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CFR 2017 Championship Race: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Pandemonium Games

Thursday, May 10th, 2018

On Friday, April 13, 2018, Gary Sturgeon clinched the championship of the 2017 CFR-Detroit racing series by finishing 4th out of a field of 13 drivers at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix held on the Yas Marina track. Garry Kaluzny won the race, his 2nd victory of the season, thus clinching 2nd place in the season standings for Kaluzny. Richard White (2nd place) and Jack Beckman (3rd) were the other podium finishers. The race was held at Pandemonium Games in Garden City, Michigan.

Yas Marina track

Yas Marina 2017 track diagram.

Yas Marina CFR track

Yas Marina CFR track.

The qualifying bidding was once again using the standard Championship Formula Racing procedure where all drivers secretly bid a number of their wear and/or skill markers. Each wear marker counted as 1.0 for bidding, while each  -1 skill marker counted as 0.5 towards qualifying. Chad Marlett outbid the competition to get pole position with a bid of 8.5 (6 wear + 5 skill). Starting beside Marlett on the front row was Mike Cook with a bid of 6.5 (0 wear + 13 skill). Cook used his single -3 skill marker and 10 of his -1 skill markers, leaving him with only two -1 skill markers for the actual race. Starting in 3rd place was Jack Beckman with a bid of 5.0 (2 wear + 6 skill). Richard White started 4th with a bid of 4.5 (3 wear + 3 skill). Garry Kaluzny was 5th with a bid of 4.0 (2 wear + 4 skill). Three drivers were tied with bids of 3.0, so they rolled percentage dice for starting positions. Gary Sturgeon (0 wear + 6 skill) rolled 89 to start 6th, Jim Landis (1 wear + 4 skill) rolled 75 to start 7th, and Mike St. Peter (2 wear + 2 skill) rolled 61 to start 8th. Ninth and 10th positions were also diced for, with Brian Robinson (2 wear + 1 skill, rolled 92) getting 9th and newcomer Mike Hernandez (2 wear + 1 skill, rolled 02) starting 10th. Jim Magnanti (0 wear + 4 skill), a Speed Circuit racer from the 1980s who was racing in his first CFR race, started 11th. Greg Lim bid 1.5 (0 wear + 3 skill) to start 12th, and Gary Kempen started 13th with a bid of 1.0 (0 wear + 2 skill).

The starting grid and their car specs:

# Driver (Car)                     Start/Accel/Decel/Top/Wear/Skill/Tires
71 Chad Marlett (Red Bull)            60   60    40   160  4x   3x   soft
11 Mike Cook (Camel Lotus)            60   40    40   140  5x   4x   hard 
 3 Jack Beckman (Ferrari)             60   40    40   160  5x   3x   hard 
 1 Richard White (Brabham)            60   40    40   160  5x   3x   soft 
 9 Garry Kaluzny (McLaren)            60   40    40   160  5x   3x   soft
12 Gary Sturgeon (John Player Lotus)  60   60    40   180  4x   2x   hard 
20 Jim Landis (Benetton)              60   40    40   160  5x   3x   soft
44 Mike St. Peter (Mercedes)          60   40    40   160  4x   4x   hard 
 5 Brian Robinson (Williams)          20   60    60   160  4x   3x   soft
 8 Mike Hernandez (McLaren)           60   40    40   160  5x   3x   hard
 6 Jim Magnanti (Benetton)            60   40    40   160  5x   3x   soft
 7 Greg Lim (McLaren)                 60   40    40   160  5x   3x   hard
 4 Gary Kempen (Ferrari)              20   60    60   180  4x   2x   hard

Start = Start Speed (in miles/hour); Accel = Acceleration (in mph); Decel = Deceleration (in mph); Top = Top Speed (in mph); Wear = # of Wear markers per lap raced; Skill = # of Skill markers per lap raced; Tires = hard or soft tires to begin the race. (Since the race was 3 laps, a car with 5x of Wear would receive 15 Wear markers to start the race (as an example).)

Starting grid at Yas Marina

Starting grid at Yas Marina: 1st row:Chad Marlett (Red Bull) & Mike Cook (yellow Lotus); 2nd row: Jack Beckman (red Ferrari) & Richard White (Brabham); 3rd row: Garry Kaluzny (orange McLaren) & Gary Sturgeon (black Lotus); 4th row: Jim Landis (Benetton) & Mike St. Peter (silver Mercedes); 5th row: Brian Robinson (Walker Racing) & Mike Hernandez (orange & white “driverless” McLaren); 6th row: Jim Magnanti (yellow & green Benetton) & Greg Lim (orange & white McLaren with a driver); 7th row: Gary Kempen (red Ferrari). Yay for the Grid Girls!

When the green flag dropped, Chad Marlett, since he was on soft tires, used a wear to increase his start speed from 60 to 80 mph. Mike Cook, on hard tires, rolled dice to increase his start speed to 80 mph, so both Marlett and Cook made it into the first corner before all of the trailing cars. Richard White took advantage of his soft tires to also use a wear to go 80 mph, thus taking 3rd place from Jack Beckman. Beckman, on hard tires, only went 60 mph, while Garry Kaluzny, who started directly behind Beckman but on soft tires, used a wear to go 80 mph and thus pulled alongside Beckman. Gary Sturgeon (hard tires) only went 60 mph, while Mike St. Peter, even though he was on hard tires, rolled dice to get to 80 mph, passing Jim Landis and pulling alongside Sturgeon. Landis, although on soft tires, only went 60 mph for his start speed. Brian Robinson used a wear to boost his start speed to 40 mph, but nonetheless, Mike Hernandez went 60 mph and got in front of B. Robinson. Jim Magnanti and Greg Lim both went 60 mph to pull alongside B. Robinson, and Gary Kempen merely started at his 20 mph start speed.

The pack races away

The pack races away from the start line! The running order: Marlett; Cook; White; Beckman; Kaluzny; Sturgeon; St. Peter; Landis; Hernandez; B. Robinson; Magnanti; Lim; and Kempen.

On the next move, Marlett accelerated off the corner to 140 mph, thus opening a gap of 3 spaces over Cook as Cook was only able to accelerate to 100 mph as he was stuck on a posted speed space in the middle of the 1st corner. Both White and Kaluzny pulled alongside Cook coming out of that 1st corner. The other drivers stayed in their same positions.

Through the first corner

Through the first corner, Marlett opens a lead of three spaces over Cook, White, and Kaluzny.

Marlett held his lead going into the hairpin just before the longest straightaway, although Kaluzny managed to get to the inside of the track from Cook and White. Mike St. Peter also pulled alongside Beckman, and Landis pulled alongside Sturgeon. Lim got into the 2nd corner in front of both B. Robinson and Magnanti.

Marlett continues to lead

Marlett continues to lead heading into the hairpin.

Marlett slowed to 60 mph for the hairpin curve, taking the inside lane. But White put on a burst of speed, driving 120 mph through the 60 mph corner just before the hairpin, and then taking the outside of the hairpin at 120 mph, thus pulling up alongside Marlett. Kaluzny went 100 mph and got stuck in the outside lane of the hairpin. Cook also went 100 mph, but ended up behind Kaluzny in the hairpin.

White then accelerated to 160 mph coming out of the hairpin, with Marlett (who only accelerated to 140 mph) slotting in behind White. Kaluzny was 3 spaces behind Marlett, with Cook right on Kaluzny’s tailpipe. St. Peter took over 5th place from Beckman.

White takes the lead

White takes the lead down the long straightaway. The running order is White, Marlett, Kaluzny, Cook, St. Peter, Beckman, Sturgeon, Landis, Hernandez, Magnanti, Lim, Kempen, and B. Robinson.

By the time the pack reached the left-right S-curves at the end of the 3-wide section, Marlett’s car was starved of wear, seeing as he had bid 6 of his precious wear markers in his bid to obtain the pole position. Kaluzny passed Marlett for 2nd, and was only two spaces behind White. Cook pulled alongside Marlett just before those S-curves.

Kaluzny moves into 2nd place

Kaluzny moves into 2nd place over Marlett. The running order: White, Kaluzny, Marlett, Cook, Beckman, St. Peter, Sturgeon, Landis, Hernandez, Magnanti, B. Robinson, Kempen, and Lim.

Through the next few curvy sections of the track (although those curvy sections did not have speed limits), White and Kaluzny manufactured a lead of several spaces over the rest of the pack.

White and Kaluzny stretch out a lead

White and Kaluzny stretch out a lead over the rest of the pack.

Coming into the 2nd-to-last corner of the 1st lap, Mike Hernandez was behind a glut of cars that included Marlett, Beckman, Cook, and St. Peter.

Most of the pack is bunched up

Most of the pack is bunched up coming into the second to last corner on the 1st lap. Mike Hernandez is in the orange and white McLaren, directly behind Mike Cook’s yellow Lotus.

Marlett and Beckman continued on at only 80 mph coming out of that corner, and Cook went 100 mph while St. Peter went 80 mph. Hernandez, the rookie driver, plotted 140 mph! After paying 2 wears and successfully making a chance roll to go 60 mph over the posted speed limit of the corner, he then attempted to force pass two rows of cars. In the first row of Beckman and St. Peter, Hernandez elected to force pass Beckman, who tried to block the pass. Hernandez made the pass safely, but had to lose 1 wear in the attempt. Hernandez then decided to force pass Marlett, but Marlett did not try to block, so Hernandez easily made the forced pass dice roll and so he gained four positions with a single move (and only using 3 wear to do so)!

Mike Hernandez has just force passed four cars

Mike Hernandez (orange and white McLaren just in front of Chad Marlett’s Red Bull) has just force-passed four cars to move into 3rd place! White and Kaluzny have just pulled into the pits so they are off to the side of the track.

White and Kaluzny built enough of a lead so that they could both pull into the pits a turn before anyone else on the track. It should be noted that they both expended all of their wear in their gaining the lead over the rest of the pack. But of course, drivers should use all of their wear before deciding to pit, n’est-ce pas?

As the pack came around the final corner before the start/finish line, Hernandez spun out, thereby negating all of the positions he had gained with his magnificent forced-pass of a moment ago. But Hernandez decided to pull into the pits after the spin, so did not affect any other cars that were still trying to negotiate that corner. Also pitting were the cars of Marlett, St. Peter, and Magnanti.

More cars in the pits

Hernandez, Marlett, St. Peter, and Magnanti join White and Kaluzny in the pits.

Mike Cook now became the leader on the track, as he did not pit. As he crossed the start/finish line, he gained 2 wear, as he was on hard tires, to add to his remaining 6 wear, thus giving him 8 wear for the next lap. Beckman also stayed on the track, gaining 2 wear, plus his remaining 6 wear. Sturgeon stayed on the track, gaining 2 wear to add to his 4 wear, and Kempen also stayed out, adding 2 wear to his remaining 3 wear for the 2nd lap. Jim Landis and Brian Robinson now pulled into the pits just as White and Kaluzny were leaving the pits. White and Kaluzny were now both on hard tires.

Cook takes the lead

Mike Cook takes the lead as he forgoes pitting. Beckman moves into 2nd place.

The official classification order after the 1st lap was: Cook (+1); Beckman (+1); Landis (+4); White (0); Sturgeon (+1); Kaluzny (-1); Kempen (+6); Lim (+4); Magnanti (+2); Marlett (-9); St. Peter (-3); B. Robinson (-3); and Hernandez (-3). It was a pity that Hernandez spun immediately after pulling off his brilliant forced pass. That spin dropped him from 3rd to 13th. The numbers in parentheses indicate how many positions a driver either gained (+) or lost (-) from their starting position. However, after the pit stops were all resolved, the running order on the track was: Cook; Beckman; White; Kaluzny; Sturgeon; Kempen; Lim; Magnanti; Marlett; St. Peter; Landis; B. Robinson; and Hernandez.

Running order after the 1st pit stops

Running order after the 1st pit stops: Cook; Beckman; White; Kaluzny; Sturgeon; Kempen; Lim; Magnanti; Marlett; St. Peter; Landis; B. Robinson; and Hernandez.

After the 1st pit stops, White quickly caught up to front-runners Cook and Beckman, while Kaluzny caught that trio by the hairpin leading onto the long straightaway.

White battles Cook for the lead

White (blue and white Brabham) battles Cook (yellow Lotus) for the lead as Kaluzny (orange McLaren) fights Beckman (red Ferrari) for 3rd place down the long straightaway. Meanwhile, Magnanti’s green and yellow Benetton has spun in the hairpin. A turn later, Landis’s Benetton would spin in that same hairpin.

Down the long straightaway, White passed Cook to take the lead, then Kaluzny also caught and passed Cook to take 2nd place.

Richard White's car takes the lead

Richard White’s car takes the lead. Pictured, from left: Richard White (black shirt); Mike St. Peter (can only see half his face); Mike Cook (dark green shirt); Gary Kempen (red shirt); Chad Marlett (pointing to Richard White’s leading car on the track); Greg Lim (USA shirt); Gary Sturgeon (gray shirt); Jim Landis (light green shirt); Jack Beckman (black shirt & red Ferrari hat). Also pictured is the back of Jim Magnanti’s head in the foreground.

As the cars came to the S-curve at the end of the 2nd straightaway, the first six cars were all bunched up. They were running in the order: White; Kaluzny; Kempen; Sturgeon; Cook; and Beckman. Kempen was doing very well, indeed, to be in 3rd place after starting in 13th place.

Top 6 places are bunched up

The top six positions are bunched up in the S-curve in the left side of the picture. Gary Sturgeon, at far right, anticipates winning the championship as he will clinch the title by taking at least a single point, and he is currently in 4th place, good enough for 3 points.

White and Kaluzny now battled for the lead, also while gaining a few spaces over the rest of the pack. Into the hairpin corner just before the last corner before the start/finish line, Kaluzny pulled even with White.

Kaluzny pulls even with White

Kaluzny pulls even with White at the 2nd hairpin corner. The rest of the running order: Beckman; Kempen; Sturgeon; Cook; Marlett; Lim; St. Peter; Magnanti; B. Robinson; Landis and Hernandez.

Kaluzny now made a move to take the lead as he drove at 140 mph coming out of the hairpin, which put him into the final corner at 60 mph over the speed limit for that corner. He used his last two wears and used two -1 skill markers, and successfully made the chance table roll. He then pulled into the pits for the 2nd time. White, meanwhile, played it safe by only going 120 mph, thus ending his move just short of that last corner. Kaluzny had been talking with White just before this last turn, where Kaluzny mentioned how he had been leading a demo race on this same Yas Marina track, but how he didn’t pit at the end of the 2nd lap, but Jack Beckman did pit, and then Beckman was able to catch Kaluzny for the victory in that demo race.

Kaluzny takes the lead and takes to the pits

Kaluzny takes the lead and takes to the pits while White pulls up short of the corner. Notice the special orange and black McLaren “support” vehicle next to Kaluzny’s orange McLaren race car in the pits. Also notice Kempen’s red #4 Ferrari has spun on the outside of the hairpin.

White cruised into the lead, and the closest cars on the track, Beckman, Sturgeon, and Cook, all had to pit as they had not pitted at the end of the 1st lap. Just as those cars came into the pits, Kaluzny exited the pits, switching back to soft tires, exactly 10 spaces behind White’s Brabham, with Kaluzny having his full 15 wear and White having a total of 5 wear for the last lap after gaining 2 wear when he crossed the start/finish line due to his being on hard tires. White, though, used one of his precious wears in negotiating the 1st corner past the start/finish line at 120 mph, so he only had 4 wear left for the rest of the lap.

White now leads while Kaluzny leaves the pits

White (blue and white Brabham in the near-left corner) now leads while Kaluzny (orange McLaren) leaves the pits. Beckman, Sturgeon, and Cook have just entered the pits. Gary Sturgeon looks on, still anticipating winning the CFR-Detroit 2017 Championship.

As they came around the last corner before the start/finish line, the cars of Lim and Kempen pulled into the pits. Staying on the track were Marlett, Magnanti, B. Robinson, St. Peter, Landis, and Hernandez.

The official order at the end of the 2nd lap was: White (+3); Kaluzny (+3); Marlett (-2); Magnanti (+7); Beckman (-2); B. Robinson (+3); Sturgeon (-1); Cook (-6); St. Peter (-1); Landis (-3); Hernandez (-1); Lim (0); and Kempen (0). Kempen was back in 13th place, where he had qualified, although he had been as high as 3rd place. Sturgeon was now in 7th place, out of the points, but he still stood to win the championship if Mike Cook did not win the race, and Cook’s odds of winning the race were very slim at the moment as White had a 20-space lead over Cook after Cook’s pit stop.

After the 2nd round of pit stops were resolved, the running order on the track was: White; Kaluzny; Marlett; Beckman; Magnanti; Sturgeon; Cook; B. Robinson; St. Peter; Landis; Hernandez; Lim; and Kempen.

White leads by 6 spaces over Kaluzny

After the 2nd round of pit stops are complete, White leads by 6 spaces over Kaluzny as they speed down the straightaway.

Kaluzny slowly crept up on White, then in the S-curve at the end of the 2nd straightaway, Kaluzny finally passed to take the lead. Beckman had managed to pass Marlett for 3rd, and Sturgeon was now in what looked like a safe 5th position, which would give him 2 points and the title.

