How to start a race car team
Automotive racing requires more than just a fast car and knowing how to put the pedal to the metal. In order to form a successful race car team, you will need to recruit a variety of racing experts and financial backers.
Successful race car drivers have entire teams of automotive professionals and corporate sponsorships behind them before they ever make a lap around the track.
Recruit your drivers. The driver, or drivers, depending on how many vehicles you plan on using to compete and how many different racing divisions you want to compete in, are the most important part of your racing team. You should look for talented drivers with enough previous racing experience to gain some degree of name recognition. Your ideal driver should be personable and behave like a professional, on and off the track. You want your driver to be knowledgeable behind the wheel and comfortable spending time talking to fans and promoting sponsors when he is not racing.
The best place to find race car drivers is on the racetrack, though you can also try posting an ad in auto racing enthusiast magazines or website classified sections. You will have to be able to offer your driver competitive pay, industry exposure and promise him quality equipment and crew. The more experienced drivers will want to be compensated for allowing you to benefit from linking with their name and reputation.
Depending on where you are racing and the divisions you race in, your driver might need a special license or certifications before being allowed to race.
Purchase and customise race cars. Your race cars will need to be optimised to your drivers in order to get the best results, so get driver input while building and customising the vehicles. Plan on having more than one car; you will need the backup car in event of an accident or mechanical failure prior to or during the race.
Depending on the type of racing you do, you can either build a car from scratch using a kit or a regular car and then making modifications or you can purchase a ready to race vehicle from another race car team or an automotive shop that specialises in custom-building racing vehicles. The Race Car Sales Site lists a number of different types of race cars for sale and a new race team can get on the track more quickly if the car is already race-ready. Race cars typically have larger motors, special tires and have had performance enhancers such as nitrous oxide installed in the cars.
Recruit your support personnel. You will need an experienced mechanic who is used to dealing with racing cars and is willing to travel with your racing team and handle any issues that occur. The mechanic will need to have several assistants who can change tires, make minor repairs and assist him with larger tasks.
You can find potential crew members by advertising your job opening and recruiting at local mechanic schools. Much like experienced drivers, well-educated and experienced mechanics and their support personnel will expect to be financially compensated well for their time and effort. You should also be prepared to supply your mechanic and his crew with all the supplies and tools they need to do their job.
Recruit sponsorships. Sponsors are the people and businesses who provide money, equipment and other various niceties in exchange for you promoting their business or products.
Sponsorships can greatly reduce the financial burden of supporting your race team. Sponsors are one of the main reasons you want to find an experienced, personable driver. Sponsors are more likely to be generous with drivers and race teams who make the sponsored products and businesses look good, even if the team does not win the race.
You should be prepared to market your race team heavily in order to attract sponsors. Marketing commonly includes having a team website, giving team interviews and making appearances to interact with fans.
Name your team and pick out any slogans that you want to use. Your sponsors may have a say in this, depending on how much support your team is getting from them.
If you are paying your drivers and crew, you will need to legally create a business to go with the team name. You should apply with the IRS for federal employee identification numbers and may want to considering forming an LLC corporation to shelter your personal assets from losses, debts or damages associated with the racing team.
Purchase all necessary supplies and equipment, including tools, safety gear, an RV or other place for your drivers and team to stay during races, a truck and trailer to haul your race car and anything else you might need for the specific division of racing that you are entering.
Once you have assembled your team and purchased your gear, you will be ready to race.