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Thread: Auto X and Endurance Track release

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Owen Thomas View Post
    Yep.

    Connect the dots.

    100% correct. Is there anything you can do to stop other teams from being as prepared as possible? Is it "fair"? Nah, so try not to get too worked up about it and prepare yourself the best you can. It's all you can do.

    If I recall, the organizers started posting the track maps early to try and level the playing field and reduce the impact that an ace driver has. We can argue all day about whether or not it was effective, but I'll put some trust in the course designers who have been running SCCA events for decades. This isn't a bad discussion to have, I just feel there's probably bigger fish regarding performance inequality.
    I'm going to go through the auto x times and enduro times and see if there is a consistent difference in times between drivers first and second attempt.

    I agree with you on all levels. Posting the maps should flatten the field. Just out of all the teams I have spoken too have a hard time finding an area to reach the speeds that Michigan is. Trying to hit 70 in a parking lot isnt very feasible nor is any of the faster offset gates where a lot of time can be lost.
    Last edited by Hoyt H; 05-19-2018 at 09:24 AM.

  2. #12
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    There is also much more to a track than just the birds eye view.
    Surface conditions make dramatic changes.
    I would also suggest that total seat time matters more than practicing on the exact track.
    Just be safe out there!

    -William

  3. #13
    Eh...

    If you are looking to reduce the advantage 'top' teams have then I'd start somewhere else... Like removing loopholes in the Cost event (buying better carbon -> using less of it -> Better cost score because all carbon is the same price)

    I'd suggest that publishing track maps allows teams to simulate their performance and check different setups, which costs nothing (MATLAB is free for teams, everyone has Excel, IPG have a sponsorship deal, Optimum lap is also free)

    It encourages both being prepared -> more testing/driver training, and also better engineering (simulations as above).

    Have you considered training your drivers to be fast on an unknown track? Set up a bunch of random tracks in a parking lot, see who's quickest to adapt and put them in for Autocross.
    The best drivers on raw pace, you put in for Endurance because relatively speaking, the penalty for learning the track as you go is a lot lower (13 laps instead of 2)

  4. #14
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    Top Team Performance

    There is still 'room' to modify top team scores:

    1) So it's an "Impact Attenuator" ? OK, drop the car from an overhead fixture (crane) and see how well a nose down punch really does. Criteria ought to be in place to have crash-worthyness. So let's see the reality.

    2) if this causes too much anxiety. Do a quasi-static crush (hydraulic) and study the actual deformation versus the team's simulated crush.

    3) Top 5 teams get real engineering handling tests. What gains and bandwidths and max lat did you say your car has ? Open this up to teams submitted by Design Judges who use merit and effort to get simulation correlation.

    4) Besides the hair-up-your-pin, add rumble strip detours on the durability and auto-cross courses. Strength versus agility. F1 cars don't seem to mind.

    5) Pit stops for a mandatory tire change. It's a Team sport. There is no " I " in Team.

    6) Hand out basic DJ questions while teams are next in line. This gives them some breathing room to reduce anxiety. Submitting written answers to a few core questions will help judging, too. All this would normalize the vast difference between the pretend DJ and those with sisu.

    7) Crush winning cars so that they can't be reused next year. Save the motor, but the rest is history.

    8) Do some "walk around the pit" homework. I saw some great 'engineering' going on the fly by a few teams as a result of "unanticipated consequences". (That's a famous Law, you know.)

    9) I like the idea of alternate track surface regions. A soapy water solution rewards traction control systems.

    10) I'd love to see a Figure 8 event just for kicks. "Go ahead, hit me. I'm here for the extra 1000 points and I can run on 3 wheels." This is Engineering, not a science project. There's a difference.

  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Hoyt H View Post

    What is the pros to publishing it early?
    We started pre-publishing the tracks for the Lincoln Comp pretty much right out of the gate. I think the benefits far outweigh what you are seeing as a negative with the funding advantage point. (Which you can add me to the list that doesn't agree).

