seltzerbubbles
seltzerbubbles New Reader
12/30/23 10:50 p.m.

Hey guys, I am 14, live in New Jersey, and am looking to get my SCCA license next year. So far, I've been interested in Kaizen Autosport's school at VIR (https://www.kaizenautosport.com/racing-school). Do you guys have any other suggestions for schools in the Northeast, or ways to get a license? Also, for Skip Barber, can I get any license after their 3 Day GT Class? (https://www.skipbarber.com/courses/3-day-racing-school/?list_id=2&program_id=2)

red_stapler
red_stapler SuperDork
12/31/23 2:29 a.m.

Start here with the steps to get a license:

https://www.scca.com/pages/i-want-to-road-race
 

Race schools that the SCCA hosts, as well as schools they will accept on a license application like Kaizen and Skip are listed here:

https://www.scca.com/pages/driver-s-school-w-table
 

The example you gave of the 3 day skip program would get you a SCCA novice permit with 2 race credits.  You would then need to take Skip's advanced course, or enter a race weekend as a novice to apply for the full competition license.

KevinLG
KevinLG New Reader
1/1/24 1:30 a.m.

In my opinion, personalized coaching plus an SCCA regional school are more cost effective than Skippy type stuff. 
 

https://m.facebook.com/groups/sccaofficial/permalink/1294637935269765/?

 

Of course you'll also need to provide a car, either your own or a rental. But I assume you're planning on doing that, or have already done so. 

accordionfolder
accordionfolder UltraDork
1/1/24 1:53 a.m.

In reply to seltzerbubbles :

What's your intended goal after getting your license? Do you have a class in mind? 

dean1484
dean1484 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/1/24 11:15 a.m.

How much actual track experience do you have?  Any HPDE days?   Carting?  Autocross?  

seltzerbubbles
seltzerbubbles New Reader
1/1/24 1:39 p.m.

In reply to accordionfolder :

I'm very interested in Touring, as it seems to be a larger field, and has a (relatively for motorsports) lower cost than formula racing. Most likely, I think I'd start out with Spec MX5.

Apexcarver
Apexcarver MegaDork
1/1/24 1:50 p.m.

So I'm also looking at getting a license, likely 2025. 

Looking into it, my plan is the scca school that annually takes place at summit point. I have my own car, so there's that. 

For my part, I haven't driven on track, but have 20 years autocross experience and a few years flagging and communications. This year looking to do solo trials at summit point to get some higher speed time in. Depending how that goes, I might do a bit of hpde as well, though it would have to be my mustang and not the racecar. ( Racecar is open wheels)

 

So what car you have, or what is your goal to drive?

You note that you are 14, so what kind of support do you have? Budget and resources that your parents or benefactor are putting forth. (It isn't a dig, I have to adjust what I'm doing based on what I have and have money for,)

Any experience at all? NJMP has some good karting programs that can help with bottom basics to make getting the in car instruction more beneficial.

Tom1200
Tom1200 PowerDork
1/1/24 2:47 p.m.

My take:

If you are doing arrive and drives then a pro school is a good fit.

If you are going to be running your own car then do a couple of HPDEs. After that go to SCCA regional school.

 

seltzerbubbles
seltzerbubbles New Reader
1/1/24 5:37 p.m.

In reply to Apexcarver :

I have an RSX which we'll have to make sure is alright (unlikely), so I would most likely do arrive and drive (not in a Formula Car). I was lucky enough to have gotten a substantial scholarship to my private school, so my parents are willing to help to pay for my racing school, up to roughly $8,000 let's say, but I would definitely need sponsors for competitions (I assume no one sponsors for a kid to go to racing school, besides scholarships). So far, I am relatively unexperienced, as I only have some rental karting league experience, but I'm definitely going to try to make that into a sponsorship angle later down the road.

Apexcarver
Apexcarver MegaDork
1/1/24 6:49 p.m.

Sponsorships of any applicable amount of money are a rarity in non-professional motorsports. Counting on them to be able to go forward is not a tenable plan. 

 

So, racing school- the cheap option is the summit point school at $300.

Plus car rental at $1800 for the weekend. 

 

Plus safety gear - fire suit - helmet- hans -etc...  Short the hans, you are looking at $675 for the cheapest, the neck restraint alone is $475+ so $1200ish total

Your rsx, if it's a street car, is pretty much a non-starter for racing racing, but hpde might be doable. For the school and racing - you will need something caged and log booked. You are likely best off getting a used IT car, but you need the car plus the infrastructure. Meaning, place to store it, truck and trailer to tow it, ability to maintain it and fix it when it breaks...  

