New kid here, want to get into rallying in the future
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  1. #1

    Default New kid here, want to get into rallying in the future

    UPDATE: This is a very old post, do not respond directly to this original poster. Instead, please share general tips for someone interested in getting started as a rally driver. Thanks! - Jim

    ----------------------------------------------------

    Tell me if this is the wrong forum, but it seemed right from the other topics.

    Hey everyone, I want to get into rally racing in a few years and I want to prepare for it. General consensus says this site is a great place to start. I'm only 15 but I have a huge passion for cars, and I have heaps of ambition and dedication. Huge rally fan if you can't guess, I watch the WRC religiously. I am already stashing money for a trip to the Team O'Neil rally school and a rally car. I'm pretty educated as far as cars and general stuff is concerned, but I want to know the books I gotta read, the magazines I should subscribe to, and the websites I should visit to learn more and prepare myself. I bet you guys have heard this before, but this is like an obsession, and I don't want to end up like so many guys slaving over an office desk waiting for an inadequate paycheck.

    So tell me then, where do I want to start?
    Last edited by Jim; 07-21-2009 at 05:36 AM.

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  3. #2
    50 caution yump
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Seattle Area, Washington, USA.
    Posts
    583

    Default RE: New kid here, want to get into rallying in the future

    Desmond,

    1. Start developing a long term outlook on Rallying. It isn't like riding quad's or motorcycles on a Sunday afternoon. It takes far greater committment than that. Focus your attention on Rallying for many years.

    2. "GO" to the Rallies nearest you. There is no substitute for the real thing. TV and magazines don't come close. It will probably require weekend trips. This web-site (specialstage) and your SCCA Region web-site will publish the list of events and people to contact.

    3. Contact the Rally Event Organizers before you go. They always need help and there is no better way to learn how a rally is run than being involved. Take an adult with you and get them involved as well. Ask a thousand questions when your there.

    4. Make friends with Rally people near your home. Visit them often. Long term rally friendships are the usual result.

    5. Rally Cars are purpose-built. Not like other race cars. You'll need to relearn everything you know, with a rally spin on things.

    6. Get your Red-Cross first aid certificate.

    7. Get a ham radio license.

    8. Don't ever forget WHY you first became interested in rallying. As time goes on, those reasons will help you make choices and set goals.

    9. Never give up your dreams. There truly is nothing else like Rallying. Especially on the forest and desert stages.

    Good luck,

    Rich Smith








  4. #3

    Default RE: New kid here, want to get into rallying in the future

    >Desmond,
    >
    >1. Start developing a long term outlook on Rallying. It
    >isn't like riding quad's or motorcycles on a Sunday
    >afternoon. It takes far greater committment than that. Focus
    >your attention on Rallying for many years.
    >
    >2. "GO" to the Rallies nearest you. There is no substitute
    >for the real thing. TV and magazines don't come close. It
    >will probably require weekend trips. This web-site
    >(specialstage) and your SCCA Region web-site will publish
    >the list of events and people to contact.
    >
    >3. Contact the Rally Event Organizers before you go. They
    >always need help and there is no better way to learn how a
    >rally is run than being involved. Take an adult with you and
    >get them involved as well. Ask a thousand questions when
    >your there.
    >
    >4. Make friends with Rally people near your home. Visit them
    >often. Long term rally friendships are the usual result.
    >
    >5. Rally Cars are purpose-built. Not like other race cars.
    >You'll need to relearn everything you know, with a rally
    >spin on things.
    >
    >6. Get your Red-Cross first aid certificate.
    >
    >7. Get a ham radio license.
    >
    >8. Don't ever forget WHY you first became interested in
    >rallying. As time goes on, those reasons will help you make
    >choices and set goals.
    >
    >9. Never give up your dreams. There truly is nothing else
    >like Rallying. Especially on the forest and desert stages.
    >
    >Good luck,
    >
    >Rich Smith

    Thanks for the info! :)

    Believe it or not I am actually already certified in CPR and First Aid, I just have to remember to re-take the tests when it's time.

