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Beetle Challenge » Getting Started -

Beetle Challenge
The Official Beetle Challenge Website - Aircooled VW Circuit Racing in the UK

Getting Started -

Here’s a ground up getting started details: It follows the progress of Simon ‘Honey Monster’ who is brand new to circuit racing.. so shows everything you’ll need to obtain/achieve in order to come racing with us!

You’ll need:

STEP 1) A beetle which conforms to the race series regulations
STEP 2) Race License (By completing an ARDS test)
STEP 3) Personal Safety Equipment - which meets the MSA Specs (Motor Sport Association)
STEP 4) The desire to have some fun racing!


STEP 1) The Car’s need to be prepared to the Beetle Challenge specification for our class found here : Full details of the Regs are available here

I managed to pick up a stripped out Ex-Beetle Cup car (Thanks Craig!) - and then with the help of some of the other competitors who are preparing their cars, managed to track down a Rollcage which meets the Specifications - Picked up a seat off of eBay - and generally begged, borrowed, blagged bargains to piece together a race car on a Very Limited Budget! (More on that later)


STEP 2) Get a race license:
This is pretty straight forward…

a) Before you go, get your ‘Go Racing’ pack from the MSA.. this has the Blue form to apply for a race license in it (along with a load of other goodies/DVD’s etc…)
MSA 'Go Racing' Starter Pack
It costs £62.00 for 2012

b) Take the blue form to your Doctors, and they do a medical… it only takes a few minuites and is straight forward / easy… This costs around £60… (or free if you have a nice Doctor like mine, who was more interested in having a chin wag about what I’d be doing! which made a break from the misserable old’folk he was dealing with 90% of the time!)

c) Book your ARDS test at a race track near you… just search online for your local track and speak to their reception to book a course….

Once on the course you’ll go through the below process….

1) You have a 45min briefing, where by they discuss / explain the fundimental requirements for going racing <During this they cover all of the information required to complete the Multiple Choice Test at the end of the ‘examination’ - Essentially they hand the answers to you on a plate>

2) Then you should go out with an instructor who gives you a few laps on of the track, showing you the lines and braking points (plus some extra confidence inspiring pointers)

3) You swap places with the Instructor and do a few laps with them giving you advice / pointers, so that you can familiarise yourself with the track / corners / lines etc…

4) You then drive a couple of laps with the instructor observing. (Speed is not what they are looking for.. more of an ‘awareness’ of what you should be doing on the track, where you should be on the track etc.. (This is mainly because if you are a novice and there are faster people on the track, they want you to be predictable… ie the person wanting to get past you knows that you will take a racing line.. (unless you wave them past) so that they can determine their overtaking strategy without any issues… cabbish? - ie: they know that you are going to be considerate of your other competitors and your own capabilities, not causing risk to your self or any one else… whilst you learn/improve your track craft and work your way up the grid with the more experienced racers as your skills improve etc…

5) Then they tell you that you have passed the practical! <Fingers Crossed egh!> (Remember they want you to pass!… you will pretty much only fail if you are reckless or spin off (you spin.. you fail! NO if’s and’s or but’s)… if you are competent then they will give you as much coaching as you want to build your confidence / speed etc… the ARDS is about proving that you will be competent / considerate on a track so that you and your competitors will be safe and have fun. At no point is it about being ‘fast’.. it’s about being ’safe’

6) You go back inside and complete a multiple choice test… the first section is about the ‘Flags’ and what each one means.. you have to score 100% in this… but it is dead easy… then you have a dozen questions where by there is only 1 right answer… the other answers are so blatently wrong, verging on rediculous… All 9 of us at the examination scored 100% (But you only have to score 65% to pass which is near impossible.. unless you can’t read and deduce the most ’sensible’ answer)

That’s it.. pretty darn simple… but my advice is book your ARDS in the morning not at the end of the day, as low/no light really spoils the experience/fun you could have…

My second bit of advice is (for what it’s worth)… book your ARDS now.. even if you are considering having a drive at some point… it’s a worth while exercise and if you tot up the cost (Mine was £240) it is pretty close to one of those dumb ass ‘red letter day’ driving experiences where you are ‘nannied’ round the track and get a shitty photo at the end (for another £10-£50!) … do your ARDS… you get proper coaching… thay want yo to improve you race skills (as you are committed to racing)… you get to blap past all the ‘driving experience’ punters… and at the end you don’t get a photo.. you get a blue form signed which allows you to go racing!…

STEP 3) Personnel Safety Equipment:

Get the best you can afford - if Like me you can’t afford much, as you have Everything to buy, search out some bargains. Ebay has lots of equipment up for grabs. I have obtained Brand New Sparco Gloves for £22, A Brand new pair of Alpine Stars FIA spec boots for just £38… Most retail suppliers will give you a discount if you ask also!

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