Helping you take your first steps into the world of Porsche Motorsport
It’s likely we’ve all found ourselves sat at home watching the lights count down for the start of the F1 and pictured ourselves behind the wheel of a race car. Meanwhile all over the UK on most weekends there will be some form of motorsport taking place, from grass roots level to blue-chip professionals. This guide is intended to help move you from your sofa and into a race seat, competing in one of our three championships.
The first step is to apply for an Motorsport UK Competition Licence (minimum of National B Race). The Motorsport UK ‘Go Racing’ Starter Pack (ARDS) contains everything you will need for the application and the price covers the cost of the first year of your licence. As part of the ARDS assessment there will be a written examination on the rules of motor racing and a driving test on a track to show basic competence.
Competitors over the age of 18 will also require a medical examination, which can be carried out at your local GP. The exam is similar to requirements for HGV and PSV vehicles and will need an official stamp once completed. Medical fees tend to vary, but should be around £70.
The MSA Yearbook will outline the necessary appropriate clothing, helmet, footwear and gloves that will be required to take part in the Club’s championships.
Finding the car
Now comes the slightly hard bit – sourcing a race car and deciding how to run it.
Motor racing is never cheap, and a poor decision at this stage could eat up a lot of your racing budget. You will need to ask a lot of questions and do your research; careful planning and being realistic will keep your costs down in the long term. It’s all too easy to buy a cheap road-going car, but converting it for racing and making it fit for purpose can soon prove costly. Always check a car’s provenance and get a professional to check it out.
The Porsche Club Championship is supported by a number of race car preparers and motorsport specialists located all around the country. Preparers often have cars for sale or could build one for you. They are also able to offer a range of services, including tuition and trackside support. The club can put you in touch with a local specialist.
You can also build your own car if you have the appropriate skills or you can get a car prepared at a local specialist and run it at the race meeting yourself. Another possible alternative is to rent a car, either for a whole season or ‘round by round’. This is certainly a way to get a feel for racing, without having to acquire a car of your own. Some preparers may be able to offer this service and they could provide guideline costs.
Car choice will come down to which class of the championship you wish to race in. Your decision may be influenced by your experience and budget. The lower classes will be less expensive, with restrictions on the number of tyres competitors are allowed to use, designed to keep costs down.
Time to go racing
With your race licence, race car, race kit and some test time under your wing, it’s time to go racing. But what happens at your typical Porsche Club race meeting?
At most circuits testing is available the day before a race meeting. You can opt to run a full day (four 30 minute sessions) or a half day (two 30 minute sessions). Testing provides a chance to learn the circuit and get feel for the car’s performance. You can also arrange tuition from a suitably qualified instructor, which can be really useful for those unfamiliar with the circuit.
A typical race day would start at about 7.30am with signing-on and scrutineering to ensure your car and kit meets MSA safety rules. Porsche Club Motorsport caters for competitors throughout the day, starting with breakfast at about 8.00am at the Porsche Club Motorsport Race Centre.
At scrutineering, MSA officials will check your car for track worthiness, safety and that it complies with the regulations. They will also check that your race suit, helmet, gloves and boots are in date.
Qualifying usually begins at 9.00am with a 20 minute session. These timed sessions will determine your position on the grid, with your quickest time counting for the first race and your second fastest time deciding where you start the second race. Competitors are required to complete a minimum of three laps, so a relatively gentle start to the session is advised.
There is a mandatory driver briefing, usually about 10.45am where the Clerk of the Course runs through start procedures, safety car rule and track limit rules.
The first race will be around 11.30am. You will be called to the collecting area about 30 minutes before the race and lined up in grid order. You then take your position on the grid and get a green flag lap to assess track conditions .The drivers then re-form the gird and the red lights go on – the moment of truth!
Mid-afternoon it’s time to do it all again! The gap between the two races allows competitors to rest, refuel and make sure everything on the car is as it should be in time for a second round of scrutineering and grid formation.
Porsche Club Motorsport has its own Race Centre in the paddock and our caterers provide lunch for the competitors and teams. This is an important part of our racing package as it allows competitors to socialise and recount stories from the race with each other, helping to build the supportive atmosphere the Championship has become famed for. The Race Centre also provides us with space and a backdrop for our award presentation which takes places after the second race.
Each round of the Club Championship is televised and a DVD of the footage is sent out to every registered competitor. We will also keep drivers informed as to when the footage will appear on screen.