    I am planning to attend a few hill climbs and rallies over the summer, do something productive with my time off of school.

    The rest I have to work on, but trust me, I will!

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  6. #4

    Default RE: New kid here, want to get into rallying in the future

    Wanna be a professional rally car driver? You will need four things to succeed: Talent, committment, funding and luck. Let's assume you have the first two, and we can never prediict luck, so take a look at funding, usually the most elusive element. As John V. would say, "Choose your parents carefully." And no he is not being sarcastic, and yes he's probably right. You will need lots of money to get your career of the ground. You'll need to buy cars, fix them when you smash them, go to events, etc.. and none of it is cheap when winning is your goal (and if you wanna be a pro, you have to WIN). Ideally that money would come from sponsors, but don't hold your breath. Hopefully you have rich relatives, and if you do, start sucking up to them now. Or if you are really, really serious, you could always borrow the cash. My sister spent $150,000 becoming a doctor, doesn't seem to bother her.

    So you have your money, what do you do with it? First off, since you are still 15, go buy a motocross bike and ride the hell out of it. Snowmobiles might help too. When you get your license, go pick up a Group 2 VW GTI. Bomb around on some back roads for a while, then go see Tim O'neil. The first season run the GTI in your divisional championship and win it. Yes, I said win it. If you can't win it, then guess what, you don't have the talent. See where I'm going here?

    Next year sell the GTI and pick up a Subaru 2.5RS PGT car. Run the entire SCCA ProRally series with this car, and win the PGT National Championship. Learn notes here as well.

    Next year import a STI drivetrain for the 2.5RS and make it either a GrN or open car. Run the entire championship. You probably don't have to win this one, but you should come damn close.

    Now you are probably 19. Don't go to college, that's a distraction. Sell your cars and everything else you own and move to Europe. Compete in a prominent one make series, one in which the payoff is a funded ride for the next season. The Puegot 206 cup comes to mind. Win this series. If you don't win it the first season, but come close, you may opt to run a second season. Once you win that, you will get a funded ride for the next higher up series (I think super 1600), win that and you get another ride, etc.... At any point from now on if you lose, you are out, unless of course you have the $$$ to buy yourself back in. If you aren't in a WRC car at some form (testing, privateer, etc..) by age 23, you probably never will be.

    Difficult? Yes. Impossible? No, guys have done it before. Richard Burns worked his way through a one make series towards stardom. It's important to have the note experience and turbo 4wd experience as well, but not at the expense of the fundamentals. Time is on your side, the rest of old fogeys (I'm an ancient 28) are too late. If you think you've got it, go for it!


    Dennis Martin
    [email protected]
    920-432-4845

  7. #5
    into right 2 tightens Mike Hurst's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    San Diego, CA USA.
    Posts
    1,368

    Default RE: New kid here, want to get into rallying in the future

    >Now you are probably 19. Don't go to college, that's a
    >distraction.

    Unless some-one's dropping $200,000 in your lap, study hard, go to college so you can make your own money, or you may never rally at all.

    There's plenty of guys with enough talent out there, but very few with the funding.

    No-ones going to sponsor you just because you're good.

    It's better to get started later with your own money than under funded at 18.

    If you spend $150,000 on med school, chances are pretty good that you can become a doctor (..and I've rallied against some pretty fast Doctors), If you spend $150,000 on being a professional rally driver, chances are still pretty bad that you will ever make a living as a rally driver.


