Glossary of motorsport terms

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The following is a glossary of terminology used in motorsport, along with explanations of their meanings.

0–9[edit]

107% rule
Often used in Formula One or other racing series, it is a time which the driver must qualify the car within 107% of the polesitter's speed to be allowed to compete. Variations of this may be used to monitor drivers and warn them to make speed or be parked. Similarly, the IndyCar Series uses a 105% rule and NASCAR has a 115% rule, mainly for performance on track, though INDYCAR and NASCAR often adjust the rule very abrasive circuits where lap times can be considerably much faster when a car has newer tires.
200 MPH Club
(Also known as the "2 Club" or "Dirty Two Club" for records taking place at El Mirage Lake[1]) A lifetime "membership" awarded by the SCTA or another sanctioning body / circuit to any driver who drives over a specified distance at a minimum speed of 200 miles per hour (320 km/h), while also breaking a record.[2] Membership can stretch over from the more exclusive 300 to the elite 400.[3]

A[edit]

Air jacks
Compressed air activated lifting cylinders strategically mounted to the frame of and near the wheels of a racing car which project downwards to lift the car off the ground during a pit stop so to more quickly change wheels/tires or provide mechanics access to the underside of the car for repairs.
Apex
The part of a corner where the racing line is nearest the inside of the bend.
Armchair enthusiast
Alternatively armchair racer, an individual who follows motor sports primarily on television and or the internet and reads books and magazines about the subject. Can also refer to someone who plays racing video games[4]
Auto racing
Alternative term for motorsport, largely American in nature, although referring specifically to circuit/oval racing for cars and excluding sports such as motorcycling racing, rallying and drifting.
Awful Awful
North American rodder slang for a AA/FA ("double A" Fuel Altered) drag racer

B[edit]

B main
See Semi-feature.
B-team
A racing team that exists to develop the careers of upcoming drivers, such as Scuderia Toro Rosso and unofficially, Super Aguri F1.[5] Sometimes also referred to as a satellite team
Back half
(drag racing) referring to distance from the 1/8 mile mark to the 1/4 mark of the track.
Backmarker
A slower car, usually in the process of being lapped by the leaders. It is sometimes a derogatory term.[6]
Backup car
See Spare car.
Beam
(drag racing) starting line electric eye controlling prestaged and staged lights.
Banking
A.) The angle at which a track inclines towards the outside of a corner or from the lower to the higher side of a straight, also referred to as camber, more so when modest or negative, B.) a corner that inclines towards the outside or C.) an earth bank where spectators sit or stand
The Big One
A large pileup during a stock car race involving up to 30 cars. The term is largely reserved for restrictor plate racing at Daytona and Talladega.
Blend line
The painted line defining the exit from pit lane where it rejoins the race track. It prevents emerging race cars from driving into race traffic travelling past the pits. Competitors are penalised for crossing the blend line, ensuring cars have attained full racing speed before rejoining the race.
Bleach box
(drag racing) Area where bleach is deposited for cars to perform burnouts (q.v). Gasoline (since discontinued for safety reasons), water, and TrackBite are also used.
Blow
See Blown.
Blower
supercharger (occasionally turbocharger); in '90s, generally grouped as "power adder" with turbocharger and nitrous.
Blown
A.) An engine that is supercharged (i.e. a "blown" V8 is a supercharged V8); or B.) An engine that has suffered serious failure, usually no longer running and/or having sustained irreparable damage (i.e. "Looks like #21 has a blown engine...his race is over").
Blowover
flipping of a car or boat, due to air under car lifting front wheels. Commonly suffered by dragsters and powerboats.
Bottle
(drag racing) refers to the nitrous system, also the jug.
Bottoming, Bottoming out
When the bottom of the chassis hits the track.[7]
Breakout
(drag racing) running quicker than dial-in; also "breaking out." Grounds for disqualification if opponent does not commit a foul start or cross boundary lines; also known as Bustout.
Bridesmaid
A driver who finishes the race or racing season as runner up[8][9][10] Sometimes reserved for a driver who finishes second many times without ever winning a championship (or major event) in his career. Derived from the expression 'always the bridesmaid, never the bride' referring to someone who frequently comes close to success without ever achieving it.
Bump and run
A move in stock car racing, where a trailing car intentionally bumps the car in front in an attempt to pass.[11]
Burnout
performed to heat the tires up for better traction.
Buschwhacker, Claim Jumper (2008-14), or Signal Pirate (2015-)
(NASCAR) A driver who regularly races in the first tier NASCAR series, the Sprint Cup Series, who makes guest or semi-regular appearances racing in the second-tier NASCAR Xfinity Series. The term was named originally for then sponsor of the second-tier series Anheuser-Busch brewery. Claim Jumper was a reference to second-tier sponsor Nationwide Insurance (2008-14), and Signal Pirate references current second-tier sponsor Comcast Xfinity.
Bye
Allows a driver to advance to the next stage or heat of an event, without competing, when there are uneven numbers entered. Commonly used in speedway, drag racing and drifting etc.

C[edit]

Catch fence at an American dirt track
Camber
A.)The angle at which wheels are set up to tilt in or out, measured in degrees in or out from 90 degrees (i.e. "2.5 degrees negative camber" means each wheel is tilted 2.5 degrees inwards from vertical) "Positive camber" means the top of the tyre is angled outwards from the car; "negative camber" means that the top tilts inwards. Negative camber assists cornering performance as the outside tyres lean into the corner (like a motorcycle) which keeps the lateral forces on the tire lower and causes less flex in the sidewall, although it does also have the effect of increasing tyre wear. Or B.) Banking, the angle at which a corner inclines towards the outside or a straight from its lower side to its higher side. Sometimes specified as positive camber and negative camber, the latter indicating a decline from the inside of a corner.
Catch fence
A series of chain-link fencing used to slow out of control cars down. It is common on American short tracks and it was common on road course racing prior to the advent of gravel traps.
Caution / Caution period
See Full course yellow.
Chase vehicle
In off-road racing, a non-competitive vehicle that follows a competing vehicle to assist with repairs.[12]
Chicane
An artificial feature added to the natural course of a track to slow cars[13] or create a passing zone.
The "Christmas tree counting down at SIR
Chopping Down the Christmas Tree
See Wired to the tree.
Christmas tree (or tree)
The series of lights (in drag racing) that signal the approach and start of a race in addition to showing starting violations.
Church break
A compulsory time-off period in which all motorsport activities must cease for a short period on late Sunday morning to allow church services to proceed without disruption from adjacent noise, common to all motorsport venues taking place within a certain proximity of a church, or if local regulations mandate such. At Lime Rock Park, racing on Sunday is specifically prohibited. Some series intentionally do not allow any activity on the circuit until after noon on Sunday. Many series in North America reserve such time off in order to have chapel services inside the circuit, organised by a ministry traveling with the series, and spectators with chapel services organised by local churches.
Clean air
Air that has not been affected by turbulence from other cars.[7] The opposite of dirty air.
Clerk of the Course
Responsible for all on-track activities including demonstrations and parades. The supervision of the track and all emergency services should at all times be under the ultimate control of the Clerk of the Course.
Closing/shutting the door
A driver takes an early defensive racing line into a corner to block the car behind from overtaking along the preferred line.
Co-driver
In rally racing, a co-driver directs the driver through the course by reading pacenotes which describe the turns and obstacles ahead. Also called a navigator historically when the reading of maps played a larger part in rallies prior to the widespread adoption of pacenoting. The term is also used in long-distance sports car and touring car racing where more than one driver is sharing the same vehicle.
Crossed sticks
Two curled up flags held out in form of a cross signal the halfway mark in many American racing series.
Competition caution
A preplanned full course yellow, mandated by the sanctioning body, where drivers bring their vehicles into the pits. Frequently done to change tires because of excessive tire wear.[14]
Control
Where the series organisers specify that all competitors in the race must use an identical part; as in control tyre or control engine.
Crate motor
An engine that is ready-built and sealed by an independent company. Crate motors are sometimes mandated and sometimes optional. They are commonly used in regional touring series down to local tracks in divisions from late models on down. Crate motors are implemented to limit costs and it ensures that the entire field has the same equipment.[15]
Cushion
In dirt or off-road racing, when dirt is kicked up from the track that lands near the wall after trucks drift through the corners. The dirt builds up after time and can slow a driver down if they slide too deep into it while sliding through the turn.
Customer car
When a racing team uses a car built for them, either by another team, or by a specialist racing chassis manufacturer. Primarily a Formula One term where the majority of teams build their own cars, and practice that is now banned from F1.

