Milner and Sharp take on WEC's red flag rules

Both racers were not happy with the way things were handled at COTA.

In the FIA World Endurance Championship Six Hours of Circuit of the Americas, Tommy Milner’s Corvette was leaving the pit lane after stopping for wet tires when the red flag was displayed, leaving the car stranded in the pit lane per WEC safety car rules.

The rules encourage you to not pit in those circumstances and stay on the race track and be a danger to yourself, to corner workers, to other cars that have spun and stalled

Tommy Milner

 

The officials gave the teams the chance to change tires after the red flag had been displayed, which did not go well with the Corvette driver, leading to some interesting comments after the team’s race was ruined.

Tommy Milner slams WEC red flag rules

“You’ve basically given everybody an incentive at that point," Milner told Motorsport.com "The smartest thing to do, this sounds completely insane, the smartest thing for us to have done in this situation was stay on the [wet] race track on slicks. And if you look at what happened with the cars that did that, everyone crashed. So the rules basically encourage you to not pit in those circumstances and stay on the race track and be a danger to yourself, to corner workers, to other cars that have spun and stalled. So the system is wrong there.

Milner added, “So the system in that situation I understand it’s extenuating circumstances, but the system failed us and a couple other cars and ruined our race which was unfortunate, but you know the series did everything by the book, by the letter which is what they should do but now it’s time to look at it and say ‘that’s not quite right, let’s fix it."

The Corvette was held in the pits as every car that was in front of the overall leader was waved around the pace car, and with most of the are being GT cars, that lost the team a lap. Then, the cars in pit lane were released after all cars were given the green flag to go racing, so the team lost a second lap sitting in the pits. Corvette Racing finished seventh in class as Milner shared driving duties with Ricky and Jordan Taylor.

Scott Sharp not happy either

Extreme Speed Motorsports team co-owner Scott Sharp had a similar situation to the Corvettes as they were leaving the pits at the same time.

“I think it sort of screwed us up a little bit," said Sharp. "We came in as guys were going off left and right and I almost went off, fortunately I didn’t, just creeping around trying to get back to the pits, we did that, changed to rain tires and as we were leaving the pits they threw the red flag, so we had thought that put us under Tudor or ALMS rules that would put us in a good spot, we’d be the first with all our pitstops done and we’d be going on out and we’d be ahead of everybody but instead for some reason, […] we actually ended up getting put back to the back of the field and basically in so doing lost a lap.

ESM ended up finishing third after Sharp, Ryan Dalziel and team co-owner Ed Brown shared driving duties.

Milner had one last message for the rules makers.

“They really should look at the rules and say ‘Okay, this isn’t right, let’s adjust, let’s fix them.’ If they say ‘We’re not going to make a change because we can’t write a rule for every situation,’ fine, except that that’s a serious safety issue, because if you’re Audi, Porsche, Ferrari or Aston Martin, in the future that happens, you have to leave your cars out and wait for a red flag to come, and you risk wrecking your car, you risk a lot by staying out there."

"But if you pit and you get trapped in pit lane, you’re guaranteed to basically lose your race at that point too, so you might as well have your driver putt around as slow as he possibly can. It doesn’t make any sense to be out there on slicks in a completely soaked race track."

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About this article
Series WEC
Drivers Ryan Dalziel , Scott Sharp , Jordan Taylor , Tommy Milner , Ed Brown
Teams ESM Racing , Corvette Racing
Article type Interview