History of Motorsport, Car Race and Car Rally
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History of Motorsport, Car Race and Car Rally

Brief history of motorsport, car racing and rally car, key dates of car races and grand prix and other sports cars events, categories of car racing, auto racing sub-categories by type, and famous Grand Prix drivers.

Motorsport, on purpose-built circuits and on roads, is followed avidly by fans worldwide. Auto racing, also known as automobile racing, car racing or motor racing, is a motorsport that involves the racing of cars for competition.

The earliest sport on wheels was chariot racing, which was enjoyed by ancient Egyptians and Romans. During the 19th century bicycles were raced, and from 1885 the motorcar and motorcycle were soon used for racing.

Car Rally and a Car Race 

A rally car is a modified production car, which can be driven over extremely challenging terrain, such as muddy hillsides, that tests both machine and driver. In a car rally, cars set off at intervals and are timed on each section. In a race, a number of cars start in ranks from a grid and race around a circuit with bends and straights.

Rallies cover several thousand kilometers and take several days to complete. They are often held across wild country: one rally is held in East Africa, another across the Sahara.

The most famous rally is the Monte Carlo Rally.

The first motor or car race was held in France in 1895. The winner was Emile Levassor, driving his Panhard-Levassor 1205cc model at an average speed of just over 24 km/hour.

Grand Prix racing began in 1906, in France, but is now held at circuits around the world. The Grand Prix cars in recent times travel more than ten times faster than it did in 1895.

Car races include the Grand Prix races held in various countries, the Le Mans 24-hour race in France and the Indianapolis 500 in the USA.

Stock-Car and Drag Racing

Stock cars are known as old bangers or hot rods, which have been modified for a crash-and-bang race around a large, speedway-sized track.

Drag cars are designed to speed down a 400 m long track, at speeds of up to 500 km/h. Only two cars compete each time, and a race lasts less than 10 sec, until one car is left as the winner.

Categories of Car Racing

  • Drag racing
  • Historical racing
  • Kart racing
  • Single-seater racing
  • Off-road racing
  • One-make racing
  • Production car racing
  • Rallying
  • Sports car racing
  • Stock car racing
  • Targa racing (targa rally)
  • Touring car racing

Auto Racing Sub-Categories by Type  

  • Autocross
  • Autograss
  • Banger racing
  • Board track racing
  • Demolition derby
  • Dirt speedway racing
  • Dirt Track racing
  • Drifting (motorsport)
  • Folk race
  • High Performance Drivers Education
  • Hill climbing
  • Ice racing
  • Legends car racing
  • Midget car racing
  • Mini sprint
  • Monster truck
  • Pickup truck racing
  • Rally cross
  • Road racing
  • Short track motor racing
  • Slalom
  • Solar car racing
  • Sprint car racing
  • Sprinting
  • Wheelstand Competition

Famous Grand Prix Drivers

  • Michael Schumacher (German)
  • Alain Prost (French)
  • Ayrton Senna (Brazilian)
  • Nigel Mansell (British)
  • Jackie Stewart (British)
  • Jim Clarke (British)
  • Niki Lauder (Australian)
  • Juan Fangio (Argentinian)
  • Graham Hill (British)
  • Damon Hill (British)

Motorsport Timeline

  • 1895 First organized car race in France, from Paris to Rouen.
  • 1895 (November 28). First US auto race held in Chicago, Illinois. Frank Duryea won this race.
  • 1897 "Speed Week" - First regular auto racing held in Nice, France. Most types of racing events were invented, including the first hill climb (Nice - La Turbie) and a sprint, in spirit, the first drag race.
  • 1906 First Grand Prix race, at Le Mans, France.
  • 1911 First Indianapolis 500 in the USA.
  • 1920 Grand Prix races first held outside France.
  • 1923 First 24-hour race for sports cars at Le Mans.
  • 1930s Transformation form high-priced road cars into pure racers, more streamlined and powerful engines.
  • 1936 First organized stock car races in the USA.
  • 1948 NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) founded by William France, Sr.
  • 1949 First NASCAR "Strictly Stock" race held at Charlotte Speedway.
  • 1953 Sports car racing emerged emerged from its own FIA sanctioned World Championship.
  • 1960 Rear-engined cars take over from front-engined cars in Grand Prix races.
  • 1960s Superspeedways were built and dirt races reduced.
  • 1962 GT cars took the front seat with FIA replacing World Championship for Sports Cars with International Championship.
  • 1996 IndyCar Series's split from CART in 1996, with domestic open-wheel racing more emphasis on ovals. 
  • 1999 IMSA GT Series ran its first season, having evolved into the American Le Mans Series.

Increasing and powerful developments are most likely happening. Car racing or motor racing is one of the world’s most watched televised sports.

Photo Courtesy:

Auto racing, Start of Formula One race in 2008, Wiki Creative Commons 


What About... how we live Essex: Miles Kelly Publishing , 2004

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Comments (4)
Ranked #97 in History

don't forget about Sprints, Midgets, and Indy car! Not to mention a few others in the motorsports racing world.

Ranked #19 in History

Thanks, Natasha. Appreciate your comment and have integrated few things, briefly still.

Participating in these kinds of race is not an easy task. You have to be prepared on whats going to happen. The most important thing in this event is that you should have a good car. A good car with good car parts like brake parts, engine parts, transmission parts and safety gears. If you have this kind of car the winning is not that far away.

Ranked #19 in History

Thanks for your insight, Larry. Appreciated.