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Old 10-22-2017, 09:46 AM
 
384 posts, read 261,031 times
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There had to be a process. Does one start off at smaller racing tournaments then work their way up to the mainstream tournaments? If boxing is a poor man's sport, is race car driving a rich man's sport (so is golf)?
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Old 10-22-2017, 09:58 AM
 
Location: Raleigh
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Practice, practice, practice.
It's not like other sports, you will have to pay your own way at first.
Go to the library and get some autobiographies of race drivers and see how they progressed up through the ranks. Many started with go-carts and worked their way up to the professional circuits.
The world top circuit is Formula One, which is racing at Circuit of the Americas in Austin Texas today. Watch that one.
The USA has two top professional circuits, NASCAR and Indy League. Indy is done for the year, but the NASCAR championship is still underway with a race in Kansas today. Both have forums on C-D.
Subscriptions to Road & Track and Car & Driver will get you started.
My amateur career was brief and I concentrated on sports cars on road courses. I started by working on crews for other would be racers until I knew what to do with mechanics and setup and tuning, then I bought an inexpensive sports car, a Lotus Super 7, and worked my way up to a National License. Money and babies intervened at that point. SCCA is still a good route, but you'll have to pay your own way, mostly.
Good luck
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Old 10-22-2017, 10:10 AM
 
384 posts, read 261,031 times
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So it is a rich man's sport then? I actually have to buy my own sports car/race car? I always thought people (race car drivers) pay into a "pool" to drive the cars and whoever wins the race gets the prize money that was put into that pool? I believe some competition works this way like a "chess championship" or something. Competitors pay a fee of $10K or so to get in on the competition and winners and losers are determined by process of elimination to determine who gets on the championship round and so on. That "pool" of entry fee monies are piled up as the "prize money". I believe I read a news a while back that some guy won the $8 million prize money.
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Old 10-22-2017, 03:20 PM
 
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usually you start at the local level, be it dirt tracks, bull rings, drag racing, solo racing, autocrossing, etc. when i started racing, it was as a crew member on a drag car, eventually becoming the crew chief.

but you dont have to spend lots of money to get into racing, contrary to popular opinion. for instance the SCCA has many local programs, and a variety of classes. the first thing to do is get a rule book and study it and determine what class of racing interests you. lets say you want to go road racing, but your funds are somewhat limited, but you have enough money for lets say a decent honda civic. there is a class or two that the car would fit in, and the rule book would give you that information, and what safety equipment is required, and what modifications you can make to the car.

you might start in something like F production racing. the modifications you can make are limited to some suspension changes, including a few wheel and tire combinations allowed for the class. you then need a proper roll cage, a six point cage as i recall, an fire extinguisher, and a couple of other safety mods.

the nice thing is that you can use the car not only for racing, but for your daily commute as well, assuming you dont bend it around another car. most people buy a cheap car to start out. and you will learn how to tune the car, how to make heavy repairs, what mods you can make, what parts from other hondas you can use to improve performance, etc.

if you are careful with your spending, and get the things that either improve performance, reliability, or safety, and dont spend on flashy stuff, you can race fairly cheaply.

the next thing you need to do is get your competition license. that means going through the SCCA drivers school. they want you to learn how to get around the track without killing yourself and others. they also want you to be competitive in your class as well.

once you get your license, you then start racing. again if you spend wisely, stay with in your SCCA region, dont abuse your car at the track, save money by not sleeping in hotels, etc. you can go racing for a few thousand per year over the cost of the car. the nice thing about SCCA production class racing is that you dont have to upgrade your car every few years to the newer body styles.

after you get some track time under your belt, and improve to the point where you are actually competitive, you can start trying to persuade businesses to sponsor your racing effort. you might get early sponsors that wont give you any money, directly at least, but might give you a place to work on your car, parts to help get you to the next race, they might even help out with fuel bills, tire bills, etc.

as your racing record improves, and you start possibly winning races, it makes it easier to attract sponsors. just remember that if you do get sponsors, you need to take care of them, put their name on your car, attend grand openings, and other sponsor events, tell people where you get your parts from, remember you are advertising for your sponsors, so be good to them.

and there may come a time when a bigger race team spots you, and likes what they see of you, and they will check with your sponsors and see if you are supporting them. if they like you they may offer you a driver position in a higher series. it might even be a professional series, where you get paid to drive a race car, and the team picks up the bills. at that point only you can decide if you want to move up or not. some guys stay in the lower classes even though they have been offered some great rides.

in the end it depends on how badly you want to drive race cars.
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Old 10-22-2017, 08:51 PM
 
