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automobile racing

automobile racing, sport in which specially designed or modified automobiles race on any of various courses. Automobile racing originated in France in 1894 and appeared in the United States the following year. It is now one of the most popular spectator sports in the world. Of many different types of competition, the most prestigious have traditionally involved Formula One (Grand Prix) or "Indy-type" automobiles, both cars with low-slung bodies capable of speeds greater than 230 mph (370 kph). Their design and maintenance require full-time racing teams and large corporate investment. A number of countries sponsor Grand Prix races, which contribute to the designation of a world champion driver. The Grands Prix of Monaco, France, Great Britain, Canada, and Australia are among the best known.

America's famous Indianapolis 500 (begun 1911) is the best known of a series of races in which drivers compete for a series championship, organized by the United States Auto Club (USAC) and overseen from 1979 to 1996 by Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART). In 1996 CART began a competing series, leaving the Indy 500 and several other races in the hands of the Indy Racing League (IRL). The Indianapolis 500 attracts over 500,000 spectators annually, making it the nation's largest paid-admission sporting event. Many top drivers compete in both Formula One and Indy-type races, and some also drive in the two major endurance races for sports cars, the 24 Hours at Daytona (Daytona Beach, Fla.) and the 24 Hours at LeMans (France; officially the LeMans Grand Prix d'Endurance, held since 1923).

Enormously popular in the United States are the races of the National Association for Stock Car Automobile Racing (NASCAR) circuit, in which standard, or stock, cars with special equipment race at speeds that can average close to 200 mph (320 kph). The major races of the NASCAR circuit include the Daytona 500 and the Talladega 500. Midget racing originated in the 1940s among enthusiasts unable to afford Indy cars. Originally held on dirt tracks at fairgrounds, midget races have yielded their popularity to sprint cars, larger versions of the midgets that travel half-mile tracks at 100 mph (161 kph) or more. Drag racing, which grew out of the often illegal sprints held among American teenagers during the 1950s, involves acceleration tests among extremely powerful cars over .25-mi (.4025-km) courses at speeds exceeding 300 mph (483 kph). Hill climbing, done by cars of various classes against the clock, is popular in Europe, but has never attained more than regional popularity in the United States.

See R. Cutter and B. Fendell, Encyclopedia of Auto Racing (1973); A. E. Brown, The History of the American Speedway (1984).

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"automobile racing." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"automobile racing." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/automobile-racing

motor racing

motor racing began soon after Karl Benz invented the petrol-driven car in 1885. The first race took place on 11–13 June 1895 from Paris to Bordeaux. Road racing was popular on the continent but in Britain it was banned, leading to the development of closed circuits on private land. In 1906 H. F. Locke King built a 2.75-mile concrete track at his Surrey estate called Brooklands. It featured long, steeply banked turns to allow cars to corner at speed. The first Grand Prix was held at Le Mans in 1906 and thereafter racing became more professional.

New courses sprang up in Britain: Donnington Park near Derby (1933), Silverstone in Northamptonshire (1948), Brands Hatch in Kent (1949), and Oulton Park in Cheshire (1953). The British Grand Prix was first held in 1948. Britain made little impact on the sport, apart from the famous Bentley victories between the wars. It was not until the introduction of the World Drivers' Championship in 1950, which provided a focus for the sport, that Britain made her mark. That year saw the launch of British Racing Motors (BRM) in an attempt to match the European competition. In 1958 Stirling Moss, driving a Cooper, won the Argentine GP. Cooper-Bristols pioneered the lightweight mid-engined car and the victory was seen as a triumph for the small, entrepreneurial British engineering companies. British racing engines, first the Coventry Climax and then the Cosworth, powered cars designed by John Surtees, Ken Tyrrell, Colin Chapman, and Frank Williams. Chapman, the innovative Lotus designer, developed and refined the rear-engined car.

In the 1950s Stirling Moss and Mike Hawthorn became household names. Graham Hill won the Drivers' Championship in 1962 and 1968, Jim Clark in 1963 and 1965, and Jackie Stewart in 1969, 1971, and 1973. James Hunt and Nigel Mansell followed suit in 1976 and 1992, and Damon Hill in 1996.

Richard A. Smith

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"motor racing." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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motor racing

motor racing Competitive racing of automobiles. The first organized race took place in 1894, from Paris to Rouen. The first Formula One Grand Prix took place in 1906. The world driver's championship started in 1950, and the constructors' trophy in 1956. The season (March–November) involves 16 Grands Prix. Formula One cars are purpose-built to strict specifications. With average speeds in excess of 240kph (150mph), Formula One circuits have rigorous safety procedures. Formula One is a worldwide sport which attracts major commercial sponsorship. The Le Mans 24-hour endurance race has been held annually since 1923. Other forms of motor racing include rallying and Indy car racing in the USA. Famous road races include the Monte Carlo Rally, the Paris-Dakar Rally and the Lombard-RAC Rally (first held 1927). The Indianapolis 500 was first held in 1911.

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"motor racing." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"motor racing." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved August 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/motor-racing