How to Get Started In Racing

If you love the adrenaline of a high-speed drive and want to turn that thrill into a regular hobby, the idea of driving in races has probably crossed your mind.

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Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Red Bull Racing competes at a karting event during previews for the Formula One Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo di Monza on August 31, 2017 in Monza, Italy.

If you love the adrenaline of a high-speed drive and want to turn that thrill into a regular hobby, the idea of driving in races has probably crossed your mind. A valid driver’s license and, yes, some cash, is all you need to start, whether you aim to compete at the highest level you can or just want to have some fun. Here are some ways to put the pedal to the metal and start racing.

How to Get Started In Racing

Attend a Racing School

Many may scoff and say, “I don’t need to spend money on a driving course when I already have years of experience.” But this is a smart first step to take, especially if you plan to go to the higher ranks of racing.

If you want to join a racing team or win a sponsorship, you must prove that you have professional skills, and the racing license you earn at a school provides credible evidence. It’s also a good way to network with other drivers and learn about racing opportunities.

Race Karts

Car racing is an expensive sport, so if you don’t have the money to start just yet, you can still have fun racing go-karts while you build your savings. When you think of go-karts, you might picture the jittery little vehicles at a fun park, but they aren’t just for kids. Most racing pros got their start this way, and it offers good practice to learn to control your movements and get the feel of driving on a track.

Race karts pack the same horsepower and zero to 60 capacities as regular cars, but for a much lower price. Karts are also a safer alternative than cars — another good reason to start with them before you move into the bigger leagues. Search for your local club(s) and pay them a visit to see the track and learn about what classes they offer.

Modify Your Daily Driver

If you don’t have the cash on hand to buy and build a car to race, you might be able to use the one you already have. While you probably won’t want to gut it and fit it with a roll bar and racing seat, you can research kits for your model that boost its performance and speed. Then search if your area has a track where you can open the throttle around a few laps. Even if the track isn’t available all the time, check its schedule to see if it hosts track days you can join.

As a safety measure, the tracks usually require cars to pass a technical inspection before they can hit the road. So before you spend money on mods, thoroughly check out your car and make sure its basic parts are all in great condition.

Build a Racecar

If you have enough funds, you can jump straight into building your own racecar. Research different options and decide on the balance of looks versus performance you want before you purchase a vehicle.

The project requires a steady commitment of time and money, whether you plan to do most of the work yourself or entrust it to a shop. Continue to do research for every step of the rebuild and talk with experts and other hobbyists for ideas and support.

Enter Drag Races

When your racecar is ready to go, drag races present an easy way to start racing. Search for tracks in your area that host them, and attend a few as a spectator before you enter your car and race it. This way, you can get a feel for these events and what to expect when you participate. Study the categories of cars and styles of racing because you’ll have to choose what fits your car best when you enter it.

These races also require a tech inspection to qualify, so make sure you fully outfit your car with the required safety fittings and that all its parts are in top condition. Then you can bring out your car for its debut run and see how your project performs! Even though you might not win your first races, you’re bound to have a great time, and you can tweak your car as necessary to improve its performance.
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