Getting Started in Motor Racing
Probably the first thing you should do is ring someone on the Northern Muscle Car Committee and have a chat.
Northern Muscle Cars have a buddy system that will:
- Help you select a car. If you are thinking of purchasing an existing one we have some listed on our website.
- Give advice on car preparation.
- Help you obtain your race licence.
- Help you at your first few race meetings.
It is often a good idea to purchase a second-hand race car as your first race car, as this will get you under way more quickly and at considerably less cost. If you do decide to purchase or build a car please read the Rules and contact the committee BEFORE you start to build or modify your car.
In addition you will need to join a car club that is affiliated to Motorsport NZ. This is required to enable you to obtain a MotorSport NZ race licence. The Auckland Car Club will assist you in obtaining a racing licence, for which you have to sit a relatively simple test.
Getting Your Car Ready To Be Scrutineered
Before any car can race in an organised race meeting it needs to be checked (scrutineered) for various safety items. A full list of these can be found on the Motorsport New Zealand website.
Below is a list of the main requirements you need to be aware of:
- At least two throttle return springs
- A fire extinguisher that has been checked in the last 12 months, securely mounted inside the car with 2 metal retaining clips
- A Motorsport NZ certified roll cage
- A Motorsport NZ approved helmet and preferably a HANS device
- A pair of at least two-layer fire-proof racing overalls
- Working brake and rear lights
- A reasonable standard of presentation
Before Your First Race Day
This should be preceded by your first test day! Pukekohe is available for public use on most Saturdays – see their website.
Sit and obtain your race licence from Auckland Car Club.
You will need to obtain a log book for your vehicle, from Motorsport NZ, if your car has been raced before it should have one and this should be supplied with the car.
From the Northern Muscle Car website, complete the online entry form at least a week before the race.
Ensure that that your buddy comes and has a look at your car to give you any pointers as to items that may fail scrutineering. Make sure any potential problems are rectified before your first race meeting.
Your First Race Day
Arrive at the track in plenty of time, ideally no later than 8.30am.
Your buddy will help you through the race day documentation process.
You will need the following documentation:
- Motorsport NZ race licence
- Auckland Car Club membership card
- Your vehicle’s Motorsport NZ log book
As this is your first race meeting (and every third meeting thereafter) your car and safety equipment will need to be scrutineered. The friendly scrutineer will come along and check, mainly safety items on your vehicle and if anything is required to be altered, an entry will be made in your log book recording that fact.
If you have not raced before, or have not raced at this circuit, the organising race club will go through details of flag points, start/finish line, and pit entry/exit procedures.
The format of virtually all race meetings is that you are required to qualify to determine your starting position for the scratch race the following two races are normally handicap races where a handicap is calculated by the organising club with the slower cars starting first with time intervals.
Please ensure that a person clad in fireproof overalls refuels your car, with a 4.5kg or greater fire extinguisher handy. Please note: you are not allowed to have more than 40 litres of fuel in your pits.
Most races are started by the lights on the start/finish line. Normally a five-second board is held up at the start/finish line before the red lights start to progressively come on. When the red lights go out, you start racing. There is no green light!
Handicap and reverse grid races are started by an official dropping a flag on the start/finish line. Not all cars start at the same time. At Auckland Car Club events, you roll up to the start/finish line, two by two, and wait until the flag is dropped.
This is shown at all flag points and indicates that racing or practice has ceased. In a race, you are to proceed slowly to the start/finish line and stop there. In a practice, you are to go into the pits and down pit lane to where it joins back on the track, and stop there.
This means there has been an incident on the track. You must slow down and proceed until passing a green flag, at which point racing may recommence. You cannot pass another car while you are in a yellow-flagged sector.
This will be shown with your race car number on a board. If displayed, you must proceed through pit lane and stop until the official waves you on.
This will be waved if there is a car trying to overtake you.
There is a slowing moving vehicle ahead, it can be a competitor or an Official Vehicle.
A full description of all the flags is on the Motorsport NZ website. Car Preparation Racing places severe strain on all components of your car.
There are simple things you can do to reduce the likelihood of expensive failures.
- Ensure your engine’s cooling system is in good condition and topped up with some cooling additive such as Redline Water Wetter.
- Brakes – ensure that the brake fluid has been changed and replaced with dot four or preferably five fluid.
- Brake pads – these will need to be of a more heat-resistant compound than normal road pads. There is a huge variety of options – see your normal supplier or discuss with your club colleagues.
- Tyres – these need to be in good condition and probably inflated slightly higher than usual, but not too high. The best pressure is determined by the use of a tyre temperature device.
- If you have modified the car and have for instance shifted the battery, or replaced the fuel tank with a fuel cell, there are quite stringent regulations on how this must be done. Please check the Motorsport NZ website.