Portal:Motorsport

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The Motorsport Portal

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Motorsport (also known as auto racing or motor racing) has existed almost as long as the automobile itself. It originated in France in 1894 with a "reliability test" between Paris and Rouen that was organised by Le Petit Journal. The following year saw the first stage race take place between Paris and Bordeaux and automotive competition was born.

Motorsport can take place on- and off-road on purpose-built closed road circuits, temporary street circuits, ovals, and special stages on asphalt, gravel or snow. The variety of machinery is even wider and ranges from vehicles that are derived from production road cars – such as touring cars and GT cars – to high-tech purpose-built formula cars and GP motorcycles. See the section on Racing disciplines below. Competition is not confined to conventional first-past-the-flag races, but can include speed contests (such as drag racing), time trials (such as rallying) and skill tests (such as motorcycle trials).

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International Speedway Corporation (ISC) is a corporation whose primary business is the ownership and management of NASCAR race tracks. ISC was founded by NASCAR founder Bill France, Sr. in 1953 for the construction of Daytona International Speedway and in 1999 they merged with Penske Motorsports to become one of the largest motorsports companies in North America. The company has played an important, though controversial, role in the modernization of the sport. It has worked with NASCAR to create new tracks and update older ones in an effort to improve the racing and the experience for spectators (though because both companies have several members of the France family in top positions, ISC's competitors have filed multiple lawsuits on antitrust grounds) and has constructed popular new tracks in regions previously thought uninterested in NASCAR (though this has upset some residents of nearby towns who do not want a NASCAR track in their back yard).

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Michael Schumacher, born January 3, 1969, in Hürth Hermülheim, Germany) is a former Formula One driver, and seven-time world champion. According to the official Formula One website, he is "statistically the greatest driver the sport has ever seen". He is the first German to win the Formula One World championship and is credited with popularising Formula One in Germany. In a 2006 FIA survey, Michael Schumacher was voted the most popular driver among Formula One fans.

After winning two championships with Benetton, Schumacher moved to Ferrari in 1996 and won five consecutive drivers' titles with them. Schumacher holds many records in Formula One, including most drivers' championships, race victories, fastest laps, pole positions, points scored and most races won in a single season. Schumacher is the first and only Formula One driver to have an entire season of podium finishes (2002). His driving sometimes created controversy: he was twice involved in collisions that determined the outcome of the world championship, most notably his disqualification from the 1997 championship for causing a collision with Jacques Villeneuve. On September 10, 2006, Schumacher announced his retirement as a driver. Schumacher is currently assisting Scuderia Ferrari CEO Jean Todt for the 2007 Formula One Season.

Off the track, Schumacher is an ambassador for UNESCO and a spokesman for driver safety. He has been involved in numerous humanitarian efforts throughout his life. He is the elder brother of former Toyota driver Ralf Schumacher.

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Quotes

  • "The first time I fired up a car, felt the engine shudder and the wheel come to life in my hands, I was hooked. It was a feeling I can't describe. I still get it every time I get into a race car." – Mario Andretti.
  • "You do things, you f**k people, it's racing." – Niki Lauda.
  • "It doesn't matter if you're in a wheelchair or have healthy legs. If you have the will to do something, you can get it done. I race the same as anyone else does; I just don't use my feet. And, I never give up." - Evan Evans, the first paraplegic competitor to win a professional off-road racing title.

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Racing disciplines

  • Formula racing refers to various forms of racing that use open wheeled single seaters, from Formula One to Formula Ford. Wherever there is motor racing, there will often be some form of formula racing. Some formulae use a single design of chassis and engine, while others allow a lot of technical freedom.
  • Stock cars race primarily on oval circuits and are very popular in the United States, where the major championships are run by NASCAR. The cars are built to very strict regulations with "silhouette" body shells that resemble production road car models. Major events include the Daytona 500.
  • Touring cars fall into two main categories of machinery based on production road cars. Some classes – such as the World Touring Car Championship – are heavily production-based with limited modifications, while others – like the DTM – use racing chassis and components with bodywork that mimics the equivalent road cars.
  • Sports car racing is synonymous with endurance racing, in which two or more drivers share each car during the course of a long race. Races in a series typically last around three to four hours, but there are many one-off events that can last for 12 or even 24 hours or cover a set distance such as 1000km. There are two distinct types of sports cars that often share events (each type being divided into classes). Sports prototypes have mid-engined chassis that are fully enclosed in aerodynamically efficient bodywork. Their cockpits can be open or enclosed in a canopy. Sports prototypes are most closely associated with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and notable examples include the Audi R10 and Porsche 962. GT cars (grand tourers) are production-based sports cars that may be mid-, rear- or front-engined. Notable examples include the Viper GTS-R, the 911 GT2 and the Maserati MC12.
  • Kart racing is the first step on the career ladder for most young aspiring drivers. They are constructed with a small, flat chassis, small wheels, a single seat and almost no bodywork. They are powered by small two-stroke engines. Most karting formulae permit entrants as young as seven or eight years old, who will hope to graduate into entry-level single-seater formula racing in their late teens.
  • Rallying takes place on closed roads of asphalt, gravel, mud, or snow. The vehicles are usually modified road cars or production-derived, often with 4WD. Events comprise a series of point-to-point time trials in which competitors begin each timed "stage" at intervals. The highest level is the World Rally Championship; notable events include the Dakar Rally.
  • Drifting is a relatively recent form of motorsport that originated in Japan. Competitors have to induce a controlled rear-wheel slide during their competition runs and are judged according to a number of criteria. Depending on the nature of the competition, the drivers may perform on track individually or compete together in a form of "race".
  • Drag racing is a performance contest between two competitors in similar or identical machinery on a straight dragstrip measuring from 660-1320 ft (201-402 m) in length, on which they accelerate from a standing start. The leading category is Top Fuel, whose engines run on an alcohol-based mixture to produce over 8,000 bhp (6,000 kW). They can cover 1000 ft (305 m) in under 4 seconds with a peak speed exceeding 320 mph (515 kph).

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