All Types of Car Races (Overview with photos)

Types of car racing

There are a lot of different types of car races. Even some racing enthusiasts don’t realize just how different the types of races really are. They all involve different types of cars. For example, some races use production cars that only have minor modifications. Others involve custom-built cars that are designed specifically for each race.

These races also take place on different types of tracks. The car races you see on television are usually on the standard oval tracks. These include races like the Indy 500 and NASCAR. But there are also races that take place on smaller tracks and even on the street. Of course, these races are quite different from the ones you see on television. They are also less regulated than the national and international race forums.

Here, we’re going to talk about the most popular types of races. Some of these are all over the world. Others are local to the United States or Europe. There are races that are regulated by associations like NASCAR and others that are regulated by the biggest guys in the neighborhood! It all depends on what kind of race it is.

While most of these racers belong to rich racing teams, that’s not always the case. You’ll see some types of car races, such as drag racing, that is done by private individuals. It all comes down to what you’re interested in. If you’re already a car race enthusiast, great. Read on. If you don’t know the first thing about auto racing, this article is perfect for you. Let’s get started and look at the 9 most popular types of auto races.

Formula Racing

formula-one racing

This is the most famous type of auto racing. It involves single-seater cars that are custom designed for the races. The cars in these races have the wheels on the outside of the car’s body. These cars are very expensive to build. They involve large teams sponsored by large companies. You can’t just walk onto a Formula Race team. You need to be sponsored and qualify.

It takes many of these racers years to reach the point where they can drive competitively. The races take place on arced tracks, much like what you see on televised races. Some of the popular Formula races include the Grand Prix. In North America, these races are known as the Indy Car Series, such as the Indy 500.

The 500 has nothing to do with the number of laps the drivers take. It has to do with the length of the track. But don’t get it wrong. The goal of these races is to come in first place. The cars have staggered starting spots to avoid collisions. The cars can navigate the inside and outside lanes to try to get an edge on their competition.

Sports Car Racing

These races, while not as popular as Formula racing or NASCAR, is pretty popular. They involve 2-seater cars, which is different from Formula races. In Formula races, the cars are all single-seaters. They also have enclosed wheels instead of having the wheels on the outside of the cars.

There are two types of sports car racing: Grand Tourer and Prototype. These cars are built specifically for certain races, just like in Formula racing.

Some of the more common types of sports car racing include the FIA World Endurance Championship and the Grand-Am Championship in the U.S. The goal of these races is not always to be the first driver across the finish line. The goal here is endurance. Some of the races last anywhere from 2.5 to 24 hours!

The racers do get a chance to stop at their pits for minor repairs. They can also switch racers since they are two-seater cars. In the U.S., one of the most popular races is the Rolex Sports Conference.

Stock Car Racing

stock racing

These races are just what they sound like. They involve stock cars. These are cars that came off the regular production lines of major auto manufacturers. Some of these cars have custom specifications, of course. You wouldn’t just get behind the wheel of a Ford Taurus and jump onto a stock car race track. These cars are driven by professionals.

The big difference between these races and the other two we’ve already talked about is the type of car. Yes, these cars have certain specs. But they aren’t made specifically for one race or another. They also don’t cost as much to build.

Some Formula race cars cost millions of dollars to build. The engine itself can be millions of dollars. In stock car racing, they take basic sports cars and enhance them a bit. The cars race on an oval track like you sees in NASCAR. The cars push speed to the limit. Their goal is to drive as fast as possible and beat out all the other cars.

NASCAR is the biggest stock car race. It stands for National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. Keep in mind – these races are in the United States. They don’t really have a real European presence. Some of the popular races include the Daytona 500 and Sprint Cup.

Drag Racing

drag racing

Drag racing is entirely different from any of the races we’ve talked about so far. Most drag racing is done privately and not as part of a big organization. While there is a drag car association – the National Hot Rod Association – that doesn’t mean a lot of people don’t conduct their own, private drag races. These races are the most basic types of races there are.

The cars line up, take off and see who can make it to the finish line the fastest. There is no oval track. It is straight-line racing. Speed is key. They take regular cars and then customize it. You may see a Fort Mustang in a drag race. But that Mustang didn’t come off the factory floor. It has been customized and boosted by the driver and his team.

The goal here is speed and acceleration. This is why a lot of the racers use things like Noz and Nitro to get their cars off to a fast start. These boosters allow them to capitalize at the end and overtake the other cars. They are short distance tracks of about 200-400 meters. These are a lot shorter than they sound. A typical drag car race can be over in a matter of a few seconds.



