If you have ever dreamt about racing cars, you should not give up on the dream! At club level Rallycross racing is about as affordable as possible - experience is satisfying and the racing is real. Rallycross should not be confused with stage rally, which takes place on long road courses and involves a co-driver acting as navigator. Rallycross is a form of sprint style automobile racing, held on a closed mixed surface racing circuit with modified production or specially built road cars, similar to World Rally Cars. I will first tell you about the very expensive form of Rally cross, the FIA sanctioned World Rallycross Championship (August 04-05 2018 Trois Rivier QC, Canadian round), and then give you a glimpse to the club level racing. I was recently privileged to be granted access to Kitchener-Waterloo Rally Club races in Port Colbourne ON, and all the images are from that race.
"Kill All Tires"
It is a bumper sticker that truly describes the philosophy of World Rallycross racing series. The FIA racing series is rather new, it kicked off in 2014. It has 12 races with one as I mentioned in Canada.
The cars in RX Supercar class are virtual monsters. They feature turbocharged 2.0 liter 4 cylinder engine that puts out 600 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torgue. Manual transmissions must be used. Total weight is limited to 2866 pounds, which includes the driver. With the power put to all four wheels, these cars can accelerate 0 to 60 mph in 1.9 seconds, which is faster than Formula 1 cars. The RX Lites cars use same basic setup, but they only make 310 horsepower.
All cars are based on factory models, mostly subcompacts with some compacts as well. They are pure race cars with full roll cages, modified structures, aerodynamic panels and big rear wings. On the track they can do things that most other race cars cannot. Gain traction on tarmac and dirt, have suspension travel to survive jumps, drifting sliding and carve a line through a turn.
The racing is two-day affair within amphitheatre style venues that let fans in the stands see most of the action. The tracks are made of both asphalt and dirt and they each include a jump or two. They are also short, in Trois Riviers circuit fastest lap times were around 50 seconds. In every race, each driver has to take one "Joker lap". It is not as much of a lap as it is an extra turn that adds a few seconds to the lap time and mixes up the running order. Tire strategy is very important. Teams only get two sets of tires to use over the two days, so one set for qualifying and a fresh set for semi-finals.
The racing is fantastic. Drivers exercise incredible car control over varied surfaces. While the cars do not endure long stints, but they do take a beating. The jumps challenge suspension, tires and front facias. The tight turns result in fender to fender and fender to dirt action. Short races mean that drivers have to be aggressive and make their moves as soon as possible.
Rather than "Kill All Tires" the bumper sticker should say "Go Fast and beat the hell out of your car"
Club Level Racing
The main difference is, that at club level racing is timed event. Single lane, single car per lap, racing against the clock and never fender to fender. That being said, it does not take anything away from the racing itself. The corners are still tight, course may have jumps, and it still is two different types of surfaces.
In order to get involved, get in touch with your local club - with the age of internet and social media they are easy to find. Show up on at any rallycross event with a car and a an approved helmet, Register at the event, attend drivers meeting and you are off to the races. There are also drivers who will let you ride along with them (just ask around) and some who will ride with you (giving you their invaluable expertise).
Marshaling is very important aspect to all motorsports, and also a great time to learn basics. It is definitely the best seat in the house, when it comes to watching racing, and calling out your friends for destroying the cones is always a plus!
You race what you bring
Current standard is that your vehicle must be based on a production closed-body vehicle, should be street license-able and road worthy. Canadian Association of Rally Sport is the official sanction body (https://carsrally.ca), where you can find more detailed information. There will be a basic safety inspection on your vehicle and your safety equipment before the race. Your helmet must be "Snell Memorial Foundation" label, such as SA2015, with no visible defect or damage. All cars must have 3-point seat belts in good working condition. You can use winter tire with an open aggressive tread, or rally tires. The car must not have any flapping or missing bodywork, decent tires, brakes, steering seatbelts and seats; strapped down battery etc. Your car does not have to be registered, you can bring one on the trailer. If your car is registered, inspector might want to see registration, just to ensure that you are racing your own car. (Fun things have happened with rental cars..(ie. 1966 Shelby GT 350H Rent-A-Racer Mustang..). You also be required to sign an insurance form. It basically means that your regular insurance no longer applies and cannot be used. You are insured for the purpose of fixing the back fence that you just drove through, but for the damage to your car is on your wallet. You can drive according to your abilities or the thickness of your wallet, Rallycross still is the easiest, the most fun and one of the most economical way to get involved in motorsports.
Please go see a race, you will not regret it! Regardless if it is at club level (www.kwrc.on.ca) or at international level in Trois Rivier, QC, it will bring a smile on your face!
Kirk Bell Aug 11 2016 https;//motorauthority.com
Edmonton Rally Club 2018