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connor_helms

What's a good way to break into enduro?

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connor_helms

Hi, just a few questions. I'm not a exactly new to the racing world, I've been at it since I was 6. I'm currently 17. My goal for next year is to complete a skip barber 3 day school. I don't want to buy my own car and build it up or start a team. I want to be able to drive for an already established team (established may be a bad choice of word, how about a team that needs a driver instead). I simply don't have the money to get a car and go racing, especially in the economic times we are seeing as of late.

 

Will a skip barber certification be enough for me to break into the world of nasa and/or scca enduro as part of an already *established* team (there's that word again)? I want to be able to compete in the 25 and for that I would need roughly over 3 grand from sponsor money or out of my own wallet, but is that enough to get into this, just money? Something tells me this and my experienceshould be fair game for nabbing a seat in the NASA world, this isn't exactly grand-am/koni, but do any of you guys know for sure that a team will be willing to take me onboard as one of their drivers with nothing more than skip barber formula dodge experience? I'm on loose ends here on how to break away from karting and utilizing iracing.com in order to get a career in endurance racing on the way. Thanks for any and all advice, constructive criticism, etc.

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obzezzed350

From what I can gather from my 3 years of NASA experience (im only 20 myself), 98% of the guys out there are the owner/sponsor of their own car. Many have relationships with vendors and whatnot to get special pricing and favors but there are very few who are out there for free. NASA is more about the fun, though there isnt a doubt in my mind that many of the members would love to have the privelage of taking it to the next level (Koni, GrandAm, etc.).

 

Have you even driven a car on a racetrack? Karting experience? The truth is that are people with years more experience that dont get a shot at driving for someone else. I know of one guy, and he is one of the best drivers I have ever met. He however has almost a decade of racing experience.

 

Honestly, your best bet is to pick up a cheap car to race, maybe Spec Miata and get out there and enjoy it.

 

Hope this kinda helps, though it may not be what you wanted to hear.

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Sterling Doc

If you get a NASA competition license, you can rent the Bennington Motorsports 944 for an enduro in the Midwest. You'd need someone else to go in on it with you. If you prove a safe, competent, and reasonably quick driver, you can move up from there. The 25 hours is the holy grail - something to aspire to while you're cutting your teeth on local, shorter enduros.

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richard migliori

You can buy a seat which is alot cheaper than owning a car. This can give you the versitility to chose a ride that may catch your eye or taste. Because of your age, experience, I recommend that you volunteer to pit for a team that has a car of your interest and learn about it first hand. One season will pass faster than you think and walk away with a good knowledge of road racing and its demands. OR, buy a good used spec miata that has been sorted out. "renting a ride" will let you focus on improving your driving skills and you can do it as finances allow. EX: race 3 times at 2k per weekend= 6k or buy a car, trailer. tools, tires,etc.=12k+. Unfortunately, I cannot drive anymore but found satisfaction and socializing through car ownership and rent my car out. Just don't rent a car that is over your head..then everyone looses. Only a few have dared to rent my car as it may be over alot of driver skill levels.

 

HTH,

Richard

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richard migliori

I went back and read again, If you are thinking of a ride in the 25, then first you must have some competition race experience, they don't except rookies. Many seats are bought for the 25. They range from 2,500.00(miata) to 125,000(DP), depending on the ride. I have heard that you could get into a stock car for 8k. You must decide if you are going to drive a car or team that goes out and makes circles all night or a car that has a good risk at winning the race. The price does dictate that risk.

 

RM

pdg4.com

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connor_helms

Wow thanks for all the quick replies guys! Sounds like volunteer work would be a good way of getting into the enduro aspect of NASA. obzezzed how is that so many of the drivers own their own cars/team, isn't there driver changes done for the regular NASA enduros (not just the 25)? If I did rent a car for a racing weekend, I'd have to save up for a while, so might as well start doing that now but....what can I expect from going this route in terms of the experience itself? Will I be a one person team or will others be along with me? Again thanks guys this really is helpful!

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obzezzed350

I was focusing on the the organization as a whole, not just enduro racing. I think seat time is a must before you start driving a longer stints for endurance racing.

