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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
With Le Mans coming up I started thinking about scoring. I probably don't have this right but from what I think I know, there is curious possibility of an ambiguous finish. Someone set me right.

I thought the race ends when the lead car on the lead lap crosses the finish line after the requisite time, in this case 4PM. Essentially the race is 24hrs plus whatever time it takes for the leader to come around to the finish line. Maybe I have this wrong. Everyone else's finishing time is recorded whenever they cross the finish line after the leader. This produces some interesting strategy possibilities. For example, if the leader is worried about, say, running out of fuel but not worried about being passed and is positioned to cross the line right around 4PM, the smart thing to do is slow down so as to cross the line after 4, not before. Crossing before 4PM means he has to run an additional lap during which anything could happen and jeopardize his win.

So here is a curious scenario. The leader crosses the line at 3:59:50 and has to run another lap. The 2nd place car crosses the line at 4:00:10, 20 sec behind the leader. But the leader spins out or breaks down on the next lap. Technically he would be a DNF. But the second place car crossing the line can't be declared as having ended the race because no one could say at that time that the leader would or wouldn't have finished, let alone know whether the DNF occurred before or after the 2nd place car crossed the line.

Now, maybe the finishing time doesn't work that way. Maybe I have it wrong and the race nominally ends as soon as any car crosses the line after 4PM, and everyone else's time is registered, along with their lap count, when they cross the line. The problem with that is someone could be a dozen laps in front, any random car crosses the line after 4PM, and then the leader breaks down. When the last car is finished he would clearly have run more distance than everyone in the requisite 24hrs, but would still be a DNF. In a different scenario with that timing system, he could be in front when car X crosses just after 4PM, but a 2nd place car passes him as they are coming around to the finish. He would seemingly have gone a greater distance in the 24 hours but would still have to sprint for the finish line beyond the requisite 24 hour time period.


All of these scenarios seem flawed. So what's the real story?
 

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Something like this happened a few years ago where the Toyota broke down on the last lap and Porsche passed them taking the win, and the Toyota got a DNF (and not second place). The rule at that time was you had to be running at the end to be classified. That is why some cars with bad damage would hang out in the garage until then end, and then go our right at the end to be classified.


As a result of this race there was talk that the rule should be changed to classify finishers based on the distance run and not whether or not they were running at the end. Not sure if that rule change ever happened though.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Something like this happened a few years ago where the Toyota broke down on the last lap and Porsche passed them taking the win, and the Toyota got a DNF (and not second place). The rule at that time was you had to be running at the end to be classified. That is why some cars with bad damage would hang out in the garage until then end, and then go our right at the end to be classified.

As a result of this race there was talk that the rule should be changed to classify finishers based on the distance run and not whether or not they were running at the end. Not sure if that rule change ever happened though.
Thanks for reply! It is, or at least was, as I thought.

The alternative of tracking laps completed still wouldn't solve the dilemma because though the scorers would know how many laps the non-lead cars had completed they wouldn't know when or even if the lead car was coming around. They couldn't checkered-flag the non-leaders on the hypothetical last lap of the leader because if the leader did come around they should still be racing until they came around too. And if the leader didn't come around their relative position would have been pre-determined by their finishing order on that lap, but they wouldn't have known it and would have continued to race unnecessarily! Maybe that's why the rule was never changed - the cure was worse than the disease.
 

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White flag (last lap) is given as the leader passes. If the leader stays in the lead they are the winner and the following cars are placed accordingly. If a car passes the leader then that car is the winner.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
White flag (last lap) is given as the leader passes. If the leader stays in the lead they are the winner and the following cars are placed accordingly. If a car passes the leader then that car is the winner.
Understood. But the 24hrs isn't done by counting laps for a set distance like NASCAR. You, i.e. they, really don't know which lap will be the last. If the lead car comes by with just enough time left for one more lap maybe, the scorers can't know if he will or will not actually complete another in the remaining time. So the white flag could thrown wrongly.

Fortunately that is their problem, not mine!
 

