On the fast lane, the fastest dominates; it’s not only looks that matter, but the performer who steals the show. Drag race, Mud race, Sand dune rally; well, all have been wonder struck and taken aback with the performances displayed by these rally drivers. But in this world of innovation where nothing can be taken for granted, a new genre of car racing
has been evolved and the rule is “survival of the fittest”. Popular in Australia, UK, and European countries, Touring Car Racing is a common term used for car racing in which heavily-modified street cars roll and compete. It is basically a closed-circuit, sponsored, and legal form of street racing performed by professional drivers. Touring Car Racing, though an alien term for India, has its roots and has evolved from the famous National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing or NASCAR as it is popularly known.
Modifying the car is the first step to this racing sport. Car customization is both a booming industry and a hobby, which moves parallel to mainstream car industry. Most cars leave the manufacturing unit with average driver expectations and standard features. For the Touring Car Racing, a normal car out of the showroom is modified heavily in order to improve its performance and handling. Cars are customised by installing devices that produce more power at high RPMs, increase stability, improve braking, etc. But with these modifications, riding comfort may be sacrificed to provide better handling. It is not just the internal features that are altered, but the exterior is also upgraded to give more stability and vibrant looks. These exterior changes include the aerodynamic design of the vehicle by installing side skirts, modified front and rear bumpers, spoilers, splitters, air vents and light weight wheels.
The history of this genre of car race can be traced to the early 1980s when people were becoming more conscious about the looks of their vehicles. Professional car customising shops mushroomed all over American and European countries. During that time, the demand for customisation was limited to powering the engine and graphical stickers on the exteriors. These powered cars were obviously a centre of attraction when they zipped in full speed on the roads. There used to be a lot of illegal night races on the streets. Ford, Porsche, Chevrolet were the ones mostly chosen for modifications during those days. Taking cue from those unorganised, illegal road races, the new age racing became popular with NASCAR and then with Touring Car Racing. This was all about great looking cars, even the Formula One
professionals are beaten square and fair by the Touring Car professionals.
Touring Car Racing is different from other car racing. The rules differ regionally. The primary requirement is that the competitor's vehicle should have a standard body. Other parts are allowed to be heavily customized for racing. This includes engines, suspension, brakes, wheels and tyres. Wings are usually added to the front and rear of cars. Some series restrict competitors from using some of the advanced technologies which negotiate driving skills like traction control. The race course is usually in street circuits a road course, but in the U.S., they make use of oval tracks and road courses.