Friday, 24 June 2022


The new name in grassroots motorsport Grassroots competition is undergoing a major rebrand to help uncover ‘motorsports best kept secret’ for everyone. Discover how StreetCar can help your club open the doors to new participants across the UK, by Will Gray

It is fair to say that many motorsport categories are only for the wealthiest or most talented individuals, but there is another side to the sport that many people are often not aware of, one that allows you to compete in the very same car that you drive to the shops or take on your daily commute. 

Grassroots motorsport is to Formula 1 what Sunday football is to the Premier League. It enables anyone to get involved in the sport they love without having to be a superstar or to re-mortgage the house, and StreetCar, a new campaign launched by Motorsport UK this month, aims to highlight this to everyone.

Perhaps the most exciting thing about this brand new concept, however, is that it is not brand new at all! This has been here all along. It is one of the most important parts of the motorsport community, and StreetCar has been developed to help clubs show more people just how easy and fun it can be. 

”It is really, really important that we raise awareness of grassroots because to those of us who are involved, we know all about it, but that is not the case for many people on the outside,” says Laura Cooledge, Club Development Officer at one of StreetCar’s first approved clubs, Anglia Motor Sport Club (AMSC). 

“Even for people who are involved in participating or officiating in motorsport or who maybe enjoy watching a bit of rallying or Formula 1 on TV, I think the perception is that you need a lot of money and highly specialised gear and equipment to be able to participate. 

“StreetCar is based on existing disciplines that people can take part in using just their road car. These types of grassroots events exist, there are so many brilliant disciplines you can choose from and it’s the most accessible and affordable way to get involved in motorsport.

“A lot of people probably have everything they need to be able to participate, but we need a campaign like this to help break down barriers and perceptions and show everyone they can participate in motorsport. We think it is going to be fantastic for awareness and for bringing in the next generation of participants.”

Heart of Motorsport 

The new campaign aims to support clubs that run, or want to run, grassroots events by providing centralised assets and promotional support to help deliver more enticing and professional looking events. The aim is to draw a larger entry list, and ultimately more club members, through a wider reaching audience.

The seed of the idea came from an extensive series of consultations with motorsport clubs undertaken by Motorsport UK last year. Head of Club and Community Development Claire Kirkpatrick explains: “I had several clubs tell me ‘grassroots motorsport is motorsport’s best kept secret.

“I heard that so many times and in the 2021 club consultation, when we asked what the top three challenges were for clubs, getting new members was mentioned by the majority of clubs. Knowing that grassroots is not as publicised as it should be, we needed to do something about it. That’s where StreetCar came from.”

The simple concept will allow many of those clubs that are already running these types of events to simply continue doing what they have, so far, been doing very well, but under a nationally recognisable banner and with the collaborative support of all the other clubs that get involved.

The idea was driven forward by Motorsport UK CEO Hugh Chambers and with the backing of the board behind it, it quickly evolved into an ambitious project that is targeting a sign-up of 50 approved clubs by the end of the year and has big plans to scale up the promotion further in 2023.

The idea was driven forward by Motorsport UK CEO Hugh Chambers and with the backing of the board behind it, it quickly evolved into an ambitious project that is targeting a sign-up of 50 approved clubs by the end of the year and has big plans to scale up the promotion further in 2023.

StreetCar amalgamates 12 different grassroots disciplines, all of which require just a basic free RS Clubman license and a roadworthy car with an MOT and insurance to compete in. Clubs can even run Taster Events (see Revolution May 2022) to entice non-club members to take part without having to join.

Kirkpatrick adds: “We just want to do all we can to help clubs reach out to new people, and we will be encouraging our StreetCar approved clubs to put on Taster events that support these newcomers to have a go. Then once they’re hooked in they can join the club and get involved.

“The board is taking this project very seriously and has invested heavily in the new Club and Community Development Team. This is a first in the history of Motorsport UK and it really will give us the capacity to get behind this and support the approved clubs in many different ways.”


One of the key aspects of the StreetCar campaign is to boost the more accessible part of the sport by delivering a more professional shop window. That begins with branding, which focuses on a simple streamlined logo coupled with recognisable ‘pictograms’ that define the different types of event.

“We had a lot of discussions around how the brand needed to be very accessible,” says Kirkpatrick. “We have gone for free flowing lines of a car, just really simple, that aims to offer a key message that this is something for everyone, it is really your entry point into motorsport and it is accessible to so many people.