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I think here is your answer. Straight from the IMSA rules.

https://competitors.imsa.com/sites/default/files/reults/downlods/2019_imsa_sporting_regulations_and_ssr_iwsc_blackline_052919.pdf

ARTICLE 49 – CONCLUSION OF RACE
49. CONCLUSION OF RACE
49.1. Once the duration of the Race expires or when the distance to cover is achieved, the pit exit is
closed and the checkered flag is displayed to the Car running first in the overall scoring order as it
crosses the finish line on the racetrack. If the Car shown first in the overall scoring order has not
crossed the finish line on the racetrack once the duration of the Race expires or when the distance
to cover has been achieved, the checkered flag is displayed when the next highest placed Car
crosses the finish line on the racetrack.
2019 IMSA SPORTING REGULATIONS & SERIES SUPPLEMENTARY REGULATIONS for the IMSA WEATHERTECH SPORTSCAR CHAMPIONSHIP
98
49.1.1. In Races of a given distance, the checkered flag is given first to the leading Car, then to the
other finishers as they cross the finish line.
49.1.2. In Races of a timed length, the checkered flag is given first to the leading Car as it crosses
the finish line at or after the expiration of the specified duration, then to the other finishers as
they cross the finish line.
A. If the leading Car is not running at the expiration of the time limit, the checkered flag is
displayed to the next highest running Car (not necessarily the winner) in the same
manner. If the leading Car is disabled at the expiration of the time limit, the Race Director
shall determine the time permitted for such Car to complete the final lap prior to the
display of the checkered flag.
49.1.3. Should the checkered flag be inadvertently or otherwise displayed before the leading Car
completes the scheduled number of laps or before the prescribed time has been completed,
the Race is nevertheless deemed ended when the flag is displayed.
49.1.4. Should the checkered flag be inadvertently delayed, the results are based on the positions
at the moment provided for in the scheduled Race length or distance. If the delayed checkered
flag is inadvertently or otherwise displayed to a Car other than the leader, it is considered a
delayed finish as though the flag had been given to the leader.
49.1.5. The checkered flag is displayed for a maximum of five (5) minutes.
49.1.6. It is not required to take the checkered flag on the racetrack to be eligible for a finishing
position, championship points and/or Point Fund / Prize Money.
49.1.7. To be listed as “running” in the results, the Car must cross the finish line on the racetrack
when the checkered flag is displayed except in case of “force majeure” at the Race Director’s
discretion.
49.1.8. Cars are ordered in the results according to the number of whole laps completed during the
Race subject to any penalties applied. For Cars completing the same number of laps, the time
when the Cars cross the finish line determines the order.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yet another race-rules question for you cognescenti. TIA.

I've been enjoying watching the IMSA Weathertech endurance series this year. This weekend I had the opportunity to see the last four hours or so of the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. Great fun.

The TV guys never seem to stop talking but I wish they would be more informative. For example, I would love to hear, or read here, a 50-word-or-less description of the differences between GTLM and GTD. I guess you're just supposed to know that. Of course the GTD cars are slower and of course they are named for um, let me guess, Le Man and Daytona. Yeay, yeah. but given the seemingly obvious fact that they are built to specs defined for those two races, what exactly are those major differences? To the naked eye they look the same on a TV screen when they are going too fast for anyone to see details.

The camera work doesn't exactly help. In a typical scenario a car comes at you with the number out of site on the doors. Just as it approaches a turn so the number will face the camera the camera shifts to something else. So, like, what was that yellow car that just went by? I dunno', didn't catch the number. The on-screen graphics help a little but mostly they focus on drivers' names and the illegible car number. Just when you see something interesting and comprehensible, they switch the graphics around. It took me half an hour before I could figure out who was driving what.

Even so, it was quite a race, nice exciting finish.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for that link. Unfortunately it doesn't say much more that my posting above hadn't already stated - the GT classes, and prototypes too, are named for the track where those rules apply. One is faster, one is slower. Great. The rest of the verbiage is just fluff. Let's see if I remember - the technology makes the car faster, or doesn't. The technology defines the car, or the other way around, or something.

If my sweetie (of 41 years, and who tolerates and occasionally shares my car-nerdiness) were to ask me why the GTD cars are so much slower all I could tell her is that the rules are different so they go slower. What are the key differences? I dunno', couldn't say, could only guess.

IMSA's brilliance is, I think, that instead of forcing manufactures to changes their cars from venue to venue to accommodate the different rules, they simply defined different classes for each. I remember when IMSA was formed. The complaint at the time was that having different rules everywhere made it impossible for a team or manufacturer to run an efficient race program. Sanctioning bodies like SCCA often changed the rules inconveniently. IMSA was formed to fix all that.
 
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