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Becoming a Professional Race Car Driver 101

Mar 21, 2022
There’s nothing wrong with dreaming big. Maybe you want to become a doctor someday and help cure people of their diseases. Maybe you want to become a teacher and mold your students into achieving their dream careers. Maybe you want to become a pop star with millions of fans all over the world. Maybe you want to become the next president of the United States and serve your country for the years to come. Maybe you want to become a professional racing driver and have a podium finish at an F1 tournament. But as with every dream, it’s always free to go wild with your imaginations but the hustle doesn’t come free. You have to work hard in order to achieve your dreams and be the best at what you do. Professional racecar drivers for instance have to gain skills and experience for their job and hobby. It’s not just them driving a car on a local race track. If you want to take this sport very seriously, then you must be completely dedicated to pursuing your passion. So where do you start as an aspiring F1 racer? What will you do to stand out from your other competitors? The right people, aka sponsors, are watching so how do you make them notice you and you alone? We’ve prepared a short Q&A below:
Why is it your dream to become a car racer?
Here is a bit of real talk. Being a racer is difficult and very expensive. Your motivation must be strong if you want to drive a formula car in the future. Be honest with your answer because there is no right or wrong motivation on why you would want to commit yourself and invest in this sport. You have to want it badly for it to happen and you be a success. It’s an everyday commitment so if you can’t motivate yourself well enough for this, don’t think of wasting your time, effort, and money. This is not simply maintaining a strict diet or working out because there are other elements that will challenge your commitment to the sport. You also have to raise funds for your career and you have to sacrifice things that give you instant gratification for you to live the future life you are envisioning. These will include not being able to buy everything you want and scheduling properly your dates with family and friends. You need to have a deep motivation because if you are in it for just the money, then you might not go anywhere. Some drivers or professional athletes in car racing love the sport, want to learn to drive cars at the fastest speeds, and win a victory for your family and others.
What is your specific target?
In-car racing, there are many tournaments, stages, and world platforms that you could enter and excel in. These are opportunities you coup tap into as long as you are laser-focused to do so. There is specific training for each race so as early as now, you have to determine your specific target so that you could train for it specifically.
How will you reach your goals?
First off, you must have goals that are smart, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timebound. It’s not a surprise if the F1 stage is your goal. So many aspiring young drivers want to join and become an official part of its pool. Every year, about two or three seats open up that would be filled in by drivers that are aged below 20 years old. These young dreams must have joined high-level motorsports competitions when they were much younger. The earlier they got exposed to the sport, the better. Again, it’s not surprising to find out that these young drivers have won championships at different levels before they entered or attempted to join F1. It’s not easy to get into because you’ll be up against other racers who want it as much as you do.
How much can you afford?
Whatever type of racing you choose to pursue, it’s going to be costly and grow even more expensive while you climb up the racing ladder. You must secure proper funding before you can even move up a level higher than where you are now. The competition is cutthroat so you must prove yourself and your skills in order to secure a sponsorship. You should only commit when you can financially afford it. If your family can’t afford it, you need to prove to sponsors how they will get a return of investment if they choose to pay a seat for you in the race track. Look for those who are genuinely interested in the sport, show them what you can do, and from a business perspective, make them realize how you could help them earn money from investing in you.
What is your plan in mind?
Once you have the goal, then the next step is to research and plan your career route. Below each career route, write down the steps and actions you would do to reach your plan. You could only succeed on the race track if you have a clear plan in mind. Remember research is very important to make your plan clear and achievable. You need to know the sport by heart. There are many resources online that you could check out to complete your research. You can also chat with other drivers and learn from them some industry secrets and tips and tricks of the trade.
How do you practice?
A regular car is very much different compared to a high-performance formula race car. But even though driving each is an entirely different discipline, you could still practice your driving skills in a regular car. According to Allen Berg Racing Schools, you have to focus on developing awareness, new hazard perception, braking distances, balance shifts, and grip levels. Of course, you can also enroll in professional driving schools to give you a racing experience as close as you will get in the professional world.
What license should you get?
You need to have an SCCA competition license for you to compete professionally. For instance, if you have no prior driving experience, they allow you to still pass an application for a novice permit. You could use this permit when you study how to drive high-performance vehicles in local racing and driving events.
Do you know the mechanics of your race car?
You should also understand every part and feature of your race car. When you know it fully, you will be able to maximize it to its fullest ability. Ask everyone in the know about your car, from mechanics to engineers, to get to know about the build of your car, the materials, the design, and how to maintain and repair it when something goes awry. Remember also that you have to store it in a garage that’s spacious and not filled with clutter. If you are not yet racing professionally and keep your car at your home garage, make sure to have overhead storage racks and wall shelves for everything stored in your garage to be organized and neat.