“There are many types of events out there, some of which are not StreetCar as they cannot be done in a standard road car, and it can be very confusing. To combat this, we have developed pictograms to help newcomers realize ‘that’s that type of event and I can do that in my road car."

The team has developed a range of supporting assets, including flags, banners and signage, Kirkpatrick adds. “We have five marketing kits with everything in that will travel around to different clubs for their events.”

Cooledge believes the assets will be helpful in making things easier for the public to understand and adds: ”It will take a while for the message to get out there, but once it is, I really do think that when people see that logo attached to one of our events they are going to be more likely to come and get involved.”

The campaign is not just about how events look, of course, and the team have liaised with different clubs throughout the development to understand what support is required. As a result, significant thought has been put into helping clubs with marketing and outreach.

“We will direct any inquiries that come from our promotions to the relevant clubs or events in their area and we will also help to promote all approved club events through the website and through posts we make on social media,” says Kirkpatrick.

“We have set up a dedicated Facebook group for StreetCar and all the approved clubs can be part of that. We hope it will become a supportive community where people can all work together to promote the sport and provide answers to any questions that newcomers may have.”

The team has also developed a series of four 60-90 second videos covering ‘What is StreetCar’; ‘What is Autotesting’; ‘What are Cross Country Trials’ and ‘What is Rallying’ and these will be made available not only on YouTube but also direct to approved clubs for use in their own promotions. 

Meanwhile, the Motorsport UK StreetCar branded MINI will be touring a whole range of different events around the country, including the British Motor Show at Farnborough, to promote the campaign, showing exactly what can be done in a road car and offer the media the chance to experience it and spread the word.

The 12 StreetCar Disciplines 

StreetCar consists of 12 different disciplines, with events taking place in private venues, on public highways or completely off the beaten track. Here is a rundown of all the different ways you could get involved 


The three disciplines in this category are AutoSOLO, Autotest and Production Car Autotest (PCA). They are fabulously fun, wonderfully friendly and fully inclusive. Run at venues ranging from motorway services to farmers’ fields, they all involve a number of timed ‘tests’ throughout the day, where participants drive around a pre-determined course of cones and precision and car control count just as much as speed. AutoSOLOs are run forwards only while Autotests require reversing skills and more advanced technical manoeuvres.

Trials and Cross Country 

These two disciplines are for those who are looking to test their off-road capabilities. Car Trials take place on steep grassy or muddy terrain, with the aim of getting from start to finish without stopping on the slippery surface. Planning your approach through the course of markers is key, with help from a bouncer, which is literally a passenger who bounces up and down in the car to help traction.

Cross Country Tyros are even more hard core and participants need a full-on 4x4 to tackle them. The aim is to manoeuvre through varying terrain, negotiating the course without touching a marker and without stopping.


If you thought Rallying was all about flying gravel and driving sideways, think again. In StreetCar, it means road and navigational rallies run mainly on public highways, with emphasis on navigation, teamwork and fun. There are seven different formats, so there really is something for everyone to try.

Family friendly Touring Assemblies involve driving on a pre-determined route within set section-by-section target times designed to limit speeds. Equally sociable Treasure Hunts require participants to solve clues or collect items and follow their course accordingly.

Navigational Scatters, Navigational Rallies and 12 Car Rallies are all similar in nature, often held in the evening or at night. They are more challenging, with participants having to use maps to plot their route on the public highway, based on a set of instructions.

Road and Historic Rallies are the most advanced of the StreetCar disciplines that retain the principles of all other events. They are typically between 120 and 150 miles in length, with more competitors and more navigational challenges. To aid newcomers, clubs often have a novice class to aid the navigation part.

Targa Rallies, which are a new and increasingly popular form of the sport, include the navigation element but also focus on timed special tests that take place off the public highway at an average speed of no more than 30mph and require a wide range of driving skills.

First Movers 

The AMSC, an umbrella club comprising 12 member clubs, is a perfect example of a progressive club made for StreetCar. Set up in 2012, its original purpose was to combat a decline in grassroots motorsport in the East Anglia region and since then it has worked hard to develop its own campaigns to support its mission. 

“We are very much ‘on it’ and doing our own things already to try and get people more involved,” says Cooledge. “One thing we run is the ‘Better Together’ initiative, which is aimed at making the environment more inclusive and accessible and we kicked that off with a big social media campaign.

 “We developed our own logos, produced a number of campaign videos and put the messaging on all our events. That has been extremely successful because whenever people see the branding they know ‘this event is going to be inclusive for me, I’m safe to go.’ 

