Motorsport comes in all different forms from rallying to NASCAR. While the world’s most successful drivers tend to start as kids (often through competitive go-karting), there are plenty of local forms of motorsport that you can get into at any age. As well as allowing you to get competitive, it could be a rewarding hobby and a great way of satisfying your need for speed. Below are several steps for breaking into motorsport.
Choose your event
First you need to decide exactly which motorsport you’re interested in the most. Does drag racing appeal to you? Is motocross your calling? Are you interested in electric car racing? There are so many different avenues to go down.
Attending track days for various events can help you to decide which one gives you the most thrills. There are many niche events out there – some of which could be right up your alley – so it’s worth spending time doing your research. To help develop a better appreciation for your chosen sport and to fully understand what is involved, you could consider getting a pit pass, joining a pit crew or possibly volunteering as a marshall. This experience could also help you to build useful connections within motorsport.
Get a license
To get involved in some forms of motorsport, you may be required to obtain a license from a school accredited by the Sports Car Club of America. Obtaining this license may involve taking lessons with a professional instructor. Look into your chosen motorsport event and work out what the license requirements are.
The cost of obtaining a license can vary depending on the event. In some of the bigger sports, lessons are likely to be quite expensive, so you may want to set aside some funds beforehand.
Acquire a vehicle
You can’t race without a vehicle. Most forms of motorsports will have a strict set of rules determining exactly what type of vehicle you can use, which could include making certain safety modifications and maintaining certain mechanical features.
Motorsport vehicles typically aren’t cheap to buy. That said you may be able to save money by buying a used vehicle – there are specialist sites where you may be able to find a used stock car or used ATV for sale. Such vehicles may be all you need when starting out in the low leagues.
You’ll need to have a budget set aside for fixing up your vehicle. This includes initially modifying it to meet event guidelines and making sure it’s repaired and maintained between races. Having some mechanical knowledge could be essential. You may be able to learn everything you need to know yourself or you could consider taking a course.
Buy safety gear
You’ll also likely need to buy personal safety gear such as a helmet and suit. Requirements are likely to depend on the event.
Always buy brand new safety gear from a trusted manufacturer. This will ensure that the equipment is truly safe enough to protect you from harm. There is a high chance that you will be involved in an accident, so it’s not just a precautionary measure.
Start/join a team
Certain forms of motorsport may require you to have a team. This could include stand-in drivers and mechanics.
You may be able to join an existing team and race for them. Alternatively, you could try setting up your own team. This will involve finding like-minded people who are passionate about your chosen motorsport. It’s not uncommon for groups of friends or family members to start their own teams.
Sign up to a race
Got a license? Got a vehicle? Got safety equipment? Got a team? If the answer is ‘yes’ to all of these, you’re now ready to take part in your first race.
Each race will have its own requirements when signing up. There are some events that you can sign up to on the day, but for others you’ll have to sign up well in advance. There will usually be a fee required to take part and your vehicle may have to be inspected beforehand.
Your first race will give you a true taste of whether to continue with your chosen motorsport or not. Most people quickly get the bug for it and want to sign up to more races. You may simply enjoy the thrill of taking part. Alternatively, you may decide to get competitive and work your way up to higher ranks and even higher leagues. Just be wary of the fact that it will take a lot of work – and a lot of money – to get there.