"Working in Motorsport"

Motorsport related “work” ideas…

I thought maybe for the younger folks we could articulate ways that we old farts (21+) have engaged with motorsports “professionally”.

By professionally I mean a deliberate attempt to make a living (could be a side hustle) related to our passion for karting (or Motorports in general).

I’m going through college app with Nick right now and was thinking about how when we are young we don’t have a clue about how we are gonna move forwards. I can imagine a 16 yr old saying, “hmmm, I sure wish I could keep this racing in my life but I’m not Ryan N caliber. How can I work in this space without being a sponsored team driver?”.

So, ladies and gentlemen, please describe your Motorports jobs and side hustles…

TJ: Oktane (helmet painting and graphic design, also runs a team/coaching biz)

Xander Clements: KartChaser

Matteo and Alec: Touring Kart Championships (travel rental series) and E-series.



I started working for Shawn Bayliff at his car shop in 2011. Learned how to wrench properly and the whole carbon fiber manufacturing process. Then I was hired as a fly in on an ALMS GTC Porsche team for two seasons. From there I worked at a Euro performance shop for a year before coming back to karting with TKG for a few seasons. Took a short break from racing before working at Wright Motorsports for 3.5 years in SRO, IMSA GTD, IMSA GS, Carrera Cup etc. Now I’m back with Shawn helping run MCC while they’re away at races.


Zach, how did you open that door? Did you srudy mechanics somehow prior? What’s the requirements, if you will, for a young wanna be engineer to consider?

Also you have the side hustles: Starting a 3D printing Karting business

For the most part it boiled down to being in the right place at the right time. Getting in the door of motorsports is tough. It takes knowing the right people, being a hard worker, and being willing to learn. I know a few people that went through the UNOH/Wyotech/etc route, but many (like me) don’t have any formal training. What sets them apart as being motorsports mechanics is their attention to detail and their ability to problem solve. You can teach just about anyone how to turn a bolt. It takes attention to detail to be able to spot small problems and be able to address them before they become large ones. But it also takes being humble. No team wants someone who knows everything, because that’s impossible. For an engineer you will need to learn how to diagnose electrical component issues, display and interpret data, and learn how to manipulate handling issues. Getting a firm grasp on aerodynamics and mechanical grip; how they are mutually exclusive but directly affect each other. Being an apprentice under a good race engineer will teach you a lot of the specifics. But going into a position like that completely green might get overwhelming. Best thing for someone completely new to the idea is just to dive into research. Get comfortable with AIM Race Studio as much as possible. It’s fairly powerful albeit simple compared to looking at data from even a GT3 spec car with Bosch or Cosworth. Learn how spring rates, roll bars, anti dive, bump steer, roll center, etc all affect the car. Learn how Aero balance works; splitter angle, wing set back, rake, etc. Even as far as getting on iRacing and just start playing around with things (though that’s tough if you don’t have a good feel for the driving side of things).


I’ve pretty much lived off of side-hustles so far. Coaching, tuning, working for Kart Chaser in a couple various roles, I’ve played with some media stuff but never in a paid setting, and my next endeavor is trying to learn how to build engines if I can get myself out to Chicago.

I’m almost entirely self-taught. We could never afford to have coaching or tuning, so I had to teach myself how to work on a kart, look at data and video, etc. Same with Photoshop, Premier Pro, Illustrator.

The biggest thing that I have is the connections from racing. I’ve gotten all of my work through word of mouth and relationships. I knew Xander through here, I knew team owners and parents to get tuner/coaching work, I have the engine opportunity through a team I drove for a few years ago. If you put in the work to know your craft, and know people that can get you into places, you can get just about anywhere in motorsports even outside of karting.


So early common thread: making connections. Your racing results may not matter directly but who you are and how you present/behave/think seems to be relevant to future oppties


Racing results absolutely do not matter. Nobody knows me for my racing performances, but because I went around, talked to people, and got to know them at the track. If I only kept to myself and never said anything, I wouldn’t be able to do anything in karting for work and probably would have gotten a regular job doing who knows what.

