Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 32

Thread: How do you become a professional racing driver?

  1. #1
    AMDX1325's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 22nd, 2010
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    82
    Car(s)
    VW Jetta MKV, Suzuki Aerio GS, MB 560SEL
    Rep Power
    10

    How do you become a professional racing driver?

    Since I'm so fond of driving and cars. I think I want to start some training and become a racing driver. It takes lots of dedication and resource, but I want to find out what are some of the steps. I know in UK there are racing driver license, is there such thing here in the US? and Would a Track day be a good start to get a feel for racing? Also are the pro-driving schools any good? I live around the Big Apple, so theres nothing except for street racing. I think the nearest Track with track day events is in Jersey, with a requirement to join the club first.

  2. #2
    My name is Sheridan Cowboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 31st, 2009
    Posts
    8,196
    Rep Power
    772
    I'm no expert but I would say you're already a little late.....

    Don't most racedrivers start pretty young in carting these days?

  3. #3
    avanti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 21st, 2005
    Location
    Milano, Italia
    Posts
    6,061
    Car(s)
    6 cars + 6 bikes
    Rep Power
    215
    Unless you have endless funds and can buy yourself a seat in a racing series, you are never going to become a professional racing driver.
    ____________________________
    ||||||||||||||| Ride, Eat, Sleep, Repeat.

  4. #4
    LeVeL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 16th, 2007
    Location
    Bosston, MA
    Posts
    9,416
    Car(s)
    ///Mx5
    Rep Power
    345
    how old are you?
    Becoming a racing driver also requires a lot of money. And skill. Which is something 99.99999999% of us don't have. If you are really committed then race at every single autocross you possibly can for a few years, do a few track days, go to a racing school (eg skip barber), and good luck - you'll need a lot of it.

    not to kill your dream or anything but you need to be DAMN good to go pro. You say you are fond of driving so I take it you are around 17-18, which is too late to get into racing and it will take about seven miracles and some serious connections up in Heaven to get you into higher rungs of racing.
    ____________________________
    "Men with guts attack those corners!" - Keiichi Tsuchiya

  5. #5
    boganbusman's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 21st, 2006
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Age
    26
    Posts
    103
    Car(s)
    1988 AW11 Turbo, 1987 AW11, 1995 EG Civic hatch
    Rep Power
    21
    Option 1: Buy a kart and start racing competitively. Race as much as possible in any and every category that you possibly can. Win races. Get scouted by a entry-level motorsports race team. Win races. Get accepted into a higher category of racing. Win races. By now you are probably a pro race driver.

    Option 2: Have lots of money. Get some practice/tuiton and become half-decent at driving. Buy your way into the race team of your choice, or start your own team. Happy days.

    Good luck!

  6. #6
    The_Finn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 7th, 2005
    Location
    Worcestersheshershire MA
    Age
    33
    Posts
    4,568
    Car(s)
    99 Volvo V70R
    Rep Power
    58
    Check out the Mazda Ladder System also one or two of our members are on the road to pro racing and i am sure they will chime in
    ____________________________
    "My laptop has a webcam; if I wanted to make money while making a mess, I'd be all over the internet. Hell, you'd probably have videos of me bookmarked."
    ~Klutch~

    “Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports ... all others are games.”
    ~Ernest Hemingway~

    It's all about having the right priorities. You can sleep in your car but you can't race your house -|- Basically i go accurately and on special lines

  7. #7
    Helsinki Smash Rod Dogbert's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 15th, 2008
    Location
    N38° 43', W90° 22'
    Age
    28
    Posts
    6,432
    Car(s)
    Roger Dean's Rocks
    Rep Power
    241
    Define "professional".

    You aren't too old... nobody's "too old"... but you have to have an ultimate, realistic definition of "made it" set for yourself. What do you like to drive? How do you like to drive?
    ____________________________
    No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up.
    - Lily Tomlin



    My cheevos!

