They say, "everything old is new again" and that can be true for the Majors as well. Often times we try new things and sometimes we go back to the way we used to it in the good ol' days.
This year we made a host of changes that impacted the way Race Week functioned; locked in drivers, practice lap exemptions, practice starting on Wednesday and Race day qualifying. There are good reasons for all of those changes, but the reality is that combined, they they have fundamentally changed the way Race Week feels.
Last round and going forward we have gone back to have Practice available all week starting on Saturday. This round we will make one more change. In recent weeks we have been purging the rolls of the league on iRacing. In total we had 2,400 members, but in reality we only have about 600 active members.
With the the way the new UI works, manual gridding is an obscene task with 2400 members, but with 600 its not so bad. So, in an effort to further improve Race Week, we are bringing back Pre Qualifying that sets the grid for Race Day. We realize that some may have concerns and some are inclined to resist any changes and some are new to the series and might not understand why this is a good thing. I'll try to cover all the bases.
- What about locked in drivers? No worries you are still locked in, even if you don't set a Q time at all you will be grid for race day. (that said you will be grid behind anyone who does set a time)
- What about drivers with practice lap exemptions? Similar to the above, that rule is not changing this year so those over 75 CPI are still technically exempt. That said, if you are practice exempt, but not locked in, you will need to set a Pre Q time. If a region / division does not split, it's possible that a non locked in driver can be grid without setting a Q time, but it's not guaranteed.
- Why make changes in the middle of the year? We hate to make changes of any sort mid season, even those that are more cosmetic or feel type changes. Making a change is an acknowledgement that we made a mistake, not super fun. That said, our season is so long that sometimes waiting to undo a mistake is both unreasonable and detrimental.
Let me outline the positive aspects o
- Shortens Race Day a touch Not the biggest deal, but our races are typically pretty long, saving 10-15 minutes... not so bad.
- Know your pitstall When the Race Day practice sessions opens you can get comfortable with where your stall is and have meaningful pit in practice.
- No session password Just join the session that you are grid in
- Adds meaning and excitement to Pre Q
Pre Qualifying is supposed to set the splits, but what happens when a region and / or division does not split? Well, Pre Q becomes an exercise in futility. We want drivers paying attention to the Pre Q times, seeing where they rank and deciding whether or not to make a 2nd attempt.
- Charity donations
One of our most cherished traditions is sponsoring a charity each round. In the past we usually averaged about $100 donation for each event. It's not a ton, but still feels pretty good. This year the average donation is closer to $30 (ouch). When Pre Q matters more people take a 2nd attempt.
Hope that clears up the thought process, good luck at Spa!