Location: Toronto, ON
Mood: Chipper 🙂
When I was young, I had no idea how to get into racing.
I wanted to race – I knew it. It was in my blood.
I am sure that there are some of you out there that may feel the same.
But no one I knew raced, no one I knew had ever even been to a race track back then.
The worst part was, there were no defined routes set out for me to take in order to start my racing career.
I had so many questions.. Can I bring my car to the track? Can I rent a car? Can I start racing competitively right away?
How does it all work for someone who is disconnected from the sport? Help!
I’ll be honest with you, it is quite challenging to get acquainted to the sport if you aren’t already. I learnt this first-hand. But the community is fantastic, and there are people to help you.
As of today, I am here to help you on your journey.
I am here to tell you that I did it, and so can you.
Here are the basics to get you started in your life in racing – to get you to the track, to get you in a car.
Firstly, let’s get real.
Racing is a sport. This is no drive around the block. It is serious, dangerous, exhausting, physically demanding, and mentally demanding. But, truth be told, it is absolutely brilliant and there is no other better felling than succeeding in this sport. You have chosen the right path, young grasshopper :).
Secondly, if you are in Canada, you already have a very short timeline. The Canadian race season starts in May and ends in September. So.. what are we waiting for?
Welcome to the fam, friends.
Let’s get into it then..
Your first step to go racing
Start planning in December or earlier – if you can.
You will need to make sure that all of your ‘ducks’ are aligned to get yourself racing. These are the things you’ll need to plan even before you get to the track.
- Your style of car. Choose a race car that will be suited for you and your driving style. I chose GT cars, which are closed-wheel street cars, like my #18 Porsche 911. This is an option for you, as well as open wheel racing – which is either go-karting or driving Formula cars.
- Your race car. Find a car that fits your style, your budget, and fits your skill – and buy it. Keep in mind, finding a car may be checked off later in your ‘Let’s Go Racing’ checklist.. perhaps when you find partners for your race season.
- Your team. Will you work on the car yourself or will you bring on a mechanic team? Choose wisely, these people become your everyday. I would always recommend Bestline Auto Tech from Vaughan, ON – because they are the best !! 😀 (Leave comment in you want their info)
- Your practice. Try to plan out some track days that you can attend, with an instructor, to get acquainted to your car. There are a lot of instructor days available at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Bring your team on these days for support.
- Your race school. In order to get your racing license, you must attend an accredited race school to apply for a license. Your options can be found here at ASN FIA. I know this item seems simple and straight-forward, but it is time-consuming. Spend some time doing research here.
Your second step
Your race season.
Take time to plan out your schedule.
What I do to plan my season is I find out which race weekends work best for me and my goals. For 2017, I wanted to make sure that I checked off these goals from my list:
- New competition
- Harder circuits for improved driving
- New circuits = new challenges
- Adventure / travel to new locations
- Increased exposure at popular weekends for my partners
These goals brought me to join into a new series for 2017, to drive at Watkin’s Glen for the first time, and to return to the Grand Prix Trois-Rivieres in Quebec in August.
For the people who are very new to racing, check out the below series in Canada and their schedules. This may help you to get an idea of the tracks available for competition in Canada. Please keep in mind, these series all have different cars that you may need to drive in order to participate in their races. Your chosen car may not apply.
Find what schedule will fit you best and go for it.
Your third step
Finding your racing family.
If you are going racing on your own and you are able to support yourself, you can skip this step. However, even if you are supporting yourself – I would still urge for you to aim to get partners for your season.
When you have partners in your journey to racing, it opens up a lot of doors. Not only to meeting new people or becoming acquainted with strong companies, but more so for a connection to other teams, other drivers, and to the racing community in general. There are a lot of companies out there that support many teams, and this is a great way to stay connected in the racing world.
My main stress here is : Start early on your search.
There are companies that would be thrilled to partner with you – but some of them need time to weigh out their commitments or assess the market. Start your searches early – and you will be surprised what can come your way.
Your fourth step
Train, train, train
I cannot put more emphasis on this. You must work on your body – physically and mentally – to get prepared for this sport.
Along with any training regime; eat well.
When you do, it works magic on your performance in the car. Especially if you decide to do endurance racing and longer stints in the car.
Your fifth step
Get into your race car, my friend!
There is nothing better than starting a race year.
There is so much possibility, so much chance, and so many great challenges ahead – you’ve made it.
Enjoy it – focus hard – and good luck to you all.
Until the finish line,