    A funded driver with limited talent will go farther than a great driver with no money. (no examples please)



  8. #6

    Default RE: New kid here, want to get into rallying in the future


    >
    >It's better to get started later with your own money than
    >under funded at 18.
    >
    >If you spend $150,000 on med school, chances are pretty good
    >that you can become a doctor (..and I've rallied against
    >some pretty fast Doctors), If you spend $150,000 on being a
    >professional rally driver, chances are still pretty bad that
    >you will ever make a living as a rally driver.
    >
    >
    >A funded driver with limited talent will go farther than a
    >great driver with no money. (no examples please)

    If you just want to rally and have fun, than I completely agree with you Mike. However, if your goal is to become WRC driver or like, than you need to start young. By the time you go to school, earn enough money, learn to drive, and get some experience under your belt, you'll be too old. Why should a team invest in a 28-30 year old when they can invest in a 23 year old with the same talent/experience? Granted, most young people don't have the funding to make it happen, but those who do have the funding are the ones that get there. How bad do you want it? How much will you sacrifice to get it? Do I think borrowing $150k to roll the dice on a race car driving career is a good idea? Hell no! But if you're good enough, and you want it bad enough, and you don't have access to free money, well then there is a way.

    Mike is certainly right. Better off getting an education, getting a job, and rallying for fun on your own buck. That's what I did, and I'd say I have more fun than 99% of the rest of the world. Hey, can't beat that.

    Oh, there is another way I suppose. Move to Finland, change your first name to Juha, and add a "nen" to your last name. :)

    Dennis Martin
    [email protected]
    920-432-4845

  9. #7

    Default RE: New kid here, want to get into rallying in the future

    Well, see, what I'm gonna do is everything you said up until I graduate high school. If I'm winning all these rallies and actually think I have a large shot at making the big time, I'll drop college and go to Europe. If I don't think I have a sot I'll stay in college and get a good job so I can rally for fun. Either way though, I'm going to go to the O'Neil school within the next few years, and start rallying.

  10. #8
    100 K right 4
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Kent, WA, USA.
    Posts
    250

    Default RE: New kid here, want to get into rallying in the future

    I would recommend going out and getting involved with a team based nearby you. That way you kinda get involved in what rallying is really all about (very few teams have dedicated 15 man service crews, with the parts on hand to basically rebuild the cars in 22 min) in the US.
    Get your hands dirty, learn about different cars, get to know local drivers, and once your old enough see of they'll let you drive their cars at local rally crosses. That way you'll know what type of car you want to buy when the funds allow it. Most of us are out here to have a good time, and I don't think there's anyone making money rallying in the US.
    I started out helping a friend of mine work on his car, and crewing on a couple of others; now I own a car and hopefully someday (God willing next Feb) will have all the bits I need to get it out on a stage.

    Greg,


  11. #9

    Default RE: New kid here, want to get into rallying in the future

    God damn, I had a really long post and it all got deleted, bah!

    So this one will be shorter and suckier...

    Uhhh...take these theories for becoming a professional rally driver relatively lightly. Everyone here has a different opinion on it and has good points to defend it, but none of the people that are going to tell you how to do it have done it themselves. Just take it for what it is and come up with something you think will work yourself with that advice in mind.

    Anyway, I feel I can talk being young myself (17 years old). First thing, good job on becoming involved in the online rally community. I think about half the guys competing are involved in this thing somehow. I joined Rally-L when I was 11, and it was probably the best thing I've done for my rally career. Knowing everyone *really* does help. I've gotten the opportunity to test out a rally car when I was 14, drive a Gr. 2 competitvely when I was 15, and get hooked up for a co-drive for a rally just 3 weeks after my 16th birthday. If I wasn't on this thing I would have never hooked up with Chris to run the ProRally Champ.

    Next, make sure you get to events. Go to Ojibwe, that's close to you and soon. If you're parents won't take you, hitch a ride with a rally team. That's what I did when I was 15...I still do it now, haha. Actually, I hitched a ride from PA to Ojibwe when I was 15 to go see it. I think I spent a whole $50 (I'm quite frugal and rallies have tons of free food if you look for it) for the 6 days it took to travel to, attend, and come back from the rally.

