A MotorSports journey…
I really haven’t been playing with cars for that long compared to many people I know, but I’ve had an interesting journey already. A bit atypical as I’m really not terribly interested in beating other people. Yes, it’s cool to win and all, but I really just enjoy driving the car and beating my own times. Competition with others is a distant third. Here’s a few tidbits from my journey.
I started out just liking cool cars, so I picked up a Toyota MR2. Relatively inexpensive used car, fun, cool, and not very fast (oddly, by choice as I was afraid I’d kill myself in something fast). Fun to drive back and forth to school, good MPG, just all around fun. Good times at car shows too!
Shortly after I got into the real world of work, I was introduced to the SCCA and the (then) Solo2 events (aka autocross). MR2 was ideally suited for it at the time, being very favorably classed. I quickly invested in my own helmet and race tires and was spending every weekend available at any event within about a 3 hour driving range! Many good times were had, many new friends made. However, I was never a real good fit with the community as I just don’t have that same competitive drive to be number one. I’m not willing to trade the effort to do some of the mods to the car, and there’s also a bit of a personality clash issue. Not too many problems with the more laid-back regional only drivers, but I just never got along well with many of the National drivers. I also noted that prices had zoomed upwards a lot faster than inflation, while seat time was dropping due to the sites in use and the increasing number of cars entered. Basically I kept paying more and more while having less and less fun and having to deal with more and more people that I just don’t get along well with. I’ve now reached the point of not having done a Solo2 event in a couple years and really don’t even miss it.
Probably just a year into the Solo2 portion of my journey, I entered my first Road Rally. This felt a lot more like home to me. Cost more than Solo2 at the beginning (but is now actually cheaper), but for that money one gets a LOT of seat time and lots of competition against oneself (with a trusted navigator). Sure, there are final results ranking everyone, but simply finishing with the car unbroken and not getting lost is a major accomplishment! At first I only did a couple a year as not to interfere with Solo2, but eventually it displaced most of my Solo2 schedule. I have a lot more in common with that community. It’s a bit of a rougher crowd to be sure, but they’re friendlier overall. These last few years I’ve not made it to many events, but I always have an absolutely great time when I’m there. I just hope that the format survives as it’s currently the only thing I make any attempts to do.
With the Road Rally fun, I decided to go check out SCCA ProRally. Worked Sno*Drift and decided that would be great (albeit expensive) fun! I had no clue how tough getting started would be. I did pickup a car to prep, but was rapidly blindsided by SCCA rule changes as they were attempting to salvage the program. Eventually RallyAmerica took over and the rule changes continued. Rules were changing far faster than I could even plan to prep the car, so I walked away from any plans to do stage rally. I’ve worked a couple more events and hope to do more course marshaling in the future, but there will be no competition for me.
Since I had “new” car already largely prepped with safety equipment, I embarked on going to track days. Many a day was spent lapping Nelson Ledges and getting familiar with which parts on the car liked to break first. Also did a stint with TrackTime, going out to VIR and Putnam Park with them as a general assistant. At that time I considered going either SCCA or NASA road racing, but rejected it due to similar issues as with the old Pro Rally attempt.
At some point in the middle of all this, I started doing rallycross. At that time it was kind of the wild west of rallycross. Rules were minimal, courses were brutal, and oftentimes beater cars were supplied so people wouldn’t trash their daily rides at the events! MUCH fun was had doing that initially, but in the end it suffers from one of the major Solo issues, limited seat time for price. I still pop out for one occasionally, but it’s rare indeed. Just keeping up with local (3 hour drive to start) Road Rally events supplies me with plenty to do most Summers.
I was tempted (and ready) to jump into a new car/race team with a couple others this very Summer. I’m fully aware that I don’t have the time to do it by myself. However, with a multiple drivers, we could make it go. Initial thoughts were ChumpCar, LeMons, and some open track days with the car. Perhaps some future SCCA or NASA events if all went well. We put forth our best effort, but were unable to get everything to work out for everyone involved. Perhaps at some later point, perhaps other people, perhaps a different car. I’m still quite open to new MotorSports adventures!
So, that’s my story, what’s yours?