How do you become a professional racing driver?

Dogbert

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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.
Again, you're just assuming that a volunteer instructor for a track day won't be good. What do you have against HPDE's and PDX's, exactly? Just because they're volunteer instructors doesn't mean they're automatically shit, you know.

And who's to say that an HPDE in a Jetta won't "show him what racing is about"? I thought the purpose of this exercise was for him to know whether he wanted to go faster or not. I can't think of a better car than a Jetta to make one desire more speed.

Ideally, yes, he would rent a race car and attend a lapping session... but I'm working with what I know for a fact he has, which doesn't include $500 to plunk down on an hour or two of track time. By comparison, it's $50 for a NASA HyperDrive HPDE, which gets you about half the seat time for 1/10th the cost.

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
Again, there's that disconnect. How is the $30,000 that you said a season in a Spec class not "a lot of money"? That's not only a substantial amount of money, but it's also very wrong. I've priced out next year's costs for Spec Focus, including the car itself, at a little less than $15,000 for seven race weekends.

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've been soured on talking about my personal life on this forum, but yes. I've only been behind a wrench for actual road racing, not a wheel, though.

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.
Why is it a stupid decision? It's not like race cars depreciate the more they change hands. He could easily buy a car and all it entails for about $10,000, turn around the next week, and probably sell it for just as much.

And you're twisting my argument around to "just buy a car and hope for the best". I'm saying go talk to some guys, watch some regional races, and figure out exactly what you want to drive. Once he's figured out that he wants to go faster in the first place, what better way to learn how to race cars than be instructed in the car you'll be competing in? Especially since wrecking some Spec Pinata is way cheaper than wrecking a rental.

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.
What the fuck? You're taking my argument, presenting it as your own, and then telling it to me like I don't know what you're talking about. I have no idea how you just did that.

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.
Those are two awesome strawmen you just created.

I never said "stickers make you a professional". I said sponsorships make you a professional. As in, people who pay you to put things on your car... stickers included.

And I'm not comparing web design to racing, nor do I have any idea how that went over your head. I'm making, or at least trying to make, the argument that just because something isn't your sole source of income doesn't mean you aren't a professional at it.


Also, just for reference
http://www.speedsportlife.com/2009/03/27/avoidable-contact-25-exploring-the-pyramid-of-speed-the-real-costs-and-stories-behind-entry-level-sedan-racing/
 
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MadCat360

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Again, you're just assuming that a volunteer instructor for a track day won't be good. What do you have against HPDE's and PDX's, exactly? Just because they're volunteer instructors doesn't mean they're automatically shit, you know.

And who's to say that an HPDE in a Jetta won't "show him what racing is about"? I thought the purpose of this exercise was for him to know whether he wanted to go faster or not. I can't think of a better car than a Jetta to make one desire more speed.
I don't have anything against HPDEs. HPDEs are fun. But it's not racing and it's not in racing cars (usually). Pootling around in a street car with aircon and tunes isn't going to show him what it's like to drive, and race, a proper car. If HPDE's what he WANTS to do, then he should go do that. I also am not assuming that volunteer instructors are shit. Many of my professional coaches do volunteer work too. But the process is open to quite a lot of people that don't know what they're doing. The chances of receiving bad input are higher.

Again, there's that disconnect. How is the $30,000 that you said a season in a Spec class not "a lot of money"? That's not only a substantial amount of money, but it's also very wrong. I've priced out next year's costs for Spec Focus, including the car itself, at a little less than $15,000 for seven race weekends.
I'm doing FF next year for $15,000 too. It can be cheap. You could buy a semi-functioning FV for 4 grand and run the entire regional schedule for less than 7 if you wrench yourself.

But like you said before, I was listing the fast track method. Your yearly budget needs to include schools, testing, and a little for damage and new tires. A first year in a rented ride, after schools, test days to learn tracks and maybe a spill or two, will easily cost $30,000. Also depends on what you race. A year in regional PFM will cost you 80 grand in rental alone. Even within a class, team prices vary significantly. 30,000 is also not a lot of money compared to professional level racing, which is where, hopefully, he spends the majority of his career.

