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Old 28th December 2015, 21:18   #1
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Default Learn racing, as an interest/hobby for middle aged blokes?

Hi all,

I am middle aged (31), born from a normal family with a neighborhood and relatives asking whether I have passed my exams, got a job, why not getting married, no kids? etc etc. In an attempt to answer them, my only option was to succumb to their pressure and just forgot my life, and suddenly when I opened my eyes for fun, I am at 31.

As a kid, I wanted to be in racing (like any other third kid) and I have been keeping my dreams postponed (again like any other third person).

But let bygones be bygones. Now I know its not the age to get into professional racing, And I don't want to win any championship. But I want to know how it feels, to be in a rally car, to minimize lap timings, to drive in a situation where one hairline error will cost the full exercise, I want to know the adrenaline rush and experience G forces we feel when we go fast around corners.

So can you pl guide me what you all feel the best for people like me. I have lot of constraints. Physique wise, I am not as nimble as a 15 yr old, and I have a family now and hence whatever fixed monthly income I earn has to be carefully utilized to survive in this world.

I went for an auto expo in Bangalore recently where a group called RACE CONCEPTS is doing a race training, starting with go-karts in E-Zone Marthahalli, I have 2 main questions.

1) Is everyone supposed to go through the start through go-karting only as overall I would have driven approx 1 lac kms (50k in an Alto, 25k in a Verna, 10k in a Honda City, 15k in M800+WagonR+Micra, and 1500 kms in a GT TSI). Can I skip the go-karting sessions or go-karting is the first step to learn to take corners?
2) Money! - They are charging 10k for just 2 days of training (100 laps each day) !!! I was under the impression that 10k will be for may be 1 full month (sat/sundays every weekend), but 10k for just 2 days is something which I have to think again and again and again to plan.

Is there any other option in Bangalore to experience what I always wanted in my life to experience or this is the only way ahead. Any inputs will be deeply appreciated.

Last edited by GTO : 29th December 2015 at 11:40. Reason: Strictly no acronyms when referring to cars (e.g. ANHC, T-Fort)
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Old 29th December 2015, 11:40   #2
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Default Re: Learn racing, as an interest/hobby for middle aged blokes?

Click here to view the motorsport training options in Bangalore.

Since you own a GT TSI, you & other enthusiasts could pay and practice at the MMST - related link. Your main cost will be the tyres. @ Delhi BHPians: Watch out for track days at the Buddh too .

Go-karting is a whole lot of fun. You could enroll in a proper training program, but since it's a hobby, don't take it too seriously. Focus on the fun aspect. Rent a kart and race around the track, timing yourself, without necessarily enrolling in a program. Nothing like practice to sharpen those skills.

Another fun & not-so-expensive sport is offroading (though you need to buy a 4x4 for the same).

Treat yourself to a Formula drive once every couple of years. The same guys who organised my drive in Malaysia (related link) run racing schools, including in China. IIRC, the cost of a Formula weekend in China was <2 lakhs.

Keep an eye on Audi, BMW & Mercedes events. They have driving academies where non-owners can participate too - related thread (I drove a C63 AMG at Buddh!! Mercedes AMG Driving Academy Launched).

Happy Driving
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Old 29th December 2015, 13:49   #3
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Default Re: Learn racing, as an interest/hobby for middle aged blokes?

Thank you GTO for the details. To start off, I immediately got in touch with one of the links provided and reached GMM. And they have many programs other than the go-karting program. They give training in Esteems and will help in trackdays in Chennai, and has told, can make tailor-made programs with varying timings as per my stress taking ability, in Esteem.

I will try my hands on Esteem/Honda city racing skills. . As far as go-karting is concerned, I will follow the option to rent it.

I will post further details once I meet him. I guess he is planning for 2016 training sessions from mid of January and it will be in Bangalore itself.

Any other BHPians interested in this (who is planning to experience it) ? We can give it a shot.

Off roading, may be I will try it out later, anyways do not have the option to buy a 4x4 any time soon.

Last edited by petrol_power : 29th December 2015 at 13:51.
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Old 2nd January 2016, 04:21   #4
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Default Re: Learn racing, as an interest/hobby for middle aged blokes?

It's great you are returning to your passion. Never too late!

As GTO suggested the best would be to do track days in Chennai. It's inexpensive and gives you the thrills of driving flat out on a racetrack.

Quote:
Originally Posted by petrol_power View Post

1) Is everyone supposed to go through the start through go-karting only as overall I would have driven approx 1 lac kms (50k in an Alto, 25k in a Verna, 10k in a Honda City, 15k in M800+WagonR+Micra, and 1500 kms in a GT TSI). Can I skip the go-karting sessions or go-karting is the first step to learn to take corners?
Usually the amount of driving done all life doesn't count much when you enter a race track. The nature of driving is very different.

