The ideal discipline for novices

The Sport

Autocross

Autocross is an ideal discipline for novices looking to get their first taste of competitive motor sport. Put simply, the aim is to tackle a temporary course, usually between 800 and 1200 metres long in a grass or stubble field, against the clock.

How does Autocross work?

There are usually heats of three or four laps, a practice run and at least two timed runs, the best of which counts towards the results. While it is not a racing discipline there may be multiple cars on the course at any one time, depending on course space and conditions. Competing is against the clock, and the quickest person wins.

There are different classes, which are determined by engine size. Cars can also be double driven, so you can team up with friends or family and help reduce the cost of competing.

How do I start?

The Autocross community is very friendly, so go to an event or two and have a chat with some of the competitors and organisers.

If you then find yourself keen to have a go, you need to be at least 16 years old and a member of an Motorsport UK-registered club. You will also need an RS Inter Club Licence, for which no test is required.

Some events run Junior Autocross for competitors as young as 14, though they are restricted to one particular class of vehicle and limited to a maximum of three laps per heat.

What kind of car do I need?

Autocross vehicles vary from virtually standard road cars, some of which are driven to and from the events, to rally-spec cars, Autocross saloons and even modified ‘Specials’.

You need to have a fire extinguisher fixed in the car and mud flaps fitted behind each wheel. Roll cages and harnesses are recommended, and are mandatory in Junior Autocross.

Before you get started on these modifications, make sure you read the Autocross section of the latest Motorsport UK Yearbook carefully – you will get a copy with your Motorsport UK Competition Licence or it can be found online here.

What equipment do I need?

You will need a helmet and overalls as specified by the Autocross regulations in the Motorsport UK Yearbook. Make sure you read this carefully, as you much have the right standard of equipment – if you turn up to an event with the wrong equipment, you won’t be allowed to compete.

Where can I find technical regulations for Rallycross & Autocross?

Technical regulations for Rallycross and Autocross are found in section N of the Motorsport UK Yearbook. Specific event or Championship regulations are found in Supplementary Regulations (SRs) made available by the organiser.

What safety equipment needs to fitted to my car?

It is possible for a standard road-going production car to compete in Autocross without any additional safety items. Rallycross cars are required to have safety equipment such as a Roll Over Protection System (ROPS), FIA-homologated harness and fire extinguisher. It is recommended that seats are also FIA-homologated. Details can be found in section N of the Motorsport UK Yearbook.

What personal protective equipment do I need to wear?

As a minimum, competitors are required to wear a helmet and flame resistant overalls to approved standards. Details can be found in sections N and K of the Motorsport UK Yearbook.