How to Become a Race Car Driver in Canada in 11 Steps

Few sports get your heart racing and your blood rushing like car racing. Car racing offers a legal and relatively safe arena to drive fast, hard, and competitively. Like all sports, the earlier you start, the better for you. Nevertheless, becoming a race car driver in Canada neither comes easy nor cheap. Being a race driver requires a lot of passion, unwavering dedication, and determination. Also, if we are realistic, tons of money is made from it. So yeah, let’s get started. 

Who are Race Car Drivers?

Race Car drivers are professionals who race in cars for a living. Racecar driving is a motorsport in which drivers compete to finish first or in the fastest time. There are various types of professional race car drivers. The most common are:

  • Open-wheel
  • Sportscar
  • Touring car
  • Rally 
  • Drag

Why should you Become a Race Car Driver in Canada?

  • Competitive car racing offers a legal and safer way to drive quickly, compete with other racers and earn a decent amount of money.
  • Car racing is a real sport, and racing drivers are athletes too.
  • Professional car racing is a source of fame and fortune. You might get to be the new Formula One star.

Career Outlook

Well, thousands of racers worldwide hope to make it to the big stage one day; Formula One. Sadly, there are only a few such slots available, and many hurdles on the way there; like soccer, there are those who have a head start, having been prepared from childhood. However, to become a race car driver in Canada, you must truly work and be one in a thousand.

However, there are still opportunities down the food chain. There are deals to be made, endorsements to be signed, etc. For example, you can create your path as a racecar driver. Car racers have a median salary of $50,000 per year. However, the top dogs earn multiple times more, few as they are.

Steps to Becoming a Race Car Driver in Canada 

Before you become a race car driver, there are a couple of questions to ask yourself to ensure you make the right choice. First, a career in racing cars is not for the fainthearted.

First, you must ask yourself why you want to become a race car driver. Answering this question will help you make a plan and set clear goals with a mind to accomplish them. And then, you must realize that becoming a professional race car driver takes time, money, and a decent dose of talent.

#1. Start with Kart Racing

To become a car race driver in Canada, you should start with karting. Most pros started there. Also, it would be best if you started early. Starting in your 20’s makes it more difficult. And this is because starting early gives you more years of experience racing, competing, and exposure to possible sponsors. Karting teaches you the fundamentals of racing car driving and is a cheaper way to start. Canada is blessed with some of the finest karting facilities in the world. 

Check with your local race track about kart races, and see how you can participate. A kart is much cheaper to own and maintain than a race car, so it is a relatively affordable way to start racing while you hone your skills. 

#2. Have Money to Invest

Yes, you heard it right. Car racing is a pretty expensive sport, even for amateurs. Amateur racers spend between $2,000 and $10,000 a season on taxes, tires, travel, and car maintenance. You’ll also need to pay for racing school, advanced racing classes, and pay to partake in big competitions. So, you should have a stash of money if you want to go pro as a car racer. 

#3. Enroll in a racing school

Sign up for a reputable racing class, and if you’re still unsure about it, you can take a single-day course to see how you like it. If you enjoy it and feel it’s something you can commit to, you can register for a more intensive course to learn the skills and strategies necessary to be a good racer. Some good racing schools in Canada are listed below:

  • Allen Berg Racing Schools, Calgary 
  • Bridgestone Racing Academy, Toronto
  • Sweetie Girl Racing, Toronto
  • Academy 27, Area 27
  • Jim Russell Racing Drivers School, Quebec
  • Racing Adventures, Calgary

#4. Purchase a Racecar

You can buy a cheap car and modify it for the race track as a beginner. You can get professional advice before purchasing a car to ensure it’s suitable for a race track. You can also rent a sports car if you don’t want to buy one yet. And if you feel like rolling out the big bucks, you can purchase a new, fully outfitted sports car.

Recommended: How to Buy a Car in Canada for Immigrants

#5. Understand your Car’s Mechanics

It’s essential to grasp the mechanics of your car. This might not seem very necessary, but when you’re on the road, the only one who knows if there’s a problem with the vehicle is you, the driver. This can be very advantageous in avoiding an accident. 

#6. Get your Safety Equipment and Gear

Before racing, you have to get all the necessary gear and safety equipment in place, including a fire-proof racing suit, helmet, gloves, fire-proof shoes, and a fire extinguisher. Your local racing official will check and approve all your safety gear before you can race.

#7. Start Racing

An aspiring car race driver should start racing cars at some point start racing. Keep your eyes on your local racetrack and sign up for as many races as possible. As you race competitively more frequently, you get better at it and can get tips and advice from other racers at such events. 

Work through local and regional races, earning as many wins as possible. If you are not getting enough competitions at your local track, you can also check out events in other provinces. 

#8. Obtain a competition license

You are considered a novice when you join the SCCA until you get your competition license. To do that, you’ll have to race at least three times within two years. You will also have to take an SCCA-approved racing course. 

#9. Perfect your racing skills

Now that you’ve gotten your competition license, it’s not time to relax. You have to work and practice hard to perfect your skills if you want to race professionally in the soonest possible time. There are several ways to perfect your racing skills in Canada, and some of them are mentioned below:

  • Find more local racing events to participate in
  • You can rent out a track for an hour or two for daily practice
  • Purchase a driving simulator that you can use for practicing racing at home
  • Purchase books and videos, and watch professional races to study the art of racecar driving
  • If you can, get somebody to video your races so you can watch them later to spot areas where you need to improve.
  • Sign up for advanced racing classes even if you have to travel. Consider it a worthwhile investment in your career
  • Workout. Endurance training and muscular workouts can go a long way to keep you in great shape as a car racer.

#10. Look for a team or sponsor

Once you succeed as a racer, you must look for a team or a sponsor. Car racing is an expensive sport, and being part of a team usually helps to cover some or all of your expenses in exchange for a percentage of your winnings. This means that you have to be a winner to get into a team, and you have to be a winner to remain in one. 

Nobody wants a freeloader, and in a cutthroat, competitive sport like car racing, only a few thousand positions are available worldwide. This also means that you have to stand out and package yourself exceptionally. Getting a sponsor is even harder. A sponsor will cover all or some of your expenses in exchange for advertising on your race car. 

#11. Sign up for big races

This might happen before you get a team, depending on how well you can sell yourself. However, this was put last because big races cost big bucks, and it is usually helpful if you have some of the expenses taken care of. Nevertheless, you can start competing in the bigger races once you are ready. Enter as many of them as you can afford. These races will spiral into something bigger for your career if you’re good enough.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What does a racecar driver do?

A racecar driver makes a living by competing in motor races. Essentially, they are motorsports athletes.

What’s required to make a good racecar driver?

To win in Formula One, a racecar driver needs talent, funding, a great team of engineers, and luck. 

Is it tough to be a racecar driver?

It is tough to become a professional racecar driver. It takes a lot of time, talent, training, and money. And it would be considerably more difficult if you didn’t start early, before your 20s. 

What education do you need to be a racecar driver?

There are no formal academic prerequisites to becoming a racecar driver. You can begin by driving a go-kart; a single session will cost between $20 and $30. If you decide to take your karting seriously, contact your local racing track and inquire about how you may get involved.

Conclusion

Although many dream of becoming a race car driver in Canada, few go on to explore that career path and face it head-on with a mind to prosper. Being a race car driver involves hard work, passion, persistence, determination, teamwork, and cash. 

However, it’s also a lot of fun with your heart racing with your car as you inch towards the finish line every time. And so, if you think racing might be for you, it’s worth following these steps and trying your hand at it. 

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