The Guide to Road Racing, Part 8: Passing Etiquette


VRO Principal
Staff member
Thanks for posting Phil, a couple points that stand our for me:

Passing is where trust is built or destroyed, and trust makes racing more fun as well as supporting the camaraderie of the paddock that many drivers and crew enjoy.
One simple unwritten rule: don’t model your driving behavior on what pro drivers do or what announcers say about what pro drivers do.Your fellow competitors don't have that kind of money and they and their significant others don't accept that crushed bones and brain injuries "are part of the deal".
and of course:

A. Drivers are responsible to avoid physical contact between cars on the race track.

B. Each competitor has a right to racing room, which is generally defined as sufficient space on the marked racing surface that under racing conditions, a driver can maintain control of his car in close quarters.

C. Drivers must respect the right of other competitors to racing room. Abrupt changes in direction that impede or affect the path of another car attempting to overtake or pass may be interpreted as an effort to deprive a fellow competitor of the right to racing room.

D. The overtaking driver is responsible for the decision to pass another car and to accomplish it safely. The overtaken driver is responsible to be aware that he is being passed and not to impede or block the overtaking car. A driver who does not use his rear view mirror or who appears to be blocking another car attempting to pass may be black flagged and/or penalized, as specified in Section 7.
25.4.4 Blocking

A driver may choose to protect his or her line so long as it is not considered blocking. Blocking is defined as two (2) consecutive line changes to “protect his/her line,” and in doing so, impedes the vehicle that is trying to pass with each of the two (2) consecutive movements. Drivers are encouraged to check with the Race Director for a full explanation before the start of the race.
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VRO Principal
Staff member
I'd also think this needs a recap:

The 13/13 Rule

Some sanctioning bodies, particularly in vintage racing, run something called the "13/13 Rule". Basically, the idea is that if you have an incident your license is on probation for 13 months. If you have a second incident during that time, you are banned from competition for 13 months.

The unwritten version of 13/13 is:

. You wreck, you go home
. You put a dent in the car, you go home
. You dent someone else's car, you go home
. You do it twice, and you stay at home for 13 months

This seems harsh at first. But if you've been around humans much, you might realize that without tough rules, behavior gets rather squirelly. And, now imagine that you're running a $150,000 GT3 Cup car or a $400,000 Can-Am car or a $700,000 vintage F1 car. That "dent" could involve, say, $40,000 of repairs and months of time with a car out of commission.

The 13/13 Rule, like all rules, somewhat difficult to enforce. In the groups that run it, that isn't really the point. The 13/13 rule is a code of honor. It is like the rules of golf, where you police yourself rather than asking "who's going to catch me?" Those with a real interest in the latter question probably won't enjoy running with sanctioning bodies that use 13/13.

Another unwritten rule: novices would do well to drive as if the 13/13 rule were in play, even when it isn't. Consider yourself a novice until you podium in a competitive class regularly.