Article about Autotests by Mike Mulcahy
Autotests are one of the oldest disciplines in competitive motorsport in Ireland and are a real test of a wide range of driving skills. It is also one of the least expensive branches of motorsport. Each event consists of a number of tests (usually 10 or 12), that involve competitors carrying out a sequence of vehicular manoeuvres, as instructed in the test diagrams issued by the organisors. These manoeuvres include circling of pylons. “throwing” the car on the handbrake. crossing the lines and driving through slaloms, both forwards and reverse, in either first or reverse gears. Each driver is timed on each test and times are totaled to give results in each event. Whoever is quickest through the tests of the day is the winner.
Because the tests involve manoeuvring cars against the stopwatch, smaller cars are more suitable than large ones, although there are normally five different classes for various types of cars. Minis and specials based on Minis are the most popular, and there are also classes for larger saloons and for sports cars. There is no need to have highly modified cars but there are certain basic things that should be done to make sure that a car will perform properly. It also helps to pump up the tyres to twice their normal pressure. This enables the car to slide more, which is essential for some of the manoeuvres required.
One of the best ways to learn about a particular division of motorsport is to get involved in the day to day organisation. So if you do not feel ready to compete or you would simply like a sociable, friendly attachment to autotesting, your invaluable help would be more than appreciated.
Click here to listen to club member Brian O'Connell speaking about autotesting on West Limerick 102 at the 2017 Circuit of Munster Launch event