I've been soured on talking about my personal life on this forum, but yes. I've only been behind a wrench for actual road racing, not a wheel, though.
That's the problem then. Engineer and driver. Impossible combination. :lol:

Why is it a stupid decision? It's not like race cars depreciate the more they change hands. He could easily buy a car and all it entails for about $10,000, turn around the next week, and probably sell it for just as much.
He could. But why, when just a little extra money on a racing school will tell you whether you want to or not? Stupid decision might have been a bit strong of wording.

And you're twisting my argument around to "just buy a car and hope for the best". I'm saying go talk to some guys, watch some regional races, and figure out exactly what you want to drive. Once he's figured out that he wants to go faster in the first place, what better way to learn how to race cars than be instructed in the car you'll be competing in? Especially since wrecking some Spec Pinata is way cheaper than wrecking a rental.
Racing season's basically over. He'd have to wait till next year to do that. He doesn't have much time. If he wants to get to the top he needs to get going. He needs to race at least the majority of a season next year.


And I'm not comparing web design to racing, nor do I have any idea how that went over your head. I'm making, or at least trying to make, the argument that just because something isn't your sole source of income doesn't mean you aren't a professional at it.
I accept that. But making income is a lot different than receiving a little money from a sponsor to help with entry fee. You have a large amount of money to recoup before you can make any.

If you make 500 bucks per event, but you're spending 1500, you're not making money. But if you're getting 2500 per event and spending 1500... that's making money. And that still doesn't necessarily make you a professional.

I make 20-40 bucks a day doing occasional house sitting and yard work for the neighbors. Pure profit. But I'm not a professional.

Incidentally if you're making 2500 in sponsorship for each event, you should probably be on TV.

Yes, I know. I like that article.

It's good that we're arguing about this. AMDX gets to see two polar opposites.
 
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Dogbert

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I don't have anything against HPDEs. HPDEs are fun. But it's not racing and it's not in racing cars (usually). Pootling around in a street car with aircon and tunes isn't going to show him what it's like to drive, and race, a proper car. If HPDE's what he WANTS to do, then he should go do that. I also am not assuming that volunteer instructors are shit. Many of my professional coaches do volunteer work too. But the process is open to quite a lot of people that don't know what they're doing. The chances of receiving bad input are higher.
You know that's not what HPDE's are like, right?

And the purpose of doing HPDE's, once again, would be to see whether he likes and can handle driving that quickly. It doesn't matter if it isn't "a proper race car"; he shouldn't be going as fast as a "proper race car" can go his first time out, anyway.

But like you said before, I was listing the fast track method. Your yearly budget needs to include schools, testing, and a little for damage and new tires. A first year in a rented ride, after schools, test days to learn tracks and maybe a spill or two, will easily cost $30,000. Also depends on what you race. A year in regional PFM will cost you 80 grand in rental alone. Even within a class, team prices vary significantly. 30,000 is also not a lot of money compared to professional level racing, which is where, hopefully, he spends the majority of his career.
My $15,000 actually does include all of that... which is where I'm curious why you still keep pushing the rental car approach. It's clearly cheaper and arguably better to purchase and wrench on your own car.

And $30,000 is not a lot of money compared to $100,000, but it's still a lot of money in general.

That's the problem then. Engineer and driver. Impossible combination. :lol:
Bearing in mind that my opinions come from spending years doing autocross and crewing; the only thing that's kept me from road racing is money. One of my best friends is an SCCA IT champion, and I've been on a crew for a car that's in Forza 3.

Racing season's basically over. He'd have to wait till next year to do that. He doesn't have much time. If he wants to get to the top he needs to get going. He needs to race at least the majority of a season next year.
This "too old" stuff is bullshit. You're never too old to start or continue racing. Barrichello is 39. Schumacher is 41. I work with someone whose husband is in his 50's and does SVRA in a 510. Fuck, Paul Newman was still winning races when he was 70.

Putting anyone on some sort of artificial doomsday clock simply because of their age is just selling them short.

I make 20-40 bucks a day doing occasional house sitting and yard work for the neighbors. Pure profit. But I'm not a professional.
There's a difference there, though.

I have contracts with sponsors for local autocrosses. I have obligations that I need to meet. Just because I'm ultimately not "breaking even" doesn't mean I'm not required to be professional.

