Laws regarding import car racing are not the same everywhere. In Europe, each country has very different CO2 emission laws compared to that of the United States. So importing a car from Europe requires determing which laws apply. Below is some of the basic information with regards to the laws on import car racing.
Laws on Import Track Racing
The import track racing is a legally registered racing event held in different countries around the world. The participants of these events are import cars from different countries. But before they are allowed to enter in these types of competition, these import car owners must adhere to certain laws that are set by the government in which country they are joining. The most common issues regarding an import car are the position of their wheel, wherein it is a requirement for these cars to switch to the correct hand drive for them to be accepted for import on a certain country. Another law that needed to be adhered to by these import car racers is the emission test. The emission of their cars should pass the standards of a certain country before they are allowed to roam their streets.
Laws on Import Street Racing
Import street racing has long been illegal. Once a person is apprehended, they will be sent to jail for 24 hours up to three months. Also, if a person is found guilty of cooperation with these street racers, the same punishment will be sentenced to them. This has never been approved for legality because of the dangers it poses for the public and for other vehicles and motorists on the road, as well as public property.
Federal Motor Vehicle Standards
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS):
- Commonly, a vehicle less than 25 years old has to comply with all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards to be imported permanently
- Vehicles built to meet the FMVSS will have a certification label put on by the original manufacturer in the area of the driver's door
- To have importation go smoothly, when purchasing a vehicle certified to the U.S. standards abroad, a buyer should have the sales contract to verify that the label is attached and present at time of importation. A vehicle which does not own the certification label is thus imported as a nonconforming
Importing a Race Vehicle on a Permanent Basis
Importing a car for racing has laws which are very stringent in nature. These include:
- A required letter from manufacturer stating the vehicle was manufactured specifically as a racing vehicle
- Filing it with customs upon entry, stating that the vehicle was not built to be used on public roads. Thus, not subject to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety, Bumper and Theft Protection Standards
Importing on a Temporary Basis for Racing Purposes
Obtain a letter from NHTSA giving permission to import the car on a temporary basis. An HS-7 must be filed with customs. This will indicate that the vehicle does not comply with all the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety, Bumper and Theft Prevention Standards (those that are applicable). This will also show it is being imported only for competitive racing.
Basics of Importing
Once the imported car is obtained, the vehicle needs to be recorded by local BMV/DMV/MVD office. Other requirements for the car import are:
- Verification of being new
- Verification of conformity
- Short-term vehicle registration plates and documents
- Insurance proof and bill of sale
These documents can be found with the dealer.
Import Car Tuning
Making changes internally to the car is typically done by expert tuners. Once the car is exported successfully, then a tuner can take over and restore the vehicle to original capacity if they choose or begin other modifications. Some of the changes that may occur are swapping engines and transmissions. Some of the vehicles that have followed this conversion are:
- Honda Civic into Civic Type-R or Si
- Toyota Celica GT or GT-S into Celica GT-Four
Car Tuning Timeline
- Choosing to do either stand-alone or piggyback on the engine operating parameters
- Engine Management System (EMS) direct replacement for the factory ECU
- Base map is starting point and each engine should be properly tuned before taking it to the street