Advanced Solo Expanded Passing
All Advanced Solo Session will be run under PCA Expanded Passing rules. This means full course passing with a point by. If on track safety and behavior deems it, the CTI has the discretion to restrict passing on portions of the track and designate them as “NO PASSING ZONES” at any time throughout the event. If this occurs it will be clearly communicated at the drivers meeting and sent out via text alert through club reg.
PCA & the 48 HOURS OF SEBRING has adopted an expanded passing program for the Advanced Solo run group to provide a venue for more advanced driving skill development. This run group is intended to be an additional challenge and continued opportunity for learning advanced driving skills, for our most advanced drivers. It is intended to fine tune situational awareness and be a transition through Advanced Solo for any driver considering Club Racing in a safe and fun environment.
PCA Expanded Passing Guidelines:
Mirror suggestion for Expanded Passing
You must have great mirror positions to be able to see a car in your “blind spot”. You do loose some of your peripheral vision with your helmet on. To increase your field of vision, try the following. Place your head against the left window and adjust your left mirror so you can just see the rear of your car. Then lean into the center of the car the same amount and adjust your right mirror. With this positioning you should be able to see a car in your center or side mirror just about 100% of the time. This works great on the city streets and highway as well.
Being Passed with Expanded Passing Rules
The point by signal tells the overtaking car “I see you, and this is the side where I will leave room. I will continue to leave room until I see you ahead and can fall in behind you, or I see you wave off the pass.” The overtaking car should either complete the pass, or wave off the pass when he is sure that the overtaken car sees him in his rear view mirror.
It is the responsibility of both drivers to insure that the pass takes place safely. Now that your situational awareness has made you aware of a faster car coming up behind you and you have signaled to the other driver that you are aware that he is there, you should expect the pass to take place. You can expect that the pass will probably be initiated in the braking zone. If the overtaking car has a dramatically different performance envelope particularly with respect to braking and cornering and if the driver is up to that performance envelope the pass will likely occur and be completed within the braking zone.
The overtaking car will generally be on the inside line approaching the “turn-in” point. As the driver being overtaken you should expect the overtaking vehicle to be going faster in the braking zone. The inside line through the corner will be slower and will be the same as a very early apex. This means that the overtaking car will probably have to brake harder, and travel through the corner slower than it would if it were taking it’s ideal line through the corner.
Keeping this in mind and understanding that the real estate is shared 50/50 under expanded passing rules until the cars are clear ahead and behind, as the car being overtaken you should expect to have to remain clear of the inside line until the overtaking car is clear ahead.
If there is a significant performance envelope difference the faster car will still get clear ahead fairly quickly, but the excitement is not over yet. You should expect the overtaking car to take an early apex and the line that comes with that through the corner. You can expect the overtaking car to not be able to apply the power until very late in the corner possibly even continuing to turn nearly to the track out point. Once again if there is a significant performance envelope difference the faster vehicle will affect your corner much less. If on the other hand both cars and drivers are of similar performance envelopes the pass will take longer and both cars will have to remain clear of one another longer, possibly even existing the corner still sharing the track 50/50.
Now that we know that the inside line will force the overtaking car and driver to apply power later you can expect that dropping in closely behind the overtaking car while driving a quicker line will result in the need to slow to keep from having contact with the overtaking car. In this case you should expect to delaying applying power and allow for the slower speed through the corner.
This scenario considers all going well. If the inside car is going too fast to keep to their 50% of the track then the whole process can go bad very quickly. As the driver in the car being overtaken you will want to expect and be prepared to make a judgment call. If you do not know the driver or the car then expect to error on the side of caution and allow the pass to take place early in the braking zone to avoid any problems in the corner and to leave room for the overtaking car to make a mistake possibly skidding beyond the inside line.
Passing with Expanded Passing Rules
Like traditional DE rules, we have cars and drivers on the track with similar skill but with various speed differentials. Unlike traditional DE rules in the expanded passing group, the passing zones are expanded to any point on the course unless otherwise specified. As the driver in a car approaching a slower car you should expect the pass to take place without delay but you should also expect to be signaled by a point-by indicating that the driver in the car being overtaken is aware of you. You should expect that the point-by would indicate which side of the car you will be left with room for the pass If no signal is given by a point-by, YOU WILL NOT INITATE A PASS! The pass is the option of the car being overtaken, you can not expect that you have a right to the pass or a right to room on the track if the driver in the car being overtaken is not aware that you are there.
As previously stated, it is the responsibility of both drivers to insure that the pass takes place safely. Under the circumstance that no point by is given then you could expect that patience may be the best option
Driving up along side the car ahead in and effort to obtain a point by is unsafe, unacceptable, and will be black-flagged. You must remain in the overtaken car’s rear view mirror field of vision until a point by is given.
To maximize the chance that the driver of the car being overtaken sees you and is aware that you are there expect to position your car in an area that is not in a blind spot for the driver of the car to be overtaken. Also make your intentions clear to the driver of the car being overtaken, by beginning to take the line you wish to take to initiate the pass in an area that is clear of blind spots.
