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Tips for getting started in racing

Updated: Oct 7, 2021

Racing isn't as difficult of a sport to get into as many believe. Here are some tips I learned along the way that helped me get started.

If you have any questions about anything listed below please don't hesitate to contact me and reach out! Also, please note: I'm not a writer. Please excuse any grammar or spelling mistakes. Cut me some slack guys, I'm simply a racer trying to help other aspiring racers!

How do I get my racing license?

This is probably the most common question I get asked. It astonishes me when I see how unattainable a racing license seems to some people! The truth is, the process of getting a racing license isn't as hard as most think. Do you have some on track experience? Basic understanding of track etiquette? A car to do your test in? Perfect! You're half way there. There are a few options available for you to get your racing license. Personally, I did the Brack Driving Concepts race school and there is now a Race Development Coach program offered by CASC. I'm now a race instructor for both. Brack Driving Concepts offers a Race License Program where you will have in-class and on-track testing with an instructor. In-class will teach you everything about vehicle dynamics, flags and safety, rules and regulations, track and racing etiquette and more. You will then head out on track with your instructor and practice everything you were taught in the classroom. On-track activities will also include race starts, being forced off-line and having to react under all flags. You will have to pass an in-class exam with everything you were taught that weekend and your in-car instructor will either pass or fail you based off of your performance on track. If you pass both you will then receive your regional B license. This will allow you to enter your first race where you will then be observed for 3 race weekends before getting signed off to your regional A license. The CASC Race Development Coach program is designed for a similar purpose, to get car/racing enthusiasts who wish to race, on track racing. If you feel confident in your driving ability and have past track experience, you can hire a Race Development Coach to come to a track day and observe you for the day. A Race Development Coach will be someone who has an extensive racing background and who is actively racing themselves. After observing you for the day and approving you, you will then be signed off to your regional B license. The same 3 weekend observation will apply. A nice thing about this program is that when you take this route, your race development coach will help mentor you through your first race weekend. They will be there to guide you, answer questions and to make sure you feel confident and comfortable. This program is $450.00CAD and can be paid to CASC.

Tires Tires Tires!!!

Aside from actually building/buying your car, tires will be your #1 expense. If you're starting out anything like I did (with a very small budget lol) you'll want to find ways to either maintain your new tires or know how to get your hands on some gently used ones. Simple tips like rotating your tires after every session and properly storing your tires in proper temperatures will help preserve your tires and wear them evenly. Another tip that helped me in my early stages of racing was getting used tires. Fun tip: going to bigger IMSA / PWC race weekends, teams are always throwing away tires (if they don't have to bring them back). Many teams are happy to give away used tires to not have to haul them all the way back to their shops. Take advantage of this! These are like gold. Sometimes these teams run a set of slicks for a qualifying session and then deem the tires no good and throw them away. These can last you multiple race weekends and then can usually be safely used as practice tires, if rotated and maintained properly. If you're running CASC weekends, any competitive driver there has allocated budget for tires and are always selling their gently used slicks. Don't be shy to ask around! I'm one of those racers who sell my gently used slicks, feel free to come to me and see what I have.

Be a clean racer, this isn't a demolition derby.

Don't make enemies at the track, especially your first season out there. Naturally there is a competitive nature in racing, thats healthy. But if you're out there making dirty dive bombs, dangerously blocking, making unnecessary contact or being an unpredictable driver for the faster GT1/2 cars coming up on you... you won't last long. It's very frustrating for everyone and other drivers probably won't be nice about it either. It's dangerous and not cool! There are amazing battles to be had on the track and they are even sweeter when done properly. You won't want the reputation of being a menacing driver, its a very small community and one day you'll need help with something and no one will want to hep you. Not everyone will like you and thats okay, but let them not like you because you're beating them fair and square not because you're trying to crash everyone out.

Sponsors- you'll want them

Getting started in racing won't be easy financially. You have the costs of building/buying your car, getting all of your of your equipment, race school etc. Be successful in your day job so that you can afford out of your own pocket to get started. From there look to build your racing resume and attract sponsors. If you're racing at a regional level, chances are you won't be attracting sponsors by exposure. You'll need to find something unique to you that you can offer- you need to offer value. Do you have a shop where you can sell their product? do it. Are you a graphic designer or web designer? Offer your services as part of sponsorship. Do you have a blog? Blog about their product and company. Offer something. A sticker on a car in a series that isn't televised is a hard pitch. Trust me. Learn social media and how to use your platform as a way to showcase sponsors and to promote them. A sponsorship is a partnership between you and a company or individual. Cherish that relationship and be genuine with your approach. Understand their value to your racing career and be confident in what you can offer back. Be prepared, sometimes getting opportunities or building relationships means putting yourself out there and often working for free at the beginning. In my early years of racing, I paid to fly myself out to SEMA every year to network and film videos for sponsors for free just to establish relationships and strengthen them. I worked autoshows for free at booths promoting sponsors products for the same reason. Eventually, I established amazing long term relationships and soon after was paid to fly out to events all over to film coverage of major events and to promote my sponsors products. Success won't happen over night and neither will lasting partnerships! Put the work in, build a resume and hustle for sponsorships.

Final notes

Getting licensed, managing tires, knowing how to hold yourself and sponsorships... These are a handful of the main things to focus on when getting started in racing. This blog could be a 10 hour read if we dove into everything. But read this, understand it and execute these steps. I'll do more blogs in the near future and dive further into getting started in racing and how to make sure you stay in the sport! I hope you guys enjoyed this first blog :) If you have any questions or comments don't hesitate to reach out! I would love to hear from you.

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