Drag Racing is a legal race which involves two or more competitors who drive in a straight line for a specified distance (usually a 1/4 mile). The driver that covers the most distance between the two cars or reaches the end first is the winner. Fundamental skills in drag racing are the ability to launch with minimum wheelspin and shifting as fast as possible.
A more common form of racing, in which two or more cars compete until one party is the clear winner. This differs from the above mentioned drag race, in which a set distance on a straight road is traversed. Drivers typically line up while moving under the posted speed limit. Once all the cars are ready, one car will sound its horn three times; the third time is the final signal to start the run. A car simply outruns the other vehicles by a considerable margin in order to win. If the winner cannot be determined, it is usually decided upon a mutual agreement, or having another race. Another way to signal a race is by flashing the vehicle's high-beams.
"Cannonball Runs" are legal point-to-point road rallies that involve a handful of racers. They hearken back to the authorized European races at the end of the 19th century. The races died away when the chaotic 1903 Paris-Madrid race was canceled at Bordeaux for safety reasons after numerous fatalities involving drivers and pedestrians. Point-to-point runs reappeared in the United States in the mid 1910s when Erwin George Baker who drove cross-country on record breaking runs that stood for years, being legal at the time, and the term "Cannonball" was penned for him in honor of his runs. Nowadays drivers will race from one part of a town or country to the other side; whoever makes the fastest overall time is the winner. A perfect example of an illegal road race was the 1970s original Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, aka "The Cannonball Run", that long-time automotive journalist Brock Yates founded. The exploits spawned numerous films, the best known being The Cannonball Run. Several years after the notorious "Cannonball", Yates created the family-friendly and somewhat legal version One Lap of America where speeding occurs in race circuits and is still running to this day. In modern society it is rather difficult if not impossible to organize an illegal and extremely dangerous road race, there are still a few events which may be considered racing, such as the Gumball 3000, Gumball Rally, and Players Run races. These "races", better known as rallies for legality's sake, mostly comprise wealthy individuals racing sports cars across the country for fun. The AKA Rally however, is designed for individuals with a smaller budget (approximately $3000). Entrance fees to these events are usually all inclusive (hotels, food, and events). Participants 'rally' together from a start point to predetermined locations until they arrive at the finish line. The AKA Rally in particular has organized driver oriented events e.g., autocross or drag strip races, away from public roads to minimize the risk of drivers getting too enthusiastic on public roads. The latter racing community has even spawned numerous TV and video series including the Mischief film series and Bullrun reality TV Show. The AKA Rally was featured on MTV in a 2004 True Life episode and is being filmed in 2008 for an upcoming 6 part series on the Speed TV network. The Cannonball run type race also spawned numerous games of its type, most famously Sega's OutRun arcade game. It was also parodied in the 1960s-70s Hanna-Barbera series Wacky Races.
Any or all of the below mentioned activities may be considered illegal, depending on location of the race.
In addition to the people racers, there are generally observers present at organized street races. A flagger starts the race; this is typically accomplished by standing in front of the vehicles and making an up-down motion with the arms indicating the race should begin. There are variations on this theme, including the throwing/dropping of a handkerchief, ribbon, and so on. This act would be analogous to the tree in a typical sanctioned drag race, and has been portrayed widely in popular culture, from ZZ Top music videos to American cinema.
A roll generally refers to a race which starts at a non-zero speed, and continues until all but one participant have stopped racing. This may be accompanied by three honks which would be analogous to a countdown.
To be set out lengths is a system of handicapping that allows a slower car to start their race a number of car lengths ahead and requiring the faster car to catch up and pass the slower car. There are often heated negotiations to determine a fair number.
To get the break, kick, or move is to start the race without the flagger. This is another system of handicapping that requires one car to wait until they see the other car start to move before they are allowed to leave their starting line.
To jump is to leave the line before the flagger has started the race, either with his/her hands, a flashlight, dropping a shirt, etc. Generally if a racer jumps, the other racer has the option to sit at the starting line. If the flagger agrees that a racer jumped then usually the race is redone. If both racers leave the starting line, regardless if one or both jumped the race is considered legitimate. Also known as the hit.
The Kent, Washington police department lists the following consequences of street racing:
Because vehicles used in street racing competitions generally lack professional racing safety equipment such as roll cages and racing fuel cell and drivers seldom wear fire suits and are not trained in high-performance driving, injuries and fatalities are common results from accidents. Furthermore, illegal street racers put ordinary drivers at risk because they race on public roads rather than closed-course, purpose-built facilities, such as Pacific Raceways in the aforementioned city.
