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I’ve been thinking about the group rules and wondering why they are as they are. Right now Green is exactly the same as Yellow and White is exactly the same as Black.
It used to be that White had less passing zones than Black. Now they’re the same.
Last weekend the White group got a lesson about giving earlier pass signals. Shouldn’t that be taught in Yellow?
I have a suggestion and I’m curious as to other people’s opinions on it.
Leave Green as it is, obviously.
Give Yellow the extra passing zones between 1 and 2 and between 2 and 3. Have the instructors teach the students in Yellow how to give pass signals after the apex and how to let by multiple cars in a passing zone.
Leave White as it is. Students now know how to use those zones and should give good pass signals on their own.
Give Black open passing like the Red group. It seems odd that people who aren’t interested in being instructors aren’t given the same track experience the instructors have.
I’m basing this suggestion on the fact that having the White and Black groups effectively the same doesn’t seem right and that I attended a DE with another group and they had open passing (except at the apexes) just like our Red group and it was a lot of fun.
I would take issue with your comments on a few levels.
Green & Yellow are not the same. In Green we have novice drivers who have a steep learning curve at the track and are obviously slower and less likely to be on-line than the more advanced groups.
Being in the Yellow group means you have mastered the ‘basics’ and proven to an instructor that you can be fairly consistent with your driving, know the line and understand the work zones as well as learning to watch your mirrors and be courteous to other drivers. The Green and Yellow run groups are limited in their number of drivers (we have different cars/mile rules for different run groups) and therefore do not need more than the three passing zones.
We do not move Yellow Students to White without still having an instructor in the car initially to familiarize them with the extra passing zones and much greater traffic. To be in White, you should be consistent, smooth (including being able to heel-and-toe) as well as able to pass and give pass signals cleanly. White has the greatest variation of any run group when it comes to skill levels and experience. You have drivers just moved from Yellow and others ready (or nearly ready) to move to Black. Drivers of all levels need to demonstrate they can handle these different capabilities while showing respect for all their fellow trackies at all times. Note that we do not promote drivers based on their speed (you cannot expect an 8-valve 944 driver to be as quick in a straight line as a 911-GT3 driver), but on their ability and behaviour.
Black run group are the advanced Solo drivers that have shown they have mastered the values that make them safe, smooth and able to handle rapidly changing situations. It is also the run group that poses the greatest challenges to our track team. At this level, the cars tend to be faster, either because of horsepower or better driving ability. Speed differential can be an issue, but it is one that any Black driver should be able to handle safely and with respect to the slower cars. Big egos abound in this run group and we have also noted a sense of entitlement by some drivers who think that slower cars should get out of their way as soon as possible. Such behaviour is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. Everybody pays the same to participate in our DE events and should be given the same level of respect, regardless of what they drive. With 5 passing zones on a 2.5 mile track such as CTMP/Mosport, you should have the patience and respect to adjust your pace and hold back until you receive a passing signal from the car in front. Having ‘Open-Passing’ would not resolve such issues.
We have in certain instances when run group numbers are low, combined the Red and Black sessions and allowed open passing, just as is done at the Club-Race Touring group. It is fun, but it requires a much greater level of both respect and skill between the drivers and if we see those attributes in a driver, (sometimes because of a check-out ride) they get noticed and brought to my attention.
UCR Chief Instructor
I realize from your response that I need to clarify what I meant by the equality of the groups. They’re definitely not the same with respect to the level of skill of the drivers in them. I meant the equality only with respect to the rules in each of them.
The rules are the same for Green/Yellow and for White/Black.
When suggesting the additional passing zones for Yellow, it has nothing to do with making it easier to get through traffic or with preventing trains. It would have to do with getting accustomed, with an instructor, to what a student is going to be doing in White. This is especially important when adding in the additional skill of giving passes before the end of a turn.
There seemed to be a lot of concern in the classroom session we had in the White group about taking a hand off the wheel before tracking out. That feels very different in turn 2 than it does coming out of 3, 5, or 10. In the Yellow group, students could learn this with the guidance of an instructor.
There’s also something to be said for the sense of accomplishment of graduating up to being allowed to do something you weren’t previously allowed to do.
Getting into the White group can be very stressful as it is. I remember my first time going out solo and realizing that everything was now wholly on my own shoulders. I had to know if someone was behind me. I had to know which flags were out. There was nobody there to depend on for backup.
Adding in brand new things like new passing zones and different ways to pass when there’s nobody there to guide you seems unnecessary when that could all be done in Yellow.
The same is true for moving from White to Black. When you make the move from White to Black… what difference does it make? What does the student gain from this transition?
I’m encouraged by the idea of combining the Black and Red groups. I didn’t realize that was a thing that happened. Since we’re having record numbers of students at events now, is it anticipated that this could still happen in the future? Are there certain events we should try not to miss, such as May and October, that are less full and have a better chance at this happening?
Finally, note that I don’t look at open passing as an opportunity to get by slower cars quicker. It was my experience that it was a lot of fun among similar cars just giving and taking late passes and adjusting lines through the corners to enter side-by-side and have it completed before or after the apexes.
