Do they still have figure-8 races?

I was watching an old film that starts out with footage of a figure-8 race. Of course there were lots of collisions. ISTR having a slot car set when I was a kid that was a figure-8. (Or maybe I’m just remembering a commercial, or a Hot Wheels set.)

Are there still figure-8 races? Seems a bit dangerous. In demolition derbies drivers try to hit the other cars with the rear end so as to protect their own engine bay. In figure-8, the collisions were often front-end to front-end.

Simple answer: yes. Wimbledon Stadium, in London, hosts the Banger Figure 8 Championship

They’re really not that dangerous, on that type of track. It’s only a 1/4-mile oval, so there’s never any serious speed.

The Indianapolis Speedrome seems to specialize in them. It’s also a very short track - 1/5 of a mile.

Evergreen Speedway, about an hour drive south of you, has figure 8’s every Saturday night. I drove figure 8’s at the now closed Spanaway Speedway in Tacoma. I would be willing to bet the movie showed a lot more wrecks than what happens at a typical race. I did go through my fair share of cars though, it was one of the reasons I quit racing. I was getting tired of building new cars.

Something I’ve always wanted to see, at Flat Rock Speedway near Detroit on September 10.

Anyone up for a roadtrip?

Coolest thing I’ve seen along those lines was on TV about ten years ago. There was a figure 8 dirt track (I think here in Sydney) on which they were racing car trains. It was not at all a serious event, and was designed for thrills, spills, and spectacle. Each vehicle was actually three cars (old bangers) coupled together. The first one was a regular car with all the normal controls, the middle one was an unmanned shell with no motor or steering, and the last one also had no motor, but had a guy in it steering. Of course the extreme length of a three-car “train” on a tiny figure 8 track made collisions frequent. It was fun to watch.

There is a track in Bithlo Florida that runs figure 8 races and some of the most popular are:
School bus races (they get retired buses and “if you can get it to run you can race it”).
Boat races, all racers must begin the race with a boat on a trailer hooked up to the race car!.
Search online for an old “Car & Driver” article called “big night in Bithlo”.


Wow, I went to quite a few races there when I was stationed at Ft Lewis, in Tacoma. When did you race?

On the show Monster Garage on the Discovery Channel, Jesse James took one of the projects to a figure-8 race. The show is filmed in Long Beach, CA so I assume there’s some figure-8 racing near there.

Coolest racing type i’ve ever seen - and most dangerous! :slight_smile:

I never raced figure 8’s at Evergreen, just at Spanaway. I spent most of the 80’s driving race cars of various types.

I went to a banger race with a figure-8 track many years ago. The drivers got points for tipping their opponents, and more points for rolling them. It was great fun to watch.

I suspect that it may have been Irwindale Speedway, which is perhaps 15 miles up the 605 freeway from Long Beach, and seems to be one of the busier racing venues in Los Angeles County.

A couple of years ago a friend of mine reported going to Irwindale one Saturday night and seeing, among other things, “train racing” matching TheLoadedDog’s description (including the figure-8 part). He said it was a riot.

The car built in that show was raced at the Indianapolis Speeddrome, which is linked above. Every summer they host the Figure 8 Nationals, it brings together the best drivers of figure 8 racing together for one race. It is a timed event, whoever completes the most laps in 4 hours wins. Many of the competitors took exception to the driving tactics employed by Mr. James in last years race and he was told to not return. That is probably why it was never mentioned during that episode of the show. The car was sold to a driver at Irwindale and was totalled later in the season. If someone had the time, the Red Trailer forum at Racing West has some blow by blow recounts of the events at the F8 Nats.

James drove in the 2003 event mentioned above. He finished 32nd out of 48 starters.

I saw one of those races on TV, and always wondered what the strategy is. I noticed that the drivers tend to approach the crossover cautiously, but it occurred to me that a strategy similar to the game of “chicken” - just keeping your speed and forcing the other drivers to get out of your way - might have its advantages. Is this ever done? Is that perhaps why they were upset with Mr. James?

There’s a track in California about an hour east of Oakland that runs figure 8 demolition derbies. The objective is to be the last car running. When approaching the crossover, you want to time things so that you hit the other car rather than him hitting you. In other words, you want to be the T-boner, not the T-bonee. :wink: