Automobile Racing

Formula racing

Main article: Formula racing
Main article: Open wheel car

Modern Formula One car: McLaren MP4-24Heikki Kovalainen testing at the Circuito de Jerez, 2009

The best-known variety of single-seater racing, Formula One, involves an annual World Championship for drivers and constructors.

In single-seater (open-wheel) the wheels are not covered, and the cars often have aerofoil wings front and rear to producedownforce and enhance adhesion to the track. In Europe and Asia, open wheeled racing is commonly referred to as “Formula”, with appropriate hierarchical suffixes. In North America, the “Formula” terminology is not followed (with the exception of F1). The sport is usually arranged to follow an “international” format (such as F1), a “regional” format (such as the Formula 3 Euro Series), or a “domestic”, or country-specific format (such as the German Formula 3 championship, or the British Formula Ford).

In North America, the cars used in the National Championship (currently the IndyCar Series, and previously CART) have traditionally been similar though less sophisticated than F1 cars, with more restrictions on technology aimed at controlling costs.

Formula Three car racing at theHockenheimring, 2008

The other major international single-seater racing series is GP2 (formerly known as Formula 3000 and Formula Two). Regional series include Formula Nippon and Formula V6 Asia (specifically in Asia), Formula Renault 3.5 (also known as the World Series by Renault, succession series of World Series by Nissan), Formula ThreeFormula Palmer Audi andFormula Atlantic. In 2009, the FIA Formula Two Championship brought about the revival of the F2 series. Domestic, or country-specific series include Formula Three, Formula Renault, Formula Ford with the leading introductory series beingFormula BMW[citation needed].

Single seater racing is not limited merely to professional teams and drivers. There is a large amateur ‘club racing’ scene catering for those who want to race single seaters against similar people all over the world. In the UK the major club series are the Monoposto Racing Club, BRSCC F3 (Formerly ClubF3, formerly ARP F3), Formula Vee and Club Formula Ford. Each series caters for a section of the ‘market’, with some primarily providing low cost racing whilst others aim for an authentic experience using the same regulations as the professional series (BRSCC F3).

There are other categories of single-seater racing, including kart racing, which employs a small, low-cost machine on small tracks. Many of the current top drivers began their careers in karts. Formula Ford once represented a popular first open-wheel category for up-and-coming drivers stepping up from karts and now theFormula BMW series is the preferred option as it has introduced an aero package and slicks, allowing the junior drivers to gain experience in a race car with dynamics closer F1. The Star Mazda Series is another entry level series.

Students at colleges and universities can also take part in single seater racing through the Formula SAE competition, which involves designing and building a single seater car in a multidisciplinary team, and racing it at the competition. This also develops other soft skills such as teamwork whilst promoting motorsport and engineering.

In 2006, producer Todd Baker was responsible for creating the world’s first all-female Formula racing team. The group was an assemblage of drivers from different racing disciplines, and formed for an MTV reality pilot which was shot atMazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

In December, 2005 the FIA gave approval to Superleague Formula racing which debuted in 2008 whereby the racing teams are owned and run by prominent sports clubs such as AC Milan and Liverpool F.C..

After 25 years away from the sport, former Formula 2 champion, Jonathan Palmer, reopened the F2 category again, most drivers have graduated from the Formula Palmer Audi series. The category is officially registered as the FIAFormula Two championship. Most rounds have two races and are support races to the FIA World Touring Car Championship.

Racing Drivers View

Touring car racing

Main article: Touring car racing

Super Sport racing car SST In Yas Marina Circuit

Touring car racing is a style of road racing that is run with production derived race cars. It often features full-contact racing due to the small speed differentials and large grids.

The major touring car championships conducted worldwide are the V8 Supercars (Australia), British Touring Car ChampionshipDeutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM), and the World Touring Car Championship. The European Touring Car Cup is a one day event open to Super 2000 specification touring cars from Europe’s many national championships.

The Sports Car Club of America‘s SPEED World Challenge Touring Car and GT championships are dominant in North America. America’s historic Trans-Am Series is undergoing a period of transition, but is still the longest-running road racing series in the U.S. The National Auto Sport Association also provides a venue for amateurs to compete in home-built factory derived vehicles on various local circuits.

Sports-car racing

Main article: Sports car racing

The Audi R8 was one of the most successful sports prototypes ever made, seen here at Road Atlanta.

In sports car racing, production derived versions of sports cars also known as grand tourers (GTs), and purpose builtsports prototype cars compete within their respective classes on closed circuits. The main global championship series for GT car racing is the FIA GT1 World Championship. There is also the FIA GT3 European Championship as well as the less powerful GT4 European Cup. Previously, an intermediate FIA GT2 European Championship existed, but the FIA dropped it to cut costs. Other major GT championships include the Japanese Super GT championship and theInternational GT open for GT2 and GT3 cars. There are also national GT championships using mainly GT3 and GT4 cars featuring professional and amateur drivers alike.