  8. #8
    MadCat360's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 15th, 2008
    Location
    Mazda Raceway
    Age
    24
    Posts
    7,571
    Car(s)
    *Carless* Waaahhh
    Rep Power
    242
    Quote Originally Posted by AMDX1325 View Post
    Since I'm so fond of driving and cars. I think I want to start some training and become a racing driver. It takes lots of dedication and resource, but I want to find out what are some of the steps. I know in UK there are racing driver license, is there such thing here in the US? and Would a Track day be a good start to get a feel for racing? Also are the pro-driving schools any good? I live around the Big Apple, so theres nothing except for street racing. I think the nearest Track with track day events is in Jersey, with a requirement to join the club first.
    First, how old are you?

    That's the money question when you first start out. Your age is going to determine what level or area you have a realistic chance of getting to. For the record I'm ignoring ovals. I have basically no knowledge of what it's like to try for a career there.

    If you're older than 25 you can forget about it. Unless you have enough money to buy a pro or semipro seat outright ($100,000 - $600,000 per year) and even then you'd have to win a number of races in your first season.

    If you're under 25 but still over 20, realistically sports cars are your only option. You're not going to Indy unless you're an instant superstar. Do a racing school, get into NASA or SCCA, do a couple of seasons in tin tops (spec Miata, Spec E30, something like that with a large grid size), and see how you stack up. This is going to cost you at least $30,000 for your first season, if you drive someone else's car (pay to play), including schools and licensing. If you stack up well enough (in other words, if you win everything), go after the sponsors like mad and try to get yourself into something on TV. MX-5 Cup or Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge would be what you're looking at there, with an eventual goal of Grand Am Rolex prototypes or American Le Mans. To do that you'd need a budget of about $70,000 for MX-5 and $120,000 for CTSCC in the ST class ($200,000 if you wanna race the BMW's and Porsches in the GS class). If you do not have a consistent record of finishing on the podium and winning most of the races on the calendar in club racing, the sponsors won't touch you for professional racing. Obviously you also gotta be a shmooze.

    If you go that route, you'll need between $500,000 and $1 million in cash and about 6-10 years of your life (or more) before you get paid. When you do get paid, either driving for the dominant Grand Am Rolex GT team, or one of the top 3 Rolex Prototype teams, or as a factory driver in American Le Mans, you can expect a $100,000 paycheck if you're good. No doubt the economy will change drastically by then and those numbers are irrelevant.

    If you don't have the natural talent to win that much that quickly, you need training. That takes time and more money. A season of 12 races in a Skip Barber regional series where you will have a team of coaches attending to you will cost you $20,000-$30,000 in outright fees, plus the fees for the 5 or so days of racing school you need to attend (about $6,000-$7,000). Don't buy the "$14,500 for a full season" sell. Yes, you can do it that way but you will get minimal track time and you probably won't develop enough talent to win any races. If you wanna go that route call the school and get them to spell it out for you so it's clear. You'll probably need to do at least 2 seasons worth, probably more. Seasons at Skip Barber happen twice a year, summer and winter. It's best to do this training in the Formula 2000 car. It costs the same, is faster than the Miata, and you'll learn a lot more. After you complete your training at Skip Barber try for the first plan. If you have enough money (double), do the National race series.

    If you're under 20 you still have time to try some karting, or make your way up the formula car ladder. If you're good in formula cars you can be good in anything. That's what I'm doing.

    But to come up with an exact idea of what you need to do we need to know your age, how much you can spend, and what you'd like to do. Nothing is impossible strictly speaking. Hell you might even be the next IndyCar star. But you gotta take it one step at a time and the first few are the most important.

    The good news is, if you do find that you genuinely love it, two things happen:

    1) you realize that you can actually afford to race in some way shape or form, on almost any budget.

    2) you gain the necessary drive to make it. That's the biggest bit. Most of the guys that don't make it usually fall out simply because they don't really want it. A lot of times they want to be race car drivers just because they think it's cool, or they want to be rich and famous. If you genuinely love to drive fast, and have a fundamental need to do so, you'll probably find a way to make it work.
    Last edited by MadCat360; October 27th, 2010 at 4:13 AM.
    ____________________________
    Ex rotard

  9. #9
    AMDX1325's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 22nd, 2010
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    82
    Car(s)
    VW Jetta MKV, Suzuki Aerio GS, MB 560SEL
    Rep Power
    10
    Thats a very informative, well detailed response madcat360, and I saw some of your driving videos at leguna seca, the approach to the apex interests me. I am 21 years old, and I am contemplating whether my passion for cars and speed should be a hobby or a choice of career. It is correct that racing should have begun when I was younger for me to gain experiences and rack up wins. So I guess the realistic situation is that this passion of mine might have to remain a hobby, but I would like it to be a damn good (costly as well lol) one. Driving schools, track days, are some of the things I might seriously consider.
    Last edited by AMDX1325; October 27th, 2010 at 11:01 AM.

