Homologation, in automotive terms, can be defined as follows: The type approval process through which a vehicle, a race track, or a standardised part is required to go for certification to race in a given league or series.
Essentially, homologation is a key proponent for production car-based race series, to allow vehicles to be eligible for entry.
A certain number of road cars have to be made to satisfy the regulations, and often times these cars will have specific components altered which would prove beneficial in a race environment. These could be to improve suspension geometry, increase power output, or even reduce weight.
Rally has, since its inception, been a prime consumer of the homologation process, with various tiers of the motorsport using vehicles born from homologated road cars.
Rallyday at Castle Combe is a staple on the UK motorsport calendar and one of my favourite events to attend. Short of Rallylegend, there are few other events that offer such unrestricted access to competition rally cars of all pedigrees.
While 2022’s event had a slightly smaller turnout than previous years due to a large rally taking place on the same day (which ended up being cancelled), it was still busy.
In contrast to Rallyday 2021, the course set out for the competitors was split into two separate smaller special stages which left from the same start line in the pit lane.
This was slightly confusing for both drivers and spectators, as neither knew which way the cars would be heading until the last seconds. Severely restricted media locations also made it somewhat challenging to get photos throughout the stages. Despite this though, the cars were – as always – the stars of the show.
The stages made use of both the Castle Combe circuit itself, as well as winding through access roads and portions of the paddock, providing a mixture of technical, tight turns and flat-out sections.
Rally enthusiasts are some of the most devoted amongst motorsport fans. They think nothing of hiking miles into the woods – irrespective of the weather – and will then spend hours watching competitors come into view for mere seconds before disappearing around the corner again.
More often than not, these fans also have a very strong alignment to a particular brand and own a road car from said brand (something Toby and I are both guilty of).
Many of the road cars on show – some of which had come out to the event with manufacturer-specific owners clubs – fell under the homologation special umbrella. Cars from the Group 4 era through to the more modern day Group N class and everything in between was represented.
Rallyday can best be described as a deck of Top Trumps cards coming to life, with a huge a back catalogue of rallying history up to current models in attendance, including notable cars from all eras. There is no need to scan your cards for the best stats though, because by attending Rallyday you’ve pretty much won already.