Autosolo’s are a relatively new type of event in the UK, first being run by Bristol MC back in 2002. Since then it’s become hugely popular as a cheap and accessible form of motorsport. The format is an import from the US, where it’s called Slalom and consists of a course marked out with numbered cones on a sealed surface where the aim is to complete the course as quickly as possible. The course is laid out in a relatively small area so is more a test of agility and control than outright speed and power. The lower speeds remove the need for additional safety equipment, so no helmets and overalls aren’t required, and any road car is suitable. The rules actually insist that cars must be road legal and driven to the event. There are classes for different engine sizes and for sports cars e.g. Lotus Elise, Westfield etc. so even the most humble hatchback has a chance of class success.
There are usually at least four courses and you get three attempts at each with the best time counting. As with a grass autotest, competitors are provided with a course diagram and can walk the course to learn the route. As an added guide, small yellow cones are laid out on their side to indicate which side of the large cone you must pass. If you do hit a cone or take the wrong route, penalties are incurred.
One unique aspect of these events is that every competitor is also a marshal. Competitors are divided into three groups who take turns to compete, marshal, or rest. As well as reducing the number of marshals needed, grouping allows cars to be shared by placing competitors using the same car in different groups.
You’ll need to be a member of the organising club or an invited club (this is detailed in the event regulations), but you don’t need a competition license. Entry fees are typically around £35 and due to the relatively short courses, little fuel is used. The only additional cost may be tyre wear but this can be reduced by increasing tyre pressures by 5-10psi. Some also bring a spare pair of wheels and tyres just in case.
While competition cars are not permitted, some do modify their cars. The biggest improvement is to fit better tyres. Just make sure you check the MSA tyre list 1B/1C, as tyres on the list are not permitted. More serious competitors fit uprated suspension and LSD’s but none of that is really necessary to have fun.
Autosolo’s are a great way to get involved in motorsport with a full day of competition for less than £50. The challenge of negotiating a tight course as quickly as possible is surprisingly addictive and a great way of improving your car control in a controlled environment. The skills you learn here will also be useful in many other forms of motorsport. And for those who want to take Autosolo’s more seriously, there are national and regional championships to compete in. So whether it’s serious competition you crave or just some four wheeled fun, Autosolo’s are hard to beat.