Motorsport isn’t just about being a racing driver. There are many incredibly important roles that keep the wheels of motorsport turning. From marshals to engineers, event organisers to commentators, there are many careers available in motorsport.
If you want to find out how to start racing, check out our blog ‘here‘. TL;DR? You can start with karting, sim racing or track days then apply to get your race licence. Then, pass your ARDS test, complete a medical, buy a car and enter a championship that suits your budget. Congratulations, you’re a racing driver!
However, motorsport isn’t only about driving, there are lots of different jobs in the industry. Who builds the cars or sets them up for each track and certain conditions? What about the pictures and videos of race cars or the organisation or management of the races and events themselves? There’s a whole host of ways to get started in motorsport and we’ll look into them here.
Want to be part of the action? Joining a race team as a mechanic, race engineer or team manager is the perfect way to be involved in motorsport. Teams can offer apprenticeships for roles where you learn on the job and gradually increase your involvement in the action!
The best way to find out about vacancies and opportunities is to go to a race event and talk to the teams. If you talk to a smaller manufacturer like Ginetta or Caterham, you may even be able to get a job at the factory building the cars!
One of the best ways to get started in motorsport is to volunteer as a marshal. You get training to help drivers in case of an incident on track as well as entry to race weekends. Being a marshal is the backbone of motorsport as without them, we couldn’t race safely!
Do you have sales experience and want to get involved in motorsport? Outside of club racing, which involves a lot of DIY, in higher level competition, car manufacturers sell cars to race teams. These race teams then sell seats to drivers. You can bring your experience into motorsport. Commercial roles close deals, keep seats filled and put more cars on track.
Joe North, part of Ginetta’s commercial team,
‘After a 15-year career in technology sales, I was eager to use my skills in a more interesting industry, having been a keen racing fan and petrolhead my whole life, motorsports sales seemed like a great way of combining my interests and skills. When I heard about a race team struggling to fill seats, I approached them with a plan to build a repeatable sales process, an important factor in all commercial sales organisations which is unfortunately slightly more rare in motorsport. 9 months later, and with the team full for the next two seasons, I spotted an exciting opportunity at Ginetta which, as a proud Yorkshireman, I could not resist. Now I’m part of a team responsible for promoting and selling Yorkshire-made race cars to teams and drivers across the world.’
Sponsorship is one of the biggest factors for teams, championships and drivers. Without it, many people wouldn’t be able to race. Marketing is key in motorsport to increase reach and influence, making them more attractive to sponsors. You can bring your marketing experience into motorsport and make an impact!
Events & Organising
Racing isn’t people turning up on the same day and going round a circuit. It takes a lot of careful planning, plate spinning and collaboration between many parties. You could be part of a team that makes it all happen, from organising a championship to scrutineering to commentating the races. Everything behind the scenes needs to happen for racing to take place, you could be one of the key people making it happen!
eSports is a growing industry with many platforms to choose from. Championships like F1 and WEC have official esports championships. Platforms such as iRacing host some of the most competitive racing online.
It’s a relatively inexpensive way of going racing with a top of the line, best of the best simulator costing around £20,000. For comparison, a full season of racing can cost hundreds of thousands.
You don’t even have to spend that kind of money either! Many top ranking eSports drivers made their mark with entry level equipment. All the principles are the same, but instead of a crash costing thousands to repair, you can simply reset the car. Fair warning though, spinning out from the lead of a race on a digital track is just as frustrating as on a physical one. Sim racers such as Jimmy Broadbent, Super GT and Suellio Almedia have made the switch from virtual to physical racing.
Many commentators make their start in eSports before transitioning to real life racing and some of the best eSports drivers also make that transition. The 2023 Ginetta Junior Scholarship winner came from Sim Racing.
‘For some reason, I started this journey when I was seven. One day at school we were asked what we wanted to be when we grew up, and my answer was “motorsport commentator”. I think I may have known early on that I wasn’t destined to be a driver. I was too tall, too fat and too poor; the golden trifecta of signs that you might not be built for going racing in Cadet karts!
My first proper go at commentating – after a little dabbling in it through sim racing and online radio – was the 2CV 24hr at Anglesey in 2015. It was my first circuit commentary weekend, and also the first for Formula E’s Tom Brooks!
Those of us that do it are the type of people who just have to talk about something we’re excited over. Certainly, that’s a key component for me. As an autistic person, I think the anxiety I deal with outside of racing environments would make me a pretty useless commentator in any other sport.
I love being able to research, learn and then share that on the broadcast. And in those moments where the racing gets frenetic, it is extremely satisfying calling it in a way that – hopefully – lets the audience know that what we’re seeing is something to savour. Very few championships make that happen more often than the Ginetta Juniors!
That’s all I ever really want to achieve, anyway. I want to share the excitement, and advocate for this crazy sport to a wider audience. Sometimes I even succeed!’
Getting started in motorsport is easier than you think, you just need to take the first step!
If you’re looking for jobs in motorsport, you can check out our vacancies here.