Rallycross FAQs

Have some questions?

No problem! We are here to help. This page contains some of the most frequently asked questions about rallycross. But if you don’t find the answers your looking for, there are plenty of other options! You can find us on Facebook and ask other members, or contact one of the board members. We’re always looking for more fellow car enthusiasts to join us at our rallycross events.


Is it safe?

Rallycross is designed to be a low-risk time trial. Speeds are typically 50mph or less. This motorsport provides an intense driving experience that rewards the skilled, controlled driver on a twisty course. The potential for damage is minimal since there is no wheel-to-wheel driving, which allows a wide variety of drivers and cars to participate at a low cost.

What kind of car do I need?

Well, what kind of car do you drive? Chances are, that’s the kind of car you need for rallycross. Really, no special car is needed for this motorsport. Any factory hard top vehicle — including convertibles with a factory hardtop attached — that has adequate ground clearance and passes a basic safety inspection will serve you well. So your daily-driver sedan or hatchback on street tires is perfect. A rally-inspired tubo-equipped all-wheel-drive car, while potent for rallycross, is definitely not mandatory to have a good time.

Front-wheel-drive sport compacts including Neons, Civics and Sentras are especially popular for rallycross. They are both affordable and light and offer controlled slides that maximize momentum going through the turns. Small RWD cars like a Miatas are another popular car for rallycross, and the oversteer actually adds to the fun!

For safety reasons, rollover-prone vehicles like SUVs, 4x4s and many full-size trucks may not be allowed to compete and SCCA insurance doesn’t allow side-by-sides, homebrew buggies, ATVs or anything like that.

Do I have to have a cage or safety equipment?

Nope! Roll cages are not required. Your regular street car with a fixed roof is a perfect option for rallycross. Officially, the rules on the SCCA website read: “A RallyCross event is open to any fixed-roof production based vehicle (including convertibles with a factory hardtop attached, targa-types with factory panel in place, t-tops with factory panels in place) that can pass safety inspection. If the Event Chairman after consultation with the Event Safety Steward determines at his discretion that a vehicle cannot safely negotiate the course, it may be excluded.”

Do I need special tires?

Aside from driver skill, tires may be the single most important investment you can make before you begin rallycross. A lot of people have a second set of wheels and tires just for competition, although the stock category does have regulations and limits about size and type, so make sure to check the rules before buying!

If you’re looking for tires specifically for rallycross, snow tires may be the way to go, and they are allowed in all classes. They are a good choice due to their softer compound than all-season tires and they usually have more aggressive tread. Both attributes help your car get traction.

If you’re in Prepared or Modified classes, you also have the option to get stage rally tires, which have stiffened sidewalls. They are more limited in size options and may be more difficult to find, but they’re worth looking into if you’re serious about the sport. Snow tires still offer similar traction and fun, though.

How should I prepare my car for a race?

Aside from the normal car care — keeping up with oil/fluid changes, brake inspections, etc — you’ll want to check your fluid levels and remove any extra items you won’t need on race day. The vehicle also must be clear of any loose items before you race. That includes floor mats, garage door openers, and anything else not fastened securely to the car (inside or out).

Some competitors also choose to run higher pressure in their tires — typically 38-40 psi. That might sound like a lot at first, but the extra pressure strengthens your sidewalls around corners and can prevent you from “popping the bead.” While uncommon, this is possible when external pressure on the sidewall — typically due to driving/drifting into a rut sideways against the wheel — can push the sidewall inward enough to instantly deflate the tire.

What will be checked during safety/tech inspection?

The complete list for a technical inspection can be found on page 34 of the SCCA Rallycross Rulebook, but here are some of the most common issues that we see:

  • All loose items must be removed from the car
  • Hub caps and other detachable trim must be removed
  • Battery must be attached securely
  • No excess fluid leaks
How is my car classed?

Rallycross classes work much differently from autocross. Cars are grouped in classes based on drivetrain — FWD, RWD, or AWD. Vehicles are grouped into competition categories with other cars with similar performance levels and modifications.

Competition Categories

  • Stock: Cars in this class must be very close to how the car rolled off the showroom floor. Only DOT-approved street tires such as all-season or snow tires are allowed, and you could add mud flaps and skid plates if you like.
  • Prepared: This class allows for limited suspension and bolt-on power upgrades. Stage rally tires are also allowed, and one limited slip differential can be modified.
  • Modified: This class allows for all kinds of modifications including engine swaps, gutted interiors, etc.

Once grouped by drivetrain and classed by the categories listed above, it’s easy to find your class abbreviation. Simply take the first letter of the category and the drivetrain type, and that’s your class. Examples:

  • A stock FWD car would be “SF”
  • A modified AWD car would be “MA”

For full classing details, check out the full SCCA Rallycross Rulebook. If you’re looking to class your car, you’ll find that information in Section 6 of that PDF. It also includes safety rules.

If you have any questions, don’t forget that you can always ask an event official beforehand and they can help to steer you in the right direction.

Do I have to have numbers on my car to compete?

Yes. You will need to have numbers and class letters on the side of your car so that the course workers can identify you. SCCA minimum requirement states that numbers must be 8” tall with 1.25” thickness. Class letters must be 4” tall with 0.75” thickness. But don’t worry if you don’t have your own! It is possible to make visibly large numbers and letters from simple painter’s tape in a contrasting color. Tape can be hard to see, though, so if you plan to run rallycross events consistently, you may consider picking up an inexpensive set of magnetic or static cling numbers, and one of Susquehanna Region’s sponsors — SSC Tint & Graphics — have packages starting as low as $25.

What do I need to bring with me to an event?

To run you need a valid driver’s license and an appropriate helmet. However, the Susquehanna Region does have a few loaner helmets at events so you don’t have to go out and buy a new helmet before you’ve tried rallycross out. Some other things that are recommended are a tire pressure gauge, appropriate clothes, sun block, plenty of water, etc. and your will to have fun. If you don’t have your own magnetic or vinyl numbers on your car, make sure to bring painters tape so you can affix the provided numbers to your vehicle.

What are the official rules for rallycross?

If you’ve reviewed all of the pages in the “Beginner’s Guide” section of Rallycross, and these FAQs but you still have questions about the rules, make sure to check out the “Rules & Regs” page of this site to find important links to official rules and region supplemental rules.

Where can I get even more questions answered?

If you have any more questions, feel free to contact us or reach out to us on the Susquehanna Region Rallycross Facebook Page. But, for a new Rallycrosser, the main thing to remember is to just show up, learn and have fun. Competitiveness can wait! Don’t worry about who or what is in your class. Rallycross is a traction-limited sport, so you might be surprised how much the driver figures into the equation.

 


 

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