Competition Rules

Updated June 21, 2022

Section 1 – Participant Requirements


Eligibility

Drivers who participate in PCA Sim Racing must meet the following requirements:

  1. The driver is a current Porsche Club of America member, affiliate member, or PCA Test Drive program participant.
  2. The driver is at least 18 years old. Drivers who are already in PCA Sim Racing as of March 1, 2022, are not affected.
  3. The driver has a current iRacing account in their name.
  4. The driver has registered on the official website registration page.
  5. The driver has accepted the invitation to join the PCA Sim Racing Entry League in iRacing.
  6. Important Note! Until a driver accepts the League invitation on iRacing, they are not fully registered in PCA Sim Racing.

Drivers should allow 24 hours for their registration to be processed, then must confirm their acceptance to the League while logged in to iRacing.

Driver Classes

  1. All newly registered drivers will be invited to the PCA Sim Racing Entry League in iRacing.
  2. Drivers must participate fully in the Entry League program and be approved for competition by a PCA Sim Racing eDE Instructor before participating in a National event.
  3. Upon completion of the Entry League Program, drivers will be assigned to compete in one of four classes: PCA Pro, PCA Club, PCA Sport, and PCA Challenge.
  4. Driver classification groups are determined by prior competitiveness and regard for safe driving in prior PCA Sim Racing events.
  5. Each driver classification group will maintain its own iRacing League.
  6. Drivers will receive an additional iRacing invitation to the PCA Sim Racing league for their assigned class.
  7. Acceptance of an invitation in iRacing is required for access to the league for the driver’s designated class servers.

Zone Groups

  1. Each Zone Group will also maintain its own iRacing league.
  2. Drivers will receive an additional iRacing invitation to their Zone Group’s iRacing League.
  3. Acceptance of an invitation in iRacing is required for access to the driver’s designated Zone Group servers.

Section 2 – General Procedures


Competitions

PCA Sim Racing will hold multiple event types throughout the year. They include:

National Series Racing is an individual driver’s championship open to all classed National League members. Driver’s will compete for the championship in their class. Points within each class will be awarded according to a single points matrix to be specified prior to each series, e., points paid for positions 1 through 60.

Zone Group Championship is an annual competition between PCA Sim Racing Zone Groups to accumulate the most points scored by their participating drivers. This series will qualify ZG representatives in each PCA Sim Racing Class (PCA Challenge, PCA Sport, PCA Club, PCA Pro) that will represent their ZG in the Championships. Each Zone Group determines how many races, the track venues, and the car(s) for the ZG Qualifying Series.

Team Racing Series is the championship for teams of drivers. 2-3 drivers will combine to run longer, endurance-style races that will require driver changes. The TRS Championship is a multi-class competition with each team being assigned to a class based on the classification of each driver (PCA Challenge, PCA Sport, PCA Club, PCA Pro).

Special Event Series & Events include the Entry Class Series, the Arrive & Drive Series, and the PCA Pro GT3 Cup Series. These three leagues have their own rules and guidelines that are unique to their competition. Excepting these three leagues, all other PCA Sim Racing competitions will use the Rules & Guidelines presented here.

Championships & Points

  1. Each class will award its own PCA Driver Class Championship for each National Series.
  2. Each class will award its own PCA Zone Championship for the annual Zone Group Competition.
  3. The driver’s classification will be used for the entirety of each Series, regardless of subsequent changes to the driver’s iRating or safety rating after the start of the Series.
  4. Results are unofficial until they are posted on the official event/series page of the PCA Sim Racing website.

Ties & Tie-breakers

  • Championship points finishing positions are defined in the iRacing Sporting Code under Section 5.7.2 Championship Points Tie Breaker.
  • iRacing’s Sporting Code is available to download as a PDF in iRacing under the “Help & Support” section > “Documents” > “Sporting Code”.

