Longer sprint events?

I’ve been having fun at trackdays in the UK after coming home from Australia. In comparison with Oz, here, we seem to have largely open pitlane sessions where my UK car and I can happily do up to an hour at a time and just occasionally be circulating with similar speed drivers and cars, which always adds to the fun. In Oz, there were usually enough MX5s in Victoria (we sometimes teamed up with Alfa or Subaru - similar speed cars) to fully book a track and we did 20 minute sprints with timing allowed and done by the organisers (MX5 Club Victoria) and always with 3 groups of similar speed cars and drivers. The MX5 Club had an annualk Championship for various levels of MX5. These days were even more fun as you were always with similar speed cars and drivers including better drivers with less power who you could learn from and later compare notes with about what they did differently or what they’d done differently to their car. It also worked for me because my car there wasn’t capable of being used at 100% for any longer than 20 minutes and needed 40 minutes to cool down before the next session. The UK car seems to take as much punishment as I can give her for as long as I like - having 260 less hp may be a factor!

I know about the Javelin sprint series but travelling all over the country to only do a few laps is not for me.

So are there any plans to do a sprint series as in Australia?

That sounds like fun but I’m not sure there’s anything equivalent in the UK, which is a shame. Anyone got any ideas?

Yes, a lot of fun. Myself and a car with 50hp less but lots of aero and full slicks and a better driver had a a lot of (non-racing) sessions together. Cars with half the power would also do shockingly quick lap times if properly steered.

The MX5OC doesn’t do timed events because of the whole RAC-MSA affiliation needed, and imlications for non-track events.

You need to enquire about your local MSA club, and get a MSA licence.

Sprints here are generally 2 laps against a clock

What I am understanding is that you are saying that you would go out on a 20 minute session and at some point your lap times would start to be secorded and compared to other peoples lap times in the same session?
It is an interesting question because if you are “measuring performance” you tecnically make it a competition which brings in a raft of complications. However, it would also sound rather like Time Attack which could be described as a timed Trackday. There are road classes in that but you would have to comply with safety equipment requirements. It would also differ a little in that you wouldn’t expect cars on TA events to be continually on a hot lap, which you sort of imply you are.
I certainly wouldn’t rule out the possibility that such an event could not be run legally or safely in the UK, but relative to normal track day prices I would expect such an event to cost significantly more than that due to infrastructure and staffing that would be required.

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They do a Run What You Brung class - might be a good option.

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All lap times were recorded. Fastest laps for each car on the day in each class score points toward a championship. In Australia, at least up to when I left, it was not considered a competition, I guess because regulations aren’t as tight there.

Many of the cars would do a cool down lap at 9 minutes in, thus doing 2 sessions of 9 minutes, although that would depend upon whether there were other cars around them that were at a very similar pace. The latter might make you delay or miss your cool down lap. Not that there was ever any racing, of course, just pacing!

I appreciate that this might be considered competition in the UK. I also appreciate that there would therefore be additional entry and car and personal kit costs and that the additional costs would reduce demand. Maybe it could start as any make or model in order to get enough people say, once a month, with the groups being something like:

  1. Cars not registered for the road.
  2. Road cars 250hp and over.
  3. Road cars up to 249hp.

This would result in big variations in speeds within groups, but you’ve got to start somewhere, and people would get bored if there were more than 3 groups per hour.

It is basically Time Attack with a variation. I assume that is not a thing down under as yet.
Time Attack is class based and circulates for a set number of minutes. When a driver wants to go for it on a hot lap, they put their lights on and other driver should stay out of their way, or at least not impede them. You could also look at TA as a sprint that has a rolling start or as others look at it as Waste of Time Attack. However you cut it though, as far as UK regulation and attitude to H&S, it is racing, So TA, Sprints or racing are your options.

The subtle difference between what you want and TA is that not all cars are on one at the same time. This allows some slack in safety rules counting it as sprinting. Having all going for it at once has only one outcome, which is racing, and would require the full safety set up Blue Book cages, fire extinguisher, HANS etc.

Thank you. This is highly encouraging as I’d prefer not to have the full race gear etc. Where do I find out about these events?

