Thursday, April 26, 2018

WBC Tracks Announced for 2018

Since we decided as a group that we still want to know the track selections ahead of time, here is the much anticipated announcement of our track selections for this year's WBC.

The basic criteria we use is to cycle through the colors, one group a year.  So since this year it is Blue, Purple, Red, and Yellow that means that next year would be Purple, Red, Yellow, and Green.  That gives the greatest variety of tracks and keeps shifting what we play at any given time.  Within that selection, we simply pick tracks that either haven't been played at WBC before, or haven't been played in the longest amount of time.

So without further ado, here are the tracks:

Qualifying Heat 1, 2 blue tracks + 1 purple:
Valencia (PDF) last seen at WBC in 2015
Oyama (PDF) never seen at WBC [Edit: this track will run 5 laps because it is short]
Baku (PDF) never seen at WBC

Qualifying Heat 2, 3 purple tracks:
Sochi (PDF) first seen at WBC as last year's finals
Francorchamps 1983 (PDF) never seen at WBC
Castellet (PDF) never seen at WBC

Qualifying Heat 3, 3 red tracks:
Imola (PDF) never seen at WBC
Nürburg (PDF) never seen at WBC
Estoril (PDF) never seen at WBC

Finals, a yellow track:
Suzuka (PDF) last seen at WBC in 2013

Lots of the tracks above have never been used at WBC because they are very new.  Oyama, Baku, Castellet, Imola, Estoril have all been built in the last year or two.  Baku has only been on the F1 calendar for a couple years now.  Oyama, Castellet, Imola, and Estoril were all built as special requests of one variety or another and are older tracks from a variey of eras: 70s, 80s, and 90s.

Nurburg is a track that I built a good bit ago but yet has never made an appearance at WBC for no good reason.

Lots of tracks that should provide an edge to racing from the back this year until Q3 which is literally some of the tightest tracks ever.  Bidding in Q3 should be very interesting.

And then a great looking finals track in Suzuka.

Monday, April 23, 2018

CFR Rankings Shuffle

I spent some time last week updating the CFR rankings and noticed a couple things.  First, I was very far behind recording results from the Detroit series that just finished its 8th and final race.  Also, the Detroit series was the first tournament to have that many heats. 

Both of these events caused some shuffling in the rankings for different reasons.

In the past, tournaments were either online or at a convention and included 3, 4, or 5 heats.  Not much variation there.  But Detroit raced 8 times this year and San Marino will finish their 9th race soon.  That feels different to me and was not really taken into account in the way I was gauging series value before.  So, change.

I am now taking into account the number of heats that a series or tournament has when judging the value of said event.  This is in addition to the quality and quantity of competition that made up the majority of the original measure and determines the events Field Rating and AFR.  The last factor remains a bonus for events held live which is included in AFR+ as seen on this chart.

Otherwise, the addition of results from the last 6 Detroit races and the last San Marino race and most importantly the final rankings from the Detroit season rocketed some drivers up the poles.  Obviously, the reconfiguration of the series rankings had some affect on rankings as well.  With PrezCon results getting a bit of a bump.

Rankings Update

That said, Doug G still rules the roost.  Having won 3 races and 2 events already this season, has granted Doug a huge lead over current runner-up Don Tatum.

Gary Sturgeon was the big winner after this update and an early candidate for rookie of the year as he won 2 races in the Detroit series and won the season for a nice point total.

Mario Ales did well in the only tournament he ran in that has completed.  Dave Ingraham has some better race results than either Sturgeon or Ales but placed 3rd in the only event he has finished in the points for although is the early candidate for come-back racer of the year.


The next shoe to drop for these rankings will be the completion of the San Marino season in early May.  Probably followed closely by the end of the current Redscape season.

Current San Marino season leader Gianluca Lari is sitting 9th in the CFR standings.  A season win would likely vault him up to 3rd but he will have to fend off Danilo Volpinari and Palmiro Matteini who would both jump up into the top 10 with a season win.

Tim Baker seems like the odds on favorite to win Redscape this year which would likely jump him up from 12th into the top 5 in CFR.

Season Stats

So far 2018 has seen much more racing than 2017.  New or re-generated season in San Marino, Detroit, and Washington DC contributed to the 57 races included in the rankings so far.  47 were recorded for all of the 2017 season.  
The season is also on pace to include 7 tournaments and currently includes 126 different drivers.  Last season had 5 series and 100 drivers by the end.  

The downward trend in field size continues with races averaging 9.1 drivers.  Last season saw an average of 9.5 drivers.  This continues a trend I've seen even prior to organized play rankings.  Some of this is due to reductions in field size standards in both my PBeM as well as at WBC -- two of the larger CFR events.

I can not point out too often how much credit the community of CFR drivers and especially stewards deserve.  It continues to be a pleasure to be a part of.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

PrezCon 2018 Results

Huge thanks to Chris Brandt for running the CFR event at PrezCon.  Its a great event.

Below is Chris' recap of the proceedings.



