When the broadcast of motorsports program on TV, the racing cars are already on the grid, so it needs to actually watch the race at the circuit to know how the race starts.
In addition, there are two types of the race start procedures, the standing start and the rolling start. Therefore it explains easily start procedure and re-start procesure of the each methods.
The staring procedure described follow is a general procedure. If there are special procedure for each series or the circuit, it is described in the general supplementary regulations.
Before the start of the race, the signal at the exit of the pit road lights from red to green and the course becomes open. Racing cars enter the course from the own pits, it makes a lap around the course, and then arrive at the own grid on the main straight.
This lap is called Reconnaissance lap. It is not necessary to arrive at the grid immediately after entering the course. If it is in time, it is permitted to run many laps by thronging the pit road.
At the predetermined time, the signal of the pit road exit turns red and it is not allowed to enter the course. Cars that could not enter the course within the time starts the race from the pit road.
After the race starts, all racing cars passed near the pit road exit and the signal of the pit road exit turns green. Cars that starts the race from the pit road can join the race
All cars arrive on the grid and the countdown begins for the race start.
The details of the countdown is announced to the teams in advance through supplementary regulations or official notices. Accordingly, it is necessary to keep the time schedule such as finishing work and leaving crew off the grid.
Display count down using start signals
The time until the start of the formation lap is displayed using the start signals. Team staff and drivers on the grid can confirm the approximate time to the start of the formation lap by looking at the start signals. It is important to note that the number of lit signals and the remaining minutes before the start of the formation lap do not match.
The start signals turns green on at the start of the formation lap, and turns off 30 seconds after the start of the formation lap to prepare for the start of the race.
There are the following two methods of race start.
- Standing start
- Rolling start
In the standing start, all the cars stop on the grid and start at the same time by signal.
Before the race start, a formation lap take place at the race start time. Green flag is waved at the all observation posts, and the car runs one lap around the course, starting from car of the top.
It is prohibited overtaking during the formation lap, and the drivers must drive so that the gap of the ahead and behind cars is not too widen.
The grid marshall checks that cars have stopped correctly on the grid. After all cars stop correctly on the grid, green flag is waved behind the grid.
The red signal lights on the signal bridge in front of the grid, and once the red signal goes off, the race starts. The time from lighting on the red signal untill goes off is 2 to 3 seconds.
The cars that have moved before the red signal goes off is imposed a jump start penalty.
5 units start signal
In the case of five unit signals, one red signal lights up every second and after five red signals lights on. After that, all red signals are goes off at the same time and the race starts.
Singe unit start signal
In the case of a single unit start signal, the starter displays the 5 seconds board before the red signal is lighted on. After 5 second, the starter turns on the red signal, then the red light goes off, and the race starts.
Redo the race start
In case the driver cannot start the race due to an engine stall, the driver must inform the grid marshall of the signal such as waving. And grid marshall informs the starter of abnormalities by waving yellow flag.
In case the starter judged that the race start cannot be made before the red signal lights on, the starter waves red flag and display a START DELAYED board. The race start is start over.
The procedure for redoing the race start is determined in the supplementary regulations, but usually the procedure of the race start begins again from 3 or 5 minutes before the formation lap. The number of race laps is reduced by one lap each time the start is started over.
In case the starter judged that the race start cannot be made after the red signal lights on, the yellow light flashes with the red signal lights on and the START DELAYED board is displayed. The procedure for starting over is determined in the supplementary regulations, and the number of race laps is reduced by one lap.
The driver that caused the start delay is start the race from the end of the grid.
Extra formation lap
In case there is regulations of the extra formation lap such as Formula 1, the formation lap starts immediately without starting over the start procedure.
At the start signal, the green signal lights on with the yellow signal flashes. This is the signal of the start of the extra formation lap. The signal of the extra formation lap is lighting green signal on with yellow signal flashes. Once the green signal lights on, the red signals goes off.
In a rolling start, the cars start while running in two rows and the grid order without stopping on the grid.
At the race start time, before the start, the rolling lap starts. Unlike formation lap, a leading car called a “pace car” arrives ahead of the grid. In rolling lap, the race cars runs while following the pace car.
Green flag is waved at the observation post in front of the grid to signal the start of the rolling lap, while yellow flag is waved at all other observation posts.
In SUPER GT and Super Taikyu, rolling start is adopted for the start method, but it is called not the rolling lap but the formation lap. However, the start procedure is the same as the rolling lap.
When the rolling lap starts, the pace car controls the speed of the platoon of race cars and runs one lap around the course. The red signal of the signal bridge lights on at the control line.
GRID board is displayed at a predetermined location on the course in advance as a signal to start the race when passing the control line next. The display location of the GRID board is announced to the team and drivers in advance by official notice or driver’s briefing.
Onve the GRID board is displayed, the cars must run in two-row formation. After that, the pace car pits in and race cars that run in two-row approach the main straight. It is prohibited accelerating while the red signal lights.
After the GRID board is displayed, the race cars must run in two-row.
After that, the pace car pits in and the race starts.
At the same time as the red signal goes out, the green signal lights on and the race starts. It is permitted to accelerate, but it must maintain grid order until passing the control line.
Redo the race start
If it is determined that it is not possible to start the race, for example, because the formation in two row has not been formed, the pace car continues to run without pit in, then rolling lap is continued. Each time the rolling lap is continued, the number of race lap is reduced by one lap.
If it is determined that it cannot start the race after the pace car enters the pit, the red signal remains light on and yellow flag continues to be waved at the all observation posts.
The race car runs one lap without overtaking, then the pace car arrives at the ahead of the formation and starts a rolling lap again. In this case, the number of laps is reduced by two laps.