Here are all the answers with all the detail you will ever need.
Recently I have got a few questions on Instagram about how to get started and all such detail intensive questions, so I decided to have a go and answer all of the questions here for you guys!
Here you go -
1. The first question most people have is am I too old to get started?
No. People make it to the top at all ages, just need to be quick. F1, maybe-maybe not, but are other categories where y’all can make it.
2. How do I get started?
Well, there’s no particular way to get started but there’s one route that is usually followed.
Karting. Start karting and I don’t mean karting for fun at tracks. I mean actual race karts and take part in championships. There are championships in India and also internationally. Start with basics and then look towards growing. For karting, there are several academies in India such as Rayo Racing, NK Academy, Meco to name a few.
Get into their training academies and go from there. They will be your best guidance from there on depending on your speed and talent.
There are a few less taken, not-so-traditional routes take as well. Some might feel that this isn’t the right way to go, but people say what they want, if you want something bad, GO for it no matter what.
Look up the likes of James Baldwin, Igor Fraga. These guys have made it using just simulator experience, no professional karting. But again, you’ve got to be damn good at it to even stand a chance.
The point through all these being that you have got to know the basics of driving a car/kart fast around a track, this includes racing lines, braking, steering, setting up the car to your liking, racecraft, and a lot more.
Once you got these nailed down, you can plan on stepping up to cars.
3. How do I get into car racing and where?
Okay, you’ve got from karts or simulator to cars. Where do you begin? There are a few options to get started with.
There are training programs by teams that run in India - MSport, Momentum, Avalanche, DarkDon, Ahura, Mars Racing. These teams have these programs to train rookies who eventually race the Novice cup in the 1300 car. The training is usually at Kari motor speedway. These training programs are required for you to get the Racing license in India which allows you to race the series I will talk about.
There is also the option of racing schools abroad in Europe and the USA, this depends on your budget.
The first option is in India, by far the cheapest option. There's the 1300 cup racing series in India - JK tyre cup, Formula Junior Racing Series, MRF cup. This is the first step into open-wheel car racing in India. Once this is over, you could do another year here to get used to it or step up-to the LGB F4. The LGB F4 also races in the JK tyre series and the MRF series. There are also other categories of car racing in India like the TCR (touring car) and rallying. Details of these can be found on the FMSCI website.
The cost for racing the 1300 cup and the F4 together in one championship each is about 15 lakh INR. The 1300 is about 5 lakh and the F4 is about 10 lakh.
Now, international options. There are quite a few here. The one you want to look into is the FIA Formula 4 championship. There are several options for this as well. There's the German option in the ADAC F4, then there is the Italian F4, Spanish F4, Finnish F4, Danish F4, French f4, all these being the European options. There is the US F4 (with the west coast championship being an option as well). There is also the Mexican F4 - NACAM F4. Then in South America, there’s the Argentinian F4. Towards the east, there is the UAE F4, Chinese F4, Japanese F4, and the South East Asian F4. The most prominent ones are the ones in Europe, but these are very expensive. The cheapest option is to the east. Once you do these (if you do these, because of the cost) the next step would be racing in Europe no matter where you did the F4.
The cost for racing one round is about 12 lakh INR, this is for the east championships, in Europe and the US they cost a lot more.
So the choice is yours, depending on your budget.
4. How do I pay for these costs?
So this is the golden question no one has the answer to!
The way to get started is self-funding or funding from family and friends. This is the best way to get started and the only way to get started. If you do good in championships and are good at making contacts and connections start working on sponsorship proposals to send to companies or even investors. If this works for you, there’s nothing like it! But this is something you can never stop working on.
5. Do I need fitness, it’s just driving a car!?
If you think this way, you’ve got it all wrong. This is a very draining sport. The times you are driving, the body takes a battering as it is under constant stress with all the G forces you pull. The driver needs to have a solid core to avoid getting thrown around in the cockpit, needs to have a strong neck to keep the head upright to drive, needs sting legs to brake, needs strong shoulders and forearms to steer. These are the essentials. On top of all these, the driver needs amazing cardiovascular stamina as while driving the average heart rate is about 160 BPM., and the races last for a HOT second. So never take training lightly.
If you've got any more questions, feel free to ask me here or on Instagram.
So keep pushing at it and keep grinding. See you on track! Cheerio.