One of the reasons why I started Blayze was a single question I got from many fans during my pro racing career, “How do I get into racing?” The fact that some of our most die-hard fans did not know that they could get behind the wheel on a racetrack for little money was disappointing to me. My goal here is to show the various ways you can get on track yourself.
No matter your age, you will find something that fits your goals here. I believe that if professional racing wants to grow, the single best way to do that is by growing its grassroots form of the sport. If you are already racing, please share this article with a friend that would love to get behind the wheel. And if you aren’t a driver yet, continue reading so we can help you get on the racetrack!
Various Types of Motorsport
Motorsport comes in many different forms. Some drivers want door-to-door racing with their rivals, some only want self-improvement, and others battle their rivals based purely on the stopwatch. Each form has certain aspects that may make it the right form of motorsport for those drivers. Below we will go into detail on each form of motorsport so you can learn more about the options and find the right one for you. Be sure check out the rest our blog for more articles on all forms of motorsports.
Hopefully, these will help you find the best way to get started in racing!
High-Performance Driver Education Track Days (HPDE)
I list this form of motorsport first because it is one of the easiest ways to get on track today you don’t have to buy a race car. You can take your streetcar on the track without any modifications. Although some slight ones like better brake fluid are recommended. Road and Track has a great article about the basics that you may want to take to your first track day.
HPDE track days are best for drivers that are looking to keep risks to motorsport as low as possible. It is the type of motorsport I recommend for all drivers looking to get into auto racing but not sure where to start. Most clubs have a fantastic education system for brand new drivers. They will have classroom settings to introduce you to the most important concepts and will have more experienced drivers sit next to you in your car for your first few days on the racetrack.
To help lower risk these HPDE days are not about “racing” or about going fast. No lap times are taken. Track days are about a community of drivers looking for self-improvement in their driving and having a great time. For most of these events, there is no overtaking without the car being overtaken signaling the car behind to pass them in a very specific way.
· How Much Do Track Days Cost?
The entry fee for a day is usually around $300 for the weekend. There are other fees to consider for track days such as fuel and most likely tires. There may be added expenses like hotel and food, depending on track location. Most drivers seem to be paying around $1k per weekend for their track day events.
· Where Can I Go To Find An Event?
Our top recommendations to start with include:
West Coast Drivers - Hooked On Driving
East Coast Drivers - Chin Track Days
Car Clubs, such as Audi Club
Autocross is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to get into racing. Typically, autocross is where an organization rents a parking lot and sets up a temporary racetrack using cones. Drivers then take their street cars - sometimes heavily modified but not necessary - and drive as fast as possible from start to finish for one lap.
Again, here there is no door-to-door racing, but it is more competitive than HPDE track days.There is a stopwatch and people most definitely care about beating their friends. The great thing about autocross is it is the form of motorsport that is least demanding for the car, so you need not modify your car. But, over time most drivers do make small changes to them.
· How Much Does Autocross Cost?
Most local autocross events have an entry fee between $25 - $50 for the day. You will get a lot less track time at these events, each run is 1 lap, and some days you may only get 5 runs. But these events are in cities in parking lots so it is likely you can find one very close to you and not need to pay for hotel rooms and travel. Aside from the entry fee, you will use a little additional fuel and probably tires depending on wear. Autocross is by far the cheapest and lowest risk option!
· Where Can I find Autocross Events Near Me?
SCCA is the largest motorsport organization in the U.S. and they host events all across the country.
This one is relatively new and is taking amateur racing by storm. Here drivers drive on purpose-built racetracks, the ones we all dream about racing on like Watkins Glen, Sebring International Raceway, Virginia International Raceway, and many more. But there is no door-to-door racing. It is a race against a stopwatch to see who can get the fastest lap. Here you will find a mix of slightly modified streetcars (similar to what we see in HPDE track days) and full-on race cars.
For those of you that are looking to experience driving on proper racetracks and want some form of competition but are a little bit apprehensive about going door-to-door racing, this will be perfect for you!
· How Much Does Time Trial Racing Cost?