  10. #10
    MadCat360's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 15th, 2008
    Location
    Mazda Raceway
    Age
    24
    Posts
    7,571
    Car(s)
    *Carless* Waaahhh
    Rep Power
    242
    Okay, then I think the best thing you can do at the moment is call Skip Barber and get into the F2000. They run tons of schools at their home track of Lime Rock Park, in Connecticut. Incidentally they are having a 20% off sale at the moment. If you like it (which you will, no doubt), tell them you want an SCCA license out of it, and for a fee they will sign you a letter of recommendation for a regional or a national license. Then all you have to do is get a physical form filled out by your doctor and you can race in SCCA. Your SCCA regional license will be recognized for NASA competition as well.

    SCCA in the northeast runs at Watkins Glen, Pocono, Mosport, Lime Rock, etc.

    You're just young enough that you might still be able to make an okay stab at formula cars. But you won't get to Indy unless you have $3-$5 million to throw at it. It's pay to play all the way to the top. The idea behind trying for formula cars is to get as high as you can (doesn't need to be too high) before switching to sports cars. A few drivers have been doing that recently, transferring from a successful Star Mazda career to a paid, almost factory drive in Rolex GT. If you can get the funds and the skills to make Star Mazda work for you, you could go that route, but you'll need about half a million (Star Mazda itself will cost $350,000-$400,000 per year).

    If you do SCCA, you may as well do formula cars at the same time. No idea what's popular up there, you'll have to call some people and post on the forums. But out here I'm going to do Formula Ford. Find a team with a dedicated driver coach.

    Whether or not to do Skip Barber regionals would depend on how much money you want to throw at it. If the bug really bites you, expect to pay as much as your finances will physically allow.

    By the way, where are your parents in all this? Support from your parents is huge.
    Last edited by MadCat360; October 27th, 2010 at 5:28 PM.
    ____________________________
    Ex rotard

  11. #11
    Helsinki Smash Rod Dogbert's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 15th, 2008
    Location
    N38° 43', W90° 22'
    Age
    28
    Posts
    6,432
    Car(s)
    Roger Dean's Rocks
    Rep Power
    241
    It's important to note that MadCat360's way is the fast-track big-money way of "going pro" right out of the gate, and should be taken with a grain of salt. Skip Barber series' are great if you have wads of cash laying around, but 99% of us who are in racing didn't (and still don't), so here's some alternative advice.

    Make it an expensive hobby first. If you go straight in as some unknown kid expecting to make big bucks and have women hanging off your arm, you'll be laughed out of a paddock... and that's even assuming you want to make a career out of this in the first place, which you have no idea.

    First and foremost, look up when the next SCCA or NASA road race event will be near you, and go talk to some guys there. Get a feel for if you want to be part of their crowd or not. If you don't like the SCCA events and SCCA guys, try a NASA event, and vice versa. You have to find your niche in the racing world before you decide you can make money in it.

    Assuming you've found a friendly group of guys and an organization where you think you'd want to stake your claim, go to their respective track days; HPDE's for NASA, and PDX's for SCCA. Get a feel for whether you think you've got the nerve to go fast on a track, let alone surround yourself with twenty guys who all want to be in the exact spot you're taking up while doing so.

    Once you've graduated from the novice levels, you'll need a car. Don't bother with renting a car; you need to learn how a car works if you hope to go fast in it, and having someone pamper and prep it for you won't teach you anything.

    This also begs the question of "what do you want to do?" As far as what's cheapest... you can get an already prepared, already race tested Spec Miata or Spec Focus on Racing Junk for about $7,000. Now before you turn your nose up at how slow a Miata or Focus can be, their lack of speed are made up for in track excitement, as you're racing something so cheap that guys don't mind a little pushing and shoving on the track. It isn't gonna be a demolition derby, but it'll keep you on your toes.