D[edit]

Delaware start
Deep braking
Applying the brakes later than normal when entering a turn.
Delaware start
A style of restart where the race leader starts in the first row by himself and the other drivers start two-wide.[16] Named after a start method for a short track in the state of Delaware in the United States. The leader can choose which lane he wants for the restart, which can be an advantage, with a clear advantage over second place. Compare that to Lane Choice.

Delta Time (also Pit-Stop Delta)

The entire time it generally takes a driver to enter the pit lane, make a full pit stop, and exit the pit area back to the track to resume racing at optimum pace. For example, a Delta Time of 25 seconds means the entire pitting process (entering, stopping and exiting) cost the driver 25 seconds not driving at full race speed even though the car may have been stationary in the pit box for only 5 seconds.

Density Altitude (often DA)

(drag racing) which often refers to the quality of air. Technically "quality of air" refers to the pressure drop as altitude above sea level increases. Atmospheric air pressure is lower at a race track higher above sea level. All non-turbocharged internal combustion engines produce less power as air pressure drops, as each intake stroke draws in less air per volume than normally. This may require the engine to be "tuned" to optimize the power, as it may still "think" it's at a lower altitude. Because a supercharged engine pressurizes intake air at a fixed mechanical ratio to the engines RPM's, it suffers a proportionate loss in power, but not as severe as a naturally aspirated engine will. A turbocharged engine is largely unaffected, as the lower density of the intake air is offset by the lower backpressure resisting the exhaust flow through the turbo.
Dial-in
(drag racing) when bracket racing, drivers must estimate or "dial in" the time in which they expect to run. Therefore two unmatched cars in weight and power can compete, by a handicap system. If one runs a faster time than dialed in, it is a breakout.

Did Not Attend (often DNA)

Denotes a driver who was entered for a race but did not attend the circuit. Sometimes referred to as Did Not Arrive or simply a "no show."

Did Not Finish (often DNF)

A driver who did not finish the race. Some sanctioning bodies do not classify a driver in the final results if he did not finish completed a certain number of laps, for example in Formula One a driver must complete 90% of the completed laps to be classified as a finisher.

Did Not Qualify / Did Not Pre-qualify (often DNQ / DNPQ)

A failure to qualify or pre-qualify for a race. Most often because the driver was too slow to make it into a limited number of grid positions, or was slower than the 107% rule. Refer 107% rule.

Did Not Start (often DNS)

A driver did not attempt to compete in a race, even though he may have competed in practice sessions and / or qualifying. Not the same as the DNA already mentioned.
Digger
dragster (as distinct from a bodied car or flopper).[17]
Dirty air
The air disrupted by a car when it moves at speed, which can cause aerodynamic difficulties for a car following closely behind. The opposite of clean air.

Disqualify (often DQ or DSQ)

Where a competitor is removed from the results, usually in penalty for a technical infringement. Sometimes, but not always, interchangeable with Excluded.
Dogleg
A gentle turn or kink on a racing circuit, usually associated with road courses, but also present on oval tracks. On road courses, a dogleg may be present on a long straightaway (e.g. Mid-Ohio), curving the straight slightly, but usually not enough to require drivers to slow down much for the turn. On an oval, a dogleg can be located on the frontstrech (e.g. Charlotte) or backstrech (e.g. Phoenix) creating an oblong shape, adding a challenge, increasing sightlines for fans, and again, usually not requiring drivers to slow down for the extra curve. A quad-oval is also referred to as a "double dogleg."
A drift competition in progress
Doped (or Dope)
(drag racing) commonly used word in the southern states if the car is using nitrous or propane injection on diesels.
Door-slammer
Drag racing term used to group vehicles, usually sedan bodied, that still have functional doors for driver access to the vehicle, as opposed to Funny cars which have a single lightwight outer body draped over the racing chassis.
Downforce
Increased force holding the car onto the track. This is created by the aerodynamics or aerodynamic aids (F1 wings, etc.) of a vehicle which causes a "reverse lift" effect. That is, creating an area of low pressure (suction) under the car and/or under the wing(s) or other aids fixed to the car, the higher pressure above forcing the tires harder to the ground, effectively increasing the static friction. This allows it to travel faster through a corner, at the cost of having a reduced overall top speed, since drag is proportionate to lift and downforce is caused by lift.
Drafting
A technique where multiple vehicles align in a close group reducing the overall effect of drag due to exploiting the lead object's slipstream. Same as slipstreaming.
Drag Reduction System
A mechanically activated element of the rear wing of modern Formula One cars, where in a predetermined position on the circuit a wing element will open, moving from steeply inclined to flat, thus reducing the amount of drag generated by the rear wing, increasing its top speed on a straightaway. The mechanism artificially assists overtaking with additional benefit of overcoming Dirty Air issues while following cars closely.
Drifting
Drifting is a form of motorsport in which drivers intentionally provoke constant oversteering slides while preserving vehicle control and a high exit speed. In motor racing, drifting is a cornering technique (also called a four-wheel drift) where a car takes a high-speed corner held at an angle on the track without major steering inputs, balancing natural understeer with power oversteer.
Drive-through penalty
A penalty applied by race officials while the race is underway. A competitor is directed to drive into the pit lane and travel its length at much reduced speed (pit lanes are mostly speed-limited to protect the pitcrew and marshals) losing significant track position in the process. When the driver is serving his drive through penalty he is not allowed to stop anywhere in the pits.[7] See also Stop-go penalty.
Drivers' meeting before a motocross race
Drivers' meeting
A meeting where drivers and officials meet before a race to discuss the upcoming event. Also referred to as Drivers' briefing or Driver and Crew Chief meeting, as in some series, the driver and his crew chief must attend.
DRS
see Drag Reduction System
Dry line
On a drying circuit, the racing line that becomes dry first as the cars displace water from it.

