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International competitiveness testing the capabilities of specially designed automobiles and the skill of their drivers over tracks and courses of differing lengths and construction this is automobile racing The first car race considered is the one held in France in July 1894 in which the winner averaged 24 kilometers per hour when 100 automobiles set out from Paris to Rouen The first race in North America was held in Chicago Illinois in the year 1895 The excitement generated by the possibility of driving at higher and higher speeds has made automobile racing one of the worlds major spectator and participant sports Early races were held in two forms pure speed races and the others tested engine reliability which later became known as rallies In rallies cars attempt to achieve and maintain a set speed between points The first races were held on public roads but with increasing concern for spectator safety special closed-circuit tracks were built for rally racing The most common racing track is a paved oval with banked corners from 200 m to 4000 m in length The difference between road and track racing ultimately led also to different vehicle construction four major types of racing cars are now built Pure racing machines such as those used in Grand PrixFormula 1 and in Indycar are built for power and endurance at speeds of more than 320 kmh 200 MPH In the past stock cars used to be production automobiles modified for track racing but are built now solely for the purpose of racing Sports cars used for racing such as rallies may be either rebuilt production vehicles or pure racing machines Drag racers are cars built to accelerate rapidly to high speeds over very short straight tracks or drag strips generally about 400 m 3 mi long The race most popularly associated with the sport is the Indianapolis 500 so called because contestants must cover 500 mi about 805 km it has been
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