How to read race car flags like a pro

How to read race car flags like a pro

This story initially included on Car Bibles

Everyone recognizes with what a checkered flag indicates. It’s completion of the race, fantastic task, you endured. If you’re the very first one to see it, congrats, you won! It’s a universal sign of motorsports, however what about the other flags? There are 8 various types that are widely relevant to any sort of track driving, from a modest track day to the greatest levels of expert racing.

Going over track flags and what they imply is an activity that constantly takes place throughout the chauffeurs conference, prior to anyone goes out on track. This is to make certain everybody’s on the very same page and drive house the significance of what the flags imply. They notify motorists to any prospective risks, in addition to make sessions run smoother and on time, and without them, driving on a track would be a lot more unsafe and much less arranged.

Corner employees (likewise called flaggers) wave flags on track as a method of interacting with chauffeurs. An excellent basic general rule is to search for each corner employee station and wave to them on your very first lap around the track. This assists strengthen their existence and place in your mind while ripping around track. Somebody might have an extremely, really bad day if they neglect a flag. Although these flags are talked about at each occasion, it’s a terrific concept to discover them ahead of time, or revitalize what you currently understand, so that their significances are sealed, force of habit while ripping laps.

Let’s discuss their significance at a common track day.

The essentials

There are an overall of 9 flags that employees might possibly wave on track. You’ll see the majority of them when racing, however not constantly. All of it depends upon what’s taking place.

Green flag

You’re excellent to go, have a good time!

White flag

You are now entering your last lap.

Black flag

You should enter into the hot pit. Either you did something incorrect, you may’ve screwed up and sent your cars and truck off track (for that reason needing a stern speaking to, and fast examination of the automobile), or everybody requires to come in so emergency situation cars can go out and securely correct a circumstance (such as tow a damaged vehicle out).

Checkered (er chequered) flag

That’s a wrap! Run a cooldown lap and head into the pits. It’s polite to go quickly enough so the next session can go out as quickly as possible, however still take it a little simple so your vehicle can cool down.

Yellow flag

There’s a risk on track. Decrease, do not pass other vehicles, and watch out for something possibly unsafe. A yellow flag will go one of 2 methods:

  • Local yellow (single yellow flag): You require to decrease and hold your position in one area in between corner worker/flagging stations. As soon as you pass a corner employee who isn’t waving it, you’re all clear to advance at a regular rate.
  • Full-course yellow (2 yellow flags): You require to decrease and hold your position throughout the whole track. If they’re waving, be specifically mindful and be prepared to stop.
Illustration: Pete Nelson

Meatball flag

There’s something up with your automobile, so you require to enter into the hot pit to examine and correct the concern.

Blue flag with a yellow line through it (or often simply blue)

Let the individual or individuals behind you pass, you’re holding them up. Depending upon the experience level of the run group, this may indicate leaving a quicker cars and truck’s, or vehicles’ method, or offering one point-by per automobile that’s seeking to pass you. The faster car constantly goes off-line to pass, too.

Red flag

There’s an emergency situation on track. When you see the warning, you require to decrease to a stop, ideally off line, on the side of the track, and ideally near a corner worker/flag station. Wait for additional directions.

Yellow- and red-stripe flag

There’s something on the track surface area making it slippery or harmful. This might be a GoPro, dropped/spilled coolant, a wheel, an oil spill, or any other possibly harmful scenario. Decrease, remain in your position, and wait for more guidelines.

There’s more to it

It’s typical for corner employees to integrate flags, particularly the Yellow and Black flags. This would show to not just look out and beware, however to likewise head into the pits. The main flagging station is the start/finish line. That’s where the white, green, and chequered flags are on screen, in addition to the others. They likewise may wave the yellow and particles flag to highlight that there’s something nasty up ahead.

Check out what took place to me at a GridLife track occasion at Willow Springs International Raceway a couple of months back:

Soon after I pointed a Honda S2000 by on the front straight, the Start/Finish line began waving a black flag. My believed procedure: “Are they black-flagging that S2000 for some factor? They’re still waving it, it may use to me, too.”

The S2000 chauffeur continued to decrease a little however still preserved a fast rate. At the following flagging station, the corner employee waved the black and the yellow flag. Like I described above: Something was up, so I required to decrease, beware, and enter the hot pit at the end of the lap.

Sure enough, a Mustang went off track and directly got away turning over. He was stuck and required to be hauled out. This needed a tow truck, so they brought every other automobile in to guarantee this might occur as securely as possible.

Occasionally a scenario like this may produce a double yellow flag, and even a single, regional yellow flag. It’s much more typical at daily track occasions to simply fly the black flag and keep all celebrations as safe as possible.

Keep these pointers in mind when you’re at your next regional track day and remain safe out there.

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