Kaluzny takes the lead just past the S-curve

Kaluzny takes the lead from White just past the S-curve. Beckman, Marlett, and Sturgeon are approaching the S-curve. Farther back are Cook, Magnanti, B. Robinson, Lim, Landis (spun in the farther S-curve), Kempen, St. Peter, and Hernandez.

Then on the next turn, Kaluzny drove 100 mph and took the inside, eschewing the cornering arrow. White drove 120 mph and pulled up next to Kaluzny’s McLaren, on the cornering arrow.

Kaluzny and White are side-by-side

Kaluzny and White are side-by-side with only a few corners left to race through. Landis, meanwhile, has recovered from his spin in the S-curves at the right of the picture, and now has St. Peter breathing down his tailpipe.

But now Kaluzny took advantage of his having more wear remaining than White. Kaluzny plotted 100 mph, while White could only go 80 mph without resorting to taking chance dice rolls through the next two corners. Kaluzny moved first by virtue of plotting a higher speed, taking the outside of the first corner (through the 80 mph spaces) for a 1-wear expenditure, then moving into the hairpin corner (spending another wear) so as to hog the last space of the corner, forcing White to pull in behind. Far back on the track, Hernandez rolled an unmodified chance at the S-curves in the middle of the two long straightaways and crashed his shiny new McLaren, thereby becoming the only DNF of the race and ending up in 13th place.

Kaluzny regains the lead

Kaluzny regains the lead over White. Hernandez has just crashed in the S-curves at the right of the picture (note the safety car, flatbed truck, and yellow flag).

Back at the 2nd of the S-curves at the end of the long straightaways, Kempen forced a pass through Lim and B. Robinson. Sturgeon and Marlett were having a spirited duel for 4th place.

Kempen has just forced a pass

At the far left of the picture, Kempen (red Ferrari roadster) has just force-passed Lim (orange and white McLaren) and B. Robinson (white and blue car) and is alongside Magnanti (yellow and green Benetton). Kaluzny (orange McLaren) prepares to take the final corner before the checkered flag.

Garry Kaluzny (+4) then cruised to the victory, his second of the eight-race 2017 CFR-Detroit racing season. Richard White (+2) took 2nd place, then Jack Beckman (0) finished in 3rd. Gary Sturgeon (+2) did take 4th place and 3 points, thereby earning him the championship of the 2017 season.

Sturgeon clinches the championship

Sturgeon clinches the championship with a 4th place finish! Cook (yellow car), Marlett (Red Bull), Kempen (red car), and B. Robinson (white and blue car) are all about to cross the finish line. Lim and Magnanti have both spun in the final corner right in front of St. Peter.

There were now four cars, Cook, Marlett, Kempen, and B. Robinson, vying for the final two points-paying positions of 5th and 6th place. In CFR, if cars enter a corner past the finish line, they must pay for that corner using wear or rolling on the chance table the same as if they were still racing. Any car that spins in the corner past the finish line is considered to have finished the race behind other cars that touched or crossed the finish line on that same turn. If a car crashes in that corner past the finish line, it is considered to have not finished the race at all and becomes a DNF.

Cook moved first, at 100 mph. Not wanting to take a chance dice roll, Cook moved into the middle 100 mph space. Next, Marlett moved at 120 mph, taking the outside 140 mph space, also not spending any wear nor rolling on the chance table. Kempen moved next, at 160 mph, and attempted a forced pass on Marlett in the outside lane. Naturally, Marlett attempted to block the forced pass. During the forced pass dice roll, Kempen rolled a “4” on one of the dice, meaning he had to spend a wear; however, he did not have any wear remaining, so his car spun in the same space as was occupied by Marlett’s car. Brian Robinson then moved at 160 mph. He made his forced pass over Marlett by using two -1 skill markers for his dice roll; he then used his -3 skill marker for a chance table roll, successfully making both rolls, and so effectively passed Cook, Marlett, and Kempen!

Brian Robinson (+4) thus was classified in 5th place, and Mike Cook (-4) got the single point for 6th place. Finishing out of the points in 7th and 8th places, respectively, were Chad Marlett (-6) and Gary Kempen (+5).

Brian Robinson forces a pass

Brian Robinson forces a pass over Marlett to take 5th place.

After the excitement of B. Robinson’s forced pass, the rest of the finishers were: Mike St. Peter (-1) in 9th; Jim Landis (-3) in 10th; Greg Lim (+1) in 11th; and Jim Magnanti (-1) in 12th. Mike Hernandez (-3), a DNF, was classified 13th.

Points awarded at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Kaluzny 10; White 6; Beckman 4; Sturgeon 3; B. Robinson 2; Cook 1.

The final points standings of the 2017 CFR-Detroit season after the eighth and final race:

Place Driver (Car)                     Points
  1   Gary Sturgeon (John Player Lotus)  44
  2   Garry Kaluzny (McLaren)            37
  3   Richard White (Brabham)            34  
  4   Mike Cook (Camel Lotus)            32
  5   Jack Beckman (Ferrari)             29
  6   Gary Kempen (Ferrari)               8
  7T  Jim Landis (Benetton)               6
  7T  Greg Lim (Motorola)                 6
  7T  Brian Robinson (Walker Racing)      6
 10   Jim Robinson (Williams)             3
 11   Mike Manderachia (Ligier)           2
 12T  Russ Herschler (Minardi)            0
 12T  Chad Marlett (Red Bull)             0
 12T  Tim Gould (McLaren)                 0
 12T  Mike St. Peter (Mercedes)           0
 12T  Jim Magnanti (Benetton)             0
 12T  Mike Hernandez (McLaren)            0

Immediately after the race was concluded, the Championship trophy of the 2017 CFR-Detroit racing season was presented to Gary Sturgeon. Sturgeon won two races during the season, and also finished 2nd three times, as well as finishing 4th twice. He only failed to score points in his first race, at Monza, where he finished 7th.

Gary Sturgeon receives the championship trophy

Gary Sturgeon (left, in gray shirt) receives the 2017 Championship trophy from race steward Garry Kaluzny (right, orange shirt). (Greg Lim photo)

After the championship trophy was awarded, it was time to vote for the recipient of the Tom Kane Memorial Award to be given to the most sportsmanlike driver of the 2017 season. Greg Lim was awarded the honor by the vote of his peers, earning 8 of the 13 votes cast. Tom Kane raced in our first Detroit area Speed Circuit campaign in 1984. He was an extremely polite racer, and would shrug off adversity, like bad dice rolls. Unfortunately, Tom passed away near the end of that first Speed Circuit campaign. So we then decided to annually give the Tom Kane Memorial Award to the most sportsmanlike driver, as a way of keeping Tom’s memory alive.

Greg Lim receives the Tom Kane trophy

Greg Lim (USA shirt, right) receives the Tom Kane Memorial Award trophy from race steward Garry Kaluzny (orange shirt, left).

The new 2018 season of CFR-Detroit will begin on Friday, May 11, 2018, at Guild of Blades game store in Clawson, Michigan. Race time is 6:45 pm, although drivers are asked to arrive by 6:15pm to setup their race car’s specifications. The new schedule is posted on the CFR-Detroit home page at http://michigumbo.com/cfr/.

Also, check out the records from the 2017 CFR-Detroit season at http://michigumbo.com/cfr/2017/index.html.

CFR Race #7: Japanese Grand Prix at Imperium Games

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

Ten drivers raced in the Japanese Grand Prix on March 9, 2018. The race was on the Suzuka track, and the game was held at Imperium Games in Wixom, Michigan. In an extremely exciting race, Richard White bested the competition to win his first race of the CFR season. Gary Sturgeon and Gary Kempen took the other podium spots in 2nd and 3rd places, respectively. This means that Sturgeon now has clinched at least a tie for the 2017 CFR-Detroit championship. With one race remaining, Sturgeon has 41 points to Mike Cook’s 31 points. Cook could achieve a tie for the championship if he were to win the final race while at the same time Sturgeon earns zero points in that final race.

 

Suzuka 2017 track diagram

Suzuka 2017 track diagram.

The bidding for pole position returned to saner levels as compared to recent races. Garry Kaluzny got his first pole position of the season by bidding 6.0 (3 wear + 6 skill). Richard White (3 wear + 1 skill) and Jim Robinson (2 wear + 3 skill) each bid 3.5, but White got the other front row spot with a better dice roll (74 to 06), so J. Robinson started 3rd. Points-leader Gary Sturgeon started 4th with a bid of 3.0 (0 wear + 6 skill). Brian Robinson bid 2.5 (0 wear + 5 skill) to start 5th. New driver Mike St. Peter (0 wear + 4 skill) and Jack Beckman (1 wear + 2 skill) each bid 2.0, with St. Peter starting 6th and Beckman 7th due to St. Peter’s better percentage dice roll (78 to 40). Mike Cook (0 wear + 2 skill) and Greg Lim (0 wear + 2 skill) each bid 1.0, with Cook starting 8th and Lim 9th due to a dice roll (98 to 85). Gary Kempen bid 0.0, so started in 10th place on the grid.

The starting grid and their car specs:

# Driver (Car)                     Start/Accel/Decel/Top/Wear/Skill/Tires
 9 Garry Kaluzny (McLaren)            60   40    40   160  5x   3x   hard
 1 Richard White (Brabham)            60   60    40   160  4x   3x   soft
 2 Jim Robinson (Williams)            60   40    40   160  5x   3x   hard
12 Gary Sturgeon (John Player Lotus)  60   60    40   180  4x   2x   hard
 5 Brian Robinson (Williams)          20   60    40   160  5x   3x   soft
44 Mike St. Peter (Mercedes)          60   40    40   160  4x   4x   hard
 3 Jack Beckman (Ferrari)             60   60    60   160  4x   2x   hard
11 Mike Cook (Camel Lotus)            60   60    60   160  4x   2x   hard 
 7 Greg Lim (Motorola)                20   60    40   160  4x   4x   hard
  4 Gary Kempen (Ferrari)             60   60    60   160  4x   2x   soft

Start = Start Speed (in miles/hour); Accel = Acceleration (in mph); Decel = Deceleration (in mph); Top = Top Speed (in mph); Wear = # of Wear markers per lap raced; Skill = # of Skill markers per lap raced; Tires = hard or soft tires to begin the race. (Since the race was 3 laps, a car with 5x of Wear would receive 15 Wear markers to start the race (as an example).)

Starting grid at Suzuka

The starting grid at Suzuka: Kaluzny (orange McLaren); White (blue & white Brabham); J. Robinson (blue, yellow & white Williams); Gary Sturgeon (black Lotus); B. Robinson (blue, yellow & white Williams); St. Peter (silver Mercedes); Beckman (red Ferrari); Cook (yellow Lotus); Lim (black & blue Motorola); Kempen (red Ferrari).

At the start, White boosted his start speed to 80 mph, using a wear since he was on soft tires, thus taking the lead. Pole-sitter Kaluzny merely started at 60 mph since he was on hard tires and did not want to roll dice at the start of the race. Cook also boosted his start speed to 80 mph to jump from 8th to 6th, while B. Robinson dropped from 5th to 7th, even though he boosted his 20 mph start speed to 40 mph.

The pack roars away

The pack roars away! White takes the lead, then came Kaluzny, J. Robinson, Sturgeon, St. Peter, Cook, B. Robinson, Beckman, Kempen, and Lim.

At the end of the starting straightaway and into the first two corners, White had pulled out a two-space lead, while J. Robinson ducked inside Kaluzny to take 2nd place.

Into the first corners

Into the first corners, and White’s leading Brabham is almost hidden behind the “4” sign. Lim’s Motorola car is already lagging behind Kempen’s Ferrari.

Through the “snake” curves on the Suzuka track, Kaluzny reclaimed 2nd place from J. Robinson, and Cook pulled alongside J. Robinson. Cook then passed J. Robinson and pulled alongside Kaluzny at the Degner 1 curve. Then coming up to the hairpin curve for the first time, the pack was back together.

Through the hairpin the first time

Through the hairpin the first time, and the pack has bunched up.

Richard White then zoomed away from the pack when he exited the hairpin curve. Jim Robinson made a daring forced pass of Mike Cook at the hairpin, also getting by Gary Sturgeon, thereby putting J. Robinson into 3rd place, behind Kaluzny’s 2nd place. Brian Robinson, meanwhile, had to burn a wear to slow from 80 mph to 60 mph, and got stuck behind Cook and Sturgeon in the hairpin.

White zooms into the lead

White (white and blue car just below the blue dice cup) takes a 4-space lead over Kaluzny; Kaluzny leads by 4 spaces over J. Robinson.

White, Kaluzny, and J. Robinson maintained their running order over the bridge, while Sturgeon and Cook battled each other for 4th and 5th place.

White leads over the bridge

White leads over the bridge for the 1st time while Gary Sturgeon (left) and Jim Robinson (right) look on. Garry Kaluzny had made a nice overlay for where the track crosses over itself, but he forgot that overlay at home; hence, the crude ad-hoc bridge overlay that appears in this picture was used instead.

As White approached the chicane for the first time, he attempted to negotiate it at 120 mph, using 2 wears and rolling a chance dice roll. Although he used a -3 skill chit, he rolled a 10 and thus spun in the first space of the corner! This would allow the pack to close up on him.

White spins at the chicane

The yellow flag waves as White spins at the chicane. Gary Sturgeon and Jim Robinson look on.

As White recovered from his spin, he was able to restart at 60 mph and then pulled into the pits. Kaluzny, running in 2nd, managed to make it through the chicane at 100 mph and then also pulled into the pits.

White and Kaluzny have pulled into the pits

White and Kaluzny have pulled into the pits; still on the track are Sturgeon, J. Robinson, Cook, B. Robinson, Beckman, St. Peter, Lim, and Kempen.

Gary Sturgeon got through the chicane safely to take the lead on the track, but then Jim Robinson spun in the chicane, and that caused Cook, B. Robinson, and Beckman to have to take evasive maneuvers to avoid the spinning Williams.

Jim Robinson spins in the chicane

Jim Robinson spins in the chicane, causing chaos on the track! Sturgeon (black Lotus) takes the lead on the track as White and Kaluzny are in the pits.

As Cook exited the chicane, he pulled alongside Sturgeon as they crossed over the start/finish line to complete the 1st lap. Brian Robinson and Mike St. Peter pulled into the pits, and White and Kaluzny came back onto the track alongside Jim Robinson as Robinson exited the chicane after starting at 40 mph after his spin. White switched from soft to hard tires while Kaluzny changed from hard to soft tires. As Lim entered the chicane, he became the 3rd car to spin in that same spot. Kempen then successfully made a forced pass to get by Lim’s spinning car and thus got to the last numbered space in the chicane and so Kempen could accelerate on his next move.

Sturgeon and Cook complete the 1st lap

Sturgeon and Cook complete the 1st lap; B. Robinson and St. Peter have entered the pits; White and Kaluzny have exited the pits. Lim has just spun in the chicane.

As Brian Robinson exited the pits, he had changed from soft to hard tires, while St. Peter and Lim had switched from hard to soft tires. The official running order after the completion of the 1st lap was: Sturgeon (+3); Cook (+6); Beckman (+4); Kaluzny (-3); White (-3); Kempen (+4); J. Robinson (-4); B. Robinson (-3); St. Peter (-3); and Lim (-1). The numbers in parentheses indicate how many positions a driver either gained (+) or lost (-) from their starting position.

Cook takes the lead through the "snake" corners

Cook (yellow Lotus) takes the lead from Sturgeon through the “snake” corners. Following behind are Beckman, Kaluzny, Kempen, White, J. Robinson, B. Robinson, St. Peter, and Lim.

Through the “snake” curves the 2nd time around, Kempen passed Kaluzny.

Brian Robinson, Jack Beckman, and Mike Cook watch the race

Brian Robinson (blue shirt), Jack Beckman (red Ferrari shirt), and Mike Cook (green shirt) watch the race. Cook’s yellow Lotus leads Sturgeon’s black Lotus (near the “3” sign).

Cook held the lead through the hairpin turn, but then Sturgeon out-dragged Cook to take the lead at the 200R curve.

Sturgeon retakes the lead through the 200R curve

Sturgeon retakes the lead from Cook through the 200R curve. Beckman is 3rd, Kaluzny has retaken 4th, White is 5th, Kempen 6th, J. Robinson 7th, St. Peter and B. Robinson are 8th and 9th, and Lim is in 10th, 11 spaces behind.

Kempen then put on another burst of speed to pass both White and then Kaluzny, pulling up alongside Beckman through the Spoon Curve.

Kempen retakes 4th at the Spoon Curve

Kempen (#4 Ferrari) retakes 4th at the Spoon Curve. Sturgeon and Cook are side by side in 1st and 2nd (near the “2” sign).

Kempen then rolled dice to increase his top speed to 180 mph coming out of the Spoon Curve, and proceeded to pass his Ferrari teammate Beckman along the Backstretch.

Kempen takes 3rd place from Beckman

Kempen takes 3rd place from Beckman; St. Peter has spun in the Spoon Curve while Jim Robinson goes around St. Peter.

But Kempen pushed his luck too far. While again attempting to push his top speed to 180 mph while going over the bridge, he rolled a “10” on an unmodified top speed roll, and that damaged his car’s top speed. He only got to move 160 mph on this turn, and his future top speed was only 140 mph (and with another entire lap yet to race).

