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SO AM I TO OLD?

 
Old 04-13-2002, 07:01 PM
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*eurospeed951*
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Post SO AM I TO OLD?

I keep seeing all of these pro drivers in there early 20's. I'm 20 and I am finishing my second year of collage. I still have no idea what I want to do. This year will be my first time on the track. I plan to do a few DE's as soon as I get my car running. Now it seems to me that most of the drivers today were racing karts befor they could walk. I am willing to do what ever it takes to accomplish what I want. If I should decide that racing is what I want to do, where the hell do I begin? I know that money is a huge factor and that there are many levels of involvment. I don't know what I'm really asking, but since I'm starting at age 20 how far can I go? Is it ever possible for me to get past club racing? Hmmmmm...
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Old 04-13-2002, 08:53 PM
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Greg Fishman
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[quote]Originally posted by *eurospeed951*:
<strong> If I should decide that racing is what I want to do, where the hell do I begin? I know that money is a huge factor and that there are many levels of involvment. I don't know what I'm really asking, but since I'm starting at age 20 how far can I go? Is it ever possible for me to get past club racing? Hmmmmm...</strong><hr></blockquote>

PCA Club Racing is a great place to start. Lots of pros have gotten their start in that venue, look at Kevin Buckler (who just won the 24hrs of Daytona), among others.
You could go as far as your talent will take you, but you have to have funding. Either personal money or the ability to sign up a sponsor. I know guys that are very talented but unless they come up with the dough they are watching. There are lots of guys in sports car racing that are in their 50's or even 60's.
If you are talking about open wheel cars that is another story, you had better be something unbelievable to even have a shot at that, IMO you are more likely to hit the lottery, twice.
Best advice I have heard was given to a similar question. The advice was to get a very, very good job in a career or start a business that allows you to have a way above average income, then race on your terms, not the whims of a sponsor, etc. The number of paying rides in the ALMS or Grand AM are few.
Go to <a href="http://www.sccapro.com" target="_blank">www.sccapro.com</a> and lurk on their message boards, that may help.

Another piece of advice that Sasha Massen stated during an interview on <a href="http://www.americanlemans.com." target="_blank">www.americanlemans.com.</a> His suggestion for up and comers was to race in a series where you could afford the best equipment and could win, and get noticed. No use spending big bucks to be in the middle of the pack. If you can't afford a Grand Am ride, look at Grand Am Cup.
good luck,
Greg
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Old 04-13-2002, 11:47 PM
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I'd have to agree that sports cars or GT's are a tough route to being a pro. Indy cars or NASCAR seem to have the best opportunities. No matter what, you'll need lots of money, even if you do have incredible talent. You have to showcase it somehow, and at a minimum, enter and win something like a Barber series. Working your way up through NASCAR is probably a little tougher. You'd need to develop your own ride in smaller series. Heck, maybe drag racing is easier, or something off-the-wall like monster trucks or pro rally.
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Old 04-16-2002, 09:54 AM
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Eurospeed:
Since this is going to be your first year on the track, don't worry about your future racing career. Learn how to drive on the track. After your first track session you will be amazed by how much you DON'T know about driving. I know I was, and I always thought of myself as a pretty good driver. Needless to say I woke up. Take your time, do at least two full seasons of DE before you think about racing. This will give you time to get to know your car inside and out.

I did my first full season of DE in 1998, first club race in 2000. There are some damn good drivers in PCA Club Racing. Most of them started out in DEs before the Club Racing program even existed.

Mark
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Old 04-16-2002, 05:35 PM
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Eurospeed:

I think you have received some good advice from Greg, Mark and Pig4Bill. You mention in your post that you are willing to do “whatever it takes.” You also mention as well as the other respondents the money factor. I also agree with Greg’s quote from Sasha regarding competing in a series in which you can win.

I, perhaps, have a slightly different take on the approach to this sport than some of the others. I believe it is Pig4Bill who mentions the Skip Barber series. That is the route that I would take. I would skip the PCA DE route until I had attended at least one professional school. PCA DE instructors are, no doubt good, but most of them are not Pro Drivers nor do they aspire to be such. If you want to learn how to Golf, don’t just pick up a club and head out to the greens with your buddies, hire a pro. Learn the right way first. Develop a racer’s mentality if racing is what you want to do. There are several successful pro drivers that started in pro schools. You might even want to investigate schools and series in Europe where most of today’s talent originates.

Find a school like Skip Barber, or Panoz or one of the other big name schools that teach in the kind of cars that you want to drive. If you are really serious, try to get a job with one of the schools or a pro team and learn everything you can about the physics, setup and mechanics of racing. Cultivate relationships with pro drivers who are willing to help you with your racing career. This leaves the money factor to deal with. I wish I had some advice for this topic.