 

Why are you focused on the 25 hour? If you want to drive for a team(For free if I understand you correctly), you need to make yourself stand out. The best way in my opinion is to campaign/rent a car and compete in a season of sprint races in your NASA region.

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connor_helms

Nah the 25 is my goal further along the line, and no, I don't anticipate free seat time by any means sorry if there was some confusion there. Would the E30 series be good to get into or is spec miata cheaper (which is what I'm going for here)? That of course, comes after a license which comes after hpde, or after skip barber at least.

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richard migliori

If the 25 is your goal and are not supporting your own vehicle, you must have something marketable. I have fielded a car in the 25 the last 4 years on my own. I have 4 drivers and I put up a risk of loosing 150k prepared car. The drivers that I select have very good track records. It cost about 30k to field a top car that will finish the race. With that said, being a gun slinger for the 25 is not for the meek. EX: Here is my 2009 driver credentials: 1, Pro driving instructor, 3x SCCA champion, driven miatas to Lemans racers. #2, SCCA champion ITE, track records, 9 race wins in a single season, #3 2nd place 25 hour, WERC co-champion,#4 3rd place 25, 1st place 25 in class, ASC champion, NSC champion, 9 wims in Porsche class.

 

The 25 is no longer a race for the timid. It takes alot of experience from a car owners standpoint and trust. When I look at a prospect, I don't necessarily look at their win record, but how smart,listen, knowlegde of the skill, and how they respect the equipment and other teammates and crew.

 

One more thing: Welcome aboard to this forum. Keep posting and continue to learn more about your passion for endurance racing. There are alot of good people here that can get you going in the right direction.

 

Richard

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Cory M

Let me save you years of frustration. Unless you are a member of the "lucky sperm club" and have parents that are filthy rich and want to support your racing adventures 100% do yourself a favor and buy a kart. Good used karts can be had for $2000-5000. Find out what the most popular class in your local series is and race, then if you are good enough and can afford it move onto a regional series. A kart will probably cost you the same as the 3 day skippy school you want to do and a season of karting will make you a better racer. The in-class competition will be as tough or tougher than any NASA race. Go to school and get a good job then when you have thousands of dollars of disposable income you can get into club racing cars...

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wlfpkrcn1
Hi, just a few questions. I'm not a exactly new to the racing world, I've been at it since I was 6. I'm currently 17. My goal for next year is to complete a skip barber 3 day school. I don't want to buy my own car and build it up or start a team. I want to be able to drive for an already established team (established may be a bad choice of word, how about a team that needs a driver instead). I simply don't have the money to get a car and go racing, especially in the economic times we are seeing as of late.

 

Will a skip barber certification be enough for me to break into the world of nasa and/or scca enduro as part of an already *established* team (there's that word again)? I want to be able to compete in the 25 and for that I would need roughly over 3 grand from sponsor money or out of my own wallet, but is that enough to get into this, just money? Something tells me this and my experienceshould be fair game for nabbing a seat in the NASA world, this isn't exactly grand-am/koni, but do any of you guys know for sure that a team will be willing to take me onboard as one of their drivers with nothing more than skip barber formula dodge experience? I'm on loose ends here on how to break away from karting and utilizing iracing.com in order to get a career in endurance racing on the way. Thanks for any and all advice, constructive criticism, etc.

 

What have you been doing for 11 years?

 

Most enduro teams for the shorter enduros are friends that split the costs. Often times it is a fellow competitor you race and respect and grow a friendship.

 

Our team is family based. If we need extra drivers it is finding someone we trust and have raced with.

 

There are always shops that rent cars. If you contact them they might be able to set you up with a fellow renter or find a racer friend if you feel more comfortable sharing a car that way. If you rent a car they should supply the crew to race. Otherwise it is building your own crew and accepting the risks that go with it. Either way you need track time. If you think renting a ride is best for you, find a shop that rents cars and do your licensing thru NASA in the car you plan to race. Jumping from a Skip Barber car to production based car is night and day. Not unmanageable, but at least you will gain confidence with the team if you start from the begining with them.

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connor_helms

I've been karting since that time. Kinda getting a little old to be karting and only karting.

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bpanther
I've been karting since that time. Kinda getting a little old to be karting and only karting.

