How to get Started in Motorsport

We are often contacted by people requesting information on how to get started in motorsport. The intention of this page is to try and point those wanting to take part in this tremendous sport in the right direction.

Darlington & District Motor Club is affiliated to the Motor Sports Association (MSA) the governing body of motor sport in the UK, who are, in turn, affiliated to the Federation International Automotive (FIA) who govern motor sport worldwide. Clubs are also represented by their Regional Association.

The First Steps

Any prospective competitor needs to be a member of an MSA recognised motor club. You can apply to become a member of DDMC on our Membership page. It makes sense to join a club which is a) organising events of the type you want to be involved in and b) close enough for you to be able to visit the club nights. By talking to like minded club members you will be able to avoid some of the pitfalls that could cost you unnecessary time and expenditure and they might be able to assist with advice to help you achieve your goal.

There are many disciplines of four wheel motor sport a list of the main categories are shown below but this is not a definitive list as there are variations to these listed:

  • Autocross
  • Autotest
  • Auto Solo
  • Circuit Racing
  • Rallying
  • Rallycross
  • Sprinting
  • Drag Racing
  • Hillclimb
  • Karting
  • Production Car Trials
  • Cross Country
  • Sporting Car Trials


In order to compete in motorsport, with the exception of certain "Closed to Club" events, you will require a Competition Licence for your prefered disipline. This can be obtained from the MSA who may be contacted on 01753 765000 (+44 1753 765000 if phoning from outside the UK), or by visiting their web site on www.msauk.org.

Or you can write to:-

The Motor Sports Association Ltd.
Motor Sports House,
Riverside Park,
SL3 0HG.

For Circuit Racing you will need to sit an ARDS course which can be arranged at most racing circuits, our local circuit www.croftcircuit.co.uk has qualified instructors. For Karting you will need an ARKS course, locally available at Warden Law. For Stage Rallying you require a BARS course again the local school is Chris Birkbeck Rally School. Other school details can be found on the MSA web site or by typing "ARDS" "ARKS" or "BARS" into your search engine.


It is very difficult for us to quantify the costs of starting in motor sport, as the frequency at which you compete or the degree of technical sophistication you wish to attain will significantly impact on your overall costs. Some of the sports require little in outlay such as Auto Solo, Autotest, Navigational rallies and Production Car Trials with often competitors own road cars being used quite safely. However it is when you compete in events involving speed that the costs can mount up. Most of this comes from your own personal safety, many of the discipines requiring specialised clothing and cars requiring properly manufactured (and tested) roll over cages, seats and harnesses.

You should recognise that you will incur costs in all of the following areas:-

  • Licence and ARDS, ARKS or BARS Course, £250
  • Personal equipment (overalls, helmet etc.), £1000
  • Purchase of a suitable car (depending on the type of event you enter), £??
  • Car preparation, £??
  • Purchase of timing transponder for racing, £200
  • Annual club membership, £10 - £100
  • Annual championship registration fee, £0 - £300
  • Race entry fees, per race, £140 - £320
  • Transportation costs to/from meetings, £??
  • Accommodation, food etc.at events, £??
  • Leave from work for preparation/testing, £??

We have never claimed that motor sport is cheap! If you feel this is all currently out of your reach then we would strongly recommend getting involved in Marshalling. The Marshals are a dedicated band of volunteers absolutly necessary to the safe running of motorsport and often very close to the action.


We would strongly recommend any prospective competitor to visit events and talk with existing competitors. please remember that there is no such thing as cheap motor sport and you cannot cut corners. Try marshalling at a couple of events. Not only will you be able to gain upgrade signatures from doing this but you will gain a valuable insight in to your chosen branch of the sport and, hopefully, learn to respect the safety of the Officials who give their time voluntary for you to be able to compete.

If you would be interested in contacting the club please visit our Contact Us page.