers and then waiting for results (on Sunday). On Saturday, we tend to release the cars pretty quickly, but most protests MUST be done on Saturday.

Do not leave impound without telling the Impound Chief . If the car needs to be put in grid for ladies class or whatever, let the Impound Chief know. If you have a mechanical problem on Sunday, let the Impound Chief know.

Some cars are required to be weighed. Don't block the scales. If you are curious to the weight of your car, now is a good time to find out. But wait until the scales are not being used and tell the impound person you would like to use the scales. Let them set it up and run it, you bring the car.
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Working. It's a little different. You will be handed a colored sheet with the event supplemental rules on it. READ THESE!

On the sheet will be written in your class, number, and work assignments. There will also be a run order listed. Get to know this and understand it!

The event runs in shifts. Saturday morning is Shift A. Saturday afternoon is Shift B. And Sunday morning is Shift C. Each shift is then devided into Heats. You will hear the PA announcer calling up "Shift A workers, shift A workers, please report to the worker chief." Make sure you report when it's time.

Now here is one thing interesting. They normally change workers on the fly and call them up early. If you are working heat 1, you are happy because you will be relieved by heat 2 workers about halfway or so thru Heat 1. The last heat sucks because you start early and stay to the bitter end. Or like me, you work impound and you stay past the end.

You should normally be assigned to SHIFTS for the weekend. Not 3.

Working course in a ProSolo is a very important job. PLEASE understand what a DNF is and watch carefully. Many people have a lot riding on how well they do and missing or making the wrong call can cost someone a lot of money and wasted energy/time. Every position at a ProSolo is important.

The SCCA people are great. Listen to them. They are very helpful, but help them by doing your job and paying attention.
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Normally the event is broadcast over 88.5 on the FM dial. This can help keep you in touch with the run order if you are paddocked farther away.

Okay, you finished your Sunday morning runs. You went to impound. Now what?

Impound will receive direction from Timing and Scoring as to the final results in your class. We are now considering who is going to run the Challenge. In simple terms, the class winners all go the Super Challenge and then the remaining spots (out of 32) are filled with the drivers that were closest to the class winner.

The Super Challenge is seeded this way. The 1st place driver that was the farthest ahead of 2nd place, is the number one qualifier. Then they work down to fill up the slots.

There will be a cutoff to see who makes it to the top 32. Often it's about .4-.6 seconds behind the leader, depending on how close competition is. At the Finale, it's a very low number. If your car is close to that cutoff, you might want to consider taking it to the Challenge Holding area. There is a area set off that all Challenge qualified cars will be parked at.

The rule is that cars going to the Open Ladies and Super Challenges are not be messed with. You can add fluids, adjust tire pressures. But you can't adjust struts or change parts. If there is a mechanical issue (like corded tires or something broke), you have to get an okay from Impound to do anything and then it needs to be done under the eye of Impound.

If you did not make the Super Challenge, there is a hat for a drawing for the Bonus Challenge.
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The Bonus Challenge. This is a lot of fun and great way to get more runs in and learn more. If you don't qualify for the Super/Ladies challenges, enter this.

There will be a hat at the Impound trailer. Write your name, class, and car number on the ticket. You MUST BE PRESENT to be selected. The names will be drawn at Impound following the end of the class runs. Maybe 15-20 minutes before names are called. Do not leave if you want to do this.

The cool thing about the Bonus challenge is you run off your own index. In other words, your own times set when the clocks come down relative to the other guy. Now, if you drove poorly all weekend, this can work to your advantage as you can now go faster. If you consistently drove well all weekend, it will be harder to win.

But like all Challenges, often the guy who does not make a mistake wins it all. Do not redlight. Do not hit cones. Be consistent and fast. And do it over and over.

That is why it's hard to win challenges.

normal format is that the Bonus Challenge is run first. The 8 Bonus cars will get paired up in order the names were drawn. 4 cars move on to the next pairing. Then 2 and then a winner.

The Ladies Classes run next with cars being drawn from L1 and L2. I don't even try to understand how the Ladies class indexing works.

After that, the Super Challenge runs. The old Honda Street challenge is no longer a separate challenge, but awards the highest reaching street tired car in the Super Challenge.
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Challenge notes-

1. Never DNF a run. No matter what. Strange things have happened, like Karl Coleman's challenge in Topeka. He did donuts at the turn around for what seemed like 5 minutes and won. The other person was disqualifed for crossing over the courses.

2. If you redlight, you automatically lose. Just pull off and you are done.

3. If your competitor redlights, all you need is a green light to win. Wait for the lights and then pull thru. You don't have to run the course, but you can. You can just pull off after the lights.

4. Someone will tell you where to grid if you win your round.

5. It is often done (but not always) to show sportsmahnship to shake the other driver's hand after your runs.

Challenge winners will be asked to bring your car to the trailer for a trophy presentation at the end of the event. Normally, unless the venue disallows it, you will be handed a bottle of champagne.

I suggest closing the top of your car if it is a convertable and rolling the windows up. It can get messy when the champagne is sprayed. Be careful with the bottles. Don't spray Howard.

Personally, I consider it respectful to stick around if you can to collect your trophy and applaud the other trophy winners. Of course people have to take planes or make that 1000 mile trip, but don't get your trophy and leave the presentation.

Feel free to congratulate and shake the hands of the challenge winners as you go up to get your trophy.

When you leave, make sure there is no trash around. Feel free to help pick up. We want to keep these venues.
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Last but not least...
HAVE FUN! It might sound all complicated, but it's not. There are many helpful people, including your competition. The best and the fastest run the ProSolos.

I love the format and it's the main reason I will travel to Topeka

Someday I hope to repeat my earlier success. But will be in an Elise?

Randy Chase
2000 SCCA ProSolo National Champion, C/Stock (Toyota MR2)
It is a lot of fun! I ran four of them this year. For me the main advantage over other Solo events is that you get more runs, and get a shot at the same course(s) on two days. It gives you an opportunity to refine your runs, and get the best out of them. At my (relatively low) skill level, it's hard to do that in 3 runs.

Excellent write-up, Randy! Even though I think I saw it before. ;)
ConeFusion said:
It is a lot of fun! I ran four of them this year. For me the main advantage over other Solo events is that you get more runs, and get a shot at the same course(s) on two days. It gives you an opportunity to refine your runs, and get the best out of them. At my (relatively low) skill level, it's hard to do that in 3 runs.

Excellent write-up, Randy! Even though I think I saw it before. ;)
lol. I forgot I wrote it on SCCA forums and someone linked to it yesterday and that reminded me. Having it here will be easier for me to refer to.
Randy Chase said:
someone linked to it yesterday
That was me. It's a small world! :)
That sounds like fun! I look forward to trying that when I get my Elise.
So only one pro-solo event in San Diego this year? We need more! I loved it. :)

I see the one in LA on March 4-6th. Three days though. Will all pro-solo events be three days long?
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