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Open, all-wheel drive autocross racing car

An autocross (also auto cross ; abbr. AX ) is a car race in the sprint style for both open, so-called autocross-seater ( Special Cross vehicles = prototypes in Buggy format) and closed touring cars and production cars (the majority of car models) on a relatively small race track that is usually easy to see for the public .

According to the definition of the world automobile sport sovereignty , the FIA , in contrast to rallycross , the autocross circuits can be both permanent and temporary, but must have a total length between 600 and 2000 meters and only have loose track surfaces (earth, sand, gravel, etc.). The starting grid can, however, be paved or concreted - and in this case the route in Germany can also be used for rallycross as an exception. In Germany, Autocross can also be used on courses with asphalt or concrete passages or completely sealed road surfaces. Ten to twelve races for the FIA European Championship for autocross drivers are held in various European countries every year . In Germany, the DMSB is responsible for the official German championship of this racing sport. Numerous, mostly regional, independent of the DMSB and therefore license-free events , also spread this motor sport throughout the Federal Republic of Germany . In contrast to autocross, the related rallycross is held on permanent race tracks with changing surfaces (mostly asphalt and gravel) and only closed vehicles.


7th Berlin Auto-Cross (GDR Championship) on the harness racing track in Karlshorst on October 16, 1983

The exact hour of birth of the autocross sport does not seem to be ascertainable anymore. What is fairly certain, however, is that the first races of this type were organized in Great Britain as early as the late 1940s . Some British sources refer to a certain Bert Westwood (a founding member of the British Trial and Rally Drivers' Association ) as "autocross daddy", who is said to have been responsible for the first AX competitions with the East Anglia Motor Club . Other informants, however, name the Hagley and District Light Car Club , which is said to have carried out the first corresponding event in 1947 near the road between Stourbridge and Bridgnorth . A G. E. Pinkerton, then a member of the Sporting Owner Drivers' Club , however, points out that real autocross has only been driven since 1952. According to a letter to the editor in Autosport magazine , the suggestions for a new form of racing on a grass runway on the grounds of the London Gliding Club on Dunstable Downs are said to have been tried out for the first time. After the test meeting was very successful, Autocross then developed relatively quickly to its final form.

The first official autocross competition on mainland Europe took place in 1968 in Großhöflein , Austria . The well-known Austrian rally driver Walter Roser was the overall winner of the race on a Renault Alpine A110. One participant in this premiere race was the future Formula 1 world champion Jochen Rindt . Only a few months later, on March 16, 1969, Germany's first autocross was driven out in Schlüchtern, Hesse .

Until the mid-1970s, there were no uniform European regulations for this sport - it was only on January 1, 1976 that the FIA, the world motor sport association, launched such a and, at the same time, the European Cup as the first pan-European championship series for Division 3. The debut of the new championship took place at the Austrian Britaxring (today's name: Nordring ) in Fuglau near Horn . In 1981 this racing series was finally officially awarded the status of an FIA European Championship.

In 1979, a European Cup for the touring car class, Division 1, was created. The first winner of this trophy was the Austrian Siegfried Pfeiffer in a Porsche 911 that same year . This class was also upgraded to the official European Championship in 1981.

In the first years of the European Cup or the EM there were no cubic capacity restrictions, so even buggies with eight-cylinder Chevrolet -Camaro engines and a cubic capacity of up to 7500 cm³ were used. It was not until 1984 that the displacement was limited to 3500 cm³, but in 2001 this was again expanded to 4000 cm³. While 6 or 8-cylinder naturally aspirated engines, mainly from Porsche , Tatra or Renault , were standard in the premier class for years, 4-cylinder turbo or supercharged engines have been used increasingly since the end of the nineties, the majority of which are brands from Ford Cosworth or VW / Audi . In order to give the small-displacement vehicles a chance of success, the Inter-Cup for buggies up to 1600 cm³ developed from the earlier Peace and Friendship Cup , to which originally only pilots from the Eastern Bloc were allowed to start . Held as the Danube Cup and the European Cup in the 1980s and 1990s, this class was finally awarded the FIA ​​EM title in 2001 and has since been referred to as Division 3 A.