I have a friend who runs a livery for a major belt manufacturer. He gets five figures from them every year to run a season, but he still has to pay a lot of expenses out of his own pocket. He, too, ultimately doesn't break even. By your standards, he isn't a professional. I feel he would disagree.
 

MadCat360

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You know that's not what HPDE's are like, right?

And the purpose of doing HPDE's, once again, would be to see whether he likes and can handle driving that quickly. It doesn't matter if it isn't "a proper race car"; he shouldn't be going as fast as a "proper race car" can go his first time out, anyway.
Speed has little to do with that. It's how the car reacts, how it gives feedback, the sensations you feel, the sharpness of the controls. A street car (even a good one) is not going to react in a way that is going to expose his technique issues that way a formula car and a team of coaches will. Street cars are very soft, very vague, and very disconnected compared to any open wheel race car (unless he's got a Lotus or a Ferrari Scuderia tucked away somewhere).

If he can't handle the F2000 after 3 days of working up to and testing the limit under the guidance of people that have done so for hundreds of others, he can't handle being a racing driver. Period. And I'd be very surprised if he couldn't.

My $15,000 actually does include all of that... which is where I'm curious why you still keep pushing the rental car approach. It's clearly cheaper and arguably better to purchase and wrench on your own car.

And $30,000 is not a lot of money compared to $100,000, but it's still a lot of money in general.
Depends. Depends on how much space he has. Depends on whether or not he already has the tools. Depends on if he has the skill/knowledge. Depends on his budget (which we still don't know). Even if he has the space, the tools, and the knowledge to maintain his own car, does he have the skill? A badly sorted car can be as devastating to a race result as a badly sorted driver. Better to get a reliable, proven team or individual (depending on car/competition) with a well-maintained car that you can count on to make the car worth driving.

Not to mention the fact that he can focus more on driving. But if he can't afford that, then his only option is to get his own car. And the implications of that are a much longer, harder road. Money is critical.

Bearing in mind that my opinions come from spending years doing autocross and crewing; the only thing that's kept me from road racing is money. One of my best friends is an SCCA IT champion, and I've been on a crew for a car that's in Forza 3.
And I've driven a car that's in iRacing, and my coaches and other professional mentors (team members/owners/principles/drivers) who I am basing my advice on have driven/owned/worked on many of the cars in Forza, iRacing, rFactor, Gran Turismo and a whole host of other video games. Point?

This "too old" stuff is bullshit. You're never too old to start or continue racing. Barrichello is 39. Schumacher is 41. I work with someone whose husband is in his 50's and does SVRA in a 510. Fuck, Paul Newman was still winning races when he was 70.

Putting anyone on some sort of artificial doomsday clock simply because of their age is just selling them short.
Not too old in any definite sense. Realistic sense, yes. One guy from my karting series was 60, and races a Formula Atlantic. You're never too old to drive cars - like I said in my first post, you can drive on just about any budget, that includes medical budget. But you do get to a point where people like Conor Daly and JR Hildebrand are way more appealing and capable than someone in their mid thirties. You can't just have blinders on. You need to look at who you're up against and what they are capable of. I race with all manner of ages and you definitely notice a fitness dropoff the older the racer gets. I'm 20, and if I were going to have a realistic chance to get into IndyCar I'd need to be driving Indy Lights right now. The longer you wait the thinner your chances get, and the less time you have. Even at 18 I was getting "you're starting pretty late" a lot.

AMDX and I have a lot of catching up to do if we hope to beat out the guys that have been karting on unlimited budgets since they were 7 or 8. Not impossible, just harder to do the more of a lead they get. Newman, Schumacher, and Barichello all got their foot in the door when they were much younger.


I have contracts with sponsors for local autocrosses. I have obligations that I need to meet. Just because I'm ultimately not "breaking even" doesn't mean I'm not required to be professional.

I have a friend who runs a livery for a major belt manufacturer. He gets five figures from them every year to run a season, but he still has to pay a lot of expenses out of his own pocket. He, too, ultimately doesn't break even. By your standards, he isn't a professional. I feel he would disagree.
Without knowing him, I couldn't hope to judge if he acts in a professional manner or not. You don't know my standards. I outlined the parameters, not some quantifiable scale and scoring system.

