Updated: Jul 6, 2021
Most people automatically think that motor sport and car racing is beyond their reach so we thought we would go through a comprehensive list of the expenses if you want to get more involved and buy a Formula Vee.
We will go through each of the costs in an itemized way and provide three outcomes…
Buying a Formula Vee to use as a track car only,
Additional requirements to enter events such as regularity (timed events) and hill climb,
Additional requirements to enter races.
As previously outlined Formula Vee cars come in two categories – 1200cc and 1600cc – with 1200cc cars starting from $5,000 and 1600cc cars starting around $10,000 - $12,000, so we will assume you want the bigger, faster 1600cc…
The next thing you will need is a helmet and some basic safety gear, this includes a fireproof race suit, fireproof shoes, socks and gloves. This is the minimum level of safety equipment you need to be able to participate in regularity events, and while some of this equipment is not required for private track days it is highly recommended that you buy these items as a minimum. A Bell Qualifier DLX helmet will set you back around $400 - this is adequate for track days and regularity however you will need a superior helmet if racing, you can buy your suit, gloves, shoes and socks as a package for around $800 for entry level.
Now if all you want to do is take your car out and lap around Luddenham Raceway this is the bare minimum you will need providing you already have, or your car comes with, a trailer.
Scenario 1 – Track Car
1600cc Formula Vee $12,000
Trailer (if reqd) $3,000
Race suit package $800
Total Cost $16,200
Track days will cost you around $300 per day depending on what track and what day you choose to go.
What about the next step?
If you want to enter organized events such as regularity – this is where multiple cars lap at the same time but rather than race each other you must try to consistently hit a lap time that you nominate before taking to the track, the most consistent driver wins the event – or Hill climb, these are short up hill time trial events, then you will need to obtain a Level 2 Speed license from Motorsport Australia.
A Level 2 Speed License can be obtained by simply creating a user account on the Motorsport Australia website and applying for one, the cost of a L2S license is $130 however before you can apply you must join a car club. You can join the Formula Vee Association of NSW who are an affiliated Motorsport Australia car club, annual membership is $100. Other car clubs include the likes of the Australian Racing Drivers Club (ARDC).
If you are doing a timed event then you will also need a timing device, these are called a Dorian Timer and consists of a transmitter fitted to your car, these can be hired at most events but you can also buy these new for around $400 or you may pick one up on the second hand market. Once you have this you are set to enter regularity and hill climb events.
Scenario 2 – Timed events Regularity & Hill climb
Set up (Scenario 1) $16,200
Club membership $100
L2S License $130
Dorian Timer $400
Total Cost $16,830
To enter a timed event the cost is generally between $200 and $450, this will include multiple runs in a hill climb event or a practice session plus multiple runs in a regularity event, so this level of participation represents good value.
The cost difference between a track car and timed events is not great so we always encourage people to take the next step, this is exactly how we got set up at LBR.
How do I go racing?
Racing introduces a new level of safety and competitor requirements that all have associated costs, this means that if you want to go racing your costs will increase but so will your enjoyment and the amount of track time you are getting.
If entering a race event, you must first make sure your car complies with all Motorsport Australia and Formula Vee race regulations. Unlike track days, regularity and hill climb where you are free to run a range of tires and other parts, racing is tightly regulated to ensure no competitor has an unfair advantage. In order to race, you will need a new set of control tires, currently Dunlop CR82’s, these will cost you $960 and you probably want to start the season on a brand-new set. You may also have other incidental costs to make sure your car is compliant with regulations, but we will assume for this exercise that your car meets all regulations.
You will also have to upgrade your license from a L2S to a competition license (Circuit License), this is a process in itself. In order to get a Circuit License you first have to have a medical with your GP, the medical examination forms part of your Motorsport Australia application (details on application form) and will cost you around $200. You then need to submit your medical and license application to Motorsport Australia and pay the license fee, a provisional clubman license will cost you $440. You will also have to undergo an Observed License Test with a qualified tester (we recommend John Boston at Trackday Track School at Wakefield Park), this is where an OLT examiner will observe your driving ability under race like conditions, this will cost you around $300.
If you haven't already, you will also need to join the Formula Vee association in your state - if racing there is no need to join another club as the FVA is a Motorsport Australia Affiliated Car Club. In NSW membership is $100 per year and is required in order to race in the association’s championship series.
Due to the higher risk associated with racing at high speeds and in close proximity, additional safety equipment is required, this includes fireproof under wear and balaclava at around $400, an FIA approved HANS compatible race helmet starting at $850 and a HANS head restraint from $900. As you can see expenses add up but much of this equipment will be a one of cost and you will be able to re-sell a lot of this if you decide to move on. These prices are all for new equipment, but you may be able to pick some of this up second hand however this is not recommended when it comes to helmets.
When purchasing race equipment please ensure it complies with the current Mortorsport Australia safety equipment regulations.
Scenario 3 – Formula Vee racing
Set up (Scenario 1 & 2) $16,830
New tires $960
Competition License $440
Observed License Test $300
Under wear $400
FIA Helmet $850
To enter a race event this will cost between $400-$500 per round with a championship consisting of six rounds across the year, you will also need to consider travel, meals and accommodation when competing at non local tracks. The step from timed events to racing is a significant financial commitment but you will be rewarded with enjoyment on the track.
Racing a 1200cc car would work out cheaper than the above examples, either way you must also remember that running with an older, more affordable, car will mean running in the middle of the pack, but at the end of the day there will always be someone on the track you can race with!