Awards & Prizes

  • An official Series trophy will be provided to the winner in each of the classes that compete.
  • Prizes will be announced before the first event and additional prizes may be announced after the Series has started.

Race Communications

As a condition of participating in PCA Sim Racing, all drivers agree to the following items regarding communications:

  1. While joining the PCA Sim Racing Discord server is mandatory for participating in PCA Sim Racing, it is not used by Race Control during
  2. Race Control will communicate with drivers only through the iRacing voice chat function during the event and never on Discord.
  3. It is strongly recommended drivers set up multiple keys for race comms.
  4. Drivers must use Push-to-talk (PTT).
  5. Use only the in-game voice function on iRacing during the race.
  6. If you and your race spotter would like a private Discord channel on the PCA Sim Racing Discord server, please send a request.
  7. No competing driver or the driver’s spotter may enter a competitor’s private Discord channel. If they do, they may receive an on-track penalty during the event.

Post-race Interviews

  • The winner of each race will be interviewed by Podium eSports on the PCA Sim Racing Discord channel.
  • Winners should navigate to the Podium eSports category and join the Interview Waiting Room channel immediately after the race.
  • Podium eSports will do a microphone check with you then you will be moved to the Broadcast channel for your interview.

Post-race Discussions

  • Should a driver request a post-race meeting with Race Control for any reason, please send a Discord direct message (DM) to Doug Atkinson.

Technical Issues

  • Any driver who has a bad connection will be alerted by Race Control and may be asked to park their car in the pits until the problem is resolved.
  • If there is an additional problem or their connection remains unstable, they will, unfortunately, need to leave the server so it does not affect the race quality for other competitors.
  • Any driver leaving the server because of connection issues is welcome to rejoin the race once they have resolved their internet problem by rebooting their computer, their router, or reducing the load on their home connection.
  • Drivers with a poor internet connection may be removed from the race.
  • Do not connect to a PCA Sim Racing event via a wireless connection. Use only Ethernet cabled connections.
  • iRacing is suffering from an increased amount of netcode problems. It is strongly suggested you watch this video to understand netcode and its impact on sim racing.

Custom Livery Painting

  • Custom paint schemes are permitted and encouraged but must comply with iRacing’s broadcast criteria and iRacing Custom Paint Policy.
  • Custom paint schemes should be uploaded to Trading Paints and configured for use by your iRacing account.
  • Alternatively, custom paint schemes can be configured in the iRacing Paint Shop.
  • Unless otherwise noted, all national event entries must use the PCA Sim Racing Series template for their class.
  • Make sure you are using the correct iRacing base design pattern for your car! READ THIS IMPORTANT INFORMATION.

iRacing Server Capacity

  • iRacing events offer limited grid space, with maximum participant limits varying from track to track. We anticipate full grids for most events and all four national classes have more league-registered drivers than iRacing slots available.
  • We strongly encourage drivers who wish to participate in ANY event to join the server as soon as it becomes available in order to secure their spot in the event!
  • Drivers are requested to notify the Steering Committee if they are unable to join due to capacity issues.

Driver Conduct

PCA Sim Racing is dedicated to Sportsmanship and Comradery.

Verbal abuse, including the use of profanity and calling out others in a derogatory manner (passively or actively), is inconsistent with these concepts. Verbal abuse, whether of a fellow driver or Race Control, will not be tolerated.

Profanity is unacceptable and inconsistent with Sportsmanship and Comradery.

Neither is acceptable.

  1. The first offense may/will result in a warning.
  2. The second offense may/will result in disqualification from the race in which the verbal abuse occurs.
  3. The third offense may/will result in disqualification from the league.

Any use of profanity may result in disqualification from the league – even on a first instance.

Section 3 – Race Procedures


Practice

  • Practice sessions will be one-hour in duration for Series events unless noted otherwise on the series webpage.
  • Special events may have practice sessions of different lengths. Please refer to the event webpage details for information.