A manner of professionalism is required for any motorsport, on the track at the very least. But we're straying badly. It doesn't matter what I think of your friend's professionalism. What matters is AMDX wants to be a professional, and it is not unreasonable to assume that by this he means make a living.

He's not going to make a living breaking even.
 
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otispunkmeyer

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basically its start young and have good funding either from parents or sponsors.

my friend johnny cocker (races in ALMS now, used to do British GT3, T-cars, 911 cup etc) started young, while we were in secondary school. just so happens he also has a brilliant natural talent for it. youngest ever winner of the brit GT3 championship, BRDC rising star, went out to asia and won their 911 cup season first time of asking. if you are a genuine talent... it seems things just happen for you.
 

Dr_Grip

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MadCat, i really hate to go all ad hominem on you, but with the know-it-all dickhead attitude you're displaying you won't get anywhere. Not in racing nor in any other job that requires a team effort. Some people (say, a certain eyebrow man from Spain) are natural talents enough to succeed despite an attitude like yours - but if you'd be such a talent, by your own standards, you should at least be in GP2/Formula 3 by now, not spending your parent's money on racing schools like you do.

Said Spaniard, at your age, was driving for Minardi F1....

...as a pay driver.

I still did not get your point about pay drivers and professionalism, by the way. If a pay driver aquires sponsorship to buy into a seat, he is a professional, but if he spends his family fortune, he's a "gentleman driver"? And if he works a side job (say, driving the Ring Taxi or working on a motoring show) cause racing alone does not pay the expenses, he's a hobbyist?
 
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MadCat360

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MadCat, i really hate to go all ad hominem on you, but with the know-it-all dickhead attitude you're displaying you won't get anywhere. Not in racing nor in any other job that requires a team effort. Some people (say, a certain eyebrow man from Spain) are natural talents enough to succeed despite an attitude like yours - but if you'd be such a talent, by your own standards, you should at least be in GP2/Formula 3 by now, not spending your parent's money on racing schools like you do.

Said Spaniard, at your age, was driving for Minardi F1....

...as a pay driver.
You think I don't realize that? That's why I ruled out IndyCar a long time ago, and why I'm going for sports cars after training in formula cars as much as I can. Sports car racing in the US is just casual enough that a decent amount of opportunities exist for slightly older drivers. Not that it's going to be easy. Still plenty of talent, money, effort and time involved in going for something like that. One step at a time. SCCA next.

You seem to have this idea that every driver who is anybody earned their spot through hard work and talent alone and never took a cent of funding from their parents, unless I'm mistaken. That's just not the case. The majority of the young drivers rising quickly through the ranks at this moment come from well-off families who fund their racing, many times with extravagant budgets many orders of magnitude what I have, not that I'm complaining. I personally know a couple of drivers in Indy Lights who spend between 400k and 1.5 mil of their parents money on racing each year. My parents are extremely kind. We are not a millionaire family, and my father and I plan out each purchase very carefully. I'm extremely grateful for all the support they've given me. I never expected a dollar from them. I still don't.

Incidentally, on that front, if I don't do well in SCCA and it becomes a hobby rather than a possible profession, I will fund myself. Not only would my parents wisely stop funding me, but I wouldn't have the conscience to joyride on their dollar.

Oh, and I'm only a dickhead on the internet. I'm a fucking nice guy in real life.

I still did not get your point about pay drivers and professionalism, by the way. If a pay driver aquires sponsorship to buy into a seat, he is a professional, but if he spends his family fortune, he's a "gentleman driver"? And if he works a side job (say, driving the Ring Taxi or working on a motoring show) cause racing alone does not pay the expenses, he's a hobbyist?
Professional in motorsport is more than money. Appearance, preparation, media skills, business skills, level of competition, driving skill, etc, etc, etc. If you want to delete those requirements and make money/pay the only factor, then yes, the driver who brings sponsorship is a professional, the life savings a gentleman, amateur, semi-pro, whatever you want to call it (self professed, this is very common in the US), but the Ring Taxi is a professional (still making money driving and generally using his knowledge/skills). But that is entirely too simple of a distinction to be useful in a specific conversation like this.
 
