As we have started the topic around overtaking last time by focusing on the overtaking maneuver on public roads, today, we will finally be back in the world of racing.
Today is the day, you got your car ready, drove to the track and are looking forward to an awesome day on the race track. Sure, we haven’t really talked about the preparation for such an event, but that is something that we will focus on in the future.
Depending on the type of track day you are participating in, there might be all cars on the track at the same time, or actually different groups, separating the faster from the slower cars. No matter what kind of model this trackday will be using, a good event always starts off with a drivers briefing. Sure, this is in fact a very important thing for the day, therefore, no matter what I am talking about in this post, the rules and behavior they will tell you in that meeting are the ones you need to accept on that day. They will explain you how the time frame looks like, how the flags will be used and of course how they want to see the overtaking maneuvers taking place.
On some events, you might be allowed to overtake on both sides, on others only on the left, but in the end, you just get yourself well informed and do exactly what they demand. It’s that simple.
Respect seems to be one of these overrated words we can see so often in our life’s but do not really get the message, am I correct? People often times do not really respect each other. Well, what ever. On a racetrack in our racing community, this is something else! If you do not have respect from the track, your car and the other participants, it will at least get pretty expensive.
THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE OF THE DAY? THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN, NOT REAL RACING!
You might just repeat that three times until it finally gets into your head. Sure, you think that you are well in control of what is going on around you, but you can hardly be sure for the other drivers. They might do not have the same amount of experience behind the wheel, they might do not know the track as well as you do, and in the end, it doesn’t matter who is the fastest. A trackday is for working on your skills, taking the next step and get your driving experience onto another level. Sooner or later you will find out, that real racing is nothing you can compare with a trackday. Enjoy the time on the track, while nobody is watching your time. Believe me, this is pure pressure, stress and anxiety. You need to deliver! Every time, every lap, and need to constantly proof them that you are worth the time and money.
Ok, but anyways, the event starts. You get in your car, get buckled up, hopefully wearing a helmet and are ready for the track. Sure, low tire pressures, cold tires, cold car, therefore, take it easy! As already mentioned, the rules of this event are the ones that will be important, but generally speaking, if a fast car approaches, you are going to use your indicators to tell the other driver that first of all you have seen him and secondly, that you will stay on that side you are indicating to, no matter what.
But what does that really mean? This means that you know the track, you know the racing line and you know how do adapt your line, in order to do not cut off the other driver. Therefore, if you indicate to the right, you will stay there until the other car has managed the overtaking procedure.
UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES DO YOU DRIVE TO THE LEFT, ONES YOU INDICATED TO THE RIGHT AND VICE VERSA!
I mean, makes kind of sense anyway, right? Just change the perspective real quick and imagine that you would be the fast car that is approaching. Sure, you worry if the car in front of you has already realized that you are there. Well, as the car indicator springs into life, you can at least answer that question and starting to prepare the overtaking maneuver.
If that person indicates to the right, sure, it should hold the position over there, but do we really just trust that? No! Of course not! In racing and on track days and even on the public road, the car that wants to overtake is always responsible for the overtaking maneuver. Therefore, do not just trust the indicator flashing, but actually use your brain as well! Is there a corner coming up? Is the car you want to overtake slow enough to hold its position, or does it need to drive into your space in order to make the next corner. At the beginning, you should be extremely careful with that and take it easy. After a couple of track days on that track, sure, you will get more confidence and know the other lines on the track as well.
Tip: Why don’t you use a racing simulator and figure out the lines you can also take, especially for the most common cars. Because it is always better to know what the other driver is going through, right? Or why do you think can nobody start racing in the GT3 classes on the Nordschleife without driving in slower classes for a couple of events? It’s that easy, isn’t it? Once you experienced the racing world from the eyes of the slower cars, you will be able to overtake them much easier and safer after all.
Ok, once you made it as far as actually overtaking the car, why don’t you say a short thank you and move on?
And that is basically it, right? You have respect, you indicate what you are planning to do and everybody will be happy. Remember, this is no racing. Sure, the adrenalin is rushing through your veins, putting you mentally onto another level, but try to keep a cool head! Once your emotions and adrenalin rush is in control, it will be most likely that you will make mistakes. Therefore, take a step back and calm yourself down.
YOU CAN NOT WIN ANYTHING, BUT LOSE EVERYTHING!
Always remember that! Nobody cares about you and how fast you are really going, but once you have crashed into the barrier, they will care about you.
Take it easy and don’t forget to have fun!
See you next time!