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Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
8/30/18 4:46 p.m.
mazdeuce - Seth said:

The good news is that someone just told me that the course was set up at KI Sawyer in Michigan. That's only a hour and a half from my cottage. I didn't even know they ran events up there. I'm stoked. 

I'm stoked we got a legitimate use out of this thread! laugh

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
8/30/18 5:04 p.m.

Why do I have to drive all the way to the Central States for Nationals?

Why can't there just be 5 regional events all running the same course, on the same day?

I'll tell you why...BECAUSE IT WONT BE THE SAME

 

I'll bet this secret map had lefts followed by rights with a slalom thrown in there somewhere.    I think I have run that cheater course before!  

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
8/30/18 5:20 p.m.
Tom_Spangler said:

Also, recreating a course from a map is never going to be 100%. Two different people layout out the course from the same map are going to lay out two different courses.

Not if they use relative GPS coordinates and a surface of the same topology.

If they just eyeballed it then this attempt at practice was laughable and the people who participated deserve no punishment beyond our pity.

kazoospec
kazoospec UltraDork
8/30/18 5:31 p.m.

Given the fact that moving a cone a foot or less, a different surface, different temperatures/weather and a thousand other variables can totally change the way a course runs, I wouldn't be overly concerned about any huge advantage.  To a total newb, who is struggling to read/follow the course, guess it could be an advantage, but that shouldn't really apply to anyone in the running at nationals.  

dj06482
dj06482 SuperDork
8/30/18 5:35 p.m.

The issue I have is the people who are outraged by the "cheaters" are trying to create an advantage for themselves by eliminating the "cheaters" from Nationals.

Isn't it ironic? Don't cha think? 

Feedyurhed
Feedyurhed SuperDork
8/30/18 5:57 p.m.

If the course layout was legally released and not leaked then it's fair game. No harm done.  As long as everyone has access to the information. I am one that believes the people that get to run a duplicate of it prior to the actual event will have an advantage over the ones that don't even with different temps, surfaces etc.  Let's hope there was no Russian collusion!

red_stapler
red_stapler Dork
8/30/18 6:03 p.m.
Feedyurhed said:

 Let's hope there was no Russian collusion!

I mean, they could have used GLONASS instead of GPS to lay out the course.  

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy UltimaDork
8/30/18 6:32 p.m.

I think autoslalom went downhill after it became something other than having the first guy that shows up create a course out of thin air, usually by tossing cones out of the truck as you ran around the parking lot.  My V8 Camaro layouts were quite different from Freds Beetle based courses...laugh 

Course maps.  Bah.  Did almost as much to ruin autoslalom as R compound tires.

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett MegaDork
8/30/18 6:58 p.m.

The one key that differentiates autox from other forms of motorsports is the course walk, especially at major events with only 3-runs. So I completely understand why the other competitors would be furious. However, as already mentioned - if no one stated not to use the map to setup a practice course beforehand, I don’t see how that region or its competitors can be held at fault. 

Also, can I just be the first to state: “Conegate”

Ransom
Ransom PowerDork
8/30/18 7:19 p.m.

If you're driving to Nebraska, you're taking it seriously. Unless you live in Nebraska, of course.

I think the rules should make it clear for next year that this is a no-no. There's no downside. Clubs can run nats clones the weekend after onward.

Test and tune on concrete is almost certainly a larger advantage, and some folks probably can't avoid it.

Roadrace courses don't change, so everybody builds experience on those courses. AX courses change event to event by convention, so learning them on the fly is an intrinsic part of the competition. You won't find the last tenth on a clone course, but you might save yourself some headspace on the first couple of runs.

If it's technically legal now, I don't think anybody should be penalized (or looked at sideways) for doing it this time. But it seems like an easy one to avoid. Don't release the maps, and codify that driving a clone in advance makes you For Time Only at nats.

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
8/30/18 7:24 p.m.

How much of the course is too much to copy for next year? Five consecutive turns? Slaloms with the same spacing? Running any events on a similar surface in the 30 days prior to nationals?  

Just don't release maps until the day of. This is an organizational problem, not a competitor problem. 

WonkoTheSane
WonkoTheSane Dork
8/30/18 7:30 p.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ said:

In reply to Javelin :

My least favorite people in any motorsport tend to be the "I have an ego to protect, look at THIS!  Someone is doing things that are within the rules but I consider them to be RUINING THE LEGITIMACY OF THE SPORT HOLY E36 M3 THIS IS SUPER SERIOUS LOOK HOW SERIOUS I AM EVERYONE" people.

Any chance it's those people complaining?  It seems like those people.

This pretty much sums up everything that was wrong with my last SCCA region..  to the point that I was shocked when I ran with a realistic group how much fun it could be without needing a rule book every 10 seconds.

