Start Racing

If you are reading this page, you've probably already done a couple of track days, and want to find out how to go about racing.

At some point in every budding racing driver’s lifetime,  they take the brave first step towards getting on track and competing in their first race. Everyone at every level of motorsport has been through that process at some stage and, the fact you are reading this page, very soon that could be you.

Motorsport is a fun sport and pastime to take part in, and something which everyone involved should be a part of because they enjoy it. It’s a great way to make like-minded friends, meet new people, socialize and participate in a sport you love all in one weekend.

We know that when you’re starting out, it can seem quite daunting to know what to do first, but don't worry – we’re here to help you with a simple 10 step guide on how to fulfill your dream and get on the start line, and also what's involved in between.

We’ll see you on track very soon! Best of luck!

10 Steps To Start Racing

1. Book Your ARDS Test

Before you can start racing, you need to get your racing licence. Anyone competing in UK circuit racing will need a licence provided by Motorsport UK.

The first thing you’ll need to do is obtain a Go Racing Pack from Motorsport UK. These can be purchased directly from their website. Click Here For More Info
In the pack you’ll find an application form, a CD containing a digital version of the Motorsport UK Yearbook, an instructional DVD and a booklet detailing what steps to take next. The fee for your first Motorsport UK licence is also included in the cost of the Starter Pack. By participating in a Motorsport UK event in any capacity you agree to follow the values of the Respect Code.

Along with completing your application form, you will also need to complete and pass a medical examination, which can be completed by your doctor.

The next thing you must do before sending the application is to book and attend a test put on by the Association of Racing Driver Schools (more commonly known as an ARDS test). An ARDS test can be taken at a variety of circuits, but if you’re unsure of where to go to take yours, you can visit the ARDS website to look at when and where the next upcoming test days are taking place. Once you’ve found a venue and booked a date, you’ll need to attend and make your way through a two part examination. One half will be a written test of your knowledge gained from the Go Racing pack you received, while the other part will see you on track with an instructor to test your capabilities behind the wheel.

Should you be deemed to have passed both sections of the test and your application is signed off, you can then submit it to Motorsport UK who in return, providing everything submitted is to their satisfaction, will send you your very own Interclub racing licence. In which case, congratulations – you’re officially a racing driver! 

2. Safety Equipment

Now that you have your racing licence, you now need the appropriate equipment in order for you to race. As a bare minimum this is what you are going to need:

Race Helmet – Every competitor will need a SNELL or FIA verified and approved helmet, which is always checked by a scrutineer at every race meeting you compete in. Any helmet bought from new can be used for 10 years from when they were first homologated.

Race Suit – An FIA approved race suit is critical – all of them are made of fireproof materials, however each brand will develop theirs differently depending on size, design and comfort levels.

Gloves – These come in a range of different brands, designs, colours and sizes depending on personal preference and comfort.

Boots – Just like the gloves, race boots are key to ensure a comfortable driving experience while still providing appropriate levels of grip and feel on the pedals when accelerating and braking.

HANS Device or Frontal Head Restraint – This is vital to ensure that in the event of an accident, your head and neck stay secure and safe to prevent any form of injury as much as possible. 

Fireproof Underwear – This acts as a second layer of sorts and is worn underneath your race suit. While it isn’t mandatory to wear it, it is another element we strongly advise you purchase.

3. Race Car

Your race car will be required to comply with all points found in section Q of the Motorsport UK Yearbook, which you will have received in digital format in your Go Racing Pack. These points are checked at scrutineering and if any fail to comply, it is up to you as a competitor to ensure they do so, otherwise you risk being refused to take part in the race weekend.

4. Membership & Registration

The WSSCC championship requires all drivers to be racing members of the WRDA club. You will not be allowed to race without a valid membership. Full racing membership for new members costs £60.00. Renewing members £50.00.

