Rev Up Your Wallet: The True Costs of Participating in Car Races

In most sports, competition is a continuous spectacle. Whether it’s a football match or a hapkido championship, viewers can see the entire competitive process at any given time. Of course, in some cases, how much money he paid for tickets plays a role: the review may be a little better or a little worse.

But at the car races, regardless of the ticket price, it is usually impossible to see the entire competition. Usually, there is no such sector in the stands from where a view of the entire track would open. But let’s speak about the costs: how much does it cost to participate in car racing?

The Initial Investment: Buying or Building a Race Car

With over 300 different models of new racing cars available, choosing the perfect car for your needs can be overwhelming. The price is a starting point, but it is not the only criterion that counts when choosing a car. Quality, maintenance costs, and reliability are also factors to consider. Get ready to have at least $50.000 for starters.

The racing car must meet your lifestyle’s wants, needs, and demands. Whether you’re choosing a new or a used car, make sure you’re making the best investment by considering a few essential criteria.

Preparing for the Track: Training and Licensing

Drivers must have participated in previous Formula 1 championships. To be able to enter car races and benefit from Formula 1, you have to comply with regulations and keep in mind that the height of the body should not be more than 950 mm above the reference plane.

The overall width of your car must not exceed 2000 mm, and the wheels must be positioned to the right, except for the tires. The car’s weight should be around 746 kg during the race, which should be done without fuel.

Remember that only skinny people who know car racing can participate in the races. All special race car engines are turbocharged and have a cylinder capacity of 1600 cc. It would be advisable for an engine to weigh 145 kg. An engine speed should be 15000 rpm.

These special cars should be equipped with spring suspension. Adjustments to suspension systems, while the car is in motion are prohibited. Race car brakes must be equipped with a single braking system, and liquid cooling of the brakes is prohibited. The width of the front wheels should be approximately 385 mm and 470 when mounted at the rear.

Specially designed racing cars are already equipped with these adjustments. At each race, there is a steward, a director, three additional stewards, a race secretary, and a country steward. Each driver receives a competition number to participate, and the world champion has the number 1. Race drivers cannot have more than two cars available simultaneously. In engine racing, the driver cannot have more than 3 engines.

Track Time: Entry Fees and Practice Sessions

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! You’ve covered a lot of steps; now it’s time to enjoy the real beginning and practice. You work out the last details with the co-pilot: rally registration, accommodation, and reconnaissance car. Discuss the last details with the technical assistance team and present yourself at the start.

Each rally has a fixed entry fee, depending on the class in which the competition car falls. The registration fee for Toyota (single-brand cup, class 9) is $450. Additionally, you can opt to participate in the shakedown (the test session preceding the rally), for which you pay another $150.

It’s not the actual start, but you have to do recognitions, administrative checks, technical checks, shakedown, festive start, and, finally, the long-awaited moment: maximum gas and the start on the first particular stage. But you already knew that if you went through all the steps at the beginning of this article.

Maintenance and Repairs: Keeping the Race Car in Optimal Condition

The most significant budget differences occur due to the competition car: a top car requires much higher maintenance costs, but also a different training of the technical team. For example, Toyota is probably the easiest rally car to maintain and repair. The costs for a stage in the national rally championship are the lowest, around $15,000 – $40,000 (with your car).

The costs of the mechanics’ team services vary depending on how many days the competition lasts, the number of stages “beat,” and may or may not include the transport of the car on the platform to/from the rally or the overhaul between stages. Of course, if the car is damaged during the rally, additional parts and labor are added to the support costs.

Safety First: Insurance and Safety Gear

Now, let’s speak about car safety, the most crucial element in all cars: the seat belt. As an extreme safety measure, we will now give some details about the rollbar – that structure made of metal bars meant to save lives in competition cars and not only that.

In the case of racing cars, the roll cage is built according to certain specifications, depending on the competition in which the car participates. An important step is the choice of material, which differs depending on the application and, implicitly, the price. We can discuss carbon steel, steel alloys with chromium-molybdenum or vanadium, CDS (Cold Drawn Seamless Carbon Steel), and T45 (High Tensile Carbon Manganese Steel).

The latter is a more robust and lighter material than CDS, but its price is higher. Professional motorsport teams turn to them where the costs are lower in relation to the car’s total value. CDS is an alternative to T45 and is used especially by roll cage builders, where costs are a priority (CDS is cheaper than T45). Of course, each material has different characteristics; the most important aspects of a choice are costs and additional weight. Between these two aspects, a report that satisfies the budget and serves the purpose must be obtained. The variant that some call for is DIY (Do-it-yourself), that is, manufacturing your roll cage.

It is good to remember that an incorrectly made roll cage, incorrectly mounted and made of weak materials can do more harm than help, making the evacuation of passengers from the car uncomfortable after excessive deformation. So, be careful! Cheap doesn’t mean good if you don’t know precisely what to do so that everything turns out well!

Unexpected Costs: Time Commitment and Opportunity Costs

Rule no. 1: there is no rally without contingencies. Whether it’s consumables like planetary gear, brake pads or discs, fuel pumps, headlights, bars, windshields, or side mirrors, you must finish the rally with the whole car. And experience has taught drivers that no matter how well organized you are, the part you don’t have spare will break. If you don’t have a large budget to stock up on spares before the race (as I was in the 2 seasons I completed on my own), then you need to be even more careful and allocate $500 – $1,000 for these unforeseen expenses during the rally.


You may have realized by now that car sport involves very high costs and significant financial efforts for those who practice them. Don’t start your conversation with drivers or team members by asking them if they financially support young enthusiasts.

The simple answer will be no, showing you have a superficial understanding of the car sport. You have to prove that you have the necessary qualities to be a pilot, and like any other performance sport, the first investment comes from you. The first steps are 100% your responsibility. But the advice is free, and the willingness to learn will always be rewarded with kindness.