For many auto enthusiasts, one of the higher items on their bucket list is to go racing on the track – whether it's a road course, dirt track oval or even a drag strip. But what if you want to make racing into a regular hobby? While each type of motorsport carries its own challenges and costs, the folks over at Winding Road have been running a fascinating series of stories showing what it takes to compete on road courses focusing on how to earn an Sports Car Club of America Competition License.

The articles are meant to take someone with no track experience through becoming a fully licensed amateur racing driver; diving into negotiating the multiple sanctioning bodies, rules and paperwork. The series goes into depth on everything that you need to know from what safety gear to select to attending race school and even what to expect during your first event. It's all separated by common questions you like "What might I want to know about learning a new track?"

If you're even curious about becoming an amateur road racing driver this seems like an invaluable series. Conveniently, it even keeps a tally of what everything costs. Head over to Winding Road to check out the sixth part in the ongoing stories; noting that all of the previous entries are linked at the bottom of the page, as well.


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  • 18 Comments
      Fazzster
      • 8 Months Ago
      Step # 1 - Funnel money away from your kid's college savings accounts.
      David Donovan
      • 8 Months Ago
      Spec V sighting!! And it's the best version too!
      acrcpe45
      • 8 Months Ago
      The other commenters are right on about cash flow. I exited college as a recently married engineer with big dreams of going road racing. I had a good job and good support from friends and family. After spending upwards of $25,000 we were about a year and a half into the endeavor when the reality of the costs hit home. I lived my dream, but it cost a small fortune. Didn't help that we were waist deep into the SCCA team as the economy tanked in 2008. In the end, I lost a friend and the race car when the team broke up. I cherish that certificate on the wall and I am very grateful I did it and I would never take it back. I took three years off to recover my finances. I now own three entry level sprint karts and enjoy local club level racing with friends for my adrenaline fix. Karting is much much more affordable than wheel to wheel auto racing. Beginners should stay away from shifter karts. They are incredible, but they chew up and spit out new karters left and right.
      Shawn Stone
      • 8 Months Ago
      I think y'all are missing the point. Yes it is expensive to go road racing (club racing in SCCA terms), but running an ITB or ITA car is not as expensive as it's made out to be. Hell, a mid pack Spec Miata plus spares costs less than a Ford Focus nowadays. As a competitive Auto X member with a Datsun and Speed 3, autocross is a fantastic way to have fun and learn car control, but it's not the same as setting yourself up for corners and smooth transitions to apex's. At the end of the day, spend your disposable income on what fits your motor head needs!
      aacfx09
      • 8 Months Ago
      Racing does NOT have to be expensive! Start at the bottom and go to an autocross day (called Solo by SCCA) Registration can be done on Motorsportreg.com for whichever event and by paying online. It's only about $50 for a day and anybody can go. When I did my first event in August it was amazing how many different kinds of people were there. First timers, husband/wife teams, people with dedicated track cars, and people like me in my daily. Road racing as pictured above is significantly more expensive. You don't need any experience and there are course walks prior to beginning and instructors on tap if you want company and tips during your run. Think it's hard on the car? It really isn't. You redline it in first (if you so choose) and stay in second for the remainder of the run. There is tech inspection before you can run and helmets are available to use for your run free of charge. I'm still a novice at 23, but I'm glad I didn't sit around mumbling about how it's too expensive to go racing on the weekends when that's what makes me happy. And for $50 it can't be beat. Get out there!
        acrcpe45
        • 8 Months Ago
        @aacfx09
        The article is about road racing not auto crossing. Road racing IS expensive. Anyone who thinks the auto crossing experience is the same as actual road racing is kidding themselves. I firmly believe you should race what you can afford but auto crossing and road racing are two different genres. Mike
          aacfx09
          • 8 Months Ago
          @acrcpe45
          I can only agree, but I think people's general perception is that racing itself is out of their reach.
        Andrew Ramos
        • 8 Months Ago
        @aacfx09
        Autocross is a good way to enter competitive driving. If you can stand in a parking lot all day for 4 minutes of driving your car around said parking lot, you must love driving. So, chances are, people who stick with it will move on to doing more.
      Welcome N8Dog!
      • 8 Months Ago
      I agree with everyone here. Racing is very expensive as acrepe45 mentioned. Again, I can also suggest autocross as a means of getting a nice taste of racing without the extreme budget constraints. To be competitive locally you basically just need a decent set of tires (Dunlop Z2s, Hankook RS3s, Bridgestone RE11As, or BFG Rivals) to be remarkably competitive with everything else stock on the car. If you absolutely have to have the racing experience and basic track days won't do it for you, I suggest LeMons racing. I was able to join a team locally that already had a car, tools, and trailer necessary to transport the car. It ended up only costing me around $600 for 2 hours of wheel to wheel seat racing time.
      lasertekk
      • 8 Months Ago
      Bring money, even if it's vintage.
      Andrew Ramos
      • 8 Months Ago
      24 Hours of Lemons is a fun way. You're just left to deal with rusty cars that aren't that fast and a lot of drivers who don't know what they're doing. My approach is autocross, HPDE, and Time Trials with my weekend car and wheel to wheel racing go karts and 24 Hours of Lemons. It's not cheap, but it's much more reasonable than running SCCA T2 with a fresh set of Hoosier A6s for every weekend.
      ksrcm
      • 8 Months Ago
      Well, I guess I was fortunate enough to start going on a racetrack at 43. I immediately realized that I'm too old, too untalented and too unfit both physically and mentally to do any kind of racing. Thus, I visit racetrack 4-5 weekends a year in the guise of very controlled "driving school" and enjoy heck out of myself. Who really needs racing? I don't think I would find it to be fun enough even if I were younger and more fit. Invaluable lessons are learned there on a racetrack while driving at your limit and telling yourself it is the car limit :) The most precious lesson I take home every single time after the last session on Sunday is ... "I learned quite a bit. But boy! How much I have no clue about when it comes to driving!" So, let's not scare people off the racetracks and let's make sure they understand difference between racing and high performance driving. No, I don't think people know that difference - otherwise they would never call two idiots pressing accelerator pedal when traffic light changes to green "racing".
      Vwfanatic
      • 8 Months Ago
      Confusus says the best way to make a small fortune in auto racing, is to start with a big fortune!
      kajohns1964
      • 8 Months Ago
      I do all my racing on the street. I'm Fast and Furious.
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