As the leaders Sturgeon and Cook pulled into the pits to change from hard to soft tires for their last lap, Kempen, Kaluzny, Beckman, and White were all bunched up at the chicane. The two Williams cars of J. Robinson and B. Robinson were a ways behind, then farther back was St. Peter, and finally came Lim who was about 1/4 lap behind.

Sturgeon and Cook make their pit stops

Sturgeon and Cook make their pit stops as the rest of pack closes up on them.

As the other cars came through the chicane, the Ferraris of both Kempen and Beckman made their pit stops, both switching from hard to soft tires for their final lap. Kaluzny and White stayed on the track. After crossing the start/finish line, White gained 3 wear as he was on hard tires; Kaluzny was on soft tires and so gained no extra wear. Jim Robinson had to make an unmodified deceleration roll to get down to 60 mph to get through the chicane as he was out of wear; he then pulled into the pits.

Kaluzny and White take over the lead

Kaluzny and White take over the lead as most of the other cars have either just pulled into the pits, or have just been placed back on the track after exiting the pits. Beckman, Kempen, and J. Robinson are the cars off the track in the pits, while the Loti of Sturgeon and Cook are on the track. B. Robinson’s Williams is in the chicane, St. Peter is approaching the chicane, while Lim’s car is in the upper right corner of the picture.

The cars of Mike St. Peter and Greg Lim made pit stops, while Brian Robinson stayed on the track. After all cars had cycled through the pits at the end of the 2nd lap, the official running order was Kaluzny (0), White (0), Sturgeon (+1), Cook (+4), B. Robinson (0), Kempen (+4), Beckman (0), J. Robinson (-5), St. Peter (-3), and Lim (-1).

Kaluzny held off White until the Degner 1 and Degner 2 corners, and then White passed Kaluzny to take the lead. Going into the hairpin, Sturgeon and Cook had caught up to the two front-runners.

White leads into the hairpin for the last time

White leads into the hairpin for the last time.

Going through the hairpin for the last time, White, Kaluzny, and Sturgeon were running nose-to-tail while Cook was balked in the hairpin and got stuck in the hairpin for an extra turn. Kempen then passed Cook for 4th place upon exiting the hairpin.

White holds the lead

White holds the lead heading into the Spoon Curve. Kaluzny, Sturgeon, Kempen, Cook, Beckman, B. Robinson, J. Robinson, and St. Peter trail behind.

Coming out of the Spoon Curve for the last time, Kaluzny tried to over-rev his engine to 180 mph. He successfully made an unmodified over-acceleration roll (to accelerate by 60 mph), but then failed the top speed roll. He moved 160 mph, and had his top speed reduced to 140 mph thereafter. Kaluzny then made an unmodified top speed roll to go 160 mph through the 130R corner just past the bridge, all in an attempt to stay ahead of Sturgeon and thus keep a mathematical chance of winning the championship alive. Kaluzny knew if he finished behind Sturgeon that he would be eliminated from any chance of the points championship.

While White went 100 mph into the chicane, thus ending on the final space of the chicane and so would be able to accelerate on his next move, both Kaluzny and Sturgeon plotted 120 mph. They were both immediately behind White, and Kaluzny got to move first by virtue of being closer to the inside of the track relative to the next corner. (The red-and-white striped lines around the track indicate which side of the track is the inside at that part of the track.) Kaluzny had to roll an unmodified deceleration roll, though, and failed the roll. He then had to use 1 of his last 2 wears to slow down to 100 mph. Kaluzny then used his last wear and rolled an unmodified chance. He rolled a “9” and spun in the chicane. Sturgeon went around the outside of the chicane at 120 mph, using 3 wears as he was on soft tires.

Kaluzny spins in the chicane

Kaluzny spins in the chicane, while White and Sturgeon make it through safely. Mike Cook (left) and Gary Sturgeon (right) look on.

Richard White (+1) then motored across the finish line to take the checkered flag by 4 spaces over Sturgeon’s (+2) 2nd place. It was White’s first victory of the CFR-Detroit 2017 season. (White had previously won 16 races in the old Advanced Speed Circuit series in the late 1980s through the early 1990s.) Meanwhile, Kaluzny recovered from his spin by going 40 mph, just exiting the chicane. Kempen was barreling through the chicane at 80 mph and was running up Kaluzny’s tailpipe. Cook was also going 80 mph, but got stuck in the chicane.

Richard White takes the checkered flag!

Richard White takes the checkered flag!

But the excitement wasn’t yet over. Although Kaluzny made an unmodified acceleration roll to go to 100 mph and reach the finish line on his move, Kempen (+7) used his 60 mph acceleration to get to 140 mph, thus sling-shotting around Kaluzny to take 3rd place, relegating Kaluzny (-3) to 4th. Cook (+3) continued on to finish in 5th place. Beckman then made an unmodified roll to slow for the chicane, but spun when he rolled an unmodified chance. Brian Robinson had to go around the outside of the chicane to avoid Beckman’s spinning Ferrari. B. Robinson rolled a chance, using a -3 skill marker. But he too spun.

Sturgeon takes 2nd

Sturgeon takes 2nd, Kempen nips Kaluzny for 3rd, Cook is 4th, and Beckman and B. Robinson have spun in the chicane. The road marshal with the yellow flag has passed out with fatigue, what with having to wave that yellow flag for multiple spinning cars at that chicane during the race!

This is where Brian Robinson’s low 20 mph start speed bit him, as he could only start at 20 mph while trying to recover from spinning in the chicane, and that left him in the chicane for another turn. (Cars that re-start after a spin can only move the slower of their start speed or acceleration.) Beckman (+1) recovered from his spin to take 6th place and get the last point available. Positions 7 through 10 were: J. Robinson (-4); St. Peter (-2); B. Robinson (-4); and Lim (-1). The last four drivers did not receive any points for their efforts in this race.

Podium finishers: White; Sturgeon; and Kempen

Podium finishers: White; Sturgeon; and Kempen.

The points awarded at the Japanese Grand Prix: White 10; Sturgeon 6; Kempen 4; Kaluzny 3; Cook 2; and Beckman 1.

The updated points standings after seven (of eight) races:

Place Driver (Car)                     Points
  1   Gary Sturgeon (John Player Lotus)  41
  2   Mike Cook (Camel Lotus)            31
  3   Richard White (Brabham)            28
  4   Garry Kaluzny (McLaren)            27
  5   Jack Beckman (Ferrari)             25
  6   Gary Kempen (Ferrari)               8
  7T  Jim Landis (Benetton)               6
  7T  Greg Lim (Motorola)                 6
  9   Brian Robinson (Walker Racing)      4
 10   Jim Robinson (Williams)             3
 11   Mike Manderachia (Ligier)           2
 12T  Russ Herschler (Minardi)            0
 12T  Chad Marlett (Red Bull)             0
 12T  Tim Gould (McLaren)                 0
 12T  Mike St. Peter (Mercedes)           0

The 8th and final race of the 2017 CFR-Detroit racing series will be on Friday, April 13 (“Yikes! Friday the 13th done come on a Friday this month!” — so says Churchy LaFemme). The race will be at Pandemonium Games & Hobbies at 6033 Middlebelt Rd. in Garden City, Michigan. It is on the west side of Middlebelt Rd., just a few blocks north of Ford Rd. The race will begin at 7:00 pm, so once again we ask all drivers to try to arrive around 6:30 pm in order to have enough time to get your car set up for the race. We will begin bidding for starting positions at 6:55 pm.

CFR Race #6: Canadian Grand Prix at Guild of Blades

Friday, March 9th, 2018

Only seven drivers competed at the Canadian Grand Prix on February 16, 2018, using the Championship Formula Racing rules. Gary Sturgeon won his 2nd consecutive race after starting 4th on the grid. Jack Beckman (2nd) and Richard White (3rd) were the other podium finishers. This race was held at the Guild of Blades game store in Clawson, Michigan. It had originally been scheduled for February 9, but was postponed a week due to an unusually heavy snowfall on the 9th. The race was on the Gilles Villeneuve circuit from Montreal, Canada. The CFR-Detroit race series is now averaging 9.8 drivers per race (through six races).

The Gilles Villeneuve circuit of Montreal

The Gilles Villeneuve circuit of Montreal, Canada, as configured from 1978 to 1986.

We raced on the older track configuration, using the old Avalon Hill track as our basis for the track.

The model track of the Gilles Villeneuve circuit

The model track of the Gilles Villeneuve circuit that we raced on.

Once again, the bidding for pole position featured rather high bids. (Each wear bid counts as 1.0; each skill bid counts as 0.5.) Mike Cook won his 4th pole position in six races with a bid of 8.0 (2 wear + 12 skill). Starting 2nd was Jack Beckman with a bid of 7.0 (2 wear + 10 skill). Richard White started 3rd, also with a bid of 7.0 (5 wear + 4 skill), but Jack got 2nd as he rolled better on percentage dice (39 to 03) to grab 2nd from Richard. Gary Sturgeon started 4th with a bid of 6.0 (0 wear + 12 skill). Garry Kaluzny started 6th with a bid of 5.5 (3 wear + 5 skill). Gary Kempen was the 6th starter with his bid of 4.5 (0 wear + 9 skill). Greg Lim was content to start last, in 7th, as he bid nothing.

The starting grid and their car specs:

# Driver (Car)                     Start/Accel/Decel/Top/Wear/Skill/Tires
11 Mike Cook (Camel Lotus)            60   40    40   140  5x   4x   soft
 2 Jack Beckman (Ferrari)            100   40    20   140  5x   4x   soft
 1 Richard White (Brabham)            60   60    40   140  5x   3x   soft
12 Gary Sturgeon (John Player Lotus) 100   40    40   140  5x   3x   hard
 9 Garry Kaluzny (McLaren)            60   40    40   160  5x   3x   soft
 4 Gary Kempen (Ferrari)              60   40    40   140  5x   4x   soft
 7 Greg Lim (Motorola)                60   60    40   140  4x   4x   soft

Start = Start Speed (in miles/hour); Accel = Acceleration (in mph); Decel = Deceleration (in mph); Top = Top Speed (in mph); Wear = # of Wear markers per lap raced; Skill = # of Skill markers per lap raced; Tires = hard or soft tires to begin the race. (Since the race was 3 laps, a car with 5x of Wear would receive 15 Wear markers to start the race (as an example).)

Most of our racers were distressed upon hearing that the “real” Formula One did away with their “Grid Girls”; however, our CFR-Detroit race series decided to hire the now unemployed Grid Girls for our racing series.

The starting grid with Grid Girls

The starting grid at Canada with the Grid Girls helping to line up the cars. (Yes, we know the Grid Girls are in 1:32 scale while the cars are in 1:64 scale, but it was the best we could do. Nobody seems to make Grid Girls in 1:64 scale.)

When the green flag dropped to start the race, Jack Beckman burned a wear (since he was on soft tires) to increase his start speed from 100 to 120 mph, so he roared off ahead of the pole-sitter, Mike Cook, even though Cook had also boosted his start speed. Sturgeon started at his 100 mph start speed, and he was able to pass White for 3rd as White just started at his base 60 mph start speed. Kaluzny, Kempen, and Lim slotted into positions 5, 6, and 7, in the same order as they had lined up on the grid. Everyone was happy that it was a clean start, with nobody getting balked.

The cars are away at the start

The cars are away at the start of the Canadian Grand Prix. The running order: Beckman (Ferrari); Cook (Camel Lotus); Sturgeon (John Player Lotus); White (Brabham); Kaluzny (McLaren); Kempen (Ferrari); and Lim (Motorola).

The field pretty much stayed in the same order, with the pack finally bunching up at the Epingle de l’Isle. It was there that Kempen made a move to pass Kaluzny and pull to the inside of White, thereby taking 4th place.

Kempen takes 4th at Epingle de l'Isle

Kempen (red #4 Ferrari) takes 4th at Epingle de l’Isle.

Kempen found that he couldn’t hold onto 4th, however, as coming out of the Epingle de l’Isle he was re-passed by both White and Kaluzny. White was even able to pass Sturgeon for 3rd place.

White advances to 3rd; Kempen drops back to 6th

White (Olivetti Brabham) advances to 3rd; Kempen drops back to 6th.

The pack mostly stayed bunched together the rest of the 1st lap, although Beckman and Cook did gain a few spaces over the rest of the pack. As the pack roared through the hairpin turn at Epingle du Casino, Beckman, Cook, White, Kaluzny, and Kempen all pitted to exchange their worn-out soft tires for fresh hard tires. Sturgeon stayed on the track with his hard tires, and Lim also stayed on the track, although Lim was riding on soft tires.

The first pit stops

The first pit stops — Beckman, Cook, White, Kaluzny and Kempen are in the pits; Sturgeon and Lim stay on the track.

After the 1st round of pit stops, and at the end of Lap 1, the official running order was Sturgeon (+3) and Lim (+6), then 6 spaces to Beckman (-1) and Cook (-3), then 3 spaces to Kaluzny (0), then came White (-3) and Kempen (-1). The numbers in parentheses tell how many spaces a driver either gained (+) or lost (-) from their starting position.

Running order at the end of Lap 1

Running order at the end of Lap 1: Sturgeon; Lim; Beckman; Cook; Kaluzny; White; and Kempen.

During the next half lap, Kaluzny failed an acceleration dice roll, and Cook failed a deceleration dice roll (Cook failing his roll as he was heading into the slow Epingle de l’Isle). Each driver used only a single -1 skill chit for their roll. In Kaluzny’s case, he rolled an 11, meaning he would have successfully made the roll had he used two -1 skill chits. Extra skill wouldn’t have helped Cook, though, as he rolled a 12. With Kaluzny’s car ailing on acceleration coming out of the Epingle de l’Isle, Kempen successfully made a forced pass of Kaluzny and White, putting Kempen up into 5th place.

Kempen takes 5th after a forced pass

Kempen takes 5th after a forced pass of White and Kaluzny. Greg Lim (blue sweatshirt, black and blue car in 2nd place on the track) looks over his cards to plot his car’s speed for the upcoming game turn.

Near the end of the 2nd lap, Sturgeon had built a lead of 6 spaces over Lim, and then Sturgeon pulled into pit lane to change from his worn-out hard tires onto soft tires for the final lap.

Sturgeon pits at the end of the 2nd lap

Sturgeon pits at the end of the 2nd lap.

Then Lim pulled into the pits a turn later, and as expected, everyone else stayed on the track. When Sturgeon got back on the track after his pit stop, he had fallen to 4th place, 5 spaces behind the new leader, Beckman. However, Sturgeon now had a full complement of 15 wear, while Beckman had used up most of his wear on the 2nd lap.

Beckman leads after two laps

Taking the white flag, Beckman leads after two laps. Former leader Sturgeon is back on the track in 4th place, next to White’s Brabham.

At the end of the 2nd lap, the two Ferraris of Beckman (+1) and Kempen (+4) were in the lead. Then came Sturgeon (+1), White (-1), Cook (-4), Kaluzny (-1), and Lim (0).

The Ferraris lead the start of the final lap

The Ferraris of Beckman and Kempen lead the start of the final lap.

Sturgeon finally made his move for the lead the final time through the Epingle de l’Isle corner. He pulled alongside Beckman’s #3 Ferrari, then Sturgeon’s John Player Lotus pulled in front as they exited that corner.

Sturgeon pulls alongside Beckman

Sturgeon (black #12) pulls alongside Beckman (red #3) at the Epingle de l’Isle.

Sturgeon accelerates into the lead

Sturgeon accelerates into the lead. Trailing are Beckman, Kempen, White, Kaluzny, Cook, and Lim.

Kempen spun just before the “S” curves, dropping him from 3rd to 6th place. It was good for him that he used his -3 skill chit, because he rolled a 12 on the Chance Table. If he had only used two -1 skill markers, that would have been a crash. In the meantime, Beckman was trying to hang with Sturgeon. Surprisingly, Kaluzny and Cook were staying near the leaders, even though Kaluzny’s car only had a 20 mph acceleration and Cook’s car only had a 20 mph deceleration.

Through the "S" curves the final time

Through the “S” curves the final time; Sturgeon still leads from Beckman while Kempen has recovered from his spin but is now in 6th place.

Down through the chicane for the final time, Sturgeon maintained his grip on 1st place. He then was able to enter the final Epingle du Casino corner before Beckman, thereby assuring Sturgeon of the victory. Through the chicane that last time, Kempen managed to successfully pass an unmodified Chance roll by rolling a 4. He needed to roll a 6 or less to make it through with spinning or crashing.

Sturgeon leads Beckman at the final corner

Sturgeon leads Beckman at the final corner.

Although Sturgeon was about to take the checkered flag for his second straight win, there was still much excitement to occur in that final corner. Lim tried to maintain a high rate of speed around the outside of the corner in an attempt to pass Kaluzny, but Lim spun.

Sturgeon about to take the checkered flag

Sturgeon about to take the checkered flag, while Lim spins on the outside of the final corner. Mike Cook looks on with concern, trying to figure how he can make it through the final corner with damaged brakes.

As Lim recovered from his spin, he moved out of the corner but he hogged the cornering line, just to make it tough on the two following cars to make it through that corner. Indeed, Cook had to roll on the Deceleration Table once again, using his last -1 skill token. Unfortunately for him, he rolled an 11, which was the second time he had failed a deceleration dice roll, thereby putting his car out of the race with failed brakes. Then Kempen’s Ferrari tested the fates one more time, but this time failed the Chance dice roll by crashing out of the race. Cook was classified 6th, and Kempen 7th, but Cook failed to score the single point for 6th because cars must finish a race in order to gain any points.

