A ProSolo race is an advanced form of autocross featuring 2 mirrored courses which also incorporates elements of drag racing.
Building on top of the autocross event format, a ProSolo race features 2 cars racing separately on mirrored courses, while staging at a drag tree incorporating lights and a shot clock. Leading up to the lights are a burn-out area and a staging area.
Cars are still grouped into classes, groups, and heats, however each car is usually paired with another vehicle that they must stay paired up with during each heat. Each pair enters the burnout and staging area after the cars ahead of them have launched. Once one competitor enters the staging area, a 30 second shot clock counts down and cycles the drag tree in order to launch the cars.
Unlike an autocross, the course timer starts once the last set of green lights is lit on the tree. This makes the driver’s reaction time (RT) very important to the competition. In order to prevent early launches, an official 1-ft reaction time is measured via a second set of lights after the staging lights. A ‘perfect’ reaction time of 0.500 seconds is the goal. A lower reaction time causes the run to be invalidated, and a red light to be displayed on the drag tree.
In a single heat, drivers will take a total of 4 runs while alternating between course sides.
If the day of competition includes a 2nd heat, then the vehicle pairings will be altered based on combined best time for both left and right courses.
At a national level, the 1st day of competition will allow each driver to drive for 2 heats. The 2nd day of competition will include a single morning heat, with a shootout-format competition at the end of the day in order to crown a single champion across classes.
A ProSolo shootout will group cars based on their ‘dial-in’ time, combining the fastest times from the left and right courses. Vehicles are paired based on times corrected for PAX index. The goal of each driver during a shootout is not to go faster, but to replicate their dial-in time on each course side.
The driver closest to their original combined dial-in time wins their head-to-head pairing. If they go faster than their dial-in times, they are deemed to have ‘broken out’, and are disqualified from the shootout.
In order to add a dramatic effect, the vehicle with the slower dial-in time is launched first at the tree, with a delay placed on the faster vehicle. If both drivers achieve their dial-in times on their respective courses, then they will complete each course at exactly the same time.
As each round of the shootout progresses, vehicles are paired and sent back to the course until only a single vehicle pairing remains and an overall winner is determined. There are usually awards for the top 3 shootout positions.
At times, a competitor who is performing well in his group may not run his car ‘all-out’, leaving a comfortable margin of error for their entry into the shootout. However, if they break-out during the shootout, they will be said to have ‘let out some sand’, as they will have been seen as ‘sand-bagging’.
An additional shootout is also run based by lottery for those who did not qualify for the championship shootout. A top prize will be awarded in this competition, however all competitors who raced in this run-off shootout will have to work the course (report cone penalties, etc) for the championship shootout.
ProSolo is challenging for both drivers and vehicles due to the added pressure of the shot clock and measured reaction times. It is common for vehicle engines and tires to heat up faster than in regular autocross competition due to repetitive hard launches and little time to cool off in-between runs. Adding a dual driver compounds these issues.
SoloStorm Data Logger and Analysis Software for Android supports ProSolo racing by automating the rotation of course sides. The driver can be rotated manually in-between heats. Data can also be analyzed in-between heats, as there is not enough time to review logs or video when alternating between course sides.