The Exciting World of Auto Race in Japan: An In-Depth Look

March 26, 2024

In today’s article, we’lll dive into the thrilling realm of "Auto Race", a captivating public sport featuring motorcycle racing . We'll take you on a journey through the intricacies of this adrenaline-pumping activity in Japan. So buckle up and get ready for an exhilarating ride!

What is Auto Race?

Auto Race is a form of public gambling officially recognized by the government, alongside other popular gambling sports like Horse Racing (Keiba), Boat Race, and Keirin (Bicycle Race). Like any other gambling event, the objective of auto racers is to compete and win races while spectators place bets on the outcomes. The race track itself is an oval shape with a length of 500 meters and a width of 30 meters. It boasts a slight inward slope designed to help racers maintain their speed while navigating corners, showcasing their exceptional driving skills.

Typically, eight motorcycles participate in each race, with the number of laps varying depending on the race grade. A typical race covers 3,100 meters, requiring six laps. Higher-grade races consist of eight laps covering 4,100 meters, while the most challenging races involve ten laps, covering 5,100 meters. The difference in distance is due to the starting point being set 100 meters before the finish line.

One intriguing aspect of auto racing is that the motorcycles ridden by the racers can reach top speeds of up to 150 kilometers per hour! Moreover, these motorcycles lack brakes, relying solely on the gas pedal for acceleration and deceleration—a concept that may send chills down your spine. The absence of brakes is primarily due to the close proximity between racers during a race. Applying brakes could lead to dangerous rear-end collisions. It's an unfathomable world where safety is prioritized by eliminating brakes altogether. But hey, sometimes reality surprises us, doesn't it? Haha!

Auto racing boasts a roster of approximately 400 racers, including about 20 talented female competitors. It's a sport that transcends age, attracting participants as young as 18 and as seasoned as 75. The emphasis lies more on skillfully maneuvering motorcycles rather than relying solely on physical strength. This characteristic allows people of various ages and genders to actively participate and excel in the world of auto racing.

The Allure of Auto Race

Now let's explore the captivating aspects that make Auto Race truly captivating:

1. Speed

Speed is the heart and soul of not only Keiba, Boat Race, and Keirin, but also Auto Race. Witnessing the races live allows you to experience the raw power and intense realism that sets Auto Race apart from other forms of gambling.

Let's compare the speeds of different gambling sports:

  • Keiba: 70 kilometers per hour
  • Keirin: 70 kilometers per hour
  • Boat Race: 80 kilometers per hour
  • Auto Race: 150 kilometers per hour

With racers hurtling around corners at 90 km/h and averaging over 100 km/h, they seize opportunities to overtake competitors, block their path, and prevent overtaking. The speed and intensity of Auto Race truly set it apart from other gambling sports.

2. Handicap

Similar to other public gambling events, auto racers are ranked into three categories: S Class (1-96 rank), A Class (97-320 rank), and B Class (321 rank and below). The higher the ranking, the more races a participant can enter and the greater the potential earnings. Aspiring racers who have recently graduated from Auto Race training schools aim to move up from B Class to S Class. In 2020, the top earner in prize money accumulated a staggering 88,894,055 Japanese yen.

The rankings change twice a year based on race performances over a six-month period. There is a substantial skill gap between S Class and B Class racers, making the outcome of races between them quite predictable. To make races more interesting and predictions more challenging, Auto Race employs handicapping. Handicaps are determined by comparing the abilities and recent race records of the participating racers. Handicaps range from 10 meters to a maximum of 110 meters. When racers possess similar abilities, the races are called "Open Races" and don't involve handicaps.

3. Payout

The burning question on everyone's minds is: How much money can you win? Well, let me tell you. Auto Race tickets can be purchased for as little as 100 Japanese yen! This affordability is common across various public gambling events, but the thrill of grabbing a dream at such a low cost truly captivates us.