    Then you're gonna need to some more track days in your new, shiny race car. Once you get enough to where you're running with the advanced groups, you're ready for a racing school to get your competition license. Skip Barber is arguably one of the best in the nation, but it's also the most expensive, at around $3500 for a three day school. You can go to the Mid-Ohio school for about $500. It's not quite as comprehensive as Skip Barber, but it'll get you what you need; a competition license and logbook.

    Once you have those two things, you can go racing. And then you can find out if you want to "go pro" or not.


    It's also important to note that there are several motorsport disciplines you can "go pro" in. You can be a pro at time attack driving, you can be a pro at road racing, you can be a pro in formula cars, you can be a pro at autocrossing... it all depends on what kind of racing you want to do.
    ____________________________
    No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up.
    - Lily Tomlin



    My cheevos!

  12. #12
    Greatgraddage's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 7th, 2004
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Age
    28
    Posts
    1,199
    Rep Power
    25
    I was under the belief that hardly any race drivers are true pros (i.e. get paid to race, no catches). Even half the F1 field pay for their seats....
    ____________________________
    Currently Drive - 205 GTI
    Currently Want - 1967 Mustang GT500 (Eleanor!)

  13. #13
    The_Finn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 7th, 2005
    Location
    Worcestersheshershire MA
    Age
    33
    Posts
    4,568
    Car(s)
    99 Volvo V70R
    Rep Power
    58
    I know Randy Pobst gets paid for driving the K-Pax Volvo as well has his stints in the GT3 porsches for ALMS. I think that contracts (3 years for xxx thousand) may be relatively rare because the drivers (that aren't team owners) seemed to bounce from ride to ride pretty often in ALMS and World Challenge.
    ____________________________
    "My laptop has a webcam; if I wanted to make money while making a mess, I'd be all over the internet. Hell, you'd probably have videos of me bookmarked."
    ~Klutch~

    “Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports ... all others are games.”
    ~Ernest Hemingway~

    It's all about having the right priorities. You can sleep in your car but you can't race your house -|- Basically i go accurately and on special lines

  14. #14
    MadCat360's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 15th, 2008
    Location
    Mazda Raceway
    Age
    24
    Posts
    7,571
    Car(s)
    *Carless* Waaahhh
    Rep Power
    242
    Quote Originally Posted by Dogbert View Post
    It's important to note that MadCat360's way is the fast-track big-money way of "going pro" right out of the gate, and should be taken with a grain of salt. Skip Barber series' are great if you have wads of cash laying around, but 99% of us who are in racing didn't (and still don't), so here's some alternative advice.

    ...

    Then you're gonna need to some more track days in your new, shiny race car. Once you get enough to where you're running with the advanced groups, you're ready for a racing school to get your competition license. Skip Barber is arguably one of the best in the nation, but it's also the most expensive, at around $3500 for a three day school. You can go to the Mid-Ohio school for about $500. It's not quite as comprehensive as Skip Barber, but it'll get you what you need; a competition license and logbook.
    He's going to need to shell out, or obtain, big bucks eventually. No one gets a paid drive out of SCCA. If all you ever race is SCCA, you won't ever get paid. You need to be on TV to make waves and to be on TV you need money. The show is where it's at. If you want to earn money you have to drive fast, expensive cars. There are a vast number of ways to make money racing. You can get contracts outright from teams (fairly common in Grand Am and ALMS, where gentleman drivers pay to have a professional share the car with them), you can coach, you can take a little off the top of your sponsorship deals, etc. Unfortunately winnings isn't anywhere near enough to pay you anything. That stuff goes to the team and tire bill.

    By the way, Skip Barber is quite cheap actually, for a professional racing school with specialized cars. Jim Russell is nearly 5 grand - their race series is 100 grand. Also, that Mid Ohio school has a lot of "hidden" requirements. You need to do a variety of programs before you can do that. To do the licensing school you need to do a lapping session first. Before you can do lapping you need to do BOTH the basic and advanced Acura High Performance classes. Using your own cars (street and race) the grand total is $2,495, not counting fuel and tires. $3,520 using their cars.

