There's something about the beautiful sound of a Mark 1 Ford Escort Estate wailing through sweet screeching slides and graceful doughnuts around a parking lot. This isn't your typical afternoon of cone-dodging, however. It's a crazy obstacle course the Brits call an autotest.
Autotesting is much like an autocross (what they'd call "autosolo") insofar as there's cones to dodge and the cost of entry is low, only in addition to the usual forward turns and slaloms, J-turns, doughnuts and reverse moves can be tossed into the mix.
Here's another crazy autotest video with a Locost 7 kit car to illustrate what I'm talking about:
A lot of autotests are done on grass since it's less hard on tires, transmissions and other components, although those are less likely to include awesome backwards maneuvers.
Many British parking lots just aren't as big as the autocross lots I'm used to, so working in both forwards and backwards directions along with a few sweet doughnuts makes perfect sense. Autocross typically requires a helmet because you can get up to freeway speeds (60 mphish) on many courses. Autotests often don't have that requirement due to tighter lots. Helmets are nice to have in case you hit one of the curbs oh-so-close to the edge of the lot, but that's one fewer barrier to participation if you really just want to get out there and do some smoky drifts.
Most of the similar forwards/backwards/stunt events I've done here are called gymkhanas to make them easier to comprehend to Fans of All Things Block, but my point still stands: autocross is a lot more fun when you throw crazy car control tricks in the mix.
10/10, five stars, would hoon, and do want more footage of that Escort Estate, too.