It’s not about getting by people. It’s about having fun on the track trying different things and getting to know other drivers.
I hope this clarifies my earlier comments and gives some context to the changes I suggested.
Yellow students are still learning and as you have indicated in your response, the use of passing zones between 1 & 2 and 2 & 3 takes a bit more confidence than at other zones. That is why we had the classroom. To burden Yellow drivers with that added pressure makes no sense. We now put instructors in with Yellow graduates in White for that reason, to teach them the new passing zones and see how they handle the traffic.
As I tried to explain, the difference between White & Black is purely experience and ability. Why should there be any different rules from one to the other?
To clarify my comments about combining Black and Red, this only happened when we had very small numbers (maybe ten in each group on a Sunday afternoon) and it is not anticipated to be repeated anytime soon. Especially with the number of participants we get now at every event.
Without a difference in rules, there doesn’t seem to be a sense of progression. What’s the difference to the student between White and Black?
Maybe at least let the Black group pass between 4 and 5.
I was asked why I want to be in Black group. I gave the wrong answers. I’m trying to figure out what the right answer is but all I’ve got left is “because that’s where my friends are”.
I’m genuinely trying to be helpful here. At least consider my ideas and maybe bounce them around in discussions. I’m not suggesting anything wild and crazy. There used to be a difference between White and Black. Now there isn’t. You guys determined that the White group could handle the extra passing zones. I’m suggesting maybe the Black group can as well.
I spent a lot of time in all the groups. White is much slower then black when both groups are of equal size. Black is very experienced and have a lot of trust in the others driving in the group. Passes are given early and without hesitation. Generally it is fast and it does have the same issues as white when promotions from the lower group gets it’s newbies.
Black does get mixed with Red quite often from past experience mostly during club races or braiden events. The extended passing is a good learning and trusting time.
I am on the fence about the extended passing zones, I think yellow should be taught them early even though at most times only the red group really uses them. Yellow is aware and displayed ability to watch their mirrors and give passes. I also try and teach taking late passes with no one there so they can feel comfortable to deviate from the line and so they do not sling shot out back onto the line after the pass. This usually consists of having to take an inside entrance fast and then slow right down and stick to the inside results in a much slower exit speed then if you were on the line.
Anyways great question and great responses from both sides. Bottom line is there is a difference between these groups doesn’t matter the specific passing rules applied.
Hey, great topic and discussion. Fun Fun Fun.
I drive in Black and there is no doubt it can be an aggressive group. Spec race cars, track specific cars, high horsepower newer models, and the classics all mixed together with experienced, capable drivers. Capable, but not always courteous. I have seen passing without signals, cars playing hopscotch with their friends without regards for others, refusing to give pass signals to faster cars (or drivers) and tailgating in a non passing zone (into turn 9 for eg) – like this will motivate an early pass signal after 10, which it doesn’t, its just dangerous and annoying. However, things have improved a lot this year and each run is different from the last.
That said, the Black run group can be exhilarating and it has nothing to do with the passing zones. The speed, skill and awareness to pull this off safely is what is exciting. Doing this all at speed SAFELY and confidently is the key, and that is the sense of accomplishment you are referring to. You don’t need to move up run groups to feel a sense of accomplishment and that ought not to be the measure of it, although I certainly understand that it is validation of improvement. Once you get to Black, you need to judge yourself to feel a sense of accomplishment.
Passing between 4 and 5 would be manageable, between 8 and 9 or 9 and 10 more challenging, but it is not going to distinguish the black run group from the white run group as much as the sheer pace and skill required to manage the current rules safely. That said, i can certainly understand why the passing zones for Black have not been expanded because I can also anticipate the issues it may well cause- bottlenecks at 5A and god knows what at 9. its not just courtesy, Black is a big group with lots of traffic often. I am good with how they are all things considered.
Kevin, come join us for a run and you’ll see what I mean….
I’m looking forward to it, Paul! Hopefully in the spring. 🙂
Passing in the more advanced areas is not about how fast you are but much more about the cooperation between you and the person being passed. You really have to be courteous and considerate of each other. No one needs to pass between 4 and 5 or 2 and 3 etc. but it’s really great when someone slower than you is generous enough to throw you a pass at those spots. And I say generous because they really have to be ready to adapt their line and check their speed to accommodate the person passing.
It takes experience and finessed judgement to asses whether the person wanting to passing you is close enough to make the move and get it done. Will you be able to give them enough room? Will they be able to get it done before the apex? You have very little time to make all those decisions. And you want to be able trust the other person to be able to also make those judgements. All that only comes with more seat time and with trust in your fellow drivers. You want to get to know the guys around you and be comfortable with each other’s skill level.
It’s also best to focus on getting as much out of each session and instructor and event as you can. What kind of skills are you picking up? Is it feeling smoother? Are you feeling more comfortable? How consistent are you? Get as much feedback as you can. If you are continually thinking about where you are ranked and how fast you are advancing through the run groups you are missing the point and likely in a head space that is going to impede your ability to learn.
Just some thoughts.
I just want to mention here that I started a similar discussion on Rennlist a few minutes after starting this one here.
