Auto racing (also known as automobile racing, motor racing or car racing) is a motorsport involving racing cars. It is one of the world's most watched television sports.
 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 Paris to Bordeaux. First over the line was Émile Levassor but 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 States took place in Evanston, Illinois on November 28, 1895 over 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. The first trophy awarded was the Vanderbilt Cup.
 City to city racing
Fernand Gabriel driving a Mors in Paris-Madrid 1903
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 Renault was involved in a fatal accident near Angouleme in the Paris-Madrid race. Nine fatalities caused the French government to stop the race in Bordeaux and ban open-road racing.
The 1930s saw the transformation from high-priced road cars into pure racers, with Delage, Auto Union, Mercedes-Benz, Delahaye, and Bugatti constructing 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 weight permitted 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.
- See: Grand Prix motor racing
 Single-seater racing
Single-seater (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 downforce and 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 Bowl and 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 Championship and 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.
In 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 at 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 3000 and Formula Two). Regional series include Formula Nippon and 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 Audi and Formula Atlantic. Domestic, or country-specific series include Formula Three, Formula Renault, Formula Ford with 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 Ford once represented a popular first open-wheel category for up-and-coming drivers stepping up from karts and now the Formula BMW series 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 Series is another entry level series.
Students at colleges and universities can also take part in single seater racing through the SAE Formula Student competition, 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 Baker was 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 MTV reality pilot which was shot at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
In December, 2005 the FIA gave approval to Superleague Formula racing, 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 Milan and 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.
The V8 Supercars originally from Australia, British Touring Car Championship, Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters originally from Germany, and the World Touring Car Championship held 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 2000 specification touring cars from Europe's many national championships.
The Sports Car Club of America's SPEED World Challenge Touring Car and GT championships are dominant in North America while the venerable British Touring Car Championship continues in the United Kingdom. America's historic Trans-Am Series is undergoing a period of transition, but is still the longest-running road racing series in the U.S. The National Auto Sport Association also 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 N regulation 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 racing
- See also: One-Design
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 Supercup and, 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. Some of the better-known single-make series are the SEAT Cupra Championship, John Cooper Mini Challenge, and Clio Cup, and at a more modest budget, Ginettas, Caterhams, BMWs, and MX5s. 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).
 Stock car racing
Stock car racing, is hugely popular in the USA and is also widely followed in the UK and Europe.
In the USA it is the most-popular form of auto racing in terms of viewership.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.
Usually conducted on
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 500 and the Brickyard 400. NASCAR also runs several feeder series. The Nationwide Series, and Craftsman Truck Series (a pickup truck racing series) conduct races across the entire continental United States. The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series conducts races across Canada and the NASCAR Corona Series conducts 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 America and United Speed Alliance Racing.
In the UK, British Stock car racing is also referred to as "Short Circuit Racing". This takes place on shale or tarmac tracks - usually around 1/4 mile in length. The governing bodies for the sport are the Oval Racing Council (ORC) and BriSCA. Both bodies are made up of individual stadium promoters. There are around 35 tracks in the UK and upwards of 7000 active drivers. The sport is split into three basic "divisions" - distinguished by the rules regarding car-contact during racing.
Full Contact formulas include Bangers, Bombers and Rookie Bangers - and racing features Demolitions Derbies, Figure of Eight racing and Oval Racing
Semi Contact Formulas include BriSCA F1, F2 and Superstox - where bumpers are used tactically.
Non-contact formulas include National Hot Rods, Stock Rods and Lightning Rods.
UK Stockcar racing started in the 1950s and grew rapidly through the 60s and 70s. Today it remains one of the most popular forms of motorsport in the UK - with regular events attacting substantial crowds to dramatic and intense events.
The major Promoter of Stockcar racing in the UK is Spedeworth/Incarace, with 10 raceways and 250 events each year.
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 Finland and 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 rallies which 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 Tasmania held 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 Newfoundland based in Canada, Targa West based in Western Australia, Targa New Zealand and other smaller events.
 Drag racing
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 dragster takes 4.5 seconds or less, reaching speeds of up to 530 km/h (330 mph). Drag racing was organized as a sport by Wally Parks in 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 Shuttle experiences. 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.
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.
 Sports car racing
The Audi R8
was one of the most successful sports prototypes ever made, seen here at Road Atlanta.
In sports car racing, production versions of sports cars and/or grand tourers, and sports prototype cars 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 1,000-mile (1,600 km) Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
 Off-road racing
In 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 Rallye or European "bajas" are called "cross-country rallies." many people have died while trying to win the world cup.
 Kart racing
Although often seen as the entry point for serious racers into the sport, kart racing, or karting, can be an economical way for amateurs to try racing and is also a fully fledged international sport in its own right. World-famous F1-drivers like Michael Schumacher or Fernando Alonso and 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.
 Historical racing
As modern motor racing is centered on modern technology with a lots of corporate sponsors and politics involved, historical racing tends 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 Speed and Goodwood Revival in Britain and Monterey Historic in the United States. Championships range from "grass root" Austin Seven racing to the FIA Thoroughbred Grand Prix Championship for classic Formula One chassis.
While there are several professional teams and drivers in historical racing, this branch of auto sport tends to be contested by wealthy car owners and is thus more amateur and laid back in its approach.
 Other categories
- See also Category:Auto racing by type
 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.
||Displayed from start tower
||Displayed from observation post
||The race has started or resumed after a full caution or stop, or the race is proceeding normally.
||End of hazardous section of track.
||Full course caution condition for ovals. On road courses, it means a local area of caution. Depending on the type of racing, either two yellow flags will be used for a full course caution or a sign with 'SC' (Safety car) will be used as the field follows the pace/safety car on track and no cars may pass.
||Local caution condition — no cars may pass at the particular corner where being displayed.
||Debris or slippery patches on the track.
||The car with the indicated number must pit for consultation.
||The session is halted; all cars on course must return to pit lane.
||The car with the indicated number has mechanical trouble.
||The driver of the car with the indicated number has been penalized for misbehaviour.
||The driver of the car with the indicated number is disqualified or will not be scored until they report to the pits.
||A car must allow another car to pass if the flag is blue only. With an orange or yellow stripe, it simply serves as a warning that faster traffic is behind. SCCA Check mirrors/ faster traffic coming
||A car is being advised to give way to faster traffic approaching.
||The race is stopped—all cars must halt on the track or return to pit lane.
||One lap remains. SCCA Slow vehicle on Track.
||A slow vehicle is on the track.
||The race has concluded.
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 setup or 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.
 See also
- ^ Historic Racing
- ^ NHRA Mile High Nationals 2001, and 2002 testing from the National Seismology Center.
 External links
 Sanctioning bodies