I go to the track pretty often (30 trackdays in 2019 and 22 in 2018), and I’ve worked my way to being an instructor with every group I run with (that’s the only way I could afford to do as many events as I have). As an instructor, I get a used to a level of awareness and courteousness that is frustratingly rare at most trackdays.
At most events, passing is only allowed in straightaways after a point-by. This is a very safe way to run events and helps avoid contact; however, this system requires the participants to work together to ensure that passing happens efficiently and safely. The problem comes when you have faster drivers in slower cars. I’ve put in a ton of seat time and effort into getting faster, and I’m at a point where I can put down some pretty respectable laps in my 178whp BRZ (I run Hankook RS4's which are 200tw summer performance street tires).
I’m fast in the corners and can usually out brake nearly every other car on track, but in the straights I’m among the slower cars. The problem is that passing only happens in the straights. Now, the proper passing protocol is for the lead car to lift off the throttle when they give their point-by; however, many drivers don’t realize how much slower I am than they are on the straights (they assume that all cars that are faster than they are faster everywhere and don’t appreciate how a car can out brake and corner them enough to completely erase their horsepower advantage).
I’ve had a few fellow instructors who didn’t lift for point-bys (instructors should know better, failure to give good passes is unacceptable for instructors), but the issue is most apparent in lower run groups.
This past Saturday, I was running the classroom portion of a trackday and due to scheduling I was only able to drive during the intermediate group (I made sure to bring up passing rules in class and even warned the students that I’d be out there and which car to watch for). Unfortunately, there isn’t any accountability for not attending the class portion of the instruction and some of the students and solo-intermediate must not have attended because I had problems with multiple Corvettes and other high horsepower cars.
So, next time you’re at the track, please remember to lift.