ARDS (where to start)
Choosing a racing team to invest your hard earned money is a very serious decision with vast implications for your motorsport career. We cannot guarantee that our team is the best approach for everyone to follow upon so choose wisely and you will learn and grow as a driver. Choose unwisely and you could have potentially ruined your potential to become a professional driver.
In order to enter into competitive racing with MATEM MOTORSPORT & AASP, you must first take a Novice Driver Training Course (commonly known as an ARDS test) if you haven't already; it’s a comprehensive course and examination required by all drivers applying for their first racing license. The car you will learn in will vary between venues. The cost of this is £299 and your full day will include learning skidding and car control, lecturing on track techniques and etiquette, a one-to-one coaching session focused on learning racing lines and driving techniques and finally a written test and driving assessment at the end of the day to decide if you qualify for your National B Competition licence. The junior ARDS course is open to anyone aged 14 - 16 with anyone over the age of 16 and meeting regulations being suitable to undertake the adult or full ARDS test.
A viable option after obtaining your National B Competition licence is to learn to become a certified ARDS instructor, this will land you with plenty of extra time on the track to hone your situational awareness skills and to further cement your knowledge.
After becoming a Race National B holder that allows you to compete in most amateur events both international and national race events you'll now be eligible to drive in one of our MOTORSPORT Vehicles. You'll be met by our teams enthusiasts and car club members, with an opportunity to compete in events that're also competed by semi-pro and aspiring professional drivers. To be considered for a National A licence allowing drivers to compete in professional race series, drivers are required to gain six signatures from racecourse clerks from individual events. The signatures from clerks are used as evidence that you are a competent track driver who can obey track rules and regulations and you have a good understanding of race event etiquette. Once you have acquired six signatures potentially from the same track or circuit you will need to submit your licence and signatures for assessment with MSA who will review and grant you a National A licence, which will also give you the opportunity to hold an international grade D licence as well.
Motorsport shares a similarity with the music industry, in that you need to find a way to get your name out there. As an artist, you could have an incredible album - but if no one is listening to your tracks in the first place, how will they know how great they are?
Social media platforms are great ways to promote yourself on a budget - if you have the money to invest in a small camera to attach to either your helmet or the inside of your car, take some videos showcasing your skills, funny moments or points that others can learn from and upload them to platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. The motor industry as a whole is very visual - taking advantage of this is the best way to get your name out to the masses and even attract a potential sponsor.
Although standards for these vary depending on the type of racing and during the lifetime of your career you would need multiple helmets, whether this is due to livery changes, regulation differences and series requirements. As well as being a governing body for global motorsport the FIA have recognised the requirement to protect their stars and so even low-level racing from National B events require drivers to wear a full face crash helmet conforming to FIA or SNELL regulations. These helmets are typically some of the most expensive parts of the equipment necessary, however, the risk to head injury in motorsport in particular open top racing means that the helmet may not only be to stop small stones or racing debris from hitting the driver but in most cases would be life-saving from death or debilitating injury. Sold separately in most cases is the head restraint, this is used to support the helmet and reduce the risk of injury and load on the drivers neck muscles, even in a closed cab car excessive G-force can strain the neck and similar to driving around a roundabout too fast can cause aches lapping for periods of time can cause fatigue and injury if the body is not prepared for the load exerted during a race from the helmet. The frontal head restraint is another expensive piece of safety equipment that will reduce or prevent injury in the event of a crash. Formula one driver's helmets can cost tens of thousands of pounds for development and ergonomic design, with the most helmets having aerodynamic designs and advanced polarized visors.
Although not a requirement at low-level racing, gloves are advised when driving at high speed and are required at higher level racing events, this is part for sponsorship but mostly for fire or heat protection. The suede style of the gloves is designed to provide grip on the steering wheel while also providing a flame retardant layer in the case of the driver being trapped during an accident with a fire. Advanced gloves can double in cost but can offer more protection as well as offering more grip for specific racing wheel designs and dexterity.
Overalls/Fire Protective suit
The MSAUK rules regarding entry-level racing require FIA 8856-2000 standard overalls that offer moderate fire protection and must cover the driver from ankle to neck and wrists. Any sponsorship logos or additional materials also have to comply with these regulations. Overalls are a requirement to prevent direct exposure to heat radiation and for heat protection. Prices for racing overalls can vary wildly with entry-level coveralls that meet minimum standards costing a few hundred pounds while professionally tailored racing suits can set you back in excess of a thousand pounds or more. In addition to overalls, it is advised and often required that drivers wear racing underwear, this is specialist clothing that protects against heat and direct flame exposure as well as radiational heat.
Shoes for racing have been specifically designed to repel heat and be fire retardant with treated fabrics and thin soles to give the driver maximum responsive feeling, race boots can vary from £300 for professional series down to amateur qualifying shoes that pass regulations but don’t offer the same level of performance for a little over £100, when starting out this can seem expensive, however once established within the culture of amateur and professional racing, conversations will quickly turn to the cost of the car and not the shoes.
Now You Can Race!
Once you've completed all of the above steps; you will eligible to race. From this point onwards, it's essential to find a outfit that'll help you achieve what you want to achieve within Motorsport.