Following most major RoadRallies of the 1950’s was a tie deciding “Driving Test” involving simple manoeuvrability sections, which involved “parking the car” against the clock. Gradually Driving Tests became a discipline of motor sport of its own and in the 1960’s developed into Autotests.
Autotests involve driving the car on a timed, predetermined memorised route, with penalties added for striking markers, bad positioning on the lines and not completing the test correctly.
Vehicles are classified according to overall length, body type, and engine size into seven classes.
Despite the apparent need for optimum power and handling capabilities it is possible to be competitive in a standard road car, driver skill being the important ingredient.
Notable drivers who cut their teeth in the world of Autotesting include Trevor Smith (1991 National Rally Champion), Colin McRae (1991/1992 British Rally Champion and 1995 World Rally Champion) and Russ Swift (Professional Stunt Driver).
Simon Bradley, current competitor was 4th in the 1989 MSA National Championship as well as being BTRDA Bronze Star Champion. Autotests, put the emphasis on precision driving rather than flat out speed, employing spin turns, reverse flicks and handbrake turns to negotiate the set route in the shortest possible time.
New Year’s Day 2014 Autotest
What is an Autotest?
Autotests are held on private land either on tarmac or grass.
The objective of the event is to transverse a predetermined route around road cones, this may include manoeuvres in a forward or reverse directions. I.e. Handbrake turns, reverse spins, j – turns etc. It’s a bit of precision driving as every cone you clip or touch has a penalty applied to your time.
Basically the person who completes the routes of 6 –10 in a day in the quickest time is the winner. You will have two runs at each test, the fastest time to count towards the results, basically you have 1 practice run each time.
The routes can be complicated, but as a grass-roots motor club we try to keep them fairly simple and easy to remember. The normal test length is only 30 seconds up to approximately 2 minutes but this will depend on how you drive.
You can use your road car or bring an old banger up on a trailer if you like, there is a scrutineering process but as long as the car is safe it should pass.
You do not need to hold a full driving licences to have a go and even 14 year olds can complete under certain criteria’s.
Some Autotest Videos on you tube:
- New Years’ Day 2014
- Simon Bradley
- Dave Lumsdale
- Ben Williams
- Click for another site that provides additional interesting information!
And on the Loose !