How to Start Racing - buy your copy & accelerate up the grid

Posted: October 23, 2023 Read time: 5 mins

Colin's journey into motorsport racing was originally featured in CAT's 'How to Start Racing Guide.' To understand what is involved to start your own motor racing journey, click here to purchase your copy.

I began racing initially with the help of my father and, as I progressed, I was fortunate to meet a competitive and experienced racer who took me under his wing, showing me the ropes. Such was his kindness, that he once lent me his car to help me win my first race. Mine had broken a drive shaft and I did not have a spare.

My experience is similar to many who begin motor racing. I could not afford training or professional mechanical assistance, so I learnt at home in my garage, in the paddock and on the circuit. When I look back, it was all very much by the seat of the pants. It certainly helped that my father was an engineer, and I was in my early years as an apprentice at Rolls Royce.

I built my own engines and developed cars over time. Chassis and suspension modifications were based on trial and error. We raised floors and fabricated rear beam axles to improve cornering performance and reduce weight, major work that eventually reaped rewards. I can vividly remember lots of drawings on sketch pads and achieving lap time reduction, via this kind of trial and error!

My persistence paid off, and I was fortunate to be sponsored by an aviation company. This was a monumental moment for me: three years of financial stability and the gateway to winning races and standing on the podium.

Colin Old Racing Bovingdon Raceway 1979-81

Even with a mentor and sponsor, however, my route into motorsport was not the most cost-effective or efficient. It often felt like I was spending money going backwards. Trial and error can be expensive: two steps forward, one step back. You quickly realise that if your car breaks on the start line, you have spent a lot of money you cannot recover. Race entries, travel, time and commitment - there are no refunds. This mindset has influenced how I have lived my life. Essentially, if you are going to do something, do it to the best of your ability. Put your heart and soul into it.

Despite my limited resources, wild horses would not have stopped me trying, such was my passion and desire to go racing. You may be in the same boat as me. Keep chasing your passion - it is surprising where drive and determination can take you.

I went from an 18 year old novice, stumbling around in my garage at home and learning the hard way on circuit, to an interesting and engaging career in the world of motorsport, vehicle testing and evaluation. Since 2005, coaching and instruction in driver development has provided me not only with an income but also an exciting career and a purpose in life.

Mini RacingBovingdon Raceway 1979-81

Once I began preparing cars professionally and watching how others approached racing, it gave me a different perspective. It surprised me as a younger man, to see winning drivers still taking tuition and driving education. It is a subject often not considered when looking for personal optimisation. 

Club racing in the UK is quite possibly the most competitive you will find anywhere in the world. If your intention is to visit the podium, do not underestimate the value of quality training and coaching. Keep safe, enjoy yourself and accelerate your progression.

My own years of experience - including working with car manufacturers, engineering vehicles, training drivers and testing on numerous tracks and proving grounds - allow me to coach successfully and help you in a way others may not be able to.


For more information about our Race Academy courses and services visit the link below. Alternatively, call +44 (0)1234 757633 or email Jo at


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