Rally Racing, one of the original motorsports, has been around since 1894 and is near and dear to my heart. I was once a casual fan, but having a rallycross track nearby while growing up instilled a respect for the sport in me. Regardless of what you watch, we all love the thrill of the race, and you can find another passion in this list of the most viewed rally racing organizations.
1. National Auto Sport Association (NASA)
The National Auto Sport Association is a US motorsports organization that hosts rallies, road racing, and autocross. It was founded in 1991 by two passionate men, Jerry Kunzman and Ali Arsham, who wanted to start a similar foundation to the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) with fewer regulations. The history of NASA also includes a brief legal dispute with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, but the name stands to this day.
Jerry Kunzman remains a vital part of NASA as its executive director. Ali Arsham has moved on from the company but remains a part of the sport as a whole. Other key figures include Ryan Flaherty, the National Chairman; Jeremy Croiset, the vice president; and general counsel, John Lindsey.
The National Championships, open to drivers who earn points across multiple regional races, is the most well-known of NASA’s events. The 15th annual NASA Championships take place on September 16th-19th at Daytona International Speedway.
NASA has a reputation of being fast and loose with regulations, recognizing classes of cars based on a few factors, and making quick changes thanks to their community. 18 classes are currently listed at NASA, with special Rally-specific classes like motorcycles, quads, and side-by-side vehicles.
One of the key aspects that draw people to race with NASA is their High-Performance Driver Education program (HDPE). This program allows for certified instruction to test and improve the skills of anyone curious enough to participate while a part of the organization. Inclusivity has always been at the forefront of NASA’s efforts, and that’s grown their community to over 14,000 members as of last year.
Getting started with NASA’s rally racing is as easy as checking out one of their more than 150 articles on the subject. The Rally University, as NASA calls it, allows anyone to learn the ins and outs of licensing, car building, various fees, and everything else rallying entails.
You can use this calendar of their rally events to track the remaining 2021 races, as well as get a head-start on the first 2022 event, the Sandblast Rally. They cover over 15 regions across the entirety of the US, with multiple California and Mid spaces, like the Mid Atlantic and Mid South.
2. Sports Car Club of America (SCCA)
The Sports Car Club of America is one of the first US motorsports organizations, hosting road racing, rallies, and autocross for amateur and professional racers. It was founded in 1944 as an enthusiast group. Tracing its history back a bit farther to the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA), founded by brothers Sam and Miles Collier, when the ARCA disbanded in 1941, passionate fans began their organization.
The SCCA is a sprawling company, basing inclusion in its services on memberships. Michael Cobb is the current president and CEO and has been dedicated to the rally racing organization’s growth since 2017. The company has many detailed guidelines for participation at SCCA events, but you can gain access to all of their services with a full membership.
If you’ve been a fan of motorsports for a while, then you have likely heard of the Trans Am. It was the longest-running professional road racing series in the history of the SCCA, lasting a total of 41 years before a hiatus of three years starting in 2006.
The scope of the SCCA includes programs in Emotorsports, rallycross, track days, time trials, Enduro, Hillclimb, and more. The rally racing organization is also dedicated to community value programs like Starting Line and teen driving initiatives for the safe and fun entry into motorsports.
One of the biggest draws to members is their clear mission statement as a company. Their decades of experience help back up their welcoming environment and professional series of races. They have multiple award programs to help recognize contributing members of their community.
There are 28 classes of vehicles that compete in SCCA Club Racing Majors events. RallyCross classes include stock cars, prepared vehicles, and a modified category for further specifications the other two don’t cover. RoadRally classes vary much more and are based on the style of the rally (Touring, Course, GTA, or Trek) you participate in.
You can use this calendar of their road rally events to track each event. You can even use their event finder to more easily narrow down your search. They cover nine divisions across the entirety of the US, which includes tons of regions from all over the country.
3. Rally North America
Rally North America is a special variety among rally racing organizations. Founded in 2009 by enthusiastic fans of motorsports rallies, Rally North America is an automotive travel company that organizes an automotive scavenger hunt-style rally event for charity.
