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How to race for £3000 per season!

One of the main things you’ll learn about motor racing is that, much like the other ‘M’ word (Marriage), if you mention it, the costs for everything go up.  So it’s best to try and ignore what you’re spending on it.

A few of you have commented on my claim to have a budget of £2000 to do a season of Formula Vee – and rightly so, because if you add up all the entry fees that alone comes to just over this figure!

Last year, I came into the UK Formula Vee championship very late, and only did the last 3 rounds.  Added to this was a bit of testing, plus the non-championship Vee Festival.

So, the long and short of it is that it will cost more than £2000 to race for a season, but with a few large assumptions, it can be done for not much more than this.

The main assumptions are that you have your own car, you’ve already got a set of Hoosier tyres, you’re not testing, you don’t break the car, and you’re not actually attending every round.

The way the championship is scored means you drop your worst two scores, assuming you have attended and finished every round – because of this a lot of drivers with tight budgets will miss a round because it’s too far away or they don’t like the track.

The point I’m making here is that you can race in Formula Vee on a fairly small budget – but most people in the series don’t.

If you’re testing at tracks it’s great, and highly desirable when you’re new to it all, but you CAN turn up and learn learn the track in qualifying – as I have done for the most part.  I would love to be able to test, but I simply cannot afford to, both in cash terms and time off work.

Whilst I’m spending £30 per race weekend on Shell V-Power straight from the pump (and isn’t it great that fuel costs are still down?!), a lot of the other drivers are using full-on Sunoco race fuel for £300 per weekend!  Whilst there should be some advantage to the higher octane fuel, I’ll just point out that I’m beating people using this fuel – so there’s no way I could ever justify spending this!  Or to look at it another way, if I had that money I’m 100% sure it would be better spent on a test day hammering around a circuit.  Once I’m familiar with all the circuits this might change, but to a rookie there is no magical go-faster add-on you can buy that will help you win – you need time in the car!

If you’re hiring a car you’re going to be paying between £500 and £750 for anything competitive – but do bear in mind you can buy a car for £3000 and you’re probably going to do as well in that as a rookie as if you’ve spent £30,000 on a sparkling new AHS Dominator!

The great thing about Formula Vee is that you DO see people who are on a tight budget mixing it up with the more affluent drivers. I have the ‘honour’ of being one of the lowest paid drivers trying to race Formula Vee, and whilst that can be frustrating, it’s also very rewarding.

I don’t resent the ones with the big budgets – because whatever level of motorsport you do, you will always have teams with a bigger budget.  And how much more satisfying is it to beat them?

Of course there are then travel and food costs – we cut that down by taking a lot of Aldi food (maybe I should get them to sponsor me?) and camping over at the circuit in the trusty VW Camper van!  Others take tents or sleep in their car – those who can will drive back home or book into a B&B.

Another excellent thing about Formula Vee over a lot of other series is that it is, to some extent, gentleman’s racing. This means most drivers won’t go for silly moves to overtake you, and will do it safely. Of course that observation might change if you’re running in the leading pack, but it means you CAN put fears of being taken out to rest, and just drive and have fun. Nobody wants to crash, because that is expensive, and may well be your season over.

Perhaps equally importantly is that if it does all go wrong on or off the track, the other drivers and teams will do what they can to help you! We all want to be out there racing, and we want more people out there with us (as long as we can beat them)!

So, to revise my original claim with a bit more (reluctant) thought – you can race Formula Vee for a season with a budget of £3000. You won’t be able to be the best you can be, as you’ll have to worry about not crashing and barely testing (I have another blog about the cheapest ways I’ve found to test) – but that is still a Hell of a lot less than anything else you can do to race.

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