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Little advice on getting started...


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Hey y'all,

 

I've been looking at getting into ChampCar racing for a long time now.  I used to attend events at  my old home track (Laguna Seca) but have since moved to Oklahoma City.  To my dismay, it has become difficult to find teams or people interested starting one around here, although granted I am still relatively new here.  

 

It has been suggested to me to try and rent a seat on an existing team for the next local race ( probably Texas).  Problem is that the extent of my track experience is a few fun laps at Las Vegas MS and playing Gran Turismo. :blink: 

 

What would everyone suggest the best way to get started?  I think I'm a little paranoid to rent a seat because I don't want to ruin anyone's car (and weekend) as my first time out.  I also don't have a ton of money, so flying out to an expensive racing school also isn't an option.  Anyway, thanks in advance for any input!

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A couple quick thoughts since you are near a few different track. I would look to see if any tracks near you have track days or what one near us calls fast Fridays.

Get with a car and do some laps and driving on track and push your self to see how that goes or find a good driving school and attend that.

 

The hard part on renting most teams will want you to have experience on driving with some wheel to wheel time. Many will ask for a history of your skills but some may not.

If you can find a new team that really is at start up level and get a seat with them it might be easier. Another thought might also be to find a team which will do a test day before a race 

and see if you can get a slot on the test day and work from that.

 

We will do a few test days but not very close to you being in Iowa.

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Lots of good advice.  I looked into Hallett and they do have lap days that let you meet with a coach, so I'll start there.  Also good call about offering up crew services, I'll definitely be doing that as well for the next race around here, probably COTA Harris Hill.

Edited by mag58gpmg
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8 hours ago, mag58gpmg said:

Hey y'all,

 

I've been looking at getting into ChampCar racing for a long time now.  I used to attend events at  my old home track (Laguna Seca) but have since moved to Oklahoma City.  To my dismay, it has become difficult to find teams or people interested starting one around here, although granted I am still relatively new here.  

 

It has been suggested to me to try and rent a seat on an existing team for the next local race ( probably Texas).  Problem is that the extent of my track experience is a few fun laps at Las Vegas MS and playing Gran Turismo. :blink: 

 

What would everyone suggest the best way to get started?  I think I'm a little paranoid to rent a seat because I don't want to ruin anyone's car (and weekend) as my first time out.  I also don't have a ton of money, so flying out to an expensive racing school also isn't an option.  Anyway, thanks in advance for any input!

Please don't take this the wrong way, something to think about.  If money is tight, How do you plan to pay for the car if you/someone on track crashes it?

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9 hours ago, mag58gpmg said:

Hey y'all,

 

I've been looking at getting into ChampCar racing for a long time now.  I used to attend events at  my old home track (Laguna Seca) but have since moved to Oklahoma City.  To my dismay, it has become difficult to find teams or people interested starting one around here, although granted I am still relatively new here.  

 

It has been suggested to me to try and rent a seat on an existing team for the next local race ( probably Texas).  Problem is that the extent of my track experience is a few fun laps at Las Vegas MS and playing Gran Turismo. :blink: 

 

What would everyone suggest the best way to get started?  I think I'm a little paranoid to rent a seat because I don't want to ruin anyone's car (and weekend) as my first time out.  I also don't have a ton of money, so flying out to an expensive racing school also isn't an option.  Anyway, thanks in advance for any input!

    Look around your area for a good rental kart track with timers , not a kiddie put put deal but fast karts , they run special events and endurance races .. Get in there and find out if you got what it takes for pennies on the dollar , instead of wadding up a car , the feeling relates and is a good tool to learn how not to overdrive and work traffic .  Plus some of the regulars will be pretty good and once you can hang with them you will be ahead of the game .

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A lot of great advise in here so far.

 

Something you may want to consider is seeing if there is a competition School held at your "home track" 

 

This allows you to get more comfortable with going wheel to wheel with an instructor in a more controlled environment.

 

Anothing thing to consider is to see if there are any company's that rent cars for open track days near you, seat time will help tramendosly.  Regardless of being fast you have to be safe and part of being safe is being able to be passed while maintaining line and spotting ALL corner worker stations every lap.

 

A comp lisence and or enough DE (track day) experience should allow you plenty of open seats to rent in Champcar 

 

This little bit of money spent will save you tremendously in the long run, I don't know of a single team that will rent you a seat without having a signed contract with a MINIMUM write off value of $5,000

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While I could definitely write the $5k check, I'm not sure I could write the check AND stay married.  I was actually wondering how those seat rentals worked, so that clears a lot of that up.