RevRico
RevRico UberDork
8/30/18 7:43 p.m.

And here we have the perfect example why rally cross is a better sport, the course changes every lap and people must adapt on the fly. 

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
8/30/18 7:52 p.m.

Here's an idea: don't release the course in advance AT ALL. Make people have to show up with a car that can handle whatever conditions, course designs, etc might happen. Releasing a course in advance sounds like it only helps the ultra-dork autocrossers who will change their diff for *just* the right gearing for XXX course, or change camber, or whatever (i.e. the people with tons of time, tons of money, tons of days off work, or just no social life (lol) ). That's just lame. How about you show up, walk the course, and then drive it with whatever setup you can adjust in the time you have before your runs? 

 

DeadSkunk
DeadSkunk PowerDork
8/30/18 7:52 p.m.
John Welsh said:

Why do I have to drive all the way to the Central States for Nationals?

Why can't there just be 5 regional events all running the same course, on the same day?

I'll tell you why...BECAUSE IT WONT BE THE SAME

 

I'll bet this secret map had lefts followed by rights with a slalom thrown in there somewhere.    I think I have run that cheater course before!  

Once upon a time the Canadian championships were done exactly this way. Vancouver seemed to win consistently. We eventually learned they used a concrete lot with great grip. We, in London set up a course one year and happened to notice that  the big turns at each end of the course could be positioned neatly on the drainage slopes in our lot . We had the two longest and fastest corners on banking ! Our competitors did really well that year.wink

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
8/30/18 7:59 p.m.
RevRico said:

And here we have the perfect example why rally cross is a better sport, the course changes every lap and people must adapt on the fly. 

that and all runs counting , so you can't just try to "waste" a run figuring out the course, or trying something that might end in a spin or major mistake. In autocross if you berkeley up your first run, so what? It was never gonna be your fastest anyway. In rallycross if you mess up your first run badly, you pretty much have no chance to win.  Autocross doesn't do it for me, but it's certainly "more available" broadly for anyone to do than rallycross is.

 

glueguy
glueguy Dork
8/30/18 8:44 p.m.

I remember long ago when those of us that didn't go had to wait until the fast guys got home at the next event to hear about the course.  And then wait until it was published in Sportscar.  There is 0% reason it needs to or should be published before the event.

 

The SCCA has experience they can pull from.  The Runoffs return to Daytona after a generation hiatus, and every event from the announcement until Runoffs is full, including many out of region competitors.  SCCA announces Indy, and then makes sure there are no events there until Runoffs week so no one can get an early shot at the track.  Racers serious enough to qualify for nationals and then take a week to travel are going to try to gain an advantage, even if it is only mental.

 

It may not be a perfect replica, but to drive a course close to what you'll see, to get a preview of the flow and rhythm and get your mind right, heck yeah.  I have no problem with drivers and organizers who took advantage of what was public.  Leaked course (aka insider trading?  Nope, that's not cool).  Organizers publish a map ahead of the event?  Sorry, that's on the SCCA.  I remember traveling to test 'n tunes on concrete ahead of nationals when the home region only ran on asphalt, just to get a little surface feel time in.

 

hhaase
hhaase HalfDork
8/30/18 10:22 p.m.

I'm with the "Meh, no big deal" crowd on this one.

If the SCCA published the course intentionally,  the only logical reason is for the use of the competitors to prepare for the event.  I mean, what else would they have done that for? I fail to see see how it give anybody an advantage if it's available to everybody.   If some people want to put in more time preparing than others,  well,  that's how every aspect of every form of competition goes. 

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/30/18 11:39 p.m.

The guys who are complaining are basically saying "but it isn't FAIR!" when really, they simply failed to properly train. They're already losing before the event because they didn't think of how to best prepare themselves, and the only solution is to complain like a pre-teen that life isn't fair.

This is like the guys that complain that you can't compete in the GRM Challenge if you don't devote a bunch of time attending to all the details. Well, yeah. You're going to lose to someone who does. Part of racing is showing up ready to race, and if that means simulator time or time practicing on a version of the publicly announced course - well, then you do it.

I can't believe this hasn't been done before.

loosecannon
loosecannon Dork
8/30/18 11:50 p.m.