Sturgeon wins from Beckman

Sturgeon wins from Beckman, meanwhile, Cook (yellow car) lost his brakes, and Kempen (upside-down Ferrari) crashed in the final corner.

At the checkered flag, it was Sturgeon (+3), then Beckman (0), White (0), Kaluzny (+1), and Lim (+2). Out of the points with DNFs were Cook (-5) and Kempen (-1).

Victory podium

Driver Gary Sturgeon (well, at least a 1:32 scale representation of Sturgeon) stands atop the Victory Podium.

The points awarded at the Canadian Grand Prix: Sturgeon 10; Beckman 6; White 4; Kaluzny 3; and Lim 2.

The updated points standings after six (of eight) races:

Place Driver (Car)                     Points
  1   Gary Sturgeon (John Player Lotus)  35
  2   Mike Cook (Camel Lotus)            29
  3T  Jack Beckman (Ferrari)             24
  3T  Garry Kaluzny (McLaren)            24
  5   Richard White (Brabham)            18
  6T  Jim Landis (Benetton)               6
  6T  Greg Lim (Motorola)                 6
  8T  Brian Robinson (Walker Racing)      4
  8T  Gary Kempen (Ferrari)               4
 10   Jim Robinson (Williams)             3
 11   Mike Manderachia (Ligier)           2
 12T  Russ Herschler (Minardi)            0
 12T  Chad Marlett (Red Bull)             0
 12T  Tim Gould (McLaren)                 0

The 7th race of the CFR-Detroit racing season is on Friday, March 9, 2018, at Imperium Games at 28990 S. Wixom Road in Wixom, Michigan. Race time is 7:00 pm, although we ask racers to be there by 6:30 pm in order to set up their car. We also want to have bidding for starting positions start at 6:55 pm.

Report from FlintCon 2018

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

On Saturday, February 3, FlintCon 2018 was held at St. Paul Lutheran Church on S. Ballenger Highway in Flint, Michigan. It was mostly miniatures gaming, with some role-playing activities taking place in a different room. I ran a race of Championship Formula Racing, followed by a game of Gutshot.

But for the early session, I didn’t run a game, but instead played in a “pirate” game where there were two large scale pirate ships fighting each other. That game was run by “Captain Curtis,” and it was a lot of fun.

Captain Curtis' large-scale pirate ships

Captain Curtis’ large-scale pirate ships.

Each ship had 30 pirates on deck, divided into the foredeck, midships, and the afterdeck areas, with 10 pirates in each section. Each ship also had three sets of reinforcements below decks, with 10 more pirates in each section. The pirates were 54mm plastic minis, like the size of the plastic “army men” that many of us used to play with when we were kids. The object of the game was to either sink the enemy ship by cannon fire (each ship had six cannon that could fire at the other, and each cannon had to be manned by at least two crew in order to fire), or to board and capture the enemy ship. You could also win by boarding the enemy ship and bringing back two of its treasure chests to your own ship.

Pirate ship close-up

Pirate ship close-up.

As it was, my ship was able to call up its reserves before the other ship, then we boarded the opponent’s ship, and in hand-to-hand combat, my ship’s pirates were able to overwhelm the enemy pirates and capture their ship. It was a lot of fun. Not a lot of strategy, mostly just rolling dice, but the visuals made it a lot of fun.

Some of the "dead" pirates

Some of the “dead” pirates during the battle for the enemy ship.

When a pirate was “killed” it was simply removed from the ship, else there would have been a pile of dead plastic pirate bodies three or four deep across the entire deck of the ship.

Meanwhile, my buddy Greg was playing in a minis game from the age of Napoleon.

Napoleonic miniatures

Napoleonic miniatures.

Napoleonic minis—the Redcoats advance across the bridge

Napoleonic minis—the Redcoats advance across the bridge.

There were also some other minis games going on.

Battle in the desert

Battle in the desert, I believe it was from the Crusades.

So then after the first session games were finished, I ran Championship Formula Racing (CFR) starting at 1:00 pm. We raced on the Detroit Belle Isle track. We had nine drivers, and a rookie,  “young” Jack, won the race.

Belle Isle track at FlintCon

Belle Isle track at FlintCon.

Then for the final session of the day, I ran Gutshot starting at 7:00 pm.

Whitewash City at FlintCon

Whitewash City at FlintCon. This is the pre-game setup where players could choose from the minis at the front of the table.

Nine hombres played the Gutshot adventure “Love & Bullets.” In that adventure, Missy Picket has fallen in love with Billy Barnes, except Billy is the leader of a small cattle-rustling outfit, and Missy’s father, the stern Colonel Beauregard Jackson Picket III forbids his daughter to have anything to do with Billy. Well, so Billy’s gang is in town, and they are going to help Billy get Missy out of town. The Colonel also has some hired guns in town, and they mean to prevent Missy leaving with Billy. There is a major complication, of course, in that none of the Colonel’s men can cause any harm to come to Missy!

So Billy and Missy and the rest of Billy’s gang made it from the Grand Hotel to the livery stable before the Colonel’s men showed up. But then bullets started flying. Just as Missy was about to mount her horse in the corral, it spooked from the gunfire and bucked her off. Then Missy mounted Billy’s horse, and Billy got on the horse behind Missy. Then they rode off, with none of the Colonel’s men daring to shoot at Billy for fear of shooting Missy by accident.

Everyone at FlintCon seemed to have a good time, no matter what game they played. I reckon I’ll have to run some more games there next year.

CFR Race #5: Detroit Grand Prix at RIW Hobbies & Games

Monday, February 5th, 2018

January 12, 2018, saw 13 racers compete at the Detroit Grand Prix, racing on the old downtown Detroit track. The race was held at RIW Hobbies & Games in Livonia, Michigan. When the engines stopped revving, Gary Sturgeon had earned his first victory of the season, propelling him into 2nd place in the points standings. Other podium finishers were Jack Beckman (2nd) and Gary Kempen (3rd), aka Team Ferrari.

Downtown Detroit track used from 1983 through 1988.

Downtown Detroit track used from 1983 through 1988.

When Avalon Hill was creating extra tracks for Speed Circuit in the 1980s, they created a downtown Detroit Grand Prix track based on the 1982 version of the track that had the hairpin at E. Jefferson Ave, but that track was not all that accurate. So, I (Garry Kaluzny) created a new track for Speed Circuit of the downtown Detroit circuit. Here is that track diagram:

Downtown Detroit track suitable for use with Championship Formula Racing.

Downtown Detroit track suitable for use with Championship Formula Racing.

While the bidding for Pole Position at most previous races was rather conservative, most racers upped their qualifying bid quite a bit for this track, as everyone wanted to start up front! I was rather shocked, myself, as although I bid 2 Wear and 3 skill for a bid of 3.5, I started way back in the pack in 9th place (out of 13 starters). As a reminder to folks who are not familiar with the CFR board game bidding process, bidding 1 Wear counts as 1.0, bidding 1 Skill counts as 0.5. The entire bidding results:

Pole Position went to Jim Robinson, his first Pole of the season. Jim bid 2 Wear and 12 Skill (all of his -1 Skill markers!) for a bid of 8.0. Four drivers, Gary Sturgeon (0 Wear, 12 Skill), Jack Beckman (1 Wear, 10 Skill), Greg Lim (0 Wear, 12 Skill), and Mike Cook (2 Wear, 8 Skill), all bid 6.0. They then all rolled percentage dice, rolling 91, 73, 64, and 07, respectively, so Sturgeon was 2nd on the grid, Beckman was 3rd, Lim 4th, and Cook was 5th. Two drivers, Gary Kempen (2 Wear, 5 Skill) and Chad Marlett (3 Wear, 3 Skill) bid 4.5, with Kempen winning the percentage dice roll-off by 44 to 39, thus giving Kempen the 6th starting spot on the grid and relegating Marlett to 7th. Jim Landis slotted into the 8th starting spot with a bid of 4.0 (1 Wear and 6 Skill), and Garry Kaluzny grabbed 9th after bidding 3.5 (2 Wear and 3 Skill). 10th place went to Richard White with his bid of 3.0 (3 Wear and 0 Skill). 11th place was contested by identical bids of 2.5 by Mike Manderachia (2 Wear, 1 Skill) and Brian Robinson (0 Wear, 5 Skill), with Manderachia winning the roll-off by 93 to 90, thus placing Brian Robinson in 12th place. Newcomer Tim Gould started 13th with a bid of only 1.5 (1 Wear and 1 Skill).

The starting grid and their car stats:

# Driver (Car)                     Start/Accel/Decel/Top/Wear/Skill/Tires
 2 Jim Robinson (Williams)            60   40    40   140  5x   4x   soft
12 Gary Sturgeon (John Player Lotus)  60   40    40   140  5x   4x   soft
 3 Jack Beckman (Ferrari)            100   40    20   140  5x   4x   hard
 7 Greg Lim (Motorola)                60   40    40   140  5x   4x   soft
11 Mike Cook (Camel Lotus)           100   40    40   140  5x   3x   hard
 4 Gary Kempen (Ferrari)              20   60    40   140  5x   4x   soft
71 Chad Marlett (Red Bull)            60   60    60   140  4x   3x   soft
20 Jim Landis (Benetton)              60   40    40   140  5x   4x   soft
 9 Garry Kaluzny (McLaren)            60   60    40   140  5x   3x   hard
 1 Richard White (Brabham)            60   60    40   140  5x   3x   soft
25 Mike Manderachia (Ligier)          60   60    40   140  5x   3x   soft
 5 Brian Robinson (Walker Racing)     20   80    40   140  5x   3x   soft
10 Tim Gould (McLaren)                60   60    40   140  5x   3x   soft

Start = Start Speed (in miles/hour); Accel = Acceleration (in mph); Decel = Deceleration (in mph); Top = Top Speed (in mph); Wear = # of Wear markers per lap raced; Skill = # of Skill markers per lap raced; Tires = hard or soft tires to begin the race. (Since the race was 3 laps, a car with 5x of Wear would receive 15 Wear markers to start the race (as an example).)

It was nice to have Mike Manderachia race with us. Although this was his first race using the Championship Formula Racing rules, Mike used to race with us using the Advanced Speed Circuit rules back in the late 1980s. We also had newcomer Tim Gould in his first race, and Gary Kempen and Chad Marlett were in only their 2nd races.

It was interesting that two cars (Beckman and Cook) opted for a 100 mph Start Speed, while two others (Kempen and B. Robinson) chose 20 mph as their Start Speed. All drivers went with a 140 mph Top Speed (taking a point out of that characteristic so they could use it elsewhere) since Detroit only has one place where a car could conceivably go 160 mph (and probably wouldn’t get the chance if it was in traffic), and all drivers but one (Marlett) went with the maximum Wear of 5x, meaning they would start with 5 x 3 Wear = 15 Wear to start the race (minus any Wear they used in bidding for starting position).

The starting grid for the Detroit Grand Prix.

The starting grid for the Detroit Grand Prix: Jim Robinson (white/yellow/blue Williams) is to the inside of the track, Gary Sturgeon (black John Player Lotus) is to the outside.

When the green flag dropped to start the race, the front row cars of J. Robinson and Sturgeon both boosted their Start Speed to 80 mph, both using wear since they were both on soft tires. As Jim Robinson was to the inside of the track on the starting grid, he moved first, opting to take the cornering arrow for the first turn, thus allowing Sturgeon to take the inside position (and the lead). Beckman’s 100 mph start availed him nought, as he had to brake down to 80 mph to stay behind the two leaders. (Note: If Beckman had pushed his start speed to 120 mph, he could have attempted a forced pass and could possibly have taken the lead.) Greg Lim also boosted his Start Speed of 60 mph t0 80 mph by using a wear. Mike Cook also had to slow to 80 mph from his Start Speed of 100. The top five cars had now opened a two-space gap over the rest of the field. In the back pack, both Landis and White were balked and had to forced decelerate from 60 to 40 mph.

Roaring off at the start of the Detroit G.P.

Roaring off at the start of the Detroit G.P. Sturgeon (black car) has taken the lead from J. Robinson. Then Beckman, Lim, and Cook are close behind the leaders. The 2nd pack is Kempen, Marlett, Landis, Kaluzny, White, Manderachia, B. Robinson, and Gould.

On the 2nd move, Sturgeon plotted 120 mph and went around the outside of the 1st turn. J. Robinson plotted 100 mph and stayed to the inside (thus retaking the lead). Both cars were ready to exit that corner. Lim was right behind J. Robinson’s tailpipe, while Beckman was right behind Sturgeon. Cook had moved just 80 mph (4 spaces on the track) and had just entered the corner. Then came the rest of the field, with B. Robinson lagging back a bit, just to see how things would sort out at this first corner.

Through the 1st corner.

Through the 1st corner, the running order is: J. Robinson; Sturgeon; Beckman; Lim; Cook; Kempen; Marlett; Manderachia (up 3 positions); Kaluzny; Landis (down 2 positions); White; Gould, and B. Robinson.

The pack roared down Atwater Street, then turned right onto Saint Antoine, turned right again onto E. Jefferson Ave., then followed the lazy left-hand curve onto Chrysler Drive, which is the service drive for the I-375 expressway. Then a sharp left-hand turn onto E. Congress Street came next. At the sharp left hand turn onto Beaubien, Sturgeon (+1) narrowly led Jim Robinson (-1). Then came Beckman (0), Cook (+1), Marlett (+2), Lim (-2), Kempen (-1), Manderachia (+3), Landis (-1), Kaluzny (-1), Gould (+2), White (-2), and Brian Robinson (-1). The +/- indicates how many positions a driver has gained (+) or lost (-) from their qualifying position.

Turning left at Beaubien for the 1st time.

Rolling down Congress St. and turning left at Beaubien St. for the 1st time. (Greg Lim photo)

After the left turn onto Beaubien came a right turn onto Larned St. Coming out of that corner, Jim Robinson regained the lead from Sturgeon. Then after a short straight, there was a left onto Woodward Avenue followed by a right onto W. Jefferson Ave. Just at the turn onto W. Jefferson, Beckman and Cook had got right up with J. Robinson and Sturgeon. Manderachia was up to 5th place, having gained 6 positions since the start of the race.

Turning onto W. Jefferson.

Turning onto W. Jefferson. The pack has bunched up.

The pack raced down the short straight on West Jefferson, passing the Pontchartrain Hotel on their right just before making a sharp left turn onto Washington Boulevard right in front of Cobo Hall (before it was renamed Cobo Center). They raced down the steep incline around Cobo Arena, then turned right at the more than 90-degree Kodak Camera Corner, followed quickly by a hard left turn onto Atwater. Into the Goodyear Tunnel under Hart Plaza for the first time, it was Sturgeon with a two-space lead over Jim Robinson. Then came Cook in 3rd, Beckman in 4th, then Manderachia, Marlett, Kempen, Landis, Kaluzny, Lim, Gould, White, and Brian Robinson.

Through the Goodyear Tunnel, Sturgeon leads the pack.

Through the Goodyear Tunnel, Sturgeon leads the pack.

Coming out of the Goodyear Tunnel, Sturgeon led the pack through the right-left Ford Corner, then Sturgeon was the first to pull into the pits. He was quickly followed by J. Robinson, Kempen, Manderachia, Landis, Marlett, and Gould. All of those cars switched from soft to hard tires.

The 1st pit stops are under way.

The 1st pit stops are under way. Although Sturgeon pulled into the pits first, technically Jim Robinson leads the first lap as his car’s nose is on the start/finish line.

A couple of turns after the leaders, the cars of Lim, White, and B. Robinson also pitted to switch from soft to hard tires. Cars not pitting were those of Beckman, Cook, and Kaluzny. The official order after one lap was: Jim Robinson (0); Beckman (+1); Cook (+2); Kaluzny (+5); Sturgeon (-3); Brian Robinson (+6); Lim (-3); Kempen (-2); Manderachia (+2); Landis (-2); Marlett (-4); Gould (+1); and White (-3). However, the running order after the pit stops at the end of the 1st lap were all completed was: Beckman, Cook, Sturgeon, J. Robinson, Kaluzny, Kempen, Manderachia, Landis, Marlett, Gould, B. Robinson, White, and Lim.

Running order after 1st pit stops.

Running order after 1st pit stops: Beckman in the red Ferrari leads from Cook in the yellow Lotus.

During the 2nd lap, the pack got stretched out after the pit stops. Beckman continued to lead for about a half lap, and then Cook took the lead on Larned St.

Cook passes Beckman on Larned St.

Cook passes Beckman on Larned St. Faces pictured: Tim Gould (at left); Jim Robinson (green shirt); Jim Landis (burgundy shirt); and Gary Sturgeon (gray shirt).

Cook takes the lead from Beckman

Cook (in the Green Bay cap and shirt) enjoys his lead over Beckman and the rest of the pack. Brian Robinson (Dodge sweatshirt) stands next to Cook.

But Beckman fought back going through the Kodak Camera Corner and through the left-hand corner leading into the Goodyear Tunnel, and retook the lead.

Gamers take their racing seriously!

Gamers take their racing seriously! Pictured, from left: Mike Manderachia; Tim Gould; Chad Marlett (standing); Mike Cook; Brian Robinson.

