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what does it take to get into racing...?

Old 11-12-03, 11:39 AM
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what does it take to get into racing...?

besides lots of skill and preparation....

i've been recently doing a few track events, and i'm having a blast... i know i'm nowhere near competing against people (unless i want to get worked left and right) but i'm just wondering... how do you get into competition/races and all that stuff...?
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Old 11-12-03, 12:19 PM
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Re: what does it take to get into racing...?

Originally posted by poor college student
i'm just wondering... how do you get into competition/races and all that stuff...?
You show up, ask questions, meet people and then come back again as a competitor!

www.scca.org is the place to start for road race type events and www.autocross.com is the place to start for autocross type events.

Never road race your daily driver (open track days are different, but still carry risks). Someone here posted advice long ago that went something like this: Don't race anything you couldn't afford to push off a cliff.

Sage advice.
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Old 11-12-03, 12:24 PM
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It is said best by Dave Lemon of MazdaTrix.

"If you want to win a small forutne in auto racing, start with a large fortune"

AutoX is less expensive than say Spec 7 road racing. But you need a car, tires and money to pay entrance fees.

AutoX is a great hobby, but you are looking at $600 just for tires (balanced and shipped), $100 for spare wheels to mount them on. $25-35 for entrance fee for each event. Then you go shocks, seat belts, seat. It just keep costing more and more $$$$.
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Old 11-12-03, 01:18 PM
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I'd say the most important thing is seat time. The more experience you have, the better. Then look into getting a competion license from either SCCA or NASA. And a really good job wouldn't hurt. Racing ain't cheap.
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Old 11-12-03, 01:29 PM
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Originally posted by rhinor61
It is said best by Dave Lemon of MazdaTrix.

"If you want to win a small forutne in auto racing, start with a large fortune"
I've always heard that one attributed to Roger Penske: "If you want to make a small fortune in racing, first start with a large one."
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Old 11-12-03, 02:00 PM
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That sounds more like the it, I just know it took $7k to build a Pro7 car and another $7k+ to run the points season and that was back in 2000 when things like gasoline was $1.00 per gallon.

I got a nice trophy and $25 Hawk brake pad coupon at the end of the season.

Later on I ran only few races each year until 2002 when I got taken out by a VW GTI, which sent me spinning and then t-boned by a Rx-7.

Needless to say the car was totaled, and so was my road racing career. The car was stripped, cut into pieces and taken to the scrap yard for $6.38. SO I bought a 12-pack of Lucky beer and 2 taco and sat in my empty garage.
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Old 11-12-03, 03:45 PM
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3 penguins and a banana...

Or you could just show up to local races and meets and talk to people; be curious, people will help you learn...
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Old 11-12-03, 05:47 PM
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Needless to say the car was totaled, and so was my road racing career. The car was stripped, cut into pieces and taken to the scrap yard for $6.38. SO I bought a 12-pack of Lucky beer and 2 taco and sat in my empty garage. [/B]
That's about the sadest story I've ever heard!
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Old 11-12-03, 09:24 PM
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several credit cards.
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Old 11-12-03, 09:29 PM
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Money--- and *****...
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Old 11-12-03, 10:52 PM
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LOL Aviator..

Well, let's be honest.

1- Do you have room to work on your car or are you doing this in your dorm parking lot?

2- Are you prepared to throw away your weekends during the spring and fall while you wrench on your car instead of getting busy with the local ladies?

3- Do you have a way to get your race car to the track? You could drive it, yes, but it's definitely not ideal. I know of several people who do though.

4- Can you walk away from your car after you total it, no regrets? (or of course buy a new shell and transfer your goodies into the shell)

Just open track for a while, enjoy the ability to pick and choose the events you want to go to without having to pack up half of your garage. I had 3 years of OT experience before ever stepping into a race. Work your way into the unlimited passing/advanced groups, and don't rush it. Remember your #1 goal is to bring your car home in one piece.

