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Flash to Pass – Jerk move or Good idea?


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Looking for some outside opinions about faster cars flashing lights at slower cars as they approach.  Is it helpful or does the faster car seem like an a-hole for doing this?  For the past few races I’ve gotten to run a car that was in the top 10% of the field for power which meant that we came up on cars pretty quickly (red and black BMW).  I’ve started using the high beam flasher as I approached people because I would rather have the driver see me and think I’m a jerk, than not see me.

 

I know that the passing vehicle has a lot of responsibility to make clean passes and that is not what I’m trying to debate here.  This is about etiquette and having good manners.

Getting point by’s from folks is great.  Even if they give me a point to the side I can’t get to, I at least know they’ve seen me.  I do my best to give a wave out the window when I get a point by or when someone has the obvious body language that they are giving some space.  When I’m in slower cars, I have no issue with getting flashed at by those coming up on me, but I may be in the minority.

We’ve got pretty limited communication between vehicles – flash lights, hand jestures, contact are about it.  Some are good, some are not but none really offer up much detail.  I think we all want to play nice together but we might have different opinions on what that means.

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I don't run lights except for night races, and have no easy way to flash them when they're mounted. I wonder if flashing lights will cause even more distraction for unaware drivers. I believe that any driver in a wheel-to-wheel race should be taught to keep and eye in their mirrors, and every driver of a faster car should be ready for the car they are passing to do the most stupid thing possible at any time. 

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And I am there to try and win a race for the team I am racing for. If you get distracted, that not my problem?  Much like me sitting against your rear bumper in a turn, not pushing, or bumping, just a few mm away. You usually move over. Because you get distracted, miss your turn in mark, and boom.  Unless you are Chip, where you just smile in the mirror. Badass mofo Chip is.
 

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As a faster car, I don’t like it when somebody comes up on me with flashing lights, even if they are faster, just drive around me, shouldn’t be a problem. 
I’ve had one team that wasn’t much faster then us do it repeatedly, It got irritating fast.

 

We leave headlights on,  if  aware, they see you, if not, they won’t see flashing anyway.

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I've been debating this personally, but I don't want a flash to entice someone to do anything different then they do now.  We've added an LED band on the windshield to increase our visibility, but its not really bright enough for the day.

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We have a flash-to-pass setup on our Cobra. I use it when I think I'm going to be somewhere far quicker than a car being overtaken might expect. We're usually one of the faster cars on the track, and our closing speeds are pretty high. To me, it's sort of a courtesy. 

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2 hours ago, Team Infiniti said:

As a faster car,

 

When was that?  hehe

 

Good debate as we pondered it also. I did see a green miata use them a lot at RA this weekend. He was faster, but not crazy faster, so I wondered if he was going it just get past people faster when he could have been safe anyway.  I wonder at what point is it OK or not. With big speed differential I think it is good, but if you are about the same speed then is it OK? I want to know when GBU is coming down on me at 40mph faster into a corner, but if someone is just a little bit then is it really needed?

 

Also, if we start doing it all the time then the slower half of the field is going to be flashed a large portion of the race and is that OK for them?

 

I have flashers option on my car and tell my drivers to use them very sparingly or we just run them on all the time to be consistent.  They are a small 4" LED strip on each side that are not annoying bright. They are nice to put the car in the trailer at night, but would never drive with them.   We have also used them to communicate when the drivers mic did not work.  One flash for yes and two for no.  It was nice to have in that case. 

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The gospel is often preached, "Hold your line and be predictable, if they are faster they will pass".  A slow car changing lines to "allow" passing is scary and unpredictable.

 

So as the flasher, what do you expect of the flashee?  Move and change lines?  Do something different?  That's the message flashing sends....  "DO SOMETHING"  Flashing asks action of a slower car.  Want more visibility?  Turn your lights on. 

 

BTCC literally does it constantly to distract and cause you to make a mistake.  It has no place here.

