Time Attack racing is an intermediate form of motorsports competition that takes place on dedicated racing circuits, and while there are multiple cars on the track at the same time, no wheel-to-wheel racing is allowed.
Vehicles are classed based on the sanctioning organization rule set, for example Global Time Attack, CACC SoloSprint, or NASA Time Trials. Vehicles from multiple classes are grouped into heats which are rotated throughout the day.
Drivers attempt to set fast laps during the allotted time for each heat. Depending on the event, passing of vehicles during competition may be allowed in controlled and marked passing zones, and according to the rules of the event.
If no passing is allowed, then enough space is provided between vehicles in order to allow for safe competition and track operations.
Competitors are also allowed to pass vehicles that are no longer competing, having slowed due to a mechanical issue or being on a cool-down lap. After a vehicle stops making runs at competition speed, they can no longer make any timed runs in the current session.
Due to the limited risk profile of time attack, the required vehicle and driver safety equipment may vary. Depending on the organizer and vehicle preparation level, some events may only require an approved helmet with long sleeve shirts and full pants and footwear. Other events will require a fire suppression system, roll cage, fire-resistant clothing, neck protection, and arm restraints or window netting.
Some organizations will vary the safety requirements based on vehicle class, with 6-point roll cages and 6-point harnesses required only at certain vehicle preparation levels. Regardless of requirements, full safety gear is allowed and recommended for all vehicles.
Time attack races are commonly run during road racing events, using 2 or 3 heats throughout the day. This helps to introduce time attack racers to the atmosphere and culture of road racing, which can be seen as a next step in the racing ladder.
To maintain a level competition and discourage ‘cutting’ the course, track corner workers communicate to race control when vehicles go off the course or place wheels off in excess of what is allowed by the competition rule set. Laps are deemed invalid for competition when such situations occur.
Turn workers use common race control flags such as yellow, blue, red, and black in order to communicate with drivers.
Time attack allows for vehicles that are mostly stock (aftermarket brake pads and brake fluid are highly encouraged), as well as vehicles that are heavily modified or purpose-built for time-attack rules. Some of the most aggressive aerodynamic modifications can be found on time attack cars, such as large wings and splitters, barge boards, vortex generators, and diffusers.
Both CircuitStorm and SoloStorm Data Logging and Analysis Software for Android feature a predictive lap timer/coach. By mounting a tablet or mobile phone within the driver’s field of view, the software will instantly confirm if the driver made the correct series of inputs in each corner. The driver can also decide when to push for a fast lap and how hard to push based on their current lap time delta. This can lead to better strategies for conserving tires and setting an ultimately faster lap time.
A comprehensive list of predefined global racing circuits is offered from the Podium.live service, and fast laps can be found and downloaded from Petrel Cloud. Ad-Hoc circuits can be used that require a start/finish GPS marker to be set by the user.
The time attack racing mode in CircuitStorm and SoloStorm Data Logging and Analysis Software for Android also functions for casual lapping days, helping drivers to lower lap times while on course, then providing in-depth analysis in-between heats and after the event.