Because racing occurs in areas where it is not sanctioned, extensive wear can occur to the roads (from high-powered vehicles damaging the asphalt) and damage to the fences/gates closing the area off (in the case of industrial parks, etc). Further, as the street racing culture places a very high social value on a fast vehicle, people who might not otherwise be able to afford blazingly fast but very expensive vehicles—such as the Holden Monaro and Honda/Acura NSX—may attempt to steal them, violently or otherwise. Additionally, street racers tend to form teams which participate in racing together, the implication above is that these teams may be a form of organized crime or gang activity.
Street racing began in the late 1960s as the local vehicle manufacturers (Ford Australia, Chrysler Australia and Holden) began creating performance versions of their family cars both for attracting the growing youth market and meeting racing homolgation requirements. Vehicles such as the Chrysler Valiant Pacer offered strong performance at an affordable price. While V8's were popular most street-racers concentrated on tuning the locally designed and built Chrysler 265ci Hemi, Holden 202ci and Ford 250ci six cylinder engines used in the Chrylser Valiant, Chrysler Charger, Holden Torana, Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon.
Laws exist in all states and territories that limit modifications done to vehicles and prohibit having nitrous oxide hooked up to, or even present inside a car. In most states further laws impose strong penalties for street racing such as confiscating/impounding the vehicle and loss of license.
In Queensland there is an ever growing scene that is gradually gaining popularity. There are many places where races are held in Brisbane proving to be one of the more popular in the south side in places such as Ipswich or Logan.
Street racing in Ontario has become a serious issue that has taken a number of lives. In response the government of Ontario has implemented a strict new Street Racing law. This law encompasses not only street racing itself, but any driving of 50km over the speed limit. If you are charged with such an infraction your automobile is seized and impounded for 1 week and your licence is suspended for the same period. Towing fees, impound fees and insurance rate increases are all automatically imposed. This has lead to a great deal of criticism in that the police have the power to seize a vehicle contrary to the Constitution. Essentially the punishment is given before conviction. If acquitted, the innocent driver has effectively been punished for a crime he/she did not commit. If convicted of Racing, you will face fines of two to ten thousand dollars, a licence suspension of up to two years, 7 demerit points against your licence and possible jail time.
In Alberta, alleged street racers posted up videos on Youtube showing how they reached speeds of 200 km/h on private roads. As the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) knows that there are no "private roads" in that province, they launched an investigation and seized several vehicles.
Street racing in Hong Kong is very much the same to that in other Asian countries and tends to consist mostly of modified Japanese cars and motorcycles. The Hong Kong Police Force, responsible for road safety, are in the practice of placing roadblocks in areas where this commonly occurs.
The Hong Kong street racing scene has spawned numerous movies that have sequences of street racing.
Street racing in Zagreb currently presents a big community problem and a problem for the police. The lack of race tracks nearby is evident, since the only legal race track open for public is in Grobnik near Rijeka, a 150 km drive. Due to this problem, car racing enthusiasts often race at night on avenues. Dubrovnik Avenue is a common racing location due to the number of lanes and very low traffic after the evening rush hour. Due to its isolation and the lack of curves, Mičevec Road is also a common place for illegal racing. Sometimes large events involving 20 or more racers are illegally organized on highways leading to or from Zagreb or on the Zagreb bypass. Police usually make more effort to stop these events than to bother with avenue racing. All events take place during the night, so the street racing is usually unknown to most of the public not minding the occasional newspaper articles. Home movies depicting races are frequently posted on YouTube, but often removed. Police cannot take legal action against racers based on these movies since digital video isn't accepted as legal evidence in a court of law.
The most notorious group to be associated with street racing was the Mid Night Club who gave street racing worldwide attention with its antics. It was known for its high standards and organization until they were disbanded in 1999 following a fatal accident involving a group of motorcyclists. The expressway racing scene is portrayed in the manga Wangan Midnight, as well as in the biographical (Tsuchiya) Shuto Kousoku Trial.
With heavier punishments, patrolling police cars, crackdowns in meeting areas and the installation of speed cameras, expressway racing in Japan is not as common today as it was during the 80s and 90s. Still, it occurs on a not so regular basis. Persistent racers often install spring assisted license-plate swivelling mechanisms that hold plates down at speed or picture-proof screens over their plates. In 2001, the amount of hashiriya dropped from 9,624 (in 1995) to 4,365 and police arrests in areas where hashiriya gather are common. Cars are checked for illegal modification and if found, owners are fined and forced to remove the offending modifications.
