People have different hobbies. One like to knit, another to paint and yet someone else, like me, loves mechanics and his/her car. Last year, I made my huge car dream come true - Mazda Rx-8. 12 years since the premier they are still not what you would call cheap. But once you decide for a car like that costs are unavoidable. It is iconic not only because it is one of very few run by a Wankle engine but also for the timeless design of the body and it’s fascinating driving properties.

Should you look for a car that offers pure fun of driving curvy roads… that’s the one you should consider.

My road to first on-track experience

To cut the story short, for one could easily write a doctor thesis on why “Wankles” are not as bad as they paint them and on why it is a good choice regardless of the economics behind it, let me say this…

After driving it for 5 months around town (and it is not a town car by any means), I decided it was time to try if I could do some real driving.

I started to research race driving and drifting. Rx-8 is not the best while going straight… but even with my lame skills I overtook quite a few cars on a curve… so drift is kind of natural choice for this RWD car.

I tend to approach most matters methodically, this was no different. I started researching local communities, local tracks, their accessibility and possible events. Soon, I realized that while it is not a problem to have a car, driving is another matter. Even with quite a few year and thousands kilometers/miles on the counter.

My first step was to join RX Club in my area and also forum of the American one, soon followed by a membership in local MazdaSpeed club. All of them proved to be true marvels when it came to information, data and ideas. I started to look up race driving schools as well.

One may say… Eee, there is no magic to race driving…

…why research it then or go for classes and trainings?

But once you dig into the idea, you suddenly realize, you have no clue about driving. You have been taught some really silly and useless things during regular driver’s ed. Unlearning them can be hell.

You do need help, no matter how smart you think you are. And if you can only afford it, private lessons are the way to go. Reading books like that of Ben Collins or Ross Bentley can also prove of great value.

Suddenly, you can also realize how much, even some basic knowledge on materials, mechanics and physics, can help you on any road… not just the track.

There are thousands of factors one has to consider before taking their car for a spin. From how your seat, pedals and wheel is fitted through the choice of right cask for yourself up to checking the car inside out for anything that may cause issues.

Differences between FWD, RWD and 4x4; between engines and suspensions. All of this suddenly makes you realize that driving is so much more than just a matter of turning the key in ignition. And all of that will impact the choices you make on a road, track or the type of race/competition you will choose later on.

The template

All that has lead me to creating a basic template. It is there to help those who are pondering the idea of taking up race driving… But I think most of the information therein, especially the reading materials, may come in handy to all of you.

It is just a little framework to start on. I’m sure it will grow as I go. However, I hope even in the current, basic and simple form, will be of help to my fellow amateurs.