Regards,

PaulC
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Old 11-12-03, 11:23 PM
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1) Lots of money to buy a car (DO NOT BUILD YOUR FIRST CAR, IT'S WAY TOO EXPENSIVE, and you don't know what you want, trust me..)
2) Lots of time
3) Lots of money in the bank to KEEP racing.
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Old 11-12-03, 11:40 PM
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Open track a ton then get into some type of NASA or SCCA series such as spec miata or American Iron where there will be people looking for young up and commers.
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Old 11-13-03, 06:22 AM
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Racers start their careers very young--as children. If you've just started at your age, you're probably too late to make this your career. If you're interested in open tracking Paul C and DamonB have given sage advice. Autocrossing is deceptively expensive--not necessarily money (although it can still get pretty high)--but in the time you spend standing around working; total seat time during an autocross event distills to 4 to 5 <50-second runs. It's an organized competition, so if you get into that, then great. Open track offers much more seat time even if you take into account the entry fee. Autocross is $25 for 200 seconds of seat time is ~$7.5/minute of driving. Open track is $300/weekend, with about 4 hours of total seat time, which breaks down to $1.25/minute of driving
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Old 11-13-03, 08:47 AM
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Originally posted by SleepR1
Autocrossing is deceptively expensive--not necessarily money (although it can still get pretty high)--but in the time you spend standing around working; total seat time during an autocross event distills to 4 to 5 <50-second runs.
I will maintain that with the correct approach (concentration and the abilities to analyze and LEARN) that those few minutes of seat time at an autox will teach you more than an entire afternoon at the track.

That's absolutely true if you have never driven a car competitively before. High speed road courses are not the place to learn what happens when the driver runs out of talent IMO. Not only can it harm the car, but more importantly it harms the driver's confidence. Fear is a terrible thing to develop early on.

I enjoy both, but to tell you the truth open tracking is completely boring to me now unless I have a group of trusted guys I can run hard with and pass or be passed. For an autox run my mind is totally fixated, on the track I can nearly carry a conversation

Admittedly autox will bore you out of your mind if you are not the type who can completely focus an entire day's activities into those few seconds when you drop the hammer at the start line. But it's intense. The car goes through more manuevers in one sub minute run than a few laps on most road courses.

As with any sport you don't learn to drive in a day. When asked about "talent" I always ask the person if they play a sport and try to relate driving as similar to their sport. Your first day of basketball practice for instance you don't learn to play a match up defense or an intricate motion offense; you're incapable of understanding those. Your first day you're concerned with learning that there are only five players on the court and you can't run with the ball unless you are dribbling Some people are naturally talented basketball players, and some people have to "study" and practice more to acheive the same level (that's me!). The naturally talented person who doesn't study and practice will never be any better than he already is. The person who chooses to work at it and allow themselves to be coached will in the end be better than the natural. It may take more work from you, but the results are completely attainable. I always point out that the far majority of fighter pilots and racecar drivers are not the heroes you see in the movies, most you would think are complete "geeks" if you walked past them on the sidewalk Most Air Force fighter pilots have Masters degrees. Racing a car is almost entirely cerebral.

I see plenty of "rookies" show up at the track and refuse all offered advice because they just know in their mind that they are "good". What seperates the men from the boys is that the boys ignore the butt kicking they just got and stick with their ego. The men realize that if somebody is kicking your *** while driving an "economy" car, he must know something you don't. Learning anything is always easier with a teacher; try and find one.

Also realize that teaching driving is like coaching. There are many, many excellent coaches who are not athletic enough to actually perform the tasks they are trying to instill in you. Just because coach can't perform a tomahawk 360 slam dunk doesn't take away from the fact that he can teach you to become a champion. Driving instructors do tend to be very good drivers themselves, but realize it's the teaching aspect that is most important.

Last edited by DamonB; 11-13-03 at 08:55 AM.
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Old 11-13-03, 08:31 PM
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to get into racing you have to have a desire to do it. if you want it bad enough you will figure out how to make it work. Unfortunately money is the biggest obstacle. if your in college take some marketing classes and start working on potential sponsors or make sure your major will pay big money and leave you plenty of free time for testing, travelling, and racing. best way to get started is to find a way for someone else to pay for your racing. everything else will come with experience.
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Old 11-13-03, 08:48 PM
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Here is someting to think about...