As the overtaking car you will likely be on the inside line approaching the “turn-in” point. As the driver in the overtaking car you should expect that you will be going faster in the braking zone. You should expect that the inside line through the corner will be slower and will be the same as a very early apex. This means that you will probably have to brake harder, and travel through the corner slower than you would if you were taking your ideal line through the corner.
As you enter the corner keep in mind that the real estate is shared 50/50 under expanded passing rules until you are clear ahead and the overtaken car is clear behind. As the overtaking car on the inside line you should expect to have to remain on the inside line and not drift out to the outside line until you are sure that you are clear and can remain clear of the car being overtaken. That is important to note. Be sure that as the overtaking car you are clear and will be able to remain clear ahead of the car being overtaken. This is to say expect to find yourself, while in the corner having to brake harder, and travel slower along the inside line. This means that now possibly traveling slower that the car being overtaken dashing out to the track-out point may result in interference with the car being overtaken. In this line of thinking you might expect the car being overtaken to be able to apply the power sooner therefore the pass will take longer and both cars may have to remain clear of one another longer, possibly even existing the corner still sharing the track 50/50. You should expect that the car driving the outside line may be may be moving faster, but traveling a longer distance.
It is also of paramount concern that you go into the corner with the expectation that you must be well within the performance envelope of your car, because understeering or oversteering in a manner that would keep you from remaining on your 50% of the track can make the whole process go bad very quickly. If you do not know the driver or the car then expect to error on the side of caution and allow the pass to take place early in the braking zone or after the corner to avoid any problems.
Patience with Expanded Passing Rules
First let’s look at the more intuitive safety aspects of patience. If you are not familiar with the driver in the car to be overtaken and therefore not familiar with their driving style, skill level, and car’s performance envelope, then patience is certainly appropriate. To reiterate this perhaps more directly, if you are not certain that the pass can be completed safely then patience is imperative. As we discussed before it is the responsibility of both drivers to insure that the pass is completed safely and without incident. Remember in a driver’s ed there is no trophy or prize money for crossing the start/finish line ahead of anyone. As the overtaking car you will be more in control of the pass in this run group and even with a point by you can opt for patience.
In cars with dramatically different performance envelopes the pass will occur soon enough even if you wait the short time till the corner exit to make the pass. On the other hand if the two cars are similar in performance the battle through a corner, sharing 50% of the track will likely result in both cars going slower around the corner and thus both car’s lap times will be slower.
The car on the inside line will travel a shorter distance, but will have to drive a line that is much like a very early apex line though the corner. This means that the car on the inside line (probably the overtaking car) will be forced to continue turning after the apex and not be able to apply power as soon as if they drove their ideal line through the corner. This will not only effect the time it takes to get through the corner but the lower exit speed will result in effecting the entire next straightaway.
The car on the outside line will drive a longer distance and will also not be driving their ideal line through the corner. This will result in a slower passage through the corner and will also affect the corner exit speed. So in both cases the pass in the corner will be slower for both cars. If the goal is to be quick (and safe of course) then it is not necessarily quick to pass even if allowed under the rules.
So if the rules allow for passing in the corners, but now we are learning that it may not be fast to do that why would we do it? In a situation where both drivers are familiar with each other and the cars involved, then using good judgment and strategy the pass could take place in the breaking zone and be completed by the early part of the corner perhaps before the apex. This will have much less effect on both cars, allowing not quite the ideal line, but close.
To insure that this happens, the car being overtaken needs to be patient and let the faster car through to clear the way to return to the ideal line so that the overtaken car can exit the corner more quickly. If the overtaking car has a dramatically higher performance envelope then this is especially true.
If the timing is off enough to make the pass impossible in the breaking zone and early part of the corner, then the higher performance car to may want to not initiate the pass until the corner exit. In this case the overtaking car should be patient, not tail the car to be overtaken too closely, so that the overtaking car can get on the power sooner and exit the corner with enough speed to make the pass promptly at the corner exit or early in the straightway.
In a case where two cars have similar performance envelopes then the chance that the 50/50 real estate deal may last much longer resulting in both drivers having to slow and drive a line that is not ideal. In this case it would probably make since to be patient from the perspective of the overtaking car. Even if both cars are prepared the same and have similarly skilled driver’s one car and driver combination will likely out-perform the other in certain parts of the course while the other will do a better job somewhere else.
While it is the responsibility of both cars to execute a pass safely, remember the overtaken car has the right of way. Their responsibility is to leave room for the overtaking car to pass safely once a point by given. It is the responsibility of the overtaking car to pass safely in a manner that does not force the overtaken car to alter course or speed, much less increase the risk of an incident. If the overtaking driver feels that this cannot be safely done, then wave off the point by.
These are some skills and strategies used by racers. Even though we are not racing and there are no trophies at the end of the session the skill, mental acuity, and strategy involved in these processes are what we are trying to learn in this run group. We will not allow dangerous foolhardy behavior on track, but developing this skill, judgment and strategy along with the situational awareness and car control skills is what we can learn and what makes this run group fun and exciting.
Amy Riches, Adv Solo / CTI