Beckman led through the Ford Corner and then into the pits where he was joined by Cook and Jim Robinson. J. Robinson was pitting for the 2nd time in the race. Garry Kaluzny was feeling frustrated that he couldn’t make it into the pits on the same turn, and his ending up two spaces short of being able to pit on the same turn with the leaders cost him, as when he did finally come out of the pits, the rest of the pack swallowed him up. Those four drivers all switched from hard to soft tires for the final lap.

The 2nd round of pit stops begin.

The 2nd round of pit stops begin. Beckman, Cook, and Jim Robinson have pulled off the track and into the pits. Kaluzny’s orange McLaren is two spaces short of being able to pit. The first space where cars can pull into the pits is the 60 mph space just this side of the orange barrel; the final space is at the lower edge of the picture, two spaces past the finish line.

Kaluzny did get some satisfaction after his next move, though, as when he did pull into the pits he was officially the leader of the 2nd lap, although that lead was very short-lived.

Kaluzny takes the lead after pulling into the pits.

Kaluzny takes the lead after pulling into the pits, as his car has reached the finish line. Too bad for him there is another lap to go!

When the cars in the pits finally got back on the track, Gary Sturgeon had built a 5-space lead over his closest pursuers, Marlett and Kempen.

Gary Sturgeon takes the lead!

Gary Sturgeon takes the lead at the start of the final lap!

The official order at the end of the 2nd lap was: Kaluzny (+8); Sturgeon (0); Marlett (+4); Kempen (+2); Beckman (-2); Manderachia (+5); Cook (-2); Landis (0); J. Robinson (-8); White (0); Gould (+2); B. Robinson (0); and Lim (-9). However, after the pit stops were well and truly sorted out, the running order on the track was: Sturgeon; Marlett; Kempen; Beckman; Manderachia; Cook; Landis; J. Robinson; White; Kaluzny; Gould; B. Robinson; and Lim.

Sturgeon's lead has shrunk to one space over Beckman.

Sturgeon’s lead has shrunk to one space over Beckman at the end of Congress St.

Beckman then made a supreme effort to pass Sturgeon, and succeeded by out-braking Sturgeon at the end of Larned Street. Beckman then did everything he could to hold his lead, while points leader Cook leap-frogged a couple of competitors and got into 5th place.

Beckman holds his lead over Sturgeon.

Beckman holds his lead over Sturgeon heading into the Goodyear Tunnel for the last time. Note that Marlett’s Red Bull has spun between the two orange McLarens of Kaluzny and Gould. (Greg Lim photo)

Kaluzny successfully made a forced pass of Marlett on the ramp leading down to the Kodak Camera Corner from Washington Blvd. Marlett attempted to block, but Kaluzny rolled low enough on the Forced Pass table to not only get by Marlett but Kaluzny also passed Jim Robinson with that same move. However, one of the dice showed a “3” which meant that the defending car (Marlett) had to lose a wear. But Marlett’s car was out of wear, and that meant his car spun out. (See the above picture to see Marlett’s Red Bull car facing the wrong way on the track.) Marlett had also spun on the previous corner, and the two spins dropped him from 5th to 8th, and then he fell further to 9th place by the time he got back up to speed.

The drama continued of what would be a nail-biting finish to the race! Through the Goodyear Tunnel, the 2nd Ferrari of Gary Kempen got by Gary Sturgeon’s Lotus, taking over 2nd place from Sturgeon. The two Ferraris held their side-by-side lead over the Lotus through the Ford Corner.

The Ferraris lead over Sturgeon's Lotus.

The Ferraris lead over Sturgeon’s Lotus with only one more chicane between them and the end of the race.

But the Ferraris were wear-deprived, and they both only went 80 mph through the chicane, leaving them both one space short of the finish line. Sturgeon pushed his car to its limit, going 120 mph through the chicane, and then he pulled off a successful forced pass of the Ferraris to win the race! It was Sturgeon’s first victory of his racing career, and it was a memorable one after starting 2nd on the grid. Beckman (+1) came home in 2nd, and Kempen (+3) was 3rd.

Sturgeon wins in the black Lotus.

Sturgeon wins in the black Lotus after forced passing the Ferraris.

The rest of the pack finished in a rather less dramatic fashion. Cook (+1) took 4th, then came Manderachia (+6) in 5th, and Jim Landis (+2) was 6th, the last car to finish in the points. Finishing out of the points were: Jim Robinson (-6) 7th; Garry Kaluzny (+1) 8th; Tim Gould (+4) 9th; Brian Robinson (+2) 10th; Chad Marlett (-4) 11th; and Richard White (-2) 12th. After Richard White spun in the final chicane, it caused Greg Lim (-9) to crash. Lim was thusly classified 13th, although he was officially a DNF.

The points awarded at the Detroit Grand Prix: Sturgeon 10; Beckman 6; Kempen 4; Cook 3; Manderachia 2; and Landis 1.

The updated points standings after five (of eight) races:

Place Driver (Car)                     Points
  1   Mike Cook (Camel Lotus)            29
  2   Gary Sturgeon (John Player Lotus)  25
  3   Garry Kaluzny (McLaren)            21
  4   Jack Beckman (Ferrari)             18
  5   Richard White (Brabham)            14
  6   Jim Landis (Benetton)               6
  7T  Brian Robinson (Walker Racing)      4
  7T  Greg Lim (Motorola)                 4
  7T  Gary Kempen (Ferrari)               4
 10   Jim Robinson (Williams)             3
 11   Mike Manderachia (Ligier)           2
 12T  Russ Herschler (Minardi)            0
 12T  Chad Marlett (Red Bull)             0
 12T  Tim Gould (McLaren)                 0

The 6th race of the CFR-Detroit racing season will take place on Friday, February 9, 2018, at Guild of Blades at 774 E. 14 Mile Rd., Clawson, Michigan. The race will start at 7:00 pm sharp! So drivers should be there by 6:30 pm to settle in and to set up their car’s specifications for the race. We didn’t start the Detroit G.P. until 7:42 pm, and we had a difficult time getting the race’s three laps completed before the 11:00 pm closing time of RIW Hobbies & Games. It should be noted that Guild of Blades also has an 11:00 pm closing time, which is why we must start exactly on time, especially since we had 13 drivers at the race.

CFR Race #4: Belgian Grand Prix at Pandemonium Games

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

On Friday, December 8, 2017, the Belgian Grand Prix was contested at Pandemonium Games in Garden City, Michigan. Twelve drivers competed on the Spa-Francorchamps track using the Championship Formula Racing (CFR) Rules. Mike Cook won the race from the pole position; it was his second consecutive victory and enabled him to take over the points lead. Joining Cook on the podium were Richard White (2nd place) and Garry Kaluzny (3rd place).

Map of the real Spa-Francorchamps race track.

Map of the real Spa-Francorchamps race track. (from Wikipedia)

The Spa-Francorchamps track diagram, from the 1980s.

The Spa-Francorchamps track used with CFR, from the 1980s.

The Spa track is a bit unusual, in that it has the slow La Source hairpin turn right after the start-finish line. Any car that can get through that turn first at the start of the race has a big advantage over following cars. That being said, Mike Cook (1 wear and 9 skill) and Garry Kaluzny (5 wear and 1 skill) both bid 5.5 for the pole position, with Cook earning the pole by a better dice roll than Kaluzny. (Note: Qualifying order in CFR is determined by how much a driver secretly bids, using his wear and/or skill markers. Each wear counts as a bid of 1, and each skill is 0.5. Any ties are resolved by dice rolls) Greg Lim and Gary Sturgeon each bid 4, each bidding 1 wear and 6 skill. Lim won the resulting dice roll, so he started 3rd and Sturgeon was 4th. Jim Robinson started 5th, with a bid of 3 (2 wear & 2 skill). Four drivers bid 2.5, and started in this order after the resulting dice rolls: 6th place was Brian Robinson (0 wear & 5 skill); 7th place was Richard White (2 wear & 1 skill); 8th place was rookie Chad Marlett (1 wear & 3 skill); 9th place was another rookie, Gary Kempen (2 wear + 1 skill). Jack Beckman started 10th with a bid of 1.5 (1 wear & 1 skill), Jim Landis started 11th with a bid of 1 (0 wear and 2 skill), and Russ Herschler started in 12th after he bid zero.

The starting grid and their car stats:

 # Driver (Car)                    Start/Accel/Decel/Top/Wear/Skill/Tires
11 Mike Cook (Camel Lotus)           60   40    40   160  4x   4x   hard
 9 Garry Kaluzny (McLaren)           60   60    40   160  5x   2x   soft
 7 Greg Lim (Motorola)               60   40    60   180  4x   3x   soft
12 Gary Sturgeon (John Player Lotus) 20   60    60   160  5x   2x   soft
 2 Jim Robinson (Williams)           60   60    60   180  3x   2x   soft
 5 Brian Robinson (Walker Racing)    20   40    40   180  5x   3x   soft
 1 Richard White (Brabham)           60   60    40   160  4x   3x   hard
71 Chad Marlett (Red Bull)           60   60    60   160  3x   3x   hard
 4 Gary Kempen (Ferrari)             60   60    60   160  4x   2x   hard
 3 Jack Beckman (Ferrari)            20   80    60   160  4x   2x   hard
20 Jim Landis (Benetton)             60   40    40   160  5x   3x   soft
23 Russ Herschler (Minardi)          60   60    40   180  3x   3x   hard

Start = Start Speed (in miles/hour); Accel = Acceleration (in mph); Decel = Deceleration (in mph); Top = Top Speed (in mph); Wear = # of Wear markers per lap raced; Skill = # of Skill markers per lap raced; Tires = hard or soft tires to begin the race. (Since the race was 3 laps, a car with 4x of Wear would receive 12 Wear markers to start the race (as an example).)

Starting grid for the Belgian G.P.

Starting grid for the Belgian G.P.: 1st row: Mike Cook (inside, yellow car); Garry Kaluzny (outside, orange car). 2nd row: Greg Lim (inside); Gary Sturgeon (outside). 3rd row: Jim Robinson (inside); Brian Robinson (outside). 4th row: Richard White (inside); Chad Marlett (outside). 5th row: Gary Kempen (inside); Jack Beckman (outside). 6th row: Jim Landis (inside); Russ Herschler (outside). Notice the  temporary starting grid that was used to ensure all cars started on non-numbered spaces. (Greg Lim photo)

At the start, Garry Kaluzny automatically boosted his starting speed to 80 mph without having to roll dice as his car had started on soft tires. Mike Cook, who started on hard tires, had to roll to increase his starting speed to 80 mph, and he successfully made the roll. Therefore, the pole sitter Cook moved first and took the inside lane through La Source. Kaluzny, not wanting to use forced deceleration, went around the outside to keep his speed at 80 mph. The rest of the field followed through La Source. By the time he passed through Eau Rouge on that first lap, Cook (0) had pulled out a 3 space lead. Jim Robinson (+3) and Greg Lim (0) had passed Kaluzny (-2) for 2nd and 3rd place. (The parenthesized numbers indicate how many spaces each driver gained (+) or lost (-) from the start.) Then came these drivers: 5th, Gary Sturgeon (-1); 6th, Brian Robinson (0); 7th, Chad Marlett (+1); 8th, Richard White (-1); 9th, Gary Kempen (0); 10th, Jim Landis (+1); 11th, Jack Beckman (-1); and 12th, Russ Herschler (0).

The field goes through La Source and Eau Rouge on the 1st lap.

The field goes through La Source and Eau Rouge on the 1st lap. Chad Marlett (behind the #71 marker) looks on. (Mike Cook photo)

As the field went through the Les Combes and Malmedy corners, Kaluzny passed both Lim and J. Robinson to regain 2nd place, and was now only 2 spaces behind the leader Cook at they approached the Rivage corner.

Approaching Rivage, the running order is Cook, Kaluzny, J. Robinson, Lim, Sturgeon, B. Robinson, then a small gap, then Marlett, White, Kempen, Landis, Beckman, and Herschler.

Approaching Rivage, the running order is Cook, Kaluzny, J. Robinson, Lim, Sturgeon, B. Robinson, then a small gap, then Marlett, White, Kempen, Landis, Beckman, and Herschler. (Mike Cook photo)

After a few more corners, Cook stretched out his lead to 5 spaces over Kaluzny, but then led by only 4 spaces through the Fagnes corner. Most of the running order stayed the same: Cook, Kaluzny, J. Robinson, Lim, Sturgeon, B. Robinson, White, Marlett, Kempen, Landis, Beckman, and Herschler.

Cook increases his lead through the Fagnes corner.

Cook increases his lead through the Fagnes corner. (Greg Lim photo)

As the field came around to complete the 1st lap, Cook touched the finish line to complete that 1st lap in 1st place, but several other cars had bunched up right behind him. Those other cars then all pulled into the pits, as they had all used up their starting wear points. Pitting were Kaluzny, J. Robinson, Sturgeon, Lim,  and B. Robinson. All of those cars switched from soft to hard tires. Meanwhile, in the back of the field, Kempen tried to force a pass on Marlett, but got balked. Kempen lost a wear on the failed forced pass dice roll, then had to spend his last wear and rolled forced deceleration roll (using 1 skill marker) so he could slow from 160 to 120 mph.

Cook's yellow Lotus leads the 1st lap while Kaluzny, J. Robinson, Sturgeon, Lim, and B. Robinson's cars are all in the pits.

Cook’s yellow Lotus leads the 1st lap while Kaluzny, J. Robinson, Sturgeon, Lim, and B. Robinson’s cars are all in the pits. (Jack Beckman photo)

The cars of White and Marlett didn’t pit, but stayed out on the track on their hard tires. White’s car gained 3 wear when it crossed the start/finish line, while Marlett’s car gained 4 wear. That’s the advantage of hard tires in CFR, if you don’t pit, you gain a few wear at the end of a lap. The cars of Kempen and Landis originally were not going to pull into the pits, but when they saw all of the cars that were ahead of them pull out of the pits and take up all of the track spots, then Kempen and Landis did decide to pull into the pits for new tires. In particular, Kempen really needed to pit as he had no wear remaining. Herschler also decided to pit at the end of the 1st lap. Kempen and Herschler switched from hard to soft tires, while Landis got hard tires to replace his soft tires. Beckman also stayed out on the track, and gained 3 wear when he crossed the line.

Cook leads White by 6 spaces while a gaggle of cars are either entering or leaving the pits!

Cook leads White by 6 spaces while a gaggle of cars are either entering or leaving the pits! (Mike Cook photo)

The official running order for the 1st lap: Cook (0); White (+5); Marlett (+5); Kaluzny (-2); Lim (-2); Beckman (+4); Kempen (+2); Landis (+3); J. Robinson (-4); Sturgeon (-6); B. Robinson (-5); Herschler (0).

The 2nd lap saw Cook hold his several space lead over White, and then White was 9 spaces ahead of Marlett. Kaluzny was battling side-by-side with Beckman’s Ferrari for 4th and 5th place, then a couple of spaces behind them came J. Robinson and Lim who were fighting for 6th and 7th place. Sturgeon was two spaces further back in 8th, then B. Robinson was another 5 spaces back in 9th place. Herschler, Landis, and Kempen brought up the rear.

Cook (yellow car near the #3 sign at the top of the picture) leads from White (whose car is near the #20 sign). The rest of the field is strung out, with the back-markers being almost a half-lap behind the leader.

Cook (yellow car near the #3 sign at the top of the picture) leads from White (whose car is near the #20 sign). The rest of the field is strung out, with the back-markers being almost a half-lap behind the leader. (Mike Cook photo)

Cook and White maintained their lead during the 2nd lap, until finally they came around to the pits. Since they had not pitted after the 1st lap, they needed to pit, not only to change tire compounds (they both changed from hard to soft) but because both cars were out of wear.

Cook's yellow Lotus has just pulled into the pits at the end of its 2nd lap. White's car is just about to enter the "Bus Stop" chicane, and it too will pit shortly. The rest of the field is still strung out far behind.

Cook’s yellow Lotus has just pulled into the pits at the end of its 2nd lap. White’s car is just about to enter the “Bus Stop” chicane, and it too will pit shortly. The rest of the field is still strung out far behind. Greg Lim points towards the leader’s car. (Mike Cook photo)

Kaluzny had been battling with the Red Bull car of Marlett for 3rd place for most of the 2nd lap, but then Marlett had to pit because he had not pitted after the 1st lap. (As a side note, with the 3-lap races we run for our CFR season, cars must use both hard and soft tires at some point during the race, which means everyone must make at least one pit stop.) Kaluzny decided his only chance for victory was to stay out on the track, and try to pass Cook while Cook’s car was in the pits. Kaluzny did manage to get into the lead, but Kaluzny only had 4 wear left for the last lap,  while Cook had his full complement of 12 wear after his pit stop. Also, at the end of his 2nd lap, Kempen failed a deceleration dice roll while trying to slow for the La Source hairpin, thus lowering his car’s deceleration to 40 mph (it had been 60 mph) for the rest of the race.

Kaluzny's orange McLaren takes the lead from Cook's yellow Lotus at the La Source hairpin as they begin the 3rd and final lap of the race.