Prezcon 2018 was held February 19 - 25, 2018. The Championship Formula Racing (CFR, nee Speed Circuit) Tournament consisted of five races, each with some unique theme. We also changed the process for getting to the final. Although we count points for each heat (1 point for participating + 3 for a win + 1 for each driver you beat) it no longer determines the starting grid, so bidding for start position is still critical.

But, before we started racing, we held a brief ceremony in which Dave Ingraham was presented with a “FERRARI CFR SET”, consisting of a 1/87 Ferrari Enzo, numbered 18 for the year, a set of Ferrari speed cards and matching red dice. Let me tell you, 1/87 Ferraris are hard to find. This one was disassembled, stripped painted, and a driver positioned in the cockpit. An engraved plaque cited Dave as a driver and friend.

Heat 1 – Mystery Track! (Wednesday 2/21/18 – 1700)

The first track was built on the spot, a Prezcon tournament tradition. It was a lengthy track and we crammed 11 drivers onto it. Here’s a shot of the entire field, early in the first lap. 

As the race went on two things were clear Chris G, driving the Austin Healy and Mike L, driving the silver and orange 911 were going to rely on the dice. Chris used the cubes heavily to get out to an early advantage but, as they always do, they failed him eventually and he dropped out. Dave’s new Enzo, in the middle of the pack in this picture, waited for the right time to make a move. And, he had a lot of it, as the track was a bit too long for a tournament heat and people ended up burning through their wear. To the right is the full track, perhaps the drivers found the different pavement types distracting as many of the modular pieces were undergoing renovation.

So Dave’s Enzo ended up in a duel with defending Champion Don’s yellow DELL Porsche 911. As the went down the final straight, confusion ensued and Don, attempting to prevent a high speed draft opened the door for Dave’s Ferrari to slip inside and take the win when Don failed his top speed roll. The third picture of this race shows the final seconds as the cars flash across the finish line. Current number 1 ranked driver Doug Galullo finished third, but that trio left the others way behind.

Here are the final standings for the first race.
1. Dave I
2. Don T Failed TS roll to get edged by Dave.
3. Doug G - Failed ACC roll near the end.
4. Lane N - Came out of nowhere but was WAY behind the first 3.
5. Chris B - Broke brakes midway through, hurting the come from behind plan.
6. Mike L - Ran out of wear early... but didn't break anything!... except dice rolling records.
7. John S - Broke top speed pretty early but hung in to finish.
8. Stuart T - Had to leave.
9. Chris G - Left suddenly... must have made two dozen rolls successfully, of every sort...
chance, top, brake, accel... it was nuts.
10. Scott S- New to the game. Didn't expect it to last this long. Had to leave.
11. Bill Beckman - Crashed

Awarding points as described earlier gave Dave 14 points, followed by Don at 10, Doug at 9 and
so on.

Heat 2 – 90 Minutes du Prezcon. (Thursday 2/22/18 – 1300)

The 90 Minutes du Prezcon was an experiment in conducting a timed race. We raced for 90 minutes, finished that turn and then five more. This caused a LOT of confusion. Although we ended up racing just over three laps there was concern about how many laps of wear and skill we would get – the race rules stated, “Three laps of wear and skill”. There was concern about people “gaming” the system and delaying if they were doing well. (Editor’s note: Some people are painfully slow under all circumstances, not just in a timed race.) There was confusion over drafting in the long banked curve, even though it was repeated numerous times and posted on the track map and on the curve itself.

This race started the same as the prior one with a handful of drivers taking off at a sprint. Brian DeWitt, a twice-defending champion, missed the first race, but played skillfully in this one. The rest of the field went at a slightly more moderate pace, trying to conserve a little wear, and see what the leaders did to each other. Eventually the usual lack of wear slowed them all down, and the rest of us closed in. It once again came down to the last turn. Dave had passed Doug and Don and was behind Brian – and even got by him. But Brian came back with a little more speed and got inside of me in the last corner. There was drag raced to the finish, with Brian winning, by virtue of being on the inside, and Dave right beside him in second. The rest of the field was very close behind. For whatever complaints there were about the race, it was very hotly contested.

1. Brian
2. Dave
3. Doug
4. Stuart
5. Don
6. Lane
7. Chris B
8. Mike L

Sadly no pictures exist of this race, so perhaps time will eventually erase its memory. From a GM standpoint, I still think this is a good idea and it didn’t seem to faze most people. I’m not the GM next year, but would like to see some sort of timed race used again in the future. 

Heat 3 – Prezcon Mille (Friday 2/23/18 – 1300)

The innovation continued with Mille Prezcon - one long torturous track. This race drew a slightly smaller field, perhaps because people looked at the track and feared that we would be racing three laps, but we raced only one, although we allowed 3 laps of setup for wear and skill. At just about 200 spaces, this was a long track with 22 curves, many of which had varying radii, tight curves, long and short straights, and, of course, a bridge. Dave later noted, “It was a shining example of what is possible with a modular track design system. It was very cool.” 