Sports prototypes, unlike GT cars, do not rely on road legal cars as a base. They are closed wheel and often closed cockpit purpose built race cars intended mainly for endurance racing. They have much lower weight and more down force compared to GT cars making them much faster. They are raced in the 24 hours of Le Mans and in the (European) Le Mans seriesAsian Le Mans Series and the American Le Mans Series. These cars are referred to as LMP (Le Mans prototype) cars with LMP1 being run mainly by manufacturers and the slightly less powerful LMP2 cars run by privateer teams. All three Le Mans Series run GT cars in addition to Le Mans Prototypes; these cars have different restrictions than the FIA GT cars.

These races are often conducted over long distances, at least 1,000 km (621 mi), and cars are driven by teams of two or more drivers, switching every few hours. Due to the performance difference between production-based sports cars and purpose-built sports prototypes, one race usually involves several racing classes each fighting for their own championship. Another prototype and GT racing championship exists in the United States, which began in 2000, theGrand-Am, sanctions its own endurance series the Rolex Sports Car Series which consists of slower and lower cost race cars compared to LMP and FIA GT cars.

Famous sports car races include the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Rolex 24 at Daytona24 Hours of Spa-Franchorchamps, the 12 Hours of Sebring, and the 1,000-mile (1,600 km) Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. There is also the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring on the infamous Nordschleife track and the Dubai 24 Hour which is aimed at GT3 and below cars with a mixture of professional and pro-am drivers.

]Production-car racing

Main article: Production car racing

Production-car racing, otherwise known as “showroom stock” in the US, is an economical and rules-restricted version of touring-car racing, mainly used to restrict costs. Numerous production racing categories are based on particular makes of cars.

Most series follow the Group N regulation with a few exceptions. There are several different series that are run all over the world, most notably, Japan’s Super Taikyu and IMSA‘s Firehawk Series which ran between the 1980s to 1990s all over the United States.

One-make racing

See also: One-Design and Spec racing

One-make, or single marque, championships often employ production-based cars from a single manufacturer or even a single model from a manufacturer’s range. There are numerous notable one-make formulae from various countries and regions, some of which – such as the Porsche Supercup and, previously, IROC – have fostered many distinct national championships. Single marque series are often found at club level, to which the production-based cars, limited modifications, and close parity in performance are very well suited. Some of the better-known single-make series are the Radical European MastersJohn Cooper Mini Challenge, and Clio Cup, and at a more modest budget, GinettasCaterhamsBMWs, and MX5s. There are also single-chassis single seater formulae, such as Formula Renault and Formula BMW, usually as “feeder” series for “senior” race formula (in the fashion of farm teams).

]Stock car racing

Practice for the Daytona 500.
Main article: Stock car racing

In North America, stock car racing is the most popular form of auto racing. Primarily raced on oval tracks, stock cars vaguely resemble production cars, but are in fact purpose-built racing machines which are built to tight specifications also called Silhouette racing cars.

The largest stock car racing governing body is NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing). NASCAR’s premier series is the Sprint Cup Series, its most famous races being the Daytona 500, the Southern 500, the Coca-Cola 600, and the Brickyard 400. NASCAR also runs several feeder series, including the Nationwide Series, and Camping World Truck Series (a pickup truck racing series). The series conduct races across the entire continental United States. The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series conducts races across Canada and the NASCAR Corona Series conducts races across Mexico.

NASCAR also governs several smaller regional series, such as the Whelen Modified Tour. Modified cars are best described as open-wheel cars. Modified cars have no parts related to the “stock” vehicle for which they are named after. A number of Modified cars display a “manufacturers” logo and “vehicle name”, yet use components produced by another automobile manufacturer.

World of Outlaws late model stock car on a dirt track.

There are also other stock car governing bodies, such as Automobile Racing Club of America and United Speed Alliance Racing.

In the UK, British Stock car racing is also referred to as “Short Circuit Racing”. This takes place on shale or tarmac tracks – usually around 1/4 mile in length. The governing bodies for the sport are the Oval Racing Council (ORC) and BriSCA. Both bodies are made up of individual stadium promoters. There are around 35 tracks in the UK and upwards of 7000 active drivers. The sport is split into three basic “divisions” – distinguished by the rules regarding car-contact during racing. The most famous championship is the BriSCA F1 Stock Cars. Full contact formulas include Bangers, Bombers and Rookie Bangers – and racing features Demolitions Derbies, Figure of Eight racing and Oval Racing

Semi Contact Formulas include BriSCA F1, F2 and Superstox – where bumpers are used tactically.

Non-contact formulas include National Hot Rods, Stock Rods and Lightning Rods.

UK Stock car racing started in the 1950s and grew rapidly through the 60s and 70s.

]Rallying

Main article: Rallying

Rallying at international and most national championship levels involves two classes of homologated road legal production based car; Group N Production cars and more modified Group A cars. Cars compete on closed public roads or off-road areas run on a point-to-point format where participants and their co-drivers “rally” to a set of points, leaving in regular intervals from start points. A rally is typically conducted over a number of “special stages” on any terrain, which entrants are often allowed to scout beforehand at reduced speeds compiling detailed shorthand descriptions of the track or road as they go. These detailed descriptions are known as “pace notes.” During the actual rally, the co-driver reads the pace notes aloud (using an in-helmet intercom system) to the driver, enabling them to complete each stage as quickly as possible. Competition is based on lowest total elapsed time over the course of an event’s special stages, including penalties.