Qualifying

  • Drivers have 10 minutes to complete up to 3 timed laps during the qualifying session, the quickest of which will be used to determine the qualifying position for the race.
  • Unless otherwise stated on the series/event webpage, qualifying will be closed sessions (only the driver’s car visible on the track).
  • Important Note. The server will be advanced at the end of the defined qualifying session, e.g., when the server reaches 00:00 in qualifying, it advances to the race grid.
  • Drivers will not be able to complete a lap after the server clock reaches 00:00.

Race Starts

  • Races start when iRacing shows the green flag / green lights.
  • There are no League restrictions passing once the race has started.
  • iRacing AI’s race start restrictions are still in effect.
  • Those can be found in iRacing’s FIRST Sporting Code.
  • A link is available in iRacing under the “Help” > “Sporting Code”. They are reproduced below:

5.6. Starting
5.6.1.Road Course
5.6.1.1 Road race starts may be from a standing or rolling start depending on the series.
5.6.1.4. If the start for the road course is a roiling start, oval rules apply as stated in Section 5.6.2.
5.6.2. Oval
5.6.3.1. Standard oval race starts will be in the form of a rolling start.
5.6.3.2. Once all drivers are on the grid, the pace car will lead the field around the track and exit the course as late as possible to enter the pit lane.
5.6.3.3. As the front row of cars approaches the start/finish line, the green flag will be shown, signifying the start of the race.

  • The race starts may be revised based on driver conduct.
  • The PCA Sim Racing Steering Committee will review race starts in each Series and if necessary, additional rules may be applied during Series.

Starting from the Pits

Due to the number of cars on the grid and the configuration of some circuits, there are instances when starting from the pits could result in an on-track advantage for the driver starting from the pits.

For that reason:

  • Drivers are not allowed to start from the pits unless they are directed to do so by iRacing AI.
  • If a driver must start from the pits they are required to remain in the pit lane until the last car on the gride has cleared the pit exit.
  • Drivers must notify Race Control they will be starting from the pits.

Tire & Brake Warming

  • It is forbidden to warm tires or brakes before the start of the race, e.g., weaving around, hard braking, hard accelerating, etc.
  • Warming tires or brakes is forbidden because online racing lag can be most prevalent at the start of a race when cars are bunched-up for the start, and an “accordion” effect is much more likely to happen.
  • If a driver is observed by Race Control attempting to warm tires or brakes, they will receive a drive-through penalty from Race Control after the start of the race.

First Lap Orange Zone

In-race penalty

  • If Race Control sees a driver hit another driver’s car that causes an incident, the driver will be given a 10-second stop-and-go penalty for each infraction.

Post-race penalty

A driver that causes an incident in the Orange Zone:

  • due to loss of control, or
  • leaving the racing surface

That results in:

  • another racer(s) losing positions, or
  • receiving a meatball flag requiring an unscheduled pit stop for repairs

May receive an additional grid spot penalty in the next race they participate, on top of any in-race penalty.

Flags

Blue Flags

  • Blue flags are advisory that a faster competitor is following you and not a mandate or directive to pull over.
  • However, a driver who does not heed a blue flag for corner-after-corner is eligible for a blocking penalty by Race Control.

Blocking

  • You can adjust your line one time if you have someone racing for position trying to overtake.
  • After that, you must hold that line and allow the overtaking driver the opportunity to pass.
  • That does not mean you have to lift and let them pass, you just may not swerve back and forth to block them.
  • The penalty for blocking is a drive-through.

Rejoining the Track

  • After a spin or incident, drivers must rejoin the track safely and not affect an upcoming driver’s racing line. Be patient!
  • Do not pull back onto the track without a clear line of sight for the track behind.
  • If you cannot see far enough behind you, stay off-track in the grass and slowly drive until you get to a straight section of the track where you can see ample distance behind your car.
  • Drivers should not back their cars onto the track unless there is absolutely no option.
  • A one-second stop-and-go penalty will be applied if a driver is deemed negligent in unsafe track re-entry.

