There are two types of Autocross events; those held on a grass surface and those that take place on a loose surface; e.g. dirt tracks or quarries.
In either case, a circuit is laid out and cars compete individually "against the clock". If the circuit is long enough cars may be started at intervals so that more than one car is on the track at any one time. However, as the event is "against the clock", no passing is allowed. A competitor will usually get four to six attempts to set his or her best time and the result is decided: by the total time taken in loose surface events, or by the best time for any one run for grass surface events.
Click on the image above to see Autocross in action.
Type of Vehicles
In grass events there are generally two types of cars catered for i.e. specials and saloons. These are further sub-divided into classes by reference to the engine size of the car. Almost anything goes in the way of car preparation although, you may only use one engine! Also, the regulations handicap cars that have a turbo charged engine or four wheel drive.
Loose surface events are generally contested by Rally Cars of one type or another and the same freedom to modify the car exists as in grass events. There is a National Championship for grass events and this takes place from April to September each year.
To keep costs to a minimum you can share the car with two friends if you wish and each event organiser takes this into account to ensure you all get the same number of timed runs as every one else.
Where and When
Autocross events are held throughout the year at different venues around the country.
Licence Requirements and Starting Age:
You can start Autocrossing at just 16 years of age with a speed category "National B" grade licence and this will permit you to drive any car up to 1650cc. You do not need a Road Traffic Act driving licence but you do need to complete a medical. 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-club 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 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 a Licence Application Form here.
Special Equipment Required
Road tyres are permitted but it might be wise to fit "mud" or "snow" tyres. These tyres can be bought as remoulds so they need not cost a fortune. Studded tyres are not allowed however. Limited slip differentials may be employed and this is very useful indeed when traction is at a premium. It sounds more technical than it is in reality.
Needless to say, there are some safety requirements and these are common to most competition vehicles e.g. a roll-bar, fireproofing and fire extinguishers.
You will require a helmet , fireproof overalls, gloves, socks and underclothing. Details of helmet and clothing standards are published in the Motorsport Ireland Yearbook.
EARS Motorsport, Muddy Hill, Mallow, Co.Cork (022) 42050
Marks Models, 14 Hawkins Street, Dublin 2. (01) 6715809
Murray Motorsport, Unit 20, Beechlawn Industrial Complex, Walkinstown, Dublin 12 (01) 4500555
PR Reilly Ltd., 221 Howth Road, Killester, Dublin 5 (01) 8336924
Average Cost of Event Entry Fee
Seniors €100 and Juniors €50 per event.
Officials / Marshalling
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 Autocrossing, 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.