About Motor Sports

Overview

The beginnings of motor sports began soon after the construction of the first successful gasoline fuelled auto mobiles. The first race ever organised was on April 28, 1887 by the chief editor of Paris publication Le Vélocipède, Monsieur Fossier. It ran 2 kilometres from Neuilly Bridge to the Bois de Boulogne. It was won by Georges Bouton of the De Dion-Bouton Company, in a car he had constructed with Albert, the Comte de Dion, but as he was the only competitor to show up it is rather difficult to call it a race.

On July 23, 1894, the Parisian magazine Le Petit Journal organised what is considered to be the world’s first motoring competition from Paris to Rouen. Sporting events were a tried and tested form of publicity stunt and circulation booster. Pierre Giffard, the paper’s editor, promoted it as a Competition for Horseless Carriages that were not dangerous, easy to drive, and cheap during the journey. Thus it blurred the distinctions between a reliability trial, a general event and a race. One hundred two competitors paid the 10 franc entrance fee.

Sixty-nine cars started the 50 km (31 mi) selection event that would show which entrants would be allowed to start the main event, the 127 km (79 mi) race from Paris to Rouen. The entrants ranged from serious manufacturers like Peugeot, Panhard or De Dion to amateur owners, and only 25 were selected for the main race.

The History of Motor Sports

The Paris–Bordeaux–Paris race of June 1895 is sometimes considered the “first motor race”. The first to arrive was Émile Levassor in his Panhard-Levassor 1205cc model. He completed the course (1,178 km or 732 miles) in 48 hours and 47 minutes, finishing nearly six hours before the runner-up. The official winner was Paul Koechlin in a Peugeot. Nine of twenty-two starters finished the course.

The first American auto-mobile race is generally held to be the Thanksgiving Day Chicago Times-Herald race of November 28, 1895. Press coverage of the event first aroused significant American interest in the auto mobile. The 54.36-mile course ran from the South side of the city, north along the lake-front to Evanston, Illinois, and back again. Frank Duryea won the race in 10 hours and 23 minutes, beating the other five entrants.

The first regular auto racing venue was Nice, France, run in late March, 1897, as a “Speed Week.” To fill out the schedule, most types of racing events were invented here, including the first hill climb (Nice – La Turbie) and a sprint that was, in spirit, the first drag race. An international competition, between nations rather than individuals, began with the Gordon Bennett Cup in auto racing.

The Parisian artist Ernest Montaut, and his wife Marguerite, faithfully documented the rapidly changing face of motorised transportation in Europe. They produced large numbers of posters and prints published by Mabileau et Cie, covering racing events involving motorcars, aircraft, dirigibles and speedboats. These images formed a valuable contribution to the history of transport, and particularly to its racing aspect.

With auto construction and racing dominated by France, the French auto-mobile club ACF staged a number of major international races, usually from or to Paris, connecting with another major city, in France or elsewhere in Europe.

The very successful early European rally races ended in 1903 when Marcel Renault was involved in a fatal accident near Angoulême in the Paris-Madrid race. Nine fatalities caused the French government to stop the race in Bordeaux and ban open-road racing.

In 1907 the Peking to Paris race covered 9,317 miles over some of the roughest terrain on Earth. Five cars took part in the race, which was won by the Italian Prince Scipione Borghese in a 7,433 cc (453.6 cu in) 35/45 hp model Itala.

The longest auto-mobile race in history, with Paris as the finish line was the 1908 New York to Paris Race. Six teams from France, Italy, Germany, and the United States competed with three teams actually reaching Paris. The American Thomas Flyerdriven by George Schuster was declared the winner of the epic 22,000 mile race in 169 days.

The Milwaukee Mile is the oldest motor racing track in the world, with racing being held there since 1903. It was not purposely built for motor racing, it started as a one-mile (1.6 km) horse racing track in the 19th Century.

From 1903 to 1914, a one-mile dirt oval track was run on Brunots Island, just south of Pittsburgh on the Ohio River. Louis Chevrolet won the AAA Champion car in 1905. On September 10, 1907, Rex Reinersten was fatally injured in a crash here. In 1916, Chevrolet won the first Universal Films Trophy at the mile and an eighth Uniontown Speedway board track, south of Pittsburgh in Hopwood, PA.

Brooklands in Surrey, England, was the first purpose built motor racing venue, opening in June, 1907. It featured a 4.43 km (2.75 mi) concrete track with high-speed banked corners. Brooklands was also a centre of the aviation industry, with Vickers setting up a factory and aerodrome there during World War I. The racing circuit was closed in 1939 as war-time aircraft production took over.