Pitting

PCA Sim Racing events will frequently require at least one pit stop. Drivers should be familiar with the process of completing pit stops safely.

  • Drivers should adhere to all pit lane speed limits. That information is in the ‘Info’ tab after you join the server. It is highly recommended that a button be assigned in your iRacing settings to allow for easy activation of your car’s pit speed limiter.
  • Do NOT back up in the pits if you miss your stall by more than half a car length. If you do and iRacing applies a black flag, Race Control will not clear the penalty. (Backing up slightly if there is a minor overshoot is okay.)
  • Drivers should NEVER stop in their pit box if iRacing informs you that you have a ‘Drive Through’ penalty. It means exactly that, drive through without stopping. iRacing AI and Race Control will not clear your penalty and you will be required to come back into the pits.
  • It is advised that drivers should never try to service their cars while pitting under penalty. If you do, iRacing AI will hold you for an undetermined amount of time.

Shared Pitting

  • Because of the potential grid size, you may share a pit spot with another driver.
  • If a car is in your pit spot, go ahead and pit as you would normally. Because iRacing does not use collision detection in the pits, two cars can pit and be serviced in the same spot simultaneously.

Passing

The overtaking driver has the primary responsibility for the completion of a clean, safe pass but…

  • the driver being overtaken cannot alter his line to block the (faster) overtaking car.
  • the driver being overtaken cannot alter his line to impede the (faster) overtaking car.
  • the overtaken driver cannot brake-check the faster overtaking car.
  • the overtaking driver cannot turn in and squeeze the overtaken driver that’s on the inside of a corner and force them off track.

PCA Sim Racing uses the following two documents to address who owns the racing line:

Official Results

Once the event has concluded, the server replay is downloaded then uploaded to the archive and made available for drivers to review.

At the deadline time for submission, IRRs are sent to the review group for processing. The IRR review group is comprised of multiple people who are not affiliated with PCA Sim Racing in any way but are long-time, knowledgeable racers and enthusiasts. No drivers or members of the PCA Sim Racing Steering Committee are in the review group.

The Chairperson for PCA Sim Racing acts in a conduit role for the IRR process and is not a voting member of the IRR review group.

That is why there is a delay before posting official points.

Section 4 – Race Incidents


Incident Overview

  • Incidents may be reviewed IN-RACE, POST-RACE, or both IN-RACE and POST-RACE.
  • Race Control reserves the right to discuss and seek counsel about an incident with drivers not participating in the event.
  • No intentional wrecking or spinning of another car will be allowed regardless of whether it is horseplay or serious during any event session. This applies during practice, qualifying, race, and post-race sessions.
  • Drivers are welcome to celebrate their accomplishments post-race (g., spinning donuts) but the celebration should never impede drivers still on track who have not taken the checkered flag.
  • Race Control reserves the right to disqualify any driver who is driving intentionally recklessly or intentionally driving in a retaliatory manner.
  • A driver intentionally driving recklessly or intentionally driving in a retaliatory manner may be reviewed by Race Control.
  • If a driver self-spins and causes other cars to have an incident, the spinning car will be charged with the accident.
  • Race Control may apply a penalty up to and including being banned from the Series.
  • Regarding the severity and application of penalties, Race Control will apply punitive measures either IN-RACE, or POST-RACE, or both IN-RACE and POST-RACE commensurate with the infraction.
  • Race Control will also consider the flagrancy and impact on other drivers involved in an incident.
  • IN-RACE penalties assigned by Race Control may include a loss of a finishing position — or finishing positions — in the current race results before results become official.
  • Race Control has the authority to DISQUALIFY (DQ) a driver, as noted.
  • If necessary, finishing positions will be changed and points altered to reflect a disqualification.
  • Netcode – If Race Control determines the trajectory of a car indicates that contact would be imminent even if no contact is made due to netcode, the incident will be ruled as contact and possibly an incident.
  • Self-spin Any driver whose self-spin results in causing another driver(s) to attain damage will be ruled eligible for a penalty.

