When we think of a champion driver like Antoine L’Estage or his co-driver Alan Ockwell, we picture their fame and their trophies. What one fails to see is the effort that goes behind becoming a champion. True, one does not jump into the cockpit of a car and turn into a champion driver overnight. Here are a few steps you should try first.
Begin at the car club
Most champions began their career by putting in their stint at the car club. It does not matter what you do – drive, co-drive, marshall, or work as an engineer. The main thing is to get involved with the car driving fraternity. It gives you the networking needed to support you on the most strenuous part of the rally championship. After you spend a year or two working the roots, you can think about the next step.
Join a rally school
This step is important because if you do not know how it is going to be like, you will never make it. Joining a rally school will tell you how difficult it is to drive or co-drive, to feel the rigor of the ride during a race, and knowing whether you like it or you are terrified of it. Only if you are convinced that you want to go ahead, you should start looking around for a mentor.
Choose a mentor
Though this sounds easy, it is possibly the toughest decision you will make. This step is about finding people you can work with and people that will support you during your racing career. It is important to choose those who know the ropes well. Experienced drivers, co-drivers, and marshalls will help make your team strong.
Start driving cars
First thing is to find a car. It does not matter if it is slow. You will have to drive a lot of them, get a feel for how different cars behave in different conditions. Get used to how two-wheel drives handle on slippery road conditions and how good four-wheel drives are. You must also get used to front wheel and back wheel drives. Drive your car until it can give you no more – then move to a better car.
Learn about the safety aspects
You probably learn this from your first day at the car club. However, keep brushing it up and get the help of a scrutineer to make sure everything about your car is as it should be. The seat must fit you and the belt must be perfect. Get the best safety helmet and make it a habit to keep on wearing it all the time.
It takes time to become a champion, but you have to start somewhere. Make sure you have your sights on the right way to become a champion rather than the fast way to become one.