How much does it cost to go vintage shopping? More and less than you think

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I attended my first vintage race event in 2001. It was the Jefferson 500, hosted at Summit Point Raceway in Virginia by Brian Redman. Although I was racing in NASCAR at the time, I first entered as a reporter – on my first magazine assignment for Victory Lane.

This weekend was more fun than I could have imagined. On day one I found myself outfitted with a Zinc Formula Vee race car, driving the car to practice, taking lots of photos of the event, helping out as a corner worker, meeting the champions of running Redman and Bobby Rahal, and making some friends that I have to date.

At the end of the weekend, talking to Bobby and Brian, I remember saying that if I had known anything about vintage racing before deciding to race in NASCAR, I doubt I would have ever raced in the professional series.

Vintage racing is a key part of Monterey Car Week | Photo by Andy Reid

Vintage races are a way to see cars of the past being used the way they were intended. Instead of being displayed at a competition on a golf course somewhere, a vintage race is an emotional competition that takes place on race tracks around the world.

The first thing you need to know about getting involved in vintage racing is that it is addictive. There is something magical about these cars on the track at full speed. Images and sounds are a virtual time machine of days and times gone by.

The next thing you should know about vintage racing, if you have any idea that you would love to be a driver, that like any other form of motor racing, it is expensive. If you’re going to use, say, a small British car, it’ll be cheaper than a Shelby GT350R, but vintage racing will never be cheap.

I told my friend and former boss Tim Suddard about Classic mechanical sports magazine about it. Classic mechanical sports is the best magazine I know for vintage racing fans. Suddard drives a 1957 Triumph TR3 with great success and offers interesting information about the sport from a driver’s point of view.

But before you start burning $ 10 a gallon of racing fuel, it takes time and money to prepare for a vintage racing weekend, as Tim Suddard explains Classic Motorsport Photos

1957 Triumph TR3 | Classic Motorsport Pictures

1957 Triumph TR3 |  Classic Motorsport Pictures

1957 Triumph TR3 | Classic Motorsport Pictures

1957 Triumph TR3 |  Classic Motorsport Pictures

1957 Triumph TR3 | Classic Motorsport Pictures

“The cost of fuel for racing cars is close to $ 10 a gallon,” he noted. “With a car like my TR3, you will spend between 10 and 50 gallons per weekend, depending on how many sessions you run, if you run an enduro and the length of the track. A car with a V8 engine can burn twice as much fuel.

“In a car like my TR3, one of the cost savings is the tires. One set of tires can last me 4-6 race weekends. It’s very different from driving a V8 powered car because one set of tires can last a weekend at best.

“Registration fees depend on the event and can range from $ 400 to $ 4,000 per event.

“Another question regarding costs is whether you are paying to be in a store for the event or to do it solo with yourself or a friend or two to help you. Going with a vintage grocery store is certainly easier, but when you do that a race weekend can cost anywhere from $ 10,000 to $ 15,000.

“Also don’t forget about travel costs such as transport and hotels. Is it a two or three day weekend? How far away is the event?

“In total, you can spend between $ 5,000 and $ 50,000 per weekend, it all depends on where you run.”

Corner workers

Corner workers

If that number is a little too high but you still want to be involved in vintage racing and not just as a spectator, there is another way to go that can be just as rewarding, and sometimes you even get paid. Consider working in tagging and communications, or what’s called becoming a corner worker.

During a race weekend, corner workers are perhaps the most important part of a race, doing all they can to make sure the race is as safe as possible. They display signals to pilots by flags according to course conditions and they communicate with course control to inform everyone of potential dangers such as debris or oil on the track or difficult driving maneuvers or illegal.

They are positioned around the track and are dressed in all white. At many racing events, local workers are invited in groups to attend banquets and take part in other festivities during the weekends of the event.

Corner workers

Corner workers

Corner workers

Corner workers

To start on this path, you must join the Sports Car Club of America ($ 95 membership fee) and complete free reporting and communications training. Once trained, and after purchasing a few pairs of white pants and a few white long-sleeved shirts, you are able to work at events as a full-fledged corner worker.

Finally, if you just want to see these amazing cars up close and be used on the track as intended, you can just watch a vintage race, the only associated costs are the cost of a ticket and you get to a track. near you.

You are not involved in the moving parts of the weekend, but I guarantee that if you are a serious fan of classic sports and racing cars and haven’t seen a vintage race, it is an eye-opening and highly addictive experience.

Most of the events have car corrals for those who drive sports cars on the track, you can often visit the cars in the paddock, and there is a lot of fun just sitting around and enjoying the show.

This article, written by Andy Reid, was originally published on ClassicCars.com, an editorial partner of Motor Authority.

What’s it cost to go vintage racing? More and less than you think



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