Want to show up and drive without the hassle of buying and maintaining a race car? Relax…there are people who have that covered.
Arrive and drive programs – where drivers hire a prep shop to store and prepare their car, transport it to the track and keep everything running smoothly while there – are quite popular. Many racers own their own race car, but some rent others (often shop-owned).
“The rental program is really good for people to either compare their equipment or to not need to own and transport it across the country. All they have to do is focus on driving,” says Chris Haldeman, owner of X-Factor Racing in Princeton, Texas. Haldeman is a longtime front runner in the hotly contested Spec Miata series. “If they’re working with any of the shops – OPM, myself, East Street, Auto Technik, Panic Motorsports, or Advanced Autosports, for example – we’ve been there. (See Prep Shops for more shops around the country, with links.). We know what breaks; we know how to make the cars go. Not to mention you get the group of drivers sharing data.”
Renting a race car isn’t cheap, there’s no question about that. Typically, anywhere from $1,000 to $1,500 a day depending on what it comes with. Often for an SCCA Majors weekend with a test day that includes the first set of testing tires, all consumables, transport and support, typically the cost is approximately $3,500. But if you start factoring in the costs of buying a car, transporting it to the track, prepping it and all the other things that go along with it, sometimes it makes more financial sense to rent, depending on how many races one runs a year.
Nick Leverone, one of the proprietors of Flatout Motorsports in Massachusetts, said: “I’ve got guys that only do four or five races. What I tell everybody is if you’re going to get into this and run four or five races, rent the car. If you’re over five races, you start getting to six or seven and you’re going to the Majors, you probably have to own your own car. You’ve got to know everything about it; you’ve got to have the stuff you want in it; the seat’s got to be perfect for you.”
As in most everything, prices can get cheaper with volume. “We give a discount for the second class – if you run Spec Miata and STL in the same car, then we give a discount because the transport fees are already in the first rental. Basically we are just covering expenses of tires, brakes fuel and stuff like that in the second rental,” explains Leverone.