So, you wanna go Fast ?
Racing is probably the most fun you can have in a Car with the Engine running. Done properly it can be very rewarding. Done without forethought can bankrupt you, make you look stupid in front of your friends and qualifies as reason for Divorce. In Big time Motorsports you always have the young Upwardly wealthy trying their hand. To the Experienced they stand out like a hooker at a church picnic. First of all the Bad news, get fit! It not only sharpens your Body, but also the mind. Then draw up a financial plan. Now go looking for sponsors. And then think about readying that vehicle (as a matter of fact, you should only purchase it now) and going Racin’. All the time keep a sober approach. Enthusiasm hurts!
Drawing up a financial plan goes something like this (I’ll use Off Road Motorcycling as an example):
Purchasing suitable bike 2’nd hand 20-35 grand- Remember what you save now can be put into Modifications later.
Modifications 1-10 Grand, though the latter will only be necessary if you buy a Rent a wreck.
Spares for a season consisting of 8-12 races 30-50 grand (Tyres already cost over 1000 Bucks a set)
Support vehicle costs 15-30 thou (a buck fifty the K)
Accommodation for 2 people 10 000 (you don’t have family all over the country, and if you have they also want to be wined and dined).
You can now split this up into fuel costs- food- Hotels and so forth. Yes, you would want to go through that hassle, as you would want sponsorship!
Now for the elusive sponsor. Please stop Haranguing the motor industry, I would race myself if I could afford 100 Grand + a year. I prefer spending my Money on other pleasantries. Look at it from a Business point of view; you want money in exchange for making your Sponsor money. I have been sponsored by: Restaurants, Detergent companies, Leatherwear shops (yes you probably guessed right), Supermarkets etc.
Give them the Advertising spiel. “ If you pass me 5 grand a race, I’ll get you 500 Bucks media attention + Write-ups and Blah blah blah” The beginning is hard, but if you develop an outward (or outrageous) personality, automatically the Audience and public attention will be drawn towards you. And if you play it well, towards your sponsor.
Also remember to be sponsored by a Lubricant/Fuel supplier for a grand a race is not as good as getting 5 grand from Hustler. Remember you only have so much Advertising space on your Race/Support vehicle. Also it is far more difficult to draw attention to 10 Sponsors as it is to 1. I hate those speeches at price giving that go “ And now I wish to than Auntie Margaret for sponsoring the Shirt and Mom….” Do you Honestly think that the by now Inebriated sports Editor will write all that down? But if your game plan involves with you wearing a leather outfit from Kinky Pete’s on the stage apologising that your gear is lying in a bath of Surf as that is the ONLY detergent for you. That will get you attention from more than the sports Hack! And it will get Pete, as well as Surf, a good media Blitz. Get creative!
Ok I hope that you had either enough money to be able to start without sponsorship or enough Personality to get at least enough money to do 1/3 of the season. Forget about all the “But hopefully…”. Now without worries you can choose the vehicle you want and Barter for it- as you have cash in hand, right! Set it up, buy spares- ah yes your spares outlet will probably be more keen in supporting you, if they know you are stable enough to finish a few races. It is terrible trying to race with worries in your mind. Mental attitude is most important.
Now for set-up. Get a Complete shopping list together and fax it to possible suppliers, you will be amazed how much guys like me drop prices if we know we can get a killer deal going. Stay with one supplier, so you can get future Backup. Also remember in racing most price in 3 Categories; elCheapo with no warranty get the hell out of my door. Top of the line such as Nomex suits with silk inners. Medium range that is accepted by most racing bodies and will work but maybe not most Comfortably. Also remember last minute shopping irks the hell out of everyone.
How you split your priorities is your Baby- I’ll give you my Line: Best Clothing I can get (I don’t want to get hurt and I want to relax). Controls must feel right but there I can modify either them or my Body (I have good upper Body strength since I can’t afford and don’t like Power steering). Handling must be tops (De Carbon or Koni Shocks with Rockwell international springs etc.) Power isn’t important since I can always upgrade later; it must just be reliable. Vehicle safety is A1; good rolcage etc. though if an Automatic Halon System is needed is debatable. Instrumentation- if you have a 100 000 buck motor, 10 000 buck gauges seem reasonable (since they monitor your investment). I rather NOT have a gauge than a 9.99 special- it gives me knee slapping satisfaction when guys stop their race because of low oil pressure and find their gauge is cooked, the other way round (motor cooked) does not give me satisfaction but just lets me wonder?
Remember the Golden Rule “he who has the Gold…” no I meant “stay Focussed and use Business sense”. This should roughly give you an idea on how to get to the starting line. Once there, use the Pro’s for guidance; don’t be scared to ask questions. We all had to start once and a Ignorant wisecrack stands out like a flowering pimple on your forehead.