    Moral: all racing schools nickel and dime you.

    Either way is possible. If you wanna drive SCCA and all the while sponsor hunt to try to fund a professional stab, that can work too. But it's going to take longer and is more unstable. But it's not impossible. People have done it that way before. But throwing a little money at it can help a lot.
    Last edited by MadCat360; October 28th, 2010 at 9:30 PM.
    ____________________________
    Ex rotard

  15. #15
    airmenair's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 18th, 2005
    Location
    Arlington, Texas, USA
    Age
    28
    Posts
    2,547
    Rep Power
    45
    Alternatively, if you're in school (university) you can see if your school offers an FSAE program. FSAE is good because you'll get both the technical side of things (how to build and setup a race car) as well as driver training. Not to mention there is no additional cost to you apart from tuition. As far the driving goes, previous experience in carting will go a long way in putting you in the driver's seat as an official driver but it's not a requirement. If you're committed and the instructor/adviser sees that, you'll get your chance to drive.

    Of course there are qualifiers with what I just proposed. You have to:

    -Be at a university with a FSAE team
    -Have an interest in engineering (At my program being an engineering student was not a requirement but the important members of the team, including the drivers were either mechanical or aerospace engineers)
    -Balance the team and your interest in racing with school.

    The last one is particulary difficult, especially if you're getting a degree in engineering. Both are full time activities and finding time to do both is a challenge.

    FSAE is a great way to get a start in motorsports but it doesn't necessarily mean you'll end up as a driver. One of our guys went on to be a test driver for Michelin and an older team member joined a LeMans team. Most of the guys involved have gone on to work in something automotive related but were more focused on the technical side of things, like autmotive engineering or just working in race shops. Also, the recruiters at the competitions aren't as focused on looking for good drivers as they are on looking for good automotive engineers.

    Basically it's a good option if engineering and race car design is also of interest to you and if you're already in the position to join. Otherwise going with the routes others have suggested may be better. For more info on FSAE, check here

    http://students.sae.org/competitions...ries/about.htm
    Last edited by airmenair; October 29th, 2010 at 3:20 PM.

  16. #16
    Helsinki Smash Rod Dogbert's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 15th, 2008
    Location
    N38° 43', W90° 22'
    Age
    28
    Posts
    6,432
    Car(s)
    Roger Dean's Rocks
    Rep Power
    241
    Quote Originally Posted by MadCat360 View Post
    He's going to need to shell out, or obtain, big bucks eventually. No one gets a paid drive out of SCCA. If all you ever race is SCCA, you won't ever get paid. You need to be on TV to make waves and to be on TV you need money. The show is where it's at. If you want to earn money you have to drive fast, expensive cars. There are a vast number of ways to make money racing. You can get contracts outright from teams (fairly common in Grand Am and ALMS, where gentleman drivers pay to have a professional share the car with them), you can coach, you can take a little off the top of your sponsorship deals, etc. Unfortunately winnings isn't anywhere near enough to pay you anything. That stuff goes to the team and tire bill.
    But you don't need to shell out big bucks. That's what I'm saying.

    I consider someone a "professional" if they get paid to do what they do; so does Merriam-Webster. If he becomes a good Spec E30 driver in the New England area, and "Jimbo's Fish, Shrimp, and Beyond" covers part of his expenses in a sponsorship deal, who's to say that's not a professional? He isn't on TV hanging out with Kleinubing, but someone is still paying him to race.

    Quote Originally Posted by MadCat360 View Post
    By the way, Skip Barber is quite cheap actually, for a professional racing school with specialized cars. Jim Russell is nearly 5 grand - their race series is 100 grand. Also, that Mid Ohio school has a lot of "hidden" requirements. You need to do a variety of programs before you can do that. To do the licensing school you need to do a lapping session first. Before you can do lapping you need to do BOTH the basic and advanced Acura High Performance classes. Using your own cars (street and race) the grand total is $2,495, not counting fuel and tires. $3,520 using their cars.
    Where on Earth are you getting that? The only requirement for the Comp Licensing School is either the lapping program, or having finished an HPDE4. If you bring your own car, and have done an HPDE4, it's $470.

