Motorsports is a term that is used to refer to a group of competitive sporting events which involve the use of a motorized vehicle. These motor vehicles can be used for both racing and non-racing competitions. On the other hand, the same term can be used for any competition with two-wheeled vehicles. That includes all types of motorcycle racing as well as motocross.
There are several entries that are part of motorsports. The most popular ones are:
- Formula 1
- Car Racing
- Kart Racing
- Track Racing
- Superbike Racing
- Road Racing
- Dirt Track Racing
- Off-Road Racing
- Truck Racing
- Grand Prix Racing
Four- (or more) wheeled motorsports competitions are globally governed by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA); and the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) governs two-wheeled competitions. You can learn more about their competitions on this website.
When it comes to Motorsports, formula 1 is definitely the most popular competition. Formula racing holds several different competitions with formula 1 being the strongest one. However, there is also formula 2, formula 3, formula 4, GP3 series, GP4 series, etc. Formula 1 exists in the current form since 1950. There are 20 racers who participate and race against each other in a series of races known as Grand Prix in a single season.
The results of each race award racers a number of points. These points are accumulated during the whole season and at the end a winner is chosen. The racer with the most points becomes the driver’s champion. Additionally, the formula team with the most points gets the constructors’ champions title. Each formula constructor teams gets two drivers. When it comes to motorsports, formula 1 is the most watched competition.
Car racing or better known as Auto racing is a part of motorsport which involves the racing of automobiles. There are several different competitions when it comes to car racing. This largely depends on the type of car which is used. The most popular ones are sports car racing, touring car racing, and stock car racing.
The last one holds one of the most popular motorsports competition in the world. It’s known as NASCAR and is incredibly popular in the USA. Rally races, drag racing and off-road racing are also a part of this group. However, they are big competitions so we will mention them separately.
Kart racing or karting is a variant of motorsport racing with open-wheel, four-wheeled vehicles called known as go-karts or shifter karts. Karting is a very popular past time activity all around the world. People go karting just for fun, you can even see children racing in small go-kart vehicles. However, there are also professional competitions when it comes to kart racing.
Karting is often seen as a motorsport which is used as a stepping stone towards great competitions. For instance, a lot of formula 1 champions started their careers in kart racing.
Motorsports – Truck Racing
As the name suggests, truck racing is a motorsport in which drivers race with trucks. It’s a popular type of racing in the USA which started during the last decades of the 20th century. Maximum race speed is restricted to 160 km/h (100 mph) for safety reasons, and a minimum weight limit is 5500 kg. Races start from a rolling start, and commonly races last from 8 to 12 laps.
Track racing is not a motorsport but rather a way of motorcycle racing. The races are done on an unpaved oval track. However, remember that there are different variants and each of them takes place on a different surface type. This is a sport that became popular around 1920 and it is controlled by the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM). To learn more about it and other similar competitions, check their official website.
Competitions take place on tracks which are defined by the FIM as being of the following motorsports:
- Speedway – a track with a top surface in granite, shale, brick granules or similar unbound material rolled in on the base ground.
- Long track – sand, shale or similar unbound material rolled in on the base ground.
- Grass track – firm, level turf with minor undulations.
- Ice Racing – ice with a minimum thickness of 10 cm.
Superbike racing is yet another motorsport which is a part of motorcycle racing. However, it’s a bit different than the classic motoGP racing. In motoGP purpose-built motorcycles are used; however in superbike racing highly modified production motorcycles are used for the races. Superbike racing is generally popular with manufacturers, since it helps promote and sell their product, as captured by the slogan “Win on Sunday; Sell on Monday”.
Nevertheless, superbike racing is extremely popular. There is a world championship as well as national championships that are held all around the world. This sport is popular in the USA, UK, Japan, and Canada. On the other hand, road racing superbikes are popular in Nigeria.
Motorsports – Road Racing
All types of motorsports which are held on paved road surfaces are considered a part of road racing. The races can be held either on a closed circuit or on a street circuit utilizing temporarily closed public roads. Originally, road races were held almost entirely on public roads however, public safety concerns eventually led to most races being held on purpose built racing circuits. This type of racing emerged at the end on the 19th century and has been growing in popularity ever since.
The success and popularity of road racing has seen the sport spread across the globe with Grand Prix road races having been held on six continents. Other variations of road racing include; sports car racing, touring car racing, superbike racing, truck racing, kart racing and endurance racing. We have already mentioned some of these racing types and we will mention the rest further in the article.
Dirt Track Racing
As a motorsport, dirt track racing is held on clay or dirt surfaced oval race tracks. These tracks are often used for thoroughbred horse racing. As a sport, it became popular in the USA several years after World War I. With time it spread to both car and motorcycle racing. Dirt track racing is the single most common form of auto racing in the United States. There are hundreds of local and regional racetracks throughout the nation. The sport is also popular in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
Depending on the competition, all types of vehicles can be used. They can race with purpose-built vehicles, stock cars, and even street vehicles. This racing type allows for customization of the vehicle; however, that’s controlled by the competition where the vehicle is supposed to be used.
Motorsports – Off-Road Racing
Off-road racing is a form of motorsports consisting of specially-modified vehicles (including cars, trucks, motorbikes, and buggies) racing in off-road environments. These types of races can be separated into three main categories.
- Desert Racing
- Short Course Racing
- Other Formats
Desert racing appeared in the 20th century and is very popular in North America. One of the most famous desert races is known as the Best in the Series. It’s a race that’s longer than 1000 miles and takes place from Vegas to Reno. In the short course races, there are several competitions but this type of motorsport is not really popular outside of the USA. The general idea of offroad racing can also extend to include hillclimbing or any other form of racing that does not occur on a specified, paved track. The Frozen Rush features off-road trophy trucks racing on snowy ski slopes.
Motorcycle speedway or simply speedway is a motorsport that involves motorcycle racing. In a single race. there are usually 4 to 6 races that compete over four laps in an oval circuit. The circuit is almost always made from dirt. However, the interesting thing speedway is the way the motorcycles are built. They have only one gear and have no breaks which makes the whole race very exciting.
Speedway is a very popular sport, especially in North America and around Europe. There is a speedway World Cup as well as speedway Grand Prix events. This motorsport appeared early in the 20th century; however, it has grown a lot in popularity in the past couple of decades.
Motorsports – Rally
Rally is a form of motorsport that takes place on public or private roads with modified production or specially built road-legal cars. What makes it different to other racing sports is that, drivers don’t actually race each other on the track. Instead each driver drives alone from one point to another. The idea is to get through the points as fast as possible. One race has several points and the ultimate winner of the race is the driver that had the total best time.
Rally driving is very popular all across the world. There are tons of championships around the world with the World Rally Championship being the ultimate one. The courses for this motorsport are usually normal roads which get closed for the duration of the rally.
Grand Prix Racing
Grand Prix motor racing is the first important type of motorsport competition. It appeared in France somewhere around 1894. It quickly evolved from simple road races from one town to the next, to endurance tests for car and driver. It’s important to note that all the best racing events are now part of Grand Prix Racing. Grand Prix motor racing eventually evolved into formula racing, and one can regard Formula One as its direct descendant.
This is why the World Championships in formula one are still reffered to as Grand Prix races. The first Grand Prix was called Circuit du Sud-Ouest and since then thousands of Grand Prix races all around the world have occurred.
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