If racing cars get your heart racing, chances are you'll dream of driving one. Although most people start young, it's still possible to get into the business if you're a little older. Regardless of age, you will need to be in good physical condition and learn to drive before entering a race.
Part 1 of 4: Learning the Basics
Step 1. Try driving a kart
While it may seem like a kid, most race car drivers have learned the basics by driving on kart tracks.
- You can even participate in kart competitions, which are basically a less serious version of racing car competitions.
- Professional drivers usually start driving karts when they are young. If you win races from an early age, sponsors will notice your talent, which can be an opportunity to participate in a professional race.
Step 2. Join a local sports car club
This is usually the first step to qualifying as an amateur or professional race car driver, as you will then acquire a license.
- To participate, you will need to pass a doctor for a health check. You will likely have to fill out a form found on the club's website.
- You may also need to complete a Starter Permission form, also found on the website.
- You will need 3x4 photos. They can be taken at specialist photography stores. Another required item will be a copy of your license (both sides). Also, you will have to pay a fee. Contact the club to find out the amounts to be paid.
- You can also be part of the club's assistance team, giving you the opportunity to see how everything works. From then on, you can be promoted and have the chance to participate in a race.
Step 3. Take a one-day course
Some driving schools offer one-day courses, which can help you decide if driving a race car is something you really want to do.
Step 4. Qualify for a full course
If you can drive a kart well, you may be able to qualify for a specialized driving school. Some of these schools offer three-day courses for teenagers aged 13 to 14, but you will also find courses for adults. These schools teach the basics of how to drive a race car.
- At school, you will learn how to turn a turn, how to orient the field of view, how to properly accelerate and brake on the track, and how to pass other cars.
- The instructor will be able to determine approximately when you will be ready for the race track. If you have not been able to learn the basics, you may need to spend a little more time on the course.
Step 5. Learn the basic sitting position
While new riders don't usually pay attention to this detail, how you position yourself is important. If the car crashes, it's important that you stand firmly against the seat. Plus, when you're driving, the seat will help you withstand the vehicle's power.
- Keep your body aligned with the seat. That is, do not lean or turn your body. The parts that must remain in contact, including the shoulders, head and legs, must not move out of place.
- Keep your arms at an appropriate distance from the steering wheel. Your shoulders should be flat against the seat and your wrists should rest on top of the steering wheel. The extra space will help you make turns without having to move away from the seat.
- Keep your legs the proper distance from the pedals. As with the arms, it's important that you can press the pedals without having to stretch your legs too far. Press the pedals with the ball of your foot. The knee should be slightly bent.
Step 6. Learn to steer the vehicle
Place your hands in the nine and three positions. That is, assuming the steering wheel is a clock, you must place your hands where the pointer would mark nine o'clock and three o'clock. This will allow you to have more control over the vehicle's steering.
- Push during turns. Instead of pulling with one hand, use the hand on the opposite side of the curve to push the steering wheel. Use your other hand to control the direction.
- Pushing instead of pulling will allow the car to be steered in a more controlled way, increasing speed.
Step 7. Understand the basics about gearing
Just put your hand on the gearshift when changing gears, otherwise your ability to drive the car will be reduced. Also, only use the necessary force to shift gears. If you move the gear too hard, you will end up losing speed.
Step 8. Learn to use the pedals
Race cars typically have four pedals: the accelerator, brake, clutch and rest. Use the ball of your foot when depressing the pedal and press with a smooth motion.
- As in common cars, the rest pedal is on the left. This is where you can rest your leg when you're not stepping on the clutch.
- The clutch is to the right of the rest pedal. When cornering on the race track, you'll have to brake, press the clutch with your left foot, and shift to a lower gear using your right hand. However, you will also need to accelerate as the car will start to slow down. With the ball of your right foot still on the brake, press the accelerator lightly with your heel. After releasing the clutch and putting your foot back on the brake, move your right foot to the accelerator to increase speed at the end of the turn.
- The brake is to the right of the clutch. To brake, apply gentle, steady pressure. Then hold the brake until you feel it vibrate, almost locking. As speed decreases, gradually stop applying brake pressure so you can enter pit stop.
