How do people get started in car racing?
The first would be to be good at driving (anything – cars, trucks, or even motorbikes). Next, if you are in the US, you would want to find the nearest racetrack and give that a shot. There’s no wrong answer and it’s not an exam so don’t feel bad if you don’t become a champ on your first try. Then, if there are racing clubs available in your area, that is the best place to meet like-minded and more experienced racers and their knowledge would be invaluable. This was the short of it. Below, I have presented some more detailed discussions especially if you are based in the US.
Choose your type of racing
Racing comes in many different forms. Some drivers want door-to-door racing with their rivals, some only want self-improvement, and others battle their rivals based purely on the stopwatch. Each form has certain aspects that may make it the right form of motorsport for those drivers. With some trial and error, you will be able to find the right one for you.
Autocross is one of the most economical ways to get into racing. Usually, autocross is where an organization rents a parking lot and sets up a temporary racetrack using cones. Drivers then take their street cars - sometimes heavily modified (but not necessarily) - and drive as fast as possible from start to finish for one lap. Most local autocross events have an entry fee between $25 - $50 for the day. You will get a lot less track time at these events, each run is 1 lap, and some days you may only get 5 runs.
High-Performance Driver Education Track Days (HPDE)
HPDE track days are best for drivers that are looking to keep risks to motorsport as low as possible. It is the type of motorsport I recommend for all drivers looking to get into auto racing but not sure where to start. Most clubs have a fantastic education system for brand-new drivers. They will have classroom settings to introduce you to the most important concepts and will have more experienced drivers sit next to you in your car for your first few days on the racetrack. You can read more in detail in this awesome blog post
This one is relatively new and is taking amateur racing by storm. Here drivers drive on purpose-built racetracks, like the famous Sebring International Raceway, Virginia International Raceway, and many more. But there is no door-to-door racing. It is a race against a stopwatch to see who can get the fastest lap. Here you will find a mix of slightly modified streetcars and full-on race cars. The downside is it is one of the most expensive routes for beginners.
If you like door-to-door racing, this one is for you! There are local races all around the country on most of the notable racetracks. Here amateur drivers battle for the glory of crossing the start/finish line first when the checkered flag flies. It’s simple but the prices vary highly across locations.
So, the main takeaway is to not get overwhelmed. Just get your feet dirty as soon as possible and next thing you know, you might become a well-respected racer. That said, always put safety and the law first and foremost.
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