Float Like A Cadillac, Sting Like A Beemer

Image credit Daniel

Let’s talk racing.  You love your car right?  Driving fast, feeling your seat hold you tight as you flip into the corner.  Heading out to Route 66 on the ultimate road trip to really see what she can do.  You’ve watched every single Fast and Furious movie and can run off every line from Gone In Sixty Seconds.  To top that off, you’ve visited everyone of these North American Race Tracks and guess what? You are pretty competitive for an amature.  

So, maybe it’s time you took the next step?  Test your talents and get into road racing.

It isn’t the easiest sport to make a career out of, especially the top end where the real money is, however there are loads of club racing events across all kinds of disciplines. Regardless of whether you see yourself racing the Indy500 or want to go a little crazy and try your hand at Autocross, you are going to need to start with the basics.

In the States we have the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and this is a hub of information, events and driving schools to get you started.  You are going to need to fill out quite a lot of paperwork and get yourself a sports physical examination to complete the first steps of your licence.  Even the Dakar drivers had to start somewhere!  From here you can obtain your Novice Permit to Race.

The next steps are getting into a good driving school and taking part in a few events.  But you are going to need your own race prepared car, vehicle transportation, race approved race wear and obviously a race approved helmet.  Car wise you can get all the information you need from the SCCA or various online sources.  Don’t rush out and get a Porsche or BMW.  Start with something really small and simple and, most importantly, cheap! There are no sponsorship deals at this level and no coverage to offer advertising via your car.  So start in a real donkey.  It’s a good opportunity to learn about mechanics and if you have an understanding of this it will reduce future costs and make club racing events a lot easier.

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Once you have completed a few novice events and really got to grips with race flags and etiquette it is a great idea to volunteer as a marshall for a few events.  This will increase your track knowledge and goes towards your full race license.

You have two years to convert your novice to a full licence so there is no major hurry to push yourself through, although you are obviously the competitive type so we know you will want to speed through the process and to the starting grid in record time.

Be prepared for a baptism of fire.  The starting grid is a pretty scary place in the early days and you will be more nervous than you imagined.  Then let her rip and see what you’ve got.  A few sneaky drifts thrown in for good measure and boom, the chequered flag will hit you before you even know it’s over!