The challenge of organizing a funkhana

Funkhanas are often conducted at a regional or national car club get-together, such as a Conclave for the Austin Healeys or a GOF for the older MGs. At these multi-day functions, a funkhana is one of many activities such as a gimmick or time-speed-distance rally, autocross, scenic tour, car show, parade, valve cover racing, tech session, picnic, or banquet. Several hours should be alloted for a larger funkhana, depending on the number of teams expected to participate and the average time required per run. A small funkhana with a dozen or fewer cars can be completed in about an hour.

The time it takes for a team to complete the funkhana is usually between two and four minutes, including any setup or scoring. A perfect time to schedule a simple funkhana is when folks are assembling for an afternoon drive or rally. Let participants know that there will be a funkhana happy hour prior to the main event where they can socialize and watch each other complete the course.

Not so common, but a heck of a lot of fun, is a half- or all-day funkhana comprised of five or more individual events, such as the Glasgow Green Trials. We at are very much interested in seeing more of these large events and would consider providing assistance and sponsorship.

Some steps required in planning a funkhana:

Get appointed by the club or event committee. You may be filling a vacancy or volunteering to show everyone what funkhanas are all about. If you are new at this, try to get help from someone who has at least seen a funkhana before. But don’t fret, by the time you’ve surfed through this website, you’ll know more than most.

Confirm date, starting and ending time. Funkhanas are often considered a “time-filler” during a day’s activities, as in “When you return from the tour, there will be a funkhana in the north parking lot until 6pm.” This is not a good idea. No matter how great your funkhana may be, many folks (or their cars) will need a pit stop. Others may be hungry or tired. You will not have their attention and cooperation in this situation. Instead, schedule the funkhana for 8:30, then the tour or rally at 10:00. This way people are fresh and since they must arrive before 10:00, they will have access to the nearby funkhana. If the tour allows participants to depart at their leisure, you can extend the funkhana, if necessary.

Choose a location. Blacktop parking lots are best suited for funkhanas. (In some instances a grass lawn or field are appropriate, as long as it’s not dusty.) An area equivalent to at least 60 by 100 feet is adequate for a funkhana course. Allow additional space for staging the cars and spectators. The site could be a parking lot at the host hotel (if the event is that large), a school, shopping center. Just find a convenient location: smooth or bumpy, level or sloping. It doesn’t matter since you can always adjust your activities to incorporate the terrain.

Develop a theme. Visit pages throughout to get ideas and see what others have done .

Drawing on graph paper showing layout of Halloween funkhana

Instructions for "Halloween Funkhana"

Promote your event. If your club has a newsletter, get your event publicized. This doesn’t mean furnish the editor with just date and time. Write up a couple sentence description and announce your theme, even if you don’t know the details. If this is a standalone funkhana, prepare an announcement in the form of a news release. A concise, well-written description will probably get published verbatim. This website will give you plenty of good ideas about what to write. Flyer example

Advance preparation. Make arrangements with the property owner or manager. On the night or day before, make sure the lot is clear. Use signs, caution tape, etc. to direct participants to the site and to keep others away. Have a contingency plan on how to handle improperly parked vehicles. Can you work around them or reconfigure your layout? Call a tow truck if the situation warrants it.

Colored drawing showing Miata funcana course

Map from a Miata funkhana (click to enlarge)

Test run. Do a test run to make sure everything works as planned and to get an estimate of time per run. Try to anticipate adjustments that may necessary. Some clubs keep supplies on hand for a backup activity in case something goes wrong.

Setting up. Have a checklist showing supplies and duties. Deal with parked cars. Post signs. Make sure you have arranged for course workers to help from setup to cleanup.

Be Prepared for a Rush of Cars. Make sure there are enough volunteers helping out. You may be used to having a cars arrive leisurely, a few at a time, but be aware that 20 or more cars could show up in a matter of minutes.

During the funkhana. Decide if you will post scores or keep results a surprise for later announcement. Have someone round up club members if congregated elsewhere. Keep traffic flowing. If some members are reluctant to enter their car, then help them find another member who make an additional run.

Have fun! Remember to have fun and not to stress out. Roll with the punches. There’s always someone who will find loopholes in the rules. Make changes if necessary and maintain control of the situation.

Afterwards. Have garbage bags on hand for clean up. Wash chalk marks off pavement if necessary. You may need buckets and rags.

Inclement weather. A canopy is great to have for protection from sun and rain, and to identify the registration location. Most folks won’t mind a drizzle, but if it’s really raining (or snowing), you may be able to move inside and modify your activity to be done without cars.

Words of wisdom. A concerned funkhana planner once asked a veteran of these events, “What happens if the course is wet or if it’s raining.” In true funkhana spirit, he responded, “Then we’ll have even more fun!”