Go-karts are good on building that foundation and the main reason it's there is for the low costs. If you skip Go-karts then to learn the same skills you'll be spending x10 on racecars/track driving anyway.

Quote:
2) Money! - They are charging 10k for just 2 days of training (100 laps each day) !!! I was under the impression that 10k will be for may be 1 full month (sat/sundays every weekend), but 10k for just 2 days is something which I have to think again and again and again to plan.
The biggest reason why most people are never able to enter this sport is the money. Unfortunately the costs are astronomical. Relatively Rs 10k for 2 days is probably the cheapest in the world. Go for it!
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Old 2nd January 2016, 11:11   #5
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Default Re: Learn racing, as an interest/hobby for middle aged blokes?

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Originally Posted by goingout View Post
It's great you are returning to your passion. Never too late!

As GTO suggested the best would be to do track days in Chennai. It's inexpensive and gives you the thrills of driving flat out on a racetrack.

Usually the amount of driving done all life doesn't count much when you enter a race track. The nature of driving is very different.

Go-karts are good on building that foundation and the main reason it's there is for the low costs. If you skip Go-karts then to learn the same skills you'll be spending x10 on racecars/track driving anyway.

The biggest reason why most people are never able to enter this sport is the money. Unfortunately the costs are astronomical. Relatively Rs 10k for 2 days is probably the cheapest in the world. Go for it!
@goingout. I just saw your threads in racing, droolworthy

So I guess there is no option other than to pour some good amount of money.

Why I got shocked about the 10k for 200 laps was because I accidentally made some calculations like below.
What could be the approx mileage of these go-karts? 20kmpl as I guess these are not the super tuned engines (Just a guess, pl pardon if I am wrong)
Length of E-zone go-kart - 550 mtrs (as per their website)
SO 200 laps = 110000 mts = 110 km
Petrol/kerosine/I dont know which fuel it is required for 200 laps = 110 kms/20 kmpl = 5.5 litre.
Total cost of fuel = 5.5 X 70 = 385 rs
Plus add maintenance of another 500 rs and it is still less than 1000 rs.
Add their margin of 100% or 200% or even 400 percentage. Still it should stop by collecting a maximum of 5000/- from customer right? and we are paying 900% margin which is absurd.

At least some one, who can start it in a sensible manner can easily attract a huge crowd as there are lot of people having adrenaline rush (without age barrier).

But as you told, as of now, the only option is never to think about the money part as long as we get that rush.

Last edited by petrol_power : 2nd January 2016 at 11:14.
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Old 2nd January 2016, 11:34   #6
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@petrol_power: nice calculations. Typically what we would do for a weekend getaway. Unfortunately, there is so much more to consider when it comes to race tracks.
You do have to factor in the track cost as well. Especially if you get exclusive access. Plus the training cost. You wouldn't be just going around in circles. There will be theory sessions, instructors monitoring your progress and suggesting improvements.
Treat yourself to this session, I feel it will be an eye-opener.
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Old 2nd January 2016, 19:46   #7
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Default Re: Learn racing, as an interest/hobby for middle aged blokes?

If you think you want to do this long term as a hobby, then buy an old Esteem or Ikon , do the required mods to turn it into a track car

If you do about 6 track days a year, it will be well worth the money

Karting tracks are always there to hone your driving skills
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Old 3rd January 2016, 08:02   #8
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Default Re: Learn racing, as an interest/hobby for middle aged blokes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by petrol_power View Post

Any other BHPians interested in this (who is planning to experience it) ? We can give it a shot.
Yes, I might be interested. I have done a few weekend trips and it's time for something more thrilling. But yes, the cost is a big factor.

PM me
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Old 3rd January 2016, 11:35   #9
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Default Re: Learn racing, as an interest/hobby for middle aged blokes?

I started on this path after my 40's.

As Mpowers states, you need a dedicated car - I tried modifiying my Honda Vtec but it is always a compromise between track and road car. Besidesm the Honda is totally wrong for the track - A fiesta or cedia are best

Another factor is time - my nearest track is Chennai. The only available weekend slots are in the afternoons so getting back for work on monday is a challenge unless you live there. Coimbatore is normally open for bikes. Only cars with roll cages are allowed unless a chicane is created on the long straight

MOney - I reckon that I spent around Rs 10k a pop 10 years ago for travel, fuel, stay and tyres

I stopped - hey? I bought a Skoda, after seeing what happened to other Skodas on track during summer,, Ithought best not to risk it. The time and money factors also played in.


