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Racing Brackets

Brackets are a common way to organize a CO2 racing event. Most often the event will be divided into phases:

  1. Qualifying Round
  2. Judging
  3. Finals

Qualifying Round

During the qualifying round, also known as the time trials, all cars race and their times are recorded. During this round, the cars are not competing against the car in the next lane. They are simply racing to have their time recorded.


After all the cars have raced, the cars are ordered from fastest to slowest by their qualifying time. This is a good time to check the fastest cars against the official rules and specifications. Any car with a rules or specs violation should be disqualified from further competition. The idea is to select the 16 to 25 fastest cars that passed the judging process (number of cars will vary based on the bracket to be used during the finals). It's very common to disqualify a few cars for being under the minimum weight spec – such cars will have an unfair advantage.


A bracket is typically used during the finals. A 16-car double-elimination bracket is most common. This is manageable time-wise and provides a good deal of drama for the competitors and spectators alike. During the finals, the cars compete against cars in the next lane. Double elimination means that a car must lose twice to be eliminated from the competition. Single elimination is also possible if time is limited.

Download a sample bracket:

For more detailed instructions for running a race, we've included "A Day at the Races," an excerpt of The Science of Speed 2 curriculum.

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