Fans will not find the same kind of racing or the same type of spectating from one type of rally to the next. Here’s what to expect from each.
Photos: Lars Gange | rally.subaru.com
Although many of the national championship events feature special stages that take place in their entirety in front of the fans, the majority of the events are held in secluded settings – on remote gravel and dirt roads away from populated areas. Both the rally stages in which teams compete for time and the transits between them and to service at posted speeds take place on public roads.
Organizers provide directions to spectator points, where the cars can be seen turning, sliding, accelerating – usually performing some type of difficult maneuver.
The cars carry co-drivers along with the drivers. The co-drivers navigate utilizing carefully prepared notes.
Photo: Matt Morning/Shazam/ESPN Images
X Games Rally Car Racing
Set up in and around a stadium, X Games organizers fill the stadium floor with dirt, and parts of the course outside the stadium are paved. After qualifying runs that seed the drivers, they race in pairs in elimination rounds.
There have been five X Games Rally events, and each of them has had a different course. The bracket racing is an evolution of the event since the first X Games Rally.
Some drivers are invited to X Games Rally based on their standings in the Rally America National Championship. Others are invited based on X Games performances in previous years. Still others are guests invited from the world of motorsports.
For the last couple of years, there have been no co-drivers for this event.
X Games SuperRally
Introduced as part of X Games 16, SuperRally consists of qualifying and then heat races of four cars each on a short course in and around a stadium. The course is mostly dirt.
Some of the drivers for SuperRally also participate in X Games Rally Car Racing. There are no co-drivers.
New to the American motorsports scene, Rallycross takes place at a road-racing venue. For 2010, all three RallyCar Rallycross events were held at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
For the first of the three events, more than half of the course on which cars raced was paved, with "detours" off track into dirt. A jump was built into one of the dirt sections. As with road races, fans stationed themselves wherever they liked behind barriers around the track.
Competitive vehicles in two-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive categories included traditional rally cars as well as high-horsepower, lightweight cars specifically designed for this type of racing.
Whereas road-racing sanctioning bodies seek to keep tracks clear of dirt and debris, Rallycross heat racing brings dirt onto the track surface. As a result, racing includes a large amount of sideways "drifting."
Drivers compete without co-drivers.
The first Rallycross took place at the end of August, and its combination of race-track elements seems to have been a hit with fans and competitors.