Kaluzny’s orange McLaren takes the lead from Cook’s yellow Lotus at the La Source hairpin as they begin the 3rd and final lap of the race. (Mike Cook photo)

After the 2nd lap, besides Cook, other cars that made pit stops were White, Beckman, and Marlett. All three of those cars switched from hard to soft tires. The official running order after 2 laps was Cook (0), White(+5), Kaluzny (-1), J. Robinson(+1), Beckman (+5), Lim (-3), Sturgeon (-3), B. Robinson (-2), Marlett (-1), Herschler (+2), Landis (0), and Kempen (-3). But after the pit stops were all sorted out, the running order on the track was Kaluzny, Cook, White, J. Robinson, Lim, Sturgeon, B. Robinson, Marlett, Beckman, Kempen, Landis, and Herschler.

Kaluzny managed to hang on to the lead until the Rivage corner, when Cook passed Kaluzny for the lead, and White’s Brabham pulled alongside Kaluzny while coming out of Rivage.

Cook's yellow Lotus pulls alongside Kaluzny's orange McLaren while heading into Rivage. White is right behind them.

Cook’s yellow Lotus pulls alongside Kaluzny’s orange McLaren while heading into Rivage. White is right behind them. (Mike Cook photo)

By the time Cook had reached the Stavelot corner, he had pulled out to a 5 space lead over Kaluzny and White. Then close behind, J. Robinson was battling with Sturgeon for 4th place. Lim was 6th, in the final points-paying position. Then came Beckman, Marlett and B. Robinson, then Landis and Herschler. Kempen’s race had ended when his brakes totally failed at Les Combes. Kempen thus became the only DNF, finishing 12th.

Cook leads Kaluzny and White by 5 spaces at Stavelot with only about 1/3 of a lap left to race.

Cook leads Kaluzny and White by 5 spaces at Stavelot with only about 1/3 of a lap left to race. (Mike Cook photo)

During the last third of the last lap of the race around the Spa-Francorchamps track, Cook (0) cruised to an easy victory. Kaluzny and White were battling side-by-side to the end.

Cook has already won the race, while Kaluzny and White battle for 2nd place.

Cook has already won the race, while Kaluzny and White battle for 2nd place. (Mike Cook photo)

On the final turn of the race, although he had the inside position and would have moved first in case of a tie for plotted speeds, Kaluzny only plotted 60 mph, which left him just short of entering the La Source hairpin. White plotted 80mph, which meant he did enter the La Source hairpin at 40 mph over the speed limit. White (+5) used his last wear, and rolled a chance  for the corner, and he made the chance roll without spinning or crashing, which gave him 2nd place, relegating Kaluzny (-1) to 3rd place. It should be noted that cars have to pay costs for entering corners after the finish line, and if a car crashes, it is considered to have not finished the race at all, and will be classified behind all other cars that do finish the race. if a car spins in a corner past the finish line, it is considered to have finished the race, but will finish behind all other cars that crossed the finish line on that same turn.

Finished just behind White and Kaluzny were Sturgeon (0), Jim Robinson (0), and Lim (-3), for 4th, 5th, and 6th places. Finishing out of the points in 7th through 11th places were: Brian Robinson (-1); Beckman (+2), Marlett (-1); Landis (+1); and Herschler (+1). As was noted earlier, Kempen (-3) DNFed and was classified 12th.

The finishing order: Cook; White; Kaluzny; Sturgeon; J. Robinson; Lim; B. Robinson; Beckman; Marlett; Landis, Herschler.

The finishing order: Cook; White; Kaluzny; Sturgeon; J. Robinson; Lim; B. Robinson; Beckman; Marlett; Landis, Herschler. (Greg Lim photo)

Points awarded at the Belgian Grand Prix: Cook 10; White 6; Kaluzny 4; Sturgeon 3; J. Robinson 2; Lim 1.

The updated points standings after four (of eight) races:

Place Driver (Car)                     Points
  1   Mike Cook (Camel Lotus)            26
  2   Garry Kaluzny (McLaren)            21
  3   Gary Sturgeon (John Player Lotus)  15
  4   Richard White (Brabham)            14
  5   Jack Beckman (Ferrari)             12
  6   Jim Landis (Benetton)               5
  7T  Brian Robinson (Walker Racing)      4
  7T  Greg Lim (Motorola)                 4
  9   Jim Robinson (Williams)             3
 10T  Russ Herschler (Minardi)            0
 10T  Gary Kempen (Ferrari)               0
 10T  Chad Marlett (Red Bull)             0

The 5th race of the season, the Detroit Grand Prix (racing on the downtown track), will be held on Friday, January 12, 2018, at RIW Hobbies & Games, 29571 Five Mile Rd (SW corner of Middlebelt Rd) in Livonia, MI. Race time is 7:00 pm, although we ask drivers to try to arrive around 6:30 pm so you have time to set up your car’s specs for the race.

CFR Race #3: Monaco Grand Prix at Imperium Games

Sunday, November 12th, 2017

Eight drivers raced in the Monaco Grand Prix on Friday, November 10, 2017, at Imperium Games in Wixom, Michigan, using the board game rules for Championship Formula Racing (CFR). When the race was over, Mike Cook won the race, after he started in pole position. Gary Sturgeon finished 2nd, and Garry Kaluzny managed to hold onto 3rd place from Greg Lim.

The real track diagram of the Monte Carlo track.

The real track diagram of the Monte Carlo track.

Although the new CFR game comes with a game track of the Monte Carlo course, it is not accurate at all, so we used (as a basis) the version of that track that was published with one of the old Avalon Hill Accessory Pack tracks, although we modified the Avalon Hill track by adding the nouvelle chicane.

The Monte Carlo track we used to race on.

The Monte Carlo track we used to race on.

Surprisingly, the bidding for pole position was fairly sane, with the winning bid by Mike Cook being of 3 Wear and 1 Skill markers, for a total bid of 3.5. Two drivers (Jack Beckman and Gary Sturgeon) bid 3.0, three drivers (Jim Robinson, Brian Robinson, and Garry Kaluzny) bid 2.5, Then Greg Lim bid 2.0, and Richard White bid only 0.5. The starting grid and their car stats:

The starting grid and car specs:
 # Driver (Car)                    Start/Accel/Decel/Top/Wear/Skill/Tires
11 Mike Cook (Camel Lotus)          100   40    60   140  5x   2x   hard
 3 Jack Beckman (Ferrari)            60   60    60   160  4x   2x   hard
12 Gary Sturgeon (John Player Lotus) 20   60    60   160  5x   2x   soft
 2 Jim Robinson (Williams)           60   60    60   160  4x   2x   hard
 5 Brian Robinson (Walker Racing)    60   60    40   140  5x   3x   soft
 9 Garry Kaluzny (McLaren)           60   60    40   140  5x   3x   soft
 7 Greg Lim (Motorola)               20   40    60   140  5x   4x   hard
 1 Richard White (Brabham)           60   40    40   140  5x   4x   hard

Start = Start Speed (in miles/hour); Accel = Acceleration (in mph); Decel = Deceleration (in mph); Top = Top Speed (in mph); Wear = # of Wear markers per lap raced; Skill = # of Skill markers per lap raced; Tires = hard or soft tires to begin the race. (Since the race was 3 laps, a car with 4x of Wear would receive 12 Wear markers to start the race (as an example).)

The starting grid for the Monaco Grand Prix.

The starting grid for the Monaco Grand Prix. Mike Cook is on the pole (yellow car); Jack Beckman is next to him (red car). 2nd row is Garry Sturgeon (black car) and Jim Robinson (white/blue/yellow car). Brian Robinson is the 3rd row, Garry Kaluzny is the 4th row, Greg Lim is the 5th row, and Richard White is the 6th row.

From the start, Mike Cook zoomed into the lead with his 100 mph start speed, followed closely by Jack Beckman’s Ferrari after Jack rolled dice to boost his start speed to 80 mph. Jim Robinson held 3rd, Brian Robinson pulled alongside Gary Sturgeon, then Garry Kaluzny had to slow down to 60 mph after boosting his start speed to 80 mph. Kaluzny rolled an unmodified start speed roll instead of using a wear (since he was on soft tires at the start, Kaluzny could have used a wear to boost his start speed), but rolled that unmodified start speed roll in hopes that he wouldn’t get the increased start speed. But, Kaluzny did get the increased start speed, then had to spend a wear to slow to 60 mph. Richard White passed Greg Lim at the start, due to Lim starting at only 20 mph, plus White boosted his start speed to 80 mph.

After the first move of the game.

After the first move of the game, Cook and Beckman jump into the lead.

After everyone got through the first corner at Ste. Devote, Jim Robinson passed Beckman for 2nd place going into the Massenet corner. Kaluzny also passed Brian Robinson for 5th place.

Heading into Massenet for the 1st time.

Heading into Massenet for the 1st time, Jim Robinson passes Beckman’s Ferrari to take 2nd place. Jim Robinson and Richard White look at the action on the track.

Then, heading into the sharp right-hand Mirabeau Haute corner, Sturgeon passed Beckman and took over 3rd place. Then Beckman fought back and passed both Sturgeon and J. Robinson to reclaim 2nd place going into the “Hairpin” (I still call it the Loews Hairpin, even though it has had many names over the years).

Into the "Hairpin" for the 1st time.

Into the “Hairpin” for the 1st time, Beckman reclaims 2nd place.

But then again, J. Robinson, Sturgeon, Kaluzny, and White all passed Beckman by the time the pack got through the Portier corner which led into the tunnel straightaway. J. Robinson pulled along Cook just before the Nouvelle Chicane, but then had to back off. Then Kaluzny made a pass of J. Robinson coming out of that chicane, and pulled alongside Cook as they were headed into the Tabac corner.

Through the Nouvelle Chicane.

Through the Nouvelle Chicane for the first time. Kaluzny (orange car) is alongside Cook (yellow car), then are Sturgeon (black car) and J. Robinson (white car), then the pack of Beckman (red), White (white/blue), B. Robinson (white/blue) and Lim (black/blue).

Through Tabac and the swimming pool series of corners, the pack pretty much stayed in the same order, except that White spun at Tabac.

Richard White spins at Tabac.

Richard White spins at Tabac.

White’s spin at Tabac didn’t hurt him too much, as only B. Robinson got past him there, but then Beckman’s Ferrari was able to force a pass on both B. Robinson and White just after exiting Tabac. Lim tried to force a pass on White after Tabac, but White slammed the door on Lim. Then at Rascasse, Cook and Kaluzny, got through a wee bit before J. Robinson and Sturgeon, and Cook and Kaluzny pulled into the pits for fresh tires. Meanwhile, White spun again, this time at Rascasse.

White spins at Rascasse

As the 1st lap is almost complete, White spins a 2nd time, this time at Rascasse, while Cook and Kaluzny pull off the track into the pits.

While Cook and Kaluzny were in the pits, the other six cars on the track all also pulled into the pits, making the first time in the CFR-Detroit racing series when all cars were in the pits at the same time.

All eight cars are in the pits

At the end of the 1st lap, all eight cars are in the pits at the same time.

While in the pits at the end of the 1st lap, Cook, J. Robinson, Beckman, Lim,  and White all switched from hard to soft tires, while Kaluzny, Sturgeon, and B. Robinson all changed from soft to hard tires. This meant that all drivers had fulfilled their obligation to drive on both different tire compounds during the race. After the pit stops, the official order after the 1st lap was Cook, Kaluzny, Sturgeon, J. Robinson, B. Robinson, Lim, Beckman, and White.

Coming out of Ste. Devote on the 2nd lap, Beckman tried to force a pass on Lim, but was balked and had to slow by 40 mph. Beckman had just had to spend three wear chits in going through the Ste. Devote corner, and then spent 2 more wear to slow, meaning he used up 5 wear in failing that forced-pass manuever, of which he only came out of the pits with 12 wear, so he used 42% of his wear allotment on that one corner. That huge wear expenditure was to haunt the Ferrari driver for the balance of the race. Beckman was able to get by Lim and before they reached the Massenet corner, though.

Kaluzny plots how to catch Cook

Garry Kaluzny (orange shirt and car) plots how to catch Cook’s yellow Lotus heading into the Mirabeau Haute corner. Jack Beckman looks on in his red Ferrari shirt.

 

The drivers at the Monaco Grand Prix

The drivers at the Monaco Grand Prix (clockwise, from left): Mike Cook, Jim Robinson, Richard White, Greg Lim, Gary Sturgeon, Brian Robinson, Jack Beckman.

As the lead cars of Cook and Kaluzny rolled through Portier and into the tunnel straight, Kaluzny tried to over-rev his engine, losing top gear and thus limiting his top speed to 120 mph for the rest of the race (about 1.5 laps remaining of the 3-lap race). Kaluzny opted to only use a single -1 Skill chit, then rolled an 11. If he had used two -1 Skill markers, he would have passed that dice roll. However, you must declare your use of Skill markers before you roll the dice. (Also, in hindsight, when you roll dice in CFR, if you pass the roll, you are driving brilliantly, but if you fail the roll, you simply screwed up!)

Heading towards the chicane on the 2nd lap

Heading towards the chicane on the 2nd lap, Kaluzny’s orange McLaren-Honda fails a top speed dice roll, thus limiting his top speed to 120 mph for the rest of the race. At the moment, Kaluzny leads J. Robinson by 4 spaces and Sturgeon by 6 spaces. (Gary Sturgeon photo)

Farther back in the pack, Beckman passed an unmodified Chance roll through Portier to take 7th place from B. Robinson, but then when Beckman took another unmodified Chance roll at the Nouvelle Chicane, he spun, thus allowing B. Robinson to regain 7th place.

Past the swimming pool corners the 2nd time, Cook stretched out his lead over Kaluzny to 5 spaces after Rascasse. Sturgeon, J. Robinson, and Lim were closing in on Kaluzny, and White, Beckman, and B. Robinson had fallen further behind.

Through Rascasse on the 2nd lap

Through Rascasse on the 2nd lap, Cook’s yellow Lotus leads by an increasing margin.

As the 2nd lap was nearly complete, most of the cars pitted again, all of the pittees switching back to or else installing a new set of soft tires. The sole exception was Brian Robinson, who opted to stay out on the track on his hard tires (thus regaining two wear). The official order after two complete laps was Cook, Kaluzny, Sturgeon, Lim (driving his best race so far), J. Robinson, B. Robinson, White, and Beckman.

Early in the 3rd lap, Cook stretches his lead

Early in the 3rd lap, Cook stretches his lead to 8 spaces over Kaluzny. Sturgeon is right behind Kaluzny’s tailpipe, then other cars are strung out behind.

After the 2nd lap pit stops got sorted out, Cook was enjoying a comfortable lead, and looked to have an easy victory ahead of him. Kaluzny was trying to keep Sturgeon’s John Player Lotus behind him, and Lim and J. Robinson were battling for 4th place. Sturgeon finally got his Lotus past Kaluzny’s McLaren at Massenet, although Kaluzny stayed right with Sturgeon until they got around Portier, when Sturgeon’s superior top speed enabled him to motor away towards a sure 2nd place. Also, Lim had got by J. Robinson at Massenet, thus taking 4th place.

Cook leads through the chicane on the last lap

Cook leads through the chicane on the last lap as Sturgeon, Kaluzny, and Lim battle just before the chicane.

Through the last few corners, Cook (0) won the race going away, enjoying an 11-space margin over 2nd-place Sturgeon (+1) at the finish line. Kaluzny (+3) managed to just nip Lim at the line for 3rd place, as Lim (+3) finished in the points, in 4th place, for the first time in his young driving career. Then Richard White (+3) came in 5th, having passed J. Robinson at the Rascasse corner. J. Robinson (-2) got the final points-paying position in 6th place. B. Robinson (-2) crossed the line in 7th, but Beckman (-6) crashed at the Anthony Nogues corner, the last corner on the track. Beckman’s crash was the first time a car failed to complete a race in the CFR-Detroit 2017-2018 season. The + or – numbers indicate how many positions that driver gained (+) or lost (-) from where their car qualified for the race.

Cook's Lotus crosses the finish line in victory

Cook’s yellow Lotus crosses the finish line in victory with a healthy margin over Sturgeon’s black Lotus.

The points awarded at the Monaco Grand Prix: Cook 10; Sturgeon 6; Kaluzny 4; Lim 3; White 2, J. Robinson 1.

Top finishers lined up in the pits

Top finishers lined up in the pits: Cook, Sturgeon, Kaluzny, Lim, White, and J. Robinson. B. Robinson’s car is still on the track, and the wrecker and ambulance attend to Beckman and his wrecked Ferrari. (Greg Lim photo)

The updated points standings after three (of eight) races:

Place Driver (Car)                     Points
  1   Garry Kaluzny (McLaren)            17
  2   Mike Cook (Camel Lotus)            16
  3T  Jack Beckman (Ferrari)             12
  3T  Gary Sturgeon (John Player Lotus)  12
  5   Richard White (Brabham)             8
  6   Jim Landis (Benetton)               5
  7   Brian Robinson (Walker Racing)      4
  8   Greg Lim (Motorola)                 3
  9   Jim Robinson (Williams)             1
 10   Russ Herschler (Minardi)            0

The next race, The Belgian Grand Prix (at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit) of the 2017-2018 CFR-Detroit racing season will be on Friday, December 8th, at Pandemonium Games & Hobbies at 6033 Middlebelt Road in Garden City, Michigan. Race time is 7:00 pm.

