IndyCar revises restart procedure for new season

With visions of messy restarts at IndyCar’s season finale at Laguna Seca, where drivers routinely ran into each other before they rounded the final corner leading onto the front straight, the series has devised a new restart procedure that should curb the embarrassing crashes that happen prior to crossing the start/finish line.

Starting at the opening round in St. Petersburg, IndyCar will paint a restart line at the exit of the last turn and use that line to holds its field in check during restarts.

Unlike NASCAR, which creates a start/restart zone where the leader must start accelerating, the IndyCar line has nothing to do with when the restart process must begin; it’s intended to keep the field in one row as they mash the throttle and get back to racing, and no passing is allowed until a driver has crossed that line.


Although the Laguna Seca race was not the only one of its kind in 2023 that saw aggressive passing attempts during a restart being made before all cars were on the front straight, the race was hard to forget after drivers repeatedly went two- and three-wide into Turn 11 and created mayhem while trying to gain positions before completing the turn.

“This is something that, with the drivers, we came up with during the offseason,” IndyCar president Jay Frye told RACER. “We initially spoke about holding the drivers in a single line until they got to start/finish, but we went with a line at a point where they come out of the final corner. We’ll do this line at all the tracks.”

In another new policy for 2024, IndyCar’s race officials will use the EM Marshaling light panels affixed at each corner to assist in indicating when the race returns to green and complement the waving of the green flag by IndyCar starter Aaron Likens.

The lessons learned by IndyCar with its new restart line at St. Petersburg will applied to the ensuing rounds, and at present, the placement of the line will be specific to each track.

“We’ll get together as we usually do and see what we might do better the second time, and keep doing that as it’s needed,” Frye said. “And we can’t do it like a template where the line is in the same place at each track because the distances are different from the last corner to where the starter stand is located, so that’s something we’ll be working on to come up with what’s best for the drivers.”

Separate from its retooled restart instructions, IndyCar’s race start procedures are unchanged from 2023.

Story originally appeared on Racer