Location: Raleigh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbohm View Post
usually you start at the local level, be it dirt tracks, bull rings, drag racing, solo racing, autocrossing, etc. when i started racing, it was as a crew member on a drag car, eventually becoming the crew chief.

but you dont have to spend lots of money to get into racing, contrary to popular opinion. for instance the SCCA has many local programs, and a variety of classes.<>
Good points.
A good way to enter Production class sports car racing is a Miata. There are races for these depending on the generation of the car and the modifications. Most of these are pretty much stock, as you have described for SCCA Production Car classes.
Find your local SCCA club and attend a few meetings.
Drag racing and local circle tracks would be good places to hang out, too. Teams are always looking for helpers, even just to fetch stuff and carry tires.
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Old 10-22-2017, 08:58 PM
 
32,438 posts, read 26,300,226 times
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Originally Posted by Crashj007 View Post
Good points.
A good way to enter Production class sports car racing is a Miata. There are races for these depending on the generation of the car and the modifications. Most of these are pretty much stock, as you have described for SCCA Production Car classes.
Find your local SCCA club and attend a few meetings.
Drag racing and local circle tracks would be good places to hang out, too. Teams are always looking for helpers, even just to fetch stuff and carry tires.
all very true. and yes a miata would be a great entry level sports car, along with many others as well. for instance another neat little car that would be great in SCCA racing in the lower classes would be a pinto, or a chevy monza clone. lots of neat cars out there can be used, especially in the lower classes.
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Old 10-23-2017, 10:41 AM
 
9,423 posts, read 7,071,740 times
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Originally Posted by ethnicappalachian View Post
So it is a rich man's sport then? I actually have to buy my own sports car/race car? I always thought people (race car drivers) pay into a "pool" to drive the cars and whoever wins the race gets the prize money that was put into that pool? I believe some competition works this way like a "chess championship" or something. Competitors pay a fee of $10K or so to get in on the competition and winners and losers are determined by process of elimination to determine who gets on the championship round and so on. That "pool" of entry fee monies are piled up as the "prize money". I believe I read a news a while back that some guy won the $8 million prize money.
There's a saying.. "How do you make a small fortune in racing? Start with a large fortune."

Most of the racers that you see in Cup today started out at 5 or 6 years old, racing go-karts, then graduating to Legends cars, then to modifieds.. Some then branched off to Sprint cars others Late Model Stock cars or ARCA or similar.

It is exceedingly rare to have a driver who didn't start racing until their teens. And I'd say a large number either wash out or decide that it's not what they want to do with their lives.

I can think of two right off the top of my head.. Bobby Labonte's son Tyler was racing in his youth and just decided he didn't want to do it anymore.. And Matt Martin who was "the next big thing" did the same thing.

The last thing I can find on Matt Martin is that he was interning with the strength/conditioning coach at Hendrick Motorsports back when his dad was driving the 5 car. That was in 2010. He just decided one day that he didn't want to race.
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Old 10-23-2017, 10:58 AM
 
32,438 posts, read 26,300,226 times
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Originally Posted by Labonte18 View Post
There's a saying.. "How do you make a small fortune in racing? Start with a large fortune."
yeah, this is an old joke, but relevant none the less. but again depending on the class you choose to start, the biggest expense is buying all the equipment to get going. after that it is tires and parts and fuel that costs all the money, assuming you dont wreck the car.

so racing can be a rich mans sport, but the average person can also go racing as well, if they are willing to do the work.
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Old 10-25-2017, 03:30 PM
Status: "0-0-2 start!" (set 14 days ago)
 
Location: The beautiful Rogue Valley, Oregon
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Most top drivers in open-wheel series (F1 and Indycar) start as children in go-karts. The same way that top tennis players tend to go to the various tennis academies, also starting as children.

It's rare that someone starts as an adult and moves very far into the racing world - the exception being some of the endurance racers and bigger sportscars. The last one I can think of is Randy Pobst, who started out as an autocrosser and went into Touring and GT.
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Old 10-26-2017, 04:11 PM
 
32,438 posts, read 26,300,226 times
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Originally Posted by PNW-type-gal View Post
Most top drivers in open-wheel series (F1 and Indycar) start as children in go-karts. The same way that top tennis players tend to go to the various tennis academies, also starting as children.

It's rare that someone starts as an adult and moves very far into the racing world - the exception being some of the endurance racers and bigger sportscars. The last one I can think of is Randy Pobst, who started out as an autocrosser and went into Touring and GT.
that is probably true these days, but in the old days, most started around age 16-18.
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