10 Tips on How to Become a Pro Racing Driver
What a Professional (Pro) Racing Driver is to Me?
In my view, the term “Pro Racing Driver” has very much so changed over the past 20 years. In the past, a professional racing driver was one who was paid for simply driving the racecar. Nowadays a pro driver is either good enough to be picked up by a professional racing team solely because of pure raw talent; or pays for their racing by way of sponsorships/partnerships, or he/she is able to secure and does not pay for their racing out of their own pocket.
Although I am 14, and I have lots to learn in my career, these are the philosophies that I am using to climb the long hard ladder of motorsport.
To be a professional racing car driver, you need to do your research, just like any other sport, Automobile racing requires you to start at an amateur level, paying for your own racing, and if you are good enough, meet the right people, and have a bit of luck, you will land a contract with a professional team, at a top tier professional racing league.
Until then, you need to find your path. You need to do your homework on what kind of racing you can race professionally depending on what point of your life you are in, and what you want to race. Like any sport, in Motor racing there are many different leagues such as IndyCar, Formula 1, NASCAR, World of Outlaws, IMSA, World Endurance Championship (WEC). To find out what type of racing you aspire to be, (and what is possible at whichever point in your life you are in), you need to do your homework, because there are many ways to climb up through the ranks in Automobile Racing.
Once you have your starting path, you will need funds to get your racing program underway.
Thankfully, in entry-level racing, the costs are not as severe as pro racing, so most drivers can fund their own entry-level racing, this can be in Go-karts, or in closed wheel sports cars such as a Mazda Miata MX-5. In some cases, entry-level racing could be too much for your budget depending on what car/series you want to run. Before you can even start to race you are going to need funding. This can be found through, Family, friends, partners, but in entry-level racing, this is very tough to find.
To be a pro racing driver, it takes more than just putting a company’s logo on the car, and have the company pay for your racing. That just simply will not cut it. You will need to create value and reason for a company to want to pay for you to go racing professionally, not only this applies to pro racing, but this applies to all steps through the ladder.
For me, this is the most important feature that you need to have as a racing driver of any kind. Without determination, you are nothing and you will be nothing.
The most talented driver may not make it to be a pro, but the most determined will. You need 100% dedication in your life towards racing if you want to be a pro. You can still race in go-karts or small car series just for fun if you just want to race but not become professional.
When I say determination, I not only mean your “at the track skills” like looking at data and video after sessions to learn how to get quicker, but it also applies to how hard you work away from the track by trying to find partnership/sponsors to further help your career in Motorsport.
4. The Right Smile (Image)
As a racing driver, you need to meet people, contacts. You need to get them to like you, if they are someone who can partner with you and your racing program to help with the costs, you must have the right appearance/image. That shows professionalism, it also shows them that by partnering with an individual who is professional, outgoing, friendly, and smart, it shows that by partnering with you will give lots of value to their company.
The main goal for a company of any kind is to sell their product and make MONEY.
5. Social and Popular
In the modern-day, racing is all about media exposure, you cannot be a professional racing driver without social media. Social media is one of the most important features to be a pro, of course, there are some exceptions, there are a few pro racing drivers who do not have any social media such as Sebastian Vettel, who is 4-time FIA Formula 1 World Champion, but social media only became very important after he became 4-time world champion.
You can meet so many people that will help you in your career, I have experienced this myself.
6. Educated in Written Material
The way you can write something off-track, represents a huge number of things, how you speak, how you present yourself, and to businesspeople, it shows how good of a fit you would be representing their company.
When you write letters to a potential partner/sponsor, it needs to be written correctly with proper grammar, detail, and punctuation.
A CEO of a company usually deletes any email from an unknown source with a spelling/grammar mistake. Therefore, it is very important to have good authorship.
Now this one may seem odd, but it is just as important as any other point listed above.
As a racing driver of any kind, another thing you need to learn is how to teach someone to drive a car fast. This not only gives publicity to your name, but you could find someone who would like to help you in your career.
You also learn a lot about racing by teaching others how to do it, by putting the things that you learn instinctively into words, so that others can learn from your experience.
You can also find many connections in the racing community through coaching. (it is also a great skill to have).
No matter if you are going to a PR event or going to a new racetrack for just a fun club race, you need to have preparation.
When heading to a race event, if you have been there before, watch your videos from the most similar car to re-learn the track, (Find a video on the internet if you do not have any).
When meeting a new team, or someone that could help you in your career, or a potential sponsor/partner. Do your homework, learn about them. Make a good first impression.
The more you know about them, the more they will be impressed.
Tip: Ask people questions about themselves, people like talking about themselves.
Make them feel good about themselves.
9. Racing Knowledge
Just like learning a new track or a new team in the point above, having knowledge about whatever series you want to race in, is very important.
The more you know about racing the more you can make friends, and more importantly, the more connections you can make, when you know lots about racing, the more you have in common with your connections.
People in the racing community will tend to like you more if you know about racing.
Last, but very much not least. To be a racing driver you need skill.
You need to be fast, some drivers are naturally fast, some drivers are naturally slow, but all drivers always work to be faster and faster.
Sometimes the quickest driver does not win the race, but the smartest driver will, this is all part of being a racecar driver. From the green flag to the end of the race, everything must be done with precision and perfection, that is how you need to drive.
That’s how RACERS drive.
BE A RACER