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      09-07-2015, 07:49 PM   #1
Bennyandth3jets
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Motorsports - How to get started?

Hi all, freshman in college this year majoring in mechanical engineering. My school offers an emphasis on motorsports with this major, but I was just curious what the best path for me to take would be if I was looking to not only build but possibly race in a high level setting. Although I have worked on cars since I can remember, I've never been around racing in my childhood, so I'm not sure what the normal procedure is. Is there a separate motorsports school to attend? Thanks in advance,
Ben
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      09-07-2015, 07:50 PM   #2
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      09-07-2015, 08:26 PM   #3
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It can be done but your pretty late on the party to start driving. Usually those involved start very young and yes also have deep pockets. I would focus on getting involved in racing on the technical side most likely. Would still be a blast.
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      09-07-2015, 09:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bennyandth3jets View Post
Hi all, freshman in college this year majoring in mechanical engineering. My school offers an emphasis on motorsports with this major, but I was just curious what the best path for me to take would be if I was looking to not only build but possibly race in a high level setting. Although I have worked on cars since I can remember, I've never been around racing in my childhood, so I'm not sure what the normal procedure is. Is there a separate motorsports school to attend? Thanks in advance,
Ben

I am junior at purdue now, also in ME major. Our engineering school has go cart racing series and solar car that all I can think of which is kinda cheaper do to. What i will do is just study hard, make more money in the future and support your racing as a hobbit which is more realistic.
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      09-07-2015, 09:58 PM   #5
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You can do the Mazda road to Indy program. I know there is one in Sonoma, CA.. But like others said, it ain't cheap. I've spoke to them once before about a program (don't recall which one) and it was about $12k per weekend to race.
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      09-07-2015, 10:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickzhu50581203 View Post
I am junior at purdue now, also in ME major. Our engineering school has go cart racing series and solar car that all I can think of which is kinda cheaper do to. What i will do is just study hard, make more money in the future and support your racing as a hobbit which is more realistic.
Yes racing as a hobbit is always the way to go.
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      09-07-2015, 11:10 PM   #7
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Yes racing as a hobbit is always the way to go.
Heel-n-toeing with oversized furry feet sucks though. Game breaker for me.
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      09-07-2015, 11:13 PM   #8
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Heel-n-toeing with oversized furry feet sucks though. Game breaker for me.
I can't do it with normal feet. I'm a fast hack.
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      09-08-2015, 01:27 AM   #9
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Have rich parents and be short.

I fail at all of that btw.
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      09-08-2015, 05:39 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1MOREMOD View Post
It can be done but your pretty late on the party to start driving.
No such thing as too old. See Paul Newman.
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      09-08-2015, 06:15 AM   #11
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karting.
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      09-08-2015, 08:07 AM   #12
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No such thing as too old. See Paul Newman.
Very true also different era. You could also be a pro football player just had to show up basically.
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      09-08-2015, 11:55 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bennyandth3jets View Post
Hi all, freshman in college this year majoring in mechanical engineering. My school offers an emphasis on motorsports with this major, but I was just curious what the best path for me to take would be if I was looking to not only build but possibly race in a high level setting. Although I have worked on cars since I can remember, I've never been around racing in my childhood, so I'm not sure what the normal procedure is. Is there a separate motorsports school to attend? Thanks in advance,
Ben
There are lots of ways to get into motorsports without killing your budget.

1) Solo - Autocross - Autoslalom
-Very Cheap to start out, can use your Daily with very like risk, can help develop your car control skills you'll need to race
- depending on class and car you there can be as much chassis set up as road racing, not all of translates to road racing but a lot does.
(look at the SCCA or NASA events in your area)

2) Budget Road Racing is all about class.
-take a look at Spec Miata or Improved Touring or may chumpcar.
a Spec Miata ready to race can be found for 7-8 grand, it wont be a national championship winning car but it will get you started. (you are looking at another 1500 for safety gear and about 1K in tires/fuel/entry per race weekend)
-Spec Miata is one class where winning a national championship can get you on the radar of race teams.

-IT you can find and IT car for as little as 4-5K, some are still street legal so you don't need a truck and trailer. Good place to start but no real national level competition
(look at the SCCA or NASA events in your area)

Chumpcar, Is fun and the there is some good drivers, but on average the level of competition is very mixed. But you can buy some safety gear, go on the chumpcar forum, find a team looking for a driver and pay 1-2K and go racing for a couple of hours. (it's not going to a job or a seat with a pro team, but it will expose you to endurance racing)
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      09-08-2015, 01:44 PM   #14
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driving: the cheapest bmw route would be to do some HPDEs in your street car and work your way up to an advanced level, then attend competition school with a large organization like scca, nasa, or bmwcca. next get in a spec e30 racecar. rental racecars are often available, and a competetive car can be had for under 10k. when i was renting, my all-in cost for a weekend of racing was typically about $1500. that included weekend racecar rental (including all normal consumables, basic data management and radio communications management, but excluding any damages/repairs), and two days' entry fee for prax, quali, and race on a saturday and sunday. it's not exactly cheap, but you can get licensed and start rubbin for a pretty affordable price. similar paths exist in other "spec" series, like miata, for example.

team work: since you're in school right now, try to get involved with any racing programs your school might have. many schools have at least a formula SAE team or something similar, where you can join a club and learn how to tune a car for free. you may also get to drive. a combination of this experience, and networking in other racing circles can get you volunteer positions doing pit crew in grassroots endurance races or other scenarios where you'll get some engineering and pit experience.
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      09-09-2015, 08:24 PM   #15
Bennyandth3jets
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Thanks for all the replies everybody, this has been very helpful to try and figure out a path for myself. Would it be more plausible for me to be on the building side of things in a high level setting without such a demand for expendable funds? Based off the numbers in this thread, I wouldn't have the cash to start racing until I'm over 25. So just trying to plan realistically what I can do.

Perhaps I'll just open my own tuning company
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      09-09-2015, 11:20 PM   #16
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Start enrolling in HPDE. NASA has a great ladder program. From there you can jump into time trial or w2w. Supplement your DE with some enduro karting and you'll greatly improve your driving skills.
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      09-10-2015, 02:38 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bennyandth3jets View Post
Thanks for all the replies everybody, this has been very helpful to try and figure out a path for myself. Would it be more plausible for me to be on the building side of things in a high level setting without such a demand for expendable funds? Based off the numbers in this thread, I wouldn't have the cash to start racing until I'm over 25. So just trying to plan realistically what I can do.

Perhaps I'll just open my own tuning company
I had a similar approach in college. I joined our schools formula SAE team and did that for 2 years. This is excellent experience for your career as an engineer but understand that is where it will most likely pay dividends... not for driving racecars.

I also built a 635csi chumpcar with a couple buddies. This yielded a lot more actual seat time but was also a great experience managing the team and preparing the car. Wasn't insanely expensive (~$7k total) to get on a track, which can be split with other team members.

Those are two good starting points for building racecars and getting some seat time; they're also good additions to your resume.

The only other point I'll make is that if you just want to go fast then forget the cars. Go buy some leathers, a helmet, and a bike. No sub $50,000 racecar will be anywhere near as fast as a 600cc sportbike around a big track. After all the car stuff I did back in school I realized I enjoyed the simplicity, speed, and easy financial burden of bikes vs racecars.
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      09-10-2015, 05:33 PM   #18
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You need to have deep pockets like Patrick Dempsey.
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