Incident Definition

An incident is defined as at least two cars making contact with one of them being turned or spun.

Any driver who, in the sole opinion of Race Control, is responsible for an incident where:

  • a car spins
  • goes off-track
  • suffers other mechanical difficulty resulting from the incident and requiring it to pit directly for repairs
  • an incident of contact resulting in a change of position

….may be warned or penalized during the race or post-race via a Race Control submitted Incident Race Report.

Incident Points

The same incident points used in Series 7 will be used for 2022 unless otherwise noted on the individual series webpage.

After exceeding the incident points limit of 11, the offending driver will receive a drive-through penalty.

An additional drive-through penalty will be applied for each additional 5 incident points thereafter (e.g., at 16, 21, etc.)

Once a driver exceeds more than 25 points, the maximum number of incident points in a race, they will be retired from the competition by the iRacing AI. This will be an automatic function that will trigger once a driver hits the announced incident point limit.

  • Because iRacing works on “no-fault”, both drivers involved in a contact incident will receive incident points.
  • The Steering Committee reserves the right to adjust the incident points during a series.

Important! Incident Points are defined in iRacing’s Section 3.5 Incidents of the FIRST Sporting Code. A link is also available in iRacing under the “Help” > “Sporting Code”.

Incident Race Reports

  • Race Control will be monitoring the event and may determine a POST-RACE Incident Race Report (IRR) is necessary for any IN-RACE penalties.
  • Drivers are encouraged to submit a POST-RACE IRR for review.
  • Race Control will not initiate a POST-RACE Incident Race Report or re-review an incident that has been addressed IN-RACE by the Race Control.
  • Drivers cannot submit an Incident Race Report unless they are involved in the incident. In other words, observing an incident is not grounds for submitting an incident.
  • The Incident Race Report must be completed in full or they will be discarded.
  • The Incident Race Report is the most appropriate way to address incidents between drivers.
  • Penalties may be in addition to any IN-RACE penalties assigned by Race Control.
  • In the case of any penalties applied to a driver post-race, a time penalty will be assessed that is roughly equivalent to the cumulative time spent had the driver served the penalty during the race.
    • For example, the time it takes a driver to enter and exit the pits at pit speed + full duration of the stop for the penalty.
    • This is an attempt to take into account the difference between durations transiting pit lanes. Spa, for instance, takes much longer to transit than Lime Rock.
  • Use only the “Current Time” shown in the iRacing tools below. IRRs submitted not using the Current Time will be rejected from reviewing.
  • Drivers have 24 hours from the time the replay has been posted to submit an Incident Race Report (IRR).

Section 5 – Penalties


Penalties

The following penalties will be applied in the race by iRacing AI and/or Race Control.

A drive-through penalty

  • tire warming
  • brake warming
  • blocking
  • exceeding iRacing incident points during a race
  • each additional 5 iRacing incident points beyond the event limit during a race

To clear a drive-through penalty, a driver must enter the pit lane under green track conditions with no other black flags, and pass through the whole pit lane without stopping in their pit stall. This action will clear the drive-through penalty as the driver passes the pit exit.

A drive-through penalty cannot be cleared if entering the pits while the track is under caution, but if a caution comes out while a driver is already in the pitlane trying to serve a drive-through penalty, the penalty will still clear successfully.

A one-second stop-and-go penalty

  • an Orange Zone penalty
  • unsafe re-entry onto the track

A one-second stop-and-go penalty requires the driver to enter their pit, stop at their pit for one-second then exit.

  • The penalized driver is prohibited from servicing the car at this time.
  • Drivers must uncheck all pitstop mechanics in the black box on iRacing, e.g., tires, fuel, etc.
  • Each penalty requiring a stop-and-go shall be considered a separate and distinct infraction and shall not be combined.

A ten-second stop-and-go penalty

  • causes an accident.

