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Welcome, we thought we would take some time to write our thoughts on motorsport. Enjoy reading below.
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What is Motorsport ?
The word motorsport is used to name a group of competitive vehicle events for either racing or non-racing competition. The word can also describe different forms of two wheeled competition like motorcycle racing which includes off road versions such as motorcross.
Four wheeled or more motorsport competition is governed by FIA (Federation Internationale de l`Automobile, and the two wheeled motorsport competition is governed by the FIM (Federation Internationale de Motorcyclisme.
History of motorsport - Where did motorsport start?
The first organised race by two self powered road going vehicles over a designated route happened on August 30 1867 between Ashton-under-Lyne and Old Trafford which was massive distance of eight miles and was won by the carriage of Isaac Watt Boulton. Auto racing events began after the construction of the first gasoline fuelled automobiles with the first organised contest being run on April 28 1887 organised by the chief editor of Paris publication Le Velocipede a Monsieur Fossier. It was a 2km race from Neuilly Bridge to the Bois de Boulogne and was won by Georger Bouton. He was in a car that he had constructed with a man named Albert the Comte de Dion, but due to Georger Bouton being the only competitor to actually show up it was hard to call it a race.
In July 1894 a Paris magazine called Le Petit Journal arranged what is to be considered the world`s first motoring competition which ran from Paris to Rouen and was used as a tried and testing way to boost circulation and was promoted as a Concours des Voitures sans Chevaux (Competition for horseless Carriages).
One Hundred and two competitors (102) turned up and paid a 10 franc entrance fee. Sixty nine (69) cars started the 31 mile qualification event. This would see what entrants would be allowed to participate in the main 79 miles race from Paris to Rouen. The competitors ranged from large manufacturers from the likes of Peugeot, Panhard or De Dion to amateur competitors. Out of the sixty nine cars only 25 were selected to participate for the main race.
Count Jules-Albert de Dion was the first person into Rouen with a time of 6 hours and 48 minutes with an average speed of 19 km/h. The official winners were the car manufacturers of Peugeot and Panhard as the cars were judged on their speed, handling and the vehicles safety characteristics. The fact that Count Jules-Albert de Dion`s car required a stoker and a driver meant he was disqualified from the race.
The first racing venue that regularly held events was Nice in France which ran a speed week in late March 1897. To ensure a large schedule, most modern types of motorsport were invented there which included the first hill climb on the Nice-La Turbie and a sprint race which became better known nowadays as a drag race.
The artist Ernest Montaut and his wife documented the fast changing face of motorised transportation in Europe. They produced large numbers of posters and prints covering racing events which included motorcars, aircraft and speedboats etc. These prints and posters formed a valuable contribution to the history of racing.
The first ever purpose built motorsport venue was Brooklands in surrey England which opened in June 1907 and was a 2.75 mile concrete track with high banked corners.
(Not to be confused with The Milwaukee Mile. This is the second-oldest motor racing track in the world still in existence, with racing being held there since 1903. It was not purposely built for motor racing, however. It started as a one-mile (1.6 km) horse-racing track in the 19th century. The first closed-circuit automobile race was held on July 25, 1899 at the Branford Park horse track in New Haven, Connecticut).
The Brooklands circuit was closed in 1939 as aircraft production took over due to the war with the Vickers company. Damaged caused from World War II kept the track closed for racing.
From Horses to Cars
With the prototype of the automobile coming in in the 18th century after the industrial revolution, cars were expensive and only rich and noble families being able to afford them. Until the time came for others to be able to afford automobiles, horse racing was the main spectator competition which is why motorsport retains the language of horse racing from that era. The word RACE refers to horse racing and the word PADDOCK was used to look after the condition of the horses. Of course you have the word HORSEPOWER to represent engine power, they all have their origin from the noble era of horse racing.
Who can participate in Motorsport ?
Looking at newspapers, magazines and what`s on television it appears that only top teams can participate in motorsport, but there are some motorsport events that you can enter with just a drivers license. At a higher level there are races that require a motor racing license, which you can obtain by completing your ARDS test (Association of Racing Drivers Schools).
In motorsports other ways of getting involved, such as spectating. When you actually go to a motorsport event you will discover how much it is a family oriented sport with maybe a parent or the child are the drivers/riders and other family members are all mucking in to help. Some race tracks are located near amusement parks, museums and hotels etc, so participants are the people who not just only enter the motorsport event but the people who come to watch, the ones who are designated as photographers, the tracks security officers, the officials down to the cleaners.
What are the of motorsport series ?
Here is a couple of big well known racing series from the motorsport world
F1 is said to be the pinnacle of all motorsport with the cars from the series manufactures demonstrating the latest technological developments and has the world`s greatest drivers racing at the fastest speeds. Formula One is recognised as one of the world`s top three spectators sports along side the Olympics and the World Cup. The sheer scale of Formula One held over 18-24 rounds over the world can be considered easily as the most watched sporting event.
WRC is popular more in Europe thank the UK. While Formula One runs on paved purpose built circuits WRC runs not only on paved surfaces at high speeds on public roads but on forest roads. The driving technique is a lot different than is needed for Formula One at the purpose built circuits but is as spectacular. Besides the world championship there are a lot of national and regional championships in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and with such a variety of champions it shows a wide base for the sport.
