It can be difficult to know where to get started in motorsport. It is a daunting process with a lot of choice on the table, and it can seem like you need to spend a small fortune just to get your foot in the door! Thankfully this isn’t always the case. There are a few things you will need to check off as you take your first steps towards competing:
- Category or Discipline to compete in
- Gaining a competition Licence
- Purchasing the correct safety equipment
- Purchasing or building a race car
- A means to prepare and maintain the car
We break each of these steps down below. We also offer a free consultation for anyone looking to get into motorsport – feel free to get in touch with us!
Choose your category
There are many racing categories in Australia to choose from, and sometimes this can be overwhelming. If you are just starting out, we would recommend looking at the various Hyundai Excel racing series throughout Australia – just about every state has one!! Here is the website to the Victorian series for more information. Hyundai Excel racing offers super cheap, close and exciting racing. Cars can be purchased for under $10,000, and the upkeep costs are lower than most other race cars.
For those looking to step into motorsport and aspire to make a career out of it, Formula Ford is the most popular choice. Formula Ford has been in Australia for over 50 years, and has been the starting point for drivers such as Mark Webber, Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup.
For more details on the events local to your state, check out this page on Motorsport Australia’s website.
Get your competition licence
Much like your licence for driving on the road, a race licence allows you to compete on the race track. There are different grades of licences depending on whether you want to race locally, or even internationally, as well as discipline (track, rally, gymkhana).
One requirement for getting a Motorsport Australia licence is to be part of an affiliated car club. There are many of these around the country, and while active participation in the club is not compulsory, we definitely recommend it! To find a list of affiliated car clubs near you, use this link (free registration required).
For most, either a Clubman (~$330) or National (~$525) licence is required. A Clubman licence allows you to compete in state level events, and National is required if you wish to compete in a National championship. As part of getting your licence you will need to complete an Observed Licence Test (OLT), which are generally held during race meetings. You will be observed by an official to ensure you can control your car at speed, and safely navigate the circuit with other racing cars in close proximity.
Motorsport can be dangerous, so you want to ensure you are equipped with all of the necessary equipment. A comprehensive list including the required equipment standards can be found here. You will require the following:
- Full face enclosing helmet
- Neck restraint
- Fireproof race suit (double or ideally triple layered)
- Fireproof gloves
- Fireproof and thin souled racing boots
- Fireproof underwear and balaclava
Buy a race car
The fun part! There are many places to purchase race cars – eBay, Gumtree, Facebook marketplace, and the popular my105 website, a dedicated motorsport selling platform. We would first recommend contacting the category manager of the series you wish to compete in. They will often have information on cars for sale, and will be able to give you an honest appraisal on the quality and race track worthiness of these cars.
The other option, albeit more expensive and time consuming is building a car yourself, or having a professional race workshop build it for you. The benefit it you can build the car you have always dreamed of racing, and you can be assured there will be no hidden surprises!
Maintaining a race car
This is a critical aspect to your involvement in motorsport. Race cars go through extreme stresses on track, and given the high speed nature it is important to ensure your vehicle is fit for competition. This includes checking all bolts are tight, ensuring the brakes are serviced and are in working order, and all safety equipment is within its usable date. Maintenance is also extremely important as everything wears out a lot faster than your road car. Brake pads and rotors will need to be replaced at least once a year (depending on wear rates), engine and gearbox oil should be changed every two or three events, and brakes should be bled before every event.
If you aren’t able to do this yourself, search for a local race workshop or race team that can assist you.
You’re now ready to hit the track!! Before getting into close combat racing, we recommend heading to your local race track to undertake a few practice days. When you think you are ready, contact your category manager who will assist you in entering your first event. Safe racing everyone!!
At Altatek Racing, we understand that it can be daunting when you are first trying to get into motorsport. If you have any questions, or would like some more detail on any of the above topics, don’t hesitate to make the most of our free getting started consultation. If you are in or around Melbourne, feel free to drop into our race workshop for a face-to-face session, otherwise we are just a phone call or video conference call away!