 

Sell the kart stuff and buy an inexpensive (finished) race car. Start doing NASA HPDEs in it to get used to running a full sized car. Low powered spec series would be good like Spec Miata or 944Spec. Do the NASA comp school and then show you can drive and keep your nose clean in sprint races. Start running short enduros (2 -3 hours) in that car by yourself in E2. Win a few, then start buying rides (or hopefull be given rides) in faster cars.

 

I've got several 14-17 year olds doing it this route from karting and now they are testing for TDI cup, Koni Challenge, IRL, etc teams.

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connor_helms

Thanks for the advice bpanther, I'll take it to heart. If I go spec miata route, will this be too costly or time consuming for a one man team? I'd obviously be wise as to which car I buy, but things break and I don't want to be fixing the car up more than necessary, whilst eating up track time. That's the biggest reservation I have about buying my own car, is there any particular location you'd recommend I buy from or people you guys may know who could help out in this regard? I admittedly don't know every little thing about race car maintenance, at least not the advanced stuff though I am reading up on the subject quite a bit, so I don't want to get screwed over paying 10k for a car that's gonna keep me OFF the track more than on.

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bpanther

Getting off the endurance topic, but this is why a class like Spec Miata is a decent way to go. There are lots of decent cars out there for sale for less than $10k. We just had a guy sell a top 1/3rd car here for $5k.

 

Maintenance on a SM is relatively low. Between sessions, you check the gas level. Between weekends you check oil, brakes, etc. If you break at the track, there are 10-20 other races who can tell you how to fix it, will help you fix it or give you parts to fix it.

 

Of course there are downsides of owning you own car such as getting it there and back, storing it, etc. Forgot where you are but most areas of the country do have shops that rent SM's for arrive and drive.

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slammed_93_hatch

I've got several 14-17 year olds doing it this route from karting and now they are testing for TDI cup, Koni Challenge, IRL, etc teams.

 

Because they have the checking account to do it!!

 

TDI is $30k for a year, assuming you don't have any damage. (plus getting to and from every event, hotels, rental cars, and all of the selection stuff Figure an easy $20,000 to $40,000).

 

Continental Challenge-$90,000 for a seat with a top team, $120,000 if you want bling bling paddock, or $50,000 if you are fine driving around at the back 1/2 of the field. Plus your license, airfare, hotel. (another $30k to $40k)

 

MX5 cup- $7,000 to $10,000 a race, plus license, airfare, hotel, (another $30k to 40k

 

IRL- $100,000 a race FOR JUST THE SEAT EASILY.

 

And all of that is assuming you don't have any contact, or break anything on the car.

 

 

At what level do/did you kart at? I know the national 125cc shifter guys spend a GOOD amount of money doing it. Like $800 to $1000 a weekend. Even the Rotax stuff is expensive ($5k kart, plus the expense of racing).

 

 

You seem reserved about buying your own car. But the reality is, that is the cheapest way to do it, assuming you have some mechanical ability. Cause when you rent and stuff breaks, you pay for the part plus mark up plus the time/labor to put it on. Plus WHEN you total it, you don't have to hand of $X,XXX right on the spot, you can take how ever long you want to fix it.

 

I doubt you could get into a rental (SM/944/SE30) for less then $700 a weekend. ($300 entry fee, leaves $400 for towing car to and from the track, fuel for the car, tires, brakes, wear and tear on the car, plus the time that person spends at the track.

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bpanther

I've got several 14-17 year olds doing it this route from karting and now they are testing for TDI cup, Koni Challenge, IRL, etc teams.

 

Because they have the checking account to do it!!

 

I never said I wasn't jealous....

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mikahb

Lots of good tips here, but thought I'd add this:

 

Go to college, work your butt off to get a good degree, and get a good job BEFORE you buy any race car. Yes, Spec Miata can be run on the cheap. Wanna run up front? Then it gets expensive - just like any kind of racing. Race cars suck up money at an incredible rate. All the justifications about how much I can spend per weekend, etc. go out the window when motors blow up, cars contact barriers, etc.

 

The common denominator amongst nearly all the young up-and-comers you find out there is a willing and able checkbook. If you don't have one at your disposal, you're much better off in the long run to set yourself up a solid financial foundation so that down the road you can race how and where you want to.

