I have often been asked the question, “How can I become a race driver?” It’s very interesting and flattering that people still remember our racing exploits and would love to find out more about how to join motor sports. So without much ado, here are my suggestions and please check it out if you have what it takes to become our next racing champion.
1. MENTAL FITNESS – One very important aspect of becoming a race driver is to be mentally strong, tough and determined to overcome all the hurdles, intrigues and distractions that you will face along the way. I have always believed that the power of the mind is the greatest asset one can possess in life and is the most beneficial when you grow older. Always think that you can do it and never say never!
2. MAKE RACING A PRIORITY – If you cannot commit in making racing as one of your priorities in life, then one should not get into it. With all the problems in life, one should be able to sacrifice a lot of things to get what they want. Racing will take a lot out of your time, effort and financial capability to be able to pursue it and more so to excel in it. Be true and honest if you are willing to sacrifice a lot for motor sports.
3. PHYSICAL FITNESS – Part of the sacrifices that one should do is making sure that you are physically fit to race. I do not know of any champion who did not devote enough time and effort to get in shape for the race. Drivers should maintain their stamina all throughout the race event and have enough energy for the customary media interviews and awarding ceremonies after. Never think that it’s an easy sport to get into because you will be the one that will be the first loser.
4. DO RESEARCH AND STUDY THE SPORT – There is no reason for you not to be able to get facts and figures on the races you would like to join. With the advent of the computers and smart phones, vital information is just a click away. There are so many race formats and each will have their own unique rules and logistics needed to join. One way to get good information is to attend the different race events firsthand. There are good people and organizers out there that you can talk to and get the real score on how to start. Don’t be shy because they don’t bite!
5. MAKE A REALISTIC ASSESSMENT – After your research, try to assess what you can come up in terms of financial support from the family and outside sources. It is always a great blessing to have supportive parents to help at the start. They had paved the way for a lot of champions including myself. However, this family help should not the final source of funding, as more will be needed in the future. This is where outside sources will help especially with good contacts and friends. So don’t forget that your schoolmate or playground friend will soon be the head of a big corporation and keep the lines of communication open!
6. STUDY, STUDY, STUDY – Aspiring racers think it is enough to have guts and brawn to do well. That might be good when you race in lower classes, but if you would like to attain international championships, one should be well-equipped with the knowledge on the sciences, mathematics and financial subjects to be a great driver. The engineering required in making a good car and honing the driver’s racing skills are governed by a lot of the laws of Physics. You will have to understand it to be good at it. Some people make it without these skills, but believe me it really helps to know them!
7. ALWAYS OPEN YOUR MIND – The worse thing someone can do is to think that they can do it on their own and will not need help especially when it comes to new ideas and instructions. This closed state of mind is no longer viable since parts and knowledge are already available online. I am constantly amazed at what is available on the net and learn every time I am on it. However, it is not the same as hands on training and I hope you will open your mind to new ideas.
8. FIND A GOOD MENTOR – The racer that will take advantage of finding a good mentor and learn from his ways will be much better, sooner than later. The experience gained by this trainor will steer the driver to new heights, remove their bad habits and hopefully, guide them on how to race properly. Don’t be afraid to talk to coaches in the races and see who you are comfortable with. Be honest also as to what you can do and find out if you can work together. Always start on the right foot so the relationship will go much longer and fruitful.
These are the first things that you have to ask yourself and see if you are good enough to be a race driver. Next week, I will tackle the nitty-gritty on the actual, hands-on process of becoming a champion. Godspeed!