Let’s Rally

by Hunter Howard

François_Duval_-_2007_Rallye_Deutschland
Rally racing is the start of all major forms of automotive racing.

One of the best things about most people in the quick lube industry is their jobs incorporate something they truly have a passion for — motors that roar. When the bay doors are rolled down the fun doesn’t stop, things are just getting started.

Our readers often go home to tinker on their own projects and fuel their own passions. One fun automotive hobby to get into is rally racing. Being the motor mouths we are naturally, we wanted to know more.

Rally racing is the lifeblood that created all other major forms of racing. This style of racing started back in the late 1800s-early 1900s when the wealthy had access to vehicles and wanted to see who was better at controlling their newfangled machines. More often than not, owners would set a destination — normally a brew house — and see who would arrive first after traversing wooded trails. Pedestrians readily took interest, thus the onset of circuits for viewing and the birth of road racing.

Early days of rally racing.
Early days of rally racing.

The term rally racing was coined back in early 1911 at the Monte Carlo Rally. Twenty-three cars set out from 11 different locations on a convergence race to Monte Carlo. During the Great War (you know it as World War I) rally racing fell into a lull and was not revived until 1924. Since then, apart from a few years during and after World War II, the Monte Carlo Rally has been held every year and remains a premiere European attraction today.

The most recent rally league in the US got its start in 2005 with the invention of the Rally America National Championship; a string of events allows competitors to race and gain points for the title of champion at the end of the season. These races are sponsored by Rally America.

One of the most popular cars used for rally racing the Subaru Impreza.
One of the most popular cars used for rally racing the Subaru Impreza.

Since the inaugural season, there have been 10 champions named. Among these champions is one of most famous rally racers, Travis Pastrana, who was named champion for four years running in 2006-2008. When asked what he though about rally racing, Pastrana said, “I think rally car racing is pretty much the most crazy form of off-road car racing.”

In the next few weeks, we’ll be delving more into rally racing and talking about the cars used, different races, common maintenance and how you can get involved.