You’ve always wanted the thrill of overtaking another driver, turning hard into a corner, speeding out of the apex and rushing on to victory. Like most car enthusiasts, you’ve dreamed of winning a race. Unfortunately, your old Honda Civic may not quite be up to par with some of the more track ready vehicles out there. That doesn’t mean you have to pass on getting your fix of speed! AutoShack.com is here to show you some beginners motorsports you can get started in today!
Before we continue, we have to stress the sheer stupidity (there is no other word for it) of street racing. Street racing is dangerous not only to the driver, but innocent bystanders and other people on the road. Street racing also gives real enthusiasts a bad name. If you want to be taken seriously as an actual competitor in Motorsports, act like it. Keep the racing to events and tracks for the safety and well being of others, the sport, and yourself.
You might think you need to start with a million dollar budget for the latest GT model of your favourite sports car, but with the growth of the motorsports that is no longer true. Check your driveway (or maybe even your shed), if there is a vehicle in it then you are qualified for some form of motorsport. For most beginners motorsports, you will need at least a helmet and normally an entry fee, which can range anywhere from free to a couple hundred dollars.
Start Like A Pro – Go Karting
Many people think go karts are for kids. While there are amusement park go karts that top out around 16 mph, there are also 6 speed track monsters capable of travelling at up to 160 mph. In both NASCAR and F1 racing, countless drivers and world champions have gotten their start in karting. Michael Schumacher has even stated that driving a go kart is the closest thing to driving a real F1 car, and has trained on go karts while preparing to drive in F1 for Ferrari. Karting is a great place to start because of the low cost and high safety of the sport. Most major cities have a track for racing at some decent speed, whether it’s indoors or outdoors. If you’re looking to get seriously into the sport, you can even find used models of racing karts for around a $1500 price point. Karts are also less likely to roll over due to their low centre of gravity, meaning they are safe to learn some basic driving skills on. Karting can take place on a nice paved track, or it can take place on dirt. Dirt racing will be less expensive, and will be more like a rally (in terms of driving style) rather than an F1 event.
Similar to karting, there are often events in your community that revolve around lawn mower racing. While certainly not an F1 analog, lawn mower racing can be a great start to learning how to drive with others and some basic race etiquette.
A Purpose Built Beater – LeMons And Rallycross
Depending on your vehicle, you may want to build a purpose built racer. While nothing against your family toting minivan, it may not set any lap times. There are events specifically geared towards low cost, high fun vehicles.
The LeMans race is held every year in France. It is a 24 hour endurance race that involves an incredible history and unrivalled prestige. The race requires multiple drivers to complete laps of a large track for 24 hours in total. Porsche, Audi and Ferrari hold the most wins. The 24 hour of LeMons takes the same endurance racing approach, only involves beater cars (or LeMons, lemons) and drivers acting as a pit crew. Check in your area for LeMons events. Cars entering these types of races need roll cages and other safety equipment, but when you divide the cost of that over a few drivers you have a type of racing that promises good fun. As an added bonus, many LeMons events limit the amoun a vehicle can cost to $500.
Rallycross gives you the experience of rally driving, only with less impending doom. Rallycross starts with a track set up using cones or markers in a field or other dirt area. Unlike real rally racing, the terrain is a little more forgiving and results are based on fastest times, not in beating another driver on the course. This creates a safe environment to learn how different driving on a dirt track is compared to a paved one. Depending on your vehicle, you may even enter a rallycross event with your daily driver. Rallycross events are typically run by other enthusiasts, and are a great way to meet other gear heads and learn some great driving advice.
Use Your Own Car – Autocross And Drag Racing
While the other options show you what you can do outside of your own car, autocross and drag racing events can be done in the car you already own. Like rallycross, autocross (commonly known as Gymkhana, made popular by the antics of Ken Block) is an event where a track is made using cones or markers, and racers compete individually for the best time. These are sanctioned events held in large, open paved spaces like parking lots or race tracks. These events normally have safety staff on hand, and the races present very little danger to drivers. Given the open spaces used, you could be more likely to get in an accident driving to the autocross event than competing in it. Like rallycross, the culture and community surrounding autocross can be a great place to learn some new skills.
A common form of street racing, many drag tracks have days that are open to the public. For a very low entry fee, you can take your vehicle to the track and race it in a safe, professional way. Some police departments have even began entering their cruisers in the events, allowing a chance to test the law in a controlled environment. Many venues will have a handicap system in place, meaning you can bring the minivan and not have to worry about pulling up next to a Hellcat.
Beginners Motorsports – Start Fast
Whether you want to be an F1 racer cornering at high speeds, or a rally driver slinging dirt and mud in your wake, you have to start somewhere. Beginners motorsports are important because they offer a low cost start to an incredibly rewarding hobby. If you want to experience the thrill of speed look for events in your area and head out to a few to try it out. You won’t know how your vehicle or skills add up until you try. Remember, save the racing for the track.
Building a racer or outfitting your current car? AutoShack.com has the parts you need for a beginners motorsports podium finish!
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