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.