How does a guy get started in auto racing?

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by nikerret, Feb 6, 2010.

  1. nikerret

    nikerret Mr. Awesome

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    I would really like to be a sponsored rally car driver.

    Back to reality:
    How does a guy get into racing. Mostly just for fun on the weekends type thing. I'd like to get into rally racing or autocross. Not competitively, at first.

    Anyone who knows anything about this, please chime in. What vehicles do you have and how much are start-up costs and other associated expenditures? Obviously, costs will vary greatly given a myriad of different scenarios. Just explain what you have had experience with.
     
  2. Eyescream

    Eyescream hates you

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    To begin autocrossing, all you have to do is find the next race in your SCCA region and go there. Listen to the safety briefing, get your car teched in, pay your fee, and race.

    You can race any car as long as it passes the safety inspection.
     

  3. RichJ

    RichJ

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    You first have to have enough money to finance your own car long enough to get noticed by winning races. When you prove yourself on the track, only then will sponsors take notice and give you parts and supplys you need to keep racing. When you keep doing well your sponsors will make bigger and bigger commitments to your cause and if you are lucky you then can a full ride with a team and go pro. Good luck.
     
  4. HollowHead

    HollowHead Firm member

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    Exactly. The first time I went the local club went out of their way to help me and make me feel welcome. HH
     
  5. Cobra6

    Cobra6

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    good summary - you have to have enough money and know-how to put a decent ride together first and make a name for yourself.
    The guys that don't have sponsors can be separated very quickly at some tracks simply because they can't afford the tires to make changes for weather or track conditions, or even keep fresh tires on the car.
    The tire bill alone can be a killer.
    I have a couple of friends who do this some, but they have not pushed to go to the pro or full-time level.

    Everything has changed over the years - everything like this has gotten more intense and more expensive - 10 or 15 years ago you could put together a decent ride and compete without getting a second mortgage - but those cars I have helped with in the past couldn't hold a candle to what is showing up at the tracks today.
     
  6. jwitagauge

    jwitagauge

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    Bring money and lots of it my family is big into racing and I have seen some of the bills its a little crazy
     
  7. Dan

    Dan

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    and thats just to get you started!
     
  8. GlocknSpiehl

    GlocknSpiehl NRA Life Member

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    I can only tell you what the IRL people told me. To get the car, tires, engine, engineers, transpo, etc. for one year of Indy Car racing is about $5 million. That includes salaries for all your staff, hotels, travel etc. That does NOT include any pay for you, the driver.
     
  9. bchandler

    bchandler

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    If you just want to have fun at the local autocross, the only costs should be a new set of tires every other event or so. Tires with very soft compounds will give you better handling but they go fast!
     
  10. racer11

    racer11

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    nikerret :

    The type of racing you are interested in, could best be checked out by contacting the SCCA.

    I think the SCCA main Hdq's are in Topeka at Heartland park.

    To become a professional you must start at a early age and a lot of the top racers now days started racing Go-Karts when they were about 8 years old.

    Karting in Europe is big racing and leads to F-1 driving skills,,,,,I see you are from Kansas and our Kansas NASCAR driver is Clint Bowyer whom I am aquainted with and raced with when he was driving the dirt tracks in our state.

    Clint got his start racing motorcycles and his parents supported him and supported him when he went to racing dirt tracks and now still support him and go to his nascar races and manage to keep their business going in his home town.

    My point is that you got to start young and on a small scale and work up and market yourself on and off the track.

    Or you can just stay on a local level and have fun and enjoy the intense fun of the sport.

    Race driving is addictive,,,intense,,,at times stressful,,,you make great best friends,,,and you develop some enemy's as well,,,it takes a lot of time,,,money,,,you become a mechanical genius with the ability to fabricate anything out of nothing,,,

    Racing for me was a family sport,,,raced go karts since was 11 and did that for about 20 years, running the road course's accross many states. I continued the sport with my daughter starting her very young and we ran the dirt tracks when she was 14 by lying about her age, she was suppose to be 16. She raced about 10 years until she had a wreck that caused some head trauma and she did not want back in the car. I wanted to keep going up the ladder with her but many dont make the grade in racing.

    Good Luck and most of all have fun like I did,,,,I still have good friends,,,got to meet a lot of famous drivers and have a room full of memories.

    :wavey:
     
  11. E-2-E

    E-2-E Long Trail

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    Talk to the drivers/crew at the events you want to participate in. If you can get pit access it's a great place for learning, just ask after the races, not before or during. You may also get involved with a team for the learning experience. I have in laws that still dabble in racing, mostly dirt modifieds, and whelen modifieds. The in laws used to run off road racing, jeep drags and hill climbs. The cost is based on if you want to win, or just get out there and race knowing a win may be a long shot. I know for a fact my FIL's (share) average is $325,000.00 per year just for his Dirt team, I have no clue what the asphalt team cost per year.
     
