For the price of a couple of cases of beer or some soggy sandwiches served to the marshals at a “pro” level event, I think a far better perk can be distributed that may contribute to the better quality of work provided by the volunteers: a “Pro” Marshal’s Handbook.
I understand training isn’t cheap. United States is a vast country and it’s hard to organize training to each marshal in each region that makes up the various clubs that staff workers and volunteers for different events. So for the sake of consistency I think all the stakeholders should collaborate on the creation of a “Pro” Marshal’s Handbook that will cover the very basic of concepts relevant to each organization, each sanctioning body and each racing series.
Who are the stakeholders?
First: the series. NASCAR (for the two road courses that they do that require volunteer marshals). IMSA probably the most famous one with it’s different racing series from TUSC to CTSCC, as well as Ferrari Challenge, Lamborghini Super Trofeo and the very exciting Porsche GT3/Carrera Cup. IndyCar has the main and it’s Lights series that use marshals on road courses. SCCA Pro or WC Vision with it’s Pirelli World Challenge as well as Trans Am and the Playboy MX-5 Cup Series. And even NASA with it’s 25 hours at Thunderhill which draws professional races to an excellent endurance event.
Second: existing clubs. Sports Car Club of America is the main one because they hold the monopoly on issuing marshal licenses, especially if you as a marshal ever wish to work overseas, you must hold a valid SCCA license. United States Auto Club is an important one as they staff Indianapolis events both car and bike. Race Services Inc in Watkins Glen because of it’s unique and historic importance in American motorsports. USARM because of their involvement in motorcycle events at Laguna Seca. And I’m sure there are others that exist but I may simply be unaware of.
Third: race tracks. There aren’t all that many tracks in the US that host Pro level racing events. Probably the most famous and the most advanced track in the US is the Circuit of the Americas, but it’s not the only one. I would get Daytona International Speedway, Sebring International Raceway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Road Atlanta, Road America, Lime Rock Park, Watkins Glen International, Laguna Seca, Mid-Ohio, VIR and all the others on board for a chance to shape the “Pro” marshal handbook, as legitimate stakeholders because they too hire their own marshals to work everything from track rentals to Pro events.
Fourth: expand all of the above to International bodies. Whether the race track in Canada like the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park or ACIND / Quebec club responsible for staffing their Grand Prix where SCCA marshals are significantly represented every year. Perhaps there are some clubs or organizations in Mexico that may come on board. Or even input from the MSA in the UK, RACB in Belgium, RACE in Spain, ACO in France, AvD in Germany, ATCUAE in the Emirates or CAMS from Australia. If the drivers can race in any series worldwide, why can’t the marshals work officially anywhere worldwide, like many of them already do?
Fifth: the FIA/FIA Institute of Motor Sport Safety. As a global governing and sanctioning body, FIA must be involved in some way, shape or form. That’s an absolute given even when the FIA representative in the US is a simple committee under the ACCUS umbrella made of representatives from each one of SCCA, IMSA, IndyCar, NASCAR, etc.
I have seen efforts by other individuals contributing training materials to their respective clubs. And I want to give credit to those people in the US that do conduct on-the-job training. Capturing their experience in a proper handbook would benefit all of us that may not take advantage of the face-to-face interaction/learning.
What would something like this cost to produce?
Peanuts… literally, small potatoes compared to what proper classroom training costs to set up. But its a critical step in organizing better training opportunities for a place with antiquated systems currently in place.
It may be a long term project but I think I will start my own “Unofficial” Pro Marshal Handbook training manual and use it as a template to approach SCCA, USAC, IMSA, NASCAR, IndyCar, and all the others to get them on board. What have we got to lose from better training? Nothing! There’s literally NO side effects from making this improvement to the training program.
Other countries already offer this. Why shouldn’t we have it too?
I could really use other people’s help with this project. Please Help!