Posts Tagged ‘Livonia’

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 #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, Beckman, 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.