SEVENOAKS & DISTRICT MOTOR CLUB

Autotests

Please note that this is only a brief outline of what is involved. If you wish to know more then our club nights are a great source of information and there will always be someone there who will answer any questions you may have.

What is it?

An Autotest is one of the easiest forms of motor sport to get involved with and is therefore an ideal starting point.

There are two types of Autotest - grass and tarmac and they differ only in the surface that they are run on.

At Sevenoaks we generally stick to grass Autotests because they are much kinder to the vehicle taking part and tend not be as hard on tyres/transmissions etc as tarmac events are.

An autotest consists of a course laid out with a series of cones and you are given a diagram of the route you have to take. All you have to do is to drive around against the clock. Like most things however this is much easier said than done. In practise you have to be able to control the car on a fairly slippery surface, even when its dry, and remember where you are supposed to be going next as you handbrake turn the car around a cone. This is also the only form of motor sport where you use reverse deliberately.

It is great fun and most tests are completed at a relatively slow speed, indeed it is unusual to get out of first and reverse. It also teaches a great deal about car control and when the weather is wet and the field muddy, it can be an achievement just to complete the test.

What do I need to get started?

Ages and licences:

Entries may be accepted from Drivers who are 16 and over, who do not have a full RTA Licence, subject to the following.

a) The vehicle must by definition be a ‘touring car’.

b) Engine capacity must not exceed 1400cc.

c) Forced induction is not Permited

Production Car Autotests

Entries may be accepted from Drivers who are 14 and over.

a) However, for drivers not holding a full RTA Licence, the Passenger must hold a full RTA Licence and be experienced in Autotesting

b) The vehicle must be by definition a touring car

Because of the low age limit it is an ideal introduction for the novice driver, who will learn more about car control in two hours than they will in years on the road in a supervised environment, or driving around the nearest supermarket car park.

Paperwork

A club membership card is usually all that is required.

Vehicle

Any roadworthy car is acceptable and we have seen most types of vehicle compete, even a Volvo estate. There are various classes for the different types of vehicle so that you will generally be competing against similar cars.

Useful items/modifications

A good tyre pressure gauge, as tyres on the driven axle are usually let down to around 20psi for better traction.

A foot pump or compressor (depending on how lazy you are!) to pump the tyres back up again when you have finished.

A ground sheet or something similar to empty all the accumulated “useful” items out of the boot including the spare wheel.

A piece of wood to put under the jack if you need to change a wheel.

What will it cost

Entry fees are currently FREE for under 21’s. For those who aren’t the fee is £10 an event for our evening series, which gives you two attempts at six different tests.

What can I enter

The club runs a weekday evening series consisting of 6 rounds during the summer months.

The down side - possible pitfalls

The most common problem when the surface is dry and therefore relatively grippy is pulling a tyre off the rim. This is usually fixed by a visit to a garage with a decent high-pressure air-line. Cars can get very dusty both inside and out when the conditions are dry, or very muddy when conditions are wet.

It is possible, if you totally ignore all the advice you have been given and drive like a total lunatic, to turn a car over, although this is extremely rare.

As with any form of motor sport, although they are rare, accidents can happen. You must be aware of the risks and accept them, if you are to compete.

Twitter @SevenoaksMC

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