So, You Want to Open a Racing Shop...
It's a very common goal and a great idea... But is it feasible?
Note: This article is inspired by a friend of mine, talking about how he'd love to open a racing shop. Well, it's a wonderful idea, but it will be difficult. Or, will it? We find out.
You had better get used to extensive builds like this. This is my time attack Civic build. If I owned a shop, it would be just one of many projects I'd be expected to create.
The first thing to know about owning a racing shop, is that there is a LOT of competition. You genuinely can't show up and win every race, unless you're truly dedicated and have an upper edge in development, great drivers, and great customers keeping your business alive. Any shortcomings or any flaws in your business will manifest as shortcomings in race finishes. The same could be said about a restoration business, too; it just doesn't manifest as shortcomings in race finishes, but rather as shortcomings in build/paint/finished product quality.
Do you think that this is a lot of plumbing? This is NOTHING compared to a full-on race car. This Subaru doesn't even have brake ducts, nor driver cooling suits or anything that full race cars have.
Secondly, you have to consider the cons of whichever type of motorsports you want to get into. If you absolutely hate getting muddy, like I do, you won't much like building rally cars and servicing them out at the rally stages. In a recent episode of Subaru's "Launch Control" vlog series by Formula Photographic, you will see the team working hard in the muddiest service area I've ever seen. If you hate rain, you're pretty much limited to only NASCAR - or, as fellow DriveTribe member Eric Delaney will show you, even NASCAR gets wet sometimes! The working conditions generally suck. Don't like bloody wrists? Race cars crash. The jagged carbon fiber left behind by car crashes that have to be repaired will cut your wrists open badly. Oh, and if you're on a time crunch, you're going to have to work through the blood.
That's me racing this #51 kart. Even though it seems easy to work on, it required a lot of engineering know-how and so on, as well as specialized tools.
Thirdly, you have to be aware of the constant scrutiny and updates of safety procedures and you have to be willing to commit yourself to "relearning" several safety procedures and devices, very often. You can never rest on your laurels. You have to keep studying and studying and studying. Safety demands such importance. Continuing education never stops when you own a racing shop, especially in the higher levels, where safety becomes ever more critical with increasing speeds.
Race cars get dirty. Actually... This is my street car that I used for an event called "Race Lab" here in Ontario, run by my rally driving friend Crazy Leo Urlichich
Fourthly... You have to give up a large percentage of your life's routine. You want a 9-5, Monday-Friday job? Being the boss of a racing team or racing shop isn't a job like that. No, you have to leave your family (seemingly) every weekend to drive, or fly, all around the country, or the world, in order to get those race wins. You've gotta be there with your team and drivers. Sorry, that's the way it is.
Stage control at the 2016 Rallye Perce Neige in Maniwaki, Quebec. I volunteered as a stage timing assistant. I spent 5 days away from my family for it and drove 3000 kilometers in one weekend, by myself
Lastly... There's mathematics. Fuel calculations. Average speed calculations. Rollcage tube thickness. Suspension geometry. Lap times. Race distances. If you're scared of numbers, look elsewhere. Racing isn't for you if you can't do math.
Oh yeah, and invest in some good equipment. This trailer helped out more than I could ever explain.
I don't want to dissuade you from getting into racing. Racing is the greatest thing in my life. It's what I live for and it's what I'd die for. But, I feel an obligation to ask if it's really what you want to do for a career. If you can handle it, I recommend it a thousand times over. Racing is great. But, it's not easy. Don't fret it! Just ask yourself if you're okay with it or not, and then ask whether or not it's worth it. Then, go out and love racing! And - above all else - #keepracingfun