CFR Race #2: British Grand Prix at Silverstone

Saturday, October 14th, 2017

The second race of the 2017-2018 season of Championship Formula Racing (CFR) in Detroit, the British Grand Prix, was held on Friday, October 13, at RIW Hobbies & Games in Livonia, Michigan. Nine drivers participated. When all was said and done, Garry Kaluzny won the race after starting 6th. Other podium finishers were Gary Sturgeon and Mike Cook. Garry Kaluzny now leads the points standings, 13 to 12 over Jack Beckman. The race was on the current version of the Silverstone track, where the start/finish line had been moved from near the Woodcote corner to just past the Club corner, and with more corners added to try to slow the track some from its previous high speed configuration.

The real Silverstone track diagram.

The real Silverstone track diagram. This is the version of the track used since 2011.

 

The modern Silverstone track.

The modern Silverstone track as rendered in 1:64 scale for use with Championship Formula Racing.

Pole position was determined by drivers secretly bidding a number of their Wear and/or Skill markers. Jack Beckman won the pole position with a high bid of 7. Gary Sturgeon started on the outside of row 1 with his bid of 3. Sturgeon bid 6 Skill markers (each of which counts as 1/2 of a Wear for pole bid purposes), which used all of his Skill markers he had available for the race. The second row had Mike Cook and Jim Robinson. Although each of those drivers bid 2.5, Cook won the dice roll and so started on the inside. Brian Robinson, Garry Kaluzny, and Jim Landis all bid 2, with B. Robinson winning the dice roll to start 5th, then came Kaluzny in 6th and Landis in 7th. Greg Lim bid 0.5 (a single Skill marker) to start 8th, and Richard White started 9th as he did not bid anything.

The starting grid and car specs:

 # Driver (Car)                     Start/Accel/Decel/Top/Wear/Skill/Tires
 3 Jack Beckman (Ferrari)            100    40    40  160  5x    2x   hard
12 Gary Sturgeon (John Player Lotus)  20    60    60  180  4x    2x   hard
11 Mike Cook (Camel Lotus)            60    60    40  180  3x    3x   hard
 2 Jim Robinson (Williams)            60    40    40  160  5x    3x   soft
 5 Brian Robinson (Walker Racing)     20    60    60  180  3x    3x   soft
 9 Garry Kaluzny (McLaren)            20    60    40  180  5x    2x   soft
20 Jim Landis (Benetton)              60    40    40  180  5x    2x   soft
 7 Greg Lim (Motorola)                20    60    60  180  3x    3x   hard
 1 Richard White (Brabham)            60    40    40  180  4x    3x   soft

Start = Start Speed (in miles/hour); Accel = Acceleration (in mph); Decel = Deceleration (in mph); Top = Top Speed (in mph); Wear = # of Wear markers per lap raced; Skill = # of Skill markers per lap raced; Tires = hard or soft tires to begin the race. (Since the race was 3 laps, a car with 4x of Wear would receive 12 Wear markers to start the race (as an example).)

Once again, we were using the optional CFR rules for pit stops and tire compounds. Four drivers started on hard tires, and five started on soft tires. Soft tires give some driving advantages, such as being able to use a Wear to increase your start speed or your acceleration without having to roll dice, plus with soft tires you could use 3 Wear to go 60 mph over the speed limit in a corner without having to roll dice, instead of having to use only 2 Wear and roll on the Chance table if you were 60 mph in a corner while using hard tires. If a car was on hard tires, it could regain a few wear when passing the finish line each lap it did not pit for new tires. All drivers had to make at least one pit stop as they needed to use both hard and soft tires at some time during the race.

At the start, pole sitter Jack Beckman jumped into the lead with his 100 mph start speed. Jim Robinson moved up to 2nd from 4th. Mike Cook kept his 3rd position, while Gary Sturgeon dropped from 2nd to 4th. Then Brian Robinson, Garry Kaluzny, and Jim Landis were all side-by-side as they crossed the start line, followed by Richard White and Greg Lim.

The start at Silverstone.

The start at Silverstone. Jack Beckman leads from Jim Robinson, then came Mike Cook, Gary Sturgeon, Brian Robinson, Garry Kaluzny, Jim Landis, Richard White, and Greg Lim. Note the temporary extension used to extend the starting grid, as the start/finish line is just past the Club corner in the 1:64 scale track.

As the pack roared through the Brooklands and Luffield corners, Beckman was still in the lead, followed by Cook and Kaluzny (who had made a daring pass of J. Robinson and Sturgeon at Brooklands to pull alongside Cook). Richard White spun his Brabham in Luffield, and Jim Robinson and Sturgeon went around on the outside of that corner. Then Landis, B. Robinson, and Lim brought up the rear of the pack.

Through the Luffield corner for the first time.

Through the Luffield corner for the first time.

Continuing around through the Maggots/Becketts/Chapel curves, Beckman continued leading Cook and Kaluzny by a slim margin, then a few spaces back in a bunch were J. Robinson, Sturgeon, Landis, and B. Robinson, and then Lim was a few spaces behind them.

Through Maggots/Becketts/Chapel curves for the first time.

Through Maggots/Becketts/Chapel curves for the first time.

Heading through the Stowe corner, Cook’s Camel Lotus was breathing down Beckman’s Ferrari’s tailpipe. Sturgeon’s John Player Lotus passed Kaluzny at Stowe, then the others followed behind.

Through Stowe for the first time.

Through Stowe for the first time–Beckman, Cook, Kaluzny, Sturgeon, J. Robinson, Landis, and B. Robinson’s cars are pictured.

As the cars were coming around to complete the first lap, Beckman, Kaluzny, Landis, B. Robinson, White, and Lim all pitted. Beckman and Lim switched from hard to soft tires, while Kaluzny, Landis, B. Robinson, and White switched from soft to hard tires. Sturgeon, J. Robinson, and Cook all stayed out on the track and did not pit.

End of 1st lap, first pit stops.

End of 1st lap, first pit stops. Beckman’s Ferrari (red car), Kaluzny’s McLaren (orange car) and Landis (green/red/blue car) are already in the pits.

In CFR, pit stops are accomplished by simply moving your car off to the side of the track when you end a turn within the pit stop zone. In the above picture, you can see pieces of tape with “Pit” and an arrow on them to indicate the “pit stop zone” (also a pair of orange barrels mark the beginning of the pit stop zone). Then cars are marked with an “Exit -2” marker the turn they enter the pits. The following turn (while the car continues to sit in the pits), the Exit -2 marker is flipped to its “Exit -1” side, and then the next turn after that, the car can re-enter the track and resume its former speed.

The official order at the end of Lap 1, and before the pit stops were resolved, was Beckman, Sturgeon, J. Robinson, Cook, B. Robinson, Landis, Kaluzny, White, and Lim. However, after the stops were resolved, the actual running order on the track was Sturgeon, J. Robinson, Cook (none of whom had pitted), Beckman, Landis, Kaluzny, B. Robinson, White, and Lim.

During the 2nd lap, the cars that did not pit enjoyed a bit of a lead over the rest of the pack, and the field became spread out somewhat. Through the Luffield corner the second time around, Sturgeon, Cook and J. Robinson led by 5 spaces over Beckman, then Kaluzny and B. Robinson were another 3 spaces behind Beckman. Landis was 2 spaces behind Kaluzny and B. Robinson, then Lim was 6 spaces behind Landis, and White had fallen farther behind, after spinning at Village corner (his 2nd spinout of the race).

Through Luffield corner on the 2nd lap

Through Luffield corner on the 2nd lap. Actual drivers pictured (left-to-right) are Mike Cook, Jim Landis, and Jim Robinson.

Going through the Maggots/Becketts/Chapel corners on the 2nd lap, the field was even more spread out. Sturgeon led from Cook, then came J. Robinson, Beckett, Kaluzny, B. Robinson, Landis, Lim, and White.

Through Maggots/Becketts/Chapel on the 2nd lap.

Through Maggots/Becketts/Chapel on the 2nd lap.

Sturgeon managed to hold his 3-space lead over Cook through the Stowe corner, and the rest of the field remained strung out in the same order behind him.

Through Stowe corner for the 2nd time.

Through Stowe corner for the 2nd time. Gary Sturgeon’s John Player Lotus (the black car near the large “12” marker) leads the pack. Drivers pictured (l-to-r): Mike Cook, Jim Landis, Jim Robinson, Richard White, and Brian Robinson.

As the leaders came up to the start/finish line to complete the 2nd lap, the three leaders, Sturgeon, Cook, and J. Robinson, all had to pit to change tires. Sturgeon and Cook changed from hard to soft tires, while J. Robinson changed from soft to hard tires. All of the other drivers stayed out on the track this time around except for Lim, who pitted to put a new set of soft tires on his car to replace the worn out soft tires.

Completing the 2nd lap.

Completing the 2nd lap. Gary Sturgeon (black car) and Mike Cook (yellow car) have already pulled into the pits.

It should be noted in the above picture of cars in the pits, that there is a “pit road” (with the 40 mph speed limit) in the infield of the track. While we are not using that pit road with the CFR simplified pit stop rules, it was painted onto the track just in case we ever revert to our old “Advanced Speed Circuit” pit stop rules.

The official order after the 2nd lap was completed by all cars was: Gary Sturgeon; Jim Robinson; Garry Kaluzny; Jack Beckman; Brian Robinson; Mike Cook; Jim Landis; Richard White; and Greg Lim. By the time the lead cars were in the Luffield corner, the order was Kaluzny, Beckman, Sturgeon, Cook, B. Robinson, Landis, J. Robinson, White, and Lim. Lim was quite a ways behind White after making a 2nd pit stop.

Kaluzny takes the lead at Luffield on the last lap.

Kaluzny takes the lead at Luffield on the last lap. Pictured (l-to-r): Richard White (foreground); Gary Sturgeon (background); Garry Kaluzny (orange shirt); Jack Beckman (black shirt).

Kaluzny had taken the lead from Beckman going through the Brooklands/Luffield corners, as Beckman’s Ferrari was about out of Wear. Kaluzny stayed on the track after lap 2, and had 8 Wear remaining, then added another 2 Wear due to his being on hard tires, so he had 10 Wear left to use on the final lap. When Sturgeon and Cook came out of the pits after lap 2, they had 12 and 9 Wears, respectively, after replenishing their Wear. Going through Copse corner the last time, Kaluzny’s McLaren led from Beckman’s Ferrari by 3 spaces, and then Sturgeon, Cook, Brian Robinson, and Jim Landis were all nose-to-tail right behind Beckman.

Kaluzny leads through Copse corner on the last lap.

Kaluzny leads through Copse corner on the last lap.

Kaluzny held his lead through the Maggots/Becketts/Chapel set of curves, but when he got to the Stowe corner, the rest of the pack had suddenly caught up to him. As they all approached the Vale and Club corners the last time, Kaluzny, Sturgeon, and Cook were running 1-2-3, all in follow-the-leader order.

Approaching the Vale corner for the last time.

Approaching the Vale corner for the last time.

As they went through Vale and Club corners, Kaluzny moved at 120 mph, burning 2 Wear, but Sturgeon, in 2nd place, went 140 mph while using 3 Wear due to being on soft tires, and that allowed Sturgeon to pull alongside Kaluzny as each driver was only one space from the finish line. But Kaluzny had 1 Wear and 2 Skill chips left, while Sturgeon had no Wear or Skill chips remaining, so on their next turn, Kaluzny plotted to move at 200 mph, and Sturgeon only plotted 160 mph. So Kaluzny’s car moved first, and he had to make both of acceleration and top speed dice rolls, using a -1 Skill marker for each roll. Then, after moving a space, Kaluzny made an unmodified deceleration dice roll to reduce his speed to 180 mph, and he was then able to go through the corner past the finish line at only 20 mph over the speed limit, for which he used his final Wear (that had been hoarded for such a use).

It should be noted that the CFR rules say that if a car crashes in the corner past the finish line, that it is considered to have NOT finished the race at all! Also, if a car spins in that corner after the finish line, the spun car is considered to have crossed the finish line behind all other cars that also crossed the finish line that turn.

So, after Kaluzny (+5) took the checkered flag, followed very closely by Sturgeon (0), the rest of the field finished in this order: Cook (0); B. Robinson (+1), Beckman (-4), Landis (+1), J. Robinson (-3), White (+1), and Lim (-1). The + or – numbers indicate how many positions that driver gained (+) or lost (-) from where their car qualified for the race.

Finishing order, right-to-left.

Finishing order, right-to-left.

The points awarded at this race: Kaluzny 10; Sturgeon 6; Cook 4; B. Robinson 3; Beckman 2; and Landis 1.

The updated points standings through two (of eight) races:

Place Driver (Car)                    Points
  1   Garry Kaluzny (McLaren)           13
  2   Jack Beckman (Ferrari)            12
  3T  Richard White (Brabham)            6
  3T  Mike Cook (Camel Lotus)            6
  3T  Gary Sturgeon (John Player Lotus)  6
  6   Jim Landis (Benetton)              5
  7   Brian Robinson (Walker Racing)     4
  8T  Russ Herschler (Minardi)           0
  8T  Greg Lim (Motorola)                0
  8T  Jim Robinson (Williams)            0
   

This was the 2nd race in a row where all of the starters also finished the race. Quelle surprise! This has set a new record for the most consecutive races in the Detroit area Speed Circuit/CFR races for all starters finishing the race.

The next race will be the Monaco Grand Prix. We will race that on Friday, November 10, 2017, at Imperium Games in Wixom, Michigan. Race time is 7:00 pm, although we would like drivers to try to get there (through bad rush hour traffic on I-96!) by 6:30 pm so they can get their car set up. Most drivers were early at the British Grand Prix race, and that allowed us to start just about on time.

Starting the Racing Season using the Championship Formula Racing Game

Sunday, September 10th, 2017

After several months of running demo races in various locations to try to attract as many potential drivers as possible, the Championship Formula Racing-Detroit group started off their 2017-2018 series of races with the Italian Grand Prix on Friday, September 9, 2017. Ten drivers competed in the race, and when all was said and done, Jack Beckman won the race, followed by other podium finishers Richard White and Jim Landis. The race was at the Guild of Blades game store in Clawson, Michigan.

Drivers set up their cars preparatory to racing on the Monza, Italy track with 1:64 scale race cars.

Drivers set up their cars preparatory to racing on the Monza, Italy track with 1:64 scale race cars. Pictured are (left-to-right): Richard White; Brian Robinson; Mike Cook; Jim Robinson; Jim Landis; Russ Herschler; and Garry Kaluzny.

In our former racing game campaign using Advanced Speed Circuit rules, we used to actually run our cars on qualifying laps; however, in the new CFR rules, starting positions are determined by “bidding” some of your car’s Wear and/or Skill markers. Mike Cook took the pole position with a bid of 8 Skill, which is equal to 4 Wear (for a bid total of 4). Jim Landis started in the other front row position with a bid of 3. The 2nd row starters were Garry Kaluzny and Brian Robinson with bids of 2.5 and 2, respectively. Gary Sturgeon bid 1 to start 5th, and Jack Beckman bid 0.5 to start 6th. The final four starters each bid nothing, so they rolled dice for their starting positions, with the highest dice rolls starting in front of the lower dice rolls. Greg Lim started 7th; Russ Herschler started 8th; Richard White started 9th; and Jim Robinson started 10th.

The starting grid with their car specs:

 # Driver                        Start/Accel/Decel/Top/Wear/Skill
11 Mike Cook (Lotus)               20    60   60  180  3x   3x
20 Jim Landis (Benetton)          100    40   40  160  5x   2x
 9 Garry Kaluzny (McLaren)         20    60   60  180  3x   3x
 5 Brian Robinson (Walker Racing)  20    60   60  180  3x   3x
12 Gary Sturgeon (John Player)     60    60   60  160  4x   2x
 3 Jack Beckman (Ferrari)          20    80   60  160  4x   2x
 7 Greg Lim (Motorola)             20    80   60  160  4x   2x
23 Russ Herschler (Minardi)        60    60   40  160  4x   3x
 1 Richard White (Brabham)         60    40   40  160  4x   4x
 2 Jim Robinson (Williams)         60    40   40  180  4x   3x

Start = Start Speed (in miles/hour); Accel = Acceleration (in mph); Decel = Deceleration (in mph); Top = Top Speed (in mph); Wear = # of Wear markers; Skill = # of Skill markers.

We raced using the CFR rules for pit stops and different tire compounds. That meant that cars started with less Wear than if we were not using the pit stop rules. Since we raced three laps around the Monza track, cars with 3x Wear started with 3 x 3 = 9 Wear; cars with 4x Wear started with 4 x 3 = 12 Wear, and cars with 5x Wear started with 5 x 3 = 15 Wear. Cars would also have to make at least one pit stop during the race, as each car had to use both the hard and the soft tires. The CFR rules handle the different tires pretty eloquently; if your car is on hard tires, if you pass the finish line without stopping in the pits, you regain some Wear. This simulates that the hard tires don’t wear out as fast as the soft tires. A car on hard tires with 3x Wear would regain 4 Wear when crossing the finish line (except at the start or the finish of the race); a car with 4x Wear would regain 3 Wear when crossing the line, and a car with 5x Wear would regain 2 Wear when crossing the line.

Soft tires don’t allow cars to regain Wear, but they do allow drivers to spend Wear in extra ways. For example, drivers could spend 3 Wear if they were going 60 mph over the Speed Limit in a corner. Cars on hard tires (or using the basic rules without pit stops) would have to use 2 Wear and roll dice to take a chance of spinning out or crashing when 60 mph over the speed limit in a corner. Soft tires also allow a drivers to increase their starting speed without chancing a stall, and they also allow using a Wear to increase Acceleration by 20 mph in a turn.

