We are going to do three restricted regionals in 2023. Restricted regionals are nothing new. We did them back in the nineties; in fact one of the reasons for them was too many run groups and not enough track time. Back then we only had one race per weekend. The weekend consisted of a practice, a qualify, and a race.
Here is the thought process behind this. First off our net loss last year was about $30,000. So how do we make it so we are at least breaking even?
There are only three ways to really achieve this, raise prices, attract more cars, or cut expenses significantly.
The expenses are examined at every race. We work on expenses every time we run an event so that is always going to be an active pursuit.
Our entry fees are as high as the market can stand, raising fees will most likely drive more people away.
Attract more entries. This is the one area where we have to be more competitive in the marketplace.
Studying the entries we see almost all of the fendered racers that go through drivers school spend the majority of their racing dollar racing with other racing bodies. Most of those people complain that we do not give racers enough track time. If you recall track time was an issue last year when several people said they were not going to run our events because we charge so much for so little track time. Looking at RaceHero we see a lot of people who once ran with us running with other racing bodies. We also see them running fewer races with us and more with these other racing bodies. Additionally when people show up from out of the area their first comment is the lack of track time. We feel that lack of track time is hampering our ability to be competitive. NASA had 2 hours and 10 minutes at their Thunderhill race last April.
The only way to give more track time is to either add a day to the schedule or eliminate a run group.
Adding a day is very hard when you have a volunteer workforce that is ready to break. Just staffing events this year is a huge issue. But we did make one of our Laguna Regionals a 2 1/2 day event. Practice will start after lunch on Friday.
Group 2 and Group 4 have been undersubscribed the last three years. Out of those two run groups there were only two people that ran all 17 races. To be fair there are not a lot of people that run every race in the entire club. But if we are trying to add more time over a 2-day race weekend having these groups sit out one event makes the most sense.
We are not trying to change membership to make it unfair to anybody, We are trying to change the current downward trend in our finances so we can stay afloat.
It has been suggested that we combine group 2 and 4. I do not think that is a safe combination especially for the people in the slower cars.
We are not trying to eliminate anybody, what we are trying to do is build up demand in those groups by narrowing the options. If you run in those groups and you know that you have limited dates to run, the urgency to run is certainly increased.
We do not control which class of cars people choose to race, but we need to make sure our bread and butter classes stay with us. From everything I have done on the board I have a vested interest in seeing group 4 thrive. We have had extra track time at the season finale for FF and we have attempted to get cars out of the garages by allowing the FFT class, there is no way I will let group 4 go away.
Adding Group 1 by taking some of the formula cars out of group 2 was a financial decision. World Speed has their Formula Car Challenge Series and brings in a lot of cars. By giving them the semi exclusive run group we are able to have the strongest Formula Car attendance in the country. If World Speed took their series somewhere else our bottom line would have a much bigger loss then what we currently have.
We also saw this grouping (group 1 and group 2) as an opportunity for the Prototype cars to build their numbers. By having almost all prototypes in their run group it makes it more attractive to run our events and hopefully build their fields. So far we have seen limited progress but have not given up. Our goal is to average 15 cars in group 2 every weekend. The good news progress is being made.
Instead of looking at this as a bad thing by just seeing how it affects you everybody needs to take a moment and understand what we are trying to accomplish. We want to have a healthy club and a lot of satisfied customers.
I really think eight race weekends is too much for most people and the numbers back me up. Eliminating a weekend for the two people who went to all of the races last year out of those groups is not asking much if it helps the club survive.
Additionally, the weekend group 4 is not included the FC cars will be slotted into group 2. When World Speed is not running with us Group 1 and Group 2 will be combined.
The one weekend that group 2 is not participating is the weekend closest to the June Sprints. The race last year closest to the June sprints group 2 had only 4 cars.
As you can see, there is no thought of eliminating anybody. We are trying to add by subtracting. Building up demand and getting those two groups healthy is the end goal.
At the end of the year we will look at the numbers and see if this made any sense. If not we will go back to full regionals.