GCR 9.1.1: The Responsibility...rests with the overtaking driver. The overtaken driver has the responsibility to be aware...and not to impede...The overtaken driver shall not block. Any driver who fails to make use of the rear view mirror, or who appears to be blocking…, may be black flagged and/or penalized.*
That’s it. All of it. The entirety of the “Rules of the Road” regarding drivers dealing with the presence of each other. Succinct, isn’t it? If not downright cryptic.
Actually its rather verbose compared to the usual bench racing pronouncement. “whoever has his nose in front has the corner”. One wonders why we would be interested in something so simplistic.
Such statements usually come at the end of a discussion of some racing incident, which in turn was likely caused when one or both drivers ignored the real rule of the road: Know where the other one is if at all possible and, whether it is or not, leave room for him or her to survive the moment.
Having your nose in front does not mean you own the corner. That other car is still present, is still racing, and has the right to enough space to exist. Just a car width plus a few inches, that’s all.
And, if you are in the other seat and that guy does not have his nose in front , it does not mean he or she doesn’t own the corner either. If you drive all the way to the apex and that car was far enough up or coming on so fast that contact can reasonably be expected to happen, you just violated the rule. He or she could even be fully behind you but be obviously committed to the inside at such a speed that you can no longer move into that path without being hit. You must be aware of the relative speed and car placements, then decide what you can or cannot do. It all comes down to judgment.
That is the core of racing, the very essence of it. If you demand or need the entire road to race, go Solo I instead. Wheel-to-wheel racing centers on dealing effectively with the presence of each other and still racing. You should be able to get or stay in front by superior skill &/or equipment, not by your willingness to commit mayhem.
Being a race car driver entails leaving that car width plus inches, then instantaneously picking and driving a racing line using the part of the road left to you.
It is everchanging and requires intense constant concentration while operating at the car’s limits within the situations. It has no hard, set rules like ”nose in front”. That’s as untenable as the “rules” of emergencies. (What do you do when a car spins in front of you)? How should I know? I’ve only had a few hundred of them. Simplistic souls say steer for it, hit the gas, scream “Oh S…”. What happens is, you take in endless bits of information, process it, make a decision, act, reevaluate, act again, and so on — all faster than onlookers can gasp and jump to their feet. That’s what makes race drivers. We do not react. We think, at speeds that seem to be reactions. We revel in that ability. And the volume of our thought processes in those moments explains why a brief incident can require so much description.
If you cannot do this, you are no race driver. That’s why being one is such a big deal. Who would care if anyone could do it?
And if you insist on disregarding the other guy, moving over knowing contact is likely, you are also not a race driver. You are a jerk. A fast jerk, possibly, but a jerk nonetheless. Any other story is b.s.
You are also somewhat shortsighted. Contact between cars tends to unsettle them, to make the moment ragged and uneven, and that has never been the description of how to go fast. It also causes damage to your car, damage that may end your race and that you yourself have to pay for. Why one would choose to cost himself unnecessary expense for the privilege of going slower escapes me.
Racing will give you plenty of opportunity for that without your assistance. Untimely mechanical foul-ups, human errors (your and others), and occasional bad luck will at times manage your charger. You don’t need to encourage that with an attitude that racing is sheer nerve and guts. It’s not. It IS concentration, attention, and skill —– skill that delights in showing the other guy that you can drive around him and still do it faster. That’s where our attitude shows.
- Mike Carney