How To Become A Professional Race Car Driver
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For those of you who are considering a career in professional car racing, it’s important to realize that you must start young if you hope to be competitive. Racing greats often start their professional racing career early in their lives through go-kart racing and hone their skills on these highly responsive driving machines.
That’s not to say that you can’t hope to have a professional career in racing if you didn’t start young. Although, if you don’t have any racing experience until the age of 20, it does become significantly harder.
Regular people might see go-karts as toy cars that are only meant to be enjoyed by children, but in reality, they’re serious tools for learning how to race. Go-karts come in all sorts of variations, from the ones you see in public race tracks that max out at 40 mph, to proper competition karts using tweaked 2-stroke 125cc engines producing 45 horsepower. These karts can hit 100 mph on the dyno and are really twitchy to drive.
Children can start karting from as young as 5 years old, which allows them to hone their reflexes and prepares them for racing. Reflexes developed at this age are the best since children are so adept at learning.
Once you’ve honed your skills on a kart, you can start entering karting competitions. There are a number of local, national and international cup competitions held each year.
Practice Driving Fast On Circuits
Your goal from racing karts should be to learn the basics of racing and car control, but you should move from karts to actual cars as soon as possible. Cars are considerably heavier and require a more in-depth understanding of inertia and how it affects your pace.
Go to practice at racing tracks compiled on CarPages.ca with regular cars to learn and master car control. Oh, and if you’re not yet of legal driving age, find a track that offers youth racing. There are plenty of them. If you happen to be in Toronto, there’s a very useful compilation of public car racing tracks by CarPages. Remember, the more experience you have racing as a youth, the better equipped you’ll be for an actual career of racing as an adult.
Take Race Car Driving Classes
If you have a race circuit in your city, chances are that it also offers a variety of race car driving classes. Even if you’re at an advanced level of driving, you should definitely consider taking these classes. You’ll likely find advanced courses meant for serious drivers as well.
Not only will you gain some unique racing insights from your instructor, but you’ll also meet people involved in the racing industry. While this does not guarantee entry into the racing world, it could open a few doors that could eventually lead to racing opportunities for you.
Compete In Local Races
Before you can even imagine racing on a professional circuit with professional racers, you need to prove yourself in the local scene. Race in as many local races as you can and hone your skills. Never underestimate local racers as they might have the same vision of becoming professionals like you.
As you win local races, you’ll start to build a reputation and might even get the attention of local sponsors. You can use local races as a way to work up to regional races, and then national events.
Watch And Analyze Professional Drivers
If you’ve decided to make a career out of racing, then watching professional racers should be part of your training and education. And don’t just watch them, analyze them and their movements. How do they overtake? How do they behave in tense moments? Learning from the experience of professionals will make you a better driver.
Oh and better yet, if you have the opportunity to purchase a pit pass, by all means do it. This will allow you to talk and ask questions of the pit crew members, drivers, managers and other members of racing teams.
Get An Appropriate Car
Just because of your dream of becoming a professional race car driver, doesn’t mean you need to buy a Porsche. You’ll only be spending money where you don’t need to. Instead, choose a reasonably priced car that you know will be admitted to a racing series of your choice, and one which can be modified for a particular race series you’re interested in.
Keep in mind however, this car will definitely not be your daily driver. You’ll need to keep this car safe and maintained as a track car. And by maintained we mean it has to be in top condition at all times. Skimping out on maintenance is not wise in the same way you won’t skimp on repairing your work computer. This is going to be your work tool.
But since it’s a car, maintenance and storage are going to be more expensive than your average work tool. If you’ve modified the car, it might not be road legal, which means you can’t simply drive it to the race track. So you’ll have to come up with a means of transporting it. You can avail of services from track day transportation companies, but this will cost you a lot in the longer run. If you do a lot of track days, it’s just wiser to get a car trailer yourself.
Join A Professional Organization
Networking is one of the most important things you can do if you’re on a path to becoming a professional racing driver. We’re not suggesting that you should start approaching NASCAR executives, but joining a professional organization such as the Sports Car Club of America is a good start.
Not only will get access to a wealth of resources and people who’re connected to the racing industry, but you’ll also get information on where to find beginner or advanced racing opportunities. You’ll also network with other racing drivers. Even if it’s just amateur drivers you meet, you’ll get the opportunity to connect with those at your level. They’ll probably know some things you don’t.