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How to become a rally driver?

Rally racing picture by Taisiya Lavrova

The thrill and experience of driving high-speed cars in deserts, rough terrains and on grasses going from one country to another cannot be compared to anything else in this world. If you have ever been behind the steering wheel of a rally car while competing with other drivers to reach your destination, you will certainly know that this is experiencing worth having.

Driving in a rally is a complete freedom. This will be the pinnacle of your driving experience. Driving in a rally is not about winning, it is about the thrill. It is a great way to have a story you can tell to your children and even the next generation.

Unlike Formula One, World Rally Championship is open to everybody. You can get involved without having a billionaire sponsor. You don't even need to have cars the likes of Ferrari to compete. You can build a car in your mom's garage and show up at the Rally. In fact, one guy did just that in 2010.

... He won! You heard right. His name is Bill Caswell. He bought a crap car off Craigslist back in 2010 to run against $400,000+ rally cars in a World Rally Championship Race and he ended up a winner. This guy is an unemployed Chicago racing freak. He has no funds and no prior experience of driving in a rally. However, his determination of participating in rally enabled him to become a winner.

I know, when you look at these expensive race cars, you think that becoming a rally driver is something impossible for a person at your level. It is not, you can totally become a rally driver if you are passionate about car racing.

Becoming a rally driver is not just about the thrills of driving high-speed cars, you need to be adventurous, i.e. you need to be someone that loves being out in nature. This is an important attribute of a rally driver.

As a rally driver, you will be subjected to drive in various weather conditions as well as various countries and ecosystems. You may find yourself racing deep inside desert or forest. Rally may not be for you if you don't have the love for nature.

In this article, you will learn of an easy and simple way you can live your dream of becoming a rally driver.

To Becoming a Rally Driver

1. Join a Car Club


Joining your local car club is the best way to become a rally driver. When you join this club, you will meet professional drivers and people with the same dream like you. You will learn a lot by working with professional drivers and working together with people who also want to become rally drivers. This way, you can realize your dream of becoming a rally driver sooner.

2. Find a Mentor

Now that you've joined a car club, don't stop there. If you really want to go far as a rally driver, you will need to find a mentor, someone that can always point you in the right direction. I would recommend working with someone who has had the experience of driving in the World Championship Rally and other professional car races.


3. Head To A Rally School


You need to get yourself ready for the rally experience. Driving in a rally is different from street racing. Sign up for a rally school. Depending on where you enrolled, it can be quite pricey but you will learn a lot when you join a good rally school.

Note that the first day behind a rally car can be quite intimidating. However, maintain your cool, with practice, you will get pretty confident and good at driving rally cars. If you don't understand anything, always ask your instructor a question.


4. Take Your Test

You will need to obtain a license before you can drive in a rally. However, to do that, you will have to pass a test. There are different organizations that conduct this test and this will depend on your country.

In the United Kingdom, you will need to take your test at British Associations of Rally Schools (BARS). The test involves couples of multiple choice theory tests and a driving assessment. You will drive for about 10 minutes in a rally car with the examiner. Once you pass the exam, you are ready to apply for your rally license.


5. Apply For Your Rally License

Now we are getting closer to the fun part. Once you pass your rally test, the next step is to apply for your rally license. A rally license will open doors for you. It means you can now compete in rally both locally and internationally as a rally driver.



6. Get Your Rally Car

The only thing left to do is to get a rally car. Note that your car must be of rally standard. You may need to make some modifications to your car to make it acceptable for a rally. For instance, you will need to add roll cages, fire extinguishers, special rally-grade seats with multipoint harnesses, and other safety features.


7. Get a Co-Driver

Here is the last thing to do: You need co-driver. Every great rally driver has one. Their job is to give you details of all the crests, bends, and drops of the course so that you will know exactly what is coming up next.

Once you get a co-driver, you are ready to have your first rally experience.

Becoming a rally driver is hard and exciting. You will have the opportunity to experience the nature in a way you have never done before. Moreover, you will enjoy the thrills of competing with other drivers. It is a great way to come closer to living your dream of becoming a professional driver and driving in top competitions like Formula One.

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Taisiya Lavrova

Russian motorsport's journalist, a painter. I enjoy to motivate you by posts about bravest drivers and most beautiful autodromes. If you like it, follow me.

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