Racing is something many people would love to do but don’t know how to start. Unlike traditional sports such as baseball or football, motorsports does not come across as easily accessible. While motorsports are not as widely available to the masses as traditional sports, that doesn’t make it impossible for mere mortals to experience the rush of going wheel to wheel. So how does a normal person get themselves into some form of racing? The answer lies in what you want to do behind the wheel.
What aspect of motorsports you get into largely depends on your goals behind the wheel. Fighting wheel to wheel against skilled drivers in karts or simply enjoying the rush of driving your weekend toy at a race track, there are numerous ways to get an octane fueled fix. If you are someone who wants an accessible way to face off against serious competition, then karting would be for you. Karting is easily one of the most cost-effective ways to challenge your driving skills and racing craft. Getting into karting can be as simple as participating in a rental kart series at your local kart track.
Taking karting a step further, you can purchase your own chassis and start racing in the spec series. Deciding on a kart chassis might seem complicated for the uninitiated, but it is far from. Like any hobby, karting comes down to what you’re wanting to spend. The most popular class is LO206 which feature 4 stroke engines capable of reaching speeds of 60+mph. Turn key packages sell for less than $5,000 and have the lowest cost of running. HP, speed and cost all go up from there, but you are guaranteed to find healthy competition no matter what kart you choose to run. Every year more tracks are opening and offering competitive series. Sanctioning bodies like WKA (World Karting Association) travel regionally hosting large scale championship series and karting events.
With as much fun as karting can be, it is not for everyone. Some people prefer full sized vehicles. Most racing enthusiast already own a sporty 2 door weekend cruiser, all they are missing is the track. Accessing a race track is not difficult. The most immediate way to get on track is signing up for an HPDE track day. HPDE stands for High Performance Driving Experience and there are several organizations that rent out circuits so they can charge a fee for individuals to come out and drive that track. If you have ever wanted to experience the Daytona banking or ride the eses at COTA in your personal vehicle, then track days are the perfect option. Most major racing circuits both in the US and overseas offer track days throughout the calendar year.
Competitive wheel to wheel options are also available for racing street vehicles. This is good for anyone on a budget that still wants to go wheel to wheel on a road course. Organizations like Champ Car or WRL are great promoters who host events at many different tracks. These series are designed to keep budgets low and excitement levels high. With the help of a few friends you can get a low-cost car, put in required safety equipment, and go racing on a relatively small, family friendly budget.
Still need more? There are a handful of series and classes within SCCA and NASA that seat you in some form of prototype or open wheel formula car. Most of these series require some form of licensing to compete. Licenses are obtainable through racing schools such as Primal Racing or Lucas Oil School of Racing. By this point, you are someone who really wants track time and the best way to get tailored access to your favorite tracks is by looking into their club membership options. For example, top level members at Atlanta Motorsports Park have access to 180 track days a year.
Getting yourself behind the wheel of something fast is not difficult. Whether you want a fast-paced hobby or want to see how far racing takes you, the options are greater than one would think. Motorsports is not a cheap hobby by any means, but the stigma that racing is only for the financially blessed is far from fact. A rich business owner who wants to be a gentleman driver or the average nine to five Joe looking for something competitive to do with friends, both can easily find a form of racing that suits their budgets and tastes.