Auto racing (also known as automobile racing, motor racing or car racing) is a
motorsportinvolving racing cars. It is one of the world's most watched television sports.cite news | title = F1 World’s most watched TV sports events: 2006 Rank & Trends report| publisher = Initiative | date = 2007-01-19 | url = http://initiative.com/static/prDec2006.html|accessdate = 2007-01-30 ]
The beginning of racing
Racing began soon after the construction of the first successful petrol-fueled
autos; before that time people raced in other vehicles such as horse-drawn buggies. The first race ever organized, by the chief editor of Paris publication Le Vélocipède, Monsieur Fossier, was on April 28 1887 and ran 2 kilometers from Neuilly Bridge to the Bois de Boulogne. It was won by Georges Bouton, in a car he had constructed with Albert, the Comte de Dion, but as he was the only competitor to show up it is rather pointless to call it a race. On July 22 1894, the first real contest was organized by Paris magazine " Le Petit Journal", as a reliability test. The Comte de Dion was first to arrive in Rouen on his steam car, but a Panhard et Levassor was judged to be the winner.
In 1895, one year later, the first real race was staged in
France, from Paristo Bordeaux. First over the line was Émile Levassorbut he was disqualified because his car was not a required four-seater.
The first regular auto racing venue was Nice, France, run in late March 1897 as a "Speed Week." To fill out the schedule, most types of racing event were invented here, including the first hill climb (Nice - La Turbie) and a sprint that was, in spirit, the first drag race.
An international competition, between nations rather than individuals, began with the
Gordon Bennett Cup in auto racing.
The first auto race in the
United Statestook place in Evanston, Illinoison November 28, 1895over an 87.48-km (54.36 mile) course, with Frank Duryea winning in 10 hours and 23 minutes, beating three petrol-fueled and two electric cars. [ [http://www.historicracing.com/index.cfm?OTDother=8&fullText=1681&selMonth=10& Historic Racing ] ] The first trophy awarded was the Vanderbilt Cup.
City to city racing
With auto construction and racing dominated by
France, the French automobile club ACF staged a number of major international races, usually from or to Paris, connecting with another major city in Europe or France.
These very successful races ended in 1903 when
Marcel Renaultwas involved in a fatal accident near Angoulemein the Paris-Madrid race. Nine fatalities caused the French government to stop the race in Bordeauxand ban open-road racing.Fact|date=July 2007
The 1930s saw the transformation from high-priced road cars into pure racers, with
Delage, Auto Union, Mercedes-Benz, Delahaye, and Bugatticonstructing streamlined vehicles with engines producing up to 450 kW (612 hp), aided by multiple-stage supercharging. From 1928-1930 and again in 1934-1936, the maximum weightpermitted was 750 kg, a rule diametrically opposed to current racing regulations. Extensive use of aluminium alloys was required to achieve light weight, and in the case of the Mercedes, the paint was removed to satisfy the weight limitation, producing the famous Silver Arrows.
Grand Prix motor racing
open-wheel) racing is one of the most popular forms of motorsport, with cars designed specifically for high-speed racing. The wheels are not covered, and the cars often have aerofoil wings front and rear to produce downforceand 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 county-specific format (such as the German Formula 3 championship, or the British Formula Ford).
The best-known variety of single-seater racing,
Formula One, involves an annual World Championship for drivers and constructors of around 18 races a year featuring major international car and engine manufacturers, and independent constructors, such as Ferrari, McLaren, Williams, BMW Sauber, Toyota, Honda, Renault, Red Bull Racing- in an ongoing battle of technology and driver skill and talent. The sport is one of the top five watched sporting events in the world, alongside the FIFA World Cup, the Olympic Games, the Super Bowland the UEFA European Football Championship. Formula One is, by any measure, the most expensive sport in the world, with some teams spending in excess of $400 million per year. Formula One is widely considered to be the pinnacle of motorsports, with the F1 Drivers' Championship being one of, and the oldest among, only three World Championships awarded each year by the FIA(the others being the World Touring Car Championshipand the World Rally Championship). What separates Formula 1 from all other forms of open wheel racing, is the basic premise of F1 revolves around the very important issue that each team is a "constructor". That is, the chassis of the car must be designed and manufactured in-house, and chassis can not be supplied to competitors on a "customer" basis. Engines are usually funded and/or developed by established major motor manufacturers, and can be supplied exclusively to just one team, or may be offered as "customer" engines, often to the smaller, lower-ranked teams.
North America, the cars used in the National Championship (currently the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series, and previously CART) have traditionally been similar though less sophisticated than F1 cars, with more restrictions on technology aimed controlling costs.