I didn’t start that one out of any differences of opinion with anyone here (nobody had replied here yet) and mean no disrespect to any of the organizers at UCR.
The other discussion was geared toward hearing about how other groups run their DE’s to get an idea of how things are different.
I seem to be getting a reputation as some sort of upstart troublemaker or something. That’s really not me at all. I seem to voice my opinion more than anyone would like me to but I’m not trying to say anything is being done poorly or any such thing.
I’m just looking to stoke discussion and make suggestions where I think they’re useful. If they’re not, then so be it.
Kevin, you and I almost met last weekend, maybe in October?
First, nothing wrong with voicing your opinion, as long as you keep an open mind and accept that others might not see things as you do, and that there might be other reasons for things being the way they are. It’s a lot better to discuss ideas and get them in the open than it is to keep them to yourself and feel misunderstood. And who knows, it could start a discussion and help change or improves things, even if it’s just minor tweaking… or just underscore the need for better communication.
Second, wanting to move up to black to “drive with your friends” is legitimate; it’s actually what happened to me. I was at Tremblant, in white, and wanted to drive with my cousin in black. I asked the CI for a check ride, assuming that it would just be for the rest of the weekend. Imagine my surprise when he told me that, that was it, I was now a black driver.
Third, in my view, moving to black is as much about attitude and awareness as it is about driving skills, if not more. Normally, as an experienced white driver, the driving skills should be there. Smoothness, car handling, driving the/a line, being courteous, etc., are similar to what you will find in black. The FLOW, however, is better in black. You get the early point-by’s that allow you to pass without having to slow down; there’s a higher level of trust between drivers; there is more predictability, and other than actual car performance, it tends to be a more homogeneous group, but because of varying car performance, everyone needs to be PATIENT 🙂
Yeah, more passing zones might be nice, but there’s more to it than that; the groups have different dynamics, regardless of where they can pass, and with such large groups, changes must be considered carefully; let’s not change what isn’t broken… if it’s not broken.
Additionally, and as you can imagine, the new breed of GT cars, with their incredible performance, creates a new challenge for the track team: “Wow, that was a good run, but was it the car or the driver…?”. It’s not always obvious.
But don’t worry, we have a very capable track team that has everyone’s safety at heart, so I think that we are in good hands.
Are you the guy from Quebec with the GT3RS? If so, then we definitely met earlier this season and chasing you around was some of the most fun I’ve had in any UCR DE this year! 🙂
Incidentally, if I got too close or made you uncomfortable, please see my apology in the thread below this one. That was never my intention.
The things you’re mentioning about the Black group having better flow and earlier point-by’s are exactly what I was expecting from the Black group and were things I’d mentioned as reasons I wanted to be there. Apparently the message that actually got sent though was that I’m too impatient and aggressive.
I agree that discussions and explanations are good for everyone.
What I’ve learned from this discussion and the one on Rennlist though are that it’s probably best that I stay out of them going forward and keep my opinions to myself. Not because opinions aren’t valued. Rather, because I apparently do a piss poor job of expressing mine without coming across as an asshole, and that’s not a reputation I’m looking to foster here.
This past weekend I reviewed my video from my failed check-out ride to see where I can do better next time and honestly can’t for the life of me see any point where I’m driving aggressively or tailgating or anything that would be considered disrespectful. With that in mind… all I can think of is that it comes down to the things I said and the things I pointed out on the track. I recognize when I need to slow down before a corner because I’ll get too close to the person in front of me. I recognize when I should have been given a pass but didn’t. My mistake seems to be in pointing those things out to the instructor.
Rod called me out on the Rennlist thread, suggesting that I started the discussion there because I didn’t like the answers I was getting here.
That wasn’t the case… but the response shows how I’m being perceived and I’m definitely not doing myself any favours. Rod was my first ever DE instructor and I think of him as hugely influential in how much fun I’ve got out of this sport over the years. If he thinks I’m being a jerk, then I’ve definitely failed in my intentions.
With that in mind, as I mentioned earlier I’m stepping away from all off these discussions and will keep my opinions to myself going forward. Not because opinions aren’t appreciated or any such thing. Just because I’m obviously not very good at expressing them and don’t want to keep shooting myself in the foot. I’m not helping anything here by being a constant squeaky wheel.
No Kevin, I’m an instructor that almost got to go out with you for a second check ride on Sunday. Look me up at your next event and I’ll be happy to chat, and go out with you if you want.
I don’t know, you’re kind of saying the right things on here, and pretty much on Rennlist too, so voicing your opinion might not be the issue. How about the tone of your comments? And by that I mean in person, because your written word appears objective.
You say ” I recognize when I should have been given a pass but didn’t. My mistake seems to be in pointing those things out to the instructor”, but how did you point that out? Was it just a “oh, by the way”, or were you upset about it? If the latter, then definitely a wrong answer, just saying.
I don’t know you, but maybe you’re just a passionate guy, and that’s a good thing (I would know), but sometimes we need to take a breath, lol.
I appreciate that, Francois. I’ll come look for you in the spring and we’ll go out and have some fun. 🙂
You got it Kevin, and in the mean time, I’d be happy to chat offline; ffaust at cogeco dot ca