The Different Types of Auto Racing Explained

If you flick through the sports channels on TV you are likely to find some sort of automotive racing. Many people tune in to watch races and the number of racing fans increases every year; it has become one of the more popular forms of entertainment.

Fans tune in to see the thrilling action and how man and machine co-operate in order to achieve the ultimate goal. However, you should not assume that ‘racing’ refers to one specific thing: there are many different and unique type of racing. Below is an outline of the basic type of automobile racing that you should be familiar with.

Rally Racing

In rally racing, or ‘rallying’, modified road cars compete on a prepared road course, which is usually made up of pavement or gravel or both. The World Rally Championship (WRC) regulates rally racing all over the world and organizes races for various championships.

Rally races can be held on circuit courses or as point-to-point races.

Off-Road Racing (Baja Racing)

Even under the category of ‘off-road racing’ there are many different varieties and they all have their own rules: Trophy Truck, Pro Truck, Buggy and Hill Climb. The cars involved in off-road racing can either be production cars, such as Pro Truck, or custom cars that are designed and built specifically for a type of racing.

The major off-road races are point-to-point, where the start and finish points are far away from each other, rather than on a circuit. An example is the Baja 1000, which is a notable race in Mexico. There are other events that have their own special rules and tailor-made courses, such as hill climbs.

Drag Racing

Drag racing’s simplicity is one of the reasons that it is one of the best-known types of racing. The course is a straight line, either 1/8th or 1/4th mile, and the drivers push their cars to the limit to beat one another. Getting the lowest time is crucial and so even the slightest fraction of a second can be important. The main regulatory body is the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), which includes divisions, such as Superstreet, Superstock, Funny Car and Top Fuel.

Open Wheel Circuit Racing

You may have heard of the INDY and KART racing series, these are some of the varieties of open wheel racing. These series get their name because the wheels are located outside of the body of the car and are considered to be some of the most technologically advanced racing vehicles.

Every car involved in open wheel racing is custom designed and built; production vehicles will not cut it. open wheel cars are raced on a circuit track, usually road tracks but also oval occasionally.

Closed Wheel Circuit Racing

NASCAR and Grand Touring (GT) Racing and sports car racing are just some of the varieties that are classed as closed wheel racing. The ‘closed wheel’ refers the vehicle’s wheels being enclosed in some type of body or fairing. NASCAR is one of the most popular types of racing where cars can reach speeds over 200 mph!

Most closed wheel race cars are partly based on a production vehicle, although customized. Most of the races happen on either an oval circuit track or a road circuit track; with NASCAR generally being on an oval track and GT Racing on a road track. However, the NASCAR Sprint Cup provides an exception to this.

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