Damage done to the track during World War II meant the track never reopened for racing.
Competition gradually spread to other parts of the British Empire. The first competition in India was held in 1905 by the Motor Union of Western India. It ran from Delhi to Mumbai, (Delhi-Bombay trials 1905) a distance of 810 miles (1,300 km) in an attempt to expose India to the automobile and test its suitability for Indian conditions. Lord Curzon, the Viceroy, gave his consent to the event.

The 1930s saw the transformation from high-priced road cars into pure racers, with Alfa Romeo, Auto Union, Bugatti, Delage, Delahaye and Mercedes-Benz constructing streamlined vehicles with engines producing up to 450 kW (603 hp), aided by multiple-stage supercharging. From 1928 to 1930 and again in 1934–1936, the maximum weight permitted was 750 kg (1,653 lb), a rule diametrically opposed to current racing regulations. Extensive use of aluminium alloys was required to achieve light weight, and in the case of the Mercedes, the paint was removed to satisfy the weight limitation, producing the famous Silver Arrows.

NASCAR was founded by William France, Sr., on February 21, 1948 with the help of several other drivers of the time. The first NASCAR “Strictly Stock” race ever was held on June 19, 1949 at Charlotte Speedway. The Strictly Stock division was put on hold as American auto-mobile manufacturers were unable to produce family sedans quickly enough to keep up with post-World War II demand.

After the Second World War, sports car racing emerged as a distinct form of racing with its own classic races, and, from 1953, its own FIA sanctioned World Championship. NASCAR’s Strictly Stock Division was renamed the “Grand National” division beginning in the 1950 season. Over a period of more than a decade, modifications for both safety and performance were allowed, and by the mid-1960s, the vehicles were purpose-built race cars with a stock-appearing body.

The first NASCAR competition held outside of the U.S. was in Canada, where on July 1, 1952, Buddy Shuman won a 200-lap race on a half-mile (800 m) dirt track in Stamford Park, Ontario, near Niagara Falls.

From 1962 sports cars temporarily took a back seat to GT cars with the FIA replacing the World Championship for Sports Cars with the International Championship for GT Manufacturers. Through the 1960s, as super-speedways were built and old dirt tracks were paved, the number of dirt races was reduced.

A breed of powerful hybrids appeared in the 50s and 60s and raced on both sides of the Atlantic, featuring European chassis and large American engines – from the earlyAllard cars via hybrids such as Lotus 19s fitted with large engines through to the AC Cobra. The combination of mostly British chassis and American V8 engines gave rise to the Can-Am series in the 1960s and 1970s. Clubmans provided much entertainment at club-racing level from the 1960s into the 1990s and John Webb revived interest in big sports prototypes with Thundersports in the 1980s.

From 1972 through 2003, NASCAR’s premier series was called the Winston Cup Series, sponsored by R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company cigarette brand Winston. The changes that resulted from RJR’s involvement, as well as the reduction of the schedule from 48 to 31 races a year, established 1972 as the beginning of NASCAR’s “modern era”.

In Europe, the FIA adopted the ACO GTP rules virtually unchanged and sanctioned the Group C World Endurance Championship (or World Sports car Championship), featuring high-tech closed-cockpit prototypes. In the USA, the IMSA Camel GTP series boasted close competition between huge fields of manufacturer-backed teams and privateer squads – the cars were technically similar to Group Cs but used a sliding scale of weights and engine capacities to try to limit performance. The FIA attempted to make Group C into a virtual “two seater Grand Prix” format in the early 1990s, with engine rules in common with F1, short race distances, and a schedule dovetailing with that of the F1 rounds.

The IMSA GT Championship had been prototype-based since 1983, with less emphasis on production cars. Australian Production Car Championship was first contested in 1987, with the inaugural champion determined from the results of two races held at the Winton Motor Raceway in Victoria on 27 September. The first World Touring Car Championship, which was open to Group A Touring Cars, was held in 1987 concurrent to the long-running European Touring Car Championship (ETCC).

Additional rounds were held outside Europe at Bathurst in Australia, Calder Park Raceway in Australia (using both the road course and the then newly constructed Thunderdome), Wellington in New Zealand and Mount Fuji in Japan. The Drivers Championship was won by Roberto Ravaglia in a BMW M3 and the Entrants Championship was won by the Eggenberger Texaco Ford No 7 entry, which was a Ford Sierra. Winston Cup Series underwent a large boom in popularity in the 1990s. This coincided with a decline of popularity in American Championship Car Racing.

