Getting Ready for Next Year--Part 3--The Racing Budget

Two weeks ago I wrote about creating a brand for yourself, who do you want to be and how do you portray that to everyone else. This week I'm going to write about racing start-up costs then create my budget. I myself wish I could turn a blind eye to how much money is REALLY needed.

The good news there are different ways to approach your budget. It just depends how fast you want to become a professional race car driver. If you got money to burn then by all means get your racing license, car, and a racing team. But unfortunately most of us are not that rich, so you have to be creative in your budget. When you are just starting out in your racing career make sure to spend your money wisely on things that will get you the most racing seat time.

I tell those who are intimidated to race don't worry about upgrading your suspension, exhaust, wheels, and engine. Don't think your car is not good enough, it's just fine, first you need to learn how to drive the lines correctly and learn how your car handles.

In order to control racing costs, it is necessary to take some time to research and shop around. Used items that are still in good condition can be a very good option. Look on eBay, Amazon, racing web sites, club sites, and etc. When buying new items take your time to shop around. It is amazing to look at the varying prices a person could pay for even very basic items. To help control your expenditures, define the items that you need vs items you want. Ask around on club forums, Facebook, racing events, or in your local area for places that may give discounts to local racers that need tire mounting, replacing brakes, oil changes, etc.

Alight now for the tough stuff, it may give some people anxiety to see all the $$$. But remember when you are first starting out you don't have to purchase all these items at once. For example, if you plan on doing NASA's HPDE for the first year, then plan on racing during the second year much of the costs will spread over time. Also keep in mind different types of racing have higher costs then others. Wheel-to-Wheel is more expensive because of all of the safety equipment needed (making your car into a trailer queen that has to be towed around and is no longer a street car) vs. Time Trial vs Autocross.

The following costs are based on SCCA Autocross events for a 2009 Subaru WRX, costs may vary from car to car:
Sample of Primary Costs:
Race Car: $1000----skies the limit
Helmet (Snell SA rated): $250-450
SCCA Membership Dues: $100
Autocross Entry Fees (28 events): $1000
Tires: $600-800
Mounting and balancing: $100
Gas for race car: $800 (28 events)
Engine oil w/filter: $60 (every 4 months)
Racing brake fluid (once a year or as needed): $20
Rotors: $200-800 (if needed)
Brakes: $200-400 (if needed)
Windshield wipers (once a year): $12 
Fuel filter: $7  (if needed)
Spark plugs: $22-50 (if needed)
Transmission fluid: $20 (if needed)
Lunch: $12
TOTAL: $4,393-$4,721

I did not face some of these costs when I first started out because my car was brand new. I didn't have to worry about things like tires, spark plugs, or fuel filter. But I did have a $500 car loan payment every month.

I have created 2 budgets for next year. One is to fast track my career and the other one is a slower paced career. There are  have left out a few things because I have acquired a few items for the past 5 years.

My Racing Budget #1
Racing license $10,000
Entry Fees: $1,600
For broken parts: $8,000
Rotors: $500
Brakes: $275
Racing brake fluid: $20
Engine oil w/filter: $240
Vinyl numbers and class lettering: $40
Gas for Subie: $900
Tires: $800
Helmet (Snell SA rated): $250-450
Driver’s suit: $240
Fire retardant underwear (top and bottom): $90 total
Fire retardant socks: $15
Fire retardant racing gloves: $40
NASA Membership Due: $45
Bus to tow Car: $10,000
Trailer: $5,000
Gas for Bus: $4,000
TOTAL:$42,255

My Racing Budget #2

Entry Fees: $1,600
For broken parts: $8,000
Rotors: $500
Brakes: $275
Racing brake fluid: $20
Engine oil w/filter: $240
Vinyl numbers and class lettering: $40
Gas for Subie: $900
Ties: $800
Helmet (Snell SA rated): $250-450
Driver’s suit: $240
Fire retardant underwear (top and bottom): $90 total
Fire retardant socks: $15
Fire retardant racing gloves: $40
NASA Membership Due: $45
TOTAL:$13,255

*Sigh* there is definitely a huge gap between the two budgets, that's why people say racing is a "rich man's game". Budget #2 is more realistic of my situation right now, unless I can raise enough money on sites Crowd Funding sites like Kickstarter. I hope this was helpful for those who want to start or already have started their racing career. Creating a budget definitely helps you put things into perspective. 

Ciao!