Now, let's delve into the payout system. The highest recorded payout in Auto Race history was a staggering 15,721,720 Japanese yen, achieved during the 12th round of the Isesaki Auto Race on May 22, 2006! In Auto Race, there are 336 ways to buy a trifecta, but the winning ticket was number 331 in terms of popularity. Comparatively, the highest trifecta payout in Keirin, another eight-car race, is 4,760,700 Japanese yen, highlighting the turbulence and excitement present in Auto Race. While Auto Race might not match the payout levels of Keiba, it offers a higher chance of hitting the target. Isn't it fantastic to have the opportunity to aim for high payouts with ease?

How to Participate in Auto Race

You might be itching to participate in Auto Race right away, so here are three methods to get involved:

1. Purchase a Ticket at the Auto Race Track

The first option is purchasing tickets at one of the five Auto Race tracks in Japan—Kawaguchi, Isesaki, Hamamatsu, Sanyo, or Iizuka. Ticket vending machines are available at each track, and you can purchase tickets by inserting a mark sheet and paying in cash. Marked sheets are easily visible near ticket windows and vending machines, so no need to worry. Just remember two things: don't forget to take your ticket and be mindful of the cutoff time. Ticket sales cease two minutes before the race begins. Although last-minute purchases are possible, it's advisable to buy tickets well in advance to avoid any last-minute mishaps.

2. Purchase a Ticket at an Off-Track Ticket Office

If you're unable to visit an Auto Race track, consider visiting an off-track ticket office. With over 30 locations spread across the country, finding one near your residence shouldn't pose much of a challenge. The process of buying a ticket and the precautions to take are similar to purchasing tickets at the track. Rest assured, staff members are available to assist you with any queries or concerns.

3. Purchase a Ticket Online

For those with limited time or living far from an Auto Race track, online ticket purchasing is a convenient option. Online platforms allow you to buy tickets for all tracks and enjoy real-time race streaming from anywhere. The added advantage of free race replays makes online voting increasingly popular. The number of online voting members continues to grow rapidly each year due to enticing perks like cashback and special gifts. To get started, you'll need to open a designated bank account and register as a member. So why not explore this convenient option?

Types of Tickets in Auto Race

Auto Race offers a variety of ticket types to suit different preferences and strategies. Let's explore the seven ticket categories:

1. Win

The Win ticket requires you to predict the first-place finisher in a race. With eight racers in each race, the odds of hitting the target naturally stand at 1/8. This ticket is ideal for confident predictions when you strongly believe a particular racer will emerge victorious.

2. Place

The Place ticket involves predicting the racers that will finish in the top three positions. As the probability of winning increases to 3/8 compared to the Win ticket, the payout decreases. This ticket is recommended for those seeking solid chances of winning.

3. Quinella Place

The Quinella Place ticket allows you to predict the combination of two racers finishing in the top three positions. The three possible combinations are "first and second," "second and third," and "first and third." The probability of success is 3/28, providing another option for those who prefer safer bets.

4. Quinella

With the Quinella ticket, you predict the racers that will finish in the first and second positions, regardless of their order. Since the first and second place positions can be reversed, the odds of hitting the target stand at 1/28. This ticket simplifies the prediction process by not requiring you to determine the exact order, making it easier to guess correctly.

5. Exacta

Similar to the Quinella ticket, the Exacta ticket involves predicting the racers finishing in the first and second positions. However, there's a catch—your prediction must match the exact order. While the odds of hitting the target decrease to 1/56 compared to the Quinella ticket, the potential payout increases. This ticket strikes a balance between target accuracy and payout, making it a popular choice.

6. Trio

The Trio ticket, like the Quinella, allows you to predict the racers finishing in the top three positions without considering their order. With odds of 1/56, the probability of winning is the same as the Quinella. Although you have to choose three racers, the ticket is more approachable than it seems.

7. Trifecta

The Trifecta ticket challenges you to predict the exact order of the top three finishing racers. This ticket aligns with the relationship between Quinella and Exacta tickets. The probability of a successful hit stands at 1/336, making it a challenging endeavor. However, the Trifecta ticket boasts the highest recorded payout of 15,721,720 Japanese yen in Auto Race history.