Believe me, the 10k for the gokarting is spent not on the time spent go karting but what you are taught. Spend time on the go-Karts, treat your self to open days at Buddh with the Polo's if you can
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Old 3rd January 2016, 13:01   #10
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Default Re: Learn racing, as an interest/hobby for middle aged blokes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dzrebellz View Post
@petrol_power:
You do have to factor in the track cost as well. Especially if you get exclusive access. Plus the training cost. You wouldn't be just going around in circles. There will be theory sessions, instructors monitoring your progress and suggesting improvements.
Treat yourself to this session, I feel it will be an eye-opener.
Thank you for the valuable counter arguments. I do get it now and no more maths in cars.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mpower View Post
If you think you want to do this long term as a hobby, then buy an old Esteem or Ikon , do the required mods to turn it into a track car
If you do about 6 track days a year, it will be well worth the money
Karting tracks are always there to hone your driving skills
Thank you and so owning a track proven car is a must if the hobby grows in me. I got it, lets see how much tolerance my body has and how well I do the baby steps and if there is progress, yes I will definitely shift my job for better salaries to get the track car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajmat View Post
I started on this path after my 40's.

As Mpowers states, you need a dedicated car - I tried modifiying my Honda Vtec but it is always a compromise between track and road car. Besidesm the Honda is totally wrong for the track - A fiesta or cedia are best

Another factor is time - my nearest track is Chennai. The only available weekend slots are in the afternoons so getting back for work on monday is a challenge unless you live there. Coimbatore is normally open for bikes. Only cars with roll cages are allowed unless a chicane is created on the long straight

MOney - I reckon that I spent around Rs 10k a pop 10 years ago for travel, fuel, stay and tyres

I stopped - hey? I bought a Skoda, after seeing what happened to other Skodas on track during summer,, Ithought best not to risk it. The time and money factors also played in.


Believe me, the 10k for the gokarting is spent not on the time spent go karting but what you are taught. Spend time on the go-Karts, treat your self to open days at Buddh with the Polo's if you can
Thank you for your kind words and I dug deep into some of your old posts and saw that you started your racing sessions in UK with Porsches' and Ferraris.
I guess now the companies like GMM (gas monkey motorsports) has some training area (I know that it could be hard soil and not asphalt/concrete/etc). I am not sure about it, will find out soon. So the initial baby steps can be covered in Bangalore and then once we prove, we can move to Chennai.

Thank you all for the suggestions and encouragements. I will try to build up this hobby and will try to make it a big one. But I will have to go through lot of hurdles and opposition from family as my baby girl is just 1.5 months old and I have to squeeze out time without hurting the sentiments of any one.

Already in the first set of gifts I gave to my kid, in between all the sound-and-light toys I secretly hid a VW beetle mini scale toy and my wife found it.
But somehow she didn't tell anything. And that is the inspiration behind getting back my old lost energy now.
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Old 3rd January 2016, 20:06   #11
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Default Re: Learn racing, as an interest/hobby for middle aged blokes?

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Originally Posted by petrol_power View Post
...and suddenly when I opened my eyes for fun, I am at 31.

As a kid, I wanted to be in racing (like any other third kid) and I have been keeping my dreams postponed (again like any other third person)...
Am sure you put these thoughts which played in the minds of a lot of us! To me, it's again the multiple factors as you wrote down, the major factor being money! One thing you should never do is to attach a maths to the cost - that'll never let us live our life.

I am sure, even a shirt that we buy, if we scrutinize, will never justify the manufacturing cost Vs the retail cost.

I suggest you set aside some money for your pleasure and then decide what you want to do. If it's just a hobby, having a dedicated vehicle doesn't seem to make sense; think of the buying cost, modifications and the related expenses. Think, whether spending a 10K against a couple of lakhs make sense and you'll understand what's financially better.

Another option I was told, was to take part in the Auto-cross events and if you clock a good time, you might be noticed by the manufacturers and you might get an invitation to be their candidate for bigger events. There are a bunch of threads in this section - you might want to scan and you may find some hidden gems (tips).

Quite happy to find a bhp'ian who is vocal about (t)his passion. If I was in Bangy, am sure I would have got in touch with you. I knew of a mechanic/tuner near BTM layout who works on the rally cars (forgot his name, but if you ask mechanics around the place, they might be able to help you) and he is a very down to earth guy. Meeting such guys might give you more insights into the actual rally scene and details around it.

Please do keep this thread alive with whatever inputs you get so that the rest of us get more info.

Edit:: Was at Automech engineers in Lower Parel, Mumbai and saw a Jazz getting rally prepped. The car was stripped down and had the roll cage installed. When enquired, they said they do the complete rally prep and just not the roll cages. Do we have any more guys who do this in Mumbai?

Last edited by swiftnfurious : 3rd January 2016 at 20:11. Reason: Added "Edit" portion
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Old 6th January 2016, 02:34   #12
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Default Re: Learn racing, as an interest/hobby for middle aged blokes?

You should be able to pickup a used Esteem or Ikon 1.6 for less than 50K. Spend another 50-80K for alloys, hi-perf tires, Full suspension, racing seat, engine tune up and CAI. Do not waste time on extensive engine mods
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