One of the causes of street racing in Japan is that, despite the numerous and famous race circuits, they can become overcrowded. Furthermore, such circuits may cost as much as ¥20,000 to race, while a highway toll may cost less than ¥1,000. Also, with Japan's high cost of living; many young drivers prefer to put their money into savings, or take out loans on their vehicles where they would usually gather with like minded people at either the Shibaura parking area, the Tatsumi parking area or the best known Yokohama Daikoku Futo service area.
As in other countries, street racing also occurs on long straights in industrial areas, which are used for drag races, known natively as Zero-Yon (ゼロヨン) for "0-400" (meters; in America, racing to a quarter-mile, 1320 feet, or 402 meters, is the norm), Yon is Japanese for "4". This practice gave its name to a 90s popular game franchise, Zero4 Champ series.
Motorcycle street racers in Malaysia are also known as Mat Rempit in Malay Language. These Mat Rempit are infamous for their "Superman" stunts and other feats performed on their motorcycles. They are also notorious for their "Cilok", a kind of racing in which racers weave in-between moving and stationary traffic at high-speed. In addition to doing their stunts and racing around, they have a habit of causing public disorder. They usually travel in large groups and at times raid isolated petrol stations. They can cordon off normal traffic flow to allow their friends race along a predetermined circuit.
Most illegal car racers in Malaysia use modified common cars or bargain performance cars such as the Proton Saga, Proton Wira, Proton Satria, Proton Waja, Perodua Kancil or other Japanese cars such as the first-generation Nissan Cefiro, old Honda Civics, and old Toyota Corollas. Illegal drift racing often takes place on dangerous hill roads such as Bukit Tinggi, Genting Highlands, Cameron Highlands or Teluk Bahang, Penang. Meanwhile, illegal drag racing takes place on expressways such as the Second Link Expressway in Johor Bahru. Illegal racers can be distinguished by their over-modified vehicles which do not follow road regulations in Malaysia.
On 12 July 2006, the Malaysia-Singapore Second Link in Johor became a venue of illegal racing. The Johor police and the Road Transport Department, together with the highway operator PLUS Expressway, have launched major operations to crack down on illegal racing. More than 600 people have been arrested in these operations and were composed of Malaysians and Singaporeans.
Automobile street racing existed in the Philippines as early as the 1970s and was brought back then became widespread in the late 90's. It is held mostly in the main highways of Metro Manila in areas such as Sucat, Greenhills, C5 road and Marcos Highway as well as Sta. Rosa Laguna which is south of Manila. Accidents resulting from illegal street racing in these areas prompted authorities to heighten police presence, impose stricter fines and impound vehicles. Hondas are a favorite among Filipino street racers most notably the Civic SiR which were sometimes transplanted with bigger engines. Other cars such as the Honda Accord, Toyota Corolla and the Nissan Sentra are also used as well as high performance cars like the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and Subaru Impreza. Car enthusiasts took these illegal races to the strip and organizations such as PDRF (Philippine Drag Racing Federation) was formed to promote drag racing as a SAFE and FUN-FILLED motorsport.
The fee to participate in a race ranges from 300-500sek (approx. 60 USD)
Worth noting is the series of films, Getaway in Stockholm, a popular series of videos portraying professional drivers illegally racing and evading police in Sweden. This series of movies is up to eight movies now and also worked as inspiration to the video game Project Gotham Racing 2.
Under new traffic laws, street racing is illegal on virtually any road, but is still very common despite efforts from police and councils. In street racing hot-spots local authorities have installed automatic speed cameras, however many of these get vandalised and made inoperable, in many hot-spots police patrols are heavily increased at night with high performance vehicles at their use. It is not illegal if performed on a racing circuit. People who have large gardens or fields, usually in the country, may create their own dirt tracks for minimotos or minibikes.
In some cases, this popularity has led to tough anti-street racing laws which give more strict punishments (including misdemeanors for attending race events) than normal traffic citations and also often involve dedicated anti-racing task forces. San Diego, in Southern California was the first US city to allow the arrest of spectators attending street races. In 2005, a law in Tennessee was passed prohibiting cars to have nitrous oxide hooked up to, or even present inside a car. Penalties for violating street racing laws now can include impoundment of the offending vehicle and/or the suspension or revocation of the offender's drivers license.
Some police departments in the United States have also undertaken community outreach programs to work with the racing community to educate them to the dangers of street racing, as well as to encourage them to race in sanctioned events. This has also led to a campaign introduced in 2000 called RASR (Racers Against Street Racing) a grass-roots enthusiast group consisting of auto manufacturers, after market parts companies, professional drag racers, sanctioning bodies, race tracks and automotive magazines devoted to promoting the use of safe and legal raceways as an alternative to street racing. Kent's Beat the Heat is a typical example of this type of program. Other such alliances have been forged in southern and central California, reducing the incidence of street racing there.