This year will be my 11th visit to Nationals and I take it very seriously. If my local club had set up a replica of the Nationals course and I just showed up and found this out, I would have run it and my feeling would have been that there is absolutely no way to replicate a course without exact GPS coordinates of each cone, so it would only look like the Nationals course. However, I have now had all day to think about this and have realized that it is an unfair advantage for one reason: It familiarizes the route of the course (not necessarily the exact speeds, g-forces,etc) and would permit anybody who ran a copy in advance a leg up on anybody who had only walked the Nationals course. For comparison, imagine doing laps of Laguna Seca on a good simulator before going on the actual track with your car. Would you be quicker in the first 3 laps than you would have been if you had never seen the track before? Of course you would, even if the simulator didn't get the details perfect. If I was in a class with tight competition (I'm not) I would be really upset if someone had that kind of advantage over me.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/31/18 12:20 a.m.

...and that's exactly why simulator time is so important to top level racers.

It's not an unfair advantage, it's an advantage available to anyone. What makes it seem unfair in some people's mind is if they didn't do it, then they're at a disadvantage. Preparation is key to racing, and that includes preparing the driver as much as possible. The course details are released, the surface is known, the climate is known.

Is there an autox simulator? Seems there could be. What if someone loaded the Nationals course into that simulator so everyone could "drive" it?

codrus
codrus UltraDork
8/31/18 12:46 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:

...and that's exactly why simulator time is so important to top level racers.

 

It's not "unfair" because the map was released to everyone, and everyone had the same opportunity to try to duplicate the course.  (Granted, not everyone had the same access to the resources to do it, but that's true of a lot of other things too.)  "Unfair" would be if special people got the map while others didn't.

That said, I think one of the things that makes autox unique is the fact that it's a new course every time -- that you can go out and practice your skills, but you can't practice a given course in advance.  To do well at autocross requires being able to adapt very quickly.  I think releasing the course map early like this was a bad idea because it diminishes that aspect of the event.

 

Apexcarver
Apexcarver UltimaDork
8/31/18 5:19 a.m.

I think its a grey area that wasnt stated as illegal.  I think next year they need to not release the course design until the event begins. So much of autocross is about what in musical terms would be sightreading. You have to be adaptable. This is a key difference to time trials, roadracing, etc.  The course changes and you have to put up or shut up in short order. 

 

Its not good, it just doesnt rise to point of being actionable in this case. Dont release it next year. 

NickD
NickD UberDork
8/31/18 5:21 a.m.

I talked to our chapter head about this and this is what he had to say

"There is a definite advantage here - while yes the surface, site, and weather conditions will vary.... the surface they used looks pretty similar to what there is in Lincoln. You could use this to work on developing your line and our setup for just the specific courses - something you really can't do much of when you only get three shots at it on site.

This will almost certainly lead to a protest, and therefore a ruling, if anyone there does even halfway decent. The questions raised won't just be if someone can run a sanctioned event like this... but can regional events even mimic the courses in advance? What about an unsanctioned event? Someone with the right resources could rent a lot, possibly even Lincoln itself, and have their own private T&T beforehand.

The rules clearly say you can't pre-run a course ahead of time (something we intentionally don't enforce at the regional level, but is taken very seriously at the national level) - but does it count as pre-running if you're doing it off-site?"

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
8/31/18 7:26 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:

...and that's exactly why simulator time is so important to top level racers.

It's not an unfair advantage, it's an advantage available to anyone. What makes it seem unfair in some people's mind is if they didn't do it, then they're at a disadvantage. Preparation is key to racing, and that includes preparing the driver as much as possible. The course details are released, the surface is known, the climate is known.

Is there an autox simulator? Seems there could be. What if someone loaded the Nationals course into that simulator so everyone could "drive" it?

That's how i see it.  It's a big advantage for drivers who have a tough time visualizing the course after walking it.  But it's totally legal.  Everybody had it available to them, and if you didn't take advantage of it, shame on you.

As to the concept- for the many years that I designed courses, we always did it the morning of the event.  The course designer would drive the trailer full of cones around and yell out any unique features that needed more cones.  And we would drive through again to make sure it was a nice and flowing course to drive- making sure a truck and a trailer can make it helps.  IIRC, only once in the many years I autocrossed I drove on a pre-designed course- which was clearly tougher to set up for the designer, as they had to look at the drawings, and see how it fit onto the pavement...  I know this is different, but just wanted to put that out.

SCCA's events are very much about fairness- all classes have to run together, everyone gets one run at a time, etc.  Which is fine- the goal of this particular event is to find out who is best in the most even manner.  And given the scope of the event, the fact that it's pre-designed also makes total sense- as it can repeatably be put together every day.

But if someone releases the design so early that people can practice on a simulation of it- either on a computer or on a surface, so be it.  If people have a problem with that, they will make a rule for next year.  If they punish people by making it not legal way after the fact, that would be kind of sad to me.  On the simulator note- if someone put one together, people driving on day 2 and 4 can easily drive the course the night before, over an over again.  If a simulator existed.

Given the scope of autocrossing, a simple simulator would be very helpful.

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