    Now, if you factor in the cost of going up the HPDE ladder... yeah, $2,500 total sounds about right. But that's also four or five weekends of track time, compared to Skip Barber's three days for (at best) the same price.
    ____________________________
    No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up.
    - Lily Tomlin



    My cheevos!

  17. #17
    MadCat360's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 15th, 2008
    Location
    Mazda Raceway
    Age
    24
    Posts
    7,571
    Car(s)
    *Carless* Waaahhh
    Rep Power
    242
    Quote Originally Posted by Dogbert View Post
    But you don't need to shell out big bucks. That's what I'm saying.

    I consider someone a "professional" if they get paid to do what they do; so does Merriam-Webster. If he becomes a good Spec E30 driver in the New England area, and "Jimbo's Fish, Shrimp, and Beyond" covers part of his expenses in a sponsorship deal, who's to say that's not a professional? He isn't on TV hanging out with Kleinubing, but someone is still paying him to race.
    Professional makes a living. If what you say is true then every SCCA racer is a professional because every SCCA driver can get contingency sponsorships from SCCA themselves and earn money. It's rather funny that you bring up definitions because definitions themselves are rather a matter of popular opinion. Meaning, a definition is only what people agree for it to mean.

    In racing, a professional is not just a matter of "financial return". This isn't a definition, it's just what people think of when you say professional. He's not going to make a living selling $250 spots on his car for a season.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dogbert
    Where on Earth are you getting that? The only requirement for the Comp Licensing School is either the lapping program, or having finished an HPDE4. If you bring your own car, and have done an HPDE4, it's $470.

    Now, if you factor in the cost of going up the HPDE ladder... yeah, $2,500 total sounds about right. But that's also four or five weekends of track time, compared to Skip Barber's three days for (at best) the same price.
    Yes and the lapping program still requires the two performance schools as well, don't forget.

    And while you get more track time, you're not going to learn as much doing HPDEs in a street car as you will in 3 days of driving the F2000 with a team of professional coaches tending to you. Track time outright is only effective when the driver knows how to self-critique, and knows when his volunteer instructor is talking bullshit. Not to mention traffic. Traffic at HPDEs is terrible. A fast driver is lucky to get a lap that isn't balked in one or more spots. In Skip Barber, you share the track with a maximum of 5 other cars during the 3-day.

    If he does the HPDEs with his street car (the Jetta I guess), how do you think that's relevant? He's not going to learn anything about a RWD race car that way. If he rents a race car, that's going to be between $500 and $1,000 per day just for the car and it's still going to be a mostly-stock tin top. Now how much does your HPDE route cost? Even if you find a guy willing to do a rental for $500 per weekend of HPDE (which would be a miracle), that's still about $1,000 per weekend and he won't learn as much.

    Unless you're asking him to buy a race car outright before he ever even drives on a track.

    Just another example of how a little extra money in the right place will get you a lot more benefit in a lot shorter time period. The value of the Skip Barber race series is debatable, but if there is one thing a young professional aspirant must do it's go to Skip Barber for a racing school. There is no better place to go for your first time driving a serious car on track.
    Last edited by MadCat360; October 30th, 2010 at 8:42 PM.
    ____________________________
    Ex rotard

  18. #18
    Dr_Grip's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 8th, 2008
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    11,577
    Car(s)
    1979 Opel Kadett; 1972 Ford Country Sedan
    Rep Power
    988
    MadCat, by your definition even half of the F1 grid does not consist of "professional" racing drivers.

    It does not matter if you bring personal sponsorship to a team, so technically are paying for your drive or if the team gets sponsorship to pay for your drive, still someone covers your personal expenses along with the rest.

