You don’t need deep pockets to get involved in motorsport


Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need deep pockets to get involved in motorsport and there really is something for everyone.

You can compete even if you have a very limited budget by using your standard road car, though of course the higher your budget the more options are open to you.

Listed below are some of the ways you can get involved in our great sport on a variety of different budgets, from £0 to £10,000-plus.

What can I do for free?

There are plenty of other no-cost options

You won’t be able to get behind the wheel for free but there are plenty of other no-cost options when it comes to getting involved.

You could offer to be a Trials driver’s passenger, which means you’ll be in the car during competitive sections but as it’s someone else’s car you won’t necessarily have to contribute any funds. To do this you will need a free RS Clubman Licence.

You could also look at options outside the car such as helping out a team, whether as a mechanic or just a general extra pair of hands.

You could also volunteer as a marshal, helping to make sure events are run safely. With a bit of experience you could move up to officiating or scrutineering, which means checking that competing vehicles comply with regulations.

What can I do for £500?

Got some budget at your disposal?

As soon as you have some budget at your disposal you can look at getting behind the wheel. However you’re highly unlikely to be able to buy a car and compete with such limited funds, which means using your everyday road car.

There are plenty of events in which a standard road car is not only eligible but unlikely to suffer any damage beyond a bit of wear and tear of the tyres and brakes, but that’s where your £500 budget comes in.

Road Rallying is not only open to road cars, it is only open to road cars, as it takes place on the public highway. Run by motor clubs across the country with entry fees of roughly £50, Road Rallies involve getting from a start point to the finish via a series of time controls on schedule. This generally means maintaining an average speed of 30mph, and the challenge is that the navigator has to work out where to go using a map and a number of clues.

Similarly AutoSOLOs are only for road cars, which must be driven to and from the events, costing around £35-40 to enter. The name of the game is to complete a cone-marked course as quickly as possible without knocking any of the cones.

Autotests are similar to AutoSOLOs but slightly more demanding. While the top classes are for modified ‘Specials’ there are usually road-going classes for standard road cars, with entry fees also coming in at approximately £30-40.

You could also take your road car along to a Run What Ya Brung Drag Racing event, though budget a couple of hundred pounds for a helmet would also be a good idea.

Meanwhile if you have a 4×4 vehicle you could have a go at some Cross Country events such as Tyro Trials, which take place on off-road terrain of varying severity and are a good test of showroom standard vehicles and their drivers. For RTV Trials you will certainly need a more aggressive set of road legal tyres and, depending upon your vehicle, modifications to approach and departure angles may be required. A typical entry fee is £35-40 for the day, and you can take a passenger who can share the cost with you. You will also need a free RS Clubman Licence as a minimum.

Another possibility is Clubcross, which is essentially entry level Rallycross. All you need to pit yourself against the clock on a grass track is an RS Clubman Competition Licence, a standard road car, a Motorsport UK compliant helmet and overalls, and £50-60 for the entry fee.

Finally, you can go arrive-and-drive karting. Not only is this cost-effective, with track time starting from as little as £30 per session, but all of the equipment is provided for you as well. A list of kart tracks can be found on the National Karting Association website.

What can I do for £1000?

Enjoy a full year’s sport

At this level you can enjoy a very full year’s sport using your standard road car. For instance you could do a season’s worth of AutoSOLOs, Production Car Autotests, Road Rallies or a combination of all three.

If you don’t just want to do standalone events you could compete in a local championship run by a Regional Association of motor clubs. The main costs for a typical season would be entry fees at around £30 per event, plus petrol and expenses. You could even fit the BTRDA Car Trial Championship or AutoSOLO Challenge into this budget.

Another cost-effective way into rallying is to navigate for someone else. The driver invariably provides the car and while you will come to a deal on how to split the costs, it’s a great way to compete for little money. It is also a hugely challenging, demanding and fun environment in which to start out. If this takes your interest, read on about club motorsport.

What can I do for £10,000?

You could buy a second-hand competition car

With this budget you could buy a fully prepared second-hand competition car.

If you want to go circuit racing you could contest a series at your local venue. Cars cost from £4000 upwards, while race entries start at £200.

For example the 750 Motor Club has 14 series and championships, ranging from from saloons to single-seaters, which can be tackled within this budget, including the cost of your car. Meanwhile the BRSCC organises the Mighty Minis championship which has an estimated first-year budget of between £9,150 and £9,500.

If you perfer Rallying, Vauxhall Novas, Peugeot 106s and the like are available second-hand for around £2,500 to £4,000. Entries for single-venue events on private land start at about £200 while forest events such as the BTRDA Gold Star series are more expensive at £450 upwards per event. But don’t forget that in Rallying there is a co-driver to share the costs with.

Within its championship the BTRDA runs the Rally First Series. This is specifically for cars with limited modifications, which helps to keep costs down and entry fees are also lower at around £350 per event.