Flags

What is the meaning behind those flags? Communication is a key component for on track safety. The flags provide essential information to drivers on track conditions and alerts about any incidents ahead. In club racing, where not everyone has a radio, the track officials and corner workers want to make sure drivers know if there is a safety or surface issue ahead. Some tracks are even replacing flags with large light panels. So what is the meaning behind the flags used in road racings?

White flag.png

WHITE FLAG

The white flag is shown when there is an emergency vehicle on the course. The white flag displayed at the starter stand indicates one lap to go. Often in SCCA the starter will also put out a single finger to indicate the last lap.


GREEN FLAG

Waved at the start/finish tower to begin the race. Also shown in the hot pit to indicate the session is in progress.


YELLOW FLAG

A standing yellow flag indicates there is something hazardous ahead off the race track and drivers should slow down. No passing is permitted under a yellow flag.

A waving yellow indicates that there is a hazardous situation on the track ahead, drivers must slow down and be prepared to avoid the situation.

Double yellow flags indicate a full course caution displayed at all corner worker stations. No passing is allowed anywhere on the track and drivers must slow down. If the situation continues the safety car will be deployed and racers will line up in single file behind it.


RED FLAG

A red flag is shown at all corner stations and indicates there is an issue with the sessions and drivers should come to a controlled safe stop within view of a corner worker.


CHECKERED FLAG

Black and white checkered flag indicates the end of the race or session. The checkered flag is shown first to the winner as they cross the start/finish line.


BLACK FLAG

The waved black at all corners sessions indicates there is an issue with the session and all drivers need to go to the pits.

A single waved black flag given to a driver indicates there is an issue and you should pit and see the officials.

A furled black flag pointed at a driver indicates you are doing something inappropriate and you should cease and desist.


MEAT BALL

Black flag with an orange circle indicates there is an issue with your car and you should pit. Common issues include smoke, oil, coolant or gas leaks.


PASSING FLAG

Blue flag with a yellow diagonal stripe is an advisory flag indicating that faster cars are approaching and attempting to pass. It is also joking referred to by some faster racers as there is a race going on and you are not in it.


Surface Flag

The red and yellow striped flag indicates an issue with the track surface ahead either oil, dirt, rocks, gravel, gas, coolant or a combination that might affect traction.


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James Chartres

San Jose, CA