All-wheel drive , a must for most car sports that are carried out on loose surfaces, was initially not an issue in the European Cup and then also in the Autocross European Championship, but a breakdown in the FIA ​​regulations in 1985 ensured its approval. This type of drive then began to gain acceptance, but it also significantly increased the costs of manufacturing the vehicles. Nowadays it is hard to imagine successful participation in the European Autocross Championship without all-wheel drive. The Briton Howard Parkin is considered to be the first autocrosser to use a four-wheel drive vehicle. From April 1961 to the 1970s, Parkin's Open Special, called Cannonball , was almost unbeatable and secured the fastest time of the day (FTD) for its driver in more than 60 races.

The most successful driver in autocross history to date is the German Willi Rösel , who between 1979 and 1985 achieved no fewer than seven European championship titles in a row and a total of 42 individual victories - followed by the Czech Jaroslav Hosek with only one European title, but still 31 Race wins. Other successful German autocrossers are Helmut Wild (four European Championship titles), Peter Mücke , Rolf Volland (three European Championship titles each), Bernd Stubbe (10 European Championship titles) and Walter Bäuerle , Dennis Engel, Peter Derber and Adolf Heinz (two European Championship titles each) -Title). The Switzerland is with Jürg Felix reference for this discipline to a two-time European champion. The current European champion of the so-called premier class, Division 3, comes from Germany and is called Bernd Stubbe.

Classes in autocross

FIA European Autocross Championship

Start of the Division 3 finals, EM round 2005 in Maggiora : F. Duizendstra ahead of M. Behringer, D. Engel, P. Bartos and T. Callaghan
  • TouringCar: Touring car (special touring car of group A )
  • Junior buggy: special crossers up to 600 cm³ (single-seat autocross vehicles with two-wheel or four-wheel drive)
  • Buggy 1600: Special crosser up to 1600 cm³ (single-seat autocross vehicles with two-wheel or four-wheel drive)
  • Superbuggy: Special crossers up to 4000 cm³ (single-seat autocross vehicles with two-wheel or four-wheel drive)

German Autocross Championship of the DMSB

In 2015, the following class division applies in the German championship.

  • Class 1a: Junior buggy up to 500 cm³, max. 34 hp
  • Class 1b: Junior buggy up to 500 cm³, max. 62 hp
  • Class 2a: Series touring cars
  • Class 2b: touring cars
  • Class 3a: Special touring cars with two-wheel drive
  • Class 3b: Special touring car with four-wheel drive
  • Class 4a: Cross-Buggy up to 650 cm³ with two-wheel drive
  • Class 4b: Cross-Buggy over 650 cm³ with two-wheel drive
  • Class 5a: Special cross buggy up to 1600 cm³ with four-wheel drive
  • Class 5b: Special cross buggy over 1600 cm³ with four-wheel drive
German Autocross Championship of the DMSB in Weigsdorf-Köblitz 2004: Final of the special cross vehicles

Autocross Championship of the DRCV

In the championship of the DRCV there are the following classes in 2016.

  • Class 0: Long-distance series and special touring cars
  • Class 1: Series touring cars up to 1400 cm³
  • Class 2: Series touring cars over 1400 cm³ to 1800 cm³
  • Class 3: Series touring cars over 1800 cm³
  • Class 4: Special touring cars up to 1800 cm³ (front-wheel drive only)
  • Class 5: Super touring cars up to 1600 cm³ (also with all-wheel drive)
  • Class 6: Super touring car over 1600 cm³ (also with all-wheel drive)
  • Class 7: Sprint 1600 cm³ (without all-wheel drive)
  • Class 8: Buggy 1600 cc
  • Class 9: Super buggy over 1600 cm³ (without capacity limitation)
  • Class 10: Sprint 1150 cm³ (without all-wheel drive)
  • Class 11: Youth class from 14 years of serial touring cars up to 1400 cm³
  • Class 12: Youth class from 16 years of production touring cars up to 1400 cm³
  • Class 14: Junior buggy from 16 years up to 600 cm³ (without all-wheel drive)

Web links

Commons : Autocross  - collection of images, videos and audio files