Five minute warning?


E/C 707. All cars will be called to an area designated pregrid (false grid) for the purpose of placing each car in its proper starting position. If the cars are unduly delayed in being called to the grid, drivers shall be given adequate warning as to when the race will begin.

All cars must be on pregrid by the 5 minute warning. Any car failing to arrive at pregrid
before the 5 minute warning shall lose its grid position and be placed at the back of the grid, unless said car competed in the race immediately
preceding. A car competing in back-to-back races will be allowed to grid in its qualified grid position any time up to the 1 minute warning,
after which time it must be placed at the back of the grid.

No engines may be running on pregrid between the 5 minute warning and the 1 minute warning, except for practice and qualifying.

At the 1 minute warning, all cars must start with their on-board starter (auxiliary power sources OK) on pregrid. Cars failing to start on their on-board starters or otherwise unready as the grid is cleared will be held in the pregrid
area until the field has cleared the pregrid area. These car(s) may then be push started, if necessary, and allowed to join the back of the field on the pace lap, provided said rejoining can be done safely.

If the grid is past the point where rejoining can be done safely, once the race has commenced and the grid is cleared the pit exit point, a push start will be allowed, if necessary, and the vehicle will start from the rear of the grid.
If the race does not commence after the first pace lap, the vehicle may be allowed to join the back of the field on the subsequent pace lap(s),
provided said rejoining can be done safely.

A car started at the back of the grid shall remain at the back of the grid during the pace lap(s) and shall not resume its original grid position. A car losing its grid position while on the opening pace lap (laps) may only re-enter at the back of the grid and may not regain its original grid position.

In the event a car loses its grid position on the opening pace lap(s), the grid line (left or
right) will advance forward assuming the open position.

I have not changed anything here. I copy/pasted it from the 2007 ICSCC Regs .pdf. I did, however, separate a very long regulation into what I considered to be proper paragraphs for an easier read.

There may be some thought put into this for modification for next season. (i.e. "If the grid is past the point where rejoining can be done safely, once the race has commenced and the grid is cleared the pit exit point," might be changed to "once the pace lap has commenced...")

Have fun with this, and I'll see what else I can find.

20.3 Grid Formation
Grid formation will be formed on the track within the last two (2) corners before the
Start/Finish line. CCR Sections #20.5.1 and #20.5.2 describe the details of formation.

20.3.1 Pre-Grid (a.k.a. “false grid”)
Pre-Grid shall be formed, as scheduled, prior to the race. Any driver failing to make it to
Pre-Grid before the first car takes the track for the warm-up lap must start last of all the
classes **. Formation of the Pre-Grid will be done in the area specified by the Race
Director or Grid Marshal. The competitors are responsible to know their positions on
Pre-Grid, and be in position on time.

** The competitor has the option of missing the warm up lap, in which case they may be
released from the pit lane with their class, at the discretion of the Re-Entry Marshal, after
the green flag has been displayed, or racing resumes. Under no circumstances, except
under direct order from the Race Director, will a late car be allowed to regain their
positions. Exceptions to latecomers may be made to ensure fairness if the warm-up laps
were started earlier than the posted time, and/or due to unforeseen circumstances
caused by NASA administration.

20.4 Warm-up Laps
There will be at least one (1) warm-up lap, either with or without a Pace Car. The
number of warm-up laps will usually be one (1), however the Race Director reserves the
right the order more than one (1) warm-up lap. It is the competitor’s responsibility to
know how many warm-up laps there will be. If the Pace Car is leading the warm-up
laps, the lights should go out just prior to pitting. When the Pace Car pits the pole sitter
will function as the Pace Car. If a competitor is late for grid then they must join the tail
end of the entire pack or start from the pit lane with their class at the discretion of NASA
Officials. [Ref: (20.3.1)].

All automobiles must be gridded at a time designated in the Supplementary Regulations.
Any automobile arriving after the published time may, at the discretion of the Race
Director, be placed on the back of the grid; it must not attempt to regain its original
starting position. The running of engines during pre-race ceremonies will not be


6.11.1 Cars will take their assigned positions in two lines behind the pace car. The pace car will depart the starting grid and make at least one lap of the circuit at moderate speed.

Normally, there will be two scheduled pace laps on circuits under two (2) miles in length and on all temporary circuits.