The FISA decided to separate the rally cars into three classes: Group N (production cars), Group A (modified production cars), and Group B (modified sport cars). Group B was introduced by the FIA in 1982 as replacement for both Group 4 (modified grand touring) and Group 5 (touring prototypes) cars.

Types of Auto Racing

The best-known variety of single-seater racing, Formula One, involves an annual World Championship for drivers and constructors.

In single-seater (open-wheel) the wheels are not covered, and the cars often have aerofoil wings front and rear to produce down-force and enhance adhesion to the track. In Europe and Asia, open wheeled racing is commonly referred to as “Formula”, with appropriate hierarchical suffixes. In North America, the “Formula” terminology is not followed (with the exception of F1). The sport is usually arranged to follow an “international” format (such as F1), a “regional” format (such as the Formula 3 Euro Series), or a “domestic”, or country-specific format (such as the German Formula 3 championship, or the British Formula Ford).

In North America, the cars used in the National Championship (currently the Indy Car Series, and previously CART) have traditionally been similar though less sophisticated than F1 cars, with more restrictions on technology aimed at controlling costs.

The other major international single-seater racing series is GP2 (formerly known as Formula 3000 and Formula Two). Regional series include Formula Nippon and Formula V6 Asia (specifically in Asia), Formula Renault 3.5 (also known as the World Series by Renault, succession series of World Series by Nissan), Formula Three, Formula Palmer Audi and Formula Atlantic.

In 2009, the FIA Formula Two Championship brought about the revival of the F2 series. Domestic, or country-specific series include Formula Three, Formula Renault, Formula Ford with the leading introductory series being Formula BMW

Single seater racing is not limited merely to professional teams and drivers. There is a large amateur ‘club racing’ scene catering for those who want to race single seaters against similar people all over the world. In the UK the major club series are the Monoposto Racing Club, BRSCC F3 (Formerly ClubF3, formerly ARP F3), Formula Vee and Club Formula Ford. Each series caters for a section of the ‘market’, with some primarily providing low cost racing whilst others aim for an authentic experience using the same regulations as the professional series.

There are other categories of single-seater racing, including kart racing, which employs a small, low-cost machine on small tracks. Many of the current top drivers began their careers in karts. Formula Ford once represented a popular first open-wheel category for up-and-coming drivers stepping up from karts and now the Formula BMW series is the preferred option as it has introduced an aero package and slicks, allowing the junior drivers to gain experience in a race car with dynamics closer F1. The Star Mazda Series is another entry level series.

The full electric Formula Student/Formula SAE car of the Eindhoven University of Technology
Students at colleges and universities can also take part in single seater racing through the Formula SAE competition, which involves designing and building a single seater car in a multidisciplinary team, and racing it at the competition. This also develops other soft skills such as teamwork whilst promoting motor sport and engineering.

In 2006, producer Todd Baker was responsible for creating the world’s first all-female Formula racing team. The group was an assemblage of drivers from different racing disciplines, and formed for an MTV reality pilot which was shot at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

In December, 2005 the FIA gave approval to Superleague Formula racing which debuted in 2008 whereby the racing teams are owned and run by prominent sports clubs such as AC Milan and Liverpool F.C.

After 25 years away from the sport, former Formula 2 champion, Jonathan Palmer, reopened the F2 category again, most drivers have graduated from the Formula Palmer Audi series. The category is officially registered as the FIA Formula Two championship. Most rounds have two races and are support races to the FIA World Touring Car Championship.

Touring car racing is a style of road racing that is run with production derived race cars. It often features full-contact racing due to the small speed differentials and large grids.

The major touring car championships conducted worldwide are the V8Supercars (Australia), British Touring Car Championship, Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM), and the World Touring Car Championship. The European Touring Car Cup is a one day event open to Super 2000 specification touring cars from Europe’s many national championships.

The Sports Car Club of America’s SPEED World Challenge Touring Car and GT championships are dominant in North America. America’s historic Trans-Am Series is undergoing a period of transition, but is still the longest-running road racing series in the U.S. The National Auto Sport Association also provides a venue for amateurs to compete in home-built factory derived vehicles on various local circuits.

In sports car racing, production derived versions of sports cars also known as grand tourers (GTs), and purpose built sports prototype cars compete within their respective classes on closed circuits. The main global championship series for GT car racing is the FIA GT1 World Championship. There is also the FIA GT3 European Championship as well as the less powerful GT4 European Cup.