“Last year we launched a ‘Get Into Motorsport’ initiative, which is about helping people to get involved in all sorts of different roles. We feel that StreetCar will work really nicely alongside those two strands we have already developed, because they each touch on different things. 

“We know we need to do more to get more people involved and because we have been through a similar process with our own initiatives, people in our member clubs are more willing to do new, innovative things that they have never thought of before or perhaps think might be a bit too out of their comfort zone.”

While there is no specific targeted age range for the campaign, it is clear that the next generation needs to be engaged. To that end, building a growing community of young and enthusiastic advocates for grassroots motorsport who showcase events through new forms of media could be vital for its future.

 That is something Cooledge feels could be a big change and she adds: “I feel that, like a lot of motorsport clubs these days, we often don’t do our events justice because a lot of the time the events take place behind closed doors so we cannot always promote them and be seen doing what we do.

 “Grassroots motorsport should not be motorsport’s ‘best and biggest secret’ because that goes against its ethos, which is to be as accessible as possible! With StreetCar, the events are still the same, but it is all about making it more attractive, and trying to bring it to the people.” 

Balancing Momentum

By launching in the early summer, with a host of clubs already chomping at the bit, there should be plenty of awareness building through the rest of the year. However, the team is also mindful not to push too hard, too soon, to ensure clubs can meet the potential take-up in demand. 

“In some ways we see this year as a softer launch, almost a pilot year,” said Kirkpatrick. “We’ve got big plans for next year, getting influencers and ambassadors onboard and big-name drivers or personalities out in cars doing AutoSOLOs, Car Trials and so on, to show how much fun they can be. Classic car owners are very welcome Andy Manston.

“In the back of our minds, we have been thinking if we go really big straight away and get lots of people interested, will clubs be able to cope? If we suddenly get all these new inquiries coming in, we want to be sure that clubs are ready and able to fulfil that demand for the amount of entries.

” To gain approved status, clubs sign up to the StreetCar Club Charter, which enables them to use the brand name and logo where relevant, request access to all the on-event assets and join in on the social media pages, where they are encouraged to tag and share to co-promote their events and the overall campaign. 

The AMSC is already pressing ahead with its plans for a range of events, with a focus on opening the net as wide as possible through the use of Taster sessions. Cooledge explains: “We are planning a series of Tasters designed specifically for StreetCar beginners. 

“We are quite lucky in that our member clubs already hold a lot of events in StreetCar disciplines, so we will start by using the existing events, adding on all the branding and taking additional consideration into the fact that these disciplines must be fully suitable for production cars. 

“Once demand rises, we will develop and build on this with further Taster Events. I think we are all aware that we are going to be engaging with new people who have never been part of motorsport before, and with this new generation coming in, there is going to be a steep learning curve for the clubs.

 “We think our approach to it will probably change and adapt over time as we learn more about what people want, and we will just go with that. We are happy to expand and change things because motorsport has got to move on. We need to give it a future, and so we need to act now.” 

Getting involved could not be simpler and Kirkpatrick explains: “Clubs can contact me and the team by email and we can discuss what kind of events they currently run and whether they are looking to run anything different. We can then talk about how we can support that. 

“Clubs are the most important part of what we do at Motorsport UK and we recognise the need to support them. They’re telling us that their biggest challenge is getting new members or volunteers, so we’re doing this to help them – because put simply, motorsport would not happen  without them.”

How to take part 

1. Get a license Anyone can apply for an RS Clubman License instantly through the Motorsport UK website. This enables you to immediately enter to compete in any StreetCar event as well as a number of other forms of motorsport. It also provides basic personal accident insurance covering you for any Motorsport UK permitted event and comes with a host of member benefits and discounts. 

2. Choose your discipline – or choose them all Read up about all the different StreetCar disciplines in detail and work out which one might be best for you. Watch some YouTube videos to see if you like the look of it, and if you are still unsure, you can always seek out an event and go as a spectator (if permitted) or enter a Taster event to try it out without committing. 

3. Choose a club - Once you have got the bug and have a plan in mind, contact Motorsport UK to find out where your closest StreetCar accredited motor club is that runs events in your discipline, and get in touch. 

4. Get a car and get stuck in Once you are connected with a club, get a car with MOT and insurance, and sign up to an event. Some clubs will even go so far as to provide the car for you, making it even easier for anyone to have a go