#TBT: 7 things I learned about being a pro race car driver

By J.G. Pasterjak
Apr 25, 2024 | Ford | Posted in Columns | Never miss an article

Photography Credit: Chris Clark

[Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in a previous issue of Grassroots Motorsports.]

I’ve been fortunate enough in my career to get myself behind the wheel of race cars competing in a few pro series before—Mustang Challenge, MX-5 Cup, Viper Cup—but this weekend I took on my most high-profile behind-the-wheel stint to date in the Pirelli World Challenge series driving …

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84FSP Reader
4/28/15 6:43 a.m.

Looking forward to the full article.

bmw88rider GRM+ Memberand Dork
4/28/15 7:02 a.m.

Having worked both SCCA, Nasa, and Pro events, That part about it being a show is so true.

The details of the show are down to the minute and everyone has a place. It's an incredible amount of details are put into every step. Nascar is a pro at this. It's very interesting to watch the motions that are put in place to pull it all off.

bravenrace MegaDork
4/28/15 8:30 a.m.

Zombie thread.

LuxInterior Reader
4/28/15 10:28 a.m.

For this one you'll want a subscription and a time machine

racerdave600 SuperDork
4/28/15 10:36 a.m.

I've crewed in IMSA, SCCA and NASCAR, and I will second everything you said. The amount of preparation before hand, and then the work load at the track (especially NASCAR) is something that most people cannot imagine. You have to have amazing attention to detail and be very organized. Not only does everyone need to know their tasks, but they have to work well together and not be in each other's way. We had lists for everything, and they were taped to the car, tool boxes, you name it. One small missed detail could be the difference between winning or simply finishing the race. You'd be shocked at how easy it is to miss even large items like changing the gear ratios or rebuilding the shocks between sessions.

And then there is the cleaning. We cleaned the car top to bottom, inside and out, between every session. No exception. It's shocking how dirty they can get and when you have sponsors, they expect it. And in our case, when it was Toyota, they have very high expectations. We coordinated crew attire before every event, and had uniforms for the track. But even afterwards at the hotel, we always had proper attire. A certain conduct was also expected.

trigun7469 Dork
4/28/15 11:37 a.m.

Run in a pro event has always been a dream of mine, not looking to do a full season, but one event would be cool.

Rusted_Busted_Spit GRM+ Memberand UberDork
4/28/15 12:12 p.m.

One of my favorite things to do at a Pro race is to walk the paddock and watch the crews work.

dean1484 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/28/15 12:27 p.m.

I can not wait to read the article. We did the open trailer thing and took it about as far as we could with out having to get "more" professional. We thought it was a big deal when we all got matching team T-shirts. LOL. . .. . This was back in the late 90's early 2000's when there was still a remote chance a no name could show up with a pickup and a helper and get in the big show. Great memories!!!!

bravenrace MegaDork
4/28/15 12:34 p.m.

In reply to dean1484:


turboswede GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/28/15 12:51 p.m.

In reply to bravenrace:

Hey buddy! Its someone commenting on the ARTICLE, just as intended when GRM redesigned the site on the last go around, so when a comment is added it is posted to the message board. Just like when a new article is posted. This was to help generate traffic and discussion outside of the message board because so many visit the boards and not the rest of the site.

So this is working as intended and quite frankly it is an interesting subject to talk about, so maybe contribute to the discussion please?

As for the original discussion, I was able to volunteer as a "pit reporter" for Radio Le Mans when they came to Portland. It was impressive being that close to the action and especially the professional track crews. You could definitely see the professionalism, organization and work ethic in action. The amount of effort put forth was brief with periods of waiting and monitoring with only the tire gofers mostly staying busy, unless a repair was needed or a pit stop was getting close, then things got a bit more busy with tool prep, etc.

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