The 750 Motor Club is the perfect platform to enter into motorsport.
Having enjoyed attending trackdays over the past few years, and competing in Autotests with my local car club, the MSA Affiliated Isle of Wight Car Club, I decided the next challange would be to have a go at Circuit Racing. I duly purchased the car that I race today.
The first thing you need to do if you wish to get into motorsport is join a local MSA car club like I did. A list of clubs can be found on the MSA website. Here you will find fellow competitors that will be more than happy to guide you through the process of starting off in circuit racing, I suppose, as I am doing right here in this blog.
Once you have done some research and decided it is for you, a Go Racing Pack needs to be purchased from the MSA. This will contain your medical form, a current copy of the “Blue Book” (Competitors Yearbook), a DVD and a Novice Licence Application Form. It also contains simple instructions on how to obtain the necessary National B Race Licence which you will need to get on the grid. The pack can be purchased here from the MSA.
Next thing you will need to do is complete the simple medical exam. If you are under 45 then it is pretty straight forward and includes having a general check over. You need to have both aided and unaided vision tested during your medical so if you are a contact lense wearer, you need to have your glasses with you and “kit” so you can have your eyes tested with them in, and then take them out and get retested.
The medical took about 20 minutes and wasnt too expensive at £50.00. If you are over 45 you will need a cardiogram and that puts the cost up to around £169 (prices based on my local Medical Centre). It is worth checking the cost when you book your test as it can vary greatly from place to place depending on how your local doctor or medical centre categorise it. Some seem to charge the same as a much more thorough test, so best to check first to make sure. It doesnt have to be your doctor that completes it, so it is well worth shopping around for quotes!
Next, I checked where my nearest race school was located so that I could book in for the ARDS exam. The MSA website again provides all the info to locate your nearest race school. I chose Thruxton, and my day went like this (taken from a post on my local club site):
The course at Thruxton lasts around 2 hours and costs £285. Details can be found on their website:
I would advise (as do the MSA and Thruxton) to do the medical first. That way, if you are successful on the course, you can get signed off and then you will be ready to apply for your licence from the MSA. Otherwise, you need to get your medical done and then send the form back to the school to get it signed off. Not worth the hassle really.
There are other schools “local” to us, such as Mithril Racing at Goodwood, Castle Combe Race School and MSV at Brands Hatch:
There were 6 people on the course today including myself. There were 4 people older than myself, 2 by some way, and a 15 year old nipper. Nipper was with a race team and will be doing the Ginetta Juniors series shortly, having done the National Kart Championship last year and finished 10th.
The course starts in the same ilk as a trackday – go and sign-on. Once that was out of the way, we went into the classroom and talked about the test itstelf which would consist of 14 questions on race flags, which you must score 100% on to pass, followed by a further set of about 8 questions which you can get just 2 wrong. The further 8 questions are multiple choice.
We then ran through the DVD which comes with the Go Racing pack and I was glad I had watched it a couple of times already. The instructor paused to go into more detail about certain aspects of the DVD such as car control, flags, racing lines, settling the car etc.
After this, it was time for the test, which was relatively easy. The multiple choice questions were all really simple, bar one which asked about the reasons for using heel and toe. For example, one question was:
Q. You drop your helmet and notice a crack. Do you:
1. Stick tape over it
2. Ignore it as helmets are meant to take abuse
3. Sell it to another competitor
4. (Somethign else equally daft that I cant recall )
5. Dispose of it and purchase another approved helmet
That was the easiest one of all and i did have a chuckle.
You get 15 minutes to do the test which is more than enough, but pay a lot of attention to the flag questions as 1 wrong out of 14 is an instant fail. Luckily I remembered what a black flag with an orange disc on it is for: you have a mechanical issue or your car is on fire! (don’t recall seeing it at Brands though when i turned the scoob into a fireball through Mclaren )
So then it was onto the practical test. We went out individually in the Porsche Caymans – they have 9 of the buggers, all the same. You sit as a passenger for 3 laps whilst the instructor shows you the lines, braking points and turn in points and also the gears you should be in for each corner.
Emphasis is given to showing that you can be consistent and in control and be aware of other track users – not on outright speed. They stress that you should build up speed over 3 or 4 laps and not go balls out as a spin or excursion off track is an instant fail.
After 3 laps I took the wheel and drove “making progress” for 3 laps, with him giving commentary and advice. I had to let an RX8 by which was being driven on a “hot lap” by one of the race instructors. It was sideways through the complex which was nice to watch. I paid attention to not taking kerbs (as this is frowned upon) and hitting the correct apexes and braking points etc, consistently.
After 3 laps he asked if I was happy and then I did a further 4 laps when he simply observed and I attempted to maintain a reasonable pace, but most importantly be accurate and smooth.
After 4 laps he said he was very impressed and back to the pits.
Went back to the instructor that had been marking the papers whist we were out on track and got told I had passed with all questions correct. Result. He then signed off my application form (which has the medical on the back) and that was that.
Finally, you will need a passport type photo to send off with the signed off application form to the MSA along with another fee of £51.00. You should get your licence back withing 3 working days or so.
All you have to then do before entering a race, is display the “Novice” sticker on the back of the car until you have completed 6 races at National B level. (Yellow square with black X).
So, total cost was around £441 all together.Once you have the National B under your belt, you need to find an appropriate car. A few good places to start searching include: