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Have you ever seen the top racers and wondered ‘how can I get there?’ or ‘how did they get started?’ then this is the article for you. It’s a long road to the Indy 500.

You may assume that racing is a rich man’s sport – you need hefty free-time to commit to it, and plenty of money to invest in at least one vehicle or more. But surprisingly, there are plenty of ways to get started that don’t break the bank.

Licensing

To be a racer, the first step is a. Just like with a standard driver’s license, you’ll need to register for safety and monitoring purposes. This is a simple enough process, and typically requires a modest overhead fee. There are several racing associations around the world, and which license you need will depend on where you live and what association you want to join.

The top groups are: the SCCA, NASA, and the ICSCC. For international racing programs, look into the FIA – Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile.

Driver School

Once you have a license, you’ll likely be required to participate in a driver school event with your chosen association. This is typically a weekend event during which you will be trained on the ins and outs of proper racing techniques and standards. These events will require a vehicle which meets regulations. If you do not own a vehicle which is cleared for racing, most associations have rental options available for training purposes. However, keep in mind that these rental vehicles may cost more than the training and licensing fees combined.

If you are not able to attend a driver school event, contact your association for information about Alternate Driving Schools (ADS) which may be one-on-one or in a small group.

You will want to fully read any educational materials you are provided, as there are numerous rules and regulations you will be required to follow throughout your education – and your racing career in general.

Your First Races

Once you’ve completed your registration and Driver School training, you will be considered a ‘novice racer.’ This is more-or-less a way of saying you haven’t proven yourself fully. You will be provided a packet with upcoming race weekends and events, during which you will have to continue to prove you can follow the rules and regulations dictated by the organization.

After 3 races or racing events, you will be eligible to apply for a competition racing license. This will require a copy of your most recent physical exam, a clearance provided by the coordinator of your third race, as well as appropriate paperwork and fee.

At every step of the process you want to make sure to fully review any educational materials you are provided.