E[edit]

Early Doors
A popular term used by competitors when referring to the early stages of the series' season.
The esses at Road Atlanta
Esses
Sequences of alternating turns on a road course, resembling the letter 'S'.
E.T.
Elapsed Time. A term used in drag racing about the total time the run took, from start, to finish.
E.T. Slip
(drag racing) Slip of paper turned in by the race timer which denotes elapsed time for both drivers, and who won the race; it may also include reaction time and "60 foot" time. This is an official document, used for timekeeping. Also known as a timeslip.
Excluded
Removed from competition before the race has started, generally due to an infringement during practice or qualifying.

F[edit]

Factory-backed
A racing team/driver that competes with official sanction and financial support from a manufacturer. In Europe, known as a works team.
Fan car
Usually refers specifically to the Brabham BT46 Formula One car, although the concept was actually pioneered by sports car manufacturer Chaparral Cars on the Chaparral 2J. The placement of a large fan at the rear of the chassis driven either independently or by the engine with the purpose of creating negative air-pressure underneath the car to create additional downforce for increased cornering speed.
Fastest lap
fastest time in which a lap was completed by a driver during a race. Sometimes rewarded with bonus championship points.
Field
The competing cars in an event.
Field-filler
A driver or team usually slower than the majority of the field that only participates if there are open spots.
First or Worse
In drag racing, if both drivers commit a foul, the driver who commits the foul first loses, unless it is two separate fouls, where the loser is the driver who committed the worse foul; (a foul start is worse than a break out, in a bracket class with breakout rules in effect, then a lane violation is worse than foul start, and failure to participate in a post-run inspection is worst). The "worse" part is in case of a double breakout, the driver closer to their index wins.
Flag-to-flag coverage
Television or radio coverage that consists of the entire race start-to-finish rather than highlights, tape delayed, "packaged" coverage, or highlights of the first portion of the race before broadcasting the final quarter of the race live. Derives from green flag (start) to checkered flag (finish). Instituted largely in the late 1970s, with the 1979 Daytona 500 being the first major 500-mile race with live, flag-to-flag coverage.
Flat spot
When a wheel locks under braking, the car skids and leaves a flat spot on the section of the tyre that was touching the ground at the time.[7]
Flopper
(drag racing) Funny Car, short for "fender flopper." Coined by dragster crews in the late 1960s to separate Funny Cars, which had fiberglass bodies with fenders, from dragsters. Erroneously attributed to flip-top bodies of Funny Cars.
Flying lap
A lap started by a competitor at optimum speed, as opposed to a lap from a standing start, usually in qualifying.
Flying Start
(See Rolling Start)
Formation lap
The lap cars make before forming up on the grid for the start.[7]
Formula racing
A type of racing, generally open wheeled, where the conditions of technical entry comply with strict rules or formulae.
Free practice
When drivers or riders learn the circuit and/or teams experiment with race settings for the track.
Fuel
(drag racing) mix of methanol and nitromethane ("pop," nitro); race class using it.
Fuel cell
A fuel tank with a flexible inner liner to minimize the potential for punctures in the event of a collision or other mishap resulting in serious damage to the vehicle. Mandatory in most forms of motorsport.
Fueler
(drag racing) any car running fuel or in Fuel class (most often, TFD or TF/FC).
Full course yellow
When yellow flags are deployed at every flag point around a race circuit and a Safety Car leads the field until a hazard is cleared.
Funny Car
(drag racing) a vehicle with a single-piece body draped over the chassis which is lifted off or rear-hinged to allow the driver access to the cabin; a race class for such a car

G[edit]

Gasser
bodied drag racer running on gasoline (before Pro Stock was introduced)
Gentleman driver
in sportscar racing, typically refers to a driver who is not a professional racing driver. These drivers' primary source of income is not related to motorsport. Most sportscar racing categories today use a driver rating system where notable drivers with major accomplishment in single-seater competition and under 50 years of age are platinum, drivers with major wins in domestic motorsport or platinum-level drivers 50-59, gentleman drivers who are experienced are silver, and gentleman drivers with an entry-level (B) international licence are declared bronze. Many series require gentleman drivers in lower-level categories (P2 and GTE-AM in WEC, PC and GT3/GTD in IMSA) and only allow one professional driver in a three-driver team in those classes.
Graining
When small grains of rubber start coming off a tyre.[7] See also marbles.
Grand marshal
Ceremonial marshaling role at a race meeting. Largely held by celebrities or retired notable drivers with no actual duties or responsibilities beyond the waving of a flag to commence activity or to announce the traditional start your engines prior to some races.
Gravel trap
Off-track run-off area, usually positioned on the outside of corners, filled with gravel intended to slow down and stop cars that have left the track at speed. Generally there are tyre barriers between a gravel trap and the catch fencing, in order to protect the spectators.[7] Sometimes nicknamed "kitty litter" for its visual resemblance.
Green track
A paved race course that is clean from rubber buildup, oil/grease, marbles (see below), and debris, typically cleansed by means of a recent rain shower. A "green track" is usually considered preferable. Track crews may also use jet blowers to remove marbles and debris from the surface, to mimic the green track conditions.
Green-white-checker finish
When a full-course caution comes out right before the end of a race, the race is extended beyond its scheduled distance. Depending on sanctioning body, there may be either one or multiple attempts at a restart, between one and five laps, before the race is declared officially over. NASCAR's national series will have a maximum of three attempts if the penultimate lap only under caution, while some short track races have unlimited attempts at a span between one and five consecutive green-flag laps. In British Superbike Championship motorcycle racing, if a caution is called in the final third of the race, three additional laps will be added on the ensuing restart in a green-white-checker style finish.[18]
Grenade
wreck an engine (the engine "grenaded") due to internal failure. Distinct from "popping a blower". A hand-grenade engine is a usually derogatory engine of tuned to maximise engine power at the cost of low mechanical reliability.
Grid
The starting formation of a race, generally in rows of two for cars and three or four for bikes. The Indianapolis 500 traditionally has a unique grid of three cars per row.
Groove
Also called The Groove. The optimal path around the track for the lowest lap time. In drag racing it is about the center portion of the lane, where the cars can gain traction quicker.
Groove a tire
see Sipe
Ground effect
A method of creating downforce by the shape of the car's body, notably by shaping the underside of the car in combination with the car's lateral edges in order to trap and dramatically slow the airflow running underneath the car, effectively turning the entire car into a wing.
Gurney, Gurney flap
A small lip placed at the trailing edge of a race car's aerodynamic wing. Despite its relative size, often only millimetres tall, it can double the downforce achieved by the wing, although at the premium of increasing drag, hence the small size. Named for the man commonly attributed to its proliferation, Formula One driver and constructor, Dan Gurney. Also known as a wickerbill.

