How did the desire to enter motorsport come about?
I have to turn back the clock. Even as a young child, the go-kart was one of my favourite toys for the amusement in the garden. In my early adolescence I was sitting in a racing kart and was immediately enthusiastic about the speed. I couldn't wait to get my license and finally be allowed to drive a car. When I received my driver's license, I had a concrete wish to drive on the race track myself. However, if you don't have direct contact to motorsport, the fulfilment of this wish is very far away, especially since the financial possibilities and the ride-ability of the vehicle could not be reconciled with it. To be honest, it has to be admitted that Hamburg is not a top geographical location from a logistical point of view in order to drive "just for a while" to the racetrack.
Nevertheless, the enthusiasm for cars and motorsport remained and so the years flew by. Until that day in 2017, when a dear friend took me to a trackday. His driving skills and his tracktool have already made a good impression and reminded me of the desire to drive the track myself. This was the final trigger for me to think about how I could make this wish come true. Would a Trackday be something for me? What other events are also interesting for me? I've never driven on a racetrack before - so how do I gain experience and how can I best tackle this topic? Do I use my C30 for that? What do I have to do to ensure that the vehicle matches the project?
So after the decision was made to enter motorsport, I first had to decide what it should look like in detail. Which series or events do I want to take part in? Which requirements do I have to meet myself? Which modifications must be made to the vehicle? Where can I get support for questions? Questions about questions....
Since there are probably some interested people who ask themselves these questions and are just as perplexed as to how to approach this topic, I would like to provide my answers and experiences here. The links to the pages will be provided at the end of this article.
Some questions should be asked in advance:
Support and experience from others is worth its weight in gold!
I anticipate that I have a lot of support from friends when I have any questions about, for example, vehicle conversions, racing series etc.. Without the help and experience of friends and acquaintances, I would certainly never have progressed so quickly and had already failed on small things.
A visit to the Essen Motor Show was also a great help! At the RCN booth we were given more than just detailed advice and some really helpful tips and tricks concerning the RCN-GLP. The DMV and other stands were also very helpful and were able to answer all open questions. A good tip was also to do an appropriate driving safety training with the vehicle, in order to be able to assess the limits of the vehicle before driving on a racetrack. It would be rather impractical to do this on the racetrack first and then possibly push the limits.
Which series is suitable for the beginning?
I have spent a lot of time searching the Internet for answers. I've compared different racing series: What is the difference between the different series, what are the alternatives for beginners? And what does the FIA standard mean anyway? Guidelines were studied night after night and information about motorsport events and clubs such as chocolate was absorbed. The fact that an acquaintance from the Volvo scene is active in motorsport is also very helpful. So the link to the RCN-GLP was quickly made via the Volvo Trophy.
In my opinion, the RCN-GLP (GLP stands for regularity test) is a suitable introduction to motorsport for those who are inexperienced in racing. It's not a matter of tiling over the Nor loop as quickly as possible, but to hit the right time again and again. In addition, it is also possible to participate with a normal vehicle, as it is mandatory to obtain a road permit. Fortunately, this does not require an FIA standard. According to some reports of experience it seems that the participants on the track are also very humane.
The series is therefore set for the entry! On the RCN-GLP website I filled out the registration form, sent it by mail and transferred the entry fee. Good to know: Registration is not mandatory! You can also participate without registration. A registration is useful if you want to take several events with you, as the registration fee will then be amortized due to a reduced entry fee. You also have a starting place for every run.
The next question was: What do I need for a start in the RCN-GLP?
The very clear guidelines and requirements require the following (without guarantee, please check again on the RCN-GLP page):
So far, so good! A suitable fire extinguisher is available on the Internet or can be purchased at any time.
But where can I get a national C-license?
The answer: at the DMSB! There you can create an online account for free. After you have successfully registered and logged in online, you can apply for the national C-license under the menu item "Amateur Motorsport...". All you have to do is hold a valid Class B driving license. Attention! In the past, it was possible to apply for C-licenses directly through the motorsport associations. However, this is no longer possible since 2018!
Pleasant service at the DMSB: It is possible to pay with PayPal; -) The registration for the RCN-GLP, on the other hand, has to be transferred to an old-school account.
Does an A-license make sense?
An A-license only makes sense if you run series such as the RCN or VLN. This makes little sense as a beginner in motorsport. Especially as the A-license has to be purchased separately and has to be applied for annually, just like every other license. In sum, this also entails some costs. Since the A-license does not offer a beginner any advantages for the time being, the purchase does not make sense for the time being - in my opinion. A C-license can be applied for without having attended a separate course in advance. In addition, the C-license currently costs 29 € per year (January 2018).
Membership in a motorsport association - does that make sense?
In addition, I decided to become a member of the DMV (Deutscher Motorsport Verband e. V.). I liked the appearance at the Essen Motor Show very much and you get answers and support for all questions about motorsport here. In addition, the fee for the C-license is credited. It is therefore advisable to apply for membership in one of the associations in advance, so that the membership number can be stated directly when applying for the licence. On the website of the DMSB some clubs are listed - so I came to the DMV. Associations usually have a good network and can offer appropriate help - this is especially advantageous for the beginner.
What other possibilities are there besides the RCN-GLP?
In principle, the GLP is also offered by other organizers - then also on other race tracks. The RCN-GLP takes place on the Nordschleife of the Nürburgring. The slalom or smaller events on other race tracks would certainly also be suitable for beginners. But for the time being I got stuck with the RCN-GLP, because I am also fascinated by the Nordschleife. I will try out more series and alternatives, but for the time being I want to concentrate on the RCN-GLP. I have already thought about participating in TimeAttack. However, I want to gain experience on the racetrack before I think about further events. The conversion of the car will take up a lot of time and money anyway.
In addition, however, participation in Trackdays can be an alternative or a supplement! The requirements are lower. A road permit is usually required, but short-term license plates are also permitted for some events. A C-license is usually not required and the installation of a fire extinguisher is also not required. In addition, the use of the racetrack is only reserved for the participants of the event. Clear advantage to the typical tourist trips. There are some providers that organize Trackdays: For example, RSR and the DSK should be mentioned here. Otherwise you get a good overview of trackdays on www.openpitlane.de for example. In terms of price and the range of events on offer, there are considerable differences. Therefore, it is worthwhile to find a suitable event / organizer according to your requirements.
What has it cost so far?
So far the costs are still quite manageable:
In addition, however, there are the costs of the vehicle conversion as well as the costs for arrival and departure, overnight stay, fuel, wear and tear and the respective entry fee. So most of the costs are still coming! It will certainly not be a cheap affair, but here the fun is in the foreground. At the end of the year I will then know in total what the project "Entry into motorsport" actually cost.
Below are the links to the most important websites:
Deutscher Motorsport Verband - DMV
RSR Premium Trackdays
DSK - Deutscher Sportfahrer Kreis