    When you're there, work...You'll get more free food AND you'll learn the ins and outs of the sport. You'll learn how the rally is run, how the time-cards work, etc. It helps to have the perspective of a worker if you want to compete.

    When you're 16, you can begin co-driving. You don't need a license to co-drive! Co-drivers probably have the greatest understanding of the sport and the rally aside from the organizers themselves. You'll be dealing with all the workers, becoming fluent with notes, in the car through all the stages and transits, watching at what pace a stage is driven, becoming calm in the car, and maybe even dictating the pace to finish ahead of the competition with the least risk. (I know I do with my current ride)

    On funding...if you have no parental support, you can still buy a rally car. You can find a VW Golf GTi rally car with some spares in decent condition for about $5k if you're patient. The problem is the other stuff. As a high school student, unless you can work 40 hours a week during the school year and not just the summer, you will simply not be able to afford a van, trailer, parts (more than you think breaks after rallies), entry fees (which are sky high here in the NEDiv), gas for the van, hotels, etc. etc. Plus, it's a little ridiculous to think a 16 year old who's new to the road can tow a car 500-600 miles to do an event. Parents usually aren't too thrilled with that either...

    Personally, I'll just be renting a car for an event or two to start getting a more serious feel for the driving aspect of rally. I spend a lot of money doing the ProRally series, so I can't afford to do too much, but it'll be a good measuring stick to see exactly where my skill level is at this point...

    Oh, RallyX is good to get comfortable with the driving. I know it's debatable, but here where I live, the RallyXs are almost like RallySprints, so it is good practice...

    Also, there is sponsorship available...but it pays more to be a good salesperson/businessman than the best driver. Talk to Chris Rhodes (Texrex). He only did a ClubRally season last year in his 2.5RS and now we have a sponsorship for the ProRally season that equals a few thousand per race. It's not because he proved he's the best driver in the world or anything, it's because he put together an excellent package and presentation, knew who he should talk to, and told them what their sponsorship of him could do for them...So yes, it is possible.

    IM me @ RallyBrat sometime so we can talk. I've been involved in this rallying thing for the past 11 years, and I am your age...

    Thanks,
    Alex
    http://www.rallybrat.com - My Co-Driving Website

    http://britishrallybrat.blogspot.com - My British Rally Blog

  12. #10

    Default RE: New kid here, want to get into rallying in the future

    Too many people in US rally have it wrong about funding. The way to be successful in any form of racing is to spend someone else's money.

    There is money out there for anyone willing to hit the streets and knock on lots of doors. The number one rule is to present a professional image right up front. Remember that a sponsor isn't interested in you winning a rally 500 miles away, he wants to put his business' name in front of as many people as possible, and make it LOOK like he's sponsoring a champion. That means showing the car at several local venues every year (county fair, car shows, display the car on a pile of rocks in front of his business like a Jeep, gimmicky stuff like that). It means a consistent brand image -- pick a color and a logo and make EVERYTHING match, just like the factory teams. (hint: Pick the color you want, THEN buy racing suits for the team. And get the suits embroidered and sew lots of patches on.) It also means running a "sexy" car that people will want to stop and look at. Car-friendly places are the best to start with, look for the businesses that are sponsoring your local circle track stock cars. Put together a proposal package -- professional, remember! -- with real numbers, budget, a proposed schedule of showing the car and a schedule of rally events, put your team letterhead on everything, etc., etc., etc. If you don't have a lot of driving experience, do some co-driving while you're working on a sponsorship package, anything on your "resume" will help. Convince him that his advertising dollars are well spent. Do all his work for him so he just has to sign on the dotted line!

