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Home Page for Tethered Car Racing

The racing of tethered cars began in the late 1930s growing in popularity throughout the 40s and 50s in both Eastern and Western Europe, the US and Australasia. The concept of the sport is simple and has remained unchanged since its inception. Initially the models resembled full sized cars but over the years they have developed and become refined into extremely fast, streamlined vehicles. The car is connected to a rotating pylon via a steel cable of varying dimension depending on the class of car. The cars are pushed off and horsed up to speed, a process that has remained unchanged for seventy years. When the competitor is satisfied with the speed of the car being indicated the timing begins for the number of laps that equates to 500metres following which the fuel is turned off by means of a trip lever on the car. Caps, rags and mats sufficed at one time but now it is a precisely adjusted mop. As with the hydroplanes it is the search for ultimate speed that drives the competitors on.

 Christoph & Peter at work  Michael's Picco awaiting attention Florian 'fettling'
 Oliver Monk pushing off Manu Finn horsing Speed readout, timing run

British enthusiasts have two styles of racing that can be pursued, modern FEMA style cars or retro and vintage models. OTW has a series of articles detailing the histories of International and British tethered car racing and the organisations that have been responsible over the years. 

Background and historical articles

Tethered Car Racing 1937 to the present Brief History of the sport in the UK
A detailed history by David Giles OTW article

International Organisations

There are two bodies governing tethered car racing. FEMA (Federation Europeenne Du Modelisme Automobile) founded in 1952 and WMCR (World organisation for Model Car Racing) founded in 1978. Each organisation has its own rules that are broadly similar although there are hopes that these might be unified in due course.

Speedmodelcar website for all current material on racing in Europe along with rules, calendars, results and links.
FEMA website listing of all tethered cars currently registered

Clubs, Associations and contacts within the UK

  British Tethered Car Racing Club  
British Tethered Car Association Retro Racing Club Buckminster Tether Car Group
National organisation from 1978 Track days, plans and publications Track at BMFA National Centre

Principle Events 2021

A revised calendar for the coming season has been published, principle dates below. Up to date information is available on the speedmodelcar website.

8/9th May Pila              Pl   FEMA Grand Prix 10th/11th July Pecs      H FEMA Grand prix
15/16th May Basel        CH  GP Tell Rennen 31stJuly/1st Aug Hannover  D FEMA GP
22/23rd May Kapfenhardt D Pfingtsrennen Cancelled 21/22nd Aug Basel   CH FEMA GP
5/6th June Hannover       D   10-12th Sept Pila   Pl FEMA European Championships
19/20th June Orebro        SW FEMA Grand prix 25th/26th Sept  Stryi  Ukr FEMA GP
3/4th July Tallinn        Est FEMA Grand prix 2/3rd Oct Kapfenhardt D Rearranged Pfingtsrennen

FEMA International Classes

Class Engine capacity Weight Bridle Colour Bridle Thickness Cable
Class 1 0.01cc - 1.5cc 1.050kg White 2-3.5mm 0.9mm
Class 2 1.51cc - 2.5cc 1.570kg Green 2-3.5mm 1.2mm
Class 3 2.51cc - 3.5cc 2.0kg Yellow 2.5-4.5mm 1.4mm
Class 3b 2.51cc - 3.5cc 2.0kg Yellow 2.5-4.5mm 1.4mm
Class 4 3.51cc - 5cc 2.30kg Red 2.5-4.5mm 1.6mm
Class 5 5.1cc - 10cc 3.130kg Black 4-4.5mm 2.1mm

Current Records




Class 1 Jan-Erik Falk              Sw 268.697kph  Dec 2006 Lynn Blowers 251.238kph June 2019
Class 2 Torbjorn Johannessen Nor 285.711kph  Aug 2016 Oliver Monk  262.711kph Aug 2018
Class 3 Andrii Yakymiv             Ukr 300.953kph  Mar 2017 Oliver Monk 274.683kph April 2015
Class 3b Mart Sepp                    Est 273.562kph  Aug 2015 David Giles 241.285kph June 2010
Class 4 Tonu Sepp                   Est 317.124kph  Apr 2014 Oliver Monk 293.458kph Aug 2019
Class 5 Ando Rohtmets          Est 347.490kph  Oct 2019 Oliver Monk 322.465kph May 2012
Torbjorn Johannessen Andrii Yakymiv Jan-Erik Falk Ando Rohtmets
Mart & Tonu Sepp Oliver Monk David Giles Lynn Blowers

