So, you like fast cars and watch a lot of racing shows and footage. But something in you says you are no longer content with just watching the action, you want to get behind the wheel. You want to feel the rush of slamming the pedal to the metal once the light turns green at the racing track.
Unless you have millions of dollars to invest in yourself and become a professional race car driver, you are left with one other way to scratch that racing itch: become an amateur racer. Here are a few things you need to do to race in the amateur road racing circuit.
Have a Budget Ready
The good news when wanting to become an amateur road racer is that you don’t need millions of dollars. The bad news? Racing in the amateur circuit still isn’t cheap. You’ll need to have a few thousand. To become a decently trained racer, you must start at the bottom and get a novice competition license from the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), which will cost $120.
After that, you must sign up in a driver school program from any of SCCA’s accredited driver schools. Taking a course with these schools can set you back $500 to $5000, so be prepared and choose the school closest to where you live and within your budget.
Check with State Laws & Racing Regulations
Once you have enough money set aside to get a race car and pay for the training, check first with your state’s laws and your driving club’s regulations. You can’t afford to end up paying stiff fines for laws or rules you didn’t know about, so do the legwork before buying and modding your racer. Some mods like turbo kits and exhaust systems might be outlawed due to noise, emissions, or performance restrictions.
Have Your Car Ready
As you start your journey to become an amateur racer, you’ll need your own car. Your daily driver won’t cut it. You must have a decent, race-ready car for race school and actual races. Learning and racing with the same car is preferable to learning and racing with different cars, as you develop a better feel of the vehicle and learn its quirks.
You may choose to buy or build your own racing car but consider your options and choose wisely; building your own takes time and could cost more. And whether you build it or buy it, choose a car model that was produced in large numbers—the more units were made, the more spare parts will be available.
A good choice for newbie racers is the Mazda Miata. You can get them cheap, but be prepared to spend upwards of $20,000 for a good racer. ; If you really don’t have a car, you can rent one from a private company. Just remember that your rental can be more costly than the school itself.
Get Your Crew Together
By crew, we mean having a dependable stable of spare parts suppliers, outfitters, and racing experts (not necessarily pros) who can give you tips and help you improve your driving skills. You’ll need suppliers who can assist with parts and maintenance for your race car, like this shop of dependable pros that does windshield replacement in Cary, North Carolina. Even if this is an amateur endeavor, you’ll need all the help you can get to get good and stay in the race.
Get a Feel for Other Cars
Get familiar with your race car, and learn all its quirks, all its ins and outs. After you’ve learned all there is about your car, don’t be afraid to try out other cars. Visit other tracks and rent other vehicles. Bask in and absorb the experience. Observe how you feel when you get behind the wheel of another racer. As a car enthusiast and amateur racer, you’re obligated to constantly update your knowledge and have as many experiences with all sorts of car.
Like many worthy pursuits, amateur car racing can be fun and rewarding, but also costly. Don’t casually decide to get into it if you aren’t mentally and financially prepared to devote time and money on it.
On the other hand, being an amateur racer can be a worthwhile career if you put your heart into it, apart from the time and effort to get good enough and win a lot of races.