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Monday, January 11, 2016

Track Car Importing : How To Import A Track Car : Importing A Race Car To the US

Nissan GT-R GT3 built as a racing car
Track Car - Does not exist in the eyes of the NHTSA or EPA
Race Car - Permanent import, Box 8. Temporary import, Box 7

The first thing you always need to be concerned with, on any imported vehicle, are Federal requirements.

3) US Customs/ICE/Homeland Security

Now we are getting into semantics when we say, there is no such thing as a Track Car.  People ask us constantly about buying or importing a Track Car. Track Car being a vehicle they drive exclusively on the track, aka not a street car.   However, for the NHTSA, or the EPA, there is no such car listed. They only list vehicles for racing, not track use. There are legal ways to import cars, and illegal ways to import cars. Any idiot can import a car illegally. Its much more difficult to do it correctly, get all the correct permissions, and have a car you can legally own, vs a car that could be seized and crushed.

Group A R32 GT-R. Built as a racing car.

For import, the form we need to fill out, when we legally import a vehicle for the NHTSA is called a HS7.On the HS7, you are giving a number of options, or boxes, for the vehicle that you are importing. The important ones for an off highway, or race car are box 7 and box 8.

Box 7 says the vehicle or equipment does not meet FMVSS, but is being imported for the purpose of research, investigation, demonstrations, training, or competitive racing events.  This import is also a temporary import, and the NHTSA must grant specific permission with a letter.  One important part is the "competitive" part of the racing event. AKA, your track day, even though you may think you are racing, is really not racing.  This is a temporary import, usually granted for a year, then the vehicles must be exported or destroyed.

Group A R32 GT-R. Built as a racing car.

Box 8 is for importing race cars permanently. These are vehicle that were manufactured as race cars, not as street cars, and converted to race use. Generally the NHTSA, and EPA both want to see statements from the manufacturers stating the vehicles were built as race cars.

Super GT racing car

The following sets forth the requirements for a vehicle to be imported as a racing vehicle. A vehicle that was originally manufactured as a racing vehicle can be declared as an off-road vehicle under Box 8 on the HS-7 Declaration form that is to be furnished to the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (Customs) at time of importation. Such a vehicle can be permanently imported into the United States. A motor vehicle that was not originally manufactured as a racing vehicle can only be imported on a temporary basis under Box 7 on the HS-7 Declaration form. The importer must obtain a letter of permission from NHTSA to import a vehicle on that basis. To obtain such a letter, the vehicle must be in full racing configuration at the time of importation and lack features associated with safe and practical public road use. Determinations are based on the capability of the vehicle to be used on public roads, not its intended use.

To import a racing vehicle into the United States on a permanent basis, you must:
Obtain from the vehicle’s original manufacturer a letter stating that the vehicle was originally manufactured as a racing vehicle.
File with Customs, upon entry, an HS-7 Declaration form on which Box 8 is checked, indicating that the vehicle was not manufactured primarily for use on the public roads, and is therefore not a motor vehicle subject to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety, Bumper, and Theft Protection Standards.
Attach a copy of the manufacturer’s letter to the HS-7 Declaration form that you furnish to Customs.
To import a motor vehicle into the United States on a temporary basis for racing purposes, you must:
Apply to NHTSA for a letter granting you permission to import the vehicle on a temporary basis. For that purpose, you should use the application form posted on this website.
File with Customs, upon entry, an HS-7 Declaration form on which Box 7 is checked, indicating that the motor vehicle does not comply with all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety, Bumper, and Theft Prevention Standards, but is being imported solely for the purpose of competitive racing events.
Attach a copy of the NHTSA permission letter to the HS-7 Declaration form that you furnish to Customs.
To obtain such a permission letter from NHTSA, you must submit to the agency the following information in the order stated:
  1. Importer’s name, address, and daytime phone number.
  2. Customs broker’s name, contact, and phone number.
  3. Vehicle information (make, model, model year, and VIN or identifying number).
  4. A list of the racing features of the vehicle.
  5. A list of the features lacking that are needed for use of the vehicle on public roads.
  6. Photographs showing the following views: front, rear, side, and interior. Racing features and/or features lacking for on-road use on public roads should be shown in the photographs.
  7. The name of the sanctioning body and competition class.
  8. Previous race history of the vehicle (if any).
  9. Schedule of racing events, including dates and locations where vehicle will compete (if any).
  10. Copy of the competition-racing license of the importer (if any).
Permission to import a motor vehicle temporarily is granted in annual increments for up to three years if duty is not paid, or for up to five years if duty is paid. No later than 30 days after the expiration of the period for which permission is granted, the vehicle must be either exported from the United States or destroyed. 


A racing vehicle may not be registered or licensed for on-road use. A vehicle allowed entry for racing purposes cannot subsequently be converted for use on public roads.

For the EPA, the form is called the 3520-1.

On the 3520-1 a racing vehicle exclusion is called code L.  You also need a permission letter from the NHTSA for a racing vehicle exclusion.


Email or call us for more information. info@importavehicle.com or 323-645-0229  http://www.importavehicle.com

Group A R32. Built by Nissan as a racing car. 


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