by Simon Matthews
For many, unless you were blessed with a surname like Villeneuve or Hill, the idea of becoming involved in motorsport has long been left behind in the attic with other childhood dreams like flying to the moon. These dreams are now hidden amongst the boxes of chewed Lego, action figures with missing limbs and crumpled copies of the Beano.
It doesn’t have to be that way so don’t despair; the smell of hot rubber and high octane fuel is within reach and it’s ready for you to enjoy.
Historic motor racing, particularly the open wheelers of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s is not only an exciting, adrenaline pumping hobby, its also family friendly, a great way to meet new people and surprisingly its not that difficult or expensive to get involved in.
Like anything unknown initially the process can be quite daunting, especially if you haven’t been involved or around motor sport previously, but with a few pointers in the right direction, you’ll be up and racing before you know it.
In very simple terms you will need the following:
- CAMS (Confederation of Australian Motorsport) Drivers License
- Racing Car
You will also need a sense of humour, a bit of confidence and a touch of luck!
Before you shoot out there and put a deposit down on one of Michael Schumacher’s second hand Ferrari’s, its probably wise to spend some time at the local track, talking to as many people as you can who are already involved. While many will have different opinions on certain things, it’s a great opportunity to meet and mingle with like minded people and get a real behind the scenes feel about the sport.
Contact The Club* as they are the operator of Barbagallo Raceway Wanneroo on how to become a member. At some point you will need to become a member of a recognised sporting car club to obtain your license.
There is no right or wrong way of starting out, its a bit like the chicken and the egg, but as the car is going to be the most expensive item initially, it is probably advisable to obtain your license first – just in case. There is nothing worse than buying the car of your dreams only to find out your as blind as a bat
Although you do need to bear in mind that the license is only valid for 12 months at a time and you need to compete in a certain number of racing each year to maintain your license.
CAMS (Confederation of Australian Motorsport) Drivers License
In order to obtain the correct license for your chosen field, please refer to www.cams.com.au for a full explanation but you will need to:
- Be a member of a recognised sporting car club
- Pass a complete medical
- Pass a theory exam
- Pass an Observed Driving Test.
Its sounds a lot worse than it is so once you have completed and passed all of the above you will be have obtained your license, so its now time to go shopping.
Choosing a Race Car
The type of race car you buy is purely personal and will depend upon your likes and dislikes. The Formula Classic focuses on rear engine open wheelers and sports cars, but there are a number of other groups available.
The historic open wheelers are one of the most affordable and easy to maintain type of cars out there so they are a fantastic way of getting involved in the world of motor racing.
www.cams.com.au will provide you with all the information regarding the different groups of cars, but when buying a car, regardless of what type you are looking to get, is very important to understand that the car has to be eligible to race and will not be allowed to race unless it also has a Certificate of Description (C of D) and a Log Book. Without these items, your new car will spend the rest of its days, gathering dust and taking up room in your garage or spare bedroom.
Australia has one of the world’s strictest compliance processes in place when it comes to providing a race car with a C of D and Log Book, which includes providing a full history of who has owned the car since it was manufactured and evidence that the actual car you are buying raced in the year it was built. This is not always as simple as it sounds and can take years depending on the type and age of the car
When buying your first car it is advisable to buy a car that already has been issued with its C of D and Log Book – if it doesn’t, be wary.
Most cars are sold privately on the internet and through club newsletters, such as www.my105.com.au
Other items that you will need to obtain include a good car trailer, approved safety clothes and equipment and an account at the local florist, so you can make up to the other half for spending the weekends in the shed or down at the track.
It is impossible to be precise but you should be able to get yourself racing for between $30,000 to $40,000, which is less than the price of an average family car and a whole lot more fun.
As a guide if you spent $30,000 on a historic Formula Ford & keep it well maintained over the time of your ownership it is most likely you will sell it for the same amount to a few dollars more. That is the nature of these cars that they tend to appreciate. Some people collect them as part of their superanuation.
In addition to this my experience shows that you can budget just $5,000 per year for running costs and this will include everything bar should you have an accident and provided that you can maintain the car your self.
The above information is provided as a guide to assist you in the process of becoming involved in historic motor racing. For complete and detailed information please visit www.cams.com.au or contact one of our members through the contacts link.