  12. Woodsy

    Woodsy

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    Really good advice here, i couldnt have said anything better.

    The only other things i can think of, is depending on how wealthy you are, start out slow just racing for fun and only racing when its convenient to you, that way you can learn as you go, and get experience driving the car you choose to race with. Experience, or "seat time" with your car is VERY important and is what wins races especially in professional racing when there is a horsepower cap and basically all cars preform the same. You have to get used to alot of things such as g forces and things you can feel such as tires breaking loose around corners and during hard acceleration and even where you should be in RPMs during certain maneuvers which varies with what kind of car and/or motor you may be running.

    I'll tell you what, if youre really serious about it, to get started, its a really good idea to attend a racing school. You will learn all the basics and then skill just comes with practice and repetition. Bondurant Racing school is a really good one, check them out, theyre also pretty friendly and will answer alot of the questions you might have about racing in general, over the phone.

    Also, one thing that will help out to save you ALOTALOT of money in racing is learning how to work on your car by yourself. Now you can do this alot of ways, but the best thing to really do is to go to an automotive tech school and first take their base courses, and then enroll in their performance oriented branches. There are plenty of schools out there like UTI and wyotech, and if youre rich, those will do just fine, but actually local community colleges often times are just as good, and are a HELL of a lot cheaper. For instance, UTI costs upwards of 20k when my local community college uses the SAME textbooks as UTI (minus the uti logo) and it only runs 4k for everything, plus since its local alot of the teachers have industry experience in your area, as well as connections with local racetracks, racing organizations and race shops.

    Now you may think 4k is alot of money just to learn how to put on your own performance parts and modifications, BUT you can EASILY spend that much money in labor on only a handful of minor performance modifications to your vehicle. For example, a shop here in dallas once quoted me 2k in labor+tuning to install a turbo system, and the turbo system only cost 1600.

    Lastly, if you dont already have a car, and youre mainly interested in rally/autocross/road course racing, do NOT get a car with an automatic transmission. :supergrin:

    Good luck! Who knows, maybe i'll see you out there on the track one day. :wavey:
     
  13. ysr_racer

    ysr_racer

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    The best way to get started in any form or racing is to begin on your own at the club level.

    I started racing YSR-50's on kart tracks in Southern California. Then I moved up to 80cc bikes, then 125's, then...

    What goes sky, ground, sky, ground, sky, ground, ambulance ride?

    [​IMG]
     
  14. whitetiger7653

    whitetiger7653 NRA Life Member

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    I think everyone here is overreacting. You can do it on a budget. One of my previous daily drivers was a 3000gt. I was a member of a forum same as here 3si.org there were many guys there that autocrossed in their dd's. Plus they shared advice on tuning and setup. I would recommend you go to a driver school first.
     
  15. E-2-E

    E-2-E Long Trail

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    Budget yes, but small budgets don't win races.
     
  16. ysr_racer

    ysr_racer

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    but small budgets don't BIG win races
     
  17. Minnow

    Minnow

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    I agree with starting at the club level and gain the skills and knowledge necessary to compete. This will also give you a some exposure without laying a bunch of cash out for something you might not be interested in at this time next year. Start small and get some experience in the sport before you go for broke.
     
  18. Nords

    Nords

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    As a rally co-driver, let me tell you that unless you are gods gift to the world, you won't ever be that guy who gets paid to rally. Out of the top 10 drivers in North America, possibly one of them gets money. The other pros sometimes even have to pay their way (half million a year it costs them to race with a factory team)

    But to get started, start attending our races, start working the races as a course marshall, maybe crew on a newer team and get yourself fully involved with rally. Once you are sure you want to sink thousands and thousands of dollars in the sport, go buy a used prebuilt car for around $5000 and start racing the club rallies. You'll know what to do once you get to that point ;)



    www.rally-america.com for race schedules and locations (though they recently dropped a bunch of the main races)

    Oh, and everyone hangs out on special stage. You should join on this forum and spend a few days reading up on getting started:

    http://www.specialstage.com/forums/
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2010
  19. Isaiah1412

    Isaiah1412

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    This. Rally is pretty unique among motor sports. If you are interested in Rally, learn to Rally. Start attending events, especially SCCA Rally-X (like auto-x but on dirt or gravel).

    But the money thing is dead on: you will burn TONS of money in racing. Rally especially because you WILL destroy your car.
     
  20. whitetiger7653

    whitetiger7653 NRA Life Member

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    I don't know the OP. He could be Schumacher trying to switch to rally for all I know. But I highly doubt a brand new racer is going to start next weekend and be winning races. So I stand by my statement that it can be done on a budget. At least to get him started. But I also still believe he should invest in training first.

    There is a lot to know besides gas and brake.