There can’t be many motorsports enthusiasts who haven’t imagined themselves behind the wheel as they watch their heroes battle fender to fender around a circuit, or speeding across the country in a rally car. If you’re lucky enough to have the time and money, there are plenty of entry-level motorsports opportunities available, but for some fans that just isn’t an option. Maybe you haven’t got the time and money it takes to get into motorsports, which even at the grassroots level will still cost thousands of dollars a year. Perhaps you have a family and don’t want to take any unnecessary risks, or maybe you have a health problem that prevents you from taking part. Whatever the reason, if you can’t take part in motorsport on the track, there are still ways to feel the excitement and get involved.
Like most leisure activities, motorsports depend on volunteers to help with organizing and marshaling at race events. Contact the governing body for your chosen sport to see what opportunities there are for volunteer positions that would interest you. If you have a passion for engines and mechanics, you could train to become a scrutineer, examining the cars to ensure they comply with the race regulations. You could assist with the timing, start and finish line organization, or noise level checks; or get to see the race from close up by attending as a safety marshal at strategic points around the track. If you don’t want to commit to this kind of activity, you could lend a hand as team support. Many teams will be happy to have an extra pair of hands to help out, especially at grassroots level, where a lot of racers are attending on their own. Being at the heart of the race and being involved behind the scenes can be a rewarding way of getting closer to your sport.
A new career
If you’re truly passionate about your interest in motorsports, there are a number of ways you can earn your living, or at least supplement your earnings, by working in the industry. You’ll need relevant qualifications and preferably some experience of the work you’re applying for, but the opportunities vary from being a race engineer to working in the administration side of the sport. Higher level teams could be in need of staff, or the circuits and organizing groups might have openings that would suit you. If you don’t have the qualifications or experience for the positions you’re interested in, you can always take a college course and combine this with volunteering duties while you study. It’s never too late to retrain, so if you’re serious about making motorsports your career, get some more information about what you need to do to find work as a member of the support staff.
Pimp your ride
You might not be in a position to have a high-performance race car of your own, but even the most humble of vehicles can be modified and upgraded to give them more of a wow factor. The extent to which you can customize your vehicle will depend on your finances and what you need to use the car for. If you need it for taking the kids to school, then fitting a roll cage is probably not practical! But there are many ways to modify a vehicle and still use it as your main mode of transport. You could make simple mods like upgrading the air filter, installing a dump valve, fitting coil-over suspension, and changing your standard brakes for a four-port system for example. One easy way to upgrade your vehicle is by changing the exhaust for a bigger, throatier version, which will not only make a very satisfying noise but should increase your horsepower as well. You’ll need to consult a specialist in modifying cars and trucks like Velocity Restorations, who will be able to advise you on what you could achieve with your available budget.
Get the look
Whether or not you upgrade your car, making it look the part can be a real thrill. A new custom paint job is a good starting point, and you can add special effects like colored flecks, paint that changes color in different lights, or a metallic or pearlized finish. If you have a very old or battered car, one option is to rust proof it, and then coat it in clear lacquer. This is a popular option for classic trucks and cars, preserving the story of the vehicle’s history and making the flaking paint, scratches and dents a feature. Pulling away from a modern sports car in your shabby-looking old Ford Bronco is sure to put a smile on your face! Another way to get the real racing look is to use wraps and decals to transform your ride into a race car lookalike. With numbers and sponsor logos covering most cars in motorsports, you could make your vehicle look the same using the ready-made packs of decal stickers you can buy online, or creating your own version.
Dress the part
It might sound somewhat unlikely, but research has shown that the clothes you wear can make you feel and behave differently. Just wearing a cap with your team’s logo on or the name of your favorite driver, can give you a boost and make you walk taller. There is a full range of clothing available for fans of all types of motorsports, so you could have a racing-themed outfit or two in your wardrobe, for when you watch the race – or just for a trip out any time. One word of warning, on the subject of race suits. Firstly, they aren’t designed to look glamorous; they are all about safety. That means that even if you have a fit, toned body, they can make you look deeply unattractive! They are also spectacularly hot to wear in warmer weather, so best kept for the racetrack, not for spectating.
Many people have a passion for motorsports but aren’t able to take part in the racing. If you are one of them, it doesn’t mean you can’t get the plenty of enjoyment out of your experience by adopting one or more of these ideas.