What does it take to be a racing driver

Tuesday 23rd July 2019

There is perhaps a stigma surrounding racing driving which suggests that money is at the root of success. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Skill, drive, determination; some things can’t be bought.

A racing driver is required to have a multitude of skills, many of which are honed through years of practice and dedication. Even where there is natural talent, nurture and work are required to elevate talent into expertise.

Controlling a Racing Car

Driving a car at speeds of 200mph is an unnerving prospect and requires a level head to do so. Drivers are required to be at peak performance which means total dedication. How often these days do we see our top drivers leading hedonistic lifestyles? The answer is, never. Although the history of motorsports saw James Hunt and Nikki Lauda as celebrity figures and hitting headlines for behaviour outside of racing, today’s sport is a world away. There is a real focus on engineering and safety which requires complete focus and devotion and today’s racers are celebrated for their achievements in racing only.

Awareness on the Racing track

Starting a grid with up to 24 other drivers, meters away. Speeds from 0 – 60 miles per hour and every single racer on the track with a podium in mind; having awareness is paramount. Knowing one false move could end in tragedy requires nerves of steel and an exemplary focus which is only achieved by the most committed of drivers.

Engineering Competence is a must

Although there is a team behind every driver, the driver themselves must demonstrate an understanding of engineering. Attention to detail is all that matters, feeling the tyres, the surfaces beneath. If there is inclement weather, it is the driver’s ability to react to change. Todays’ F1 car is so intricate, the driver represents what a team of 2000 people who work behind the scenes have achieved.

What kind of Discipline does it take to compete in Motorsport

Most drivers realistically spend their time in the middle or back of the grid, coupled with mechanical issues and disappointment, this requires the driver to retain optimism, strength and patience. Elite drivers have an extra edge; there is an ability to read a situation like a sixth sense that comes from practice, technique and patience.

Marketing in Motorsport in fundamental

A tremendous part of racing is the brands and the sponsors that support each team. In addition to the autonomous aspect, racing is largely associated with teamwork; from working with another driver to working with an extended team which includes sponsored brands. Each driver has a responsibility to represent the brands associated with their team.

 If there is any assumption that one can ‘buy’ their way into racing driving, this opinion should be rejected. With every commitment comes costs, but this is not limited to racing driving.  If in doubt, remember the current world champion Lewis Hamilton, who started his career on a young driver’s programme. If there is ever an example of natural talent combined with hard work, this is it.


The future of motorsport depends on a committed approach to the prevention of fatal injuries and the change in attitude in recent years is encouraging. The development of strategies like the SET has been pivotal in ensuring that a new generation of drivers is suitably educated in order to limit incidents – ultimately it is education and awareness that aids prevention.


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