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Doubleheader details confirm standing starts

23 January 2013

The IZOD IndyCar Series announced how the new doubleheader events in 2013 will be structured.

This year's season calendar features three doubleheader events, with weekends at Detroit Belle Isle on June 1/2, in Toronto on July 13/14 and finally in Reliant Park in Houston, Texas on October 5/6.

"Doubleheaders are something we wanted to introduce this year to improve the fan experience on a given race weekend," said Beaux Barfield, the race director of the IndyCar Series. "With two races, there certainly is a lot more entertainment and competition."

The two races at each of the three events will be full distance with equal points. The first race of the weekend at Toronto and Houston will both feature standing starts, while the second race at each venue will be the traditional IndyCar rolling start.

Barfield said that the series was looking at adding at least one more standing start to the 19-race calendar this year, but said that it would not be at Detroit Belle Isle due to the recent configuration of the track.

The standing starts will use an FIA-specification starting light system said Barfield. “Once the cars are in their grid spots following formation laps, the five lights will come on one second apart," he explained. "Once all five lights have lit up, between half of a second and 1.5 seconds all the lights will go out, which signifies the start of the race."

Since standing starts are a new innovation to the IndyCar Series, there will be an opportunity for drivers to practice the start procedure during the weekend.

"We would leave the lighting system at pit out and designate a pit stall where drivers can stage themselves and practice standing start launches during official practice sessions," Barfield said. "It's a way for drivers to practice their own launches and get used to the lighting system."

Barfield added that an in-car starting light system had been decided against in case of any pit-to-car radio communication glitches.

In addition, IndyCar announced how the qualification system would work for the two races at a doubleheader event.

Starting positions for the first race of the weekend will be set on the Friday by the usual three-round qualifying process used for street and road course events, with the slowest cars being eliminated before the front rows are set in the Firestone Fast Six pole-shootout. Positions for the second race will be set by the fastest lap times set by car during a single 30-minutes session on Saturday morning.

"There certainly is a lot more for the fans to experience,” Barfield said about the doubleheader events in 2013. “We took that one step further and decided to introduce some of other activities for our race programs that we've been considering for the past few years.”

Barfield also said that the series would be introducing changes to qualifying rules across all street and road circuits starting with the season opener in St Petersburg in March.

In 2012, teams could only use one set of tyres during each of the three segments of the elimination qualifying process, but in 2013 teams will have full control over what tyres they use and when - although using more tyres in qualifying will reduce the number of sets of fresh tyres for the race.

And the duration of the first round of the elimination qualifying will be reduced from 15 minutes to ten in line with the second and third rounds. That's after it was clear that many teams were waiting for up to seven minutes in the opening session for other cars to come out and lay down some rubber before venturing out themselves, leading to a lengthy delay for TV audiences as well as spectators at trackside.

Standing starts process

Countdown
  • A “drivers to your cars” command will be given via radio by Race Control.

  • A “drivers in your cars” command will be given via radio by Race Control.

  • A 3-minute announcement will be made by Race Control at which time only three crew members may remain with each race car.

  • The “drivers start your engines” command will be given via Race Control.

  • The Safety Car will roll and the drivers will follow in single file, starting order.
Formation lap
  • During the formation lap, drivers will remain in starting order with no overtaking and the speed will be set by the Safety Car. Coming to a complete stop to undertake practice starts is prohibited.
Starting Grid
  • At the end of the formation lap, the Safety Car will pull away from the field and the field will take their starting positions. The front wheels of the car must remain behind the grid line.

  • A 5-second announcement will be made via radio by Race Control prior to the start of the light sequence.

  • The red lights will illuminate one by one.

  • The race starts once all red lights go out.

  • A false start shall be declared when a race car moves forward or is out of its assigned position during the light sequence.

  • A penalty will be imposed for a false start judged by the Officials. Decisions by the Officials are not subject to protest and appeal.

  • An Official may be stationed at each light on the starting grid. A waving yellow flag by this Official is an advisory of a disabled race car.
In The Event of An Aborted Start
  • If the start is aborted, the yellow lights will illuminate. Instructions will be given to teams via the radio. The starting procedure may be abandoned and the Safety Car will be dispatched. Any competitors whose actions result in an aborted start will restart from the rear of the field.
Timing and Scoring
  • The timing of the race and all scoring shall commence when the light sequence is completed.



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