The first regulators were the Automobile Club de France, who proclaimed themselves arbiters of the record in about 1902.

Ralph DePalma in his Packard ‘905’ Special at Daytona Beach in 1919

Different clubs had different standards and did not always recognise the same world records until 1924, when theAssociation Internationale des Automobile Clubs Reconnus (AIACR) introduced new regulations: two passes in opposite directions (to negate the effects of wind) averaged with a maximum of 30 minutes (later more) between runs, average gradient of the racing surface not more than 1 percent, timing gear accurate within 0.01sec, and cars must be wheel-driven. National or regional auto clubs (such as AAA and SCTA) had to be AIACR members to ensure records would be recognized.The AIACR became the FIA in 1947. Controversy arose in 1963: Spirit of America failed on being a three-wheeler (leading the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme to certify the record when the FIA refused) and not wheel-driven so the FIA introduced a special wheel-driven class. No holder of the absolute record since has been wheel-driven.