6.11.2 Cars unable to make the pace lap(s) or who present themselves too late to safely rejoin
the starting field may be started from pit lane with the permission of the Race Director after the field has passed pit-out on the first scored lap.

6.11.3 Drivers will keep their original formation behind the pace car during the pace
lap(s). After the pace car has left the circuit, usually via the pit entrance, Drivers will maintain their positions on the pace lap until the starter displays the green flag, signifying the start of the race. Any deviation from the original assigned starting positions or manipulation of the set pace will be considered an infraction of these rules.

6.11.4 The race officially begins when the first car crosses the starting line after completion of
the scheduled pace lap(s) regardless whether or not the starter has displayed the green flag.

6.11.5 All cars must remain in line until they cross the starting line. Any car which pulls out of line prior to crossing the starting line in order to gain an advantage may receive a penalty.

A little more than asked for, but this shows a bit of the Pros' regulations playing the game for 'keeps'.


6.19. GRID.

6.19.1. Any driver or race car not ready to begin the race on time may be excluded.

6.19.2. The polesitter may elect to start from either front row position. This decision must be made known to the Race Director no more than one hour after the conclusion of the final qualifying session. Other starters are to be
positioned in the order of their qualifying times and/or as determined by the Race Director per 6.18.3B. unless the Race Director designates another method of positioning the race cars to start the race. Entries which qualified but start the race with a substitute driver shall be positioned immediately behind the other designated starters in the relative qualifying positions of such entrants. Alternate starters, i.e., drivers that did not earn a qualifying
time, shall start at the rear of the starting field, in order per 6.18.3B. or as otherwise positioned at the rear of the starting field as directed by the Race Director.


All race cars must maintain a consistent speed and the pole sitter must stay in relative proximity to the pace car. Gaps throughout the field must be avoided.

6.20.1. Any race car that drops out of the pack during the first parade lap on a rolling start may rejoin the pack in its original position if the driver can do so safely prior to the pole sitting race car beginning the second lap. If a race car is not moving under its own power by the completion of the first parade lap, it
shall be removed to a designated area. If a pace car is used to control the starting field, it shall leave the track prior to the Starter displaying the starting signal.

6.20.2. Should conditions warrant, the Race Director may declare the race to start in single file starting order and/or may order the start under full course yellow flag conditions.

You snooze, you lose.

I have to add that normally, CHAMP and ALMS do not use a full course yellow (double or otherwise. "Hello, FIA!") on their pace laps, which enables a car to regain their position in the grid (safely) without passing under yellow. They are restricted to only the first, of usually two, pace laps. If you watch the TV closely when this occurs, you'll probably see the other cars quit their scrubbing to let the tardy car by.

I'm not going to decipher the GRAND-AM rules for you, but they are just as strict. They, too, do not allow cars to pass until after the S/F line has been passed, or until they have actually gone under the green flag. I note this because technically, a command flag's jurisdiction is beyond the position of it's display.

How's that for you, Wes? Wanna go to Europe now?

I apologize if you only asked for the time, and I go into how to build a clock. But it is fun to compare some of the differences, for better or worse.

Practical, or unnecessary as they may be for our particular environment, the more you read these things, the easier they are to understand. Also, the easier it is to understand what may be misunderstood.
No, I think we can skip Europe. If the FIA rules for race starts are as screwed up as the rest of their rules then I would not want to even read any of it.

You have built many finely tuned clocks on this forum Ken, and your insight and attention to detail is much appreciated. I'll read all of this again in the AM when I'm better able to concentrate.

My two cents:
I have found it very difficult at Spokane, both this year and last, to keep track of delays in the race schedule as there is no announcing of any kind. It is also very difficult (read:impossible) to find anyone who actually knows what changes have happened to the schedule without going in person down to pregrid and bothering the steward. This lack of information causes all sorts of problems and stress.

It seems that it would be a great help if the announcing systems were LOUD enough and CLEAR enough (when available), or someone is designated to KNOW the schedule and ride a bike through the paddock area calling out the exact delay (or some equivalent). Then people would have (almost) no excuse for being late.