As said earlier, no form of timed events is allowed without following MSA regulations and for starters a competition licence is required for any timed it race event whether it be an annual or event by event. Your car is also subject to scrutinisation and must meet the race series safety regs. Trackday organisers insurance doesn’t cover timing and racing events, hence no timing at trackdays. There are a couple of exceptions in that MSV run a trackday trophy series and Javelin have the Sprintdays series but covered by seperate and specific insurance.
If you want to compete in any form it will add to your overall costs for a day’s event, about double the cost of a public trackday.
I prefer the way it is on a trackday, all day on a open pit basis, no scrutiny, no license, lower cost.
By all means try a race or sprint series but be prepared for the extra costs. Other mild competition events worth trying are Autosolo and Autotest, cheap and affordable.

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Autotests are obviously more common, and AutoSolo is a “relatively” new event, in the UK which I suppose is dependant on the organising club finding a suitable venue; large carparks are not as plentiful as in the US (AutoCross), and land owners hate the liability issues (cars breaking kerbs, lamp posts etc). For both, you don’t need a licence (but a nat b licence is just a form to fill in), as kids can take part (certainly in Autotests). Both are permitted through a RAC-MSA permit. Racing on any public road in GB is illegal, and a public road covers a lot of places including private land, if the ublic can access it. An exemption was granted to the RAC, who then issue the permits. I’ve been in sprint and hillclimb series; hillclimbs are a lot of fun (more fun than a sprint, as you are not left brooding on your mistakes), but its expensive (adds up for about 10 minutes a day on a circuit). You’ll need a lid, a suit (Proban is fine, don’t need a full Nomax effort). Depending on the local reggies, you might not need a rollbar/cage either. I’ve seen scrutineers happy with hardtops or hoop-type stylebars. They seem to get more upset about battery security (the MX5 brackets can move around a bit) and bonnet straps. The race entry costs can add up. Most MSA clubs will run their own local series, but by being a member of one, you can be invited to take part in other events.

I did it for a while after just getting bored of trackdays. Didn’t stand a chance in a MX5 that I was driving to work on the monday. The fellas winning everything turned up in trailered Novas and Minis, with a selection of types. Invariably they seemed to own a garage or a breakers, so didn’t mind tipping their cars. I got a third place once, but only 4 of us turned up, so it didn’t count.

I suppose most people get into it for the social aspect. The clubs are quite socialble, and there is more to it than racing (eg helping out on marshalling etc). The structure of the MX5OC means it doesn’t quite fit with the MSA requirements. The best approach I’ve always thought was an affiliated club, so that MSA membership would not impinge on other activities, but that is an old debate.

This is not quite true. The MSA, or MUK as it is now would like everyone to believe only they can licence motorsport events, but there are other exempting bodies that can do that. The “benefit” of running under MUK is that they have the master insurance policy for that, but as you say, Javelin, and in fact when we run Sprints, they are done under permit from the IoPD. The structure is similar though as you need to join and then sign on etc, however under this system you can have a day licence. The organisers should of course have appropriate insurance for timed events.

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Yes, the best way to run a track or race car is to have an associated business and a decent accountant so that your hobby is paid for by your business before any tax is paid. At least that’s what I’d do if I could.

Actually sponsoring yourself is looked on quite thoroughly the tax people. You do see situations of mutual sponsorship where one business sponsors a second and that sponsors a third and then back to the first, but if it is any sort of serious money then it is looked at and the merit needs to be justified.

The main advantage forthese types is the unlimited supply of spares and shells. From what I saw, this affected how they approached the 'climbs. There is invariably a difference between those who arrive under their own steam, and those on a tralier. Just treated it as a bit of (expensive) fun.

As it was, in these events, competitors were prohibited from having any sponsorship except that sponsors of the event(s) themselves.

I recently competed at Shelsley Walsh and we had four runs - so even at my very slow speed much less than four minutes on the hill. However that misses the point and I’m not sure you’d want to do many more competative runs in a day. Plus where else can you compete armed with an RS Interclub and an old MX5 in the same event (albeit in different classes) with a Surtees Formula 5000 or a Cooper T90.

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Thing is, you’re not really competing with a Formula 5000 etc. You’re just hanging out with them. Take your point about hillclimbs. Sprints are a waste of money though. But few opportunities for hillclimbs (closed public roads, so not necessarily a “hill”) in Geat Britain; Northern Ireland has a more liberal approach, due to different laws. Garron Point is, hands down, the prettiest hillclimb in the country.