When it comes to the racing bug, more often than not, it can often bite later on in life and stir up an enthusiasm in those both old and young to take to the wheel for competition. Fortunately, in motorsport, outside of the likes of Formula 1, at least, age isn’t a barrier when taking up the sport and becoming involved in all aspects, whether that’s as a driver, part of a club, team, or as a marshal at the circuits.
Throughout Motorsport UK, there are tonnes of great championships and series that welcome newcomers, that are friendly and open to the more green of us and cost-effective whilst dipping your toe into the water, so to speak.
However, we’re very aware that it can be somewhat overwhelming and deterring when first making the decision to take the plunge. Enthusiasm is a good driving force though and we even have members of our team who are newcomers to motorsport, too, like our co-founder Edward Worthington.
When we asked Ed how he felt about first getting into racing for the FunCup academy, he said:
“It’s a really daunting experience at first but if you pick the right team to race with, they’ll be sure to help you on the journey.”
So the question you came for, how to get started in motorsport?
We’d recommend starting off with a trackday to give you a feel for being in a car and driving on a circuit. It’s a much cheaper way to make sure that it’s definitely something you want to be a part of and have the enthusiasm and drive to maintain. You can take your own car to a track day, too, and for the most part, no previous racing experience is required. You must have a full valid driving license and you’ll need a helmet but most circuits have helmets available to hire for trackdays, too.
A lot of professional drivers start out in karting which gives drivers valuable skills. It’s a good start in sharpening skills and getting to grips with competitive racing with other drivers on a track.
If you’re going to go into club racing, you’ll need to get an Interclub competition license, which means that you’ll be able to enter most club level racing. There are some autocross, cross-country and trial events, too, that only require an RS Clubman license that do not require a test and are freely available.
How to get a race license
Buy a Go Racing pack from Motorsport UK
The Motorsport UK ‘Go Racing’ Starter Pack (ARDS) is £99 (inc. VAT) and includes a Competition License application form (the cost of your first license is included in the pack price) and a USB which features the Motorsport UK Yearbook and all the information you’ll need to pass your ARDS course too.
Complete your ARDS Course
An ARDS (Association of Racing Drivers Schools) course can be taken at any number of circuits across the UK, as most are an ARDS member offering tests, such as Silverstone, Oulton Park, Snetterton and Donington Park. An ARDS course involves a written test about circuit training and the definition of different flags. You’ll also undergo a practical session to prove you ability to drive on track safely; consistency, safety and confidence is key here. Once you’ve passed your ARDS you’ll be able to consider what championship you’re interested in entering. There’s a huge variety of championships and opportunities within racing championships depending on your interest and your budget.
Gaining a National License
Once you’ve completed your ARDS course and passes, you’ll need to complete six Interclub races before you’re then eligible for a National License. A National License will give you the opportunity to be able to enter more professional events across the country.
How do I get into sim racing?
If you decide that the physicality of being on the track and racing on circuits isn’t for you, but still have the enthusiasm to race, the other option to pursue is sim racing. It’s a highly realistic experience that can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home with the right equipment.
Sim racing and Esports is enjoyed by all and has become even more popular during quarantine amongst some of the most well-known drivers, especially in Formula 1. There are differing levels of set-ups and some can be a lot more costly than others, depending on the equipment. You could be spending £300-£400 on a beginners set up with a wheel, pedal and stand, but when you start to get into the complexities of a rig, you’ll be working into the thousands.
Still a little unsure about getting started in motorsport or where to start with equipment, get in touch with the WASPP team and we’d be happy to help you work out your options. Our co-founder Jay Shepherd is a Grade S ARDS Instructor, alongside his own experience in motorsport over the last 35 years, he has a wealth of experience helping individuals get started in the sport.