Some police departments have lost control of the events, thus they make public safety the priority. Allowing racing and keeping safe public traffic flow becomes the priority in areas less used at night.
There are a few online community web sites where racers can upload videos of their activities. These sites generally promote illegal driving behaviors and materials.
The Fast and the Furious movie series played a huge role in the import racing scene movement. The main theme was an import car that was high modified that was ready for the show as well as the go. Seeing these cars made every racer want some kind of small compact car that they could customize and change the appearance of the vehicle. This series featured several cars such as the Mitsubishi Eclipse and Lancer Evolution, as well as the Toyota Supra, Mazda RX-7, and the Nissan Skyline GT-R. The movies covered everything from drifting, legal and illegal street racing, to high speed car chase scenes. They race for money, cars, respect, their friend's lives as well as their own.
Several missions in the popular video game Grand Theft Auto series see the player participating in races on the city streets. While a few are mandatory, most are offered as side-missions that the player can undertake to earn money.
The Need for Speed series includes several later titles affiliated with street racing. Among them, the Underground series (encompassing Need for Speed: Underground and Need for Speed: Underground 2), takes place at night in various urban areas, but lacks any police to pursue the player. Need for Speed: Most Wanted reintroduces police pursuit into gameplay and is set in daytime. It also draws controversy by encouraging the player to damage police cars by any means necessary to acquire points. The next Need for Speed title, Need for Speed: Carbon sees the return of night time racing and features police pursuits, although not mandatory to damage police cars as in the previous installment. The latest Need for Speed title, Need for Speed: ProStreet has gotten rid of the illegal street racing, and is now entirely legal, closed-track races, with no police involvement - much to the disappointment of some of the series' fans (and worse reviews by most game reviewing companies ). The upcoming title Need for Speed: Undercover does return to illegal street racing and features gameplay simliar to Most Wanted. Unlike Most Wanted this time the plot involes a undercover police officer who is trying to breakup a international crime ring.
The popular multi-platform (Playstation 2, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Xbox, PSP, GameCube) series Burnout showcases fictional cars racing at highspeed through traffic, with crashes rewarded by highly detailed slow motion destruction sequences. Later iterations include specific competition modes rewarding the largest monetary damage toll in specifically designed maps.
To meet commercial expectations, these games often compromise the realism of the car handling physics to give the user an easier game play experience, which is an asset to the game's enjoyment by general users (and helps the game to sell well).
The greatest disparity is that most games have the player's vehicle completely indestructible, where it's possible to crash head-on at high speeds with another vehicle and continue driving as if nothing had happened.
The indestructible car from those games makes possible to devise strategies that would be impossible in real life, such as using a wall to stop lateral velocity through a turn — rather than picking an appropriate line, which takes more skill, and slows the vehicle down, sometimes substantially. By using the wall, the user is able to halt lateral velocity, while retaining axial acceleration, thus exiting the corner at a much higher speed than braking, turning, and accelerating.
This lack of realism could give gamers a different impression of driving in real life.
In a German-made game, Emergency 3, one campaign mission features an illegal road race. However, the mission is not a first-person race to avoid police, but rather a third person game that requires the player to coordinate emergency forces. In this case, the mission requires the player to arrest the drivers, put out the fire from a car accident, and treat the injured.
A game highly based on Japanese mountain road racing is Initial D, an arcade game using real Japanese mountain road settings.
Another of these Japanese racing games is Wangan Midnight, which involves racing along wangans, or bayside expressways or roads.
The Cruis'n series also associated with street racing. It starts with the Cruis'n on the Wii. This game has several references to street racing like real cars and an upgrading system such as spoilers, decals, neon lights, ground effects, and engines. Sometimes during the game you can use the nitrous oxide, otherwise known as "N2O" or simply "Nitrous,". However, the player is limited to the number of times the nitrous boost can be used. Like the past Cruis'n games you can players race down one-way courses consisting of streets based on real-life locations while avoiding various road hazards such as oncoming traffic and construction. However unlike Need For Speed there is not pursuit system nor car damage.
LEGISLATORS TARGET SPEED TRAFFICKERS ILLEGAL STREET RACING RESULTING IN INJURY WOULD BE FELONY UNDER BILL.(News)
Apr 05, 2006; Byline: HARRISON SHEPPARD Sacramento Bureau SACRAMENTO -- State legislators are considering a crackdown on illegal street racing,...