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So, you wanna be a racer?

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So, you wanna be a racer?

Post by Skywarp 72 on 10/17/2014, 2:13 am

With the influx if new racers and old friends alike, I am posting an article on here as how to become a real racer. Unlike stick + ball sports, racing just doesn't demand that you have your body in top physical form and mental abilities, it requires one thing that is prolly harder to obtain than those two forms:

MONEY.

However, do not let this deter you.

I have learned that racing is a constant learning curve, forever throwing you into the fathoms of height and despair from one moment to the next. Therefore, you don't have to start out at the top level of whatever racing style you want to accomplish yourself in like NASCAR or Formula 1. If you want to race sports cars it might be cheaper to start off bracket racing at your local drag strip. Below I am offering some cheap alternatives in the racing world to get you SEAT TIME, which is where you will learn the skills necessary to not look like a fool when you step up a level or cross over into another genre.

Allow me to interject one thing before we start. While the forms of racing I am listing below are cheap, the start up cost is the same with any racing genre, but pay for themselves in the long run. The basic necessities any racer will need:
1. Fire suit: SFI 3-2a1 minimum requirement. new around $350 used around $150
2. SNELL approved 2007 or newer helmet, forget motorcycle helmets. New $200 up
3 Fireproof gloves and shoes combined around $225
4. Aluminum racing seat sized to you. $250 and up.
5. Nomex head sock $30 and up.

do you need this equipment to do every genre of racing? No. However MOST will require it and even if it doesn't and someone at the track offers you to drive their race car, no RACER says: "But I don't have a fire suit/Helmet-blah blah" You'll be laughed at. This equipment is pretty standard across most genres so consider these your building blocks in your racing career no matter where, or what you race and the tools it takes to get into a real race car.

1. Drag Racing.


This is prolly the cheapest, easiest and most accessible racing to do. Most of your local drag strips hold a street car night (dirt cheap too, I've never seen one over $25) so you can do this with your everyday car and learn more than you think. You don't even have to have a fast car to race and WIN.
When your local drag strip throws the term out there "Bracket racing" it means that whoever has the slowest car will be given a handicap to the faster one. Lets say your car runs a 16.0 second et (elapsed time or time it takes to complete the 1/4 or 1/8 mile track you are on) and someones race car that you have been pitted against runs 11.0s. That means you have a 5 second head start! This is where you learn one of the most crucial skills in auto racing, and its called reaction time.
Since there are no other cars in your way, no turns, hills, banks or obstacles its just you and your car and a straight line. Practice getting off the tree as fast as possible, cut that bulb, and get your shift points down to accelerate in that straight line as fast and efficiently as possible. Not only will learning to shift your car at optimal points teach you how to handle a straightaway, but building on that reaction time at the bulb can carry over to other genres because you have conditioned yourself to do so. Remember, more than any other form of racing, drag racing doesn't reward the fastest cars, it rewards the most consistent.

2. Mini Stock Racing

This one is a bit more complex, but not by much. Mini stock racing is the bottomfeeder class at most of your circle tracks across America be it dirt or asphalt. It is the stepping stone for many to immerse themselves in the world of circle track racing and possibly be the next Jeff Gordon. These cars are true race cars, production based FWD's with all the glass, interior and fire hazards removed and a full roll cage. Each local track has different sets of rules it seems so the amount you can modify your suspension, tires, and engines vary wildly so find your local tracks website and learn the rules front and backwards.
The good news is that this is mostly a hobby class, wannabe racers often build a car for it, race until they are bored/frustrated, and then sell the race car for pennies on the dollar. Local mini stock cars can sell as cheap as 400 bucks (check craigslist, racecarjunk.com)and as much as 5grand depending on how much is involved in the build, but remember, budget being in mind you don't have to go out the first time in the fastest car. If you buy one, just learn from the seat time. Contact is more permitted in this form of auto racing than any other so it will teach you how to handle your car while basically under assault from any given fender at any time. Car control is everything in circle track and this WILL teach it to you. Entry fees again are cheap (I've never paid more than 30 bucks for a full night)
Also, while the competition is fierce, you wont find a group of racers more willing to help you out in a wreck or catastrophic break down. They are all out there to prove they are the best and if you break down you are one less competitor they get to possibly defeat. This earns you friends in the racing world, and much like the business world, it PAYS TO NETWORK.

3. Chump car/24hrs of LeMons

This is only a good bet IF you have 10 of your closest friends that want to go racing and all of you can split the costs. Entry fees and tires alone can surpass $2000 but the seat time is PRICELESS. Plus if you have a Mini stock car you are in like Flynn because the cars for these races are built in the same fashion so tech will be easier to pass. Usually held over a 12 or 24hr period at numerous road courses across the country at different dates it will test your patience, endurance and resolve and no matter how many times you do it, you will learn something new about racing, and yourself every time out. Be warned that while safety is at the top of the organizers priority list, any other kind of organization is typically not. Unlike most other forms of racing however, while you can win an event, there are no championships to win, so the atmosphere at these races are a bit more laid back.

A lot of my posts go unnoticed, so I don't want to be wasting my breath here. If this interests some readers lemme know and I can go on, or if you have any questions about whats been given already I can gladly answer them. I look forward to some responses.
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Re: So, you wanna be a racer?

Post by je11yfish 15 on 10/17/2014, 9:51 am

an if that don't turn you on, try two wheels where every little mistake hurts like hell
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Re: So, you wanna be a racer?

Post by Skywarp 72 on 10/19/2014, 11:06 pm

Well two wheels aren't quite as cheap as four! lol
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Re: So, you wanna be a racer?

Post by je11yfish 15 on 10/23/2014, 8:09 pm

it does feel like the worlds most exspensive hobbie
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Re: So, you wanna be a racer?

Post by Skywarp 72 on 10/25/2014, 11:17 am

Its only a hobby if you don't win...
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Re: So, you wanna be a racer?

Post by je11yfish 15 on 10/27/2014, 10:01 am

definitely a hobbie for me then Very Happy
but it is a lot harder than i thought it was going to be, when i was riding on the road i thought i was fast, faster than most and not many could keep up. but just don't go fast for that long.

even though my races are not that long, 10-12 miles. riding flatout for that distance is an eye opener and bloody hard work.
i'm a mid pack finisher at the min, next year will be the start of my 3rd year but as shit has gone wrong, blown motors and broken bones, i really only have 1 years experiance if you only count time on track.
so if i can have a incident free year i want to be at least sniffing a podium towards the end of next year, but incident free is a big ask affraid
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