Previously, an intermediate FIA GT2 European Championship existed, but the FIA dropped it to cut costs. Other major GT championships include the Japanese Super GT championship and the International GT Open for GT2 and GT3 cars. There are also national GT championships using mainly GT3 and GT4 cars featuring professional and amateur drivers alike.

Sports prototypes, unlike GT cars, do not rely on road legal cars as a base. They are closed wheel and often closed cockpit purpose built race cars intended mainly for endurance racing. They have much lower weight and more down force compared to GT cars making them much faster. They are raced in the 24 hours of Le Mans and in the (European) Le Mans series, Asian Le Mans Series and the American Le Mans Series. These cars are referred to as LMP (Le Mans prototype) cars with LMP1 being run mainly by manufacturers and the slightly less powerful LMP2 cars run by privateer teams. All three Le Mans Series run GT cars in addition to Le Mans Prototypes; these cars have different restrictions than the FIA GT cars.

These races are often conducted over long distances, at least 1,000 km (621 mi), and cars are driven by teams of two or more drivers, switching every few hours. Due to the performance difference between production-based sports cars and purpose-built sports prototypes, one race usually involves several racing classes each fighting for their own championship. Another prototype and GT racing championship exists in the United States, which began in 2000, the Grand-Am, sanctions its own endurance series the Rolex Sports Car Series which consists of slower and lower cost race cars compared to LMP and FIA GT cars.

Famous sports car races include the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Rolex 24 at Daytona, 24 Hours of Spa-Franchorchamps, the 12 Hours of Sebring, and the 1,000-mile (1,600 km) Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. There is also the 24 Hours of the Nürburgringon the infamous Nordschleife track and the Dubai 24 Hour which is aimed at GT3 and below cars with a mixture of professional and pro-am drivers.

In North America, stock car racing is the most popular form of auto racing. Primarily raced on oval tracks, stock cars vaguely resemble production cars, but are in fact purpose-built racing machines which are built to tight specifications also called Silhouette racing cars.

The largest stock car racing governing body is NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing). NASCAR’s premier series is the Sprint Cup Series, its most famous races being the Daytona 500, the Southern 500, the Coca-Cola 600, and the Brickyard 400. NASCAR also runs several feeder series, including the Nationwide Series, and Camping World Truck Series (a pick-up truck racing series). The series conduct races across the entire continental United States. The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series conducts races across Canada and the NASCAR Corona Series conducts races across Mexico.

NASCAR also governs several smaller regional series, such as the Whelen Modified Tour. Modified cars are best described as open-wheel cars. Modified cars have no parts related to the “stock” vehicle for which they are named after. A number of Modified cars display a “manufacturers” logo and “vehicle name”, yet use components produced by another auto-mobile manufacturer.

In drag racing, the objective is to complete a given straight-line distance, from a standing start, ahead of a vehicle in a parallel lane. This distance is traditionally ¼ mile (400m), though ⅛ mile (200m) has become popular since the 1990s. The vehicles may or may not be given the signal to start at the same time, depending on the class of racing. Vehicles range from the everyday car to the purpose-built dragster. Speeds and elapsed time differ from class to class. Average street cars cover the ¼ mile in 12 to 16 seconds, whereas a top fuel dragster takes 4.5 seconds or less, reaching speeds of up to 530 km/h (329 mph). Drag racing was organised as a sport by Wally Parks in the early 1950s through the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association). The NHRA was formed to discourage street racing.

When launching, a top fuel dragster will accelerate at 3.4 g (33 m/s²), and when braking parachutes are deployed the deceleration is 4 g (39m/s²), more than the Space Shuttle experiences. A top fuel car can be heard over 8 miles (13 km) away and can generate a reading from 1.5 to 3.9 on the Richter scale.

Drag racing is two cars head-to-head, the winner proceeding to the next round. Professional classes are all first to the finish line wins. Sportsman racing is handicapped (slower car getting a head start) using an index (a lowest e.t. allowed), and cars running under (quicker than) their index “break out” and lose. The slowest cars, bracket racers, are also handicapped, but rather than an index, they use a “dial-in”. Bracket racing has been viewed as the main cause of the loss of public interest in drag racing.

Although often seen as the entry point for serious racers into the sport, kart racing, can be an economical way for amateurs to try racing and is also a fully fledged international sport in its own right. A large proportion of professional racing drivers began in karts, often from a very young age, such as Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso.

