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Old 9 Nov 2019, 08:04 (Ref:3939379)   #1
Dracks2
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Racing Career at 19?

Hey, how's it going?

I have a life long dream to turn racing into a career. This dream started back when I was around 1 or 2 were my first words were "uncle's car". Then I started go-karting at around the age of 7 in Brasil. This, unfortunately, was put to a halt because I moved to the United States. This itch was still with me so I got a job at an indoor go-karting place. There I found my talent. I was beating guys with four times my experience with no problem. At the end of my year racing indoor, I was at the top 10 times of the track. Then... college happened. With the social/parental pressure of going to college, my hands were tied. I still live and breath racing. I go to the occasional autocross but money is tying me to going as much as I'd like too. This brings me to where I am today. I wake up resent my life and go to class. Every day I think about what I could of become if I didn't stop racing back in my early days. BUT NOW I'm done living like this. I will follow my dreams and passions. This brings me here and I have a few questions. I know that returning to go-karting would be my best option. Sadly I do not have any outdoor go-kart tracks near my college or my house. I also DO NOT have financial support from my family as they cannot afford it. Although of course, I am willing to get a small job and fund myself that way.



Can anyone help me figure out the next step?

Am I just too old to make it a career? (not talking about F1 but enough to have a comfortable living)

What series should I look into?

Should I look for sponsors?

Should I contact teams?
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Old 9 Nov 2019, 09:21 (Ref:3939389)   #2
morninggents
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This is not intended to shatter your dreams as dreams (ambition) is a good thing.
Regarding the last two points you mention regarding contacting potential teams and sponsors the cold fact is that they will regularly be contacted by budding race drivers, many of whom will have had many years of successful karting experience behind them, and the supply of opportunities in race teams is far outweighed by the demand to fill them. Without any race history behind you it would be impossible to get in to racing that way.
I would suggest your best approach would be to start back at the beginning and find an outdoor kart track that is registered to some form of authorised body and that hosts formal competitive championship racing and let your results do the talking. If you have potential you should be noticed but then you would need money to help you climb the ladder.
Good luck.
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Old 9 Nov 2019, 09:57 (Ref:3939393)   #3
Johno.UK
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Without money age is pretty irrelevant to be honest. To make it to the stage where you can be a professional driver money is more important than talent in a lot of ways.

Sponsorship is hard. You need to be good at marketing and be able to offer your sponsors value outside of just the advertising exposure. The days of getting a few thousand for slapping a sticker on the car are long gone.

The only way you're going to get anywhere at this stage, IMO, is to enter one of the competitions that offer a seasons drive for the winners. There are two or three a year in the UK so I presume they have them in the 'States as well. That's the way Rob Huff got to where he is today on next to no money.
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Old 9 Nov 2019, 15:59 (Ref:3939458)   #4
mountainstar
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mountainstar should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridmountainstar should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridmountainstar should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
To some degree you have already missed the boat, this isn't the 1970s or 1980s anymore. For things like F1 the reality is that you need to be winning in go karts by 7, 8, 9 and a go kart world champion by 12 or 13, racing single seaters by 14 or 15 and in a development program with a Formula 1 team by 16 and you need to be winning all along the way to get into Formula 1 by 18 or 19. And your billionaire father needs to be writing checks along the way.

Here is your problem, money. Lets say you go to racing school for a few thousand dollars, well, then what do you? Back to work to try to save up for your next thing which could be years down the road as you have to live and support yourself. Motor sport is hideously expensive with few returns and few commercial opportunities available for anything but the people at the top.

I know of two young drivers your age that their family with some supporters managed to fund them a five figure sum and they went and ran some racing school type formula races and won. Yeah they won some races, that was nice, maybe they have some talent but since they blew their financial wad, they cannot afford the next step up the ladder, so it's really wasted money as far as return on investment goes. They would have been better off investing that $50K in a business that might make money, or an education that leads to a job that makes money or in stocks or similar investment.

If you do not have total extreme talent or lots of endless amounts of money, don't waste your time. Instead what you do is go to college, get a good degree in a field that can make a lot of money. Get out there build a business or become wealthy in some other way and then at 40 you can race whatever the hell you want, perhaps even take a tax deduction for marketing expenses for your racing and go out and have a good time.

The thing is with things like soccer, anyone can get a soccer ball and kick it around and if you are good enough, move up the ladder, maybe someday be able to play pro. Motor sport is nothing like that at all, it requires massive sums of money and that never ends.

If you really think you have it and are just totally insistent on it, my recommendation to you is this: save up the thousands to go to a proper open wheel formula school. There are always tons of dreamers that turn up to these schools thinking how easy it is to drive a race car and then going through the school, the reality sets in that is nowhere near as comfortable or fun as they thought and that their talent is lacking. Racing school will shake you out just how good you might be and how much further you want to take it.

