It takes many people to hold a road racing event. There are a number of functions that are needed before the first race car rolls out onto the track. The following is a list of some of these functions with links to get to their individual site, or to a person in the region that you can contact for more information.
The Competition Committee is responsible for the planning and implementation of all club racing activities in the region. This group sets the race dates, event schedules, event budgets, etc.
So, you’re a driver that suddenly find himself at the track needing a king pin sleeve for a 1953 MGTD. These people support and assist the drivers and crew with transportation around the paddock, answering questions and other miscellaneous duties including finding parts when their cars need them. They also assist in conveying information between the other specialty groups.
Emergency Services – Course Marshal
Their main responsibility is to clear the track of disabled and stopped vehicles. Some of these cars may have a mechanical problem or they may simply have run out of gas. In either case, they need to be towed back to their paddock area by the Course Marshals. Other responsibilities include distribution of corner equipment, assisting in clean-up of soiled track areas, and the retrieval of information from the corners.
Emergency Services – (Fire / Rescue)
Every once in a while, a driver does something he wishes he didn’t do. The Emergency Services group is primarily comprised of firemen, paramedics, EMT’s, and nurses.In case of a mishap it is up to these people to respond in a timely manner, put out any fire, extricate the driver if necessary, render any required aid, and arrange for transportation of any injured parties.
Flagging & Communications
Standing on every corner of every race track around the world are the ‘people in white’. This specialty, commonly referred to as “corner workers”, is actually made up of three subspecialties. Flagging, Communications, and Safety. The Flagging and Communications worker may actually participate in all three areas throughout a given day without ever leaving his or her station. Flaggers relay information to the drivers on course with a variety of different flags. Communicators use radios at each corner to call race control and advise them of any changes that will affect the drivers on the course. The third part of this specialty is Safety. Corner workers assigned to Safety go to an incident scene to provide a first response and communicate back to the corner what stopped cars may need in the way of assistance.
The Grid workers are responsible for “gridding” the cars, or arranging them in the order in which they qualified. They also “spot check” safety items before a driver goes out on the course..
This group’s responsibilities are divided over several areas and vary depending on the weekend. They work with the Registrar to sort out membership and licensing problems so that people may more smoothly pass through Registration. They are also in charge of the club merchandise sold by the region. At our spectator events, they prepare and staff a Membership Information display, providing the race fan with information on how to get involved with the SCCA. Probably this group’s most important task however, is to help new members get involved in the club and participate in a way that they enjoy. This is done a variety of ways including the “Starting Line” and other less formal programs.
If you think the race track sometimes gets crowded, imagine what it is like where the cars park when they are not racing. Paddock is the group that is responsible for ensuring the safe and speedy passage of the race cars to the grid prior to their event, and from the track back to their paddock areas. Paddock also works with Fire and Rescue and all emergency vehicles to ensure spectator safety and to provide clear access for all emergency vehicles
When cars stop on pit lane, their job is to protect the cars, and most importantly, the drivers and crew who might be working on those cars. They do this by making sure the rules regarding safety in the pit lane are followed.
Race Control is a “catch all” specialty covering those people that assist in various tasks that are not otherwise defined. As an example, the pace car driver falls into this category as well as the people who plan the “after hours” activities such as dinners and parties.
Communication between all of the people that are involved is an absolute requirement. The Radio Tech. specialty is responsible to make sure that all of the radios are working properly all of the time.
Your first contacts at any event are the smiling workers of Registration. They make sure you have the proper credentials (photo ID., license, and have signed the waiver) to work your specialty. The goal here is to get your registration done in the quickest way possible, so you can enjoy the weekend of racing.
The Starter communicates the Chief Steward’s instructions to the drivers thru a series of colored flags, beginning with the green flag to start the race. The Starter also uses other flags, including : blue, black, red, yellow, white, and of course, the flag every leading driver eagerly awaits, the checkered flag!
The Stewards are normally long term members of the club, and are very experienced officials. They are usually ex-drivers, and are responsible for the general conduct of a racing event in accordance with the “General Competition Rules”. Stewards are the executive decision makers at an event, and have broad powers to assure the safety of an event and the legality of the race cars. Stewards hear and decide the outcome of protests, and may impose penalties as a result. Like other workers and officials, stewards have license grades that depend on their level of experience. The Chief Steward is the senior official at a race.
Racing noise may be music to a fans ears, but to the nearby landowner it may not be so pleasant. The sound output of the cars is recorded during practice, qualifying and the race to ensure compliance with a set level, usually 103 decibels. At the end of each session the readings are presented to the Chief Steward of the event for review. If a competitor exceeds the limit he is advised and he must make corrections to meet the legal limit or risk disqualification.
There are two primary functions of tech. The first entails a complete visual inspection of all the safety equipment. This includes seat belts, shoulder belts, roll cage, fire system, and general integrity and race worthiness of the car. The second function is to impound cars at the end of a race to determine their legality with respect to the General Competition Rules and the specifications for their class.
Timing & Scoring
This group is responsible for the timing of each and every car whenever they are on the race track. Each lap, each car interrupts an infrared light beam which in turn sends a signal to a timing device. This system keeps track of each car and its individual lap times which go into a computer. At the finish of qualifying sessions, the computer will generate a “grid” list which arranges the cars in order of their times, so that when a race begins, the cars with the fastest qualifying times are first on the grid to start the race. During a race session, they keep track of the overall positions of the cars in the race, and their position within their class.