With your race gear, licence and car all in place, now you also need to register for the WSSCC championship. Once the regulations have been approved and signed off by Motorsport UK, a registration form will then become available to complete and submit. It is important that every competitor fills out a registration form regardless if they’re competing in their first or tenth season in the championship, as the club requires up to date information on its competitors throughout the season each year.

5. Entering A Race

To enter a race for the WSSCC Championship, you can either contact the office by phone or e-mail, or you can download the forms and submit via email. This is done by clicking the “Members” menu option on the website.

Race entries must be paid and completed before the cut-off point, which is usually two weeks prior to your chosen race event. You will receive confirmation e-mails when you book in to your next race and also when payment is confirmed. Furthermore, you will also receive a final instructions e-mail containing all the relevant key documents you’ll need for the weekend ahead. This e-mail generally consists of:

The event timetable
A supplementary regulations document
A final instructions document
An entry list detailing which championships are in attendance and which cars and drivers are set to compete in each
On occasion, additional meeting specific documents may be attached when and where necessary. You must make sure that you have read and understood all of the documents attached in the Final Instructions e-mail, to ensure you are aware of what to expect for the upcoming race weekend.

Tickets are released and sent out once race entry payment has been confirmed and not before. Tickets will either come in a traditional paper format in the post, or via e-mail for certain circuits. It is important to make sure that you keep your tickets safe and that in the case of e-mail tickets, you must print them out prior to leaving for the circuit.

6. Circuit Arrival & Setup

First of all, check the final instructions documents to find out when and where access into the circuit is permitted. 

You will also find within the final instructions information and guidelines on how to use the pit and paddock areas, such as where to park private cars, engine/ noise pollution, general paddock and pit lane rules, support vehicles and use of paddock vehicles and tail lifts. Please make sure that you read, remember and adhere to these guidelines, otherwise you may find yourself reported to the clerk of the course for contravening any of them.

Within your final instructions document, you will also find a paddock plan which details which part of the venue your championship will be setting up.

7. Signing On

Before you can do anything else, the first thing you’ll need todo is sign on for the race weekend. You can find the location and times for signing on within your final instructions document. Here, your race licence will be checked to ensure it is valid.

You should also bring your WRDA membership card, however if for some reason you are without it, that’s not a problem. Also, you should have your upgrade card with you – this is important if you’re to ensure that you can gain and record signatures towards a higher grade of licence, which will eventually allow you to race bigger and faster cars and compete in higher profile championships.

You must also sign the signing on sheet next to your name as an agreement to the declarations to Motorsport UK stated at the top of the document. Your upgrade card will also be looked after by the race admin personnel, so make sure you remember to pick it up before you leave the circuit once racing his been completed. If you happen to forget, any upgrade cards left behind are sent back to their respective competitors a few days after the race weekend has been completed.

8. Scrutineering

One of the first things you’ll do when the race weekend gets underway is have your car scrutineered. 

Scrutineering is simply the process that all cars go through to ensure they comply with both the Motorsport UK and championship technical regulations. The car is given a thorough inspection by a qualified scrutineer, whose job it is to make sure that your car passes on every respective technical front required in order to be deemed safe and legal to race.

As mentioned above, in the eventuality that a scrutineer finds something wrong or something which contravenes a regulation, be it with your car or indeed your racing equipment such as your helmet or overalls, it will be up to you as the driver to ensure that they can fix the contravention before the race weekend gets underway, otherwise you may be going home early!

The last thing to be conducted on your car will be a noise test, to ensure that your car complies with the noise restrictions present at each specific circuit. This is normally conducted just before your car heads into the assembly area for its first on-track session of the race weekend. If your car fails this noise test and is deemed too loud, it is your responsibility to make the appropriate and legal modifications to ensure your car complies with the circuit restrictions. Otherwise, you will not be allowed on circuit until this is fixed.

9. Driver Briefing

Before any of the competing championships are allowed to race, all of their respective drivers must complete a drivers’ briefing with a clerk of the course. Sometimes, this can be held either before or after qualifying and it is compulsory for every driver to attend. Failure to attend could result in a driver being fined and even penalized, so it’s vital you make an appearance and show up on time.

