5 of the most unusual forms of motorsport in the world
There are some things that are innate in the nature of humanity. Fear from predators, an attraction to shiny things and the most important of them all: trying to find ways to go faster than someone else. Racing is one of the fundamental duties everyone has as a member of the human and to prove it, here are five of the weirdest forms of motorsport that exemplify our devotion to the love of speed and competition.
Stadium Super Trucks
The answer to a question no one asked: what if you put high-octane rally raid cars like those used in the dakar, and instead make them run inside stadium tracks, and get this, with 3-foot tall ramp jumps. This absolute looney tunes of a motorsport series (not the last one on this list) was the brainchild of an ex-NASCAR and Indycar driver, Robby Gordon, who decided in 2013 that America and Australia would be the base for this sport. The series uses the same trucks - just 1300kg, with a thumping great LS V8 engine producing more than 600bhp and a three-speed auto. That’s about all there is in terms of technology, really. The driver-centric series can probably only be illustrated best by this footage:
Piaggio Ape Racing
In one of the most inspired marketing decisions ever made, Piaggio in 2012 decided to promote its new Ape Cross Country three-wheeler pickup by starting a new racing series…with the little three-wheeler. Piaggio Ape racing has taken the world by storm since then, with fantastic features like a Le Mans-type starting grid. They race on kart tracks and are sometimes modified, including Loris Rosati’s famous Lightning McQueen-themed monster with a 100bhp sportsbike engine. Now, it has become a traditional grassroots-level motorsport format in Italy, with legends like Valentino Rossi advocating for the simplistic joys of auto racing. Now, what’s another country with a huge number of three-wheelers driven by insane maniacs?
This bizarre racing series just goes to show the limitless ways in which motorsport spreads its wings. The ESkootr Championship was launched very recently, but despite the name, the format, the scooters…well everything about it, this is very serious business. Former F1 driver and Formula E champion Lucas Di Grassi is an ambassador, while Nico Hulkenberg and feeder series powerhouse Carlin both run teams. The scooters themselves are no joke, with a battery developed by Williams Advanced Engineering (of F1 fame) and two 6kW motors, which help the tiny things reach more than 100kmph. The racing is ridiculous, however, and this might just become your new favourite thing.
Lawn Mower Racing
This is probably the most prolific category of racing in this list and for good reason. Lawnmowers are everywhere, they are easy to use and best of all, if there are two of them, you can race them. Of course, professional lawn mower racing uses highly modified bits of kit. Honda currently holds the world record for the fastest lawn mower ever built, named the “Mean mower V2”, which can reach more than 240kmph, powered by the 999cc four-cylinder engine from the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP motorcycle, producing 200bhp. Lawn mower racing clubs are everywhere, with especially strong bases in the UK and Australia.
Tata Prima T1 Truck Racing
For a beautiful brief moment in time, India had its own truck racing series, and it was glorious. The Tata Prima T1 Truck Racing series was a revelation to the average Indian motorsport fan, with trucks based on British Truck Racing regulations. Being a spec series, Tata Prima truck chassis and bodies were used, powered by a 1040bhp engine in its last season. Some of the greatest British truck racing legends were also part of the series. Unfortunately the series was shut down in 2017 after Tata executives said it had achieved its main goal of “providing dignity to Indian truck drivers”. Bring it back.