Looking at the snaps from Donington, there were an unsual number involving hand signals. Which was good.
Before the manoeuvre
These pictures are a bit blurry because they were taken from the Donington pitlane entry grandstand of Simon Davey about to be lapped by Hayden Edmonds and James Drew-Williams. The second pic is an enlargement of Simon. We asked him to confirm that he was signalling "I know yiou are there and I am expecting you to pass to my left." Over to Simon, who is arguably one of the country's most experienced single seater club racers.
"Yes - it's actually a "backhand" action with the left arm over the lip of the cockpit pointing to the left. If you use the right arm to point left (or vice versa) it simply isn't visible from behind (unless you have very long arms!)
However (1) it's important that any hand signals are consistent with the positioning of the cars involved. If you are in the centre of the track and the guy behind is shaping up to pass on the right, then pointing to the left will only confuse the situation! The interpretation "I know you're there and I am expecting you to pass to my left" is exactly correct.
If I am being passed approaching or in a braking zone I will usually point to whichever side is relevant and make a forward motion with my arm as well ie "please get on with it before we arrive at the corner - I will not turn in on you or run wide and trip you!"
However (2), all this only works if you know who is behind you!. This means constantly scanning your mirrors and carrying a 180 degree image of what is behind you plastered on the inside of your head. It's hard to see a car more than 1.5 seconds behind you and you cannot see it at all if it is more than 3 seconds behind. If you are being lapped, then in a 60 second lap, if the faster car is lapping 9 seconds a lap faster he crosses the gap from being invisible in your mirrors to hitting you, in less than 10-20 seconds. So you have to look in the mirrors at least every 5 seconds to have any chance of usefully knowing what is happening behind you. Obviously once someone is into the 3 second visibility zone (whether they are lapping you or dicing with you) you need to monitor them pretty much constantly, and especially know where they are as you approach the braking and turn-in point to the next corner. In a race once the leader has lapped you, you can be sure that there are plenty more where that came from, so you have to watch your mirrors more frequently once lapping starts.
Please note that there are also things that the driver of the faster car can do to minimise the risk of a lapping accident, but I'm concentrating on the car being lapped here!
In a multiclass category like Mono biggish speed differentials are going to happen, so the "lapping scenario" described above is pretty common. In single class racing like FF1600 it is usual that there are more tight dices for position and less lapping. In a dice the good guys not only know exactly where a following challenger is positioned at every corner turn-in point, apex, and exit-clip; they also observe how fast they are relatively at these points, and so can judge where they are gaining or losing ground, or are at risk of contact, and change their driving accordingly. Just waving past someone in a much faster car is easy in comparison... "
After the manouevre (a different one)
Neil Harrison passes Chris Kite and a raised hand and wave thanks Chris for behaving as a gentleman, which of course we would expect from somebody of his experience. (Though as they are both solicitors, maybe a it's a secret sign....)
After the race
As he crosses the finish line, Matt Walters waves at the startline marshalls to thank them. And yes, being a gentleman he waved all round the track to the marshalls. I did a day with the marshalls at Oulton earlier in the year and there is no question that they really appreciate a wave of thanks.
Into the pits
James Gordon-Colebrook enters the pits and makes his intentions clear.
Don't do this
Unless you are as cool as Steve McQueen. And I can only think of 1 driver who is as cool as Steve McQueen. He isn't in Mono.
Tony Cotton & the wise words of Simon Davey
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