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Race Scheduling Methods

Please read the below information on race scheduling methods before deciding to purchase GrandPrix Race Manager™.

Supported Methods:

GrandPrix Race Manager will support most non-elimination methods such as Lane Rotation, Perfect-N Type charts, Stearns, Round Robin, and others. The program will even support some custom methods. Basically, to determine if your race method will work with this software, is if the vehicle numbers can be placed into a grid of lanes versus heats, like the grid below. If your race chart changes dynamically over the course of the race, it will NOT be compatible with GrandPrix Race Manager, so you may want to consider using a supported scheduling method. GrandPrix Race Manager does, however, have its own built-in dynamic scheduler.

Heat# Lane#
1 2 3 4
1 1 2 3 4
2 2 3 4 5
3 3 4 5 6
4 4 5 6 7
5 5 6 7 8
6 6 7 8 9
7 7 8 9 10
8 8 9 10 1
9 9 10 1 2
10 10 1 2 3

Why Not Support Elimination Methods?:

GrandPrix Race Manager does not support elimination methods, like single, double and triple elimination, due to concerns over race fairness. A main goal for a race is to provide a fair race for the racers. A good set of rules aims to keep the competition competitive, but so too should the race scheduling method. How fair does it seem to the racer that is out after one or two races, while other racers run many more times? If you throw in the possibility of a "slow lane", then results are more up to chance than to how fast the car really was. Vehicle performance can also change over the course of a race, depending on a number of factors, which may very well affect the outcome of the race, but this may not be caught by elimination methods.

A Fair Race Method:

A fair race method should fulfill these minimum criteria:

  • All racers race in every lane.
  • All racers race an equal number of times.

Other methods, like Perfect-N Type Charts and Round Robin, go even further to get each racer to compete against as many other racers as possible.

Why are Elimination Methods Still Used?:

Good question. For the most part it boils down one or more of the following reasons:

  1. An organization has "always done it that way".
  2. It is a familiar method used in several sports competitions.
  3. Concern over taking too much time to conduct the race.
  4. The organization has no electronic timing system.

The first two are not very good reasons, the third, however, is a valid concern for races with a lot of competitors. Some non-elimination methods, like Stearns and Round Robin, can produce a large number of heats, but many other methods do not. Let's examine this a little further by comparing the number of heats for some different race scheduling methods.

Based on 64 racers, you can see below that some non-elimination methods do not significantly increase the total number of heats to be run.

Race Method # of Concurrent Heats
2 Lanes 4 Lanes
Double Elimination 125 63 (2 brackets at a time)
Lane Rotation 128* 64
Perfect-N Series 128* 64
Stearns (1.5 hrs duration) 128 144

* GrandPrix Race Manager will ensure that within a round, each racer will end up running twice per lane on a 2 lane track. Racers will get no less than 4 runs, which is still better than the "two strikes you're out" with double elimination.

The fourth reason is the only real reason to consider elimination methods, but even this argument isn't too strong. A timing system can be built for under $100, so is within the reach of most organizations. Some or all of this cost can be covered by having materials and electronics experience donated.

Decide for Yourself:

No matter what race method you are using, check out the following references and decide for yourself which is the best race method for your organization. Base your decision on research, not on reasons like "that's the way we've always done it".