New rulebook version 2020.3 posted 6/22/2020
Sponsored by HAWK $2000 in gift certificates!
Here’s where you will find all the information you will ever need about the brand new HPR Pony Express Bracket Endurance Races!
These are single day events that will be held on the following dates:
Saturday, June 20 Saturday, July 11
- Monday, September 7 (Labor Day)
What the heck is a Pony Express Bracket Endurance Race?
We thought you’d never ask! In a nutshell, each event is a 9 hour endurance race. We call it the Pony Express (if you were asleep in American History class you can find out what we’re talking about HERE) because instead of having a team of drivers driving the SAME car, each driver on the team will drive THEIR OWN car, and when one car/driver comes off the track the next car/driver goes out. Each team must consist of at least two drivers driving two cars, no iron man efforts allowed.
The biggest problem we faced was how to create classes for such a race, right? Creating rules for a single car is hard enough, what about when there are multiple cars on the same team? Well, someone smarter than us (ie, smart enough to NOT work at a racetrack) came up with a fabulous idea based on another event he heard about – make it a BRACKET RACE!
Naturally, we decided to blatantly plagiarize the ideas of this other event, so here’s the basics. Your team will sign up for one of ten brackets that will be based on the number of laps your team can complete per hour (and the corresponding lap time). Your team will start the race with a handicapped lap count related to the bracket you signed up for with the idea being that if everyone runs laps at the fast end of their bracket then at the end of 9 hours all the teams should arrive at the checkered flag side by side! What keeps a team from sandbagging in their bracket choice? You must serve a stop-and-go penalty each time your team “breaks out”.
What makes it awesome? Here’s a (partial) list:
- No one person has to agree to putting 9 hours on their car.
- No one person has to agree to letting other people drive (and potentially damage) their car.
- Your team won’t need a big crew for changing tires or fancy fueling rigs for fast pit stops, it’s as simple as one car coming in to the hot pit and the next car on the team going out. Then the refueling, tire changes, etc get done in the paddock at a leisurely pace.
- Each driver gets seat time in their own car.
- If one car on the team breaks down, the rest of the team isn’t out of the race.
- You can drive as much or as little as you want, it just depends on how many are on your team.
- You can spend as much as you want. The entry fee will be per team, not per car.
- The focus will not be on outright speed. As in any endurance race, consistency is the key, but that will be even more important here.
- The rules for engine sizes, induction, tires, aero, etc, etc all get thrown out the window. Nothing matters except you and your teammates being able to to consistently turn laps as close as possible to your break out time without going below it. The key will be finding teammates with similar enough skills and equipment to run similar times.
- ANYONE CAN WIN! A $500 beater car has the exact same chance at the podium as a GT3 Cup Car!
Why 9 hours long?
We settled on a 9 hour race length for a few reasons that are related.
The first is that we think an ideal team size is three drivers driving three cars. This is because if you have three drivers you technically have all the people you need to run the race. At any given time during the race you have Driver A on the track and Driver B getting ready to go out. When the time comes for a pit stop, Driver C is available to make the transponder swap (if needed, there are a couple ways to do the timing/scoring/transponder stuff). As long as each driver is capable of fueling their car and swapping their own tires, you shouldn’t NEED any additional help. Also, if you only have two cars/drivers and one car breaks down you will be at a disadvantage because there will be a rule regarding how long a car must remain in the paddock in order to discourage fast (ie, unsafe) fueling, etc in the paddock area.
So, if three cars/drivers is an ideal team size, then 9 hours is an ideal race length because it divides evenly by three drivers into stint lengths of 30, 60 or 90 minutes.
What are the brackets?
The brackets are based on a number of laps completed per hour. At the green flag the teams in the fastest bracket will start with a lap count of zero, the teams in the slower brackets will start with the lap count in the far right column below. Each team much choose a bracket and everyone on the team is governed by the same minimum time allowed. It’s to your advantage to choose teammates with equipment and skills such that they can consistently turn lap times similar to yours.
|Bracket||Laps per hour||Target Lap Time||Minimum Time Allowed||Starting Lap Count|