H[edit]

Hairpin turn on the Mont Ventoux in France
Hairpin
A tight 180 degree corner that twists back on itself.
Handicap
where cars start a race in the reverse order of qualifying, or perceived race pace, usually with timed gaps between cars starting a race. More common in racing's early days than today, the effect was the produce a race result in which all cars would arrive at the race finish together, regardless of the performance of the race vehicle. Another form of handicapping is success ballast, where more successful cars are assessed a weight penalty for every win, and Balance of Power in sportscar racing.
Hanford Device
a spoiler attached across the back of the rear wing to greatly increase drag. The result is a massive increase in the slipstream, which improves wheel-to-wheel competition as well as multiple lead changes per lap.
Heads-up Racing
in drag racing, where both drivers leave at the same time and is used in all professional ("pro") classes.
Heat
A shorter race which decides the participants of the main race and sometimes starting order as well, usually there are more heats in which only a part of the drivers from the entry list take part. Can also mean part of the main race, when it consists of two or more parts.
Holeshot
when beginning a race from a standing start:
  • (motorcycle, off-road, powerboat racing), the rider who is the first one through the first turn at the start of a race
  • (drag racing) getting a substantial starting line advantage due to a quicker reaction time. The other driver gets "holeshotted" "welded to the line" or "left at the tree." A "holeshot win" is any win in a heads-up class where a slower car beats a faster car because of better reaction time, despite having a slower elapsed time (e.t.).[19]
Homologation
Process by which a new vehicle or part of a vehicle is approved by organisers for usage in racing.
Hook up
(drag racing) Good traction between tires and track resulting in increased acceleration and reduced slipping or smoking of tires.
Hot lap
flying lap.
Hung-out-to-dry
Typically used in context to pack racing; a car that pulls out of the "draft train" to make a pass, but ends up losing many positions. Numerous cars drafting closely together normally drive faster than one car by itself. The lone car hung out to dry sometimes falls all the way to the end of the draft train.

I[edit]

Impact wrench
A tool specifically designed for rapidly winding off and on wheel nuts, allowing the changing of wheels and tyres to be performed faster during pit stops. Also known as an impactor, air wrench, air gun, rattle gun, torque gun.
Impound Rule
NASCAR's version of Parc Fermè, used at certain tracks
In-lap
Any lap which concludes with a visit to the pits, especially a pre-arranged pit stop, either during a race or during practice or qualifying. Often drivers push hard to drive fast on their in-lap (despite perhaps having worn out tires) in order to gain time during the pit stop sequence. See Delta time
Incident officer (often IO or I/O)
A motorsport marshal who is in charge of other marshals on the track, allocating duties to them. Second in rank to observer. In hillclimbing, they are responsible for the radio communication.
Independent
A competitor (team or driver) taking part with no or very little backing from a manufacturer. They have their own championship within the World Touring Car Championship, where there is a strong manufacturer presence.
Inspector
See Scrutineer.
Installation lap
A lap which can take place in practice or qualifying, which is intended simply to gain data and telemetry for the driver or team, rather than any intention of setting a competitive time.
Intermediate
A wet weather tyre of lighter grooving than a wet weather tyre. Sometimes an intermediate is a slick tyre with grooves cut into it. It is used for conditions between dry and wet conditions, most often when the track is wet but it is not actually raining.
Invert
The portion of the field which is started by reverse qualifying speed. With an invert of five, the fifth-fastest qualifier starts first and the fastest qualifier starts fifth. The rest of the field starts by their qualifying speed (sixth fastest starts sixth). The invert is often not announced before qualifying or a dice/die roll happens after qualifying.[20]

J[edit]

Jet dryer mounted on a pickup truck
James Bond (Red)
In drag racing, when driver's reaction time (when he leaves the start line) is seven thousands of a second after the green light (.007). A "Red" is a reaction time of -.007 seconds (red light), which is disqualification unless the opponent commits a more serious violation.
Jet dryer
An airplane engine mounted on a pickup truck or trailer. The exhaust from the engine is used to blow debris or evaporate moisture from the racing surface.[21]
Joker lap or lane
In rallycross and some motocross events, each vehicle must run a different lap once during each heat or feature race. The lap is slower and longer.
Jump start
In a standing start, when a vehicle moves from its grid slot before the start of a race is signaled. In a rolling start, when a car passes before they cross the start-finish line or the restart line. When this is done, a penalty is usually imposed. In drag racing, a jump start is signalled by a red light in the offending driver's lane, and he loses unless a more serious foul (boundary line or failure to report to post-race inspection after a round win) occurs.[7]

K[edit]

Kerb-hopping
To clip, or drive over completely, the concrete kerbs (curbs) on the inside of a corner. While often the fastest method of negotiating chicanes in particular, the practice is usually frowned upon by race officials for the damage it can do to the kerbs, tyres and vehicles. The practice also can drag debris or water from behind the kerb onto the racing line.
KERS
Kinetic Energy Recovery System. A device which recovers energy created when brakes are applied and stores it until required to add power in the engine. In 2008 KERS systems started to appear in the World Rally Championship and Formula One followed soon after, where its application is limited to a push to pass system.
Kit
(drag racing) refers to a turbo kit or a nitrous kit. Using nitrous oxide in the professional categories in drag racing is illegal.
Kitty litter
Informal term with two possible meanings. It is either a nickname for a gravel trap, or for a material applied to the track surface to clean up a leaking fluid.[22]

L[edit]

                     Early apex                      Ideal Line                      Late apex
Ladder series
Generally refers to a category or series of lesser importance which in most cases will race at the same race meeting as a senior category. Cars will be generally similar in characteristic to drive but will be smaller, less powerful and/or slower. Competitors will generally be younger emerging drivers who are climbing an apprenticeship 'ladder' towards entry into the senior series.
Lambda reading
Fuel to air ratio readings, used to determine how much fuel is pushed through the fuel injectors into the cylinders for combustion.
Lap of honour
A non-competitive lap taken before or after the race by a driver in celebration. Also known as a lap of honor, or, if after the race, a victory lap.
Lap record
Fastest race lap recorded at a circuit for a category of race car. The circumstances allowed vary significantly, but practice laps are generally not considered official records. Laps recorded in qualifying may or may not contribute but are sometimes referred together with practice laps as Qualifying lap record. The outright lap record is the fastest race lap ever recorded at any particular circuit, regardless of category of vehicle being raced.
Le Mans car
A slang given by the general public to describe a sports prototype racing car, commonly a Le Mans Prototype[23] and its predecessors including Group C, Group 6 and Group 5, regardless if it is competing at Le Mans or not.[24][25]
Lead trophy
See Success ballast.
Lid
The top of something, either a crash helmet or the roof of a car.
Lit the tires
(drag racing) lost traction, producing smoke.
Livery
The paint colors and decals applied to a vehicle to mark its sponsorship or team identity.
Lollipop
A sign on a stick used in pit stops, which is held in front of the car and raised when the pit stop is completed.[7] Though the same basic device is utilized in NASCAR and IndyCar, generic terms such as pit board or sign board are preferred as the sign is not round, but sometimes square, and often is in a specific design unique to the driver or team (such as Kevin Harvick's happy face logo, or a team's number stylised as it fits on the car). In addition, in NASCAR & IndyCar, the sign is usually only used for the driver to locate their pit box. It is pulled back, and not normally used to signal departure as it is in Formula One, .
Loose
See oversteer.

