If you've found this web site, chances are you've already been bitten by the excitement, challenge, and rewards of driving a car at high speeds. Or, perhaps you are just wondering what it would be like. Club racing offers a low cost alternative to organized competitive racing, and a more effective environment than the freeways to satisfy your need for speed.
Unlike the "hot rodding" genre of drag racing with its emphasis on acceleration, road course racing is primarily about a car's handling. The car and driver must work together to corner, brake, and accelerate through a closed course of straights, turns, and even hills in the shortest possible time. The best of drivers are not only fast, but can drive with tremendous consistency lap after lap. It requires a great deal of mental and physical skill to master.
Even if you don't need to be convinced it's a fun thing to do, you may need to be convinced to find a way to do your fast driving off the public roads. We'll spare the moralistic lectures (although they're probably appropriate), and appeal to your sense of sport and accomplishment.
Driving on a race track is far more demanding on your mental, physical, and driving skills than any amount of street or highway hot rodding. Horsing around on the street does not allow you to drive at the limit of the car's ability--there just isn't enough room or time. A race track provides the room and the road design that allows you to push the car to much higher performance levels. This requires more of you as a driver. It's also a lot more satisfying than short little bursts of speed on the street.
The general public's perception of racing carries a "dangerous" image, but any racer would argue that high-speed driving is much safer on a track than on the street. Even with the higher speeds, the probability of an accident is lower on the track. On the street, you just don't know who or when one of the other cars will pull in front of your driving line when you least expect it. This simply isn't safe. Keep it up, and the probability of a serious accident increases (that's why insurance rates goes up when you get speeding tickets!). On the track, in a hobbyist car club event, you'll have the road largely to yourself, and a strictly enforced set of rules aimed at making safety the first priority. The environment is simply more controlled than the unpredictability of multilane public roads.
What keeps most would-be hobbyists off the track is usually the cost. While it isn't a cheap hobby, club racing can be affordable. If you really enjoy fast driving--you'll enjoy it ten times more on a race track, and it'll be worth the preparation and costs required. For the budget racer, the Costs of Racing article will show you how to keep costs to a minimum.
The articles in this Introduction to Racing section is aimed at preparing you for your first time out. The Intro section will answer many of the "before you race" questions beginners commonly have. It will identify types of racing available, things you should be prepared with at the track, what modifications you may want to consider for your first time out, and some of the typical rules of the race track environment.
Once you've been to the track for an event, you'll have a host of people to get ideas from, and the rest of this site will make more sense to you. If you really want to investigate what these events are like, contact a local club or two, and attend an event as a spectator. The club organizers will be more than happy to give the run down on how events are run, and you can talk with the drivers about how they approach the events. You'll find a few who take their equipment and performance very serisously, and most others who are there to enjoy a day or weekend of fun and friendship.
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