Formula racing is probably the most famous professional form of car racing. It’s a form of single-seater, open-wheel circuit racing wherein the vehicle’s wheels are located outside the body. The cars are custom-designed and built, and races are conducted in separate circuit tracks constructed for formula racing.
The most prestigious and well-known formula racing event would be Formula One’s Monaco Grand Prix. In North America, the leading formula racing event is the IndyCar Series, and its most famous race is the Indianapolis 500.
Sports cars are two-seater vehicles with enclosed wheels, and have two types: the grand tourers (GT), which are production-derived models; and the prototype, or purpose-built cars designed to compete on closed circuits.
The leading championship series for sports car racing is the FIA World Endurance Championship, with FIA GT1 World Championship as its main series for GT car racing. In the United States, the Grand-Am with its own Rolex Sports Car Series endurance racing is also popular.
Popular mostly in the United States, stock car racing uses production cars that have customised specifications for racing purposes. It is usually done on oval tracks, wherein racers are pushed to the limits over tremendous amounts of laps.
For stock racing, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) is the largest governing body, which organises premier racing events such as the Sprint Cup Series, Daytona 500 and the Southern 500.
One of the most basic forms of the sport, drag racing is a straight line competition done on streets or tracks, involving the racing stunt called 'dragging'. Cars involved can range from regular cars to the purposely built dragsters, and their aim is to accelerate as fast as possible to beat opponents. Drag racing is held on a short distance track, generally across 200 or 400 meters.
The main governing body for drag racing is the National Hot Rod Association, with divisions such as Super Stock, Super Street, Top Sportsman and Top Dragster.
Involving production-based cars, rallying is conducted on closed public roads or off-road areas with varying road widths, terrain or weather conditions. The courses wherein rallying takes place are either made of gravel, asphalt, snow, ice or any combination of all four. Racers usually run in a point-to-point format, leaving in regular intervals from start points.
The top regulatory body for rallying is the World Rally Championship.
As the name suggests, off-road racing is conducted in off-road environments such as sand, mud, riverbeds, snow or other natural terrain. Vehicles used in this type of racing are from various classes, such as production cars, trucks and motorcycles, and it is usually recreational.
One notable example of off-road races is the Baja 1000 in Mexico.
Touring car racing is conducted using production-derived race cars from different companies with similar performance specifications. It is only held in special race tracks and is popular in UK, Europe and Australia.
Major touring car racing events worldwide include World Touring Car Championship, British Touring Car Championship and the Supercars Championship.
This type of racing is also known as showroom stock racing where unmodified cars compete with each other. It is the most economical type of racing because of its restricted rules.
Several production car racing series run around the world, such as those by Audi and Porsche, as well as Japan’s Super Taikyu and the previous International Motor Sports Association’s Firehawk Series.
One-make or single marque racing involves the same types of cars from one automotive company or even a single model from the manufacturer.
Some examples of racing competitions of this type are the series from the Mini 7 Championship, the John Cooper Mini Challenge, Porsche Supercup, Formula Renault and Formula BMW.
Drifting is a driving technique where the driver intentionally oversteers, with loss of traction in the rear wheels or all tires, while maintaining control and driving the car through the entirety of a corner. Car drifting is caused when the rear slip angle is greater than the front slip angle, to such an extent that often the front wheels are pointing in the opposite direction to the turn (e.g. car is turning left, wheels are pointed right or vice versa, also known as opposite lock or counter-steering).
As a motoring discipline, drifting competitions were first popularised in 1970s Japan, today events are held worldwide and are judged according to the speed, angle, showmanship and line taken through a corner or set of corners. The desired line is usually dictated by the judge or judges, who describe their desired line as well as highlight areas of importance, such as clipping zones, clipping points and touch and go areas.
There are many other forms of racing too, let us know which ones we left out that you love in the comments below.