Racing is a sport fueled by passion and sacrifice. Passion and sacrifice are the very first things you need to understand on the way to becoming a professional racer. Although there are a lot of racers making a good living, a large number of racers are still self-funded and probably taking losses.
Starting a career in racing is only fit for the young. All racers start young. The need for speed has to be evident at an early age. Starting a professional racing career at a later age is very difficult and expensive. Starting to race at 14 is ideal, even as early as 10 if possible. At that age it is illegal for a racer to drive a car, so they race using racing karts. Kart racing is where most racers start. Racing karts are a great opportunity for a young racer to grasp the basic racing concepts of under steering, over steering, and adjusting the kart for different race tracks. Kart racing is not only an opportunity to learn the basics of racing, but it is also a chance to be seen. Young talent is always being sought after at kart races, so winning is a must.
After learning the basics of racing from kart racing, the next step would be to attend a racing school. This should happen as soon as it is legal, usually at 16-17 years old. Racing schools may cost either a few hundred or several thousands of dollars and the courses run over a few days. Racing schools teach young drivers about the mechanics of cars and how to race them. Some racing schools also have their own tournaments open to students and non-students, these tournaments are also a great opportunity to be seen.
After the kart racing and racing schools a young racer can go professional. To be a professional racer you actually need a professional racing licence. Racing schools are very adept at helping students through this process. Getting into professional racing also requires a racer to have good equipment, so it is a necessity to invest in the racer and his or her car. NASCAR and Indy 500 are great tournaments but you are unlikely to immediately jump to those leagues. At this point, a professional racer is most likely to be financing their own races.
Getting sponsors is an ultimate goal. Sponsors can help finance your racing and even make racing a viable career for a driver. Sponsors have their own goals and objectives, so it is important for a professional racer to make themselves as attractive as possible to sponsors. To be attractive to sponsors it is important to manage you public image. It also helps to grow and engage your fan base. Ultimately when it comes to attracting sponsors nothing beats winning, so win a lot.
A racing career has as many curves and surprises as any good circuit. A racer must always be at their best. A racer must thrive in highly competitive environment and strive to win at all times. Always seek exposure because you never know who is watching. At every point in your career, it is important to be know that success means winning and networking hard.