Circuit racing is the most well-known form of motorsport globally. It involves several cars racing wheel-to-wheel on a racetrack and the winner is the first competitor to reach the chequered flag, which falls once the designated number of race laps has been completed.
Most race meetings comprise practice sessions, qualifying and at least one race. Qualifying is the session that decides which position the competitors will start the race from. First place on the grid, usually awarded to the driver who sets the fastest lap in qualifying, is known as pole position. All sanctioned race events in the Republic of Ireland take place in Mondello Park in County Kildare.
TYPES OF VEHICLES
Classes exist for every level of ability and budget, but the current classes in operation are as follows:
Formula Vee is an air-cooled 1600cc Volkswagen engined car which offers entry into the world of racing at a very reasonable cost. It is the biggest class and offers very close and exciting racing.Formula Sheane is a Rover 1800 engined car designed and built by David Sheane in Wicklow.
BOSS (Big Open Single Seaters) is, as the name suggests, a formula free of technical regulations, and the current Irish version organised and promoted by BOSS Ireland is a class open to any type of proprietary single seater or open topped sports car.
Ford Fiesta Zetec is a low cost, one-make formula using Ford Fiestas with a 1.25 litre engine and is an ideal entry point into circuit racing.
Ford Fiesta ST is the next step on the one-make “tin top” ladder offering a highly competitive field of the 2 litre engined cars.
Supercars are a fast saloon style car powered by a purpose-built 2-litre engine. This class is extremely close and offers thrilling racing.
For saloon cars that don’t fit into the above there’s the Irish Touring Car Championship, the Irish Future Classics Series and there’s a Irish Historic Cars Championship run by the Historic Racing Car Association (HRCA)
Ginetta G20 Coupe Junior cars of 1400cc is a Junior Racing Class first introduced in 2010 which caters for competitors from 14 to 17 years of age.
Strykers are Ford powered cars of 1800cc, which are similar to a Lotus 7 or Caterham.
Global Lights are effectively "mini-sportscars" and have a 600 or 1000cc motorcycle engine with a sequential gearbox and are somewhere between a very fast kart and a full-size racing car.
WHERE AND WHEN
There is presently only one permanent Motor Racing circuit in the Republic of Ireland at Mondello Park near Naas, Co. Kildare. Most of the classes also hold some championship rounds at Kirkistown and Bishopscourt circuits in Co. Down and occasionally at selected circuits in Britain. The Racing season runs from the end of March through to the beginning of October.
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LICENCE REQUIREMENTS AND STARTING AGE
Applicants for a first time Race category "National B" licence must first purchase an Introduction to Motorsport Starter Pack at a cost of €10, which can be ordered from the Motorsport Ireland Office on 01 677 5628 or email email@example.com. Applicants must then successfully complete a Motorsport Ireland "Introduction to Motorsport Course" (IMC) in Mondello Park. The IMC pack contains the following:
- Licence application forms
- Details about the course
- Some additional informational literature
- A course booking reference number
The cost of the IMC course is approximately the same as one race entry fee. Full details are available from the Motorsport Ireland Office and Mondello Park. The Motorsport Ireland Yearbook is available to download on this website.
The minimum age for Circuit Racing is 14 years of age. A doctor’s certificate is required and this is part of the licence application form. It is not necessary for applicants to hold a Road Traffic Act licence. All “Junior” licences must be accompanied by a valid Competitors Entrants Licence. Competitors under 18 years of age require written permission from their parents or legal guardians. A first time licence costs as little as €50 if you are a member of a Motorsport Ireland affiliated Motor Club and a junior licence is free.
Request a Starter Pack
Apply for a Competition Licence
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT REQUIRED
All vehicles must have safety rollover structures, safety harnesses, a seat of specified standard, fire extinguishers, firewalls, and electrical isolation switches. All cars and equipment must comply with Appendix 2 of the Motorsport Ireland Yearbook. All vehicles must pass scrutiny each time to compete in an event. All vehicles must have an MI logbook obtainable from the Motorsport Ireland Technical Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You will require a helmet, fireproof overalls, boots, gloves, socks, and underclothing. Details of helmet and clothing standards are published in Appendix 2 of the Motorsport Ireland Yearbook.
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