- The accelerator is the last pedal on the right. When finishing a turn, increase speed gradually. If you increase it too fast, you could lose control of the car.
Step 9. Learn to turn
The best way to make a curve is to create a simple line between the start point and end point. The farthest part the car will reach until the finish is called the apex of the turn.
- To make a turn as fast as possible, enter it from outside the track. Cross the inside of the curve and proceed to the outside.
- This technique is like cutting the edge of a paper with an arcing motion.
- Use a reference point when making the curve. When practicing, choose a reference point for the start of the turn, the apex, and the exit. That way you'll maintain consistency throughout the race.
Part 2 of 4: Signing up and getting ready for the races
Step 1. Get money for the race
Participating in races is often quite expensive, so you will need money. If it's good enough, it might be able to get sponsors. You may also be able to participate with a team that recognizes your talent and pays your entry fee. However, both cases are only possible if you are already an established and talented driver.
Local races usually cost a lot less. You may be able to participate for just a few hundred dollars a day, depending on the country and region
Step 2. Buy or rent a race car
Even at local clubs you will need to have your own car. It's possible to rent one if you don't want to buy it right away, but rental prices are also high.
Your club president will know where to rent a car
Step 3. Buying racing equipment
You'll also have other costs, including the running suit and helmet, which can cost thousands of dollars if custom made. However, it is possible to find jumpsuits much cheaper. The suit must be approved by the club before you can enter the race.
Step 4. Read the application form
The entry form will specify what exactly you will need to participate in the race, what time you must attend, and what classes you must attend prior to the event.
Step 5. Take a mechanic
As with any race, you will need someone to service your car during the event.
You can hire a mechanic yourself by looking for one at a local auto repair shop. Another option is to look for one in your club
Step 6. Be aware of additional costs
When participating in major races, you'll need spare parts (enough to assemble two more cars), tire sets (as yours will wear out), and a huge amount of gasoline, as you can use up to 75 liters a every 100 kilometers.
Step 7. Get ready for training
As with any sport, it will be necessary to practice frequently and with dedication. Some riders practice up to seven days a week.
Pilots practice spending hours on the track, in addition to using simulators to hone their skills. In addition, it is also recommended to practice physical activities such as running, lifting weights or swimming. This will improve your fitness
Step 8. Spend time doing visualizations
Drive along a track in real time in your imagination as you wait for the real race to start. This will keep you calmer and more prepared for the event.
Part 3 of 4: Stopping Being a Beginner
Step 1. Complete the driving school course
You will need to take classes at the club to stop being a beginner.
You will not be able to compete professionally as a beginner
Step 2. Participate in three races
Upon becoming a beginner, you must compete in three races within a two-year period.
Step 3. Receive a subscription on your startup license
After the third race, ask the club supervisor to sign your beginner's license, demonstrating that you have competed in the required number of races.
Step 4. Print the license request form to compete
You can find this form on the club's website.
Step 5. Fill out the license application form to compete
This form will allow you to receive a full license to compete. You will also be required to pay a fee to register.
Step 6. Mail the form
You will also need to send a copy of your physical exam along with the form.
Step 7. Hone your skills
The more races you compete, the better you will become.
Step 8. Win races
The best way to be able to participate in professional races is to win local races. Sponsors will assess whether you have the talent to compete professionally, and sponsors are required to reach a professional level, unless you can participate with your own money (which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, including equipment and application fees).
Part 4 of 4: Keeping Your Body Fit
Step 1. Prepare for stress
Your body will be constantly pulled by g forces. You will also need to withstand high temperatures inside the car, up to 60 °C. Your body needs to be in shape to withstand these conditions.
Step 2. Know what your body will have to put up with
You can get hit during a race. The better your conditioning, the greater your chance of survival. Also, driving a race car can be harmful to your shoulders and back. Most racing teams massage the driver during breaks in the race.
Step 3. Feed yourself correctly
Eat balanced meals with protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Consume plenty of carbohydrates before the race to build up energy.
Step 4. Stay hydrated
It's important to drink plenty of water, especially when running. Some riders also consume energy drinks that are low in sugar.
Step 5. Maintain a healthy weight
Any extra pounds can slow you down. So it's important to stay in shape.