Getting Your License: A Primer

By Staff Writer
May 29, 2013 | Posted in Safety , Columns , Features | From the June 2013 issue | Never miss an article

Story By Alan Cesar

Permission to go door to door at triple-digit speeds is not something that’s handed off lightly. You’ve seen our safety equipment: Racing is serious business, and the process of getting to this point is an arduous one compared to your average autocross.

There are licensing requirements, additional fees, a physical, and real training. If you’re not comfortable with paperwork, you’re in for a challenge. Here’s how you do it with the SCCA. (All forms can be found at

0. Go autocrossing and ideally attend some track days, too. This step isn’t required, but it’s the right place to start so you’re comfortable with controlling a vehicle while driving fast.
1. Become an SCCA member if you aren’t already.
2. Fill out the Novice Permit Application form.
3. Take the Examination and Medical History form to your doctor. It’s a fairly standard sports physical. Make sure your doctor fills it out in its entirety to prevent delays.
4. Send the permit application and medical forms to the SCCA national office along with a copy of your driver’s license and payment of $110. Minors must also submit the Minor Release form.
5. Go to your local drug store to get a passport photo taken to attach to your forthcoming novice permit.
6. By now, you should have researched times of the upcoming driver’s school events in your area. You’ll need to attend two of them before you can drive in real competition. Sign up for one, and then become intimate with its supplemental rules. Make sure both you and your car are properly equipped. Will you need fuel jugs, or can you fill up at the track? Can you exit the paddock while the track is hot? Are transponder rentals available?
7. Your novice permit will arrive with a copy of the General Competition Rules. Crack open that sucker and start reading; pay special attention to the safety section.
8. In preparation for the driver’s school, review the track map and watch videos on the Internet of other people driving the track you’re visiting. If possible, experience the track in a video game. Driving a new course while going fast in a cluster of other cars only makes things harder. Your goal is to be comfortable driving fast while side by side with other drivers and while watching the flag stations.
9. Once you’ve attended two driver’s schools and your instructors have signed off two pages of your novice permit, you can begin attending regional races. The permit is valid for two years. Attend two races within that time and get them signed off by the chief steward at each event. After your second event, have the chief steward sign that you’ve completed the novice permit requirement, too.
10. Then you can send the novice permit to the national office (keep a copy for yourself) to get your regional license. Alternately, if you complete four races with the novice permit, you can apply for a national license.

Concurrently with this, you’ll need to figure out your car and personal safety equipment. The GCR is your resource for specifics, but the basics for your body include a fire-resistant suit, head-and-neck-restraint device, gloves and shoes.

If you have a car already, it’ll need its own logbook, so put in a phone call—not an email—to the club racing tech chief of your SCCA region to ask if there’s a tech inspector in your area. The inspector will check out your car, tell you if you’re deficient in any of the safety rules and, if everything checks out, will give you a logbook.

You can also rent a car from any number of race rental companies. They’ll make that portion of the weekend easy. You won’t have to worry about consumables and breakdowns and can focus your attention on filling out those pages in your permit.

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USGUYS New Reader
1/28/14 11:56 p.m.

This article should revisited. SCCA has changed the entire licensing process. Two schools are no longer required and track time in the Time Trials program counts too.

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