ChrisTropea Associate Editor
6/17/22 10:27 a.m.

Tired of just watching race cars zoom by on your TV screen? Want to be a part of the action on or off the track? Good news: it’s now easier than ever to get involved in motorsports.

We talk with IMSA President John Doonan to learn what options are available for enthusiasts–whether you have a race car or not.

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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/17/22 1:45 p.m.

John definitely knows what it's like to shag cones, wave flags or get a car through impound. Good info. 

GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/17/22 3:41 p.m.

The "how many crew chiefs started sweeping floors" question reminded me of Caterham F1 team's executive director coming directly from sweeping floors because he was formerly a famous futbol-er, and some higher-up saw him and decided he needed a high-ranking job on the spot:

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/17/22 5:27 p.m.

FWIW, I started here as the E36 M3 kid. (I might still have that title, come to think of it.)

Tom1200 UltraDork
6/17/22 6:41 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

Are you saying you couldn't make it as a punker??

(Vandals reference for those of you who don't know)

Tom1200 UltraDork
6/17/22 7:26 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

On a serious note I used to drag the formula 500 to a careers on wheels days at one of our local schools: I'd give them a whole list of careers other than "race car driver" in an effort to expand their definition on what a career in motorsports means. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/17/22 8:49 p.m.

In reply to Tom1200 :

Mazda's racing program, under Doonan, used to visit high school STEM programs when in town. I joined them when they were here at Daytona. They talked about driving–the fitness/nutrition side–but also aero, fuel, etc. I knew one of the science teachers. She said it was so helpful. 

racerfink UltraDork
6/17/22 10:39 p.m.

The last school I coached at had two HAAS CNC machines for their STEM program.  If I hadn't sold off my Spec Miata and moved to crapcan racing by then...

Tom1200 UltraDork
6/17/22 10:55 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

I would bring various parts my machinist fabracator friend made up and gave then a brief expala tion of what they were. We had just enough time to an overview of the type of ways one could make a living. I always wore my PCA instructor shirt as that seemed to give me street cred.


David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/17/22 10:59 p.m.

In reply to Tom1200 :

No, I wasn't that cool back then. Still aren't that cool. (Although, FWIW, I am wearing an Adolescents T-shirt right now.)

bmw88rider GRM+ Memberand UberDork
10/19/23 10:29 a.m.

In reply to Tom1200 :

I took my nephew to the drag races and walked him through a few race cars and pointed out all of the parts that hand fabricated and walked him through how they were made. He got hooked and is now halfway through his dual certification for CNC and Tig welding. It works. He had no clue and is really becoming pretty good. 

darinja New Reader
10/19/23 2:24 p.m.

Closest I could get to a career in motorsports would be to work on the websites/apps since I'm a web developer.  I've looked around a bit and haven't found a lot of opportunities, but I've always wanted to work in motorsports again (first web dev gig was with the NHRA).  

DirtyBird222 PowerDork
1/18/24 10:25 a.m.

I started out as a deadman and now I work for uncle sam. Worked well for me. 

Aloy GRM+ Memberand New Reader
1/21/24 8:34 a.m.

Scca is very intimidating. So many classes seems to be alot of room for cheating and gate keeping.

Gridlife seems more approachable to me.

J.A. Ackley
J.A. Ackley Senior Editor
7/2/24 10:54 a.m.

I have to say, I've worked full-time in the motorsport industry for nearly 17 years. It's been a blast. I'd say the key is to do your best work, keep doing it and network network and network. The cream will rise to the top, but people need to be aware of you.

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