Getting into motorsport isn’t especially difficult, expensive, or even all that time-consuming. Of course – there are a few things you need to sort out first:
- Access to a car of some description. Always handy. Any car will do – there’ll be a motorsport to suit, though levels of preparation and costs may vary.
- A license. There’s a few choices in this, we’ll get to that later.
- A good attitude – a bad one will expose you and those around you to unnecessary risks. It’s a risky sport if you don’t do things right. Do things right and you’ll be unlikely to come to any harm, though you must remember that it is a danger sport.
- A little bit of money – at the very cheapest end, perhaps about Â£35 for each event you enter. Sprints are typically about Â£75 per event.
So – where to start? That all depends what you want to do. If speed is your thing, then sprints, in a roadgoing car, are going to be your cheapest way in to competitive motorsport. I’d recommend learning some track sense first with one of the better track day operators like the Gold Track Driving Club, or Book-a-Track. Once you’re comfortable that you enjoy the sensations, and that your car is capable of providing fun (at this level, it’s more about fun than winning anyway) you should start approaching some clubs to find out what events are running in your area. In the North West the ANWCC provides a directory and calendar of clubs organising events in various disciplines.
Other forms of motorsport that are cheap to start with include autotesting, production car trials and hillclimbing. Of course, if you want to compete at a high level costs will quickly mount up – just like any other sport.
Autotesting is all about maneouvering as quickly as possible around a set of traffic cones. You’re going to need a good handbrake and a good memory in order to take part.
Production car trials are slow-speed off-roading, around a set course marked with gates, in a production car. A lot of basic cars are suitable for this sport. I’ve long suspected that the Ford Ka would be brilliant for the job. It’s cheap, rides high, and has a nice wheel-at-each-corner layout.
In the video clips section of this site you’ll find videos of sprints and autotests.