2L Hot Rods

Whistlin' Jack Smith >> Formulas >> 2L Hot Rods

National Hot Rods are the premier hot rod formula, the fastest and most exciting form of motor racing in the world. With over 40 years of evolution, the class has developed from the original hot rods of the 1960's.

They resemble modern sporty hatch backs but are a tubular spaceframe clad in lightweight panels (kevlar/ glassfibre) that maintain the original cars silhouette powered by a highly tuned 2 litre engine (Vauxhall/ Ford 16 valve) outputting around 240 bhp. The cars are rear wheel drive run on Hoosier 10 inch slicks.

A year long qualifying series takes places in England, Ireland and Northern Ireland and the top drivers race for the World Final at Ipswich. The other major title is the National Championship at Hednesford ran over two days.

World Championship
The World Championship is held at the Spedeweekend traditionally held at Ipswich on the first weekend of July and ran over 75 laps. The top National Hot Rod drivers spend a whole year to qualifying for the event. Starting August and running through to May of the following year with around 16 meetings. Ireland and Northern Ireland have 6 places each for their top drivers. With a greater amount of English drivers participating in National Hot Rods they have 18 allocated places (this also includes Scottish drivers who race in the English series). Continental and South African drivers are seeded into the event and count as non-English.

The grid is formed through a combination of lap times and qualifying position in the points. The top 4 English drivers are placed in group one and they are joined by the 2 fastest non-English drivers from the lap times. This group is lined up with fastest at the front. Group two consists of the next four qualifiers from the English with the third and fourth non-English, again lined up with fastest at the front of the group. This continues through the grid for the five groups. This system benefits the English drivers who have raced at the all the qualifiers and give them a higher grid position. After running this system for 14 years the 2009 World Final has different rules set in place which allows the fastest driver of all into pole position regardless of their group.

National Hot Rods only race on the very best tracks in the UK. They lap the short ovals in just under 15 seconds. The majority of racing in England happens at Ipswich and Hednesford. Northern Ireland has two tracks, while all the racing in Ireland takes place at Tipperary.

Tracks Used: Aldershot, Ballymena, Birmingham, Cowdenbeath, Crimond, Great Yarmouth, Hednesford, Ipswich, Lochgelly, Northampton, Nutts Corner, Skegness, Tipperary, Tullyroan. For further information check out the Track Guide

The Drivers
There are a large amount of drivers registered in England, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Scotland. is under constant threat from a host of second generation drivers like Matt Simpson, Chris Haird and John Christie. The class is no longer about having a big three like it was in the 70's, it is much more competitive now. A comprehensive guide to all the drivers and their cars can be found on the drivers page.

Championship Winners
Being the oldest hot rod formula, it has the longest running championships. The National Championship was first held in 1964 and orginally based on a points scoring system. The World championship has been run since 1972 at Ipswich, Northern Ireland's Ormond Christie has won the title a record five times. All the recorded champions in the class can be found on the champions page.

The Future
Like all short oval classes fuel costs are having an impact on numbers. In England numbers are still strong and the Scottish scene has now recovered. After years of the racing near National specification cars the rules have been united and there are 3 tracks to race on. In Northern Ireland a new track has been built for oval racing, while numbers have slumped in the Republic of Ireland. Looking forward the latest addition to the rule book is the Ford Duratec, but like the Peugeot 16 valve may stuggle to overcome the Vauxhall stranglehold on the class.

Production team Text: Paul Ballard (24.03.2012)
Layout: Paul Ballard

Related articles
Spedeweekend 2011

National Hot Rod World Championship roll of honour

National Hot Rod World Final 2014 Report

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