Aimed at offering a quality rally racing experience to participants across the United States and Canada, the mission of Rally North America is linked to helping out their Charity Partners. Camp Sunshine, Hope for the Warriors, Concerns of Police Survivors, and the Accelerated Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis has been given over $1,050,000.00 by direct contributions from Rally North America.
The current Rally North America President is Scott Spielman, a co-founder of the event. Another co-founder, Tony Intrieri, is still working with the group as the Operations Manager. The most recent news regarding a Rally North America event is the recent RentJDM Great Lakes Rally 2021, which featured around 75 cars on a 1,300-mile route.
Surprise challenges crop up each morning as the racers try and familiarize themselves with ancillary tasks that garner points through the entire multi-day event. With “Road Trips” as the style of “rally,” it’s a truly unique experience that pays as much forward as Rally North America can. All money goes directly to that year’s selected charity.
Rally North America events have raised over $1,835,00 through its main events, and consists of around 80 road rally teams. Their first event Rally ONE, ran three days in July of 2009, with only eight participating teams. Their next planned rally, the Drives 5, is planned for September 13th to September 16th of 2021. Keep up with news on their social media for more North American rally racing promotions.
4. World Rally Championships (WRC)
The World Rally Championships is a global rally racing organization managed by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). The WRC represents the highest level of motorsport competition, consisting of championship drivers competing in well-known events like the International Championship for Manufacturers (ICM) and the FIA European Rally Championship.
The first race of the WRC’s long history took place in 1973, with the Rallye Monte-Carlo, part of a grueling 13-event season. The Group B era introduced rally cars of a much higher caliber until they were outlawed and the Group A class structure started. The modern categories of World Rally Cars vary based on the event, from WRC proper to WRC2, WRC3, and Junior WRC.
The commission for the WRC and the FIA as an organization have different chief executive officers and staff. A multitude of organizations, like the 12 different automakers that have been officially involved in the program since 1997. The current president of FIA is Jean Todt, and the current WRC Promoter CEO (as of this year) is Jona Siebel.
Top-of-the-line teams are put together for these rallies, often representing manufacturers and their countries, with this year’s four coming from Germany, Great Britain, Japan, and France. The specifications teams must follow just to compete are considerable, from sporting regulations to technical rules and related documents. Regulations update regularly, with the most recent publication being in October of this year.
One of the biggest draws towards participating and watching the host of WRC rallies is the top-notch professionalism on display. This worldwide set of competitions is at the envy of many rally racing organizations. Information on drivers, teams, and the rally cars themselves, are given out for fans (like myself) that want to dig into the details of these impressive machines.
You can use this rally racing calendar to view the global races throughout the rest of 2021. The final event on this year’s calendar is the WRC FORUM8 ACI Rally Monza which kicks off on the 19th of November. Comprehensive guides for the WRC are also put together by fans every year.
5. American Rally Association (ARA)
The American Rally Association is another one of the US’s rally racing organizations. Operating as a non-profit, the ARA was founded in 2016 by veterans of stage rally sanctioning, Tim O’Neil, Martin Headland, and Chris Cyr. The founders’ experience at the O’Neil Rally School has been transferred into educating people about the US stage rally scene.
The specialization of the ARA is in stage rally, a point-to-point road race style meant to test teamwork on any surface. The participants can be anyone, from a seasoned professional driver to a first-time enthusiast. The ARA National Championship Series is the staple of this rally racing organization, displaying national events.
The ARA also hosts regional events across the country, with 2021’s selection seeing events in Colorado, New York, Arizona, Washington, Michigan, and more. Participating in an ARA race involves getting a license for ARA members and following their comprehensive rules and regulations. This includes registering your entry under a unique car number.
The American Rally Association draws in participants with events that start with a novice guide. Preparing for your first event is simple, and thanks to the national scale of many of the ARA’s races, locating one that could work for you is a single search away.
While the vehicle model is set to a basic manufacturer’s designation, there is a complete technical guide for the sake of entering your equipment and competing yourself. Partnerships that ARA has secured help out with contingency programs for well-performing competitors at both the regional and national levels.
Feel free to check out both the ARA’s overall, national schedule of events, as well as their regional-specific calendar for actual race dates. They also populate a blog for news regarding specific events and the community surrounding them.