    The biggest positive I had in mind when pushing to release courses early was just creating a reasonably well-defined grading rubric for what this competition is asking of your design from a dynamics standpoint. It really isn't to anyone's benefit to have teams start their design process with a misunderstanding of what their car is expected to do. I see this as an easy barrier to remove for young teams and people new to the comp.

    Following to the next logical step, the courses serve as detail data for design inputs. You can pull all the track dimensions; radii, straight length, slalom spacing, etc from the course maps. Then you have a real nice guide for the majority of your design decisions. As a competitor, I recall detailed track data was some hard info to come by. Maybe that info is a more freely available with the expanded access to data logging systems, I dunno.

    Now, for the actual comp, I’m gonna say, having the pre-published tracks helps all teams that actually look at the info available.

    I’ll parrot what others have said, and agree that the most organized/prepared teams will always be able to do more with this information. Funding, doesn’t have much to do with it in this case. Who even has huge open parking lots open for rent anyway? If you want test track access, visit a local SCCA AutoX, even if you must take your daily driver. I know a lot of regions let the FSAE cars run for free. You’ll get all the highspeed time you want.

    FOR FREE!

    Back to the FSAE comps. Look at the flip side to your argument. How much do you think the pre-published courses help less competitive teams? Let’s say it’s a team that, for any number of reasons, doesn’t have a well-tested car. Instead of learning their car and a new course at the same time, now they have ability to focus more on managing the car……….and by extension getting the most they can out of the car at that point in time. I think this really aligns with the ‘spirit of the competition’, in the sense we are trying to evaluate designs to the max of their dynamic capabilities.

    Personally, from the dynamics evaluation standpoint, I have zero interest in efforts to ‘flatten the playing field’. For course designs, I’m shooting for the exact opposite.


    Edit: Forgot my final point. Safety. A field of cars that has a X% better idea of where they are supposed to be driving, makes the events A LOT safer. Though you still would never believe how lost some people get......aka full course direction reversals -> insert jackie chan 'WHY?' meme here
    Last edited by raitinger; 05-23-2018 at 02:47 PM.

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by raitinger View Post
    We started pre-publishing the tracks for the Lincoln Comp pretty much right out of the gate. I think the benefits far outweigh what you are seeing as a negative with the funding advantage point. (Which you can add me to the list that doesn't agree).

    The biggest positive I had in mind when pushing to release courses early was just creating a reasonably well-defined grading rubric for what this competition is asking of your design from a dynamics standpoint. It really isn't to anyone's benefit to have teams start their design process with a misunderstanding of what their car is expected to do. I see this as an easy barrier to remove for young teams and people new to the comp.

    Following to the next logical step, the courses serve as detail data for design inputs. You can pull all the track dimensions; radii, straight length, slalom spacing, etc from the course maps. Then you have a real nice guide for the majority of your design decisions. As a competitor, I recall detailed track data was some hard info to come by. Maybe that info is a more freely available with the expanded access to data logging systems, I dunno.

    Now, for the actual comp, I’m gonna say, having the pre-published tracks helps all teams that actually look at the info available.

    I’ll parrot what others have said, and agree that the most organized/prepared teams will always be able to do more with this information. Funding, doesn’t have much to do with it in this case. Who even has huge open parking lots open for rent anyway? If you want test track access, visit a local SCCA AutoX, even if you must take your daily driver. I know a lot of regions let the FSAE cars run for free. You’ll get all the highspeed time you want.

    FOR FREE!

    Back to the FSAE comps. Look at the flip side to your argument. How much do you think the pre-published courses help less competitive teams? Let’s say it’s a team that, for any number of reasons, doesn’t have a well-tested car. Instead of learning their car and a new course at the same time, now they have ability to focus more on managing the car……….and by extension getting the most they can out of the car at that point in time. I think this really aligns with the ‘spirit of the competition’, in the sense we are trying to evaluate designs to the max of their dynamic capabilities.

    Personally, from the dynamics evaluation standpoint, I have zero interest in efforts to ‘flatten the playing field’. For course designs, I’m shooting for the exact opposite.


    Edit: Forgot my final point. Safety. A field of cars that has a X% better idea of where they are supposed to be driving, makes the events A LOT safer. Though you still would never believe how lost some people get......aka full course direction reversals -> insert jackie chan 'WHY?' meme here

    Agreed on the flip side of the argument!