A ten-second stop-and-go penalty requires the driver to enter their pit, stop at their pit for ten seconds then exit.

  • The penalized driver is prohibited from servicing the car at this time.
  • Drivers must uncheck all pitstop mechanics in the black box on iRacing, e.g., tires, fuel, etc.
  • Each penalty requiring a stop-and-go shall be considered a separate and distinct infraction and shall not be combined.

A thirty-second stop-and-go penalty

  • Driver causes an accident where a competitor is forced to retire their car.

A thirty-second stop-and-go penalty requires the driver to enter their pit, stop at their pit for thirty seconds then exit.

  • The penalized driver is prohibited from servicing the car at this time.
  • Drivers must uncheck all pitstop mechanics in the black box on iRacing, e.g., tires, fuel, etc.
  • Each penalty requiring a stop-and-go shall be considered a separate and distinct infraction and shall not be combined.

Retirement from the race

The following items will be justification for a driver’s retirement.

  • causing 3 accidents in a race
  • exceeding event limit for incident points
  • unsportsmanlike retaliation on voice comms or by driving directly into a competitor
  • a driver running so severely off the pace that it endangers other competitors
  • a major, unresolvable problem with a driver’s Internet connection

Serving a Penalty

Please follow the penalty instructions iRacing tells you.

  • If iRacing tells you to ‘Drive Through’, do exactly that.
  • If iRacing tells you to ‘Stop and Go’ for x amount of time, do that.
  • If you receive a ‘Drive Through’ penalty but stop in your box – iRacing WILL NOT clear the penalty and you will have to go around and pit again. This time… drive through without stopping.
  • If you’re using Crew Chief, when in doubt – do what iRacing tells you, not Crew Chief.

Please, do not service your cars under a black flag penalty (for your benefit). Per iRacing Sporting Code Section 7.6.6.5:

‘Serving a Stop-and-Go or Stop-and-Hold penalty should be done without performing any pit service. If any service is done to the car during the penalty stop there will be an additional hold time added to the penalty. To avoid this, unselect all pit service options before entering the pit stall to serve the penalty.’

What this means is, that you ‘CAN’ service your car under a black flag penalty, but if you do, iRacing will randomly assign additional time to your stop. The additional time is not explained to us but could range from 10 to 60 seconds extra. Please make sure to uncheck tires, fuel, tear offs, quick repairs, etc.… before pitting for a penalty if you do not want the extra time added on.

Errant Penalties

  • Race Control ‘may’ clear an errant black flag given by another official or iRacing AI if, at Race Control’s discretion, this penalty was issued without warrant. (i.e., Driver #45 entered pit road at a high speed to avoid an unavoidable crash on the front stretch and tried to slow down, but was still penalized…) This penalty could then be reviewed in the race and cleared.
  • Drivers should be aware that iRacing AI may apply a penalty to a driver that Race Control has no idea the penalty was applied until after the iRacing race log is completed post-race. All Race Control will see is the log with the penalty calculation (1x, 2x, etc.).
  • When requesting Race Control to review something, please be very clear, short, and specific: “Race Control, this is car #45, I received a black flag for coming down pit road to miss an accident, could you please review it?”
  • Finally, errant penalties may be submitted through IRR or in-race, as per the usual channels.

Probation

Justification for Driver Probation

  • Causing 3 accidents in a single race
  • Unsportsmanlike conduct
  • Driving with disregard for the rules at the discretion of Race Control.

Probation Criteria

  • Probation is 1 race.
  • The race cannot be counted as a series “drop race”.
  • If the driver causes another crash during the probation period, he will have his invitation to the league revoked for one week.
  • During that week, the driver must complete at least one eDE session.
  • After completing the re-certification and being “signed off” by the eDE Manager or his surrogate, a new invitation to join the league will be extended to the driver.
  • Note that during the interim period, a driver is strongly encouraged to attend additional eDE events or solicit additional help from the eDE team.