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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Jenson Button 2006 Canada.jpg

Formula One is regarded as the highest class of single-seat open-wheel formula auto racing. It is based around a series of races, known as Grands Prix, held on purpose-built circuits or closed-off city streets, whose results determine two annual World Championships, one for drivers and one for constructors. Europe is Formula One's traditional centre and remains its leading market; however, Grands Prix have been held all over the world, and with new races in Bahrain, China and Turkey, its scope is continually expanding. As the world's most expensive sport, its economic impact is significant, and its financial and political battles are widely observed. The sport is regulated by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile and is generally promoted and controlled by Bernie Ecclestone through a variety of corporate entities.

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Mauricio Gugelmin (born April 20, 1963 in Joinville) is a former racing driver from Brazil. He took part in both Formula One and the Champ Car World Series. He participated in 80 Formula One grands prix, debuting in 1988 for the March team. He achieved one top-three finish and scored a total of ten championship points in the series. He competed in the Champ Car series between 1993 and 2001, starting 147 races. He won one race, in 1997 in Vancouver, finishing fourth in the championship that year. His best result in the Indianapolis 500 was in 1995 where he started and finished in sixth position, leading 59 laps. For a period, he held the world speed record for a closed race track, set at California Speedway in 1997 at a speed of 240.942 mph (387.759 km/h). Gugelmin retired at the end of 2001 after a year that included the death of his son.

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ARTA NSX.jpg An ARTA Honda NSX making a pit stop during a Super GT race at Fuji Speedway in 2007

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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