Here’s one of the top ranked CFR drivers, Don Tatum, enjoying a aerial view of the track. This was all built using two different modular systems, a “parallel edge” system and a hex system, along with the conversion pieces to link them together. We were lucky that another game had left three tables together and covered for this nice setup. Surprisingly, Don kept smiling during the entire race.

The Mille turned out to be a unique race. There was no repetitive groove to be found because each upcoming turn was a new adventure. It was too big to pinulate, so Don had to drive by the seat of his pants, which was most unusual for him. 

Here’s a shot of the pack crossing our now famous bridge. Yes, it’s a little steep for race car suspensions, but we have not had a fatality… yet.

This race proved to be an interesting change of pace. The drivers appeared to enjoy it, it was very competitive, and we were able to pick up the track as we finished racing across pieces of it, speeding
cleanup, which is extremely important in a tightly scheduled convention with people ready to swoop down like vultures when a table comes open. 

Winner Dave Ingraham provided his own account of the race to another of the groups in which
he races. I could not improve on this!
The start went pretty well with the leaders, for once, not being able to pull away from the second pack, as least for a while, and a couple of us were able to still stay with them. Doug, Don, Stuart Tucker, myself and Mike Greason separated from the last three cars. We stayed in that pack for nearly the whole race, until wear started to get thin. By the way, I want to thank all of these four for providing a huge number of slipstreams to me. It saved considerable wear and kept me near the front. In the end, it came down to the last three corners. There was not much wear left in the front runners. I had the car with the most with three. Doug had one, Brian, who had caught up with the leaders had one, and the rest were without. I led, and after the next to last corner, had moved away enough to not be challenged, and finished in 1st by eight spaces by Doug, Brian and Don in very close order.
Thanks and congratulations to Dave!

Heat 4 - Short Track Mayhem (Saturday 2/24/18 – 0900)

No fancy poster for this race. This was five laps on a very short track with just four curves. However, each driver was given only THREE laps worth of wear. This meant that we did approximately the same number of curves and spaces as we did in the Mille, but this time we were repeating the laps and establishing an effective route was critical. With the confusion of the start and finish laps considered separately, this gave us three laps of consistent racing.

As you can see, the track is very simple, although it does incorporate our famous bridge. The bridge was also the only two lane portion of the track, meaning that passing was not too difficult. There were a wide variety of car designs for this race as different drivers approached the greater number of laps differently. 

The many different strategies meant that the field became very spread out. Don leapt out to his usual early lead, but the pack eventually reeled him in as his wear ran out.

With three curves to go, Dave was sitting on six wear and looked to be in  command. But a couple of very rare tactical errors at the end allowed Chris to sneak to the inside lane and take a win after three lackluster finishes… with Dave right beside him. This locked up Chris’s participation in the final, which had been in doubt (by Chris!) up until that point.
In the shot to the left, you can see how spread out the pack was about halfway through the race.  That’s Don’s yellow Porsche in the distance, but he was unable to maintain that lead.

This was another experimental race. We had not done this before and it seemed to be well received by the participants. I believe it’s worth considering for future events.

Finals – (Saturday 2/24/18 – 1600)

The finals were run on the Padborg Park track, one of several built from the modular system. Fortunately I have a bunch of books with track maps and there’s this thing called the internet to provide more data, including videos, of races at these tracks, so the modular system has proven to be very useful in creating just the right track for different types of races. 

Padborg Park is a difficult track for which to plan. There are some long straights, but there are also very tight curves. In addition, some of the curves are just close enough that it can be very expensive to spend wear in two of them at a time.

Nonetheless, current World Number One ranked Doug Galullo edged last year’s champ, Don Tatum for the win, with Dave Ingraham just behind in third. If you’re watching the rankings on the Speed Circuit and Racing Games Facebook group, you’ll note that these three drivers were #1, #2, and #4 ranked after Prezcon, which seems to bring a stronger field each year. 

Final Results:
1. Doug Galullo
2. Don Tatum
3. Dave Ingraham
4. Mike Lind
5. Chris Brandt
6. Stuart Tucker
7. Lane Newbury
8. Brian Dewitt

I present another of Dave Ingraham’s colorful writeups. Many thanks to Dave for these and some corrections he provided.
At the start Don Tatum stalled. Meanwhile, Brian DeWitt and Stuart Tucker jumped off to a quick, one turn lead. The rest of us hurried after them, with Doug Galullo leading this pack. Near the end of the first lap, Brian’s engine blew up, putting him out of the race. The rest of us continued to chase Stuart, with Doug pulling away from us, and closing on Stuart. By this time Don (in the yellow Porsche) had caught up with us, and was back in the chase.
The last two laps were a bit frustrating, as I couldn’t seem to get past a veerrryy wide BMW. When I finally did, it was too late. Doug won handily, followed by the comeback driver of the race, Don. I squeaked past Stuart for third, when he crashed in the last corner, with Mike Lind 4th and Chris Brandt 5th.
Here are some pictures from the finals. Enjoy the pictures and please come join us next year!
The Track – Not especially complex, but it was very competitive.

The Pack – Trying to catch Doug!

Doug’s Camaro stretches his lead on the way to victory.