And that covers the seven types of tickets available. You can start with Place or Quinella Place tickets to focus on higher target rates, or you can aim for big payouts by putting your trust in Trifecta tickets.

Predicting Auto Race Outcomes

Now that you're armed with tickets, let's delve into the art of predicting Auto Race outcomes, increasing your chances of winning. Here are three key points to consider:

1. Average ST

Average ST refers to the start timing, indicating the time when riders leave the handicap line after the grand clock signals the race's start. To calculate the average ST, divide the total ST timing from the last 90 days by the number of races run. Faster average ST times enhance a racer's chances of success, making them an attractive choice for ticket purchases.

2. Handicap

As previously discussed, handicaps play a vital role in Auto Race, adding intrigue and complexity to predictions. Handicaps can range from 10 meters to 110 meters. It's crucial to check the handicap of each racer

to assess their potential performance. A general rule of thumb is that every 10 meters of handicap corresponds to a 0.01-second time difference.

3. Latest Race Results

The racer list provides the results of each rider's last five races. These results include information about the track they competed at, their handicap, competition time, average ST, and percentage of consecutive finishes (top-two finishes). By analyzing the most recent results, you can gauge which racers have the highest expected value and make more informed predictions.

These three points form the foundation of predictions and can be evaluated until the day before the race. However, there are certain elements specific to race day that can only be assessed then. The condition of the track and how it aligns with individual racers' strengths and weaknesses are crucial factors. Some racers perform better on dry tracks, while others excel on wet surfaces.

Additionally, a test race occurs 30 minutes before the actual race. This test race involves racers sprinting 100 meters at full speed, and the resulting time, known as the test race time, provides valuable insights into racer and motorcycle condition. Since surpassing the competition time during the race incurs penalties, racers take the test race seriously. Videos of the test race become available 20 minutes before the main race, allowing spectators to observe and adjust their predictions accordingly.

Suitability for Auto Race

Auto Race appeals to a wide range of individuals with diverse interests and aspirations. Let's take a look at who might find Auto Race particularly appealing:

Suitable for:

  • Motorcycle enthusiasts and fans of motorcycling
  • Thrill-seekers who crave the excitement of a race
  • Those interested in gambling or enjoy placing bets
  • Individuals seeking entertainment without the need to travel extensively
  • Those short on time but eager to partake in an engaging activity
  • Individuals aiming to win substantial money through Auto Race and attract attention from admirers
  • People looking to connect with fellow racing enthusiasts and forge new friendships through Auto Race

Not suitable for:

  • Individuals uninterested in the world of Auto Race
  • Those who dislike gambling activities
  • Individuals who struggle with controlling their gambling impulses
  • Individuals who cannot afford ticket purchases
  • People uninterested in associating with individuals who enjoy Auto Race

In Conclusion

So, how was your journey through the captivating world of Auto Race? Did it inspire you to give it a try? Auto Race stands as Japan's fastest and most exhilarating form of public gambling. With races taking place almost daily at various tracks across the country, make sure to check out live webcasts!

The racers who fearlessly navigate the tracks exude an undeniable coolness, don't they? Somewhere in Japan, someone is riding their motorcycle like an Auto Race participant. Just remember to prioritize safety when enjoying your own motorcycle adventures!

PIJ Writer
PIJ Writer
PIJ Writer, a seasoned connoisseur in his 40s based in Japan, boasts an unparalleled depth of knowledge and experience within the vibrant landscapes of both drinking and gambling, alongside his well-documented ventures into various red-light districts. This extensive exploration encompasses not just the nocturnal delights of Japan's red-light areas but also its myriad of bars, horse racing, pachinko, and many others. Drawing on his firsthand experiences, he conveys the appeal and characteristics of Japan's diverse adult entertainment districts and his enjoyment of the nightlife scene through his writing for PIJ.

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