Go-Kart Racing Flags: What Do They Mean?

Racing flags are one of the most overlooked and misunderstood things in go-kart racing. When you’re on the track, you’re usually fully engaged in the race and are most likely planning your next overtaking maneuver. This can easily cause us to overlook when track marshals waive flags. This is very common and people watching go-kart races are usually much more aware of flags than the people on the track.

In go-karting, there are 7 race flags that you should remember. It’s important to know what each flag means, because they signal to all racers what the current situation on the track is. Some flags can even be directed directly at you! If you aren’t sure what they mean, then you’ve come to the right article. Let’s take a look!

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All 7 Go-Kart Racing Flags

Here is a list of all the 7 karting flags that you should know before you go onto the circuit. I will explain to you what each flags means, and what you should do in the event that you spot a marshal waiving one.

Green Flag: Go!

A green flag signals that a race has started. More sophisticated tracks may use a traffic light system for race starts. A traffic light system signals the start of the race, when all the green lights have turned off.

What should you do when you see a green flag?

When the green flag is being waived, or when the green lights go out on the traffic light, it’s time to kick-down on the gas pedal. The race has officially started!

Yellow Flag: Caution!

When the yellow flag is waived, the marshal is signaling a caution or warning. This can happen if there has been an accident or a go-kart has collided with a barrier and is blocking the path. This also means that no overtaking is allowed.

What should you do when you see a yellow flag?

When you see a yellow flag, you must pay attention to the track conditions and what is directly in front of you. Pass the track hazard with great caution. You must stay in your current position and may not overtake any other go-kart that is still in the race. You are also advised to reduce your speed.

Red Flag: Stop!

A red flag signals that the race has stopped, possibly due to an accident or track obstruction. It may be an emergency and you may see marshals on the track. 

What should you do when you see a red flag?

When you see a red flag, you must bring your go-kart to an immediate and controlled stop. No kart is allowed to continue as the race is stopped. Do not get out of your go-kart unless you are instructed that the race has permanently stopped. If the red flag signaled a temporary stop, the marshal will signal you to continue, once the hazard has been cleared.

Blue & Orange Flag: Passing!

This racing flag is blue in color with an orange, yellow or red stripe from the lower hoist to upper fly (bottom left, to top right). This flag is always issued to a particular driver and signals him or her to allow the driver behind you to you pass safely. 

What should you do when you see a blue & orange flag?

If you see this flag, it means that you are being overtaken by a faster driver and you must give way. The best thing to do in this scenario is to move out of the racing line, so that the go-kart behind you can safely overtake you and to avoid any accidents. There is nothing wrong with being overtaken, but we must give way to more professional drivers, especially on a crowded race track.

Black Flag: Infraction!

A black flag is also directed at a particular driver and indicates a safety infraction. This could be due to reckless or unsafe driving that does not comply with the circuit’s safety regulations. On some tracks, this could also mean that you have been disqualified from a race. 

What should you do when you see a black flag?

When you see that a black flag is being waived at you by the marshal, you must immediately stop driving recklessly and unsafely. This could have been issued you if you have been bumping into track objects or other go-karts during the race. In this scenario, it’s best to tone down the aggression by a notch until you have mastered maneuvering your go-kart more effectively.  

White Flag: Last Lap!

The track marshal waives the white flag to signal that this is the last and final lap of the race. The white flag is a useful reminder that you are about to finish a race, as you can easily lose track of the remaining laps. 

What should you do when you see a white flag?

When you see the white flag, give your last lap all that you’ve got before finishing your race. The next flag you will see after this will always be the checkered flag.

Checkered Flag: Finish Line!

This is arguably the most popular flag in go-kart racing. It signals that the final lap has been completed and that the race is finished once you pass the finish line. 

What should you do when you see a checkered flag?

When you see this flag, you’re on your home stretch towards the finish line. Once you’ve passed the finished line, you have officially completed the race! Well done!

Conclusion

This racing flag guide should give you an overview of what each flag means and more importantly how you conduct yourself on the race track when a flag is being waived at you. Go-kart racers often oversee them in races, which can cause disqualification or lead to track accidents. Make sure that you always keep a clear lookout for a marshal when you approach the end of each lap. 

Before you start racing your go-kart on the track, it is recommended that you familiarize yourself with all the rules and flag definitions of each respective race track to ensure that you fully understand what they mean. Some tracks may have slightly different or modified meanings. Enjoy your race, and good luck!

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