In order to attract sponsorship, you have to have something to offer. You need to pick a venue where the sponsor(s) would gain some benefit from his/her investment. You must commit to a full season, otherwise you are just asking for money to go play for a weekend. This might work for a one-time small sponsorship, but one race does not make a season.

I think racing is just like any other endeavor that is expensive, requires a massive amount of technical and practical experience and is represented by a small percentage of the population. You have to be unwaning in your commitment and dogged in your pursuit of the goal.

You can ask us all you want, but, personally, I would listen to this advice politely, nod my head in a courteous understanding way and run, really run, to the nearest successful pro and ask someone who really knows.

Hank Cohn
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Old 04-17-2002, 02:21 AM
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You are not too old, but you will be soon. You can do this, but you must have the correct approach. I came very close to trying to make a living racing cars, but I wastoo old. That almost didn't stop me. I was 29. Yes, there are people who race in professional series and even very prominent series, but there are few who actually make their primary living by driving race cars. Keven Buckler was pointed out as someone who made it later in life, but he isn't making his primary living racing cars. He has a business that is related to racing and Porsches.

Most important in this endeavor is commitment. You must do whatever it takes (short of selling drugs like some prominent racers did and got caught). This may mean selling your Porsche if necessary to raise funds for racing.

You should buy a kart and find a club that races nearly every weekend and run for points. Don't dismiss karts. You will learn more in one season of karting than anything else and get more seat time unless you have a multi-million dollar budget. You will learn the benefits of preparation. You will learn about set-up. You will learn to drive. You will learn to race (not the same as driving). I assure you that everything you will learn in karting will apply to racing cars in one way or another. Buy a kart and go racing. Run for points. You'll learn that sometimes it's more important to get points than it is to try to win. Be dedicated and methodical. If you have talent and are methodical, you should blow everyone else away. Don't think this makes you great. Cal Ripkin Jr didn't get where he did because he was the best player in his high school. He worked at being the absolute best player he could, not just better than his peers.

Go to a commercial racing school. If you race karts you will be way ahead of most at the school. Listen to your instructors and do what they say. Take it slow and learn. Don't worry about being the fastest. If you work hard and build your speed and listen to your instructors, you will be up front.

Go to another commercial school. You want to get different instruction and opinions of your driving. Run the school racing series if possible.

Do whatever you have to do to get a pro license as soon as possible. Don't waste your time with DE or club racing. All it will do is drain your money. You need to get into a pro series as soon as possible to get experience with the big boys and to have something of value to offer your sponsors. You will of course need to do some club racing to get you to a pro license, but always remember that club racing is only a means to a pro license. You must get your pro license ASAP if you are going to have a shot.

You will need sponsors. It's the thing that turns most talented drivers off from going pro. Unless you are independently wealthy, you will need plenty of personal sponsorship. Expect to buy your rides with this sponsorship. Also, do everything and anything you can to make your sponsor happy, and always do it with a smile.

You will want to run open wheel cars. There are more seats available in pro tin-top series, but, a lot of them (for hired drivers, not paying drivers) are filled by drivers who have paid their dues in open wheel racing at some time or another.

Be committed. You must be selfish. Don't expect to have a good relationship with a significant other unless they are cool with your pennyless and selfish existense and are also committed to your career.

Never can have enough sponsorship. Good luck. It doesn't come easy, but people get it. In fact, there are a lot of less talented drivers on the grids at all levels of racing (including F1) just because they have sponsors and more talented drivers don't.

Eventually you will need an attorney to help with contracts if you have more than a few thousand dollars on the line.

I could go on. I've obviously thought of this a lot. I came &gt;&lt; close to taking the plunge in 1990. If you do this, it's a business, not a hobby. Treat it as such.
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Old 04-17-2002, 01:23 PM
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Jim Hodel
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The book 'Drive too Win' by Carroll Smith provides some thoughtful commentary on what it takes to pursue a career as a professional driver. I found the entire book quite interesting.

Jim
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:50 PM
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:53 PM
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RollingArt,

Do you really need to awaken a 10 year topics and then add nothing of value to it???

Scott
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by winders View Post
RollingArt,

Do you really need to awaken a 10 year topics and then add nothing of value to it???

Scott
I don't know how I come across this thread.

I was just browsing this forum. It was near the top. Sorry!

So I wonder how eurospeed's pro driving career is going anyway?
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Old 09-08-2012, 12:28 PM
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one substitute for age if you have talent is money
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Old 09-08-2012, 12:40 PM
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Second best path to career in racing. Go get a real job be very good at it and make tons of money.

First best is of course for Daddy to have lots of money.

Talent is nice but not required if you have enough $$$$
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