The Advice Hub » The Importance of getting out of a Kart and into a Car as soon as possible
Pretty much every Racing Driver started in Karting, it’s the perfect starting point for young drivers to learn their craft and competition is fierce in the Karting world. But how useful is Karting in real terms? If your goal is to make a career as a Racing Driver in Motorsport, where do you start? and how and when should you move on to bigger things?
The answer is simple!
Any young driver who is racing Karts needs to move into Car Racing as soon as possible! Karting is a great starting point, and there is a lot to learn from it, so definitely spend a few years learning your racecraft and driving techniques in Karting, but so many Drivers (and mainly parents) get caught in the circus of Karting and sold the dream of Formula 1, that Drivers who could have potentially made a career from their talents end up spending a horrendous amount of money on Karting and they either get stuck there or the budget dries up.
From the age of 14, you are able to race in a Junior Car Championship on proper Circuits, so why are so many Drivers still Karting at the age of 15/16/17?
“We can’t move into cars until we have won a Championship in Karting” Why? There are only 3 F1 Drivers who have won the Karting World Championship, those are Llando Norris, Max Verstappen, and Jarno Trulli, so where did the other 150+ Karting World Champions go over the years, these are supposed to be the best in the world, yet only 3 of them have ever made it to Formula 1…
“We can’t afford Car Racing, Karting is much cheaper” Wrong, we were at a club meeting at PFI Kart track not long ago scouting drivers on The Watchlist, and it was like walking into a Touring Car paddock! Drivers competing in Karting are easily spending £50k+ and some over £100k, and that’s just National level, Car Racing is a fraction of that price, and the skills and experience gained in cars is worth 10x what you can learn by continuing in Karting.
There are currently 3 Junior Car Championships in the UK, and luckily for you, we have raced in all 3 of them, so here’s the run down on all of them from first-hand experience:
Junior Saloon Car Championship
The Junior Saloon Car’s are Citroen Saxo’s, they’re cheap and cheerful and ideal if you are really on a tight budget, but the cars are getting really old now, and parts can be a pain to get hold of. The racing is ok, and for learning gears and clutch they are ok, but being almost completely standard, for car control and anything that a serious Driver is looking to learn they are too basic and top heavy. The Championship still has no real TV coverage, which for Drivers looking to engage with sponsors and promote themselves is a real drawback.
Typical season costs range from £15k - £30k
Junior Ginetta Championship
The Junior Ginetta’s are fantastic cars, the purpose built G40J car has all the racing parts and adjustment you’d expect in a proper GT car with a sequential box and rear wheel drive. The Junior Championship also benefits from being on the BTCC Package, which means huge TV coverage and you’ll be rubbing shoulders with big named Drivers.
But, all of this comes at a cost, and the cost of a Ginetta Junior Season can be massive, the biggest part of that cost comes with the damage, I guarantee that every race in the Ginetta Juniors will have thousands of pounds worth of damage. Which for all of the positives that the championship has, unless money is no object, it doesn’t make it the ideal place to start your Car Racing Career and learn the ropes.
Typical season costs range from £80k - £130k+
Fiesta Junior Championship
The Fiesta Junior Championship is really the best of both worlds, it is slightly more expensive than the Saxo’s, but then it has TV coverage of every race, the cars are modern, safe and strong, and they have all of the elements required for a Serious Driver to learn the skills and techniques they need.
The cars are Fiesta ST150’s on proper race suspension and with a limited slip diff, meaning that they have more adjustability that the Ginetta without the cost of a purpose built race car. H-pattern gearbox for learning clutch control and heel-toe (which is a very important skill often overlooked), and suspension adjustment necessary for a driver to really understand the balance of the car and to learn true car control. The Championship has TV coverage for each round which is also uploaded to YouTube, a real positive for any Driver wanting to promote themselves and their sponsors, as well as being part of the prestigious Formula Ford Festival each year.
Typical season costs range from £18k-£35k
If you want to be a Professional Driver and make a career in Motorsport, you need to be getting out of a Kart and into a Car AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, I can’t stress that enough, please don’t get suckered into the Karting World and the dream of F1, because it just isn’t going to happen unless you are prepared to spend tens of millions of pounds, and that’s the honest truth. If you are 12/13/14 years old, the most important thing you should be doing to carve a career in Motorsport is learning and gaining experience.
I promise you that the skills and experience you will gain from Racing just one season in Cars will be worth more than any Karting trophy or bragging rights, and it will get you further than another 10 years of Karting experience will ever get you.
The BRSCC Fiesta Junior Championship are hosting taster sessions as part of the TCR UK and FJC Race Meeting on the 27th of July.
Find out more on their Website: http://www.brsccfiestajunior.com/news-and-events?id=129
Altima Academy Advice Hub 10/06/2019