Becoming a Race Car Driver
So you think you want to become a Race Car Driver? Have you ever considered what it might take to become one? This article will try to help you decide, and list the steps you can take in order to dive in.
Start with the basics;
Not everyone can be a professional race car driver, but with the right focus and training, talented drivers can take sensible, measured steps toward the ultimate goal of driving professionally on the race car circuit. Anyone can work towards high-profile sports careers, but when it comes to the competitive world of auto racing, a would-be professional driver should first consider gaining some basic experience from which to build a resume.
Many professional race car drivers started as young as 5 behind the wheel of a go-kart. Karting helps teach you the craft of racing; from control, to adapting to the race track for speed. The earlier you start racing, the better your chances will be for cultivating a career later. Learn as much as you can while racing go-karts. Race in as many events as you can to gain experience. The more experience you have while young, the better your chances of achieving that career in the future.
Once you become of age to drive
After you have learned all you can from karting, and hopefully gotten a few wins under your belt, it’s a good time to start racing cars. Try entering amateur racing competitions. You can also start building a career racing off-road vehicles and motorcycles, like so many of the current race car drivers have done.
Before you can make it to any kind of professional circuit, you need to hone your skills. Race in as many local races as you can. As you win races, you start to build a reputation as you improve your driving skills, enhance your talent, and build a career. Work your way up through local and regional races, collecting as many wins as possible. This all sounds easy, right? Wrong! Racing is not inexpensive; it takes time and money to participate: from the cost of your vehicle, to entry fees, as well as the cost of keeping your vehicle in tip top shape. Nothing good comes easy.
Take the time to watch the professional race car drivers on TV. Just getting a feel of what goes on during a race can give you an insight as to what you will be experiencing. Even better yet, purchase a pit pass to a local race track, and if possible, talk with the drivers. Educating yourself in the sport is always a great asset.
Understanding the Mechanics of a race car
If you are not mechanically inclined, not a problem – most racers are not mechanics. They depend on their pit crew to keep the car rolling and mechanically sound. But it is still imperative to understand the mechanics of your race car. Search the internet, read books, or even take courses at your local community college. Once you’re on the track, the only one that will know if there is a problem with the vehicle is you, the driver. So learning everything you can about the mechanics of a race car is critical, and understanding the differences between a street vehicle and a race car is extremely important.
Another great way to gain some racing experience is to volunteer at a local track to help out in the pits. Find a local racer who would be willing to allow you this rare opportunity. Many amateur and semi-pro teams need volunteers to do all sorts of jobs. This is a good way to meet people and get hands on experience.
Learning to Drive
Driving a race car is very different than driving a street vehicle. If you are serious about racing, then you need to drive like a professional. Take a professional driving course – many local tracks offer such courses to insure the safety of all participants on the track. Learning the hand signals and getting proper course education will save lives.
Find a Professional Driver’s Internship
While actual race car experience is important if you want to be a professional race car driver, it’s also important to tune up your mind to deal with the racing business. As the popularity of racing continues to grow and fans continue to pump millions of dollars into the industry, some advanced education in business and communication could give new NASCAR drivers an edge.
Attend a racing school
Different organizations, such as the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), offer driving schools. An organization such as SCCA can also help you get inside the business as a worker or inspector, which could lead to your own career as a race car driver.
Just when you thought you were on your way to fulfilling your dream, there is still more to know and understand. What about that Professional Racing License? Before you get behind the wheel, you will need to apply for a competition license. This can be an arduous process, but different organizations can help you.
There are slightly different restrictions for people who have racing experience and those who do not. Attending racing schools can help you obtain a competition license. Also, before being awarded that license, you will be required to pass a physical.
You will begin with a novice or provisional competition license. After successfully competing in a set number of organization-sponsored races, the driver will be eligible for upgrade to a full competition license.
So much to think about and consider. Finally, keeping yourself fit, finding the funds to cover the costs of racing, and locating a race car are not easy tasks. Being a professional race car driver takes time, passion, patience, commitment, and teamwork to build towards being the best you can be. Remember, it takes a team to win a race. Happy Motoring.