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Featured Article
Pro Solo, the Most Fun Solo of All
By James Mueller


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HELMET REGULATIONS
Snell M and SA helmets of these years
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** Only 2015, 2010 and 2005 **
**** Snell 2005 will be legal until 2021 ****


Pro Solo, the Most Fun Solo of All
By James Mueller

Per the SCCA website:

The TireRack SCCA® ProSolo® Series is an adrenaline-pumping autocross format where solo isn’t solo. Drivers still run a course by themselves, but start off side-by-side drag racing style and attack mirror-image courses to see who gets back to their respective finish lines first.
In contrast to a standard 3-run autocross, ProSolo class competition takes 1.5 days where each driver gets three sets of runs to put together the best run from each side. Class winners are determined from putting the best right and left side runs together.

After class competition, it’s time for single-elimination challenge rounds. The first is a bragging-rights Bonus Challenge drawn at random, a Ladies Challenge for the top performing ladies class drivers and the big one – the Super Challenge, which pits the top 32 drivers from regular competition into a solo bracket madness where coming out on top is simple: string together 12 winning runs in a row while avoiding red-lighting, hitting cones and glory-robbing mistakes.
Where other top-level SCCA Championships like the TireRack Solo Nationals® and The Runoffs® are single-event winner take all competitions, in SCCA ProSolo competitors earn Challenge points throughout the season toward the Overall Ladies and Open ProSolo Championships. Class National Championships and the Overall ProSolo Championships are determined by combining regular season points with points earned at the ProSolo Finale in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Bonnie, Lorin, Jen and I have been doing Pro Solo for many years..  We love it more than any other type of Solo event.  First, don’t be intimidated by the term "Pro Solo".  It is just the same people and cars that run any other Solo events.  I'm not sure where the term "Pro" comes from.   Like it says above, it truly is an adrenaline rush.  You stage at a drag racing Christmas tree, with another car similar to yours (hopefully) watch as the yellow lights count down, then launch the car just when you think the light will turn green.  In order to cut a good light and get a jump on the other car and to minimize your time on the run, you need to anticipate when the green will come on.  I try to dump the clutch just as the third yellow comes on.  This varies of course by car and driver.   If you have a four wheel drive you should get a better launch that I do with the Focus, so you may have to be a hundredth  or so later.  If you wait till the green comes on, you will get a late start, but at least you won't get a red light for leaving too early.  A red light means your run is a DNF. 

After you launch you have to switch from drag race mode to autocross mode.  You have two mirror image courses and you use the one for the side you are on.  I've learned to never revel in my great launch (or crappy launch) because now comes the biggest part of your run.  After finishing your run you go immediately to the other side and get lined up for your next run.  It really keeps the blood flowing.  Then you do it all over again.  You get twelve runs, six on each side.  Three sessions of four runs over two days.  Your best time is the total of the best runs on each side. 

We are lucky here on the west coast with two Pros in California and one in Packwood Washington.  In addition, the Northwest region of the SCCA runs two additional regional events in Packwood.  The next one is on June 1st. 

We've run these events all over including Washington, California, Nevada, Utah, Kansas and Nebraska.  Lorin has a couple of National Championships in our FSP Focus. 

Pro solo is not really suited to fragile cars as twelve launches can be brutal.  But it is a kick. 

The Challenges after the heat completion are a blast even if you didn't make it into them.  The cars picked are the best finishers from the heat runs in the open classes, ladies classes, and those picked from a drawing.  The cars run in bracket matches, where the cars are pitted against each other by their times.  So you may see a Honda Civic take off against a Corvette.  The Civic launches first and the Corvette has to wait until his green light to try and catch up. 

Lorin won a Super Challenge in El Toro California.  He had to put together 12 runs without cones or red lights and beat his competitors.  It was exciting, but then we had to travel back to the bay area from Socal with the smell of stale champagne. 

Anyway, please try it, you'll be hooked.

 


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