How To Guides
If you're new to club racing, one of the first decisions you'll need to make is whether or not to run your own car. Many racers choose to go down this route. However, there is a growing market for "Arrive & Drive" options for those that don't want to run themselves. You may lack the technical ability to look after your own car, or simply not have the space to store and work on it between race events. If so, this route might be for you. In this article, we'll break down what it means to "arrive and drive".
Arrive and Drive is a style of package designed for racing drivers who don’t want to bring their own car to a race. Simply put, you pay someone else (an individual or company for example) to bring a suitable car to your event, so you can literally arrive at the race track and drive it, rather than bring and prep your own car.
As with anything, this sort of experience can vary between companies and packages. At one end of the scale you may own a car that you bring with you, and pay a team to look after you for the weekend. At the other end of the scale, some teams provide a full package that includes everything bar the driver. If you're talking to a team about their Arrive & Drive packages, make sure you get a breakdown of what is included. Some packages require you to provide your own consumables such as fuel and tyres, whilst others are all-inclusive, and this is important to know before turning up at the track! Packages may vary in cost between different teams but you generally get what you pay for. With a higher price comes a higher quality of service.
The biggest reason people choose an Arrive and Drive package is convenience. Not all of us are mechanically gifted, and if the thought of being responsible for making sure your car is up to scratch and running to spec is more than a bit daunting, then this option can make a lot of sense.
As anyone who's ever run their own car will tell you, most of the work to get a car race-ready is done away from the race track, and if you lack the facilities, time or expertise to prep a car yourself, having someone else do this for you brings great peace of mind. It also removes a key barrier to entry - you don't have to be adept with a spanner to go racing!
An Arrive & Drive package is also a great way to get a taste of motorsport, particularly if you want to sample a series or championship before committing to buying your own car. Many teams offer availability for just a single weekend, meaning you can try out a series or two before deciding which route you want to take.
Now, as great as it is turning up hassle-free and just driving the car, there are some caveats to think about. Going motor racing consumes two things - time and money. Running you own car saves you money, but does require a greater investment of time. Conversely, Arrive & Drive saves you personally a lot of time, but it does come at a price. These options are certainly more expensive than running yourself so that is something you will have to take into account when you budget.
Secondly, you won't necessarily pick the car you get to use, and it won’t necessarily be set up the way you like it. You may get different team personnel working on your car at different race events, which makes it harder to build a rapport with your mechanic and understand your car.
Beware low-cost packages that seem too good to be true. These may have hidden costs such as requiring you to provide your own tyres, brakes pads, etc. which can be daunting for someone new to motorsport. The reliability of the car is something else you want to consider. Cutting corners on cost may result in a car not finishing the race.
The best way to avoid buying into a dud Arrive & Drive arrangement is by heading to a race event in the series you want to take part in and talking to some of the competitors about who runs the top cars and who you might want to avoid.
No, you don't need to own your own car to go racing! Running yourself may be cheaper, but it is more time-consuming and relies on you having the requisite level of mechanical expertise and the right gear to do so. Arrive & Drive is a great way to get started in club racing and may end up being the only route you ever take.