Full Course Yellow Procedures
You may not be familiar with Full Course Yellow (FCY) flag rules in road racing. FCY conditions require a driver to follow specific rules for passing and pitting. Failure to do so may result in black flag penalties or disqualification. iRacing currently uses NASCAR FCY procedures. These differ from rules used by other road racing organizations such as F1, Indy, IMSA, etc. – rules a dedicated road racer may be more familiar with.
How does a Full Course Yellow work in Road Races?
A FCY caution is signaled via a message box visible to the driver, a message from your spotter, and a yellow flag appears on screen.
The order will be frozen the moment the full-course caution begins. Cars causing the caution or otherwise seen as out of control may not be awarded a place in the pacing order until they are detected as on course and under control.
iRacing Race Control will instruct the leader to follow the pace car. All other drivers must fall in line using the instructions from Race Control that appear on screen. To assist drivers in preparation for a restart, up/down arrows will be shown to help with positioning. Restarts may be single-file or double-file depending on the settings for the race. Follow the Race Control instructions to position yourself correctly.
Failure to line up correctly by the time you attempt a pit entry or the green flag, will result in a black flag penalty. Avoid this by hustling your car to the correct place while under yellow. Don’t be lazy getting your car into position!
In the event your car is damaged or out of fuel during a FCY such that you cannot keep pace – BUT iRacing race control is giving you commands to “catch the X car” – you need to strongly consider towing. There is a good chance you’re going to cause a penalty to someone else and/or yourself. Ultimately, it might be faster to tow.
When there are two laps of pacing to go until the green flag restart, Race Control may restructure the pace lines in preparation for the restart. Racers not on the lead lap may be shuffled down the pacing order, behind racers that are on the lead lap.
While pacing during a FCY, Race Control will signal two laps to go, then one lap to go until the green flag restart. At one lap to go, the Pace car’s overhead warning lights will go out.
During the restart, do not pass the pace car before it enters the pit lane. Your spotter will normally give an audible message letting you know when “the pace car is in.” The restart is decided by the leader unless otherwise directed during the pre-race drivers’ meeting.
In a double-file restart, after the green flag drops, be careful not to pass the car directly in front of you, to their inside, before the start/finish line. This may result in an automatic penalty due to NASCAR rules.
When there are two laps of pacing to go until the green flag restart, Race Control will restructure the pace lines in preparation for the restart. Racers that are not on the lead lap will be shuffled down the pacing order, behind racers that are on the lead lap. Pit lane is closed to all lead lap cars that have not pitted but remain open to Lapped cars. If a lead lap car pits under this condition, he or she will have to serve a green flag penalty stop.
Prior to the “2 laps and 1 lap to go” warnings – The penalty for pitting under a closed pit road is normally an End of Line (EOL) restart.
Prior to the warnings, If you find yourself in a position that you need to pit and the pit road is closed, you may want to consider pitting anyway if the result of not pitting is worse than if you didn’t. Example: You are about to run out of fuel and the FCY drops and pit road closes. If you will run out of fuel and not make it back before your pit cycle, you will be forced to tow. The tow will probably put you down one or more laps to the leader. If you enter and service under a closed pit, you will lose position, but you will likely still be on the lead lap.
Local Yellow Flags
Local yellow Flags are common during races. iRacing race control currently does not enforce no passing under a local yellow, however, the stewards have issued penalties for secondary incidents resulting from local yellow conditions. Use caution when a local yellow is displayed. Incidents under a Local Yellow may receive a higher level of scrutiny from the stewards.