    If racing is your sole (or at least main) source of income, you're a professional.
    ____________________________
    Battered and weary after the craziness of the 1960s, the self-righteousness of the 1970s and the greed of the 1980s, I want to go home again, oh, so desperately - home to that land of drive-in restaurants and Chevy Bel-Airs, making out and rock 'n' roll and drag races and Studebakers, Elvis and James Dean and black leather jackets. Not that I ever owned a black leather jacket.
    (Roger Ebert)

    |

  19. #19
    Helsinki Smash Rod Dogbert's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 15th, 2008
    Location
    N38° 43', W90° 22'
    Age
    28
    Posts
    6,432
    Car(s)
    Roger Dean's Rocks
    Rep Power
    241
    Quote Originally Posted by MadCat360 View Post
    Professional makes a living.
    Anyone who does jobs for supplemental income would disagree with you. I don't make a living doing web design, but people give me money to do it. Am I, what, a paid amateur?

    Saying you aren't a professional at something is an insult to anyone who gives you money to do it.

    Quote Originally Posted by MadCat360 View Post
    If what you say is true then every SCCA racer is a professional because every SCCA driver can get contingency sponsorships from SCCA themselves and earn money.
    There's a difference between can earn money and does earn money. There's also a difference between series contingencies and driver sponsorships.

    Quote Originally Posted by MadCat360 View Post
    In racing, a professional is not just a matter of "financial return". This isn't a definition, it's just what people think of when you say professional. He's not going to make a living selling $250 spots on his car for a season.
    It's extremely pretentious of you to presume you can tell me what professional racing is and isn't. I dare you to go down to any paddock in the country, and tell the guys with day jobs and sponsorships on the side of their car, that they aren't professionals because they aren't making a living off of just racing.

    Quote Originally Posted by MadCat360 View Post
    And while you get more track time, you're not going to learn as much doing HPDEs in a street car as you will in 3 days of driving the F2000 with a team of professional coaches tending to you. Track time outright is only effective when the driver knows how to self-critique, and knows when his volunteer instructor is talking bullshit. Not to mention traffic. Traffic at HPDEs is terrible. A fast driver is lucky to get a lap that isn't balked in one or more spots. In Skip Barber, you share the track with a maximum of 5 other cars during the 3-day.

    If he does the HPDEs with his street car (the Jetta I guess), how do you think that's relevant? He's not going to learn anything about a RWD race car that way. If he rents a race car, that's going to be between $500 and $1,000 per day just for the car and it's still going to be a mostly-stock tin top. Now how much does your HPDE route cost? Even if you find a guy willing to do a rental for $500 per weekend of HPDE (which would be a miracle), that's still about $1,000 per weekend and he won't learn as much.

    Unless you're asking him to buy a race car outright before he ever even drives on a track.

    Just another example of how a little extra money in the right place will get you a lot more benefit in a lot shorter time period. The value of the Skip Barber race series is debatable, but if there is one thing a young professional aspirant must do it's go to Skip Barber for a racing school. There is no better place to go for your first time driving a serious car on track.
    Your snobbishness about anything that isn't Skip Barber is a little too thick to be relied on for any solid advice, and is just another example of how far you're disconnected from the rest of the actual racing world everyone else lives in. I know many, many drivers who went up the HPDE ladder. I know almost as many drivers who bought their race car after many discussions with informed persons before they ever drove it on a track. Not everyone who doesn't do Skip Barber shit is a total retard, and not everyone who doesn't buy into their high-price programs and race series' is just an amateur.

    Just because the rest of us don't have tens of thousands of dollars handed to us to go racing doesn't mean we're all just fucking around.
    Last edited by Dogbert; October 31st, 2010 at 12:30 AM.
    ____________________________
    No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up.
    - Lily Tomlin



    My cheevos!

  20. #20
    MadCat360's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 15th, 2008
    Location
    Mazda Raceway
    Age
    24
    Posts
    7,571
    Car(s)
    *Carless* Waaahhh
    Rep Power
    242
    Quote Originally Posted by Dogbert View Post
    Your snobbishness about anything that isn't Skip Barber is a little too thick to be relied on for any solid advice, and is just another example of how far you're disconnected from the rest of the actual racing world everyone else lives in. I know many, many drivers who went up the HPDE ladder. I know almost as many drivers who bought their race car after many discussions with informed persons before they ever drove it on a track. Not everyone who doesn't do Skip Barber shit is a total retard, and not everyone who doesn't buy into their high-price programs and race series' is just an amateur.
    Snobbishness, that's a good one. Skip Barber is convenient for him. If he was in Pennsylvania I'd tell him to go to Bertil Roos. If Arizona then Bondurant. Hell if it was licensing season I'd even tell him to do an SCCA school if he can find a good price on a rental. Any racing school with a decent reputation will do for a fantastic introduction to racing, which is what he needs. HPDE in a Jetta with a volunteer instructor who may or may not be good isn't going to show him what racing is about. Driving a race car, being instructed by successful racing drivers, and doing practice starts is.