M[edit]

Marshal
Marbles
Pieces of rubber from tires that accumulate on the racing surface outside of the racing line that are slippery like toy marbles.[22]
Marshal
A person responsible for signaling track conditions to drivers (through use of flags), extinguishing fires, removing damaged cars from the track and sometimes providing emergency first aid.
Meatball
A specific racing flag used in some countries to indicate to a competitor there is a defect with the car which has the potential to cause a safety risk to the competitor or to another competitor. Most usually applied to trailing smoke or loose bodywork. The flag is black with a large orange dot in the centre of the flag, looking vaguely like a meatball.
Meth
(drag racing) refers to methanol injection used in conjunction with racing gasoline[citation needed]
Mickey Mouse corner
A pejorative term for a corner or series of corners on a circuit that are thought to be poorly designed, slow, uncompetitive, uninteresting, and which detract from the overall challenge of the course.[26] In some cases where the entire course is deemed poorly designed, it can be referred to as a "Mickey Mouse track."
Mill
any internal combustion engine used in a race car (inherited from hot rodding slang)
Missing man formation
The vehicle on the pole position drops back a row during a pace lap to salute a deceased motorsport personality.[27]
Mobile chicane
Disparaging slang. A competitor noticeably slower than the front running pace, so slow as to be a 'chicane that moves around the track'.[28]
Monsoon wet
Increasingly common nickname for an extreme weather version of the wet weather tyre.
Motorsport Valley
A tag given to the mid-south of England by the Motorsport Industry Association where high concentration of activities within the motorsport industry on and off track occur.
Mountain motor
(mainly North American) term for large-displacement engines, often used in hot rods and drag racers. Named for their size (over 8,100 cubic centimetres, or 500 cubic inches, the limit in some sanctioning bodies), and for being constructed in the mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina.[29]
Murrayism
A funny term or phrase originally uttered during a broadcast, by and named in honour of veteran Formula One broadcaster, Murray Walker.

N[edit]

Navigator
See co-driver.
Nationals
Most NHRA events are called Nationals, referring to the first race held by the NHRA in a parking lot in Pomona, California, called simply, "The Nationals."
NHRA
NHRA is an acronym that stands for National Hot Rod Association, one of two sanctioning bodies in drag racing located within the United States.
Nitro
(drag racing) nitromethane (sometimes incorrectly used to refer to nitrous oxide).
Nitrous
(drag racing) refers to Nitrous Oxide systems manufactured by a wide range of companies.

Not classified (often NC)

A driver was racing at the end of the race, but did not complete the required distance to be classified.

O[edit]

Observer
The highest ranking trackside marshal within the post; the main decision maker at the event of an incident, they relay information to the race control. Can be seen standing in the marshal post. Second to Chief Marshal.
Official
See Steward.
Oildown
(drag racing) When a car's engine or lubrication breaks during a run, leaving a streak of oil and other fluids on the track. This is punishable by fines, point penalties, and/or suspension.

Open wheel car or Open wheeler

A specific type of racing car in which the wheels are not enclosed by bodywork of the car, e.g.: Formula One.
Formula Mazda, a one-make series
One-make racing
Racing equipment that must be identical for all competitors, usually to cut down on costs or for business purposes by car manufacturers. Known in North America as spec, specific parts can be spec, as in the IndyCar Series' spec engine, or the type of car can be spec, as in spec racing series such as Spec Miata.
Out-brake
Gaining time or position by braking harder and deeper in a corner.[30]
Out-lap
The first lap to be completed after exiting the pit lane, either during a race or during practice or qualifying. Also known as a reconnaissance lap if it is not taken at race speed, e.g. when a car leaves the pit lane to take up its position on the grid prior to the race start.
Outright lap record
Fastest lap recorded at a circuit of any category of race car. Most often this does not include qualifying and practice laps but confusingly some sources[specify] occasionally include laps not recorded during races.
Overdrive
(drag racing) The ratio between the revolutions of the supercharger to the revolutions of the engine, controlling amount of boost; see underdrive.
Overpowering the track
A drag racing term used when talking about a run when the driver loses traction. It is normally used to talk about the actions of the team crew chief.
Oversteer
Cornering behaviour where the rear wheels do not track behind the front wheels but instead move out toward the outside of the turn.[30] Opposite of understeer.

P[edit]

A pit stop in Formula One
Pace car
See safety car.
Pacenotes
In rally racing, notes that describe the course in great detail.
Paddock
An enclosure at a track used by team support personnel and vehicles, and other officials and VIPs.
Paint scheme
see Livery.
Parade lap
A lap before a motorsport race begins where the drivers go around the track at a slow speed, also known as a formation lap.
Parc fermé or Impound
An area which cars enter after they have qualified for the race, where they are not allowed to be worked upon by mechanics unless on strict supervision by the stewards. Some motorsports series other than Formula One refer to this as the Impound.[28]
Pay driver
A driver who pays for his race seat rather than receiving a salary from the team. Generally has a negative connotation. Sometimes known as a Ride Buyer.
Pedalling
(drag racing) working the throttle to avoid lighting the tires, or as a way to sandbag; "pedalled" it, had to "pedal" it.
Photo finish
A finish in which two or more cars are so close that in times past a photograph of the finishers crossing the finish line would need to be studied to determine the finishing order. While the practice has been mostly superseded by modern electronic timing systems, the location of the transponder in a vehicle is not located near the nose of the vehicle, so stewards often use video replays to detect where the nose (of a car) or wheel (of a motorcycle) crosses the finish line first.
Pit board
A board that is held up from the pit wall to the side of the finishing straight when a driver goes past, to confirm their position in the race and the amount of laps remaining.[28] Before the introduction of radio communication, also used to instruct drivers to pit for fuel and/or tires, or to comply with rules violations.
Pit stop
Stopping in the pit lane for repairs, refuelling, and/or new tires.
Pit wall
Where the team owners and managers sit to observe the race, opposite the garages in the pit lane.[28]
Pole position
The first grid position, placed closest to the starting line (in Formula One), nearest the inside of the first turn, or both. Usually reserved for the competitor who has recorded the fastest lap during qualifying. A competitor who starts a race there is said to be on the pole.
Pop-off valve
Device attached to turbochargers used to limit the additional horsepower they produce. Usually a mechanical device, activated when the pressure within the turbocharger reaches a certain point, opening a valve (popping off), thus reducing boost pressure. Used primarily for safety (speed reduction of the racing cars) or cost (reducing stress on both turbo and engine, lengthening the life of the parts prior to failure or rebuild).
Pre-qualifying
A preliminary qualifying session held prior to a regular qualifying session in order to reduce the number of competitors taking part in the regular session, usually for safety reasons. An example of pre-qualifying is in Formula One in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Privateer
A competitor not directly supported by a sponsor or manufacturer. To be privately funded.
Progressive grid
Where a category races multiple times at a meeting, the starting order for the grid is decided by the finishing order of the previous race.
Pro tree
(drag racing) timing lights which flash all three yellow lights simultaneously, and after four tenths of a second, turn green.
Prototype
An endurance sports racing car that does not noticeably look like a standard production model.
An informal "puke can". Though some form is mandatory, this type is illegal at some tracks.
Puke can
(drag racing) radiator overflow tank, sometimes, used beer cans are used as puke cans, although, on some tracks, these types of modifications are considered illegal. A standard puke can is usually made of plastic, or some high strength polymer, and attached close to the radiator.
Pulling an Eckman
A term in drag racing, particularly in Pro Stock, when a driver is cited, and fined for racing with a nitrous oxide system; driver Jerry Eckman was the first driver in the NHRA to be indefinitely suspended for such an infraction; he was reinstated after two years.
Push
See understeer.
Push to pass
System in which engine power is increased for short periods to create a short burst of extra speed. This can be done by increasing the boost pressure in a turbocharged car, increasing the maximum rpm, or using a separate system to provide power. Also, see KERS.
Put on the trailer
When a driver has either lost (got "put on the trailer") or won (put the other driver on the trailer). Named because losing drivers pull their vehicle home on a trailer.

