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The Karting Classroom - Unravelling The Mystery Of Karting Flags

Updated: May 23, 2023

This is something that is super important and we need to talk about - safety flags. It sometimes amazes me that I can be waiting in the pit lane to speak with drivers with regards to flags and they don't know what they mean, so here is a quick run down.


If go-karting is a language, these flags are like the alphabet. Each flag tells us something different, so let's dive in and learn what these bright and colorful flags mean.


Green Flag: The "Go, Go, Go" Flag


Think about a green traffic light. What does it mean? You're right! It means "Go!" in go-karting, the green flag works the same way. It's like the starter pistol of our race, waving high in the air to tell us that it's time to press that pedal and speed off.


You will sometimes see this as an Electronic Green Light system like we have at Brentwood.



Yellow Flag: The "Slow Down" Flag


Sometimes, things can go a little wrong on the track. A kart might stall, or someone might spin out, and that's okay - it happens! When there's a problem like this, the yellow flag is used. It's there to warn us to slow down and be careful. Remember, no overtaking and slow down when you see this flag; it's safety first! If you overtake or do not slow down enough then you will receive a Black Flag & that means that your race will be over.



Red Flag: The "Stop Right Now" Flag


When you see a red flag, it means something serious has happened on the track, or maybe the weather has turned bad. This flag means we need to stop right away, no matter where we are on the track and you should come to a standstill as soon as possible and wait for further instructions.



Blue Flag: The "Make Way" Flag


Imagine you're driving slower and someone faster is coming up behind you. The blue flag is like a polite nudge, reminding us to let the faster kart pass. It's all about being fair and respectful to our fellow racers, if a blue flag is shown to you, it is YOUR responsibility to get off of the racing line to allow the faster kart through, it's not for them to find a way around you - GET OUT OF THE WAY!



What NOT to do!!


Black Flag: The "Time Out" Flag


Even in go-karting, we need to follow rules. If someone's driving is not up to a good standard or their kart has a problem, they might see the black flag pointed at them. It's a signal to return to the pits, where if there is a problem with the kart you will be switched to a new one. If the problem is your driving, for instance you may have overtaken on a yellow flag or maybe making excessive contact you will be spoken to be one of the marshals.


Black & White Flag: The "Behave Yourself" Flag


Sometimes in the heat of the race, we might forget to play fair. Maybe someone is being a little too pushy on the track or driving in a way that isn't quite right. That's where the black and white flag comes in.


This flag is split in half - one side is black, and the other side is white. It's a bit like a referee in a football game, reminding us to behave ourselves. When this flag is shown to a racer, it means they've done something that's not quite right, and it's a warning to them to start playing fair again.

If you see this flag being waved at you, it's time to think about what you're doing and make sure you're following all the rules. You do not receive unlimited warnings, this can easily turn to Black Flag and you will need to return to the pits if you do not improve your driving. Remember, go-karting is not just about being the fastest, it's also about being fair and respectful to each other.


Checkered Flag: The "You Did It" Flag


This is the flag we all dream about! The checkered flag marks the end of the race. When you see it, you've made it! You completed the race! Now, it's time to slow down and head back to the pit.



Knowing all about these flags is like knowing the secret code of go-karting. They help us understand what's happening during the race and keep us safe. So next time you're getting ready to hop into your kart and zoom away, remember what each flag means and as ever stay safe out there.


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