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Passing is typically achieved under three circumstances: you utilize your car's greater horsepower or momentum exiting a corner to pass on a straight, you pass under braking by controlling the preferred driving line entering a corner, or you take advantage of your opponent's mistakes.

First rule - it is the responsibility of the driver initiating the pass to ensure that it is done safely. Where you pass, and how you pass must be done in a manner that your "opponent" is aware of.

Second rule - blocking is illegal. Swerving, whether it's six inches or six feet, to keep another car from getting beside you is blocking. Most organizations will allow you one move to "protect" your position. Repeated left-right moves is blocking.

Third Rule - if another driver has legitimately placed his car beside yours, leave room for the other car to carry a line through the corner. You don't necessarily have to give him the optimum line, but cutting a car off that results in forcing it off course is poor racing, and if the officials see it as deliberate, you're subject to penalty. Racing is not a roller derby. Eliminating your competition is not one of the objectives.

Passing under braking or on a straight close to a corner requires a little more planning than a simple pass on in the middle of a long straight. The object of passing in the braking zone is to control the inside line to the upcoming corner. By placing your car between the other car and the corner apex, the other car must yield to give you room to continue your driving line through the corner. In this manner you have essentially "controlled" the preferred line into the corner.

The potential downside to making this move is that your car will not be taking the turn on the optimum line. You may control the corner entry, but if you have to slow down too much, or make too early an apex, the car you've just passed may carry more speed or a better exit line, and pass you right back coming out of the corner.

Additionally, if you brake too late you will initially overtake the one in front. But you won’t be able to make it onto the late apex line, as you'll be pushing the car towards the outside line, forcing you to hold back on the throttle. And while you are struggling with the throttle, the car you just passed is almost, or already giving it full throttle, retaking the lead on the inside.

This is also a manner in which an inferior car with less horsepower and/or torque can overtake a stronger lead car, letting him build a certain gap before the braking zone (a slight lift of the throttle) and than you can apply throttle at corner exit without the fear of hitting the car in front.

In early practice sessions and HPDE events, passing will be forbidden with the exception of designated locations on the straights. Watch your mirrors! The driver of the car being overtaken must signal when he wants a faster car to pass. If the car being overtaken fails to indicate a passing signal, the faster car may flash its headlights to draw the attention of the slower driver. DO NOT TAILGATE! The obligation for a safe passing maneuver falls primarily on the passing car; however, the car being passed should never do anything unexpected to interfere. Do not block faster cars. The car being passed stays on line and the car passing passes on the right. The car being passed should slow down slightly to let the car pass safely. Don't group together. If you find yourself running in a group, slow down for a lap or two and let cars pass to disperse the group. In that way, you can concentrate on your own driving and won't have to worry about how close the other driver is all the time.

During practice sessions, you will need to not only practice the optimum racing line for fast laps when you're clear of traffic, but you will want to practice some passing lines. Move in from the edge of the track where you'd normally drive, brake a little farther and turn in a little later and more decisivelly with trail braking. Practice taking a line that puts your car in the middle of track coming out of the corner, or a least far enough over from the edge so as not to leave enough room to be passed on the exit. (Hogging the road so there's not enough room to pass, but still avoiding the swerving, is not blocking). By practicing these passing driving lines, you'll be ready to use them, and there's less chance that you'll cause an accident when attempting a pass.


Driving in traffic

In racing events that involve a lot of traffic, like cup championships, WTCC or NASCAR, one will have to resort to particular driving techniques for driving in traffic, both offensively and defensively.

>===Drafting=== Drafting is an aerodynamic effect utilized by two adjacent cars in order to monitor air drag. The basic concept is that when one car follows another car relativelly closely it will benefit by having less air drag working on it, particularly in high-speed competitions with a strong element of aerodynamic downforce like NASCAR (held in oval tracks with long and fast curves), Formula leagues and the local chamionships like the Le-Mans league. Oval tracks are often mistaken for circular arenas, but in fact it has both straights and long sweepers.

This has the disadvantage of less aerodynamic downforce acting on the following car, decreased visual field, possibility of bumping, particularly while cornering, inability to pass, and increased engine temperature due to lowered air flow through the radiator. On the right track (normally NASCAR Ovals) and with the right skill, one may reduce these disadvantages and allow for a constant and notable reduction in lap times. A good driver will also find the right moment to overtake the lead car.

Drafting also carries benefits to the leading car, decreasing the amount of air drag working on it, while increasing the amount of drag working upon cars that might attempt to pass you. Clearly the risk of being bumped mid-corner is grave, and would require the driver to zag slightly or to use his left foot to "test his brakes" in order to break formation or scare the following car off.

This type of trailing technique is less accepted in the high classes of Single-Seater classes, such as Formula 1 and Formula 3, where the aerodynamic design makes for unnerving air turbulances behind the lead car ("Slipstream"), similar to the effect of a car trying to pass a drafting couple/column or a similar effect in the flying formation of fighter jets. It is still possible to use the slip stream to increase straight line grip, in the cost of a jerky ride.



Watch this incredible video from the GT league in Laguna Seca, California (read after you watch, it will only kill the tension).

We see two cases of body contact in this video: The first body contact on the straight in the last lap, is considered legal (or at least not severe in judgement) because it occured in the straight and in a straight line (I.E. not in an angle). At most, it possibly decreased the inertia of Magnussen and boosted Bergmeister, rather than cause the latter to spin or swerve (even though his rear seems to wiggle slightly), so no serious advantage was achieved by it in any case.

Furthermore, it appeared to have been a case of misfortune caused due to a miscalculated braking point on the behalf of Magunssen or the result of deceleration on the behalf of Bergmeister in the Porsche, undeliberately (due to slippage) or quite possibly intentional ("Brake testing"). Note the Porsche's slow corner entry speed.

The second case of body contact between the two was a result of an aware attempt by Bergmeister to block Magnussen in the Corvette and push him towards the edge of the roadway and the Pit-Wall. Furthermore, by the time this blocking manover has been executed, it is possible to notice Magnussen actually leading (by about 5 feet, officially considered as a lead), which can also be inferred from the manner in which the Corvette spun to the right before Bergmeister after gaining a lead over him, which by itself makes this action illegal.

At length, Bergmeister threw it all out to stop the Corvette from passing him (possibly being iritated after being illegally overtaken through the pit lane by Magnussen and/or rear-ended by him), but he had only a single-time option to decide and take the optimal driving line as a leader with no adjecent competetors. His blocking action, further bumping and potentially intentional brake-testing, were all out of line and far more severe than a potential mistake in the braking application by Magnussen. There is a fine line, least ways for the eyes of the inexperienced, between spirit of competition and vengence, between trying to maintain position and effectivelly "driving" another driver off-course.

While it is arguable that Magnussen became a provocative driver, especially as the finish line drew nigh, cutting corners and using the Pit lane to pass (for which he was immediatly obligated to let the Porsche resume the lead), the final judges' decision to probate both drivers on the following two races (under the threat of a ban from at least two races) somehow hinders the competitive nature of modern motorsport.

In racing leagues that allow a certain amount of body contact like NASCAR, one might deliberately use bumping, not only in order to tackle his opponents, but also to rather slow him down more efficiently on braking zones. Keep in mind, though, that the momentum lost during straight-line body contact is greatly transferred to the bumped car.

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