Q[edit]

Qualifying
The process of deciding the starting order of a race. See also pre-qualifying.

Quick 8 (often Q8)

(drag racing) Quickest eight cars in a defined race. Rules appear to can differ per location/race.

R[edit]

R.T.
Acronym for "Reaction Time." In drag racing, it refers to the time it took for the driver to leave the starting line after the green light. This time usually means the difference between a win, or a loss, especially in the highly contested Pro Stock division where a difference of one ten-thousandth (.0001) of a second can put a driver in the winners circle.
Race Director
A Race Director may be designated for the entire duration of a Championship or Series. If so, it is understood that, during the practices and races for that Championship or Series, the Clerk of the Course and safety operations are under the ultimate authority of the Race Director.
Racing line
The fastest path around a circuit.
Rainout
When a race is delayed or cancelled due to rain, or the threat of rain.
Rail (or rail job)
dragster (as distinct from bodied car or flopper). From the exposed frame rails of early cars. Usually refers to early short-wheelbase cars.
Rail (drag racing)
guardrail
Ramp run
In a practice lap, to rev the engine as far as possible without changing gears to allow engine management systems to take Lambda readings of the fuel to air ratio across a smooth engine revolution range.
Rattle gun
See Impact Wrench.
Reactive suspension
A system by which the suspension is controlled by computer to maintain an optimum distance above the racing surface, regardless of forces acting upon the car and changes in the racing surface, thus maximising the aerodynamic assistance that can be gained by running the car close to the ground. Developed originally by Team Lotus in Formula One.
Redlight(ed)
(drag racing) a.k.a. bulb(ed)—jump(ed) the start, left before tree turned green. This is a loss unless a more serious (opponent crossing the center boundary line) foul occurs.
Relief driver
A driver who fills in for another driver in case of injury, or during a race because of exhaustion or pain.
Restart
The race is started again after a caution or other condition that stopped the race. In the case of a restart from a caution period on an oval track and most road courses, this is accomplished by the safety car pulling off the track, the green flag/light being displayed, and cars simply accelerating back to race speeds.

Retirement (often Ret)

see Did Not Finish.
Reverse grid racing
when the starting order of a race is reversed, so that the driver on pole position, starts last. Occasionally reverse grid is limited to only part of the grid, for example, just the top ten positions may be reversed. Often used to increase the entertainment value of a race, mainly used when a category races several times over the course of a meeting.
Riding mechanic
an early term for a co-driver.
Ripple strip
Concrete kerb, usually placed on the inside of a corner, painted in chunks of colour, usually red and white alternately, hence the 'ripple'.
Road course ringer
(NASCAR) A driver who generally competes only on road courses as a substitute for a team's primary driver. Such drivers are no longer used by top teams in the Sprint Cup Series due to competition changes in the 21st century, but are still frequently used by lower-tier Cup teams and teams in other NASCAR series.
Roll cage
Roll cage
Network of metal bars that criss-cross the interior of production-based sedan-bodied racing cars. Originally created as a safety device in more recent times it has been used to connect suspension, chassis, engine to substantially increase the torsional rigidity of a race car.
Roll hoop
Looped bar protruding above and behind the drivers helmets in open wheel and prototype sports racing cars. The hoop is placed that in the event of a car rolling over in a crash the car lands on the roll hoop rather than the drivers helmet. It also makes a handy hook for cranes for removing stopped cars from dangerous positions on the circuit.
Rolling start
A starting method where moving cars start a race after the starter displays a green flag.
Roof flap
an aerodynamic piece designed to keep a car on the ground when it is traveling in reverse.
Rumble strip
Variation of ripple strip with an upward-pointed, rounded saw-tooth edge. The saw-tooth effect is to discourage competitors from kerb-hopping. The saw-tooth creates a rumble sound and feel for the competitor when driven over.
Roost
In off-road racing, the act of accelerating quickly in a corner to kick up dirt, dust, and rocks, usually in an effort to temporarily blind a trailing driver.
Run-off area
Areas off the track put aside for vehicles to leave the track in case of emergency without accident.

S[edit]