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3 hours ago, ETR said:

So as the flasher, what do you expect of the flashee?  Move and change lines?  Do something different?  That's the message flashing sends....  "DO SOMETHING"  Flashing asks action of a slower car.  Want more visibility?  Turn your lights on. 

 

Nothing, its more a courtesy for a 'excuse me.. coming thru!'  Sometimes people are so worried about the cars in front of them they dont check the mirrors.    Just turning the lights on helps, but its not the same.

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now that there are some responses - here's some additional.

 

Yes, I was in a BMW at RA this weekend (red & black) so check that box.

 

Yes it was faster than some cars, and I tell you coming up on cars at 20+mph can be a bit spooky, not sure where they are headed.  I know the back straight is wide, but yikes.  I had a car move over on me and force the decision of either hit them, drive in the grass or lift.  (I lifted).  Then I flashed the lights at them.  And guess what - next lap I'm making the same pass attempt and they move me into the grass again and I lift again.  Not sure what was going on there.

 

Most of the flashes were just a double flick of the high beam stalk that also ran the LED bar.  The best reaction would be a point-by to acknowledge.  Worst would be a blocking move.

 

 

 

 

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If you're running 40th .... you don't need to flash anyone regardless of speed differential!  Back off and don't jeopardize someone else's race please.

However, you're running top 10 and trying to close a gap and there's a speed differential, I don't mind that so much as the slower car.  That's where some give and take could be warranted because next time if I'm the fast guy, I'm going to hope you repay the favor.

 

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If your lap times are relatively close to the slower car (say within a second or two) then generally that driver should have plenty of time to see you.  If you are lapping a slower car every 8 laps then it would help avoid a surprise due to fast closing rate.   It might be best to have some discussion about this in the driver meeting.

 

In IMSA or any multi class sanctioning body, drivers accept they will be passing or being passed by different class cars and it may affect lap times.  While we don't have classes, faster cars have to accept that some time is going to be lost passing slower cars.  Since we have the widest range of racecraft skills out there, getting by can consume a lot of time - a fact that is sometimes lost when the race is on to move up a position.   

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19 hours ago, mostmint said:

In IMSA or any multi class sanctioning body, drivers accept they will be passing or being passed by different class cars and it may affect lap times.  While we don't have classes, faster cars have to accept that some time is going to be lost passing slower cars.  Since we have the widest range of racecraft skills out there, getting by can consume a lot of time - a fact that is sometimes lost when the race is on to move up a position.   

 

and in a pro series such as IMSA, they use flash to pass all the time... i've seen GT cars flashing Prototypes, Prototypes flashing each other, GT cars flashing each other, etc. 

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9 hours ago, MoparBoyy said:

 

and in a pro series such as IMSA, they use flash to pass all the time... i've seen GT cars flashing Prototypes, Prototypes flashing each other, GT cars flashing each other, etc. 

They are professionals.  We are far from it.  Drivers don't need the distraction.

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  • 2 weeks later...

As a slower car I know cars will be coming up on me and I will 99 times out of 100 hold my line, the other time is when I have plenty of time and space to let the faster car(s) through without slowing them up.  If for some reason someone flashes me because they are clearly faster, I have zero issues with it.  I saw you, you feel confident I saw you, everyone can rest easy for this pass.  If I'm running the same lap time in my 318 as a guy in a Miata because he wants to pass, it doesn't bother me, he's still going to have to race me for the pass though.

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  • 1 month later...

Also as a slower car driver, I don't mind the occasional flash, but the constant flashing gets old quick.  That's only happened once that I can think of (RA 2019) but someone was racing around the track much faster than I was (shocking, I know) and basically continuously flashing his light bar.  On the plus side, I saw him coming half a lap away - on the minus side, it's hugely distracting to add a (completely unenforced) rule-breaking brightness lightbar on strobe to the nose, and I'd already switched to ignoring my rearview by the time he caught up to me because I didn't need holes in my vision.

 

Two or three flashes is fine and/or helpful.  More than that is a dick move.

Edited by krispykritter
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