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Sunday, December 2, 2007

Automobile Racing

Automobile racing is a competitive sport involving almost every type of automobile. It is open to both professional and amateur drivers and is run on a variety of tracks and courses. The Federation Internationale de I’Automobile (FIA), the body that governs automobile racing worldwide, has established an elaborate classification system for racing events and the classes and subclasses of cars that may complete in each.

Type of Races

Grand Prix event are the most prestigious, and title of world champion is awarded to the driver who amasses the highest point total over a series of about 18 – 20 Grand Prix Races during the year. The circuit open only to Formula – One cars – open wheeled, single seat, mid-engine vehicles with a strictly limited engine displacement and minimum weight, and with air foils to generate downward thrust. Races are held on specially constructed, closed circuit track (Nurburnging, Germany, for example) as well as on public roads trough the hearth of a city (Monza (Italy), and Monaco for example). Because of rigorous qualifying requirement, only about 30 drivers in the world have the required standing to enter the formula one event. Speeds, held down by winding, rooling, courses range from about 48 Km/h (30 mph) to about 290 km/h (180 mph).
The type of car that races at the Indianapolis 500 each year resemble the Formula One Car. The 500 consisting of 200 laps on a 4.02 km (2.5 mil) oval track, or 805 km (500 mi) – ranks as the most important event sponsored by the United States Auto Club (USAC). Twenty event count toward the USAC national championship, and most of them are races of 160 to 230 km (99 to 199 mi) held over closed circuits. One notable exception is Pikes Pick Hill Climb.


Manufactures World Championship races are open to tree classes of vehicles. Most of the races place a premium on endurance (Le Mans 24-hurs race, Nurburgring 1,000 km/621 mi) as well as high speed handling on closed circuits.

The Canadian-American Challenge Cup, or Can-Am series, is an annual 11-race series for two seated sports car without limitation on engine displacement. The races do not exceed two hours in duration. Consequently, average speed may be well in excess of 160 km/h (100 mph).

Stock car races, an American innovation, involve competition among five categories of autos, all of which are modified production passenger vehicles. Thousands of these races are held throughout the country, particularly in the Southern states, under the auspices of the National Oval dirt tracks. For some of the major events (Day-tona 500, Firecracker 400), speeds of over 322 km/h (200 mph) are attained.

Drag racing, one of the most popular types of events, is an acceleration event staged on a very short (0.4 km/0.25 mi, straight track. Cars normally race two at a time, and elapsed time, now electronically measured, determines the winner. A drag meet will include several heats. Thousands of drag-racing events are held annually in the United States and Canada. For the fastest classification of dragster vehicles, stopping by mean of a drag parachute is necessary, because maximum speeds can reach more than 483 km/h (300 mph).

Off-road racing is open to production and modified two- and four-wheel drive vehicles. It is conducted over rugged trails and terrain. Contestants race between checkpoints without being restricted to a specific route. The most famous races of this type in the Western Hemisphere are the Baja 500 and the Mexican 1000, both run in Baja California, Mexico.

Speed rail are races against time; that is, they are attempts to achieve world speed records for an automobile. The vehicle are specified designed, without limitation on weight, engine or type of fuel. Jet propulsion is the favored propulsion system today. Records are sanctioned only if the trail are run at the BONNEVILLE SALT FLATS in Utah of Lake EYRE, Australia.

Rallies are not, strictly speaking, races. They are point-to-point driving competition in which navigation, discipline driving, fuel consumption, and other skills count toward victory. Rally courses can be several hundred to thousands of kilometers long, with varying on and off road condition.

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