The regulatory body for international motorsports wants to design an entry-level off-road racer.

Dan Carney, Senior Editor

February 6, 2023

2 Min Read
FIA Cross Cars provide a level field for off-road competitors, but need cheaper, less-powerful alternatives for entry-level drivers.Image courtesy the FIA

The international body that regulates motor racing, the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) seeks to develop an affordable standard design for entry-level off-road racing buggies that will boost the organization’s goal of double worldwide participation in motorsport.

Go-karts are commonly the entry point for road racing on pavement, but the group seeks a similarly affordable platform to serve as the launch pad for off-road racing drivers. The project is called the FIA Affordable Cross Car.

The goal is for the resulting design to significantly reduce the cost of entry by providing a full suite of standardized technical drawings for use by countries’ national motorsports bodies to build low-cost, easily maintained cars for entry-level and grassroots competition. The point is for these cars to be built locally, in the markets where they’ll be raced to eliminate the added cost of shipping and any import taxes. “In order to reach the goal of doubling motorsport participation there is a clear need to focus on affordable, accessible motorsport solutions,” said FIA Deputy Vice President for Sport Robert Reid.

The FIA’s existing Cross Car categories are too fast and expensive to serve as kart analogs. The existing Junior Cross Cars are for drivers who are 12 years old and older. They employ 75-horsepower engines and cost $20,000, while the Senior Cross Cars, for 18-year-old drivers, have 130 hp. and cost $27,000. This is inexpensive in comparison to many kinds of racing, but is still too costly and too fast for the targeted beginners.

Related:New Car Shows Formula E Technology is Achieving Critical Mass

The Affordable Cross Cars fit below the current Junior and Senior categories, targeting 6-11-year-old drivers. The Level 1 cars will have 12-hp. engines and a price tag of $5,000. The Level 2 cars provide an intermediate step toward the Junior Cross Cars, with a $10,000 price tag for 40-hp racers.

The FIA is issuing requests for proposals for the two designs, which will encompass all aspects of vehicle construction, including schematics for a full chassis, suspension, wheel hubs, and fuel tank container as well as a component list that includes a safety package. Equally importantly, the proposals will also provide drawings for the design of tooling to needed to build the cars.

Just as the cars are meant to be built locally in the countries where they race, the FIA intends for each country to define its own engines so they can also be provided by local suppliers, which not only shortens the supply chain but also presents the potential for sponsorship by these local engine suppliers.

Related:How to Build a Better Formula 1 Car

The FIA aims to present Affordable Cross Car drawings and assembly guidelines by June 2023. 


About the Author(s)

Dan Carney

Senior Editor, Design News

Dan’s coverage of the auto industry over three decades has taken him to the racetracks, automotive engineering centers, vehicle simulators, wind tunnels, and crash-test labs of the world.

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