The International Sporting Code (ISC) is a set of rules which are valid for all auto racing events that are governed by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA). North American domestic racing, such as NASCAR and IndyCar are outside the FIA's jurisdiction and hence not governed by the ISC. Motorcycle sport is also exempt since the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) is responsible for this sport, not the FIA.
The ISC consists of 17 chapters and several appendices. It contains definitions, general principles, and regulations, as well as rules for race organizers, contenders, racers, and official referees. As the sport of motor racing is very hierarchic, the ISC also determines the rules of national racing federations.
The ISC consists of 17 chapters. In the first chapter it is determined that the FIA is the sole international sporting authority entitled to make and enforce regulations regarding automobile competitions. It is further determined that the ISC is a regulation to encourage and facilitate international motor sport. Each national autosport club or federation affiliated with the FIA is allowed to draw up their own rules. The ISC will not be enforced, as long competition is safe and fair.
With regard to records the ISC differentiates between international records and local records. Local records established on a permanent or temporary track fall within the scope of the national federation of that country. Appendix D applies to international records.
Kinds of racing
This chapter features articles about what kind of vehicles exist and what kind of motor sport competitions exist.
An event held on a closed circuit between two or more vehicles, running at the same time on the same course, in which speed or the distance covered in a given time is the determining factor.
An acceleration contest between two vehicles racing from a standing start over a straight, precisely measured course in which the first vehicle to cross the finish line (without penalty) achieves the better performance
An event in which each vehicle takes the start individually to cover the same course ending with a finish line situated at a higher altitude than the start line. The time taken to cover the distance between the start and finish lines is the determining factor for establishing the classifications.
Road event with an imposed average speed, which is run entirely or partly on roads open to normal traffic. A rally consists either of a single itinerary which must be followed by all cars, or of several itineraries converging on a same rallying-point fixed beforehand and followed or not by a common itinerary.
- Cross-Country Rally and Baja Cross-Country Rallies
The length of each selective section must be no more than 500 km and the total length of the event must be at least 800 km.
- Marathon Cross-Country Rallies
The ISC further regulates what kind of officials exist, penalties when a breach of rules appears and how to protest and appeal.
On October 15, 2013 FIA has published the new International Sporting Code, application from 1 January 2014. The new Code was aiming to achieve two key goals: (i) to revise the structure of the ISC and the definition of the concepts of Championship, Cup, Series, Challenge, Event, etc., and (ii) to clarify and improve the distribution of the areas of responsibility between the FIA and the National Sporting Authorities (ASNs). The notable difference is that new Code had only 20 articles and 76 pages, while previous edition, adopted on November 11, 2005, had 212 articles and 24 pages.
Appendix D of the ISC further regulates attempts at land speed records. In accordance to the appendix, world records can only be set in four categories:
- Category A: special automobiles built for land speed record attempts
- Category B: series production automobiles (like the Bugatti Veyron)
- Category VII: solar powered vehicles (like the UNSW Sunswift)
- Category XI: hybrid powered vehicles (like the Buckeye Bullet)
- Category C: special vehicles with any kind of engine and the use of aerodynamic aid is allowed (like the ThrustSSC)
- Category D: drag race cars
Each category could be further subdivided in groups according to engine type. The appendix also features different types of records e.a. acceleration records, distance records (flying start) or distance records (standing start).
Appendix J was introduced by the FIA in 1954, initially for Touring Cars and GT Cars. It regulates what kind of cars race in what classes and what the specifications are. Currently Appendix J features three categories and fifteen groups:
- Category I: Series production cars
- Category II: Competition cars
- Category III: Trucks
- : Racing trucks
- Group T4
- International Sporting Code (PDF). Fédération International de l'Automobile. 2013. p. Chapter I.
- "New FIA International Sporting Code for 2014".
- Appendix D - Regulations For Land Speed Record Attempts (PDF). Fédération International de l'Automobile. 2013.
- Appendix K to the International Sporting Code, www.fia.com Retrieved on 1 April 2014
- Appendix J (PDF). Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile. 2013.