There are basically 3 kinds of passing: HPDE, endurance, and sprint. HPDE passing is generally done with a point-by even if not required in the run group. Cars aren’t supposed to be racing and the drivers may not have full safety gear (e.g. HANS devices) or roll cages. That said, there are crashes that occur in HPDE sessions due to poor passing etiquette. If you’re the faster car, wait until it’s safe, like on a straight. If you’re the slower car, you’re supposed to drive predictably, which means staying on the racing line. Let the faster car work around you. You can make some room or lift, but not so much that you become unpredictable or put yourself in a dangerous situation. Here’s my favorite video of HPDE passing gone bad.
Endurance races are sorted out over many hours. Position doesn’t matter nearly as much as running consistently fast laps. Cars running at different paces should make way for each other. A slower car can help itself by orchestrating a pass and then holding on to a fast car for as long as it can. Passing in endurance races is not that different from HPDE. The main differences are (a) more traffic (b) more driving off line.
Sprint races are very much about position. Passing is aggressive. You see a lot more dents in sprint races than endurance or HPDE. I’m an amateur driver who pays for everything. So I’m not inclined to do much sprint racing. Turn 1 is often an adventure, but the jockeying for position can lead to wrecks even before you get there…
In the next few posts, the focus will be on how to pass and be passed. In the past 5 years, I’ve done over 20 endurance races and there’s only 4 times I’ve had contact with another car. I recall each one. No real car damage, and none were black-flagged, but they could have been.
- Driving an MR2 with asymmetric suspension (a quick paddock repair with the wrong model year parts). It lurched to the right in every left-hand corner. It lurched into another car and swapped a little paint. Avoidable by not going 2 wide through corner.
- Passing on the outside of a corner, the slower car tracked out to set up the next corner and we rubbed doors. Avoidable by making myself more visible.
- Rear bumper hit when I slowed for a yellow flag and the person behind me did not. Possibly avoidable.
- A car behind me went off track and drove into my side. Not avoidable.
Upcoming… rules vs. best practices, the inside line, favorite strategies