$8k can likely get you the gear, the school, and a few race weekends if you're going the rental route. Don't count on sponsorships being out there to allow you to continue.  

 

wake74
wake74 Reader
1/1/24 7:25 p.m.

Racing school will be the least expensive part of this adventure. There probably isn't much of a price difference between going to a pro-school or a regional SCCA school plus a rental. Don't forget the cost of insurance on their car, and that cost will likely depend upon what type of deductible your parents are willing to sign off on. If you destroy their car, someone's going to want to get paid, either from you or the insurance company (or more likely a combination).

I don't at all mean to come off as negative, but the kids you see your age on social media racing I suspect are mostly funded by rich parents, or at least in the beginning. And by rich, I mean parents able to dump $50k+ a year into their kids racing. I suspect many are spending well in excess of $100k a year. I've read somewhere that top tier karting in Europe can go $250k a year. There aren't many families who can spend that on a racing hobby for their kids. If that's you, congrats! 

You see "sponsors" on their car / kart, but that's really just mostly Daddy's (or Mom's, grandparents, etc) company sponsoring the kids. Allows the family to write the racing expenses off as a business expense.

I am probably as frugal as can be in terms of racing (read cheap SOB), run vintage racing where tires last a season, sleep in the trailer, grille my food (okay, technically a buddy grilles it, as I suck at cooking).  If I was honest with myself, I'm probably into it for $1500 ish a weekend, if I averaged out all the costs over the year, not including initial cost of hauler, race car or trailer.. And I can't imagine how I could do it any cheaper. I don't want to guess what what some of the amateur racers are spending, who are running fresh tires every weekend, hotels, etc.. I suspect $5k a weekend isn't out of the question.

There are some lower cost options, karting, autocross, etc. Knowing your annual budget would be helpful to better offer advice on a place to land within the race world.

Apexcarver
Apexcarver MegaDork
1/1/24 9:47 p.m.

In reply to wake74 :

You're right, I was having a hard time getting to saying it worrying that I would sound overly harsh. 

I've wanted to roadrace ever since I went to mid Ohio and spectated as a 16 year old. I was barely able to scrape the money to autocross locally starting at 18. Couldn't afford Rcomp tires until I was 20 (and used at that!). I had to drop back a bit when I graduated college and was trying to get a career off the ground as discretionary funds were severely lacking. Well, I was able to get back to autocrossing and do it a bit more seriously, but available time became the limiting factor. Career/money has finally gotten to the point I could roadrace at the local track a few times a year and the big hurdle is time as I'm almost 40 and have a family to look after.

I wish you luck. Your aim is high. You might do to find someone to crew for to learn some ropes before jumping into driving. The contacts, learned knowledge, and experience would allow you to determine your goals well and greatly enhance your chances of meeting them.

camopaint0707
camopaint0707 Reader
1/3/24 7:11 a.m.

My two cents, which might be harsh, get some actual seat time once you get your license.  Either autox, track days, hpde, time trials something.  Get some driving experience under your belt before you start approaching teams/sponsors asking for their time and money and resources.  No offense, but unless you're a nascar or lewis hamilton level child prodigy driving, no ones going to bat an eye at you.  If you can afford it, get a spec miata for the class you want so you can practice on it, and enter the racing series you desire.  There's a decent gap between hpde and time trials and then the jump to road racing and wheel to wheel stuff.

seltzerbubbles
seltzerbubbles New Reader
1/3/24 12:18 p.m.

In reply to camopaint0707 :

I am already planning to get some experience, as I need to do some SCCA events to get my full competition license, but I was planning to move up to the next level after getting some racing done.

rdcyclist
rdcyclist GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
1/3/24 1:28 p.m.

Race karts. Real outdoor karts with a team. Most local clubs/tracks have school to help get you started. It is by far the most cost effective way to learn wheel to wheel racing. You don't need the top tier stuff, just good mid-pack hardware and you'll want to hook up with a shop or team so they can help you with prep and so on.

My son and I raced karts for several years starting when he was 8 and this gave him the foundation for racing cars when he got older. For the amount of money involved you'll get much more seat time and learn how to race. There's a big difference between just driving fast and race driving.

camopaint0707
camopaint0707 Reader
1/3/24 1:37 p.m.

