The best way to get started in truck racing is by getting experience with another race team. Many truck teams would consider new members into their crew on a voluntary basis if you have skills that would be useful. This way you get to pick up the knowledge of the sport and the essential behind the scenes work involved. It's not all glamour - get into a race prepared truck, win, get a trophy and sit on you bum again while others get the truck ready for the next race. This is the mistake many new comers to the sport think. Then when it does not happen, it's a big shock to their system.
Truck racing is a relatively cheap form of racing compared to other forms of motor sport. The hardest thing is the transportation of the trucks and the parking of the outfits when not in use. It's not like car racing where you can park the car on your home driveways with the trailer that fits on your car tow bar. You require another truck to transport the race truck to and from meetings. On the racing side, like all sports, the faster you want to go the more it hurts your wallet.
Join the BTRA and they will help you as much as possible to get involved.
Step 1 - Getting the race licence is not as hard as you think. Essentially you have to be 21yrs of age and above. You don't even have to hold a Class 1 HGV. All that is required is the C1 licence.
Step 2- Apply to the MSA for an ARDS pack called "Go Racing" which costs in the region of £46. This contains all the information you require for getting your competition licence, a video for you to watch and the latest MSA book with all the flags and rules, plus a of the circuits that you can take your ARDS course which costs approx £200. This course gives you track experience in a car, then a small written exam on flags and other racing procedures.
Step 3- Once you have passed this you then need a medical which varies from GP to GP and can start from £30 to £150. This is a simple medical testing your eyesight, urine, limb / joint movement and blood pressure. For further details visit the MSA website.
Once all of these have been passed, you then return the forms back to the MSA within 28 days of the medical with the required fee of £60 and your application for a National Truck Licence is processed.
To get an International License you have to gain 4 signatures from two different race meetings / weekends. A maximum of two signatures can be obtained per race weekend, one signature per race completed.
The total cost of the licence is approximately £400 plus ( however, this mainly depends on GP's fees).
BTRA Membership and extra fees
These are other fee that you have to consider when thinking of racing trucks.
If you wish to enter races as a co-driver with another teams truck you will have to be a Co-Driver Member.
If you wish to race in the British Championship you need to be a Drivers Member. Then a fee has to be paid at each race meeting toward the championship.
You can now race and need race wear.
You will of course require an approved race helmet, race overalls and other race wear which are listed in the MSA blue book in your ARDS pack and the BTRA
regulations list and can be purchased from many sport shops or Demon Tweeks mail order. Unless you can borrow some from another team these will have to be
purchased and the cost of this can vary from the quality and make. Please note:If you intent to race in Europe ( which one British round is held) you must have
FIA approved safety wear. Remember this when purchasing your clothing, as you don't want to be replacing and incurring more expense.
All you need now is a truck.
There are a couple of ways to get a truck. Use another team's truck to gain experience in the co drivers races - after all truck racing may not be for you. You don't want to spend lots of your money to find out you do not like the racing on your first outing. The next way is to purchase one that is already prepared. Occasionally trucks do come up for sale, but not very often. This is where the BTRA will help as much as possible. Then there is building one - not as hard as you may think if you are mechanically minded. The BTRA regulations can be found on this website and they explain the safety features that must be followed. Basically you can convert a road tractor unit to a race truck and improve it as you progress. Your first truck does not have to be complicated or technical. Try to remember when choosing which truck to race /build to pick one that parts can be obtained easily and are not expensive. This helps cut any costs down.
These are the hardest to get. If you have some lined up all the better. However, when approaching any future sponsor please remember that getting products /samples from a company is far easier than getting cash. If you can get cash that's a bonus. Getting product support on items needed, like tyres and parts, all saves on the bank balance at the end of the day.
The best advice that you can get before you enter the sport is from other truck teams and the BTRA. Talk to someone who knows. We are a friendly bunch and are always willing to give advice and encourage new blood into the sport. Speak to other teams - they can advise you on not only the racing, but best insurance companies to get road cover from, other transportation information and advice.
N.B. All prices are correct at the time of publishing. Medicals and ARDS track courses can vary in price
Written by Steve Fell - Redline Racing