Thousands of young boys (and girls) grow up longing for the thrill of an adrenaline-filled career racing cars. But how can such a dream become reality?
Most drivers enter the racing world using go-karts as kids, and for good reason. Karting is an excellent way to hone reflexes, steering, and generally begin a love affair with driving. It is also an opportunity to experience competion – a good driver needs to be ever chasing the win, but prepared for losses with dignity as long as they have tried their hardest.
After karting, a motor racing license is required to be able to compete in proper automobile races. Well-respected instutions such as Silverstone or Ginetta offer courses to achieve this. Experts and race veterans will teach participants and offer invaluable feedback; a degree of humility is important, as listening to those with more experience is the only way to iron out any weak links in a driver’s racing game. Courses are also useful for picking up other skills, such as mechanics and coaching, which can increase credibility as a driver and offer other avenues for making money.
After getting a license and some wins on the track, a driver is expected to seek sponsorship. Creating a personal brand, networking and handing out business cards are solid ways to make a new name attractive. Improvements to cars and being able to afford track time is crucial to progressing a career, so a driver should be prepared to throw every penny they have at the sport as well as persuading others to spare their cash too. Staying afloat financially, particular for the first few years, is difficult for any up and coming competitor.
Know that it may not always work out
Becoming a race driver is 60% hard work, 30% skill, and 10% pure luck. Aside from the financial sacrifices, it is a dangerous sport and a bad crash can damage reputation, equipment, and – most disastourously – the drivers themselves!
But, in the end, if racing is what you love, those sacrifices may just be worth it.