Indycar Series is the pinnacle of North America car racing. Each season compromises of 10 races which most are run on high speed oval purpose built circuits. To keep the cars running at their maximum speed the tracks corners are banked which helps to bring the appeal of speed and power to the spectators. The Indy 500 takes pride and place of the hearts of the American spectators and one round of the series is held every year at the Twin Ring Motegi in Tochigi Japan.
FIA GT Championship is mainly run in Europe and is classed as Europes strongest touring car series of races. Supercars from manufactures like Maserati, Aston Martin and even Lamborghini Murcielago`s all race in the series. The 24hr race at Spa Francorchamps in Belgium has become one of the FIA GT Championship 10 rounds which run over the yearly season.
Types of 4 wheeled racing
There are three main types which are Circuit Racing, rally and trial.
Circuit racing is a motorsport competition event that is held at purpose made circuits where all event participating vehicles start at the same time and are heading for the same finish line chequered flag. These can be split into sprint races and endurance races. The idea of sprint racing is to cover the greatest number of laps in the shortest amount of time which is typical of the events like F1, Super GT.
The great benefit of sprint racing is that battles can develop between drivers in different positions. On the other hand endurance races are won by the amount of laps that can be completed within a pre-determined amount of allocated time which is typical of events like the Le Mans 24 hour and other similar events which make it not about just outright speed but also requires a car that run the entire time distance.
In both of the above types the role of the pit crew can be the difference of defeat or victory. Whether it’s the time it takes to change the tyres, re-fuel the automobile or switch drivers even down to timing of the pit stop during the race can determine the end result and is part of the spectacle of the race.
Rally or rallies as they are sometimes know are not held at purpose made circuits but are run on public and forest roads and is a contest based on a determined route and the event participates need to pass through sections in the quickest time without occurring and time errors during the sections and the whole event. Vehicles that are participating in the rally event start in a pre-determined order at pre-determined start times.
There are sections that are called special stages where both competitors run against each other in specially closed stretches of road. Rallying is more popular in Europe and has a high number of spectators lining each of the stages and are quite aware of the drivers running the stages as it quickly becomes a scene of everyone trying to help out if one gets stuck, or crashes to get the car back up and running without losing much time.
Trial or time trial competitions normally come in the style of Gymkhana or dirt trials or drag racing. Gymkhana is a familiar motorsport style where a course is set up over a large paved road surface with the idea of one competitor getting to the end of the course before the other and is an easy way of getting into a motorsport discipline. Dirt trials is done on non-paved tracks with the vehicles running one at a time to be the fastest over the course and is particularly a Japanese form of motorsport. Drag Racing is run on a straight piece of track normally an old runway that measures roughly 400m long and is a contest between two vehicles to see who can run the quickest up the straight.
Due to the engine noise at the start and the amount of power some of the cars have brings in a lot of spectators with some vehicles that carry a lot of velocity up the drag strip needing the help of a parachutes to stop them.
Types of Racing Cars
Here are a couple of different types of cars used in the better known forms of motorsport
Formula cars are cars with no roof and have all four tyres exposed of any body panelling and have a centre seat or cockpit. Examples of formula cars are F1, formula Nippon and Indycar where the cars have all the latest testing and technologies thrown at them.
Prototypes cars are similar to the formula type cars where it is a single driver normally centre to the body but the difference is that all four wheels are covered by bodywork. Prototype cars more often participate in endurance races like the Le Mans 24hr rather then sprint type races like formula One. Technology is once again thrown at these types of cars like formula cars but they are designed more to withstand continuous high speeds.
Touring Cars are vehicles that are remodelled from cars that you and I see on the road everyday. In Touring cars there is a number of restriction on the modifications that can be made to the car from the safety equipment for the driver down to improved efficiency of the engine and aerodynamics. The range of touring cars goes from the SUPER GT at the very high end of the series down to production based like the MARCH CUP.
In addition to touring cars there are rally cars that are adapted from available mass-produced production cars that can be bought by the general public like touring cars, but rally cars are prepared stronger and modified far more then touring cars to run on general public roads and forest stages.
What license do I need to compete in motorsport ?
There are a few different license depending on what type of motorsport you would like to do and different grades within those licenses so a bit of research will be required. Most grass root club motor sports do not require any type of licence and possibly just club membership, but for more known events you will need a MSA Competition Licence. Licence requirements can be found on the MSA website. https://www.msauk.org/Competitors/Competition-Licences
How much will motorsport cost ?
So the big question is the cost!! The amount of cost will decide on how much you want to spend. You could do a Mighty Mini race and spend £5000 or go all out for a Touring Car and spend £300,000 and depends on how much you race during the season. F1 of course is in the many many millions of pounds per year. Your best bet is to decide on a budget for the season and where you want to spend it to get the best value for money.
Where can I watch motorsport ?
Here are some links to find information about motorsport events
Here is a rough guide of season dates for various motorsport events
F1- runs from March to November
Superone karting Season – runs from March to September
Time Attack – runs from May to October
British Drift Championship – runs from March to September
BTCC – runs from April to October
WRC – runs from January to November
BSB – runs from April to October
Moto GP – runs from March to November
NASCAR – runs from Febuary to November
DTM – runs from May to October
INDYCAR – runs from March to September
What are the rules of motorsport ?
Here is a link to the MSA website bluebook (Rule Book) for all motorsport series and events
Other useful links
Here is a few links to other websites that you might find useful
We hope you enjoyed reading. All comments welcomed, check back for more news items, are we keep adding them.
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