How Do I Go Racing?

Enter the SR1 Cup

The first step is to fill in the SR1 Cup registration pack to register your interest and claim your grid spot - click here to download the 2016 SR1 Cup registration pack. Just a £5,000 deposit secures a space, (fully refundable after you have driven the car if you decide on the day that you do not want to take part in the championship). Interested parties will be invited to an SR1 trial day to evaluate the car. Upon ordering your SR1, payment of the balance is required before the completed car can be released, typically three weeks after ordering. The car is then yours!

Obtain your race licence

Gaining your licence is an enjoyable day during which to get to drive on track with an instructor, meet other novices and learn more about racing. It’s not a major hurdle either, the pass rate is very high and as long as you can demonstrate a basic understanding of the racing line and a reasonable technique you should achieve your goal.

The test day consists of two major elements; the track test and multiple choice, fifty question written paper. You will drive the race school cars and they can also provide you with a helmet if you do not have your own. Most circuits insist that your arms are covered, so wear comfortable clothing and thin-soled shoes.  

When you are taking your test, the instructor isn’t looking to see how fast you can go, he will be looking to see if you understand the basics and that you will be safe. They have to ensure that you will be OK to drive on your own in a general test session, they are looking for both predictability and consistency and an awareness of traffic around you. Drive at a fast touring pace and keep things smooth. When taking the test ensure that you brake in a straight line with two hands on the wheel, use the full width of the track, do not adjust your line through a corner but look through it and your gear changing needs to be smooth and mechanically sympathetic. Most people pass first time, but if you don’t you will have to come back on another day to retake the test.  

The written test is multiple choice and all the answers can be learnt from the video and section ‘J’ of the Blue Book provided in the MSA's 'Go Racing' pack. The questions are straightforward, but like all multiple choice questions you need to concentrate and read the questions carefully. If you fail this test you can retake it on the same day.

Finally, you will need to take a medical. If they are particularly busy some schools may book a doctor to come to the circuit to carry this out for you. If this is not the case then your local GP will be able to do it for you, usually for a fee of around £50. The medical is just a basic examination, where blood pressure will be checked along with your eyesight and medical history.

If you are over 45 years old you will also need to take an ECG test, which typically costs £200. If you are under 45 you will not need to have another medical (unless you have upgraded to an international licence) when renewing your licence, but above that age you are required to undergo the medical procedure annually.

At the end of that just send the paperwork to the MSA and you will have gained your National B race licence and you’re ready to go racing. Congratulations! All you need now is a car and you’re off on the start of a whole new chapter in your life, one where you can call yourself a racing driver.

Get kitted out

The MSA require you to wear a suit and helmet and both have to be of a certain quality and standard and this will be checked in scrutineering - as part of your SR1 Cup entry fee all competitors receive a high-quality Alpinestars championship-branded racesuit. It is quite possible to spend thousands of pounds on this kit but for you first race meeting you really don’t need Formula One specification items. As long as it meets the strict standards set down by the MSA it will be perfectly adequate for your requirements. You should be able to get fully kitted out and look the part for between £300 and £500, although you can spend more than double that if you want the very best.

The helmet must meet standard Snell SA2005 or SA2010 and there are more details in the MSA blue book section Q10. SR1 Cup racewear partner Grand Prix Racewear will also be able to advise you on this as well as ensuring you buy the correct size - GPR also offer all SR1 Cup competitors up to 15% off racewear. A full face helmet is a requirement for the SR1 Cup and most drivers also wear these in saloons, too, as they offer increased protection. Please note that from 2016, Frontal Head Restraints (FHRs) such as HANS devices will be mandatory in most MSA race series including all of Radical's own championships.

It's advisable that you wear race boots and gloves to complete your fire protection (standard ISO 6940) and to ensure you have plenty of feel with the steering wheel and pedals, and most drivers also wear nomex underwear and balaclavas too.

Learn the skills

All SR1 Cup trackdays offer specialist race training from Radical's Works Team race instructors. With a typical ratio of 1 instructor to 4 racers, the intensive nature of tuition and advice means you'll soon see your lap times dropping. In addition your SR1 Cup entry fee includes car maintenance training and a seminar covering how to be a successful racer, from pre-event preparation to understanding a raceday. Professional race tuition is undoubtedly the fastest way to improve your skills and lap times; Radical can put you in touch wide a wide number of experienced Radical instructors for one-to-one tuition.

Go racing!

Preparation for racing

This is it then, it’s the moment you’ve been waiting for. No longer are you an armchair motorsport fan, you’re now a racer and about to compete. Today you will be lining up on the same grid as many of your heroes have in the past waiting for those red lights to disappear and for the race to start. Today you are going achieve a lifetime ambition and gain that first signature on your race licence.

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself both nervous and very excited before your first race. You probably won’t sleep much the night before either, but don’t worry, this is normal, every race driver from Sebastian Vettel down has felt nerves before their first race and every experienced professional racer remembers their first meeting.

You probably won’t have a large appetite, but you should have a good breakfast to set you up for the day. Try to eat regularly and it’s important to keep drinking through the day especially if it’s hot because it gets very warm inside your protective clothing.

You will have received your final instructions through the post or by email in the week leading up to the event. Read them carefully for they will explain specific regulations for the meeting and the timetable. They will also contain a paddock plan which will tell you where to park and set up.

