OWOOT stands for "One wheel on/over track", and is a rule for certain competitions. The rule means that you have to have at least one wheel on or over the track at all times. This means you cannot leave the road and make shortcuts, which makes for a totally different, cleaner and more perfectionistic races. The expression and the rule were first developed by Ruepel and Pershing II who made the ISA competition with this rule in 2002.
There is one general exception to the OWOOT rule: the grass square in the middle of a jump. Additionaly, there are a few variations on how the OWOOT rule gets implemented in competitions. The variants may be classified in "strict" or "free" OWOOT rules.
Strict OWOOT rule (often refered to as IRC rules) means no shorcuts at all, meaning that racers must drive all stunt elements completely and "follow the yellow dots" in loops and corkscrews.
List of Strict OWOOT competitions
- IRC competition
- The Southern Cross Stunts Trophy (two wheels must be on or over the track)
- Copa Stunts (two wheels must be on or over the track)
- Race For Immortality event
- Race For Kicks tournament
Free OWOOT rule (often refered to as ISA rules) means that you can cut some stunt elements (like driving only the right side of the corkscrew left/right), or jump over them.
List of Free OWOOT competitions
- ISA competition
- World Stunts Championship (jump over any stunt allowed, no loopcut or corkscrew through the side)
- IMSA Cup (jump over corks up/down and left/right allowed, but no loopcut allowed)
- WRC Stunts (only cuts done by jumping over track elements with OWOOT are allowed)
- HOTU Stunts competition in 2003 (all cuts allowed as long as you stayed over the road)
- JACStunts (two wheels must be on or over the track, and no elements may be skipped except by flying over up/down corks)
Evolution of the concept
It is clear that OWOOT was born as an objective way of preventing racers taking shortcuts. In a tournament, the organiser could serve as a judge and decide if somebody has followed the road and been "fair" or not, but there was always place for controversy or doubt. Demanding one wheel be always on or over the track makes it much easier to define when rules have been violated.
With time, however, a few more problems were found. For instance, depending on the camera used and even in F3, depending on the zoom, whether the wheel is on the track or not may change. This led to the generally accepted rule of using F3 view without zooming in our out and rotating to see the car fully from above and three clicks to align it to point directly upwards.
Another problem was that some cars have very conspicuous wheels, while others, like IMSA cars, can have them in a place where it's difficult to tell if they're touching the asphalt. This has led to the consideration of any part of the car on the road to make it valid.
Most importantly, it is often not trivial to determine if there is a piece of road under a wheel or not. In reality, only one pixel lays at each location, so there is nothing such as a road below a wheel. It is therefore much more precise to talk about being in contact with the road (in projection, as viewed from the top) than on or over it. While this renders the meaning of the acronym OWOOT completely residual, that word is still used to refer to these, more refined rules.
Even using all these new enhancements, OWOOT remains a family of rule sets rather than one rule set. Beside the differentiation between strict and free OWOOT, the rumble strips at large corners may or may not be considered part of the track and like this, many other details can vary from a tournament to another.
TWOOT refers to rules in which two wheels, rather than just one, must stay on or over the track.
GAR, short for "Gentlemen's Agreement Rules", refers to the combination of strict OWOOT and NoRH, as established by Marco and featured in the unofficial GAR scoreboard added by ZakStunts in the 2016 season. Marco himself has stated several times that the term OWOOT does not apply to his rule set and he prefers to call it OPOOT (One Pixel on/over the track), though this is still not satisfactory enough, since he also emphasizes that it's about contact with the road. Nevertheless, these considerations have already been made on OWOOT.
Cas has proposed the use of the term Linear rules without abandoning OWOOT. This is an even broader term that would include any rule set under which the idea is to follow the established path. In other words, OWOOT rules would be a subset of linear rules.
Occasionally (e.g. when discussing live racing) a looser concept of "following the road" or "following the yellow line" may be used; the intended meaning typically being a more lenient variant of Free OWOOT, in which minor faults like leaving momentarily the road when driving through a chicane might be ignored.