9. The race meeting format
The races are time based
Most forms of circuit racing have a qualifying over one single lap, then a race with the winner completing a set number of laps before the other drivers.
Nah, we don't do any of that.
Usually there are 2 Qualifiers and then a single Final.
Qualifying and Finals are often the same format. 5 minutes, some classes can be longer, and the driver with the most laps in 5 minutes is the winner. But the race doesn't finish in 5 minutes. The race finishes at 5 minutes plus the time to finish your current lap.
If drivers finish with the same amount of laps the person that finished their lap with the smallest remaining time was ahead of the next closest person. So the goal is to do the most laps in the smallest amount of time.
It's not a single lap, it's generally five minutes plus the time it takes to finish your lap. Depending on the club, the format to qualify might be different.
Open Loop: Sometimes there is an open timing loop, that once announced you can cross the start-finish line when you're ready to start your five minute run. It's best to find some clear space so you can settle into your rythmn quickly with having to battle anyone. Blocking faster cars slows them down and often slows you down. Even though they maybe behind you on the track, as they have caught up to you they are probably beating you in the qualifying, and are likely positioned ahead of you.
Grid Start: This is a fairly simple concept. You all line on the grid, as you would for a final - and race together when the hooter sounds. This is a good way for everyone to practice starts together, as it's often frought with danger - but skilled drivers can navigate their way through the smoke like Cole Trickle. Often the second qualifying round is a reverse grid of the first round results - so check the results board before you hop into the racing arena.
The top 10 drivers from qualifying go into the 'A' final together. Even if they haven't raced together in the qualifying - a new group of race drivers is created. So make sure you check your race after the qualifying. The order of the races can often be shuffled. If there are more than 10 drivers, the remaining drivers are seeded into a 'B' final.
Finals are once again time based, with the winner doing the most laps in the shortest amount of time. You're all racing so now's the time to turn the blow torch on.
Why do we race like this
It's in our DNA. The beginnings of R/C racing did not have lap counting software are technology of the future. Lap counting was done with a coloured flag on the top of the car, and laps were manually counted. So lap timing wasn't available. Even in the early 2000's some clubs manually entered a lap into the computer as a car passed the start-finish.