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Sports Car Club of America ProSolo Event Cancelled

The Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) has cancelled their planned ProSolo 2009 event for Alameda Point. At press time, we’ve not had a response to e-mail inquiries sent to Michael Smith and Peter Nosler, Regional Executive and Assistant RE, respectively, for the SCCA’s San Francisco Region 33 to ask why. However, we have received information via Alameda channels that might explain why.

The SCCA website describes ProSolo as “the excitement of drag racing and the skill of Solo on side-by-side, mirror-image autocross courses.”

The Tire Rack SCCA ProSolo® combines the excitement of drag racing and the skill of Solo on side-by-side, mirror-image autocross courses. Lining up at the familiar “Christmas Tree” start, drivers compete heads-up in various classes by combining their fastest times from each course. After class competition is completed, all ProSolo events feature the top drivers from each class, competing head-to-head in a variety of single- elimination, handicapped Challenges. The Hawk Super Challenge determines the Top Eliminator for the event, the Ladies Challenge draws from the two Ladies classes, the Honda Street Challenge draws from the six “Street” classes, and the Bonus Challenge is for those who have not qualified for one of the other challenges.

From information we have received, we’ve learned that the Porsche Club of America (PCA) has six events scheduled through the year, the next being the 2009 Autocross which is evidently not the same as SCCA ProSolo “side-by-side” driving. The PCA describes “autocross” on their website as:

Autocrossing involves negotiating a pre-designed closed course, marked by soft plastic cones, in a large parking lot. Autocrossing is a safe, inexpensive way to learn to drive at the limits of a car. Learn more here or use the links to the left. Below is the calendar of upcoming events. Registration for most events is between 7:30 and 8:30 AM; you’ll need a Snell ’95 or better helmet.

But the Golden Gate Region chapter of the PCA also describe autocross this way, as we reported previously:

Autocrossing with GGR

Autocross is a sport where you try to drive around a course in the shortest possible time. The course is laid out in a big empty parking lot and outlined by pylons. The rules are simple: go as fast as you can but don’t knock down any pylons (one second time penalty per pylon). Every autocross is also a driver education class, as there are qualified instructors available at each one. Check out our calendar of upcoming events.

Will I Hurt My Car?

No, Porsches were engineered to be driven this way. Your car has a racing heritage and if you listen, it is begging you to take it autocrossing. Courses are laid out so they do not come close to light poles and other immovable objects. You will wear out tires and brakes faster, but the wear is not significant from a single autocross.

Several readers commented or wrote to tell us how autocross is safe and is a far cry from “racing” and so on, but the organizations that sponsor these events invite this confusion when they talk about racing as a way to generate excitement and draw crowds for their “safe, non-racing” autocross events.

As for ProSolo 2009, it looks to us as if it is side-by-side two-car racing while PCA GGR “autocross” is one car negotiating a track at a time. And that’s why probably why the City of Alameda turned down SCCA’s request for permits for ProSolo 2009. The information we received tell us the City of Alameda considered the SCCA’s published plans for ProSolo 2009 aspirational and hopeful, and that the event as they advertised it is not something the City of Alameda would have authorized. We presume the City was worried about safety, liability, impact on Alameda Point with regards to the environment and the ongoing Navy de-contamination efforts.

Addendum:

From the September 22, 2003 Agenda for the City of Alameda Planning Board

7-E UP03-0010 – Porsche Club of America (Golden Gate Region) c/o Timothy Stewart — 1951 Monarch Street Taxiway (Antiques Fair Site), Alameda Point (DB). The applicant requests an Interim Use Permit to allow up to six autocross events per year for a period of three years. The events will tentatively begin on September 27, 2003 and would occur exclusively on weekends. These events would include designated course individual car timed racing on the paved area along the Seaplane Lagoon, west of Ferry Point, south of W. Tower Avenue, with associated food, product sales and office booths. The site is located within the M-2-G, General Industrial/Special Government Combining Zoning District.

The permit was approved by 4 votes in favor and no votes against or in abstention. Then board-members Cunningham and Rossi were absent. Meeting minutes are here.

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