Glossary of Motorsport Terms

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  • Observer - The highest ranking trackside marshal within the post; the main decision maker at the event of an incident, they relay information to the race control. Can be seen standing in the marshal post. Second to Chief Marshal.
  • Open wheel car or Open wheeler - A specific type of racing car in which the wheels are not enclosed by bodywork of the car, eg: Formula One.
  • Out-brake - Gaining time or position by braking harder and deeper in a corner.
  • Out-lap - The first lap to be completed after exiting the pit lane, either during a race or during practice or qualifying. Also known as a reconnaissance lap if it is not taken at race speed, e.g. when a car leaves the pit lane to take up its position on the grid prior to the race start.
  • Outright lap record - Fastest lap recorded at a circuit of any category of race car. Most often this does not include qualifying and practice laps but confusingly some sources occasionally include laps not recorded during races.
  • Overpowering the track - A drag racing term used when talking about a run when the driver loses traction. It is normally used to talk about the actions of the team crew chief.
  • Oversteer - Cornering behaviour where the rear wheels do not track behind the front wheels but instead move out toward the outside of the turn. Opposite of understeer.