Several former motorcycle champions have also taken up the sport, notably Wayne Rainey, who was paralysed in a racing accident and now races a hand-controlled kart. As one of the cheapest ways to go racing, karting is seeing its popularity grow worldwide.

Types of Motorcycle Racing

The FIM classifies motorcycle racing in the following four main categories. Each category has several sub categories. Road racing is the racing of motorcycles on tarmac. Races can take place either on purpose-built racing circuits or on closed public roads.

Grand Prix motorcycle racing refers to the premier category of motorcycle road racing. It is divided into three distinct classes:
ñMoto3 — Introduced in 2012, motorcycles in this class are 250 cc with four-stroke engines. Previously it featured 125 cc two-stroke motorcycles. This class is also restricted by rider age, with an upper limit of 25 for newly signed riders and wild card entries and an absolute upper limit of 28 for all riders.
ñMoto2 — Introduced by Dorna Sports, the commercial rights holder of the competition, in 2010 as a 600 cc four-stroke class. Prior to that season, the intermediate class was 250 cc with two-stroke engines. Moto2 races in the 2010 season allowed both engine types; from 2011 on, only the four-stroke Moto2 machines were allowed.
ñMotoGP — 1000 cc four-stroke.

Superbike racing is a category of motorcycle road racing that employs modified production motorcycles. Superbike racing motorcycles must have four stroke engines of between 800 cc and 1200 cc for twins, and between 750 cc and 1000 cc for four cylinder machines. The motorcycles must maintain the same profile as their road-going counterparts. The overall appearance, seen from the front, rear and sides, must correspond to that of the bike for use on public roads.

Supersport racing is another category of motorcycle road racing that employs modified production motorcycles. To be eligible for Supersport racing, a motorcycle must have a four-stroke engine of between 400 and 600 cc for four-cylinder machines, and between 600 and 750 cc for twins, and must satisfy the FIM homologation requirements. Supersport regulations are much tighter than Superbikes. Supersport machines must remain largely as standard, while engine tuning is possible but tightly regulated.

Endurance racing is a category of motorcycle road racing which is meant to test the durability of equipment and endurance of the riders. Teams of multiple riders attempt to cover a large distance in a single event. Riders are given the ability to change during the race. Endurance races can be run either to cover a set distance in laps as quickly as possible, or to cover as much distance as possible over a pre-set amount of time.

Sidecar racing is a category of sidecar motorcycle racing. Older sidecar road racers generally resembled solo motorcycles with a platform attached, modern racing sidecars are purpose built low and long vehicles. Sidecarcross resembles MX motorcycles with a high platform attached. In sidecar racing a rider and a passenger work together to make the machine perform.
Sidecar racing has many sub-categories including: – Sidecarcross (sidecar motocross) – Sidecar trials – F1/F2 road racing

True road racing is run on tracks built from closed public and/or park roads and sometimes extra pieces of purpose built track. In the past true road racing was very commonplace but today few races have survived and even fewer have been added. Only one truly international championship exists at present by the name of “International Road Racing Championship” (IRRC). Most races are held within Europe. Ireland is probably the country with the most true road racing circuits still in use.

The Isle of Man probably has the most tracks per inhabitant or surface area. Other countries where true road races are held are the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Great Britain (though due to law only outside England or in parks), the Czech Republic, New Zealand and Macau

Motocross (or MX) is the direct equivalent of road racing, but off road, a number of bikes racing on a closed circuit. Motocross circuits are constructed on a variety of non-tarmac surfaces such as dirt, sand, mud, grass, etc., and tend to incorporate elevation changes either natural or artificial.

Advances in motorcycle technology, especially suspension, have led to the predominance of circuits with added “jumps” on which bikes can get airborne. Motocross has another noticeable difference from road racing, in that starts are done en masse, with the riders alongside each other. Up to 40 riders race into the first corner, and sometimes there is a separate award for the first rider through. The winner is the first rider across the finish line, generally after a given amount of time or laps or a combination.

Motocross has a plethora of classes based upon machine displacement (ranging from 50cc 2-stroke youth machines up to 250cc 2-stroke and 450cc 4-stroke), age of competitor, ability of competitor, sidecars, quads/ATVs, and machine age (classic for pre 1965/67, Twin-shock for bikes with two shock absorbers, etc).

