What’s it all about?
Auto testing used to be known as ‘Driving tests’ but when the “L” test was introduced some years ago the name was changed to Auto testing.
You can compete in an Auto test in a pretty much standard road car, on the production of your membership card, it is only at higher national events that a full competition license is needed from the MSA
The aim of the test is to complete a course laid out on the test site in as quick a time as possible. The competitor must complete all of the tests at an event, where all the times for each test will be added together and the person with the fastest time of day (FTD) is the winner, however, there can be up to 7 different classes of which there will be a winner for each. Classes are determined by car type i.e. Mini’s with small or large engines, front or rear wheel drive saloons or cars over a certain length.
If a test is done incorrectly this is known as (WD) wrong direction or (WO) wash out, the time given to a competitor in this case is usually based on the quickest time in their class plus 30 seconds. Penalties are also given for not crossing a line correctly or for touching markers (cones).
The diagram is typically one of the simplest tests, you should pull up behind the line (S) and the marshal will say, “Start in your own time” when your front wheels cross the line the marshal will start the watch. In the case of this test you will proceed forwards crossing line “A” you will then ‘stop astride’ line “B” and reverse (this is always shown dotted) back to line “A” where you will stop astride again. You will then set off forward again, crossing line “B” and going around cone “C” clockwise up to line “D” where you will stop astride again. Then you should reverse to line “E” and stop astride and then forwards to the finish “F”, when the car comes to rest the marshal will stop the clock. If any cones are touched then a penalty will be added to your time of 5 or 10 seconds, also if you do not cross the ‘stop astride’ lines with 2 wheels or if you over shoot and cross with more than 2 wheels again a penalty will be added, this also applies to the finish line.
Some more complex tests will call for a Free turn / Handbrake turn / Change of direction, this will be shown on the diagram by “FT” or the route line may just change from solid to a broken line.