 

I'm thinking I'll take the advice of attending/working a couple of events and looking into local driving schools and possibly the kart thing (hadn't considered that, thanks!).  From there I'll probably either buy a built car or build one over the course of a year.  That way if I break it, I already bought it :D  

 

From there I'll look to start a team locally and get OK some representation on the map.  If all else fails though, I could always rent seats in my car as well.

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1 hour ago, mag58gpmg said:

While I could definitely write the $5k check, I'm not sure I could write the check AND stay married.  I was actually wondering how those seat rentals worked, so that clears a lot of that up.

 

I'm thinking I'll take the advice of attending/working a couple of events and looking into local driving schools and possibly the kart thing (hadn't considered that, thanks!).  From there I'll probably either buy a built car or build one over the course of a year.  That way if I break it, I already bought it :D  

 

From there I'll look to start a team locally and get OK some representation on the map.  If all else fails though, I could always rent seats in my car as well.

 

Obviously we love seeing new teams, just keep in mind renting is more than likely going to be the cheaper route unless you can find some teamates with money.  If you do that let me know where you found them 😂

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After you are hooked lol, the way to get started is by deciding your budget then lining up your expenses:

 

All prices can vary widely but let's take some guesses:

 

Budget: $2500 per year (total guess)

 

Expenses: $1200 safety gear (this can vary WIDELY - helmet 300, suit 300, HANS 500, gloves, shoes, socks)

Get some driving experience: $300-1000 ? Options described above vary widely

Pit crew with some team(s): $? - should be low cost but you still need to get there, sleep and eat

Pit marshal at a ChampCar race: $? - same as above and maybe you get some Champ credits

First race - 2 two hour stints: $1200

 

This is cheaper (not cheap - cheaper) racing and maybe it takes two years to get into the car but if $ is a factor then you have to manage it.

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@mostmint that looks like a good schedule.  I was actually planning $4-5k a year, and I realize even at that rate it'll be a slow, but purposeful process.

 

@jmabarone Yeah I have heard that a few times and i absolutely believe it to be true.  If I found something with a cage in the $1-2k range that might work.  Other wise I look at building a car like financing a new vehicle.  If i had to pay $40,000 cash for my truck there is no way I would be driving it.  But I can put a little down and some money into it month to month.

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I tell people to budget $10,000 all in for their first race as a new team. That'll cover a car, cage, seat, suit, fire system, fuel, radios, registration, harnesses, hotel, and hot dogs.  It can be done for less money and more sweat equity, but no one should be surprised that racing isnt cheap.

 

I also explain that renting a seat for $1200 is a really good deal.

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On 1/2/2018 at 11:21 AM, flyinglizard said:

Get some in car coaching at a track day event.   Either n your DD or rent a car at the airport drive it to the event, track it, return it. Get the insurance and most importanlty  get a good instructor.  

 

14 hours ago, Z06LOL said:

A lot of great advise in here so far.

 

Something you may want to consider is seeing if there is a competition School held at your "home track" 

 

This allows you to get more comfortable with going wheel to wheel with an instructor in a more controlled environment.

 

Anothing thing to consider is to see if there are any company's that rent cars for open track days near you, seat time will help tramendosly.  Regardless of being fast you have to be safe and part of being safe is being able to be passed while maintaining line and spotting ALL corner worker stations every lap.

 

A comp lisence and or enough DE (track day) experience should allow you plenty of open seats to rent in Champcar 

 

This little bit of money spent will save you tremendously in the long run, I don't know of a single team that will rent you a seat without having a signed contract with a MINIMUM write off value of $5,000

 

Track day, IMO don't do it without investing in the highest quality race brake pads you can afford.   You can always sell them later after the event to get a few bucks back.   I would suggest the same tires the series runs on so you can have mostly a full experience with your own car.   The tires are a good buy anyway and can last for 10k to 15 k on the street if treated mostly nice.   

 

The stock brakes on a race track will be gone in a few laps if you are able to push the car for any time at all.   And if you do choose to do this you really should change your bake fluid to a high temp race fluid also as stock fluid will just about go at the same time as your stock brakes.   And its no fun to have the pedal go to the floor. 

 

Other things to check would be all the hubs/wheel bearings to make sure none are loose or suspect in any way.  And a good going over of the suspension and steering components to make sure nothing is loose or failing before your track day.  

 

So I've just spent about a $1000 of your money before you even get on the track.                       

 

I think I would just rent a ride and be very forthcoming about your experience.   Find a team willing and hopefully there will be a Friday practice you could get some seat time before a race.  And a in car camera is very valuable for later discussion and comparison between driver.  

 

The rent a race car thing sounds awesome too.    But there are plenty of teams that have had farm fresh newbs drive for them.    GL !

 

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