Chevrolet Corvette safety car leads the field in a NASCAR Nationwide Series race
Safety car
A safety car or pace car limits the speed of competing cars on a racetrack in the case of an accident or caution periods caused by obstruction/s on the track.
Sandbag
To gain a competitive advantage by deliberately underperforming at an event.
Sandtrap
An area at the very end of a dragstrip to keep vehicles from going off the track, it is filled with, as the name implies, sand. The design of the sandtrap is intentional, and used as a safety device.
Satellite team
A second racing team operated by a primary team but maintaining a separate identity.
Scattershield
(drag racing) metal sheet protecting driver in case of transmission failure.[31]
Scratch race
A type of race which competitors start on an equal term.
Scrutineer
A qualified official who examines racing vehicles pre-race for compliance with the rules of competition, usually in a scrutineering bay adjacent to the pit lane.
Scuffs
Tires which have been used limitedly, but are not worn out. Scuffs may be put on a car during a pit stop to improve handling. At times, brand new tires may be 'scuffed in' before a race by practicing in them for a lap or two. (See "Sticker tires")
Sector
A section of one complete lap of the circuit used for timing purposes. For the purposes of Formula One, each circuit is split into three sectors.
Semi-automatic gearbox
A motorsport application, created initially by Scuderia Ferrari for Formula One, in which the driver can change gears manually, but without having to manually activate the clutch. On open wheel race cars it is usually activated by paddles immediately behind the steering wheel, although touring cars and rally usually place the gear shifter as a gear stick in the more conventional position on the centre console, but occasionally is mounted as a stalk off the steering column, when activated, automatically engages the clutch and changes the gear and releases the clutch without any further input from the driver.
Semi feature, B-main, Qualifier
A qualifying race before the main event, where non-qualified cars compete for a predetermined number of spots in the main event. Some races have a C-main where the top finisher(s) qualify for the B-main. At those events, the main event is known as the "A-main".
Setup
The set of adjustments made to the vehicle in order to optimize its behavior.
Shakedown
The first test of a new vehicle.
Shootout
See Superpole.
Short shifting
A technique used, primarily in motorsport, to regain control of a car through a high speed corner. Involves the driver shifting up a gear earlier than usual.
Shunt
A crash.
Shutdown Area
In drag racing, it is the extra 440 yards from the finish line, to the sand trap, used to safely shut down the car, and turn it off the track, so the next racers can begin their race.
The Sauber C24 Formula 1 car with the right "sidepod" highlighted.
Sidepod
Aerodynamic device to improve airflow between front and rear wheels on open wheel racing car which also covers ancillary equipment within car, most often water radiators which are air cooled by ram scoops at the open front of the sidepods.
Crew members grooving a tire
Sipe a tire
To use a razor blade to cut a tire's thread causing the rubber to break off. Grooving or Cutting a tire means to use a tool to add additional grooves to a tire to adjust handling for a track.[32]
Skid plate
Metal plates, most commonly titanium, fixed to the bottom of flat bottomed racing cars on the undertray facing the racing surface, put there to protect the undertray from ground strikes tearing through the undertray. Today less common as racing cars usually are mandated to have a ground clearance that is less critical to hitting the track.
Slapper bar
see traction bar.
Sled
In truck and tractor pulling, an implement pulled behind the machine which uses friction to stop the machine.[33]
Late model stock cars on a slick dirt track
Slick (clay oval)
A phenomenon caused on short-circuit clay ovals that dry out too much. Clay circuits that do not maintain a certain amount of moisture as a race meeting progresses will start to wear the rubber off the soft specialised clay surface tyres of clay surface race car tyres much in the same way asphalt or concrete paved circuits do, giving the track surface a noticeably black shade.[34]
Formula One slick
Slick (tyre)
A tyre with no tread pattern, maximising the amount of tyre rubber in contact with the racing surface. A specialist motor racing application as in wet weather conditions these tyres have little resistance to aquaplaning.
Slidejob pass
Especially in dirt oval racing, a passing car dives low into a corner, deliberately oversteers in front of the vehicle being passed in an attempt to slow their momentum. The vehicle being passed often attempts to pass back by steering low coming out of the corner down the following straightaway.
Slingshot
front-engined dragster, named for the driving position behind the rear wheels (erroneously attributed to launch speed).
Slingshot pass
A pass using Slipstreaming (see below).
Slipstreaming
A car following close behind another uses the slipstream created by the lead car to close the gap between them or pass it. Same as drafting.
Smoking the tires
Also called Lighting the hides, or Blowing the tires off. A term used mostly in drag racing when a loss of traction occurs, causing the rear tires to rise, and smoke profusely. This usually happens off the starting line. When this happens during a race, it usually results in a loss, unless the opponent also loses traction as well.
Spare car, Backup car
A car used by a driver if he has damaged his main car. It may or may not have the same setup as the primary car. Now banned in Formula One for cost-cutting reasons, though teams in many other major racing series have a spare car available at the track. At Indianapolis, it is traditionally called a "T Car" ("T" loosely short for "training")
Spec
see One-make racing
Special stage
A section of road or track, closed off used for timed runs in rallying. A rally is made up of a number of special stages.
Spin turn
A semi-doughnut which a driver use to turn themselves to a correct position on a tight space without the need of a reverse gear.
Splash and dash, Splash and go
A pit stop which involves refueling the car only, often less than a full tank.
Splitter (in white) on a NASCAR car
Splitter
Also referred to as the front Spoiler or Front Air Dam. Aerodynamic device placed on the nose of some touring cars and GTs to improve airflow around the nose of the car and sometimes create downforce for the front wheels to aid steering. It is prominent on NASCAR's Car of Tomorrow body style.
Spoiler
Aerodynamic device attached to the trailing edge of a race car to increase its rear downforce. The difference between a spoiler and a wing is that wings are generally multi-element with air passing both above and below the aerodynamic surface, whereas a spoiler is flush fitted to the car's bodywork.
Spotter
a person, positioned high above the circuit, who communicates what going on the track to the driver
Stagger
the difference in circumference between the left and right tires. It is used to make a racing car turn easier on oval tracks.[35]
Standard tree
(drag racing) timing lights which flash in sequence five tenths of a second between each yellow light before turning green. Traditional form, before introduction of pro tree.
Standing start
A starting method where the race machines are stationary on the grid.
Start and park
A team or driver who starts a race and only runs a small number of laps to avoid using up resources (tires, parts).
Steward
The adjudicator or referee at a race meeting who interprets incidents and decides whether penalties or fines should be issued.
Sticker tires
Brand new tires put on a race car. Nicknamed "sticker tires" because the manufacturer's labels are still visible.[22] (Opposite of "Scuffs")
Stint
The period a driver is at the wheel in an event involving more than one driver in the vehicle. Sometimes refers to the period of driving between pit stops.
Stop-go penalty
Requires erring drivers to enter their pit and come to a complete stop before resuming, sometimes for a specified time. Sometimes called a Stop and go penalty, it penalises drivers more than a Drive-through penalty. Prior to the early 1990s when pit lane speed limits became standard in motorsport, the stop-go penalty was used more often. After pit speed limits were implemented, the drive-through penalty was developed.
Stripe or Strip
The start/finish line.
Struck the tires
(drag racing) loss of traction, causing them to smoke.
Success ballast
A method used to level performance between competitors by adding weight to cars the win races or are successful. Somestimes referred to as Lead trophy as the usage of lead bars is most popular in applying the additional weight.
Superpole, or Shootout
A selection procedure in which the ten or 15 fastest qualifiers compete for grid positions in a single-lap effort without other vehicles on the track. While not specifically referenced, most NASCAR races will use this style of qualifying for all cars.
Support race
A race(s) that takes place before and after the title race, also during qualifying day.
Super rally
When a rally driver retires on any day, except the last, they can continue the next day incurring penalties for the stages they did not drive, including the one they retired on. Currently, in World Rally Championship, a driver will be given the time of the fastest driver of their class, plus a five-minute-penalty for each missed stage.
Super Special
Timed special stage in a rally on a purpose-built track, often in a stadium. Usually two cars will set off at the same time in separate lanes, and at the halfway point of the stage they will swap lanes, usually due to a crossover involving a bridge. A similar format is used in the Race of Champions.
Swinger
(from Sidecar racing) A passenger on a racing motorcycle sidecar who athletically moves from one side of the sidecar to the other, altering a sidecar's weight distribution to assist in cornering speed and in some corners to prevent the sidecar from tipping over.

T[edit]

