This Thread is open to others experiences, observations, questions etc. Feel free to tell your stories/ask questions below. Also, if anyone sees anything incorrect, let me know. This is what I understood from driver’s meeting, so far.
The League at Edison Supercharged
I joined the grid for Edison Supercharged’s inaugural league, and had my first heats on Weds night (9/13/23). I shall endeavor to provide some color for those interested in taking part, here.
What is it: A 6 night, 2-heat a night, time-trial league.
How it works: Race meeting at 6ish. Followed by heats. The field has been divided into 8 groups of 16 drivers. The first two weeks are quali. Based upon our times, we will put into a group with those at similar pace. Weeks 3-6 will presumably be for points and standing.
Some ground rules:
The ruleset is a bit different but I think it will work out once the magic sorting hat does its thing. What makes things a bit unusual is that the race director wants slower karts to move out of the way of faster karts. When you see the blue flag, they want you to immediately go off line and let the other guy through. One is allowed to pass, you don’t have to wait for the other kart to go offline. I asked if one could bump draft and they said, no.
For quali, this passing system did not work out, imho. But, I think it will be fine when all the karts on track are of similar pace. The problem in quali was that the slower drivers were unable to move off line fast enough for the fast drivers.
As you aren’t supposed to bump draft or put your nose on anyone, the slower kart is oblivious (electrics don’t have the engine noise that we sense in gas karts behind us). So, they have to see the flagger and move, which takes folks that aren’t super confident a few seconds to adjust to, (assuming they see flag) which means that the fast boys and girls will be a bit frustrated. With 13 laps in traffic, wasting a lap kind of stinks, but that’s the job we are given to deal with.
Bring your clubs for the fancy driving range next door
Since the folks were told to “get out of the way”, I was anticipating chaos if I attempted a standard pass, expecting folks to swerve off line once they realized there was a kart on them. So, I did my best to be patient and civilized, but executed relatively few fluid passes as a consequence.
After a few laps, it was pretty clear that bump drafting is gonna be necessary for folks to get with the program of how they want passing to go down. So, I did put nose on tail a bit, which worked fine with folks at pace, but did involve getting collected up in a couple spins on newer drivers who would occasionally lock up in turns. I’m not concerned at all because once we are sorted, pace will be fine and we will be able to play nicely together.
The track and karts:
I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed this. The karts are recent rimo electrics. Both karts I had drove perfect. No bent spindles, etc. The fleet has parity. The league karts and track are prepared for the races and we race at speed 4. The karts do feature canned engine noises but I don’t mind it at all. Silly but fun.
The track is brilliant. It’s got very little in terms of straights and features constant elevation changes. At speed 4, the karts are able to overdrive the turns, significantly (unlike speed 3). So, the driving is extremely technical. There is an amazingly fun right hander corkscrew down with a tight left exit that is well worth the visit.
The closing corkscrew complex
The track is wide enough to sprint race on, but for now, the TT will have to do. It would be amazing fun racing this track against my TKC pals, for example.
My one gripe is lighting. The track is black. The room is black. The track barrier periphery is black. The whole thing is a light sink and has many dark spots. Also, since black sucks up reflected light, light sources turn into point sources and you run from patch of light to patch of light. As I had not lapped here before, I had a flat out “Oh shit” moment where I went into a blind chicane and couldn’t see as it was suddenly dark. I kept foot in, and my vision adjusted. The video footage makes it seem brighter on track than it was, to me. I’m 53 and my night vision isn’t what it used to be.
Andretti LED strip border lighting
I would recommend to Supercharged that they consider using led strips like Andretti does on their barriers. Problem solved. Or, paint the place a lighter color, please.
The first night went off well but had some growing pains as everyone gets used to the format. We started late and got done 10:30ish. I anticipate that future nights will be a 2-3 hr thing.
The race director is also the GM and is named Will. He appears to have experience herding cats. He was articulate and clear, which was helpful. I am not concerned about the unusual passing method he wants, I assume he knows best given the unique nature of doing TT races in a packed, urban Nj indoor facility.
I shall keep you guys posted as to my progress. Some of the folks I know from racing are taking part as well, and there’s plenty of competition. In my heats I came in second place for group 6, behind my TKC pal, Alex. My first laps out were 45ish. The top pace were 44s. Also, no lead for weight balancing. Alex and Brandon both are familiar with layout and managed mid/low 44s.
Closing thotts: I enjoyed this way more than I thought I would. The driving is excellent, I personally could use another 15-20% power so that we could get into real trouble! The uphill bit bogs a bit. At speed 4, tho, the karts are plenty fun! On a final note, security will wave a wand over you so leave your weapons at home.
Edit: One thought that occurs to me is that this seems like a great way for new karters to get a taste of racing. Because it draws so many people, they can field many groups of people that are at the same level, basically. So, new racers will get to learn together without having to worry about having experienced drivers breathing down their necks. Basically, it looks like with 8 splits, there’s a good field for everyone thats interested.
TT isn’t racing against others, so they won’t learn racecraft as readily but they will learn some. There is passing in this league and that will become less of a shitshow after groups get sorted. So, they will get experience in traffic. And, it being TT, this will teach them the mental game of managing yourself/kart with a limited number of laps/time to complete the task.
So, my thought is, if someone has messed around in a kart but has been hesitant to join a league, wondering if they are good enough to go race, well, here you go. It’s a great start, it seems.
Also, this is a reasonable ask for what you get. I think they charged me $475 for the series. Thats 6 race nights of 2 races a night, 13 laps each. Reasonable as compared to their 3 sessions for $88 deal, which are 7 min sessions on speed 3.
The primary value is the fact that you are driving speed 4, which is another world when compared to the non-league speed 3. The kart awakens in speed 4, becoming torquey, agile, and able to break grip on every turn, while giving you brief but vigorous pull between corners.
Also, we got a little card that gets 15% off at the restaurant and 10% off general sessions if speed 4 isn’t exciting enough.
Thanks to all who came and to all who made the race happen! I had a ball and look forwards to track 2.
Standings as of 9/13/23