Signing-on is usually held early in the morning, the instructions will say when, ensure you are there in good time as you don’t want to be running around trying to sort everything at the last minute. If you have any problems or questions contact Radical for advice, we have helped many first timers in our championships over the last 15 years!

When you sign on (which is usually held in Radical's Race Centre in the paddock) you will leave your licence at the desk to be signed later by the Clerk of the Course. You will also be given a scrutineering slip and a raceday programme. It’s always exciting to find your name in there for the first time, particularly if you have spent many years watching racing from the other side of the fence.

The scrutineering slip is part of your second job. Your car and your overalls need to be checked for compliance to the championship regulations and the safety requirements of the MSA. If you are racing with a team they will do this for you, just give them your kit and the slip and they will take it all off to the scrutineering bay and the time listed in the instructions. You don’t need to go with them but it is worthwhile to see how it all happens.

If you are running the car yourself you will of course have to take it there yourself and join the queue to get everything checked. If there is a problem they will give an opportunity to sort it out, if you have any doubts in advance or any specific questions your championship organiser will be able to help. Once you have passed you will receive a stamped ticket which you must attach to the car in a place that a pitlane marshal can see - on a Radical, this is typically fixed to the cockpit surround in front of the driver.

At all SR1 Cup events drivers are required to attend a morning briefing. These briefings are a good idea as the Clerk will detail all the specifics for that circuit including where the collecting area is and the timings for the day. You will also be able to ask any questions you may have.

Your final instructions will have the timings, but you will probably be called over the tannoy to the collecting area twenty minutes before qualifying, so be ready well in advance. On the way to the collecting area you may well be stopped by a marshal who will check your car doesn’t exceed the noise limit. You will form a queue in the collecting area and the butterflies will now be fluttering. When the time comes you will be waved out on the circuit.

You will have as set period of time in which you need to complete a minimum of three complete laps to qualify for the race. Your fastest lap within the session will set your qualifying position with the fastest driver given the reward of pole position, and in the SR1 Cup your second-fastest time determines your grid position for Race 2. At the end of the session a chequered flag will be waved at the finish line. Complete a slow down lap giving your brakes, engine and transmission the chance to cool and enter the pit lane at the end of the lap. Follow directions from the marshals because they may want to weigh the car before sending you back to the paddock.

Qualifying will be over much quicker than you realise and once out on the circuit you’ll notice the butterflies will stop as you focus on the job in hand. The excitement of having completed your first qualifying session is just the first huge thrill of the day the highlight is yet to come. Shortly after the session is complete the qualifying times will posted up in race control and usually distributed by Radical staff. It will show all fastest laps in order and on the reverse side will be the layout for the grid so that you will exactly where you will be starting your first race from.

The Race    
With qualifying under your belt the anticipation of your first race start will be electric and adrenaline will be pulsing through your veins harder than you’ve ever felt before. Just like qualifying you will be called up over the tannoy system around twenty minutes or so before your race is due off. This time you will be placed in order inside the collecting area so that you to the grid in order.

You will find some drivers sit in their cars with their helmets on preparing for the race, while others will be more relaxed, parking up the car and walking around until the previous race finishes. Do whatever feel best for you, but try to remain relaxed. This may be difficult because of the nerves but remember that everyone gets them and as they will vanish as soon as the raced gets under way.

When the circuit is ready you will be sent onto the grid where marshals will line you up in your correct position. Once everyone is in place you will see the countdown boards shown from the starting gantry. The specific boards are set down in the championship regs but you can expect to see a 2 minute and a 30 second board at the very least. Then the green flagged is waved and you are able to move off on your warm up lap. It’s worth trying a practice start to get a feel for how much grip is available.

On the warm up lap make a little space to get some heat into the brakes and tyres. You are allowed to weave but use no more than half the width of the track some tyres need more heat than others. Getting the brakes up to temperature is all important on the run down to the first turn.

An SR1 Cup race begins with a standing start so you will form back up on the grid with your heart pumping. When everyone is in place the 5 second board is shown before the red lights come on, build up the revs. Right now your adrenaline levels are up to the max, excitement doesn’t get more intense than this. The lights will go out a few seconds later and the race is on!

Race distances are either set as a number of laps or a set period of time and once the leader completes the race distance the chequered flag is waved and it’s all over. As you cross the finish line for the first time it will be difficult to contain your emotion, such will be the exhilaration of the moment. You’ve joined the elite and experienced the same sensations as every Formula One driver. You will also want to do it again.

After completing the cooling down lap you will be directed into Parc Ferme. Your mechanics and friends are not allowed to join you here as the cars may be selected for weighing or further scrutineering. You will however be able to climb from your car and chat to your fellow competitors who will also be buzzing irrespective of how many races they have competed in. The top three finishers will be sent down the pit lane to collect their trophies and be interviewed by the commentator.

The results will be issued thirty minutes after the race finished and there may well be a further prize giving ceremony hosted by the championship coordinator and it’s not uncommon for those to be competing in their first event to be recognized and presented with an award. At most race meetings there will be photographers around the track who will find you after the event and offer you the chance to buy some images from your first race. After that you need to remember to collect your licence from race control, complete with its first signature. Then it’s time to pack up, say your goodbyes and head home but it doesn’t end there, the high will last for weeks.
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