    Here's something also that a most other rallyist don't do: get more exposure (and sponsor interest) by running some local non-rally events in the car. Do some drag racing at the Friday night shoot-outs. Check and see if there's a class for you to do some local road racing (even if it's just roundy-round stuff.) If there's nothing for you, then create your own event! Contact the organizer of a tractor pull or monster truck show or even a county fair and arrange an exhibition RallyCross. Be creative, don't just invite rally guys, also create classes for Sprint cars, stock cars, Monster trucks ;) and contact the local champions PERSONALLY to invite them. Remember, you've got to prove to a sponsor that you'll get the car in front of lots of potential customers. And make sure you've always got your booth set up, handing out fan cards, posters, signing autographs, selling team merchandise (http://www.cafepress.com), etc., along with business cards and flyer ads for your sponsor.

    Hire a photography student from a local college to take publicity shots, they'll work cheap and the shots will be much better than asking your 17-year-old "crew chief" to do it. Sponsor a graphic design project to design your "image" (logo, letterhead, etc.) and market it to students at local colleges, pay cash awards and make sure you include second and third place in the payoff to make it legit and promote more participation.

    One sponsor will probably be enough, as then you will be able to give them more space on the car for ads, more time to show the car, etc. But leave a spot on the car for one-event sponsorships, where they might pay event costs in exchange for you having their ad on the car for at least one or two car showings plus the rally itself. Also, don't forget contingency awards from car part manufacturers.

    I say you don't even need a car yet. Have a detailed plan and budget, including the car you plan on racing, the prep shop that will be building the car (here's a hint, if you and your buddy are building your own car, you just hired "Odd Couple Rally Prep" :) ), etc. Explain why the car will be competitive in its class. If you end up buying a car instead (my recommendation, as you get more for your money), give it to a reputable shop for a once-over -- guess what, it's just been "prepared" by that shop.

    For your first season, as Dennis suggested, run a regional championship and run EVERY event, plus at least 2 out-of-division events, keep it on the road, and you'll probably win the championship. Invest in a 3-day school at Team O'Neil to make it more likely. Read the rule book so you understand the points system, don't worry about winning individual rallies. I suggest running Prod or Prod GT instead of G2, as G2 is more competitive and you have to know where to spend your money on the car to make it fast. You can put something like "2005 SCCA Central Division Production Championship" on the side of your truck and on all publicity materials (after all, it doesn't say you WON the championship.) You could even go so far as to consider any podium class finish (2nd or 3rd) as technically being "champions" (though some will take issue with me on this point.) Every year, set your sights higher, by your third or even second year you should be looking to win a national championship in some class (and you'll need a sponsor that can front some national bucks, too!) Don't stop there, if you're serious, there's no reason you shouldn't be running international events at that point. In conjunction with bid to defend your national championship, run a European one-make series. That's a little tougher, you might have to either find a European sponsor or front the money yourself -- hey, you've proven you've got what it takes, consider it an investment in the future. The most important thing is to RUN EVERY EVENT YOU CAN GET YOUR HANDS ON. By this time in your rally career, you should be running a rally at least every other week. And my advice ends here, by this time, you won't need any advice from SpecialStage...

    Not to say that you can rally for free, though I think it's quite possible...But let's say you have $5,000 to spend on a car. Do you want to rally a $5,000 car, or raise $30,000 in sponsorship and drive a $25,000 car with a $10,000 season budget?

    It's all just marketing. The money's out there, you just have to swallow your pride and put on your salesman's hat. Your product is the best place for a potential sponsor to put their money, and you have to convince them.

    If you think of yourself as a club rallyist, you're dooming yourself to stay there. For better or worse---after all, there's a lot to be said for not having any obligations to a sponsor. But only rich guys can do that and still drive the car they really want.

    I admit this is all just theory :P but I'm going to be volunteering with a couple teams to see if I can help improve their image. Then I'll be putting my money where my mouth is (or rather, someone else's money) and hopefully do the same for myself next year.

    --
    JP Rowland jeremyrowland -at- mac.com
    http://homepage.mac.com/jeremyrowland
    Jeremy Rowland
    jprowland.blogspot.com

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