Understanding track limits in Le Mans Ultimate

Understanding track limits in Le Mans Ultimate

This guide details the workings of Track Limits monitoring in Le Mans Ultimate and covers a range of areas including:

  • Ensuring that drivers do not gain time when running off track.
  • Contact with outside walls.
  • Running off track or completely cutting the Pit Exit.
  • Passing Cars during a Track Limits violation.
  • Penalties for driving backwards or the wrong way.

System Overview​

Track Limits can be configured to one of the following profiles: None, Default, Strict and Relaxed. This is configured on the advanced session settings page in Race Weekend.


These profiles set up the thresholds for penalties and warnings for infringements. In non-race sessions the penalty is just to invalidate your current and possibly next lap depending where you are on the lap (e.g. last sector). In a race you earn points. Once you pass a points threshold which can be configured a drive through penalty is issued. Additionally, a single infringement of at least 3 points also triggers an automatic drive through penalty (e.g. cutting first chicane at Monza!).

A Steward notification banner will show when a driver is at risk of an infringement. They will have a brief opportunity to slow down whilst the violation is calculated to avoid a penalty, however, it does not show by how much.

The notification will however give you a colour indication based on your infringement

  • Green = below the session-configured warning threshold
  • Yellow = above the warning threshold but below 2x the "points step"
  • Orange = above the point step threshold but below the track limits penalty threshold
  • Red = above all thresholds.

If drivers pass another driver while off track illegally, a steward notification will appear and advise them to do so - players will have 15s to give up the place. The system will ignore cars that are off track, driving slowly, in the pits or have DNF’d. Note that if further positions are gained during 10s period, this time will be extended.


Cut Track Detection​

A track cut is defined as leaving the legal bounds of the race surface and re-joining it and gaining a lasting time or positional advantage from it.

By default, the game detects if the car is off track by using the car's average track width. This means to ensure you do not instigate an investigation you need to two wheels inside the white lines or 4 wheels on the curbs.

The calculations for cut track take into consideration the following:

  • Did the driver gain time whilst off track - The system compares the expected lap time from the point the driver leaves the track and to the point they rejoin and serves penalties points for any time gained.
  • Ratio of time gained - This increases the penalties for the higher ratio of time gained, making short sharp cut more costly. It is strongly recommended to avoid cutting the apexes of tight turns!
  • How long has the driver spent off track - The longer drivers spend off track, the more time drivers need to lose to not be penalised.
  • How long did we have the throttle down off track? The more we use throttle, the more time we need to lose to not be penalised.
  • How far did the driver travel in relation to track distance - This will give a little more leeway if drivers run slightly wide and rejoin the circuit and make cuts which travel less distance more costly. This effect is scaled down on the shortest of cuts.
  • How fast did the driver leave the track - If the driver leaves the track with excess speed this will gain extra points.
  • Did the driver gain extra Speed on rejoin – The system samples the driver’s speed difference over 25 ticks to calculate if they have gained an advantage on the rejoin speed. This means that if the driver rejoin withs more speed vs the expected speed at the points, versus the speed the driver had when they left the track, they will gain penalty points. This calculation is only applied if the driver has enough points already to be concerned and they rejoin at a speed faster than expected.

Once the driver returns to track the system now takes some time to consider the situation to see if the driver is trying to correct for their errors, under control or even going quick enough. This will help reduce false detections and receiving warnings for principally making a mistake.

The following factors must be present before a cut track is scored:

  • At least a set amount of time must have passed since re-joining (2 seconds) and a maximum of (5 seconds). Extra time will be permitted if a driver was passed illegally.
  • The time after cut above depends on if the beneath conditions are met or not. If the beneath conditions are not met, the cut will be scored after the maximum time.
  • The driver must be accelerating and travelling with in a range of the expected speed. This means that a driver who is running slower than expected will reduce any penalty points, where as a driver travelling faster will gain more.
  • The driver must be travelling close (with in 3m) of the racing line. This means if they rejoin away from the racing line more time is afforded until they are travelling more closely to it since this may be giving a false indication of the size of the cut.
  • The driver must be travelling in the direction of the track. This prevents rejoining backwards etc causing problems.
  • The driver must not have passed any cars illegally. More on this below.