T-bone
T-bone
A collision in which the front of a car crashes into the side of another car, forming a "T" shape. This is one of the more dangerous types of crash due to the relative vulnerability of side impacts where there is much less deformable structure on the side of a car to protect the driver. Also, to crash into another car in such a fashion; the victim is "T-boned".
T-car
Alternative term for spare/backup car[36]
Tank-slapper
When the front wheel of a motorcycle oscillates rapidly, causing the handlebars to slap against the fuel tank.[37] It is increasingly being used to refer to a vehicle that loses traction at the rear, regains traction and loses it again, causing the rear to weave side to side independently of the front of the car. This is more often referred to as fish-tailing.
Tansō (単走 solo run?)
(drifting) Japanese term for individual passes where drivers drive whilst being observed in front of judges in an attempt to vy for the top spot.
Team orders
The practice of one driver allowing another from the same team or manufacturer to gain a higher finish at the direction of the team management. Often employed to prevent the risk of an accident resulting in damage to both of a team's cars. The practice was briefly forbidden in Formula One as a consequence of the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix controversy. U.S.-based series (NASCAR, IndyCar, etc.) rarely if ever have used team orders, and the practice is widely frowned upon due to sportsmanship issues and fan backlash.
Tear-off
thin plastic sheets that drivers stack up over their visor or windshield for visibility.[38] Drivers (or pit crews) tear one off after it becomes dirty.[22]
Template
a device used by sanctioning body officials to check the body shape and height of racing vehicles
Ten-tenths
Refers to driving a car to its absolute potential.
Throttleman
In offshore powerboat racing, the boat's second occupant who work alongside the driver, whose role is to steer the boat. The throttleman's position is to adjust the trim tab whilst observing water conditions and extract as much speed out of the boat by controlling the hand-throttle during a race whilst it hops over tides after tides to prevent the propellers from spinning wildly whilst the boat is airborne, which causes the engine to overrev, leading to engine damage.[39]
Throw a belt
(drag racing) losing the drive belt connecting the engine's crankshaft to the supercharger.
Tight
See Understeer.
Time attack
A competition which involve cars running around the circuit in lieu of a qualifying lap.
Timeslip
(drag racing) E.T. slip.
Tin-top
Road car-derived vehicles with a roof, mainly in touring car racing.
Tire shake
A term in drag racing, when the engine is putting out more horsepower than the drive axle can handle, causing the rear tires to shake violently. This results in a loss of speed, and can also result in loss of steering, and occasionally, lead to on track accidents. Refer to in other disciplines sometimes as axle tramp.
Top end
(drag racing) finish line of strip; high part of engine's rev band.
Track
The racing surface.
Track record
A term referring either to the best performance of any athlete on a certain track, or to the history of a certain racer's past performance.
Traction bars
(drag racing) rear struts fixed to rear axle to keep rear axle from twisting, which causes wheel hop and loss of traction; also called slapper bars. In FWD cars, commonly import drag racing, used to keep front wheels in the ground.
Traction control
This regulates the power supplied to the wheels of a vehicle to prevent wheelspin. It is banned in many forms of motor racing.
Trap(s)
(drag racing) the 20 meter (66 ft) timing lights at top end of race track to measure speed & E.T.
Trap speed
(drag racing) Speed as measured by the speed trap near the finish line, indicative of the maximum speed reached on a pass.
Tsuisō (追走 chase-attack?)
(drifting) Japanese term for tandem passes where two cars are paired off against each other over two passes within a heat, with each driver taking a turn to lead.

U[edit]

Understeer or push
Cornering behaviour where the front wheels do not follow the steered course but instead push out toward the outside of the turn. Known as push in NASCAR and other stock car racing. Opposite of oversteer. See also cross-channel ferry.
Undertray
Flat or stepped flat surface on the bottom of open wheel and sports prototype racing cars. Theory has varied along with aerodynamic developments and regulations, from the sidepod tunnels of ground effect to the flat undertrays of the 1980s in various attempts to use aerodynamics to suck the cars closer to the bitumen, minimising the air underneath the car that could slow its progress. Today most such categories feature a stepped undertray with sidepods siting higher in the air than the centre of the car, usually mandated by series organisers in an attempt to limit vehicle performance. Also refers to flat surfaces extending behind splitters in sedan and GT based racing cars.

V[edit]

Victory lane
Also 'Winner's Circle,' because of early motorsport's roots at horse racing tracks, the American term for the place where the winner of a race goes to celebrate victory after winning an event.[40]
Victory lap
A lap, after the conclusion of the race, where the winning racer drives at reduced speed to celebrate his or her victory.

W[edit]

The Wally
In the NHRA, The Wally is the nickname of the trophy that is earned by the winner of an event, the nickname refers to the founder of the NHRA, Wally Parks.
Wallies
A slower car, usually found at the rear of the grid. It is sometimes a derogatory term.
Wear the shiny off
A term used, mostly within drag racing, when a brand new car either hits the wall, or, in the Pro Stock class, when a new car flips over into its top and continues down the track for a considerable length, peeling the paint, or more common in recent years, vinyl wrap, off.
Weight shifting
A technique used to reduce understeer. This involves the driver decelerating through a corner to shift the weight of the car from the back to the front, increasing grip of the front tyres and decreasing understeer.
Wet (or wet-weather) tyre
A racing tyre with deep grooves designed to displace standing water, allowing the tyre to obtain grip in conditions where dry weather tyres (slicks) would aquaplane. Monsoon wet has become a term used for extremely wet conditions.
Wheel banging
When the wheels of two different race cars slightly collide during an overtaking manoeuvre.[41]
Wheel hop
(drag racing) violent shaking of the car as the tires lose and regain traction in quick succession.
Maynard Yingst performing a wheelie in his sprint car
Wheelie
In a rear wheel drive vehicle, when the front wheel(s) rise up in the air under acceleration.
Wheelie bars
(drag racing) rear struts fixed to rear axle, which protrude out to rear of car to help prevent car's front from raising too high or flipping over on launch.
The wheelie bar (foreground) and parachute (gray) on Kenny Bernstein's Top Fuel dragster.
Wheelspin
When the rear tyres (or front tyres in the case of a front wheel drive vehicle) break traction with the racing surface under acceleration, spinning the wheels faster than they move across the surface. On higher traction surfaces like bitumen the tyre will begin to shred and melt from the friction, producing white smoke.
Wheelstand
wheelie. In drag racing, an extreme case, with front wheels very near vertical.
Wheelstander
In drag racing, an exhibition car designed to complete a pass in a wheelstand (wheels near vertical)
Wickerbill
See Gurney flap.
Wing
Aerodynamic device on many racing cars. The principle is the same as an aircraft wing except in motor racing applications the wing is inverted to create downforce instead of lift, pressing the car onto the road surface to increase traction.
Wired to the tree
A drag racing term for a racer that consistently beats his opponent off the starting line. Also called Chopping down the Christmas Tree.
Wishbone
Suspension control arm with three points, shaped roughly like a chicken wishbone.
Works team
A motor racing team supported by a vehicle manufacturer, usually run in-house at the manufacturer's premises. A works driver is a driver who drives for the works team.

Y[edit]

Yellow chequer
A term derived when the final lap(s) in a race is completed during a full course yellow while the field is under the control of the Safety Car. In this instance the yellow and chequered flags are waved together and the race is declared finished with the order the same as when the full course yellow began. Unpopular with spectators because of the anti-climactic nature of the finish, the possibility does make some senior race official hesitate to use it late in the race, call a red flag to allow for further cleanup of the circuit to ensure a final restart (which is often used anyway for severe debris incidents, especially with carbon fibre), or direct to slow the safety car in order that the hazard may be cleared in time for a competitive race finish. INDYCAR has a Yellow chequer rule, and NASCAR allows it (1) if a race is shortened because of curfew or darkness, (2) if the race is already on its final lap when the yellow must be waved, or (3) if there is a yellow implemented during the third attempt at the green-white-checkered finish once the leader has taken the green flag. In Formula One, when there is a yellow chequer, the safety car will not lead the leader to the finish line, unlike INDYCAR and NASCAR.

Z[edit]

Zero car
Used in rallying. Prior to the rally cars running over a special stage several official vehicles run through the course to check for safety, conditions of the road, to see if spectators or animals may be a hazard or for obstructions. Sometimes there are a triple zero (000) and double zero (00) as well as the zero. Zero cars travel the course immediately ahead of the competitors and are usually rally cars themselves.
Zero Light
Also known as "cutting a zero," and a "zero R.T." Used in drag racing when someone leaves the starting line at the exact moment when the light turns green (.000). Very difficult to achieve, due to the quick flashing of the lights on a Pro tree.

References[edit]

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External links[edit]