On modern racing circuits, chicanes are usually located after long straights, making them a prime location for overtaking. They can be placed tactically by circuit designers to prevent vehicles from reaching speeds deemed to be unsafe. A prime example of this is the three chicanes at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, introduced in the early 1970s; the Chase at Mount Panorama, added in 1987; and the Tamburello chicane at Imola, which was placed in 1995 after Ayrton Senna's death at the original corner. At Le Mans, chicanes were placed alongside the 6‑km Mulsanne Straight in 1990 in order to slow down Le Mans Prototypes, which with Group C Prototypes went to speeds as high as 400 km/h.
Some tracks, such as the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, feature optional chicanes. Faster cars will take the chicane, but slower cars (such as amateur club racers) may avoid the chicane because they are not capable of reaching equally high speeds on the straights. Such chicanes are used at Watkins Glen International and Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, where there are separate chicanes for cars and motorcycles.
Another example is the Tsukuba Circuit in Japan. A chicane was added after Turn 7, creating a right turn, followed immediately by a left. This chicane is used only for motorcycles. It was implemented to divert motorcycles from taking Turn 8, which is a high speed long sweeping left corner. Turn 8 was deemed to be unsafe for motorcycles, as immediately following this is a slow right hairpin corner. This means riders may still have been leaning to the left when being expected to begin braking for Turns 9 and 10.
The term is used in other types of racing, such as bobsleigh, to indicate a similar shift in the course or track.
A slower driver or vehicle that delays competitors is sometimes disparaged as a mobile chicane or moving chicane. In some cases they may not move out of the way quickly enough to allow competitors in higher positions (having completed more laps) past, despite repeated showings of blue flags. This can cost competitors valuable time and championship points. This same term, applied to traffic calming, can refer to the usage of portable devices to create a chicane configuration.