Supercross (or SX) is simply indoor motocross. Supercross is more technical and rhythm like to riders. Typically situated in a variety of stadiums and open or closed arenas, it is notable for its numerous jumps. In North America, this has been turned into an extremely popular spectator sport, filling large baseball stadiums, leading to Motocross being now termed the “outdoors”. However, in Europe it is less popular, as the predominate focus there is on Motocross.

Supermoto is a racing category that is a crossover between road-racing and motocross. The motorcycles are mainly motocross types with road-racing tyres. The racetrack is a mixture of road and dirt courses (in different proportions) and can take place either on closed circuits or in temporary venues (such as urban locations).

The riding style on the tarmac section is noticeably different from other forms of tarmac-based racing, with a different line in corners, sliding of the back wheel around the corner, and using the leg straight out to corner (as opposed to the noticeable touching of the bent knee to the tarmac of road racers).

Enduro is a form of off road motorcycle sport that primarily focuses on the endurance of the competitor. In the most traditional sense (“Time Card Enduros”), competitors complete a 10+ mile lap, of predominately off road going, often through forestry. The lap is made up of different stages, each with a target time to complete that stage in exactly, there are penalties for being early and late, thus the goal is to be exactly “on time”. Some stages are deliberately “tight”, others are lax allowing the competitor to recuperate.

There are also a variety of special tests, on variety of terrain to further aid classification, these are speed stages where the fastest time is desired. A normal event lasts for 3 to 4 hours, although longer events are not uncommon. Some events, particularly national and world championship events take place over several days and require maintenance work to be carried out within a limited time window or while the race is running. To prevent circumvention of the maintenance restrictions, the motorcycles are kept overnight in secure storage.

There is a World Enduro Championship (WEC) that has events across Europe, with a few excursions to North America. The most significant event in the Enduro calendar is the International Six Days Enduro (formerly the International Six Days Trial), where countries enter teams of riders (i.e. Enduro’s “World Cup”), as well as club teams – the event combines amateur sport with the professional level sport, it also takes place in a much more geographically dispersed range of locations.

In addition to traditional Time Card Enduros held over a long lap, a variety of other forms of sport have been taken up; notably “Short Course Enduros”, a shorter (in lap length) form of Time Card Enduros Hare scrambles and “Hare and Hounds”.

Hare scramble is the name given to a particular form of off-road motorcycle racing. Traditionally a hare scramble can vary in length and time with the contestants completing multiple laps around a marked course through wooded or other rugged natural terrain. The overall winner is the contestant who maintains the highest speed throughout the event. In Florida, Hare scrambles start the race with a staggered starting sequence. Once on the course, the object of the competitor is to complete the circuit as fast as possible. The race consists of wooded areas and/or open fields.

Cross-Country Rally events (also called Rallye Raid or simply Rallye, alternate spelling Rally) are much bigger than enduros. Typically using larger bikes than other off road sports, these events take place over many days, travelling hundreds of miles across primarily open off road terrain. The most famous example is the Dakar Rally, travelling from Western Europe (often Paris) to Dakar in Senegal, via the Sahara desert, taking almost two weeks. A FIM World Rally championship also exists encompassing many events across the world, typically in desert nations. These events often run alongside “car” rallies (under the FIA).

Track racing is a form of motorcycle racing where teams or individuals race opponents around an oval track. There are differing variants, with each variant racing on a different surface type.

In the U.S., Short-Track and TT events are more commonly held outdoors. A Short Track event is one involving a track of less than 1/2 mile in length, a TT event can be of any length, but it must have at least one right turn and at least one jump.

In the A.M.A. Grand National Championship, Short-Track and TT races are part of a specific discipline labelled “Dirt track” or sometimes “Flat track” (also called Flat Track). However the AMA Sanction rule books refer to this discipline as Dirt track racing. Whether Short-Track or TT, traction is what defines a dirt track race. The bikes cannot use “knobbies”, they must use “Class C” tires which are similar to street tires. On a Short-Track course, the track is an oval, all turns to the left only, and only a rear brake is allowed.

On the TT courses, there must be at least one right hand turn with a jump being optional, a front brake is allowed, but the same “Class C” tires are required. Although not mandated, most flat track racers wear a steel “shoe” on the left boot which is actually a fitted steel sole that straps onto the left boot. This steel shoe lets the rider lean the bike to the left while sliding through the corners.

Speedway racing takes place on a flat oval track usually consisting of dirt or loosely packed shale, using bikes with a single gear and no brakes. Competitors use this surface to slide their machines sideways (power-sliding or broadsiding) into the bends using the rear wheel to scrub-off speed while still providing the drive to power the bike forward and around the bend.