Other international single-seater racing series are the
A1 Grand Prix(unofficially often referred to as the "world cup of motorsport"), and the GP2 (formerly known as Formula 3000and Formula Two). Regional series include Formula Nipponand 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 Three, Formula Palmer Audiand Formula Atlantic. Domestic, or country-specific series include Formula Three, Formula Renault, Formula Fordwith the leading introductory series being Formula BMW.
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 Fordonce represented a popular first open-wheel category for up-and-coming drivers stepping up from karts and now the Formula BMWseries is the preferred option as it has introduced an areo package and slicks, allowing the junior drivers to gain experience in a race car with dynamics closer F1. The Star Mazda Seriesis another entry level series.
Students at colleges and universities can also take part in single seater racing through the SAE
Formula Studentcompetition, 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 Bakerwas 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 MTVreality pilot which was shot at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
In December, 2005 the
FIAgave approval to Superleague Formularacing, set to debut in 2008. This will be open-wheel, single-seat stock car racing around Grand Prix racetracks. The teams will be owned and run by prominent sports clubs such as AC Milanand FC Porto. The race weekend will follow the GP2 format of Saturday qualifying and two Sunday races, one featuring a reverse grid.
Touring car racing
Touring car racing is a style of road racing that is run with production derived race cars. It often features exciting, full-contact racing due to the small speed differentials and large grids.
V8 Supercarsoriginally from Australia, British Touring Car Championship, Deutsche Tourenwagen Mastersoriginally from Germany, and the World Touring Car Championshipheld with 2 non-European races (previously the European Touring Car Championship) are the major touring car championships conducted worldwide, along with a European Touring Cup, a one day event open to Super 2000specification touring cars from Europe's many national championships.
Sports Car Club of America's SPEED World ChallengeTouring Car and GT championships are dominant in North America while the venerable British Touring Car Championshipcontinues in the United Kingdom. America's historic Trans-Am Seriesis undergoing a period of transition, but is still the longest-running road racing series in the U.S. The National Auto Sport Associationalso provides a venue for amateurs to compete in home-built factory derived vehicles on various local circuits.
Production car racing
Production car racing or known in the US as showroom stock, is an economical and rules restricted version of touring car racing, mainly to restrict costs.
Many series follow the
Group Nregulation 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, 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 Supercupand, 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. There are also single-chassis single seater formulae, such as Formula Ford, Formula Saab, Formula BMW, and defunct Formula Vee, usually as "feeder" series for "senior" race formula (in the fashion of farm teams).
tock car racing
Stock car racing, the North American equivalent to touring car racing, is that continent's most-popular form of auto racing in terms of viewership.Fact|date=April 2008 Usually conducted on ovals, the cars may slightly resemble production cars but are in fact purpose-built racing machines which are built to tight specifications. Early stock cars were actual production vehicles; the car to be raced was often driven from track to track. The modern car however is far removed from the production model which it represents, making the term "stock car" somewhat incorrect.
The largest stock car racing governing body is
NASCAR. NASCAR's premier series is the Sprint Cup Series, its most famous races being the Daytona 500and the Brickyard 400. NASCAR also runs several feeder series. The Nationwide Series, and Craftsman Truck Series(a pickup truckracing series) conduct races across the entire continental United States. The NASCAR Canadian Tire Seriesconducts races across Canadaand the NASCAR Corona Seriesconducts races across Mexico. NASCAR also governs several smaller regional series.
NASCAR also governs the
Whelen Modified Tour. Modified cars are best described as hybrids of stock cars and open-wheel cars. They are heavily altered from stock, with powerful engines, large tires, tubular chassis and light bodies. The Whelen Modified tour is NASCAR's oldest series.
There are also other stock car governing bodies, such as
Automobile Racing Club of Americaand United Speed Alliance Racing. British Stock car racingis a form of Short Oval Racing. This takes place on shale or tarmac tracks in either clockwise or anti-clockwise direction depending on the class, some of which allow contact. Races are organized by local promoters and all drivers are registered with BRISCA and have their own race number. What classes exist depends on the promoter, so events in Scotlandat Cowdenbeath can be very different from an event at Wimbledon Stadiumin London.
Rallying, or rally racing, involves two classes of car. The modified Group A, but road legal, production based cars and the Group N Production 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' of 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 Rally, Rally Argentina, Rally Finlandand Rally 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 rallieswhich are popular with amateurs, making up the "grass roots" of motor sports.
Targa Racing (Targa Rally)
Targa is a tarmac-based road rally which is run all around the world. This began with the
Targa Florio. There are many races including Targa Tasmaniaheld on the island state of Tasmania, Australia, run annually since 1992. The event takes its name from the Targa 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. Other events around the world include the Targa Newfoundlandbased in Canada, Targa Westbased in Western Australia, Targa New Zealandand other smaller events.