In reply to seltzerbubbles :

Can I ask, you being 14, have you ever even driven a car before?

seltzerbubbles
seltzerbubbles New Reader
1/4/24 2:37 p.m.

In reply to camopaint0707 :

My dad has given me lessons in how to drive the RSX I mentioned earlier, but nothing crazy. I live in NJ so we have to get learner's at 16 :(

accordionfolder
accordionfolder UltraDork
1/4/24 2:50 p.m.

In reply to seltzerbubbles :

I suspect your best bet would be to use that money get into sim racing and then work on autoX'ing the RSX - personally. You'll learn a ton w/ a much lower investment. 

accordionfolder
accordionfolder UltraDork
1/4/24 3:03 p.m.
Racebrick
Racebrick HalfDork
1/4/24 3:04 p.m.

Do you have a place around you that has arrive and drive karting? We found that to be the most cost effective way for my son to get his start. Do you have a mentor, or coach?

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/4/24 3:04 p.m.

+1 for sim racing for that level of driving experience. Assetto Corsa is a good dirt cheap sim with a world of free addons, iRacing is too close to autocrossing money just in software costs but it does have a skill ladder system you can work through and the content quality is top-notch.

accordionfolder
accordionfolder UltraDork
1/4/24 3:33 p.m.

I've gotten a race license and I'm doing w2w racing now and while nothing compares to it and you **can do it somewhat cheaply it's by no means inexpensive. Fire system, belts, tires, towing, trailer and tires, brake pads, tow rig storage and maintenance. Usually doing it cheaply includes a life time of expensive lessons.

 

If you're bound and determined, I would get into HPDE though the NASA ladder system using your rsx, work to TT levels and become an instructor - it lowers the per event cost and you can get contingencies and exposure for winning. Then you can usually get into a lower cost race school.

 

I'm not trying to give you a non-answer, but racing is REALLY tough and expensive. I've worked my way through with no family/support system (in the context of racing, that is, they're very supportive overall) and no local friends into cars like myself and it's a tough but rewarding journey. 

Now I have tons of local support and knowledge I can lean on, but it's all a journey to get there. 

camopaint0707
camopaint0707 Reader
1/5/24 8:06 a.m.

In reply to accordionfolder :

I agree.  Not trying to be discouraging but I think you've got a long way to go just in driving in general before you get into w2w stuff.  IE learning how to drive a car properly, track ettiquite, safety, etc.  Start with autocross and some hpde events at summit point or NJMP.  Assuming you've got financial backing from your parents for a proper race car and trailer and wear items, you've genuinely got a long way to go before you need to start worrying about proper licesncing.

Wizard_Of_Maz
Wizard_Of_Maz Reader
1/7/24 12:48 p.m.

Hey Seltzer, congrats on thinking ahead. Ours is a stupid hobby to get into, but it's so much fun, and with that, I'd just suggest that there are a number of ways to have that fun.

My path started a little later than yours, but isn't too dissimilar. At age 20, I got into Champcar - I grew up karting, had a few autocrosses to my name, and really wanted to get into w2w. I got the requisite safety gear, blew through what little savings I had, and got on track. It was a blast, but if I were to do it again, there's a few things I'd recommend:

  • I would take that $8k figure you mentioned before and split it across a few areas. Keep the focus on karting, look into getting an "affordable sim setup" - maybe around 2k, and then look into autocross. At 14, I'm not sure what your options are there, but autocross is an excellent way to teach car control, awareness, and practice getting coached - all things that would benefit you on track.
  • Once you're ready for track driving, I would focus more on HPDEs, particularly instructed with a reputable organization. I live in tri-state and spent a lot of time at NJMP, and it's a great place to learn. Both tracks have technical spots, room to mess up (ask me how I know), and it's a well-run facility. There are people and organizations that rent out their cars for HPDE - they might be worth looking into.
     
  • Racing school is excellent. I did the 2 day bmwcca school to get my comp license, which had reciprocity so I could race with AER. I found a friend of a friend and rented his car for those 2 days. I paid about a grand to do so and we had some agreements about how we would split any potential damages. But I think in your case, it is a bit preemptive. I would focus on those other areas first, build your capabilities behind the wheel, and then really maximize your investment in racing school once you have that baseline skill and knowledge.

 

All the best to you. It's an exciting time, and you're doing the right thing by just asking around here for advice. Keep an open mind, target a few different areas to develop your skills and learning, and you'll be kicking our butts in no time.

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