I started racing karts aka go-karts 3 years ago and I am hooked. I bought a used competitive kart in a good starter class (Sr. Sportsman) and actually did pretty well right off the bat. By the 2nd season I was actually winning! Autox and track days really do not compare to the wheel to wheel racing of karting. It is real racing, real competition against other drivers. It involves racing, setup, mechanics and some engineering understanding. I was bored out of my *** autox (no offense to you Damon). Really enjoyed the track days, but I blew the turbo on my TII once a few hundred miles away from my house. That really sucked considering I drove the car there. I can't afford to have that happen often. Also can't afford to have my street car wreched if something happens during a track day.

Back in 88 I used to hit the local autox and did as many high performance driver's ed events as I could afford here in NY. It was cool, but I kept using my street car to "compete" and have fun with on the track. That sucks b/c it will always be a compromised setup betw/ street and track.

If you want to race for real, I would seriously recommend karting. You can get into a competitive kart cheap $2k-5k and the cost of running a season is cheap too. I budget ~$1k for a season of about 10 races. That covers the engine rebuild, 2 sets of tires and fuel.

check out ekartingnews.com for info
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Old 11-13-03, 09:05 PM
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he's right.. Karting is a CHEAP way to get into racing, and that's what Schumacher does in the off season, is race Karts.
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Old 11-24-03, 08:13 PM
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its ALWAYS cheaper to buy a race car already prepared than to build one
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Old 11-25-03, 02:28 PM
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I think tims is on the mark about having the desire and finding a way. You'll learn as you go. As far as having what it takes to be a race driver, you'll find that out very quickly.

I never found sponsorship that easy to come by. The sponsor is only interested in what you can do for him, not the other way around.
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Old 11-25-03, 05:30 PM
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Well first, what kind of racing are we talking about here? Are you saying you just wanna do this as a fun club racing weekend type of thing? Or a full blown all out open wheel thing? Because it makes a big difference on what steps you have to take to get going. Where the heck is poor college student anyway.. I wonder if he even read the tread yet cause he hasn't responded...

Anyway racing is very competitive either way. But if you wanna do it at the professional level you have to be very aggressive on and off the track. Professional racing is just a marketing job with a little driving time on the side. That and what nickj, specRX7_22, and tims said will get you success...

On the other hand of you wanna just do it as an amateur competition thing, then find the nearest $400 racing licence course, pay a few entry fees and you'r on you way to a weekend of fun. Hope you have some spare parts for that car of yours! Insurance don't cover incidents involving the wall in corner 4, good luck...
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Old 11-25-03, 11:41 PM
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My ex once said that I would have been better off being a drug addict then a racer, it would be less expensive and I would have more friends... errrrrr!
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Old 11-26-03, 12:29 AM
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Someone told me it would take 3 times the money and 3 times the time I thought it would take.

They were right and then some!

Luckily I have a very understanding girlfriend and friends.
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Old 11-26-03, 05:21 AM
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Originally posted by DamonB
I will maintain that with the correct approach (concentration and the abilities to analyze and LEARN) that those few minutes of seat time at an autox will teach you more than an entire afternoon at the track.
Except the really good autocrossers I know are completely instinctive drivers, IOW, they don't overanalyze anything. One guy I know usually shows up late, drives the first heat, without ever walking the course--the bastard then ends up with FTD in an ESP Mitsubishi Eclipse GST--it's totally riced out, but he's a damned instinctive, and naturally talented autocrosser--surprisingly he doesn't open-track much? It must be because OT is non-competitive?

I do agree that beginners SHOULD autocross. It's the absolute best way to learn car control. I autocrossed for a full season before my first high speed DE. As a DE instructor myself, I always encourage novice DE participants to autocross, to experience their cars getting out of shape and recovering at lower speeds. Those skills come in handy when the car gets out of shape at higher speeds, and your autocross experienced takes over.

Last edited by SleepR1; 11-26-03 at 05:32 AM.
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Old 11-26-03, 08:19 AM
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Originally posted by specRX7_22
its ALWAYS cheaper to buy a race car already prepared than to build one
true true. https://www.rx7club.com//showthread....hreadid=245663
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