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Track Setup

Races can be conducted on a smooth, level floor or on an elevated track.

Floor racing is an effective and economical way to race CO2 cars. Most starting/timing systems – including all by Pitsco – come with the necessary hardware for a floor setup.

You’ll want to ensure the floor surface is smooth, level, and clean. Cordon off the race area for the safety of cars and spectators. Also, for floor racing, special guideline anchors must be securely fastened to the floor.

Elevated track racing offers a few advantages: spectators can see the action better, and race staff have a much easier job of staging and removing cars when standing upright. As with floor racing, you should restrict traffic around the track; you don’t want the track knocked awry in the middle of a race.

No matter which style of racing you choose, your track needs to be divided into specific zones, each with its own function critical to a successful race.

Race Zone

The official racing distance is 20 meters, or 65 feet and 7.5 inches. This distance is about 1:20 scale when compared to the quarter-mile distance traversed in professional drag racing. This scale is the same for comparing CO2 racers to their full-size counterparts.

Deceleration Zone

Cars cross the finish line at a high speed, often up to 45 mph. To prevent car damage, it is necessary to stop the cars in a gentle manner. This is usually done by loosely rolling two towels lengthwise and laying them in the racing lanes just beyond the finish line.

Staging and Parking Zones

A staging area saves time by allowing multiple pairs of cars to be threaded onto the guidelines at once. Two cars at a time are pushed up to the starting line and engaged in the launch pods. After the cars race, the launch pods are temporarily moved aside and the next pair of cars are moved into race position.

A parking area must accommodate all the cars that were pre-staged. Also, it must be a safe distance from the deceleration zone to prevent car damage.

Race Hardware

Many components work in concert during a successful race: a launch system that includes start gate/launch pods, track, finish gate/timing device, and more. There are many systems to choose from, including a variety from Pitsco that go from basic and mechanical to advanced and electronic.

Each component plays an important part in the race:

Start Gate/Launch Pods

  • Simultaneously puncture CO2 cartridges of both race cars
  • Triggered by an electronic impulse or a mechanical device, depending on the system

Timing Device

  • Electronically times races in two lanes (accurate to nearest thousandth of a second)
  • Timer starts when launchers are triggered.

Finish Gate

  • Invisible light beam and infrared sensors detect car’s presence at finish line.
  • Either stops the digital timers and displays the times or simply indicates which lane had the fastest car

Track Hardware

  • Monofilament guideline
  • Guideline anchors