Diagram of the real Monza track.

Diagram of the real Monza track.

Drivers starting on soft tires were Jim Landis, Garry Kaluzny, and Brian Robinson. Everyone else started on hard tires. All of the soft tire cars increased their start speed by 20 mph, so that allowed Jim Landis to start at 120 mph, and he quickly jumped in front of the field at the start.

At the first turn of the first lap, Jim Landis leads the pack in the Benetton.

At the first turn of the first lap, Jim Landis leads the pack in the Benetton.

At the first turn (the Variante del Rettifilo), Jim Landis led, followed by Garry Kaluzny, Richard White (rocketing from 9th on the grid to 3rd on the start), Russ Herschler, Brian Robinson, Mike Cook (the pole-sitter), Gary Sturgeon, Jack Beckman, Jim Robinson, and Greg Lim. Going through the del Rettifilo turn, Brian Robinson managed to get by Russ Herschler. At the Variante Ascari (the series of corners leading onto the back straightaway), Jim Landis was leading Garry Kaluzny by 4 spaces on the track, followed by Jack Beckman and Brian Robinson (each 5 spaces behind Landis), then came White and Herschler (each 7 spaces behind Landis), then Cook (8 spaces back), Sturgeon (12 spaces back), Jim Robinson (16 spaces back), and Lim (22 spaces back). But then going through Ascari, both Herschler and Jim Robinson spun, so they dropped back in the field.

As the cars came around the final turn of the first lap, the Curva Parabolica, the three cars on soft tires, Landis, Kaluzny, and B. Robinson, all pitted as they had all burned through all of their starting wear. A bit of a surprise was when Sturgeon also pitted to switch from hard to soft tires. Herschler also pitted to switch from hard to soft tires.

The official order after the 1st lap was complete was: Beckman (+5); White (+7); Cook (-2); Sturgeon (+1, pitted); Landis (-3, pitted); Herschler (+2, pitted); Lim (0); Kaluzny (-5, pitted); B. Robinson (-5, pitted); and J. Robinson (0). The + or – symbols tell how many spaces the driver improved (+) their lap 1 position from their starting position, or how many spaces they lost (-) from their starting position.

On the 2nd lap, just past the del Rettifilo corner, Gary Sturgeon in the John Player car forced a pass on Garry Kaluzny’s McLaren in the Curva Grande, although Sturgeon had to burn a Wear when the cars bumped together. Jim Robinson spun a second time, this time at del Rettifilo, the sharp right-hand corner at the end of the main straightaway. He also had failed his deceleration dice roll just before spinning, so his brakes were just not up to snuff on this day. Russ Herschler, who had just come out of the pits, was able to pass J. Robinson before Robinson’s car got up to speed again.

As the cars passed through the Ascari corners on the 2nd lap, it was Beckman, White and Cook with quite a lead over the other drivers. Landis was in 4th place, 12 spaces behind the top three cars. Although, Landis had pitted on the 1st lap, and the three leaders had not yet ventured into the pits.

As the leaders passed through the final turn, the Curva Parabolica, on lap 2, the cars which had not stopped in the pits on after 1st lap did now pull into the pits. Cars that pitted on this lap were Beckman, White, Cook, Lim, and Jim Robinson, and they all switched from hard to soft tires. The other cars stayed out on the track.

The official order after lap 2 was: Landis (+4), Beckman (-1, pitted), White (-1, pitted), Lim (+3, pitted), Cook (-2, pitted), Kaluzny (+2), Sturgeon (-3), B. Robinson (+1), Herschler (-3), J. Robinson (0, pitted). The + or – symbols indicate how many positions the driver gained or lost from their position at the end of lap 1.

Early in the 3rd lap, three drivers, Beckman, Landis, and White, were side-by-side going into the Variante del Rettifilo. Landis and White blinked first, and Beckman’s Ferrari surged into the lead and got through that corner first. Beckman continued to lead through the first of the two Lesmo corners, building a 4-space lead.

Last lap through the Lesmo curves.

Beckman’s Ferrari leads the last lap through the Lesmo curves, followed by Landis, White, Cook, Kaluzny, and Sturgeon.

Richard White made a valiant effort to catch Beckman, but the engine in White’s Brabham started going sour as he approached the Ascari corners for the last time, and so could not catch up. Soon after that, Herschler’s Minardi spun in the 2nd Lesmo corner, although that didn’t affect his 9th place at the time.

Beckman's Ferrari about to cross the finish line. White and Landis trail, and Cook (yellow car) and Kaluzny (orange car) are side-by-side going into the Parabolica.

Beckman’s Ferrari about to cross the finish line. White and Landis trail, and Cook (yellow car) and Kaluzny (orange car) are side-by-side going into the Parabolica.

Going through the Curva Parabolica for the last time, Jack Beckman had no trouble motoring across the finish line first, thusly winning the inaugural race of the CFR-Detroit race series. Richard White was able to hold off Jim Landis for 2nd. The duel for 4th place was decided with Garry Kaluzny barely holding off Mike Cook. Exiting the Parabolica, Cook was right behind Kaluzny, ready to use two bonus spaces for drafting Kaluzny, which would have allowed Cook to pass Kaluzny for 4th. However, Kaluzny’s engine didn’t like being pushed to 200 mph, and spurted some oil onto the track. Cook had to swerve to avoid the oil, thus missing the slingshot move, and so finished 5th. Brian Robinson grabbed the last points-paying position in 6th place, and then 7th through 10th places went to Gary Sturgeon, Greg Lim, Russ Herschler, and Jim Robinson.

The finishing order at Monza.

The finishing order at Monza.

 Place Driver                                Points
    1  Jack Beckman (Ferrari) (+5)         - 10 points
    2  Richard White (Brabham) (+7)        -  6 points
    3  Jim Landis (Benetton) (-1)          -  4 points
    4  Garry Kaluzny (McLaren) (-1)        -  3 points
    5  Mike Cook (Lotus) (-4)              -  2 points
    6  Brian Robinson (Walker Racing) (-2) -  1 point
    7  Gary Sturgeon (John Player) (-2)
    8  Greg Lim (Motorola) (-1)
    9  Russ Herschler (Minardi) (-1)
   10  Jim Robinson (Williams) (0)

The + and – indicates how many places the driver gained or lost from their qualifying position. Jack Beckman gained 5 places from his starting position, although Richard White gained 7 places. Both drivers drove very fine races. They were the only two drivers who improved upon their starting position.

Very surprisingly, all 10 drivers who started the race also finished the race. This may be the only time this has occurred in the history of the Detroit area Speed Circuit/CFR races! Richard White stated that he thought that this was the only time when every starter also finished the race.

The next race will be on the 2010/2011 version of the Silverstone, England track. Race day is Friday, October 13, starting at 7:00 pm. The race venue has yet to be determined.

Making a 1:64 Scale Track — Part 3 — Painting the Track

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

Welcome to the final installment of how to make a large scale race track on a bed sheet. Of course, by “large scale” I am not writing about a “real life” size race track, but a track that can be used to play auto racing board games on something larger than a small board game sized board. Previous blog posts in this series were:

Part 1 — Laying out the track

Part 2 — Marking the track on the sheet

At the end of part 2, we used masking tape to mask off the inside and outside edges of the track. We then mentioned masking off the parts of the sheet that you don’t want to paint, and then start spraying the track. After I finished masking the sheet with newspapers, I then sprayed the first coat of flat black paint on the sheet. It looked like this:

First coat of paint has been sprayed.

First coat of paint has been sprayed.

As you can see, although I tried to spray the paint fairly heavily, it soaked into the sheet and almost looks like it wasn’t sprayed very well. While I found that I usually only had to spray two coats of paint to fully cover a track in the past (allowing about 30 minutes between spraying each coat), this time I went cheap. Instead of buying a “name brand” of flat black spray paint, I opted for the “house brand” paint from a local hardware store. Big mistake. With the house brand paint, I had to apply about five coats of paint to get good coverage, and one can of spray paint wasn’t enough to do the entire job! I had to start using a second can of spray paint. When I previously used the higher quality paint on other tracks, it would usually only take 3/4 to an entire can of paint to cover the track satisfactorily.

The track after several coats of paint.

The track after several coats of paint.

Let the coats of paint dry enough to where you are satisfied with the results, then remove all of the masking. I suggest letting the paint dry at least a full day before applying any other markings to the track.

Masking has been removed.

Masking has been removed.

There was a little bit of spray paint that “bled” onto the sheet, but it’s not too bad. C’est la vie, as they would say in France.

Next, retrieve the track templates you saved, and place them on the track where they belong (i.e., put the turn 1 template where turn 1 should go, etc).

Track templates are back on the track.

Track templates are back on the track.

When you are satisfied with the track template placement, use your templates to mark where the horizontal lane lines will go to divide the track spaces. You should use a pencil to make “tick marks” on the sheet, just inside and outside the track. Then make tick marks with your yellow paint marker on the edges of the track. Note: You should only mark the spaces on straight sections at this time. Leave the corners and “curvy” straights for a little later.

Tick-marking for the horizontal lines.

Tick marking the horizontal lines.

Then remove the template and use a ruler/straight-edge to make straight horizontal lines across the track with your yellow paint marker.

Marking the horizontal lines.

Marking the horizontal lines.

There are usually a few special cases for marking the horizontal lines. On the Belle Isle track, the southeast “straightaway” actually has a gentle curve to its right when it starts outside of turn 6, and then it kinks a bit to its left just before turn 7. See the track diagram:

The Belle Isle track layout from Wikipedia.

The Belle Isle track layout from Wikipedia.

It was difficult to layout the horizontal spaces using a ruler or tape measure, so finally I just placed three rows of 1:64 scale cars on the track (with 12 cars in each row).

Using scale cars to determine track spaces on a curvy section of the track.

Using scale cars to determine track spaces on a curvy section of the track.

There needed to be 12 spaces in this curvy section, so lining up the cars on the track template helped with initial alignment, but then I moved the cars a little until the spacing looked right. I then made tick marks with the yellow paint marker on both sides of the track, then removed the cars and the track template, then used a straight-edge to paint the horizontal lines in this section of the track.

Horizontal lines are painted on the curvy section of the track.

Horizontal lines are painted on the curvy section of the track.

Note that a yellow line is missing in the left side of the above picture. I still wasn’t satisfied with where I had painted the yellow line, so then later I went over it with the black paint marker, effectively erasing that yellow line. Later, when the black paint dried, I re-painted the yellow line in a slightly different location.

Horizontal lines are painted on the track.

Horizontal lines are painted on the track.

Give the just painted yellow horizontal lines a little time to dry (so you don’t smear them by rubbing your hand across them in the next step), perhaps 15 to 30 minutes, then paint the lane divider lines. For straight sections, I usually use the straight section templates, and make tick marks where the lanes should be.

Placing tick marks where the lane lines will go.

Placing tick marks where the lane lines will go.

Move the template down the track, making more tick marks every two or three spaces along the track. When you have marked that entire straight section of track, then use a straight-edge and mark the yellow lane lines. When you have finished a straight section, it should look something like this:

Lane lines have been added to a straight section.

Lane lines have been added to a straight section.

After marking the lane lines on all of the straight sections of the track, we have to add lane lines to corners and other curvy parts of the track. I use the ruler to make tick marks along the curves, then draw the actual lane lines “freehand.” It’s not that difficult to draw an arc. Just place the side of your hand on the table, and slowly “connect the dots.” To make the tick marks on this “3-wide” section of track, I marked ticks at 1.75″ and at 3.5″ from one side of the track.

Drawing lane lines on curvy parts of the track.

Drawing lane lines on curvy parts of the track.

In the above picture you can see me drawing a slightly curved lane line. If you are not sure about this step, you could always practice on some scrap material before you draw on your track. But don’t worry about mistakes, because you can always use your black paint marker to “erase” mistakes you drew with the yellow marker!

Now, some of the corners have one space in their inside lane, and two spaces in the outside lane. This means we need to draw a horizontal line to divide the spaces, but only in that outside lane. Which is why we had to mark all of the lane divider lines before we could divide the outside corner lanes into spaces. For this step, I once again like to use the actual cars I will use for races. Place the cars on the corner, and you can the best place to make that horizontal line. Make tick marks at either side of that outside lane, then remove the cars, and use a straight-edge to draw the line.

When all of the spaces have been marked on the track, it should look something like this:

All track spaces have been marked.

All track spaces have been marked.

Start/Finish Line

Although I could have performed this next step earlier, I will now make a special start/finish line, to make it easily recognizable.

Most track spaces are marked with yellow lines, but to differentiate the start/finish line, I will use a white paint marker to create a sort of “checkered” line. Use a straight-edge, and draw “dots” across the width of the track where the start/finish line will go.

The start/finish line and starting spaces.

The start/finish line and starting spaces.

I also painted an arrow off the extended start/finish line as an aid as to which way the direction of travel goes on that track. Of course, there are also the other cornering arrows, and I also draw the corner speeds so they are readable in the direction you approach them from. Note I also marked six “starting” spaces, like a real F1 race track would have (the real tracks will have more than 6 spaces marked as above, but three rows are sufficient for our game needs).

———-

Once all of the spaces have been marked with the yellow paint marker, use that same yellow marker to apply the speeds in the corner spaces. Make sure you refer to your track diagram to get the speeds and arrows in the proper spaces.

Corner speeds and arrows have been added to the track.

Corner speeds and arrows have been added to the track.

I will make two passes for this step. First, I will go around the track and mark all of the cornering speeds, then I will make a second pass and add the arrows. I will let the paint dry in between each step, so I don’t smear any previously applied paint will adding more speeds or arrows. I also go backwards around the track, so I don’t smear any speeds that I just marked in a corner when I add speeds to other spaces in that same corner. And after the corner speeds and arrows have thoroughly dried, you probably should go over them again, to make them brighter and easier to read from the other end of the track.

When we originally made the tracks in the 1980s, we used red paint markers to mark off the track spaces, etc, but we found that the red lines are too hard to see from some angles. We now use either yellow or white for all of the lines and speeds and arrows. The higher contrast between the black track and the yellow or white lines makes it much easier to see the spaces, no matter where one sits around the track.

We next add the red-and-white stripes to denote the side of the track that is inside to the next corner. Although we never worried about this when we played Speed Circuit (we just designated the infield side of the track as the inside lane), with Championship Formula Racing (CFR) it is more important to know which side of the track is the inside lane to the next corner, so we need to add the red and white stripes. You could make a simpler marking, but the red and white stripe is easy to see at a glance. You will have to go over this striped line at least twice, as the first time you paint the unpainted sheet, the paint will soak in when it dries so that it will almost look like you didn’t paint it in those areas. The 2nd coat should look much better. Go around the entire track in this order: Mark the white dashes, then go around again and mark the red dashes in between the white dashes. Then make a second pass with white, and finally a second pass with red. After you add those stripes, it will look like this:

Red and white stripes have been added to the sides of the track.

Red and white stripes have been added to the sides of the track.

Either use a black permanent marker or a black paint marker to add the name of the track, its location, miles per lap, and years it was raced on. Add this somewhere in the infield of the track, if you can, although it could be anywhere.

Name of the track has been added.

Name of the track has been added.

Notice that I also added the actual name of the road, “The Strand” that the track is on at that part of the Belle Isle track. In other pictures you can also see a “5” or a “10” in a box outside the track. Those numbers are a play-aid so drivers can more easily count the number of straight spaces remaining until the next corner space.

Here’s a little trick to line up the letters nice and even. Mark some pencil lines along where the top and bottom of the letters will go.

Pencil lines were used to line up the lettering.

Pencil lines were used to line up the lettering.

Although the pencil lines may be hard to see in this picture, they are there. I used my tape measure to make tick marks at several places, measuring from one side of the table’s edge. I made the tick marks for the top row (the “Detroit Grand Prix” row) 2″ apart, then the other rows are each 1.5″ high. There is a 1″ space between each row. You can use whatever spacing looks good to you. If you haven’t done this kind of lettering before, mark all of the letters in pencil before using a permanent marker. If you absolutely can’t print neatly, and don’t have time to take drafting classes so you can print neatly, you could always use some lettering stencils or get a friend who can print well to mark the name on your track.

I also add the track name to a corner of the sheet, to make it easier to tell which track it is when it is all folded up for storage. Recently, I’ve also been adding its years of use if you might have different versions of a track.

Track name on the corner of the sheet.

Track name on the corner of the sheet.

I wrote the track name on both sides of one corner of the track, so it doesn’t matter which side is folded to the inside when the track is folded. It is probably better to fold the track with the painted side to the inside, just to better protect it. We used to just apply a piece of masking tape to the folded track with the track’s name, but tape will fall off after a number of years, so using a permanent marker is a much better way to go. And since some tracks have had revisions over the years, (see the many changes of the real life Silverstone, England, track as an example), the years for a particular track configuration have been added. I’ve also been adding what minimum table size is needed to use that track, so you’ll know what size or how many tables you’ll need to set it up. In the case of this Belle Isle track, the minimum table size is 3’9″ wide by 7’1″ long. In practical purposes, this will probably be used on a 4′ x 8′ table top.

The finished track.

The finished track.

At last, the track is finished. It’s time to race!