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Autotests (aka Test Trials) are one of the oldest disciplines in competitive Motorsport in Ireland and are a real test of a wide range of driving skills. It is also one of the least expensive branches of Motorsport. Each event consists of a number of tests (usually 10 or 12), that involve competitors carrying out a sequence of manoeuvres, as laid down by the organisers. These manoeuvres include circling of pylons, “throwing” the car on the handbrake, crossing of lines and driving through slaloms, both forwards and in reverse. This all happens as fast as possible, while the driver has to remember what to do next in each test. Each driver is timed on each test and times are totalled to give results in each event. Penalties are added for striking markers, or not completing the test correctly. Whoever is quickest through all of the tests on the day is the winner in each class. Many different types of car take part, although Minis and Mini Specials are the most popular.
It all sounds a bit complicated, but click on the video links at the bottom of the page and you will soon see what it’s all about.
Because the tests involve manoeuvring cars against the stopwatch, smaller cars are more suitable than large ones, although there are normally five different classes for various types for car. Minis and Specials based on Minis are the most popular, and there are also classes for larger saloons and for sports cars. There is no need to have highly modified cars but there are certain basic things that should be done to make sure that a car will perform properly. It also helps to pump up the tyres to twice their normal pressure. This enables the car to slide more which is essential for some of the manoeuvres required.