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 1/8 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 from 15 to 20 seconds whereas a top fuel dragstertakes 4.5 seconds or less, reaching speeds of up to 530 km/h (330 mph). Drag racing was organized as a sport by Wally Parksin the early 1950s through the NHRA(National Hot Rod Association), the largest motorsports sanctioning body in the world. The NHRA was formed to discourage street racing.
Launching, a top fuel dragster will accelerate at 4.5 g (44 m/s²), and when braking parachutes are deployed the deceleration is 4 g (39 m/s²), more than the
Space Shuttleexperiences. A top fuel car can be heard over 8 miles (13 km) away and generates a reading of 1.5 to 2 on the Richter scale. [NHRA Mile High Nationals 2001, and 2002 testing from the National Seismology Center.]
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 don't 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.
ports car racing
sports car racing, production versions of sports carsand/or grand tourers, and sports prototypecars compete within their respective classes on closed circuits. The races are often conducted over long distances, at least 1000 km, and cars are driven by teams of two or three drivers (and sometimes more in the US), 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. In the US the American Le Mans Series(ALMS) was organized in 1999, featuring GT1, GT2, and two prototype classes, LMP1 (Le Mans Prototype 1) and LMP2. Manufacturers such as Audi and Acura/Honda field or support entries in the Prototype class. Another series based on Le Mans began in 2004, the Le Mans Endurance Series, which included four 1000 km races at tracks in Europe. A competing body, Grand-Am, which began in 2000, sanctions its own endurance series the Rolex Sports Car Series.
Famous sports car races include the
24 Hours of Le Mans, the 24 Hours of Daytona, 24 Hours of Spa-Franchorchamps, the 12 Hours of Sebring, and the convert|1000|mi|km|sing=on Petit Le Mansat Road Atlanta.
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-Dakar, Master Rallyeor European "bajas" are called "cross-country rallies."many people have died while trying to win the world cup.
Although often seen as the entry point for serious racers into the sport,
kart racing, or karting, can be an economic way for amateurs to try racing and is also a fully fledged international sport in its own right. World-famous F1-drivers like Michael Schumacheror Fernando Alonsoand most of the typical starting grid of a modern Grand Prix took up the sport at around the age of eight, with some testing from age three. 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.
Go-karts, or just "karts" - seem very distant from normal road cars, with diminutive frames and wheels, but a small engine combined with very light weight make for a quick machine.
As modern motor racing is centered on modern technology with a lots of corporate sponsors and politics involved,
historical racingtends to be the opposite. As it relies on cars of 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 Speedand Goodwood Revivalin Britain and Monterey Historicin the United States. Championships range from "grass root" Austin Sevenracing to the FIA Thoroughbred Grand Prix Championshipfor classic Formula Onechassis.
While there are several professional teams and drivers in
historical racing, this branch of auto sporttends to be contested by wealthy car owners and is thus more amateur and laid back in its approach.
Board track racing
Dirt speedway racing
Dirt track racing
High Performance Drivers Education
Legends car racing
Midget car racing
Short track motor racing
Sprint car racing
Use of flags
In open-wheel, stock-car and other types of circuit auto races, flags are displayed to indicate the general status of a race and to communicate instructions to competitors in a race. While the flags have changed from the first years ("e.g." red used to start a race), these are generally accepted for today.
For the worst accident in racing history see
1955 Le Mans disaster. ("See also Deaths in motorsports")
Racing car setup
In auto racing, the
racing setupor car setup is the set of adjustments made to the vehicle in order to optimize its behaviour (performance, handling, reliability, etc.). Adjustments can occur in suspensions, brakes, transmissions, engines, tires, and many others.
List of auto racing tracks
* [http://www.americanlemans.com/ American Le Mans Series (ALMS)]
* [http://www.indycar.com/ Indy Racing League (IRL)]
* [http://www.wrc.com/ WRC.com - Official site of World Rally Championship]
* [http://www.bitd.com/ Best in the Desert Racing Association]
* [http://www.FIA.com The FIA - The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile]
* [http://www.grandamerican.com Grand American Road Racing Association]
* [http://www.ihra.com International Hot Rod Association]
* [http://www.imsaracing.net/ International Motor Sports Association (IMSA)]
* [http://www.nasaproracing.com National Auto Sport Association]
* [http://www.nascar.com/ National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR)]
* [http://www.nhra.com National Hot Rod Association]
* [http://www.score-international.com/ SCORE International Off Road Racing]
* [http://www.scca.org/ Sports Car Club of America]
* [http://www.usacracing.com/USAC/Home.html/ United States Auto Club]
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