The system will handle if a driver passes over the track and off again during a track limits violation provided it is within the limits set above and will continue scoring the cut until they finally rejoin properly.

Passing when under Track Limits Investigation​

The system logs any positions gained when a Track Limits investigation is underway.


At the time of position change the system logs cars which meet the following criteria:

  • The car must be travelling with in a reasonable speed of the expected speed.
  • The car must not be in the pit-lane
  • The car must not be off the race track
  • The car must be travelling in the correct direction
  • The driver must currently be close to earning a warning with our track cut.

Then at each point during the process the system re-checks the above criteria and only score the cars that are behind the driver and meet this criteria.

The track limits info dialogue shows the current state of play, with the number of passes made illegally and also the name of the driver closest that the driver needs to give the position back too.

An initial 15s is given to return positions. If a place is gained with 50% of the time remaining, a further 50% of the initial time will be granted to prevent drivers from being penalised at the last moment before scoring the incident.

Note that if the driver slows down a lot but do not return the place, they may not be penalised if the driver gives up enough time. Similarly, if the opposition driver slows down to try to instigate a penalty for you, the pass maybe automatically removed. However, the system does not attempt to figure out if you cut and knocked another driver off the track for example.

Wall Riding Detection​

The track limits system features detection for wall riding. The amount of wall contact logged is scaled by the amount of throttle input. If the driver is not accelerating, they will not be penalized.

The detection works on both a per incident basis and also over the entire lap. Depending on the penalty mode selected, different allowances are set. Note that on strict mode in non-race sessions nearly any contact with the wall will invalidate your lap.

Wall contact starts a generic track limits violation, and the system will monitor for passes immediately after wall contact. However, time gained calculations do not start unless the car runs out of legal bounds at some point.

Pitlane Violations​

If a driver goes from the pitlane to the race track at a non-valid point (e.g. crossing the white line on exit) then a warning is provided. In strict mode this is an automatic drive through.

Track Limits Violations in non-Race sessions​

In sessions other than race, the following will happen:

  • The offence deemed strong enough to earn warning points in the race, it will invalidate your lap.
  • The offence was after the last major braking point, your next lap will be invalidated. This position is automatically calculated by the game.
  • The offence deemed strong enough to earn an automatic drive through penalty in the race, it will invalidate your next lap too.

Track Limits Violations in Race sessions​

In race sessions warning points are awarded for Track Limits violations.

  • If the number of points earned in one goes exceeds 3 points the driver will be given an automatic dive through.
  • Otherwise, the points are added to a tally, and at a set amount of points that can be configured a drive through penalty will be given.
  • If you significantly go over the points tally via large cuts you will be given a stop-go penalty, with the stop time variable to the severity of the cuts.

Wrong Way Driving​

If a driver goes the wrong way down the track they can be disqualified. However, the system will take into account how far away from the racetrack they are and how quickly they are travelling as well as trying to give the player as much time as possible to react.

Differences between Default, Strict and Relaxed profiles​

Compared to the “default” profile, the “relaxed” profile makes the following changes:

  • Various calculations are more lenient with regards to time spend off track and when you drive further than the racing line would.
  • During race sessions passing for position while off the track incurs 40% less penalties points
  • Wall riding is only calculations are 50% more lenient.

Compared to the “default” profile the “strict” profile makes the following changes:​

  • Any off track in non-race sessions invalidates your lap time.
  • The penalty points for passing a car during track limits violation are increased.
  • Touching a wall in non-race session for 0.05s will result in the lap being invalidated.
  • During race sessions passing for position whilst off the track incurs 40% more penalties points
  • In race thresholds for wall riding are halved.
  • Illegally rejoining the main race-track from the pitlane before defined points will receive a drive through penalty (if pitlane penalties are enabled on this track).
Studio 397
First release
Last update
5.00 star(s) 1 ratings

More resources from Studio 397

Latest reviews

Great system. Fair but it can be lenient. Only drawback is that it's possible to cut corners while defending, gain time, and only receive a slight penalty.