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Motor sports facts for kids

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Lewis Hamilton 070615.jpg
A modern-day Formula One car (the Mercedes F1 W06 Hybrid of 2015)
Highest governing body FIA (four- or more wheeled)
FIM (two-wheeled)
First competitive race 1894
Glossary Glossary of motorsport terms
Country or region Worldwide
Olympic 1900 (Demonstration only)

Motor sports are sports where the people taking part use a motor vehicle. The usual vehicles are a car, motorcycle or boat. Some motor sports use aircraft or snowmobiles.

Motor sports can be based either on speed (the first one to reach the finish line wins) or on skill (the one with the least amount of penalty points wins). Speed-based motor sports are often called races. Motor sports based on skill are often called trials.

Well known motor sports are rally, Formula 1 and Nascar.


Motor racing is the subset of motorsport activities which involve competitors racing against each other.

Open wheel racing

Formula racing

Nico Rosberg 2015 Malaysia FP1
The Mercedes F1 W06 Hybrid, the 2015 Formula One World Championship winning car

Formula racing is a set of classes of motor vehicles, with their wheels outside, and not contained by, any bodywork of their vehicle. These have been globally classified as specific 'Formula' series - the most common being Formula One, and many others include the likes of Formula 3, Formula Ford, Formula Renault and Formula Palmer Audi. However, in North America, the IndyCar series is their pinnacle open-wheeled racing series. More recently, new open-wheeled series have been created, originating in Europe, which omit the 'Formula' moniker, such as GP2 and GP3. Former 'Formula' series include Formula 5000 and Formula Two.

Formula One

Formula One is a class of single-seat and open-wheel grand prix closed course racing, governed by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), and currently organized by the privately owned company Formula One Group. The formula regulations contain a very strict set of rules which govern vehicle power, weight and size.

Formula E

Formula E is a class of open-wheel auto racing that uses only electric-powered cars. The series was conceived in 2012, and the inaugural championship started in Beijing on 13 September 2014. The series is also sanctioned by the FIA and races a spec chassis/battery combination with manufacturers allowed to develop their own electric power-trains. The series has gained significant traction in recent years.

IndyCar Series

A series originated on June 12th, 1909 in Portland, Oregon at its first race. Shortly after, Indianapolis Motor Speedway opened in 1909 and held races that ranged from 50-200 miles. Its premier race is the Indianapolis 500 which began on May 11th, 1911 and a tradition was born. Today, Indycar operates a full schedule with over 20 teams and 40 different drivers. The current schedule includes 14 tracks over the course of 17 races per season . Josef Newgarden was crowned current champion of the Indycar Series at Sonoma Raceway on September 17th, 2017 in Sonoma, California.

Enclosed wheel racing

Neste Oil Rally 2010 - Jari-Matti Latvala in shakedown
A Ford Focus WRC rally racing car during 2010 Rally Finland

Enclosed wheel racing is a set of classes of vehicles, where the wheels are primarily enclosed inside the bodywork of the vehicle, similar to a North American 'stock car'.

Sports car racing

Sports car racing is a set of classes of vehicles, over a closed course track, including sports cars, and specialised racing types. The premiere race is the 24 Hours of Le Mans which takes place annually in France during the month of June. Sports car racing rules and specifications differentiate in North America from established international sanctioning bodies.

Stock car racing

Stock car racing is a set of vehicles, that race over a speedway track, organized by NASCAR. While once stock cars, the vehicles are now purpose built, but resemble the body design and shape of production cars. Bootleggers throughout the Carolinas are often credited for the origins of NASCAR due to the resistance during the prohibition. Many of the vehicles were modified to increase top speed and handling, to provide the bootleggers with an advantage toward the vehicles local law enforcement would use in the area. An important part to the modifications of stock cars, was to increase the performance of the vehicle while also maintaining the same exterior look giving it the name Stock car racing. Many legends in NASCAR originated as bootleggers in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina like Junior Johnson. Organized oval racing began on Daytona Beach in Florida as a hobby but quickly gained interest from all over the country. As oval racing became larger and larger, a group gathered in hopes to form a sanctioning body for the sport. NASCAR was organized in 1947, to combine flat track oval racing of production cars. Daytona Beach and Road Course was founded where land speed records were set on the beach, and including part of A1A. The highlight of the stock car calendar is the season-opening Daytona 500, also nicknamed 'The Great American Race' which is held at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. NASCAR has now held over 2,500 sanctioned events over the course of 70 seasons. Richard Petty is known as the king of NASCAR with over 200 recorded wins in the series and has competed in 1,184 races in his career.

Touring car racing

Touring car racing is a set of vehicles, modified street cars, that race over closed purpose built race tracks and street courses.

Off-Road Racing

Off-Road Racing is a group of vehicles that specialize in off-road racing and are modified street cars that can race on close purpose built off-road tracks and courses. Off-Road racing is popular in areas like California and Arizona. Premier off-road events in the United States include the Baja 1000 which takes place in the Baja California Peninsula and endures nearly 1000 miles of racing on a closed and pre-designed Baja Truck course. Series like the National Off-Road Racing Association (NORRA) utilize off-road vehicles which was founded in 1967 to sanction events through the Baja Desert. The first event sanctioned by the organization was the 1967 Mexican 1000 rally that began in Tijuana and ended in La Paz.

Other racing

Speedway Extraliiga 22. 5. 2010 - erä 17
Finnish speedway riders in the Speedway Extraliiga competition

Motor sports which involve competitors racing against each other include:

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