Think of Rallycross as a combination of Rallying and Circuit Racing. There’s plenty of close, sideways, wheel-to-wheel action all the way, with cars often going four-abreast into a corner and no-one backing off… The sport was devised in 1967, and soon became massively popular with TV audiences, especially during the 1970s.
How does Rallycross work?
Up to eight cars at a time go wheel-to-wheel on a circuit that is part asphalt and part gravel/loose surface, with the winner being the quickest person to complete the required number of laps. The races are usually short, lasting a maximum of three minutes, so events often comprise 60 separate races.
During the race, organisers can require competitors to undertake a “Joker Lap.” (This is not a requirement in Historic Rallycross and is optional for other rallycross events). If Joker Laps are run, each competitor must complete something called the “Joker Lap.” The Joker Lap is an extra section of track that adds two-three seconds to the lap time. Each car must pass through this once in each race, failure to do so will incur a time penalty. The Joker Lap adds to the excitement of the race, with strategy playing a part as to when the driver undertakes their Joker Lap.
The flagship series is the British Rallycross Championship but there are plenty of other events and series to get involved in, such as the BTRDA Clubmans Rallycross Championship, at venues across the country.
So how do I start?
As with all forms of motorsport, if you’re thinking of having a go, get to some meetings and chat with some of the competitors.
If you then find yourself keen to have a go, you need to be at least 16 years old and a member of a registered club. If you’re aged 16 or above you can then apply to Motorsport UK for a RS Inter Club Competition Licence with no medical required. You can compete in Junior Rallycross from age 14.
What kind of car do I need?
There are many classes of Rallycross, and which one you choose to compete in will determine the spec of vehicle you need. For example there are championships for BMW Minis, Suzuki Swifts and ‘hot hatchbacks.’
The top class, to which the British Rallycross Championship title is awarded, is the Supercar category, which features modified and highly powerful cars that can accelerate from 0-60 mph in under two seconds.
What equipment do I need?
Because Rallycross is such a high-speed discipline you will need Motorsport UK-compliant safety gear such as a helmet, fireproof overalls and gloves.