Rallying involves production vehicles. Back in the 1970s and 1980s, if you had a Camaro Rally Sport, you knew you had a cool car. Certain cars are designed to drive fast. These races take part on closed tracks or even on public roads. They are not really overseen by any certain association or group. Most of these races take place in small towns where people are into fixing and racing cars.

They don’t have major sponsors and don’t really travel all that far for races. The thing about a lot of rally racing is that they’re illegal. It’s not like you can get a permit to speed a bunch of cars down a public road. That’s why they usually take place in a closed arena or park. These are designed for public races.

This kind of racing may not have the following that NASCAR does, but they still have their fans. They race on all sorts of tracks and in all sorts of conditions. For example, some Rally Car races take part on gravel, snow or ice. They race in a point to point format, sort of like drag racing. Whoever gets to the finish line first – and in one piece – wins.

Off-Road Racing

Off roading racing

This type of racing is normally not sponsored by anyone. It’s not like there are huge companies out there paying for people to win off-road races. Instead, these races take place on all different sorts of locations and road conditions. Many take place on sand, dirt or even in the woods.

The racers and their friends build insane tracks and then see who can actually complete the race. Some of these races involve tricks rather than speed. They use production cars, motorcycles and trucks. You might even see people racing off-road on an ATV or dirt bike. There really aren’t any rules other than those agreed to by the racers.

It’s more recreational more than anything else although there are trophies involved. One of the more popular off-road races is the Baha 100 in Mexico. This kind of racing isn’t sanctioned in the U.S. or Europe. If you’re caught engaging in off-road racing on public property, you can fully expect to get a ticket.

Monster Truck

monster truck racing car

If you have cable television, then you’ve probably seen a monster truck race. These races tend to travel across the U.S. and elsewhere showing off their huge trucks and insane tracks. They don’t really race from point A to point B. Instead, sponsors pay to build insane, indoor tracks where the monster trucks compete.

They have to navigate huge dirt piles and crazy stunts. It’s not about speed – it’s about who has the guts to take on some of these courses. These are held in smaller arenas. They sell tickets and are there to entertain their guests – they don’t really expect to win anything. The trucks are sponsored by companies like RedBull and Monster Energy. They pay to host the events and take a big cut of the profits from the Monster Truck shows. Believe it or not, the monster truck races are part of the U.S. Hot Rod Association.

Just keep in mind – these aren’t really races as much as they are shows. The goal is to entertain the crowd. A lot of the monster trucks have intimidating names and set out to crush the competition. It’s almost a rite of passage in some U.S. cities to take your son or daughter to the monster truck show.

Touring Car Races

touring car races

These races are similar to the other auto races involving production cars. They don’t involve the multi-million dollar machines you see in Formula racing. Different auto manufacturers build these cars with custom specs to fit the racers’ needs. They race on special tracks, unlike the oval or circular tracks you see with most professional auto racing. This kind of racing is much more popular in Europe than anywhere else.

There is the British Touring Car Championship and the World Touring Championship. These races take place in different parts of the world. They don’t use closed tracks or circuits. Instead, you may have to race through mountains and farmland. It all depends on which tour you’re on. If you think of this way – in touring racing, the drivers have to complete a tour.

There are a starting place and finish line, but they are not straight runs. Most courses involve some sharp, hairpin turns to test the drivers’ agility and the cars’ handling. These races can be just as dangerous as the other types of races. There are no pit crews along the way to rescue troubled drivers. There are even times when you have no idea how some of the racers are doing. Until they approach the finish line, you may have no idea who’s winning and who’s been left in the dust.

Production Car Racing

We’ve already talked about a handful of types of races that involve production cars. This is actually production car racing. Companies like Audi and Porsche put their best foot forward to see who really is the best of the best. These cars are not modified in any way. In fact, the biggest rule is that the car is right off the production line.

This is also known as showroom stock racing – these cars are not customized and they have no special specs. They come out as if they drove off the showroom floor. They are overseen by the International Motor Sports Association. One of the most popular types of production car races is the Firehawk Series.

Are You a Fan of Auto Racing?

If you’re already a fan of auto racing, you probably already know what kind of racing you prefer. There’s nothing wrong with that. But if you haven’t already married yourself to a particular type of racing, we suggest you check them all out. You won’t really know which kind tickles your fancy until you know what each type has to offer. If you like speed and closed tracks, you may lean toward NASCAR racing or Formula One racing. If, on the other hand, you like to be entertained, check out the Monster Truck races.

Some of the riskier types of races are the drag races and off-road races. These drivers encounter all sorts of crazy tricks. It’s not always a matter of who finishes first – it can be a matter of who finishes, period. Because cars aren’t custom-built, they aren’t always the safest thing to drive. But these racers have speed and adrenaline in their veins. They love the thrill and they love to win.

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