Autotests are one of the oldest disciplines in competitive motorsport in Ireland and is a real test of a wide range of driving skills. It is also one of the least expensive branches of motorsport. Each event consists of a number of tests (usually 10 or 12), that involve competitors carrying out a sequence of vehicular manoeuvres, as instructed in the test diagrams issued by the organisers. These manoeuvres include circling of pylons, "throwing" the car on the handbrake, crossing of lines and driving through slaloms, both forwards and reverse, in either first or reverse gears. Each driver is timed on each test and times are totalled to give results in each event. Whoever is quickest through the tests of the day is the winner.
Click on the image above to see Autotests in action
Type of Vehicles
Because the tests involve manoeuvring cars against the stopwatch, smaller cars are more suitable than large ones, although there are normally five different classes for various types for car. Minis and Specials based on Minis are the most popular, and there are also classes for larger saloons and for sports cars. There is no need to have highly modified cars but there are certain basic things that should be done to make sure that a car will perform properly. It also helps to pump up the tyres to twice their normal pressure. This enables the car to slide more which is essential for some of the manoeuvres required.
Where and When
Autotesting takes place throughout the year all over the country. Particularly competitive areas include Dublin, Cork and Kerry.
Licence Requirements and Starting Age
A CLUBMAN category "National B" grade licence is required. A Road Traffic Act driving licence is not needed, nor is a medical certificate. The minimum age is 16 years. Competitors under 18 years of age require written permission from parents or guardians. A first time licence costs as little as €40 if you are a member of one of our Affiliated Motor Clubs - non-members pay €80.
How to get Started
If you are interested in becoming involved then the first step is to contact Motorsport Ireland, the governing body of the sport, at phone 01-677 5628. Motorsport Ireland issue competition licences and annually publish a "Yearbook" containing all the rules and regulations for Irish Motorsport. The "Yearbook", in DVD format, is issued free with every competition licence or alternatively you may buy a hard copy costing €30. A calendar of events is also published on this web site and you can download Licence Application Form here.
Special Equipment Required
Very little. Most drivers use a knob on the steering wheel so that they can steer with one hand while leaving the other hand free to use on the handbrake and gear lever without losing time.
No special clothing is required.
Outlets for Clothing
Average Cost of Event Entry Fee
Normally between €35 and €40 per event for experts, with reduced rates for novices and beginners averaging €25 per event.
One of the best ways to learn all about a particular division of Motorsport is to get involved in the day to day organisation. So if you do not feel ready to compete, or you would simply like a sociable, friendly attachment to Autotesting, your invaluable help would be more than appreciated. Contact anyone involved in the Clubs and get started. It could change your whole life and at the same time help others enjoy a great sport held in a responsible controlled environment.