I had the idea while I was legging it from Rens to Jita. This is the basic rundown of how it would work:
Since different ships have different warp speeds, the class of ships to be used would have to be specified in the announcement for the race. The Leopard shuttle would have to be a category all by itself, due to how much faster it can go.
Everybody docks up at one station
One of the race organisers counts down the start of the race
Once the countdown hits “go”, everybody undocks, and has to make it to the end station as fast as possible
Anybody who gets ganked along the way - either by pirates along the course, or by fellow racers - is out of the race
Another race organiser at the end station marks when people arrive and dock with the station, to determine the order people finish in
The winner (and maybe second and third places) get pre-arranged prizes
It wouldn’t just be as simple as who can hit the warp button as fast as possible. If you fit your ship so that it aligns faster - what if one of your fellow racers locks onto you and blows your ship up? If you tank your ship to avoid pirates, it slows you down and costs you precious seconds when aligning. If you’re running through a pirate system, do you go directly for the gate at the end, do you take the time to set up a safe spot, or do you take a longer route around the system? If you raced from Rens to Jita, the fastest route passes through Rancer, which is a notorious pirate stronghold - do you go the fast way (16 jumps), do you go the shortest way that avoids Rancer (22 jumps), or do you go the highsec-only route (26 jumps)? If you take the time to scan down a wormhole, it could get you from start to finish massively ahead of everybody else - or it could put you so far behind that you’ll never win, so is it worth the risk? These are the tactics people would have to consider.
In any case, I imagine it could be quite fun, if it could be organised.
I have thought of this a number of times and would be thrilled to enter.
My thoughts were slightly different however, a race around the outside edge of New Eden, another in lowsec around highsec, and two other going from say all the way north to all the way south or east to west (or vice versa).
What I discovered when I plotted out the route going all the way around the outside edge of New Eden was that optimizing my route freaked out my client. It simply didn’t happen, and as a result I lost the systems I had input in the first place (and it took a long time to plot).
What something like that would need is some way to share routes, I have heard that Dotlan can do this but I haven’t found it yet.
You can simply use anchored and passworded audit log secure containers with a simple password like “12345” that can even be showcased in the title (name) of the container. The log will show exactly when and what character opened the container using the password (or even show if they failed to open it due to incorrectly typing it) so the organizer can confirm if the person took the waypoint or not even without an organizer being there at the time thus can use as many waypoints as one prefers.
Similar to how I’ve used such containers as a sign-up method in my lottery giveaway: