Going racing is often thought of as one of the best ways to burn money, but not all forms of motorsport have to cost the earth.
Sure, to step up the ladder towards Formula One, you will have to remortgage your house and then some. But if you just want a bit of fun on the weekends, there are plenty of ways to go racing around the world.
Here’s a few of them…
24Hrs of LeMons / Chumpcar World Series
What: Low-cost multi-make pan-American racing series
Cost: US$500 for a car and entry costs of US$600 per car and $150per person (LeMons) or US$1,100 for a 3-person entry (Chumpcar)
These two series both involve cheap cars being raced to the max on some of America’s legendary (and less legendary) tracks.
Penalty laps are handed out to even the field for any car that exceeds the price limit – although in LeMons bribes can get around this, as can crazy car creations such as boats, planes and backwards facing machines. If you want to win, though, the best bet is to get a BMW.
Redc Bull Alpenbrevet 2015
What: Moped racing up a mountain
Cost: Free entry
It’s worth avoiding the roads in the Alps when this event kicks off – because it floods them with 1,200 mopeds cruising on a scenic drive.
Any two-stroke moped can take part, but many are incredible creations from all different brands, shapes and customisations, some collectors’ items. MotoGP rider Dani Pedrosa joined in for the ride last year. This year’s starts in Lugano on September 3.
Where: Europe (Belgium, France, Italy, Germany, Spain and UK)
What: One-make endurance racing
Cost: In the UK it’s £700 for a half-day taster test then £20k-£40k for a car plus £2,450 per race or £14,000 for a 3-person team if you like it
This is a cheap opportunity to race on some of Europe’s most famous circuits in all-identical 1.8l VW/Audi powered Beetle lookalikes.
Races run from regular four to eight hour events to a 25hr 160-car marathon in Spa where up to eight drivers can enter as a team. Cars are available to buy or to hire for a single race or a whole season – and in the UK you get to be on TV too, with 40 hours of coverage every year on Sky and Motors TV.
What: Series for home-build Lotus 7 replicas
Cost: Cars from £250 then £140 for membership and registration plus entry costs from £250 a race up to £2,000 for a full season
Created by Oundle School engineering teacher Ron Champion, LoCost cars look like a Lotus 7 or a Caterham but cost next to nothing.
These super-light cars are based on a very reasonably priced Ford platform and hit over 100mph even with a 1.3l engine. The series, run by the 750 motor club, involves nine meetings over the year and racing is super competitive. Keep it on track and you can have a lot of fun on a very little budget.
Where: USA / UK
What: Track racing on ride-on mowers
Cost: A mower costs around US$1,500 (£1,000 in UK) then there’s annual membership of US$25 (£40 in UK) and varying race costs from as low as US$15 (£10 in UK) per weekend
Started in 1973 by a few blokes in a pub, this ridiculous action-packed racing format is perhaps the cheapest out there – albeit a bit slow, with max speeds of 50mph.
The first race had 80 entrants and it’s now serious stuff, with several series around the world and strict rules. Even F1 legend Sir Stirling Moss has had a go – he is a two-time British Grand Prix winner and also won a 12hr endurance race with five-time Le Mans winner Derek Bell.
What: Car Park racing
Cost: Entry is SGD$220 per car or SGD$250 for a team of two to three cars
This five-round series of against-the-clock events runs in giant car parks with different classes for cars from production to super fuel.
The courses are set up with cones, water barriers and drums that are best avoided as penalties are handed out for crashing into them. Drivers get one practice run then three against the clock, with the fastest four getting into the eliminator final.
Where: South Africa / UK
What: Oval dirt racing
Cost: Starter cars can cost from scrap values upwards, with South Africa fees R450 for registration and R150 per event or £40 then a £12.50 booking fee per race in the UK
Chaotic and crazy, these dirt racing series are easy to enter and often have contact and non-contact events for beginners.
South Africa’s Tygerberg Raceway is the country’s fastest while various venues around the UK offer non-contact ‘Rookie Rods’ or bangers for those wanting it a bit more hardcore. The ‘Monaco’ of banger racing is the World Championship, run at a stadium in Ipswich in the UK every November.
Arrive-And-Drive Drag Racing
Where: Australia / UK
What: Drag Racing
Cost: Cars can be anything road legal and entry costs are AUD$45 in Australia or £35 in the UK
Top fuel dragsters this is not, but these regular rookie events let you drive your car to the shops then take it full throttle across a quarter mile.
With ‘Test n Tune’ at Willowbank Raceway in Australia or ‘Run What Ya Brung’ at Santa Pod in the UK, you get to run as many times as you can. For competitive elimination action, step up to the rookie Sportsman ET class in the UK or the Street Series in Australia.
Track Attack Racing
What: Production car racing series
Cost: Cars around £1,500 with entry costs from £330 for a one-off race or £270 per meet if racing a full season
These UK events are based on marques or country of origin and are designed to ensure money is not allowed to talk.
Organisers encourage cars that can be driven to and from the circuit as well as super modified classes. There are specific series dedicated to German cars, Japanese cars, French cars, Vauxhall cars, Toyota MR2s, Hyundai and Toyota coupes as well as special one-off events.