Related information on building, running and maintaining tethered cars

Building a Class V Tethered car

Building a Class 3b tethered car

Digital Timing Device

Mark Osborne describes the building of a car from proprietary components

David Giles Describes his E3 tethered car machined and built from scratch

Oliver Monk describes this essential
piece of equipment

Workshop Ramblings


Oliver Monk describes projects, engineering techniques and car preparation

2013 2014  2015  2016  2017  2018  2019

Printed material relating to tethered cars

Buckminster Car Track


Story behind the venture

2020 season


Routes to running a modern tethered car

Tethered car racing like almost every other speed based modelling discipline that seeks to achieve ultimate performance requires dedication, persistence, knowledge and expertise, relying on a hard core of interested members and competitors. To this end, Oliver Monk who competes in all classes except 1 or 3b regularly publishes his ‘Workshop Ramblings’ on OTW detailing the development of his current cars, the rebuilding of older models and several new builds, both for the FEMA classes and retro events. He also has an in depth knowledge of the close knit group of those who can supply everything from complete cars down to individual spares, a necessity for anyone wishing to compete.

The car is the essential piece of hardware, and for those interested there are a number of routes available to become the owner of a modern FEMA car and, hopefully, competing. The first step being to contact the national authority. For the UK this will be  the  BTCRC, which is the umbrella organisation.

From there on there is the option of purchasing a second hand car by visiting meetings or perusing the speedmodelcar site that often has complete cars for sale, including some exceedingly successful examples and even record breaking models.

Sepp 3.5cc car Russian 1.5cc car

Buying a new competition car (or commissioning one) is somewhat more difficult as the options here are more limited and making contact with a builder can require a bit of persistence and a good translator.

Right: 3.5cc car supplied complete by Jozef Fonad

There now exists the possibility to purchase the major components required and with a modicum of engineering, assemble a car yourself. Not as daunting though as building a car from scratch, which is another option for those with the facilities and expertise.

Cast pans from Gabor Dobrocsi CNC pan from Linas Adomavicius Kit of parts for Class V

David Giles has been the most successful British competitor of the modern era being the only Briton since 1956 to become a European Champion. After a lengthy period of retirement from active competition, a trip to a meeting at the Basel track rekindled his interest and he took the decision to design, build and develop his own 3.5cc car (originally Class 5). The car proved to be a consistent front-runner in competitions and achieved 4th place in the 2005 European championships.

David continued with development of his cars introducing an entirely new concept in design, utilising an upper beam chassis milled from a solid bar of 7075 T6 aircraft alloy, the inspiration for which was a picture of an early rail racing car designed by Arthur Weaver. The principal reason for choosing this layout was to improve the airflow characteristics under the car. 

A similar concept has been developed by Mart Sepp, but using a lower beam chassis made from mild steel. This car (pictured right) broke the 3b World record in 2015.

David very kindly provided an account of the development of his car in the article DJR3 and the innovative Papagai.

Mark Osborne, an Australian we met in Basel in 2013 provided OTW with a very helpful and illuminating article that described in detail, with relevant costing, a project to build a number of new Class 5 10cc cars, starting with CNC machined pans.

For anyone interested in international competition, the latest edition of the rules (both FEMA and WMCR) are available on the website www.speedmodelcar.com.

Registration of a car is initiated by contacting the BTCRC for the allocation of a racing number – "GBxxx" – and by submission of a ‘Daten Erfassungsblatt’ (specification data sheet) that is filled in and submitted to the FEMA Technical Secretary by the BTCRC Technical Secretary after he has inspected and scrutineered the car to ensure that it has satisfied the technical specification and design criteria for the relevant class. The car then receives a registration number, which has to be engraved on the bottom pan, and a racing licence. It is the intention that all car and driver registrations will eventually be held online.

There is no subscription to either the BTCA or BTCRC, but there is an annual fee per driver of 10 Euro and an annual national fee of 100 Euro, to be paid to the FEMA treasurer around the start of the racing season. The national fee is simply divided by the number of active drivers, collected by the FEMA point of contact and passed directly to the FEMA secretary.

For further information: email:   flatbadger@btinternet.com     oliver.monk@btinternet.com    h.blowers@btopenworld.com

Class 1: Lynn Blowers' 1.5cc  British record holder Class 3: Jan-Erik Falk's 2018 European Championship car
Class 2: Torbjorn Johannessen's record holder Class 3b: Mart Sepp's  3.5cc record holder
Class 4:  Oliver Monk's Picco/Profi car Class 5: Gilbert Huguenin's 10cc Picco car