Sports car racing

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Scene of a sports car race in the USA in 1991

Sports car races are a form of automobile sport with racing cars that are primarily characterized by space for two seats and the wheels covered with fenders or wheel arches.

Sports car races are held with vehicles that have been specially designed or are related to street-legal sports cars . They occupy an intermediate position between formula racing with its uncompromising monoposti and touring car races with their near-series vehicles. Races for the sports car world championship were mostly held as long-distance races over a longer distance, for example 1000 km, or as 6, 12 or 24-hour races .

The prestige of brands such as Alfa Romeo , Aston Martin , Audi , Ferrari , Ford , Jaguar , Maserati , Mercedes-Benz , and above all Porsche is based in part on their success in sports car races. Production vehicles that were and are sold by these manufacturers are sometimes similar in technology and appearance to the vehicles used in these races. Often, however, the same name is used for racing cars and road vehicles for promotional purposes only.


The history of sports car races is closely linked to the Le Mans 24-hour race , one of the oldest motor sport events still taking place today. In the 1920s, the technical separation between formula racing and sports car racing began, taking into account the different requirements. In addition to races on fixed racetracks, sports car races were also driven on closed country roads. In 1953, the FIA launched the World Sports Car Championship , which combined several events with a point system similar to Formula 1 . This world championship was held for the last time in 1992 before it was revived in 2012. In the past there were drivers who drove up to 24 hours on their own, but now teams of at least three drivers are required in Le Mans, for example.

Sports car classes

Three Porsche RS Spyder and five GT2 vehicles from Ferrari and Porsche

Sports car races are held in two vehicle classes, the prototype and the Gran Turismo vehicles, whereby both types usually drive at the same time and are rated differently.

  • Prototypes are considered the highest class in sports car racing. They are pure racing vehicles with few restrictions in terms of chassis, engine and wheels. There are open sports cars and those with closed cockpits. In addition to the classic gasoline engine , diesel engines from Audi and Peugeot were also used. Hydrogen prototypes exist (see BMW H2R ), but are not designed for direct vehicle competition.
  • Gran Turismo (GT) vehicles are the more common form and can be found in national and international racing series around the world. These vehicles must have a certain resemblance to near-series vehicles.

Racing series

Current series:

Race situation of the FIA ​​World Endurance Championship 2015

Previous series (in selection):

Famous individual races

In contrast to Formula 1, some individual races enjoy greater prestige than winning the championship. Some races have not been part of a championship over the years, for example the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Famous sports car

Flag sign

Yellow flag and "SC" sign: The safety car is on the track. Overtaking is prohibited on the entire route.

The flags are used for communication between the marshals or the race management and the drivers, for example in order to inform them in good time of dangerous situations.

Web links

Commons : Sports Car Racing  - Collection of Pictures, Videos and Audio Files