The top series is the World Rally Championship (WRC), but there also regional championships and many countries have their own national championships. Some famous rallies include the Monte Carlo RallyRally ArgentinaRally Finland andRally GB. Another famous event (actually best described as a “rally raid“) is the Paris-Dakar Rally. There are also many smaller, club level, categories of rallies which are popular with amateurs, making up the “grass roots” of motor sports. Cars at this level may not comply fully with the requirements of group A or group N homologation. As well as the WRC other major rally events include the British Rally ChampionshipIntercontinental Rally ChallengeAfrican Rally ChampionshipAsia-Pacific Rally Championship and endurance rally events like the Dakar Rally.

Toyota MR2, driven by Adam Spence in the 2006 Targa Tasmania prologue stage.

The Targa Tasmania, held on the Australian island state of Tasmania and run annually since 1992, takes its name from theTarga Florio, a former motoring event held on the island of Sicily. The competition concept is drawn directly from the best features of the Mille Miglia, the Coupe des Alpes and the Tour de Corse.[citation needed] Similarly named events around the world include the Targa Newfoundland based in Canada, Targa West based in Western AustraliaTarga New Zealand and other smaller events.

Drag racing

Main article: Drag racing

In drag racing, the objective is to complete a given straight-line distance, from a standing start, ahead of a vehicle in a parallel lane. This distance is traditionally ¼ mile (400 m), though ? mile (200 m) has become popular since the 1990s. The vehicles may or may not be given the signal to start at the same time, depending on the class of racing. Vehicles range from the everyday car to the purpose-built dragster. Speeds and elapsed time differ from class to class. Average street cars cover the ¼ mile in 12 to 16 seconds, whereas a top fuel dragster takes 4.5 seconds or less, reaching speeds of up to 530 km/h (329 mph). Drag racing was organized as a sport by Wally Parks in the early 1950s through the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association). The NHRA was formed to discourage street racing.

When launching, a top fuel dragster will accelerate at 3.4 g (33 m/s²), and when braking parachutes are deployed the deceleration is 4 g (39 m/s²), more than theSpace Shuttle experiences. A top fuel car can be heard over 8 miles (13 km) away and can generate a reading from 1.5 to 3.9 on the Richter scale.

Drag racing is two cars head-to-head, the winner proceeding to the next round. Professional classes are all first to the finish line wins. Sportsman racing is handicapped (slower car getting a head start) using an index (a lowest e.t. allowed), and cars running under (quicker than) their index “break out” and lose. The slowest cars, bracket racers, are also handicapped, but rather than an index, they use a “dial-in”. Bracket racing has been viewed as the main cause of the loss of public interest in drag racing. People do not understand why the slower car wins or why somebody needs to hit the brakes to avoid going too fast. Many local tracks have also complained that bracket racers will also go out of their way to spend as little as possible while at the track by bringing their own food, beverages, fuel, and supplies; thus, making it more difficult for tracks to make money on these events. This causes gate prices to rise and tracks losing interest in having such events.

Off-road racing

Main article: Off-road racing

In off-road racing, various classes of specially modified vehicles, including cars, compete in races through off-road environments. In North America these races often take place in the desert, such as the famous Baja 1000. In Europe, “offroad” refers to events such as autocross or rallycross, while desert races and rally-raids such as the Paris-DakarMaster Rallye or European “bajas” are called “cross-country rallies.”

Kart racing

A sprint kart race in Atwater California hosted by the International Karting Federation
Main article: Kart racing

Although often seen as the entry point for serious racers into the sport, kart racing, or karting, can be an economical way for amateurs to try racing and is also a fully fledged international sport in its own right. A large proportion of professional racing drivers began in karts, often from a very young age, such as Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso. Several former motorcycle champions have also taken up the sport, notably Wayne Rainey, who was paralysed in a racing accident and now races a hand-controlled kart. As one of the cheapest ways to go racing, karting is seeing its popularity grow worldwide.

Despite their diminutive size, karting’s most powerful class, superkart, can have a power-to-weight ratio of 440 hp/tonne.

Historical racing

Main article: Historic motorsport

As modern motor racing is centered on modern technology with a lots of corporate sponsors and politics involved,historical racing tends to be the opposite. Because it is based on a particular era it is more hobbyist oriented, reducing corporate sponsorship and politics. Events are regulated to only allow cars of a certain era to participate. The only modern equipment used is related to safety and timing. A historical event can be of various different motorsport disciplines. Notably some of the most famous events of them all are the Goodwood Festival of Speed and Goodwood Revival in Britain and Monterey Historic in the United States. Championships range from “grass root” Austin Sevenracing to the FIA Thoroughbred Grand Prix Championship for classic Formula One chassis.

While there are several professional teams and drivers in historical racing, this branch of auto sport tends to be contested by wealthy car owners and is thus more amateur and less competitive in its approach.

Reference: Wikipedia Auto Racing