Volunteering opportunities in motorsport are more common than you would think. It’s often just a case of casting your net wide to a few different clubs, tracks or teams at the right time. Pre-season in one of the best times to put your plan into action so here’s our quick guide to volunteering in motorsport.
Volunteering in Motorsport
Volunteering in motorsport is one of the best ways to learn more about the industry. It’s also a great way to make friends and contacts. It’s also great fun. What’s not to like about getting free admission to races, unlimited paddock access or spending more time doing what you love? The opportunities for volunteers range from hands-on technical support for teams through to managing the safety and fair play of events.
Why should I work for free?
Don’t think of volunteering as just giving free labour. It’s like bartering – you exchange your time for knowledge and experience. Once you have your foot in the door of motorsport you will find that people open up. It’s a massive knowledge share where organisers, teams and individuals all work together. You’ll learn more in one season volunteering than you ever would behind the Armco or in the stands. People are generous with the time and their knowledge because they are passionate about motorsport and they know how it feels to be where you are now.
Improve Your Career Opportunities
When it comes to applying for a job in motorsport you’ve got to ask yourself – who would a team choose? Someone who had never spend any time at a track or someone who had XX hours of volunteering under their belt? That’s why we ask all NMA students to participate in motorsport in some way, shape or form. Many volunteer as marshals for a season which can then lead onto work as a scrutineer or with a team the following year. The contacts you make whilst volunteering can set your motorsport career on the right trajectory and all you need to do is give up some time doing what you like to do anyway?
What volunteering opportunities are there in motorsport?
If you’re looking for volunteering opportunities in motorsport, Motorsport UK are one of the best resources you can use. They are responsible for over 9500 registered volunteers who help run the 5000+ motorsport events held in the UK each year. They train, manage and look after marshals, scrutineers, timekeepers and rescue and recovery personnel at tracks around the UK.
The role of the marshal is hugely important to the safety of all motorsport events. They are the first and last line of defence and their presence turns a dangerous environment into a safer spectator sport. They save lives.
Motorsport UK offers free training for marshals either online or at over 100 training events around the UK. First you need to complete the Registered Marshal Accreditation Course which can be completed online. The Motorsport UK Learning Hub is packed full of other courses you can complete to help boost your knowledge before you volunteer at your first event.
If you are new to marshalling, most clubs offer a buddy-system so that you partner with an experienced volunteer who can show you the ropes.
The majority of clubs have their own portal for registering as a marshal. Look at the tracks and events in your local area, make a list and start applying. Here are some quick links to get your started:
Volunteering as a Race Official
The scrutineering team are responsible for ensuring that all competing vehicles comply with regulations. This is to ensure that competitions remail fair and safe for all involved. You can specialise in cars, bikes, karts or environmental scrutineering for issues like emissions and noise.
Scrutineering is a great choice if you want to become a motorsport engineer as it’s the most hands-on of the volunteering options. You can train to become a scrutineer from the age of 16 and it’s a great way to get your foot in the door from an early age.
To get started as a scrutineer you need to complete the New Official’s Registration Form which is available on Motorsport UK’s Resource Centre.
Clerk of the Course
The top dog at any race event, the Clerk of the Course has ultimate responsibility for making sure that things are run safely and within the rules. They have the power to impose penalties on drivers and teams who flour the rules in the Regulations, Programme and Organising Permit. You need to be 18 or over to train as a Clerk of the Course.
The Stewards are the police of motorsport. They are responsible for making sure that rules are followed and act as the jury should anyone appeal a decision made by the Clerk of the Course. Your decisions can make or break someone’s race of championship so volunteering as a Steward requires a thorough understanding of all aspects of motorsport. More information can be found on the Motorsport UK website.
Timekeeping is essential in motorsport and many races come down to the split-second. You can train as a timekeeper from the age of 16 but won’t get the opportunity to time a full race until you are 18. You’ll need to have a letter of support from a club and fill in an application from on the Motorsport UK website.
Rescue & Recovery
Something which Team NMA are all to familiar with after last season, the Rescue & Recovery team are there to pick up the pieces when things go wrong. They are quick to the scene with medical and extrication services and understandably it’s one of the most skilled and serious of volunteering opportunities. You need to be 18 before you can start training. Head to Motorsport UK to find out more.
Volunteering With a Team
Finding a volunteer position outside of a track-based role is slightly more difficult but each and every season teams take on volunteers and work experience all over the world. Securing a volunteer role with a team can take persistence but once you get in with a team doors will open up forever.
Start by making sure you’ve got a CV which covers all of your motorsport experience and knowledge. Whether that’s work you have done on your own car or track days or extra-curricular learning, every bit of experience matters. The draw up a hit list. Start with teams and tracks in your local area. Do some digging and find out as much about the people that you’re contacting as possible. Russell Howard from motorsport recruitment specialist RACESTAFF.com had some tips for getting a team to take you seriously too….
Hear from Motorsport UK's Training Officer Sam Walker...
Head over to the Motorsport UK’s Learning Hub to access all of the free courses and resources.