Autotests are all about car control. The challenge is to negotiate as quickly as possible a memorised, low-speed course without hitting any markers.
While you will rarely venture out of first and reverse gears, you will need to get the hang of handbrake turns, U-turns and the like – unless you want to spend all day doing three-point turns and coming last, that is!
How do Autotests work?
Drivers compete on courses – usually on tarmac or grass areas such as car parks or smooth fields – marked out by plastic pylons or cones. They tackle a number of tests, with two attempts at each. The driver with the lowest accumulated time is the winner, although penalties are incurred for hitting cones, failing to stop on a line, or for taking the wrong route.
So how do I start?
First, come and join us on a Thursday night and chat with some of the competitors and organisers, who will be happy to talk you through everything you need to know and answer any questions you may have.
Next, . If you want to compete at regional level or above, you will need a Non-Race Clubman Competition Licence. Then, of course, you will need a car…
What kind of car do I need?
Most people start off in their road cars, small hatchbacks have proved popular and competitive in recent years. Obviously, stretched limos are not so manoeuvrable, although you’ll certainly become a crowd favourite!
The events generally has seven classes to enable drivers to compete against similar machinery and most other events have class structures too. These are split into saloons, sports cars and modified Specials. They may also be split by engine size, as well as front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive.
It’s estimated that, competing with your standard road car, you can complete a season of the MSA British Autotest Championship for as little as £700, while Regional or Club level championships can be even cheaper.
What equipment do I need?
Because Autotests are low-speed events you don't need special safety gear such as helmets or overalls, which makes this one of the most readily accessible motor sport disciplines.