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Steve Levin

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A couple of observations:

1) when we talk about "pay drivers" in bigger formulae (F1 for example) you have to understand that for most drivers, that really means "bring your own sponsorship" as compared to "write a check from your personal checking account."

Adrian Sutil, for example, "owns" the Medion sponsorship deal that Force India has. That's one of the reasons you see it on his helmet (and not Liuzzi's). Bruno Senna "owns" the Embratel sponsorship for Hispania -- that's why you see him almost always wearing an Embratel hat in interviews. Red Bull junior drivers "own" the Red Bull money and bring it to whatever team they drive for (Carlin in British F3, for example).

2) working on your own car -- I don't believe that is critical or even important if your goal is to drive. Especially professionally. If anything, early on, it's a great way to get lost by chasing setup. You certainly want to understand what things do, but the specific setup is an art of its own. You need to be able to understand what a car is doing (understeering/oversteering/bottoming) but how that's solved can vary greatly as you move through cars.

If your goal is just to go out and have fun -- and there's nothing wrong with that! -- then working on your own car can be a lot of fun. I don't work on my car because I don't enjoy that (and I've never been particularly good at it) and I *do* enjoy being fast -- so having someone else make sure my car is in top shape and set up properly is worth it to me -- that's how I get the maximum enjoyment.

In the context of this discussion, one big thing you get from Skip Barber or any pro school is instruction. You can in some cases get that in club racing if you hook up with the right people (I was pretty fortunate in that respect) but it's pretty rare in general. Sure, people will help you out, but it's not the same level of intensity (i.e., they aren't watching you in every test session), and while they mean well, it's often the case that the fastest guys aren't the best teachers in any case. And driving around for a year, even if you are spending half the money, but making mistakes all the time in your driving (and worse, reinforcing them over and over) is essentially throwing money away if your goal is to push yourself forward, or even just to be competitive (and again, some folks -- often referred to as "well adjusted human beings" :) -- don't care if they finish 3rd or 23rd).

All this said, in general, if you are old enough to drive a street car, from a professional standpoint, you are waaaaaay far behind in being a pro driver. But that doesn't mean you can't have a lot of fun!

Steve
 

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I don't have anything else to contribute here, but I just wanted to say how goddamn lucky you all are to be in America when it comes to motorsports.

Over here in my state we have next to fucking nothing. Racing is only for people who are cashed up and even then it's not very frequent racing.
Even just for a hobby, I can't roll up to my local auto-x or LeMons, because we don't have anything like that. Racing schools? Forget it.
There is a handful of circuits but none are well maintained or open on a regular basis. We don't even have a decent drag strip.

Totally jealous of you guys. So much it's not even funny.
 

Driving BULL

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I feel your pain. There's next to nothing here in Iceland. It sucks that it matters what country you live in to become a racing driver or at least try to be.
I am also jealous of these racing drivers that have rich families that support them.
 

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In case anyone's interested, I ended up doing Spec Miata. Formula Ford was miscalculated - in talks with the team they thought I meant a single race per weekend on a limited schedule. for double weekends the cost would go to over $35,000 including tires. Anyway, in 2011 the cost for the Mazda and the racing came out to $25,000. That includes a 33% reduction in rental cost per weekend from $1,500 to $1,000, on the condition that my dad and I towed the car to and from the event ourselves. Most other Spec Miata rentals do $2,500 per weekend. Add entrance fee and tires and fuel on top.

For that $25,000, I got:

  • 13 races in Sealed Spec Miata class (7 weekends)
  • A 4-hour enduro
  • 24 of the 25 Hours of Thunderhill
  • 5 test days
  • 5 sets of tires (not including 25-H)
  • $1,800 in crash damage (pure parts cost)
  • 5 days of private coaching
  • I was awarded approximately $1,250 from contingency sponsorships. This more or less paid for towing fuel. Towing for Thunderhill (the furthest track) was about $200 round trip. For the record, still amateur. ;)
If we bought a car, it would have been more expensive up front, but we would have been able to potentially sell the car of course. The expense up front was not possible for us though.