Entry fees will be in the range of $400 for a weekend. Most of these events are a Saturday + Sunday event held on the big racetracks, so additional hotel costs are likely. Most drivers here will buy a race car to compete in. Money spent on tires, parts, fuel, and car-related matters are more frequently needed in this form of motorsport compared to HPDE track days.
· Where Can I Find Time Trial Events?
SCCA has a national-level time trial series that will be fantastic for you to get started with racing! You can find out more about their events here.
For those of you who want door-to-door racing, this one is for you! There are local races all around the country on all of the big racetracks. Here amateur drivers battle for the glory of crossing the start/finish line first when the checkered flag flies.
This type of motorsport is my personal favorite, but the issue it brings up is trying to find the right class and place for you to race. There are many ways drivers end up spending way more money than is necessary to go racing. For beginners in wheel-to-wheel racing, I recommend classes that aren’t “sexy” but provide the best bang for your buck. The two categories I recommend are Spec Miata or Spec E46.
The Spec Miata is slow, but I tell you what, from all the cool cars I have been lucky enough to drive I still have an absolute blast driving spec Miatas. They are relatively cheap and the best thing about this class is no matter where you go, you will find someone to race with. The competition level in this class is extremely high!
Just remember if you are starting in this sport, don’t spend a lot of money trying to make your car faster. Spend the money on more time enjoying yourself on track and coaching to improve yourself and your safety as a driver. That is the number one piece of advice I have for anyone new to this sport.
· How Much Does Club Racing Cost?
This one is almost impossible to answer. The range is all over the place! What we can recommend is starting to look at a few series and give you some places to potentially find yourself a race car.
· Where Can I Go Club Racing?
· Where Can I Find Race Cars For Sale?
The best way to look for buying a race car is by networking in the paddock. We have no experience in buying race cars online so we can’t talk from personal experience, but here are some options for websites
Go Kart Racing
This is one of my personal favorite options to start racing! It has been a long time since I was racing go karts competitively, but man do I miss it! This will be the cheapest option for those looking to go wheel-to-wheel racing but not wanting to pay the costs that we see in car racing. We aren’t talking about your normal electric indoor karting here either. The real outdoor racing go karts are crazy machines that reach speeds of 100 mph, and when your butt is only 1 inch off the pavement that feels extremely fast.
If you go ask any pro driver where they started or where they had the most fun racing the answer will be almost unanimous, go karts. For any kids looking to one day become a pro racing car driver, this is where you HAVE to start, but it’s not only for the kids. If you have always dreamed of becoming a pro and you are an adult that can now afford to pay to live out your dream, there are lots of competitive classes in karting for you as well!
Once again it is easy to end up spending way too much money on karting (this is a theme for this sport) what we recommend doing is looking for a local Rotax class. There are hundreds if not thousands of go kart tracks around the country, a simple google search of “go kart racing near me” is bound to show you many results for almost everyone in the U.S.!
Just going to the local go kart track is how the racing career starts for nearly all pro drivers. I cannot recommend this option enough!
· How Much Does Go Karting Cost?
The costs can seriously vary here. For adults, we recommend buying a Rotax 125 kart. You can go to your local track and talk to teams. These karts run around $3,000 new, but you can find decently priced used ones. You will be buying fuel, tires, and potentially lots of parts, but the number of parts depends on how much you crash and how much you want to spend. Some drivers can get by with one set of tires for a very long time, and some buy a new set every weekend. Remember focus on spending more money for more track time and not on going fast initially!
· Where Do I Find Go Kart Races Near me?
Rotax Max Championship is a great place to start researching
World Karting Association also has races all over the country and a lot of different classes
Learn More With Blaze!
The secret to mastering any skill is practice! Are you looking to start your racing journey? Could you use direct feedback from a professional coach on how to improve your racing and motorsport skills?
At Blayze we give you a personalized coaching session from the very best coaches in the world. For a truly unique and personalized feedback experience, submit your performance video to one of Blayze’s highly qualified coaches. The custom-developed coaching session can help you improve your on-track, so you are performing at your very best in every race. One easy click here will take you to more details on our coaching sessions.