    Releasing the tracks early helped my team arguably perform well above expectations in Michigan 2016 and Lincoln 2017.


    So when are we going to get the 2018 track , or should we just be using 2014 for now?
    Noah
    Student

  7. #17
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    Compromise Course Map Proposal

    I just discussed this issue with a good friend of mine (John Carriere - SCCA Nationals Autocrosser). He has also been a Design Judge at MIS in past years.

    John suggests that FSAE release a 'Track Map' to all teams a few weeks before competition so they get an idea of what is coming at them. But, it's NOT and exact to scale drawing. Pretty close but not exact. And, its not so far in advance that really serious simulations, tests and practice runs can be made.

    This allows teams to evaluate their steering, gearing, swinging and swearing at their designs, gets a driver some idea what's in store and lets the team calculate what final design alterations might be needed.

    Meanwhile, teams with high end assistance will/may be off a bit because their sims and practice runs are going to be different enough that their learnings are not so overwhelming. Besides, you don't really know what the car does on the track surface is like until you get their and grind it out.

    So: Here's a 'proposed' track map, a few cones and radii will be different, do your lap sims and parking lot tests with it in mind, but what you find at the event venue will be a bit different.

    That's all folks !

  8. #18
    I think the rules have an ample description of what the tracks may look like. Really anyone should be able to set up a section of a course that meets any specification in this list to identify how their car will perform. Linking the sections is then up to the driver.

    D7.2.1 The following standard specifications will suggest the maximum speeds that will be encountered onthe course.

    Average speeds should be 40 km/hr (25 mph) to 48 km/hr (30 mph).

    NOTE: the actual average speed for any track will depend on the prevailing conditions and the areaavailable to the organizers in which the track is setup, therefore the quoted speeds are intended as arough guide only.

    Straights: No longer than 60 m (200 feet) with hairpins at both ends (or) no longer than 45 m(150 feet) with wide turns on the ends.

    Constant Turns: 23 m (75 feet) to 45 m (148 feet) diameter.

    Hairpin Turns: Minimum of 9 m (29.5 feet) outside diameter (of the turn).

    Slaloms: Cones in a straight line with 7.62 m (25 feet) to 12.19 m (40 feet) spacing.

    Miscellaneous: Chicanes, multiple turns, decreasing radius turns, etc. The minimum trackwidth will be 3.5 m (11.5 feet).
    Jay Swift
    Combustion Powertrain
    Global Formula Racing 2013-2014

  9. #19
    Watching that onboard video of Stuttgart running lap after lap on a practice version of the MIS track before comp, I can't help from thinking "all hope is lost...".

    But that said, if you've ever read Mark Donohue's memoir "The Unfair Advantage", you'll understand this is always going to be a part of motorsports. Every team strives to take advantage of their unfair advantages to get ahead. Some teams have access to an autoclave, others have a base of wealthy alumni, maybe you have 24/7 access to a CNC shop, or a killer driver that just enrolled at your school, or have none of those but lots of open space to setup mock endurance tracks.

    I feel that for most of the U.S. teams, this sort of ends in a draw, although being able to memorize and test on a mockup endurance track is a huge one, since Endurance/Efficiency is most of your score...maybe taking away the exact track map would level this out a little bit, but probably not much. The juggernaut teams are so dominant because seemingly they are able to stack up every advantage possible, including the testing and seat time ones.

  10. #20

    Thumbs up

    Oh give me a break with this level playing field BS. Do you really think a 15-20 place team would have swooped in and stolen a victory if the top teams weren't able to set up a full practice track identical to Michigan?

    What about FSG? They have been using nearly the same endurance and auto cross track since 2012? So all the teams who have competed there in the last 6 years aren't allowed to use their track data to recreate that track at their own facility??

    The top teams are the top teams for many reasons. And the ability to setup a recreation of a competition course is not one of them.

    Quit complaining about better teams being better, and work harder to find ways to build a faster car to beat them.
    ___________________________

    Zips Racing 2009-2014
    Jorts and Tank-top model 2013-2014

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