Multi-class racing is a unique challenge that you simply don’t get from other sports and single-class motorsports. Overtaking is such a precarious element, requiring a whole heap of focus and awareness, where one wrong move can destroy all the hard work built up throughout a race.
The ordeal is guaranteed to cause lost time for every car involved, but with the right timing and know-how, you’re able to pass the other classes faster than your rivals can. But why would anyone even consider partaking in multi-class racing when risks are monumentally high?
For starters, it keeps the race interesting and engaging for all parties involved, and the challenge to undertake such a task is thrilling.
In a single-class sprint race, there’s a low chance of coming across another competitor before the chequered flag, whereas in a multi-class event, traffic is guaranteed within every lap after the first phase of a race. Overtaking can seem daunting at first for all classes, but thanks to a bit of know-how through etiquette, every class can make the move safely, and with the least amount of time lost.
The Faster Class
As the faster class, it will get frustrating when you’re stuck behind a slower car in an unsafe area of the track. It is crucially important to keep your cool, be patient, and wait for the perfect time, otherwise, both parties will end up in the wall.
As you’re the faster car, it is your job to make the overtake as safe as possible. Flashing your headlights and divebombing into the first corner at Circuit de la Sarthe is absolutely the worst thing you could do, as this is distracting, dangerous and disrespectful.
The perfect time to overtake by losing the least amount of time is down a straight. Slipstreaming and picking a lane as early as possible is the best behaviour, as this clearly signals your intentions for overtaking. When it comes to a corner, however, the situation becomes less than ideal.
Take Nordschleife for example, a track that is littered with tight corners and narrow roads. Give the car ahead some breathing room while you’re going through a turn, and then show your intentions early as you enter a safe area. Let them take all the time they need to get through a corner, don’t pressure too hard, as they’re running their own race.
Due to the nature of multi-class racing, you will find a scenario where overtaking has to be done in an uncomfortable situation. In these cases, it’s about being clear and predictable, letting the car ahead clearly understand your intentions and making sure the move is completed within the braking zone, rather than into an apex of a corner. Keep it safe, be patient, and you’ll be rewarded with clean air.
So for a quick round-up as the faster class, be patient, keep calm, announce your intentions early, and overtake in the safest manner you can. Don’t distract others by flashing headlights, and don’t risk it all for a divebomb.
The Slower Class
There is no doubt that you will be overtaken many times throughout a race, which will get demoralising if you’re at the back of a pack.
It is very stressful to come across multiple cars trying to overtake you when they’re fighting for a position, so it is important for yourself to keep your communication clear. For every corner they’re staring at your rear headlights, they will be losing time, and the experience can get very distracting if they’re impatient.
It is so important to concentrate on your own race and stick to the racing line. Don’t make any unnatural movements by slowing down or strange positioning, let them do the work and you’ll be rewarded with a short slipstream. By sticking to the racing line, you’re making yourself predictable towards the faster class, which means they’ll be able to understand your intentions, and plan their moves accordingly.
Of course, you will get the odd maniac here and there, with their flashing headlights and erratic behaviour into your rear mirror, but do your best to keep calm and stay on your line.
When they’re flashing their headlights and positioning their car on the inside when going into a corner, this is a clear and dangerous signal that they’ll be making a divebomb. Do your best to avoid them at all costs by braking earlier and give them as much room as possible.
There isn’t much you can do about these types of racers, but it’s best to make the situation as safe as possible through this ordeal. If they’re driving like this towards yourself, they’re doing it to the other slower class cars and they’ll most likely crash into one of your opponents.
So for a quick round-up as the slower class, be predictable, keep calm and let them make the move. Don’t drive off the racing line, and be prepared for those annoying and distracting drivers.
The Multi-Class Language
As this is a multi-class race, you are not racing other classes except for your own. There isn’t any point trying defensive manoeuvres when you’re the slower driver, as this causes lost time for both classes, and is incredibly dangerous.
They’re the faster class, they will overtake you. Clear communication is required by every driver, so everyone needs to announce their intentions as early as possible. Every single car has its differences when it comes to downforce, braking points and racing lines. A slower class can have an earlier braking point to a faster class, so make sure to adjust accordingly and leave enough breathing room for every class when going into a braking zone.
If the platform allows you to do so, keep an eye on the black box or radar to make sure of any upcoming cars. This can prepare you for expecting the next car, helping you judge the arrival of both cars. It’s good practice in general to use this, however, it’s even more crucial to use in multi-class.
It is important to remember that every car in the field is in the same race. They will also come across traffic and lost time similar to yourself, so be patient, and keep your head clear. Multi-class is a unique dance that every car needs to perfect and comes with a great reward. Most importantly, have fun. Keeping the overtakes safe is incredibly satisfying and there is a lot to learn that can be applied to single-class racing.