So, You Want To Go Racing?

We all find the SCCA somehow. Some of you may watch a race on the tube and want to get involved. Perhaps you've been a car nut all your life and are now ready to take the plunge. Maybe you've been introduced to the club via a friend. What do you do first? What mistakes should you avoid? What should you expect and whose advice should you take? What is the first step?

Step 1) Obtain a current copy of SCCA General Competition Rules (GCR). You can learn almost everything about how the club operates from this manual. You can order it online at Mistake to avoid: Playing the racing game without knowing the rules.

Step 2) Explore all the club has to offer. Go to a club racing weekend and talk to drivers, crew and officials. The Colorado Region website has the calendar on it for club racing, Solo, RallyCross and other club activities. Come to the track early (before the first practice session) to observe the whole day and meet drivers and crew when they have time. Check-in at registration and be sure to mention the Mentor Program and ask to be assigned a mentor. The Mentor Program provides new members with a liaison driver or other official who is an expert and has volunteered to answer your questions and show you the ropes. Mistake to avoid: Racing can be expensive, figure out what you want to do before spending your money.

Step 3) Assuming you have decided you want to drive in wheel to wheel club racing events you'll need the following: a car, personal safety gear, a novice permit. You will need to register for either a private, accredited driver's school or register for an SCCA driver's school. (They are listed on the schedule). Private accredited driver's schools can be found on the SCCA's website You will need to complete two drivers' schools successfully before entering your first race. Contact the Divisional Administrator of driver licensing, Guy Ruse at 303.444.4121 for your novice permit. I recommend renting a car for driver's schools. You'll want all your focus to be on the school not on bleeding your brakes or changing your tires. Any car must meet the requirements set forth in the GCR. Safety equipment requirements are covered in your GCR also. You will need a helmet, gloves, shoes, socks, and a racing suit at a minimum. Sometimes they can be rented along with the car. Many local speedshops and catalog companies carry equipment with the necessary ratings. Remember those ratings (make a list) to ensure the equipment you buy will meet the club's requirements. For a more complete look at preparing for your driver's school read Ted Winning's article "Wind It Up" in last months REDLINE. Mistake to avoid: Any lack of preparation regarding equipment will distract you from your very important purpose, learning all you can about racing wheel to wheel in a safe, fun, fair manner. The biggest mistake to avoid at every step: Not asking questions. To get your questions answered you have a number of resources. The Colorado Region website has a message board where you can ask any type of question regarding cars, equipment, GCR explanations, anything. Colorado general membership meetings are held at the Breckenridge Brewery and BBQ at 471 Kalamath St. in Denver on the third Tuesday of every month. Come out, meet people, see what's going on in the club and ask questions. Lots of new members attend these meetings. There is so much to think about when it comes to going racing but you are not alone, you have your SCCA family to help you. You only need ask.

Karl McColl