 

Just my $0.02. Good luck, and follow Richard M's advice about volunteering to crew - you'll start seeing the money flowing and my warning will be a little more clear to you.

 

EDIT: Thought of one more thing. Go autocross whatever your daily driver is while you're in school. It's cheap, fun, and nothing will teach you better car control skills than being a competitive autocrosser.

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Cory M

Are you parents rich? How much do they love you? Even in the "cheap" spec classes like 944, E30, Miata, you are still going to have to buy $700+ worth of tires every other weekend. A lot more if you want to win. Entry fees start at $300 per event and go up from there. Then you have all of the consumables like brake pads, rotors, fluid, fuel, oil, etc. A competitive car will be stripped to the point of not being street legal, so you need a trailer and tow vehicle, and you have to pay insurance and registration for them too. Then you have the cost of travel, hotels, food, etc, etc, etc. I know when I was 17 there was no way I could afford $1k+ weekends, I've got a good job now and still struggle to make it to the track. Stick to the karts, or get a sporty daily driver and do some trackdays and autox and hope you don't crash or blow it up, crew for people. Go to school and get a good job, don't get married or have any kids, hopefully you will have enough extra money to waste on this hobby.

 

The TDI thing is probably your best bet if you really want to have a go. Spaces are limited and it costs $45k to get in, plus you have to pay for any crash damage and all of your own travel. Start looking for sponsors now.

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944-Spec#94

Running and enduro is easy.

 

Step 1) Obtain comp license

Step 2) Pay $$$$$$$$$$

 

Now without step 1 step 2 is pointless. However if you have comp license and no money you still SOL.

 

 

Same applies to sprint racing, but enduro do have more rental seats since cars need multiple drivers. However most owners will not turn over their car to rookies with little to know experience. Of course anything is possible with the cash.

 

 

Well since you don't have money coming out your ears you will need to start the hard way... Small. You can do skip barber and get a comp license easy enough, but this still will not get you racing seat time. You need racing seat time before you can do much. So how will you get that? Two ways rent a spec miata or smilar or buy a spec miata/944 spec/spec E30 and race it. One season of racing will give you enough credentials to be reasonable risk for buying a ride. Still you may not be considered "Prime", but you can probably use that to a seat ina 25 hour car. It may not be a winning team, but you are in the show.

 

Now I will say this... enduro are just a form of racing. The bad thing about enduros is that they are not as commong as sprint racing and take more planning. It is really easier to get racing done in a sprint race format than an enduro.

 

So what I am saying is if you want to race enduros focus on getting sprint races under your belt fiirst. Be warned however it is NOT CHEAP... even in cheap classes racing is not cheap. Spening $600-700 per weekend not including food/hotel/travel is about the minimum when consider entry fees/tires/fuel/normal wear and tear. That is only after you spend 5-10k on race car which you will still need to figure how you will bring to the track. So even cheap classes take a good cash flow to operate. You can rent a seat in 1-2 sprint races for less than buying a car, but that can expensive if you do an entire season like that. Remember that the guy you are renting it from has to cover his costs and will want a little $$$ in his pocket.

 

At 17 years old unless you have clear funding steam you will have a very hard time. It does not mean give up the dream or the desire, but that you may not be able to do it right away. You best plan if you really want to race right now is to get a cheap street car and run it i HPDE events while you have the money to do so. This will keep you on the track and will also allow you to get to know people so that we you do get a comp license people will know "that kid as the one doing HPDE for the last couple years" instead of some punk kid who wants to play racer.

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RJSmith

Everyone that has posted on this has all said the right stuff. Kid you need to not look for a free ride or look for someone to just ask you to come drive my car. Not going to happen. I was able to start racing because my dad had a car and I spent a year working on the car before he would let me drive it on a test day with no at the track. Unless you know someone with a car or you have money coming out of you know where, you need to get a good cheap street and do track days, alot of track days. I am 23 right now and have been driving go karts on dirt and cars at test days since I was 10. I was finally able to race when I was 17 in my dads car, that I worked on for a month before the race. So find a cheap car and just drive the wheels off and your time to do the 25 hour will come.

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