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Classic Car RacingTypes of Classic Car Racing

  1. Track Racing
  2. Special Stage Rallying
  3. Road Rallying
  4. Hill Climbs & Sprint
  5. Rallycross
  6. Autocross
  7. Cross Country
  8. Autotest
  9. Trials
  10. Drag Racing
  11. A Note on Classic Car Clubs

Track Racing

The most obvious form of racing is track racing – and it comes in many shapes and sizes for vintage and classic cars. From hard core racing leagues with priceless automotive legends, through to lower power, lower budget stuff that many might have a chance of trying. Although you do get the classic single-seater racers, most common classic racing comes in the form of saloons, sports and GT cars.

Track racing is not the very cheapest form of motorsport, but its general popularity means there are a plethora of resources, clubs and tracks to choose from.

  • Minimum age of 16
  • Medical certificate if over 18
  • At least a half-day MSA novice drivers course
  • National B Licence (or for non-race drivers, a Clubman or Non-Race National B Competition Licence)
  • Car modifications required: In most cases

Special Stage Rallying

This is what you see on TV in the form of the World Rally Championship. It tends to be much more expensive than Road Rallying (below) and most activity in this field is focused on the more modern machines. However, there is a specific historic class for Historic Special Stage Rallies.

In our mind Group B was the last of the legends in Special Stage Rallying and now considered classic. This means this type of racing can range from very steady, safe and modest machines, through to absolute monsters. Just remember, that although you don’t have to worry about dinging other classic cars, you do have to think about ditches, trees and careering off a cliff!

  • Cars must be properly taxed tested and insured for sections between stages.
  • Minimum age 17
  • Requires driving licence valid in the UK
  • Stage Rally Driving Licence (course required)
  • Co-driver must be at least 16 and hold valid club membership card and Non-Race National B Competition Licence (or higher)
  • Car modifications: Yes

Road Rallying

If you fancy some sideways fun, but can’t afford the investment of Special Stage Rallying, then there are other options in the form of Road Rallying. This is where you find more classic car rallies and more varied types of rallying. This is not always about pure speed, but instead a variety of rally types to test navigation, time-keeping and teamwork – on top of good driving and car durability.

There are more organised rallies for classic and historic cars with Road Rallying and a wide range of choices for those on a budget. Don’t think however that this is just amateur stuff. Many great rally drivers honed their skills in this arena.

  • Open to nearly all cars with minimal or no modifications
  • Minimum age 17 (navigator minimum age 12)
  • Valid driving licence
  • Map and sense of direction!

Hill Climbs & Sprint

A usually short point-to-point sprint against the clock, with the fastest winning. Easy!

Hill Climbs and Sprints are not too dissimilar from each other with the key difference being that a Hill Climb is basically a sprint, but on a hill! This form of motorsport is open to many car types and classic and vintage cars have made this type of racing a key part of their existence.


Can’t decide whether you prefer tarmac or dirt? Then look no further.

Rallycross is basically the lovechild of Touring Cars and Rallying. The mixed surface tracks can often leave cars quite battered, but the number of leagues are quite varied, so entry at the bottom end is incredibly affordable. You will find that cars in the same race and class can still vary quite a bit and there is no reason why your classic mini can’t take on the Saxos and Fiestas – if you have a 6R4 then just let rip!

  • Licence: ranges from any National B up to higher level licences for more competitive professional leagues.
  • Minimum age 16 (with 14 to 16 year olds open to compete in the junior leagues)
  • Car Modifications: yes


Usually set on a grass or loose surfaces, Autocross is a circuit based race, but against the clock, rather than all cars being on track at the same time. Cars can range from modified road cars through to bespoke Autocross specials.

This is not a common classic car field, but classics can compete as long as they reach the requirements of the race.

Cross Country

Ever wondered what a Land Rover can really do when it’s not dropping the children off at school? Well, this is where it could really open its lungs.

Cross Country events differ in their rules and style. Some will punish a vehicle and are mainly designed for the very latest machinery. However, smaller club events can be found for older metal wanting to test itself across the fields and ditches.

  • Licence requirements vary, but most will want a club membership.
  • Minimum age varies (as young as eight years for some)
  • Vehicle modification: varies depending on event. Some are open to unmodified road legal vehicles


Can you drive around cones and park quickly? Then Autotest is for you.

A very cheap (relative term, I know) way for getting into motorsport. You compete against the clock to get your car around a set course, usually set out by a series of cones. Classes range depending on your car. Many require nothing but a roadworthy vehicle with no modifications.


A long established motorsport with many classic cars still competing in special events. It is relatively cheap to enter and open to a range of vehicles. Set out on a point-to-point course with various gradients, which will stump many entrants. It’s about how far you get on each stage, rather than how long you take.

Drag Racing

Like your racing fast, short and straight? Drag racing is basically school yard boasting gone mad. The lights go out, you floor it, try not to crash and hope to beat the car next to you. You compete in knock-out rounds (or just for your own accomplishment against the clock) and with many classes to cover many vehicle types. Today’s classics were the first to play here and many still do.

  • Need any MSA Competition licence or higher depending on race
  • Minimum age from eight (for junior classes)
  • Unmodified road cars to top-fuel specialist monsters

A Note on Classic Car Clubs

Classic car clubs are the driving force behind most classic motorsport. You should make sure you are a member of a club who organises events and are able to give you some advice on upcoming events and how to get involved. Some will also know someone who can guide you through the first steps of classic car racing and some may even be kind enough to take you out in their car to give you a real feel for the sport.

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