The clerk of the course conducting the briefing will go through the standard procedures of the race weekend and point out key areas for track limits, remind drivers of flag signals, penalties and entry and exit points for the assembly area and parc ferme used before and after a session respectively. You must pay full attention to this briefing, as the information contained is imperative to ensure your race weekend goes smoothly. Whether it’s the first or fiftieth time you sit in a briefing, do not take it for granted. While most of the information may be the same as any other briefing, a quick refresher on the basics is never a bad thing.

Please also use this time to ask any questions you may have. Don’t feel embarrassed or silly if you think your question or query is simple or obvious, as there’s no harm in being absolutely sure on something. Besides, someone else may have had the same query but wasn’t confident enough to raise their hand in front of everyone, so if you do so you could helping out more than just yourself!

If you or any other driver is competing at a certain circuit for the very first time, the clerk of the course will ask the question to ensure those drivers are given extra information on getting around the circuit and key corners and areas of the circuit to look out for.

10. Practice & Qualifying

When it comes to practice and qualifying, the aim of both is ideally to set the fastest lap time possible in order to start higher up the grid, of course! However, if you’re taking part in one of your first official sessions, getting a feel for the car and the circuit and building up your confidence should be your main priority. Once you have these and have a few sessions under your belt, then you can start to push for consistency and speed.

When it is time to get ready for your next session, you will hear an announcement over the pit lane and paddock PA system calling for all cars from your championship to head to the assembly area. Be sure to keep an ear out for these announcements as depending on how the weekend is running so far in terms of keeping to the timetable, you may be running either behind or ahead of schedule. You should make sure you’re ready to head to the assembly area as soon as you hear the call.

When heading to assembly, you will be directed where to go and where to park your car by the marshals. Remember, if you haven’t had your car noise tested yet, this is where it will happen so be prepared. When it’s almost time to head out on track, the marshals in the area will call for all drivers to be in their cars ready to go. You must make sure all of your racing gear is on and secured correctly and that you’re firmly strapped into your race seat in the car. Once the marshal at the exit gives the signal, you’ll most likely head down the pit lane where you’ll wait for a green flag where your session will start.

Usually, qualifying sessions will last either 15 or 20 minutes depending on the championship and the timetable in some cases. You must complete at least three laps in order to successfully qualify for a race. Sometimes a car problem, a mistake that puts you off the track or an incident will prevent you from completing three laps within the session. If this happens and you’re able to ensure your car is still race worthy, generally you will be allowed to complete your laps during the lunch break when track activity has temporarily ceased. Sometimes, you may also be allowed to take part in another championship’s qualifying session, provided this has been permitted by the clerk of the course.

Once the session has come to an end, you’ll be directed into the pit lane and straight into parc ferme, where you are not allowed to do anything to your car until you’re allowed to leave and head back to your garage or paddock space. You’ll then be able to pick up a copy of the timing results from race admin or from your co-ordinator to find out where you placed in the session against everyone else.

The Race

The race follows the exact same procedure of heading to the assembly area as in previous sessions, however this time you’ll be released straight on to the circuit and head around to the grid, where you’ll be stopped in the correct position by a marshal. In terms of the starting procedure itself, check the championship regulations to make sure you know what will happen and whether it will be a standing start, a rolling start or a delayed start for different classes. Again, be sure to ask the clerk of the course in the drivers’ briefing if you’re unsure about anything.

Once the race is over and the chequered flag flies, once again you’ll head into parc ferme where you car may be subject to post-race scrutineering checks. This is just to ensure that nothing has changed between the first time the car was checked and the end of the race. If you are found to have contravened a rule as a result of any changes, you will be subject to a penalty per the clerk of the course’s decision. Remember, no one is allowed to touch or work on your car while it is in parc ferme. Anyone from your team who does so could also land you with a penalty.

That's it. You know now exactly what you need to do to start racing. Good luck !