For thousands upon thousands of racing enthusiasts, the idea of either owning or piloting an actual race car is nothing more than a pipe dream. They are thus relegated to watching T.V. and YouTube videos; still wondering "What if?" However, there is still hope, as owning a race car is not just for the extremely wealthy.
Whether it be worth hundreds of thousands like a GT3 car or just a couple thousand like a simple MX-5, a 'race car' is what you make of it. Just about anything with four wheels can be tracked, but buying one specifically for that reason is a whole another issue. There are several pros and cons associated with this decision; the most prominent of which are as follows...
10 Pro: Track Days
With modern day road rules, nobody can just take their sports car out onto the highway and test its top speed. To do that, we have utilize track days. However, A track day isn't really a track day unless it's with a bonafide race car.
One of the best aspects of owning a non street legal race car is the ability to take it to the track. The track as an amazing place to not only test the vehicle's capabilities, but your own as well. That being said, track days are not exclusive to just race car owners. Nonetheless, Having one to use certainly makes the experience more enjoyable.
9 Con: Might Need A Pit Crew
Often times, it's the components we don't think about that end up being the most critical. For instance: The assistance required to properly run a race car; whether it be on track day or a race weekend. To be more specific, this usually involves a pit crew.
Despite the fact that pit crews are more frequent during races and in standard track days or practice sessions, they can still be a vital part of race car ownership. In fact, Ferrari even sells cars specifically designed for the track, except there Ferrari actually keeps the car. This is due to the complexity of their vehicles and the need to have a Ferrari authorized pit crew to take care of any unforeseen issues. Without them there, odds are there would be a lot less exclusive Ferrari models still working.
8 Pro: No Cost To Rent A Seat
True racing enthusiast's already know how expensive racing can be. There are several fixed costs and variable costs that should always be taken in to account. However, one of these costs that can be mitigated with owning your own race car is is that of renting a seat.
When you go the route of purchasing your own racing vehicle (be it for fun or competition) , you save money in the long run. Of course the initial cost is more, but, like loan payments, you slowly accumulate either more debt or end up spending too much.
7 Con: Racing Can Be Dangerous
An obvious disadvantage of owning your own race car is the simple fact of how dangerous it can be. Regardless of whether you own the car yourself or just borrow one, whenever you're going high speeds the danger will follow.
With that in mind, owning the car itself doesn't necessarily put you in more danger than just renting one would. On the other hand, though, having an easily accessible tool to take to the track when you please will clearly increase track time. Thus increasing overall risk.
Good thing safety technology is becoming more and more advanced as the years go on. Soon, deaths in motor sports may be a thing of the past.
6 Pro: Can Drive It Whenever
As mentioned previously, when you own a race car, racing/track days become more easily accessible. This is for several reasons, one being that there aren't as many hoops to jump through before being let off the leash with someone else's car.
One of the largest challenges associated with motor sports rookies is just getting their foot in the door, per se. When you have your own track car, not only can you enjoy it at your own discretion, but also begin a pathway down motor racing with less entry-costs. As long as you stick with regulations, of course.
5 Con: Probably Need A Trailer Too
Sadly, this isn't the '60s and '70s anymore when drivers and teams could race their car one afternoon, then drive it home that same night. Nowadays, road rules and regulations are more strictly enforced with sufficient penalties for breaking them. As a result, to transport your race car, you're going to need a trailer.
There are alternatives to this, though. You could store it in an on-track garage, pay for transport services, or ask for individual help. Either way, like renting rather than buying, the variable costs will add up over time. Making the decision to purchase a trailer well worth it in terms of finances.
4 Pro: Take Part In Local/Global Championships
With an actual race car, there are virtually unlimited possibilities to do with it. The most prominent being to take part in local or global competition. This isn't to say that you can't without owning one, although personal ownership makes it much easier.
Depending on the specific vehicle chosen, participants can compete in low-level racing series like those found in the S.C.C.A. (Sports Car Club of America) and N.A.S.A. (National Auto Sports Association). For those with extra cash lying around, professional series like F4, F3, and GT are possibilities too. At the end of the day, it's all preference.
3 Con: Maintenance
Another huge, and very obvious, downside to owning a race car is the costs associated with maintenance. This isn't just cash either, since maintenance not only cost a lot of money, but consumes a lot of time too.
The time it takes to make large repairs can cause some serious trouble, especially for those in competition. The cost of the parts and man-hours don't help the situation much too. These monetary cost can be diminished if you do your own repairs, at the expense of more time and less quality.
2 Pro: The Pure Joy That Comes With Racing
For those who have yet to experience it, the feeling of racing/driving fast is like nothing else. Whether it's adrenaline or excitement, if you like cars you will more than likely love it too. To add to that, the feeling of wining a race is even better.
The feeling is, of course, subjective. Some may experience fear in a powerful car, while others feel joy. Maybe it's only felt by those who truly enjoy the craft. Regardless, if you think this describes you, then absolutely invest in a car for competition at some point.
1 Con: The Costs Of Racing
Just about every con so far could technically fall under this category: the extra costs of racing. Racing, in and of itself, is an incredibly expensive sport. Its arguably the most expensive in the world in terms of entry-costs, variable cost, and fixed costs.
Just to start a career in motor sports you need to have some money backing you. Money seems to be, sadly, more important than skill in this industry. As such, expect to spend a lot more than just your car throughout your time with it. Even if that just involves weekly track days.
As a famous racing joke goes: "Want to know how to become a millionaire race car driver? Start as a billionaire..."