Drag Racers Rule

Learn to launch and cross the start line at the highest possible speed to save time. Maximum acceleration before the start light is important to increase the average speed to the first feature, not only in Pro-Solo, but in many regional and even some National Tour events. Maybe it’s not supposed to be that way. Get used to it.

Many people setting up courses mistakenly think that a short distance from the staging point to the start light reduces the advantage to the higher power car. Therefore, they design very short starts. I don’t think they’ve thought this through. It’s true that a long, straight start will allow the higher power-to-weight ratio car to reach a high speed. So, people tend to think that the shorter the start the better. But, even a short straight start gives a big advantage to a car that’s powerful and can get that power to the ground.

So, what’s done at most National events is a longer start that has a kink or turn right before the light. Either that or a short but severe 90 degree turn between the staging point and the start light. The severe 90 start still gives an initial advantage to the high-power car, but at least that advantage occurs as the cars accelerate after the clutch has been fully engaged and after the start-light is crossed, not before it. Either way, but especially with the longer start with a kink, the low-power car and the high-power car can only negotiate the turn or kink at about the same speed, because lateral G capabilities vary much less within classes than power-to weight ratios. So, they both cross the start line about the same speed.

Straight starts, long or short, give the advantage to the experienced drag-racer with the stout clutch, which is not what autocross is supposed to be about. Since this is the way it is, learn to launch fast, my friend. When you come across a real “national” type of course with a longer, kinked start then you can take it easy on your clutch.

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