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

It may not be Fast and Furious level crazy, but racecar driving is the closest you can get. Learn how to become one.

Few sports get your heart racing and your blood rushing as car racing does. 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 and unwavering dedication and determination. Also, if we’re being realistic, tons of money. So yeah, let’s get started. 

In this article

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 you should 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, there are thousands of racers around the world who hope to make it to the big stage one day; Formula One. Sadly, there are only few of such slots available and a lot of hurdles on the way there; and like soccer, there are those who have a head start, having been prepared from childhood. If you want to become a race car driver in Canada, you need to truly put in the 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. You can create your own 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 that you’re making the right choice. A career in racing cars is not for the fainthearted.

First of all, 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 a lot of time, a lot of money, and a decent dose of talent.

#1. Start with Kart Racing

if you want to become a car race driver in Canada, it is advisable to start with karting. Most pros started there. Also, you should start 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 race car driving and is also 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 regularly 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, it is advisable you have a stash of money if you want to go pro as a car racer. 

#3. Enrol 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 you feel it’s something you can commit to, then you can register for a more intensive course where you can 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

As a beginner, you can buy a cheap car and modify it for the race track. You can get professional advice before you purchase a car to make sure 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 you Car’s Mechanics

It’s important 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, fire-proof helmet, fire-proof gloves, fire-proof shoes, as well as a fire extinguisher. All your safety gear will be checked and approved by your local racing official before you can race.

#7. Start Racing

It goes without saying that 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 you can. As you race competitively more frequently, you get better at it and can get tips and advice from other racers at such events.

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

#8. Obtain a competition license

When you join the SCCA, you’re considered a novice until you get your competition license. To do that, you’ll have to race at least three times within the span of two years. You’ll 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 practising racing at home
  • Purchase books, 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 gave 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 start having success as a racer, it’s time to 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 simply 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, there are only a few thousand positions 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 are able to 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, once you’re ready, you can start competing in the bigger races. Enter as many of them as you can afford. If you’re good enough, these races will spiral into something bigger for your career.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What does a racecar driver do?

A racecar driver is someone who 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 of course, luck. 

Is it tough to be a racecar driver?

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

What education do you need to be a racecar driver?

To become a racecar driver, there are no formal academic prerequisites. 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 people dream of becoming a race car driver in Canada, few actually go on to explore that career path and face it head-on with a mind to prosper. Being a race car driver is a lot of 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 certainly worth following these steps and trying your hand at it.