There will be changes to the Safety Car procedure at CSCC meetings in 2020, as the pit lane exit will no longer be automatically closed during a Safety Car intervention.
Since the very beginning of the club, our safety car rules have stated that the pit exit will be closed, and cars will only be able to rejoin the circuit at the end of the convoy behind the safety car at the end of each lap, if the Clerk of the Course deemed it safe to do so.
But for 2020, the CSCC Safety Car regulations will revert to those in the Blue Book:
Appendix 2 Q.1.8. While the safety car is in operation, competing cars may enter the pit lane, but may only rejoin the track when signalled to do so and not when the Safety Car and the line of cars following it are about to pass or are passing the pit exit. A car re-joining the track must proceed at an appropriate speed until it reaches the end of the line of cars behind the Safety Car.
The original rule was adopted on the grounds of safety, as this was at a time when pit stop racing was rare at club level. There was a fear that drivers of mixed experience might exit the pits and drive too fast to catch the rear of the ‘crocodile’, in the process putting marshals and rescue crews at risk.
The major downside from a sporting point of view is that a closed pit lane can cost a competitor a race, going a lap or more down. With the introduction of Code 60, it was felt that the slower speeds improved safety in this regard, therefore reassuring the Clerks to leave the pit exit open in most instances.
What has prompted this change?
Pit stop racing at club level has become more familiar, with other clubs adopting Motorsport UK regulations on Safety Cars.
Feedback from many quarters confirms the view that Code 60 has it merits but is not an ideal solution when used for long periods over multiple laps, where maintaining 60 km/h is difficult.
Driver feedback, particularly during last years survey, where many of our competitors asked us to review this rule.
Our Clerk of the Course, Mike Heath, has also given his support to changing to Motorsport UK regulations.
In the event of an on track incident the Clerks still have the full suit of solutions available to them to facilitate the clear up, from local yellow flags, Code 60, Safety Car and the Red Flag. The choice of which one to use will always lay with the Clerks, based on information they can see and receive form CCTV, marshals and observers, combined with local circuit staff knowledge.
The CSCC remains committed to marshal safety and well being, so woe betide any competitor exiting the pits under a Safety Car driving at ten tenths. Disciplinary procedures will be brought to bear from both the Clerks and the club on any competitor putting volunteers at risk. Changing our safety car rules was a large step and involves trust that you, our drivers, will respond with respect on the track. So if the pit exit light is on green and SC boards together with yellow flags/lights are being shown, please enter the track at an appropriate speed to catch the rear of the Safety Car crocodile.