We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

How do I Become a Racecar Driver?

By Brendan McGuigan
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The racecar driver has been a staple figure in automobiles virtually since the first car was made. The first organized race was held in 1887, and although it only had a single racecar driver competing, it nonetheless set the foundation for an entire industry. By the end of the 19th century a number of major races had been held in France, and by the early-20th century they had become a popular form of entertainment, and had a pivotal role in helping to make automobiles more well known to the world at large.

Of course, becoming a racecar driver in today’s world is about as different as can be from those early days. Modern racing is highly regulated, one of the most popular sports in the world, and involves massive amounts of money. As a result, it is highly competitive, and like any other professional sport, becoming a professional racecar driver requires an incredible amount of study, hard work, and above all, perseverance.

The first step to becoming a racecar driver is to immerse yourself entirely in the world of professional racing. This means both educationally and practically, and it should become a driving passion if you hope to succeed. You should read everything you can find on the subject, from classic texts like Carroll Smith’s Drive to Win, to magazines that cover the racing world. There is a great deal of theory involved in being a racecar driver, and the sooner you are able to get a grasp on the rudiments of it, the sooner you can start to think strategically about where your weaknesses lie, and where you can improve yourself.

At the same time, you want to be watching every race you can get to. You will start to see what works and what doesn’t, and to get a feel for the world you will be inhabiting as a racecar driver. When you’re there, talk to anyone and everyone who is willing to give you the benefit of their experience. Professional drivers, pit crews, teams, sponsors — anyone with a hand in the world of driving will likely have their own take on it, and can teach you more than any book or class. Be sure to be friendly and open, and to understand that these are busy professionals, who may not have time to spend talking with you, but be thankful and polite for anything they are able to offer.

Next, trying taking a more active role in the world of racing. Get a job at a track, as a ticket seller if need be, and if an opportunity comes along, join a team. Working on a crew can teach you an immense amount about the fundamentals of racing, as well as giving you the opportunity to interact with those who have already realized your dream of becoming a racecar driver.

Once you feel like you have a good foundation, and once you’ve hopefully saved a bit of money, you may want to look into attending a racing school. There, you can start taking intensives to get some time behind the wheel, some time with an instructor, and to really see if being a racecar driver is what you want to do. From there you can go on to start driving in small races, either with a small sponsor or with your own savings, generally beginning with races sponsored by the schools. Once you have enough time in a racecar, and once you start proving yourself on the track, you’ll be ready to move on to the next step, and hopefully wind up as a professional.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By Soulfox — On Jan 16, 2015

@Terrificli -- A lot of people who wind up as pro racers started in the amateur ranks and worked their way up as they gained experience. Those racecar drivers on dirt tracks, drag strips, outlaw class vehicles, demolition derbies and other things may wind up in the big leagues one day.

That is the perfect example of something that started out as a hobby but turned into something serious. People who can do that are fortunate, indeed.

By Terrificli — On Jan 15, 2015

But things are a lot easier if you just want to be kind of a casual, hobbyist racecar driver. There are dirt tracks, drag racing strips and other facilities in a lot of areas that allow enthusiasts to get together and race.

It doesn't take a whole lot of cash to get involved in those thing (the most expensive items are your car and the modifications you will make to it), but you won't make a lot of money, either. Those cats all have day jobs and race just for fun.

If you want to turn pro, well that's something else altogether. NASCAR drivers and such make tons of cash, but it is tough to break into that field. If you just want to hot rod your car and race it on weekends, the casual route may be the way to go.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.