    You have a habit of turning even a mundane conversation into some kind of do-or-die debate for the world. You obviously have not been reading my posts, since you're pulling this high-school stuff. But go ahead, keep branding me as an elitist snob, even when I specifically told him to look up SCCA/NASA and to avoid the Skip Barber race series unless he has a lot of money... I myself am going to race in SCCA next year, even though I'm not going to expect to make any money out of it or even advance my career - this is driver development and assessment, which is why I'm getting a coach that has fielded successful drivers and two of my previous coaches, both at Skip Barber and Jim Russell. You claim I'm out of touch. Do you even race cars Dogbert? I've never seen you talk about it before.

    I don't care how many people you know that bought a race car outright before ever driving on a track (though you said "it" on a track, I was referring to racing in general). Buying a race car and all it entails (trailer, spares, tow vehicle if necessary) without even knowing if racing's what you really want to do is a stupid decision. Lots of people do stupid stuff every day, including racing drivers. Quantity alone is not a good indicator of what to do. Drivers have gone straight from karting into Indy Lights. Doesn't mean you should try that.

    AMDX wants to know how to become a professional racing driver. The answer is any way he can. He can do NASA HPDEs till he's blue in the face if he wants. He could commit to karting and try to go to one of the world finals. He could even do autocross. There's always a chance that someone might give him a break. But that chance is not as large as it would be if he was racing on TV, in a fast formula car like Atlantics or Indy Lights, or even sedans in CTSCC. And that's all I've done, is outline the paths with the highest chances of him being noticed and hired. If those paths are not for him, then we will work on getting him in the door in a way that is easier on his wallet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dogbert
    It's extremely pretentious of you to presume you can tell me what professional racing is and isn't. I dare you to go down to any paddock in the country, and tell the guys with day jobs and sponsorships on the side of their car, that they aren't professionals because they aren't making a living off of just racing.
    They already do that themselves. In sports car racing, even at the professional levels, there are gentleman drivers and there are professionals. The gentleman drivers buy their seats, the professionals get paid or bring sponsorship. I doubt you'd find any SCCA Club racer claiming they were a professional, even if they sold spots on the car (that includes myself, I am most definitely an amateur). SCCA Pro has a few paid drivers who make a living, so the name is accurate. Even a few karters make a living driving karts. Like I alluded to but didn't explain, professional as a definition in racing is not just about financial return. It's about presentation, skill, focus, and a whole host of other parameters. Having a professional presentation, for instance, has nothing to do with how much you're paid, but it does have everything to do with how people perceive you. By the way, a humongous portion of the sponsorships displayed on cars in the US road racing are the driver's or team owner's personal business. Stickers do not a professional make. Racing is also not web design, and is much more complicated financially. I'm surprised someone as interesting in definition as yourself would even suggest a parallel between the two.
    Last edited by MadCat360; October 31st, 2010 at 3:32 AM.
    ____________________________
    Ex rotard

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. so whos a racing driver?
    By anto-t in forum Motorsports
    Replies: 37
    Last Post: November 22nd, 2007, 7:37 AM
  2. Dad's new car - BMW 320i Professional
    By Homer_Bart in forum Post Your Car
    Replies: 62
    Last Post: October 22nd, 2007, 12:47 AM
  3. My 5 mins of fame as a Racing Driver
    By ArosaMike in forum Motorsports
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: June 26th, 2007, 12:35 PM
  4. What does it take to become a racing driver?
    By Raven18940 in forum General Automotive
    Replies: 55
    Last Post: November 19th, 2005, 1:02 AM
  5. Only a trained professional can do this
    By Lilleput in forum General Automotive
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: July 5th, 2005, 12:42 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •