Want to Be a Race Car Driver? > Post > Blog
Success Stories, Career Development / Career Growth. Monday, Dec 19, 2022
Popular career advice chants “follow your passion” or “do what you love”. When you think about what you’re passionate about, do the following spark your interest?
If you answered yes to the above, it’s likely that you may have also wondered whether there’s such a career for people who have such passions. Well, becoming a professional racing driver IS a possibility, however it’s challenging for reasons given below. There are also professionals such as physicists, engineers, and mechanics that are knowledgeable and skilled in conceptualizing and/or building racing cars. So, if you aren’t cut out to become a racing driver, but are still intrigued by the world of competitive racing, you may explore other avenues that are involved in bringing this sport to life.
If you are interested in performing the driving itself, you may ask, “How do I become a racing driver?”
We’ll tell you how!
First, we want to give a huge shoutout to Sithara Peiris, a professional racing driver in Sri Lanka. Sithara won 1st place under SLA 1050cc category at the Katukurunda Speed 2022 organised by the Sri Lanka Automobile Association held on December 4th 2022. Careers360 was one of Sithara’s sponsors. We spoke to Sithara and learned some valuable advice and insights about racing.
Check out our interview with Sithara on our YouTube channel (share with friends 😊):
Becoming a professional racing driver is no easy feat. It’s certainly not for the faint of heart. This sporting phenomenon requires a lot of time, money (more on this in the next step), and effort. You need to be extremely dedicated and disciplined as it entails several hours of training. And as with any sport, you need to take care of yourself mentally and physically. This means being mentally alert and focused, ensuring you take care of your diet and nutrition, and being physically fit through exercise.
As Sithara advised for anyone considering this sport, “be patient and don’t race on the road”. You’ll need a tremendous amount of patience – just because racing sounds interesting doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. Along with patience, you need a high level of responsibility as this sport comes with risks.
There’s a difference between driving fast on the road versus driving fast in a competitive sport. This goes along with the above step of commitment. The reality is that you will need to practice a lot, accept challenges and failures along the way, and be willing to drive multiple laps over and over again. This is how you hone your racing skills. You also require being able to drive with precision around a circuit and being aware of your competitors who are racing against you.
If you want to test out if racing is right for you, the best place to start is go-karting. Go-karting will equip you with the skills necessary for racing without breaking the bank. Once you are comfortable with driving on small go-kart tracks, level up by trying out real karts. Sign up for karting competitions and learn techniques from other drivers too. It’s completely normal if you aren’t very good at it in the beginning. Currently, in Sri Lanka, an official training organization for racing does not exist. Self-learning is your best bet for the time being.
You’ll also need a racing licence which can be obtained from Sri Lanka Automobile Sports (SLAS), which was formerly known as Sri Lanka Association of Motorsports. SLAS is the governing body for Sri Lankan Motorsports. You will be required to sit for a medical and written test. Initially, you will get a novice licence for three years and thereafter an upgrade. If you’re outside of Sri Lanka, check with your local country or region for licensing requirements and training associations.
Racing is a very expensive sport. Unlike other sports that primarily involve your physical body with manageable investments in sports gear, racing requires a car that must be built for safety and speed. In order to build such a car, you need to invest a significant amount of money. For instance, money for building the engine, tuning the engine, and buying tires. Once it’s built, you need to incur costs for maintenance and repair. This is critically important to ensure your car functions properly and safely for optimal performance.
Sithara states there are two types of races: gravel and tarmac races. You’ll need approximately three sets of tires for each type of race per competitive season, so that’s six sets of tires each season.
You’ll also need safety equipment and gear. This includes fire-proof racing suit, helmet, gloves, shoes, and a fire extinguisher.
As Sithara explains in the interview, it’s challenging to earn a living from racing in Sri Lanka because it hasn’t reached the international stage yet. However, you can seek sponsorships from companies to support your racing aspirations. You will have to build and maintain your professional brand by marketing yourself, networking, and looking for relevant opportunities.
Your dreams are not impossible but you have to consider the practicalities that come with it. We’d like to reiterate the importance of safety when driving and keeping your focus sharp. Keep these tips in mind if you’re seriously considering racing so that you are well-informed for the career journey ahead.