Last thing I will tell you is this, don't destroy your own finances or future over it. Lots of drives and racing dads that did so and it impacts them for a long time. Debt is no fun to pay off.
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Old 9 Nov 2019, 16:02 (Ref:3939459)   #5
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Originally Posted by Johno.UK View Post

The only way you're going to get anywhere at this stage, IMO, is to enter one of the competitions that offer a seasons drive for the winners. There are two or three a year in the UK so I presume they have them in the 'States as well. That's the way Rob Huff got to where he is today on next to no money.
And a lot of those competitions often end up not providing to the winner what was promised or simply goes bust. There was a big one that just imploded in Australia that left a lot of people hanging.
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Old 9 Nov 2019, 16:18 (Ref:3939462)   #6
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GORDON STREETER is going for a new lap record!GORDON STREETER is going for a new lap record!GORDON STREETER is going for a new lap record!GORDON STREETER is going for a new lap record!GORDON STREETER is going for a new lap record!GORDON STREETER is going for a new lap record!
Very few people that race cars actually make enough money to live on and that includes a lot of named drivers that are in the public eye in various different fields of the sport.
A lot of drivers probably wouldn't admit how much they "actually" spend and most don't aspire to going any further than just a bit of fun.
It's another of those "catch 22" situations I'm afraid and unless you start in something that you can actually afford to do then you won't get anywhere unless you win the lottery.
With a load of money you might be able to buy your way half way up a grid at a club level meeting and that is if you are as good as you think you are, and even if you won there won't be somebody waiting with an open cheque book at the chequered flag.
Karting seems to be the way to start these days but as everything else it still costs a load of money and the further you go it costs "serious" amounts.
I think that most of us on this forum will echo my sentiments and you will find that a good percentage would have taken a lot of time off and started racing later in life when they had some "disposable" income and only do it as a hobby.
We all know that Lewis Hamilton started from very humble beginnings, but he did have a father that just about broke himself believing that he had a future champion !
Sorry to have painted a dull picture to your post but you have to face reality and until you actually get behind the wheel and show the world that you are the next best thing since sliced bread then nothing will happen.
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Old 9 Nov 2019, 16:30 (Ref:3939464)   #7
Johno.UK
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And a lot of those competitions often end up not providing to the winner what was promised or simply goes bust. There was a big one that just imploded in Australia that left a lot of people hanging.
Not the case with the regular ones here in the UK but the OP would certainly need to look into the details.
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Old 9 Nov 2019, 16:43 (Ref:3939467)   #8
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As for making a living, personally I raced for about 45 years in different motorsports on two and four wheel and I wouldn't want to even think how much money it has cost me. Although I won a lot of races and a couple of championships and had a lot of sponsorship I probably won less than 2k in all that time
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Old 11 Nov 2019, 22:59 (Ref:3940056)   #9
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All the successful race drivers who are earning lots of money had many many years where the money was flowing in the opposite direction and more often then not it was family wealth that got them started.

Any prospective sponsor would need a set of relevant recent results, and not based on one year at an indoor kart track 10 years ago.

If you want to be involved in racing and earn a comfortable living, then consider building and preparing cars. Starting as an employee of an established race team and then after serving your time, garnering contact and learning the skills, setting out on your own. By then you may well have earned enough to compete yourself.
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Old 12 Nov 2019, 09:24 (Ref:3940133)   #10
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I also DO NOT have financial support from my family as they cannot afford it. Although of course, I am willing to get a small job and fund myself that way.






I would think that us "old duffers" on this forum have probably "dulled" your asperations unfortunately, however I wish you well in what ever you decide to do in life. One thing I will say is that over the years that I have been involved in motorsports I have personally known half a dozen people that have completely ruined their life by loosing everything (houses/wives/families/ through chasing their dreams.
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Balls of steel (knob of butter) They're Asking For Larkins. ( Proper beer) not you're Eurofizz crap. Hace más calor en España. Me han conocido a hablar un montón cojones! Send any cheques and cash to PO box 1 Lagos Nigeria Africa !
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Old 12 Nov 2019, 11:25 (Ref:3940145)   #11
Alessio
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You'd be paying for your first few seasons with your fingers crossed that results and luck go your way enough to attract some sponsors/financiers who can help subsidise some of the costs.

The best way to go about it would be to contact some teams in an entry level series, something like Formula Vee or touring cars, and work out a budget for the season. Realistically, without money and a long-term karting background it's going to be hard to make it without a lot of luck.

An alternative would be to go down the karting route. Buy or rent an X30 kart, build up some experience and race in the nationals. It's not quite F1 or WEC and there are few 'paid drives' but the top level in national/international karting is nearly as 'professional'.

Honestly, though, unless you are willing to spend a lot of money, I'd suggest buying a kart and racing locally for fun as a hobby sport.

Last edited by Alessio; 12 Nov 2019 at 11:33.
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Old 12 Nov 2019, 17:01 (Ref:3940201)   #12
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I think in the scheme of things the number of drivers who live off the sport are few and far between. Even at national levels like the BTCC a lot of the drivers will make their living as a company owner or driver coach. Most people at a reasonable level in rallying in the UK are comapny owners who do something completely unrelated to the sport (although groundworks/plant hire seems a common theme).

As others have said, you're probably too old to make a career as a racer but that doesn't mean you can't race. Plenty of us get through the drudgery of the day job because it pays for the fun stuff.

I'd recommend finding how you can do cheap things, like Autocross in the US (different sport in the UK so make sure you're looking at the right thing). Not sure how it works but you may find company owners who will put their name on your car for a few hundred bucks.
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