Home Forums General Karting Discussion Moving Up In Karting

This topic contains 12 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  John Matthews 11 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #18854

    Nate Shelhart
    Participant

    Hey I’m Nate and I’m wondering where do I go next in my racing career. I’m 14 and I just started this past season. I won many races and came in 2nd in my class. I’m doing WKA Gold Cup next season and hope to finish well. I want t0 eventually get into Formula racing and I want to know how to do that. Also how do I become a full factory racer and get into an international series like KF1?

    #18857

    Mark Erpelding
    Participant

    To end up with a small fortune from racing you first have to start with a large one!

    #18876

    David Cole
    Keymaster

    Hi Nate,

    Hard work and determination. You’ve just started in the sport, so my suggestion is to learn as much about the sport. Work hard on and off the track. If you really want to move up the motorsports ranks, you will need to start with junior formula cars. My suggestion is to stay in the sport of karting for a few more years, then see where you are with your skill-level and finances.

    #18887

    Colm O’Higgins
    Participant

    Nate, the 1st thing you need is to realize that you are 1 in about 10,000 drivers who have the same ‘wants’.  You need to start now to bring your dreams to realization.

    Many karters and drivers from other disciplines have not made or have almost made it to the ‘big time’.  Some have died trying  Others have become severely injured…Shane Hmiel and Mark Dismore to name a couple.  Many kart racers have toiled for decades with paltry results.

    So it is NOT EASY.

    But it can be done.   It IS possible.  These days it is both easier and harder.  You are just 14 years old so you have some time on your hands.

    First evaluate your physical skill set as well as your mindset.  Do you or will you have the driving skills to be able to rise higher?  Is your goal a fantasy or a realistic possibility?  Are you able to surround yourself with the proper people to take you forward?

    In the past decades I have been fortunate to race with Scott Pruett, Mark Dismore, Ron Fellows, Paul Tracy, Scott Goodyear and others who made it to the top levels of auto racing.  They ALL started in kart racing. Many other international drivers did too…Senna and Schumacher included.   Their talent was obvious and they had goals.  Become the next Jamie McDonald and never forget kart racing.  Ayrton Senna said that karting “is the purest form of motorsport”.

    If I were to name the first need that you must have it is to set goals for yourself.   A timeline of progression.   Many facets should be included…personal ability, events to attend, top flight equipment is a must,  a succession of racing levels, and winning.

    You state that in your Class you finished 2nd overall.  Championships mean something but individual race wins mean the most.  (Schumacher’s words).  Be scouted.   Decide that you have the finances through Sponsorship or personal means or racing industry connections to achieve your dream.

    Finances and connections are the most important issues to attend to in the modern world of auto racing.

    Then it will happen !!

    David Cole’s words above are be read over and over…hard work both on and off the track and determination will be an enabling quality.

     

    #18888

    TJ Koyen
    Participant

    You need to be able to be winning or challenging for the win at the highest level events in North America if you plan on competing in Europe. You’ll also need lots of money because not only is KF expensive (that’s why it’s basically only factory teams participating), but living in Europe will cost a pretty penny too.

    You’ll also want to get into a 2-stroke kart as soon as you can so you are familiar with the machinery. A 2-stroke TaG/KF is a completely different driving style and philosophy than a 4-stroke.

    I’d say once you’ve proven you’re capable of winning at events like Florida Winter Tour, SKUSA Pro Tour, Rotax Grand Nationals, SKUSA SuperNationals, and USPKS in the TaG class, then you’re ready to take the step to try and race in other parts of the world. Until then, keep racing and trying to improve.

    #18890

    Colm O’Higgins
    Participant

    Well said TJ !!

    “You need to be able to win or challenging for the win…”

    Plus you must have a huge amount of RUTHLESSNESS on the track too.  Every driver that succeeded has had that quality.   The willingness to beat everyone else, within the rules approximately.

    Nate…you can be successful if you want…but now is the time to begin.

    #18893

    Greg Wright
    Participant

    These have been great responses Nate. Please take them to heart. Talent and desire are only a part of the equation.

    #18898

    Nate Shelhart
    Participant

    Thank you guys so much Its really helped.

    #18945

    Chris Jennings
    Participant

    Very great recommendations above.

     

    As a last resort a sex change operation will greatly increase your odds.

     

    Best of luck!

    #19011

    John Matthews
    Participant

    Hi Nate,

    Best of luck with your kart racing, Gold Cup is a good series and you’ll learn a lot competing with folks from all over your region.

    As for moving up, when I had folks come in my shop with dreams of their kids moving up in motorsports I would tell them to go to the music store and buy an electric guitar. You have a way better chance of becoming a rock star than a professional race driver. Not to be mean, it’s just that there aren’t that many jobs driving for pro teams and many of them are taken by folks who can afford to pay their own way. If you fit into that category you would already know it and wouldn’t be asking on here.

    That said my best advice to you is study hard, stay in school, and get yourself a really good professional career. You’ll probably love racing long after your folks aren’t paying the bills and unless you have a decent income you’ll be watching from the stands.

     

    Cheers,

    John

    #19018

    TJ Koyen
    Participant

    If I were to do it all over again, I would have gone to school to become a doctor or a lawyer. Neither of those careers interest me, but those guys seem to be about the only ones who can afford to race on a “professional” level these days.

    #19024

    Brian Degulis
    Participant

    Remember the words of Henry Ford ” If you think you can or you think you can’t your right”

     

    Brian

    #19084

    John Matthews
    Participant

    Brian is absolutely correct….

    And one thing to consider is racing in Mexico, Brazil, or another Latin American country where they are crazy about road racing. The challenge in America is that most people who are into racing follow NASCAR. Don’t get me wrong, there’s lots for any racer to learn in any series but the path to a professional auto racing career in the US is pretty much – midgets > sprints > late models  > stock cars. If you want to do that then I would suggest getting involved in dirt oval racing now rather than running sprints.

    Another thing to consider is how much you can learn from good racing simulators. You can get a lot of seat time, and learn a lot about car setup from these “games”.

    One more thing, start making your contacts early. Get to know your local business owners and try to convince them to sponsor you. If you’re comfortable asking for money, and you can deliver value for business owners you’ll have a lot better chance of making it in the long run.

    Finally, buy and read everything Carroll Smith wrote about racing.

    http://www.carrollsmith.com/books/index.html

    He has some great words of wisdom about the business of racing as well as invaluable info on race car fabrication and setup.

    If you are good at math and science an engineering degree won’t hurt either :)

     

    Cheers,

    John

     

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