In the future, I will probably do so unless I can make about a million dollars in the next 3 years. It would be harder, with less time spent on driving (even between sessions it's driver development), but on a budget it's the only way really. I wouldn't buy a Spec Miata though. I'd buy a formula car. Not that I can at the moment. I've refused parental funding. They got me on my way and they are amazing for doing that, but I want to do this myself now.

Reading this thread makes me feel like a dick. I hope I've mellowed out a bit. Probably not. I still think I'm right. Having a good chance of making it these days requires money. People still manage without, but a few hundred grand to throw at Star Mazda sure boosts one's chances.
 
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keller0555

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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.
This is slightly related to the thread, but I am 17 years old this is my 11th year in karting now. I really am looking into persuing a carrer in driving. I absolutly love racing. I race every weekend. I race dirt oval karts on 1/6 mile 1/8 mile 1/4 mile tracks. I ran one year of asfault when i had a crg chassis. but the road course tracks in my area are complete garbage so i stuck to oval. how ever i would enjoy road racing. I was thinking about going into shifter karts then possibly go up the mazda series. I like dirt oval racing but i feel like there's much more carrer oppertunities with road course racing with the rollex series, indy, f1, v8 super cars,etc.. compared to world of outlaws late model and sprint car. and they don't even make much compared to the other series do. I don't have as much experience with sprint karting that's the thing that's worries me. I only did one season finished 2nd in championship out of 25 kids 12 week season 4 races were oval. i was 9 at the time. I am quite aware of how to win a race though. It's all a complicated formula involving chance, driver ability, chassis setup, tyres, track conditions, outside temp, starting possiton, time of day,etc..the way we run dirt oval in karting it's basically asfaul oval. we don't "slide" corners like the world of outlaws. we run soft slicks for tyres. (deromiter like 29-33) and on 95% of tracks we trailbrake and only have about a 950rpm drop into the apex. I get complements on how smooth of a driver i am. My lines are always fast and glorious. I hit my mark perfectly everytime. Our heat races are 8 laps and features (main event/A main) are 20-30 my lap times are all within a .2 second range we (me and my father) know how to make my kart rotate and I can drive. I know how I run in a class called AKRA clone. we all run the same engine specs there is tech. your engine comes home in a box. but our engine builder handles it for us. I mean we could do it ourselfs but we get free labor on engine builds for a sponsership through our engine builder so why not get it professionally built for free. But we all have to scale out to the same weight. So it all comes down to gearing setup, tyres, and driver ablility. I race against 20-45 year old men and wax them every weekend with almost a half lap lead. with legal motor work and weight. This local track's competiton is so easy it gets boring for me somtimes. even being a one grove track i always get around everyone and just check out. Not many people show a great challenge. I am going to do a few nationals races as well. there are not too many around here in Eastern Iowa. But to get into road racing i have no idea. I really think I would be good at endurance racing. being a driver in the rollex series would be awesome. I would love to do 24 hours at le mans. I feel i would be good at endurance because of how consistant i am with my lines, lap times, throttle control, tyre ware, etc.. The only experience i have is just the one year of road course in karts at age 9. karts only did about 45 in the long straight track was a boot shape. But i also drive an 04 tiburon gt. there are a few long curvy hilly roads here in iowa and well. this 2000lb 6 speed 2.7 with minor work can squat for a korean. 0-60 is around 6 seconds with the weight reduction and catback system. Its a fun car to drive. low gear ratios are fun it pulls hard, puts a smile on everyones face. there's a few roads with tight fast corners this car handles like a dream through. I'm a clean racer always positive. always trying new things always helping people with setups and gearing questions. and racing is in my family history. I just wanted to make the history bigger. my grandfather raced late models and open wheel modifies (a-mods) on dirt oval 1/4 and 1/2 mile. he raced over 50 years had 504 feature wins when he passed away. He is in the Illinois and National Hall of Fame. Names Ronnie Weedon. I need to take the next step and go up the chain. I just have no idea of what, where, and when.
 

AdamKZ

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Jul 17, 2017
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See now what about a 17 year old kid living in london with no sort of income whatsoever... how far do u think he will get...?
 
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