In 2013 and 2014 IMSA was dealing with an issue, we had a ton of on-track incidents. This made for a terrible racing experience because half the race or more ran under double yellow flags. Considerable amounts of money spent on broken racecars made for many pissed off drivers
After spending last weekend working with grassroots racers and watching much of this racing in person, I noticed much of the same. Most of these 20 to 30-minute races had two or three green flag laps. That just sucks for everyone.
To help solve our issue in IMSA they brought in a new race director, Beaux Barfield. I have a ton of respect for Beaux—and we all know it takes a lot for a driver to actually get along with our race director. Beaux came in and instituted two major policies that had a massive positive impact on the racing in IMSA:
- Consistently applying the rules: This sounds obvious, but we have all seen inconsistent rulings. It is *so* important for race directors to be consistent in how they apply the rules. I almost care less about the specific rules of a series and more about whatever rules they do have being applied consistently.
- No reactionary defensive moves A car can make a defensive move as long as it is proactive. If the car behind you moves to the inside you cannot move defensively in reaction to the car behind. This is the crucial rule that every series needs to immediately add to their rule books.
I saw a TON of unsafe defensive moves this last weekend, with every single one being drivers making a defensive move IN THE BRAKE ZONE. Allowing that is just straight-up dangerous for everyone and is completely unacceptable.
If you are going to go defensive and move to the inside, it is your responsibility to do that early.
Most rules in grassroots racing put the responsibility of making a safe pass on the overtaking car. While the overtaking car should have more responsibility, the car being overtaken needs to have some responsibility to ensure passes happen safely. They cannot just slam the door in the brake zone.
When I spoke with a race director this weekend, they clearly agreed that drivers going defensive in the brake zone was dangerous. Unfortunately, because no rule existed in the rule book they had no authority to help clean up this driving standard. It’s time to change that!
Here is the language that IMSA added to their rule book:
If you run a racing series, you need to add this to your rule book today.
A secondary benefit for all race series adopting this rule is to develop more consistency from organization to organization. A major frustration for drivers and race directors in our sport is how wildly different everyone’s rules are.
Rule inconsistencies make it harder for drivers to get involved in our sport. For example, in one NASA region, a rain light needs to be flashing and in another, it needs to be solid. Does it really matter if it’s flashing or solid? No! All this does is make it harder for drivers in different regions to drive within the same organization.
I don’t mean to pick on NASA here—these issues exist in every series!
We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. If we take inspiration from pro racing, we will see the rules between many of the pro series are becoming closely aligned. It isn’t perfectly synchronous yet, but the trend is clear.
At Blayze we are going to work on creating a white label rule book that covers driver standards that can be applied in any type of racing.
Want to see this happen and wondering how you can help?
- Race series and organizations are going to be resistant to this idea. It’s new and we know people hate change. We can’t make this happen without your help as a driver. Push your orgs to speak with us about implementing a common rule book that is built on common sense from people who know what they are talking about.
- If you want to help us with the research and writing of this please reach out to me. We could definitely use all the help we can get! Email me at [email protected].
- If you are a race director and this sounds like music to your ears please email me. The more organizations we get on board, the higher chance we have getting others to join!
The goal is for any series to use a set of standardized rules and build off of it to add any necessary series specific rules like yellow flag procedures, etc. The dream is to allow any driver to race in any series without having to worry about memorizing an entirely new set of rules. A clear set of driver standard rules that are consistently applied should be the standard in grassroots racing, and we want to help make that happen.