In addition, I agree with those who would hold the passing cars responsible. This situation occurs in practice and qualifying also. Being a very slow car in Seattle this year, for my car's maiden voyage with a number of problems, I was passed in both practice and qualifying in an unsafe manner, nearly hitting me a number of times. This, when there was nothing to prove even. This happened enough times that by the race I was so gun-shy I basically took evasive action anytime a faster car came up on me, and then was informed by one person that I should have been just holding my line! Couldn't "win" for trying... I think the big picture has to do with knowing the rules for safe passing and respecting others.
The key is definitely holding your line Karen. Point if you want to, but if the faster car has already made up their mind on which side to pass, you sure don't want to move until they are completely by. Make eye contact in your mirror whenever possible, or do the point thing even if it's too late. If the overtaking car knows that you see him, and that you're holding your line, they can breathe easier and so can you.

Having said that, you paid your money and you have a right to get out there and race, so don't be intimidated by the rude guys who may "brush you" just to get your attention, or whatever they're doing. Drive your race, watch your mirrors, and hold your line if you are already committed. They can pass at the next available opportunity. And use every pass as a chance to see what they are doing and learn as you go.

My 2 cents worth, and good luck!
I have been late to pregrid and had to start last in a race, so I know that the mentality of the late folks is to return as quickly as possible to their respective starting spot and resume their class race. I also have been hit by someone doing just that on lap one. I think that the most useful thing to do would be to tell the grid that there is a late starter in back that will be coming forward quickly, just as the grid is usually told that there is a hazard on track to watch for. While we are all busy the first couple of laps sorting out the field, having the knowledge that someone fast is coming through would probably lessen problems.
Ditto on what wes said Karen, we expect a car to be in the racing line, an unexpected move out of it will be the thing that surprises us. conference or not I will always feel it is my responsibility to make a safe pass without screwing up your race or mine.
And more ditto... back when I was working with the Novices I always told them that they only predictable thing they could do when being overtaken was to hold the racing line. Once they left it, unless they had clearly indicated what they were doing (and the message was received - harder to be sure of) they became a completely unknown quantity, and a driver of a faster car had no way to anticipate their next move or location.
On the turns, we are often told by pre-grid that one of the fast cars has come late to grid (and we can therefore anticipate that he/she will be blasting through the field). We can try to help with this by throwing blue flags, but you're all so busy just trying to get through the first lap, you probably wouldn't notice the blue flag anyway! Another problem is sometimes the late arriver surprises us too and there's no time to give you a little extra warning. And finally, as turnworkers we try very hard not to blue flag dicing, and particularly in a race we wait until lapping begins, so our mindset is more on concentrating on the order at the beginning of a race. All that said, if you see a cornerworker madly waving a blue flag on the first lap, keep in mind that [hopefully!!!] we're doing it to tell you there's a late-gridder about to take your door handles off and we're not just throwing blues out there 'cause we see a big pack of cars coming at us!

There's my (slightly decreased Canadian) two cents!

Looking forward to seeing everyone in Seattle this weekend.
Be sure to let me know what turn you are in, Bonnie. I will be sure to wave!
Thanks Wes and Josh, I'll be keeping my eyes on both of you, I can't wait for a weekend of good racing, it's been too long.

See you soon, eh?
Thanks for the response, Wes and Daryl. I really prefer holding my line--how do you learn and get better at driving if you can't stay on-line? Even the slow cars paid to be in the race (although I hope to never be that slow again). I think that publicly re-airing that idea would make sure all drivers are thinking the same way. That said, how to deal with the drivers who don't respect the right of others to race at a slower pace?

I like the aforementioned idea of letting the grid know about front-runners starting at the back of the grid, and maybe just a warning to the late driver to keep his head would help him to focus.
Most groups know about the slower guys starting late, but not always. So pre-grid should pass on that info. as time allows.

You are right Karen about the late driver or drivers staying focused and driving sensibly, for the first few corners anyway, if not the entire first lap. It is usually fun to start at the tail of the field and see how far up you can get in 30 minutes, but not at the expense of those you're passing.

As far as those drivers who don't appear to respect the slower cars, that's a tough one. If you have your area sticker in plain sight, and you are holding line, using your mirrors, (constantly), and pointing cars by when possible, then I guess remembering those bozos and having a chat with them after the race would be your next course of action. Some people have the red mist in their eyes way too much on track, and in many cases aren't aware of their behavior or rudeness, and a little friendly chat often helps immensely. Most often the response is, "I did that, really? I had no idea, and I'm sorry."