The Art of Rally Racing


It can be considered one of the most difficult sports/auto-sports ever due to the sheer amount of skill needed to drive very quickly on such an unpredictable surface. Here’s why…

What even is it?

When we think of racing, we think of a starting grid and a circuit we race around occasionally stopping for a pit stop. For Rallying, it’s completely different. They do a time trial format where teams line up at a start line one by one and race to the finish trying to set the fastest time. Yes, there are some circuit “rally” racing tracks but those are a slightly different category. These events are located around the world with varying climate conditions meaning a certain stage for example in Sweden could include tarmac, gravel, and snow all in one race.

The Car

The best solution for rallycross racing is something that is light and maneuverable with a short wheelbase, cheap, and reliable because crashes happen often. Most go for a family of cars called Hot Hatchbacks because they fit the criteria and they can be easily tuned to a certain class of racing. The amount of tuning that goes into the suspension is crazy but necessary. These cars don’t have the same ground clearance as baja racers, but still have to deal with landing incredibly hard jumps, sometimes into a drift turn so the impact needs to be as smooth as possible.

The Co-Pilot To achieve the quickest times, it’s impossible to run alone so teams have a co-pilot. A great example of what their role is can be seen in the clip of the Top Gear episode when James May is trying co-piloting for himself. Basically, they have the map of all the corners in the rally stage and their job is to read out *at the correct time* each corner. Usually, it is a number and a “left” or “right” where the smaller number would mean the corner isn’t too sharp and maybe braking isn’t needed whereas a larger number indicates a sharper corner needing a possible handbrake turn.

Leave a Reply