Please note that this is only a brief outline of what is involved. If you want to know more our club nights are a great source of information and there will always be someone there who will answer any questions you may have.
This is unfortunately one of the most expensive forms of motor sport, but it also provides one of the biggest adrenaline rushes too! Races are held at established race tracks throughout the country (eg Brands Hatch, Silverstone, DoningtonPark, Lydden Hill etc). Cars compete against each other in a race, usually over a fixed number of laps of the circuit, with up to 35 other cars. Very often individual races form part of an annual championship with most, if not all, races to count for the final positions.
Grid positions for each race are determined by the fastest time set by individual drivers in the practice session held before the race. The grid is organised with the fastest car at the front in ‘pole position’ with the remaining cars organised in practice time sequence, with the slowest car at the back of the grid. Practice sessions at club events usually last for 15 minutes and the races are usually of 10 laps duration.
Races of mixed types of cars running to the same basic formula are often organised into classes, with in effect smaller races being run within the main race. In this case championship points are awarded for class position as well as overall position in the race.
The easiest way to get started is to compete in one of the many club formula that are available such as road-going saloons or the many historic single-seater formula that are around. It isn’t necessary or advisable to go straight out and buy a brand new competition car as mistakes will be common in your early races!
14 if racing in the BRSCC T-Car Series, otherwise 16 (NB. You can start racing at 8 years of age in the various Kart formula).
Competitors making an application for the first time for a race licence must obtain a novice race driver ‘Go Racing Driving Pack’ application from the MSA for £51 and then complete an approved course at a school registered with the Association of Racing Drivers School (ARDS). This will cost you around £250 for the day. Once passed, you will need a Club membership card and a National B race licence (after passing an annual motor sport medical from your GP if over 18) available from the Motor Sports Association (MSA) for approximately £40. Medicals can cost anything from nothing to £100, depending on your GP.
There are numerous classes for a great variety of vehicles from standard production saloon cars up to thoroughbred GT cars and the many single-seater formula from Formula Ford to Formula 1 for all you budding Michael Schumachers. Most cars these days are either towed to the circuit on a trailer or inside a truck for those with deeper pockets.
You will need an MSA approved helmet and fire-retardant overalls. All cars, other than a few exceptions in the historic single-seater formulae, must be fitted with a roll cage and have an external ignition cut-off and fire extinguisher switch. The MSA ‘Blue Book’ contains full details of the requirements for particular types of car.
What will it cost
For organising clubs with relatively low race entry fees, the average season of 12 races will cost you up to £2,000 in entry fees; you will tow your car some 2,500 – 3,000 miles, have some overnight costs, running repairs and routine maintenance so you are probably looking at £2,000- £3,000 for the season. However, you can spend considerably more, as many people do to try and improve the car and on accident damage. A very rough rule of thumb that seems to work is ‘whatever you spent to buy the car, you will spend again on a season’s motor-racing’.
What can I enter
The club no longer runs race meetings, however a number of our members race in various national championships and these can consist of as few as 8 rounds of which 7 count up to championships with perhaps 16 races in a season.
The down side - possible pitfalls.
Invariably racing against up to 36 other cars on a circuit can be significantly more dangerous due to the proximity of other cars. Mistakes are made and they can result in you taking yourself off for a trip into the scenery, taking other competitors off, or being an innocent victim and being taken off by someone else.
You will be driving at much higher speed than is possible on the road and the car can break so regular maintenance is an absolute must. If you have driven to the event and it breaks, then it may need to be taken home by trailer if you haven’t brought one to the circuit.
If you are looking for a large adrenaline fix and have the cash to spend, then this is the one for you!
As with any form of motor sport, although they are rare, accidents can happen. You must be aware of the risks and accept them, if you are to compete.
Update on the 2020/21 challenge and calendar for 2021/22 series
The Association of South Eastern Motor Clubs is running an AutoSOLO championship covering events run throughout 2020 and 2021
Our 2020 Yearbook is now available with all the latest info on awards and winners.