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Right place right time and knowing the right people to open the door. I was lucky enough that I knew someone that knew someone to get me an internship at Dallara. After that, I was just trying to prove my worth over a couple of internships with them until I graduated and got a position.

The best advice I can give anyone is don’t be shy, attend as many racing related clubs/events, and make connections anywhere you can. You never know if that guy you just met can open a door for you.

What does he like doing?

For me, I realised i wasn’t talented/rich enough/made the right racing decisions to make it as a professional driver and chose my A-Levels and then my university course with the aim to be a race engineer in F1. Now during my university life i met my wife and suddenly earning money became more important. So my life decisions didnt take me in that direction. But i have tonnes of class mates who are in various roles in F1.

In short, if he wants to be a race engineer, he needs to do some sort of engineering (probably mechanical or electrical based) and be ready to do co-ops or internships during the summer’s or taking a year out. And he’d to be prepared to not be paid very much at first until hes proved himself. Formula SAE is a must too.

Side hustles, well find someone he likes doing and start building it up. I can’t speak specifically for TJ or Xander but they look like the loved graphic design and commentating, they started there and built up over time.

Should probably add, ive side hustled with suits importing and some of the design, generally self taught and not very good at it. I paid for my university (which is much cheaper in the UK) through tuning for a top euro kart team. I could make a living tuning now but it would involve a lot of travel and I have a family now.

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Yup. It’s not specific to Nick, it’s just that the college app process and the pain associated with it got me to thinking about back when I was a kid and saw the future as a giant question mark. Nick leans towards tech stuff strongly and enjoys racing, but is not really ticked by the engineering side of it. He’s more into computer networking etc.

That being said, there are plenty of 16-17 yr olds staring down the barrel of “what next” who have probably wondered what racing related avenues exist.

My thinking that the thread could be useful for young folks thinking about work and stuff.

Of course all this goes out the window when we get someone/become preggo, should we be so fortunate. :sunglasses:


I dont think computer networking would be a bad avenue. Coding is keenly important right now.

Computer networking can definitely be worked in motorsport, in fact realistically almost anything can be in motorsport. Teams hire psychologists, physiologists, engineers, fabricators, computer networking specialists, dieticians, etc.

I think the bigger question is what do you want to make of motorsport? If you want to live racing and only care about that, getting into motorsport is great as a job. Personally I preferred keeping motorsport more casual. Now I realize I want something in racing full time, or at least sustainable, but with some freedom.

It’s all what you want to make of it, but he’s setting himself up well from what you’re telling us.

I think I would suggest…Proceed with caution. In my other interests (skiing and mountain biking) the running joke is if you turn your hobby into a business you will never participate in your hobby again. I think motorsports is a little different but it depends on where you fit in. Just imagine you have a job working at a race shop or on crew that goes to the races. Since most racing takes place on the weekends you will likely be at the track “working” weekends. So when do you get to have fun? If you want to continue karting or even move up to something bigger I think you will have a conflict that will prevent you from your hobby. Just something to consider.


I have plenty of karting friends that can barely kart because they’re working at the shop, or working at testing, or working a race.

I have a side hustle: kart mechanic! If teams see you have little trouble keeping your kart ready, they’ll pay you to go to races with them. It’s a great way to spectate in only one class that you have an intense interest in.


I struggled with that a lot. It seemed like every single kart race weekend fell on a test or race weekend. Made it really tough to have a life outside of work.

Just gonna leave this here for the yoots.

I made a modest income doing karting media stuff. It’s a lot harder nowadays because advertisers go straight to social media, but if you want to keep yourself involved in the sport writing about it or making videos etc… can keep you in.


Nothing to mention at this moment because I don’t work in Motorsport. I can talk about my daughters passion and how we intend to engineer her path.

She wants to be a lawyer, in particular a Motorsport lawyer. She’s 12.

We already spoke with some friends about the best pathway to follow, my daughter knows what subjects to concentrate extra hard on to get to the degree she wants to study (Motorsport Technology) and she knows what kind of grades there will get her into law school.

Meanwhile I’m practicing heists in gta to be able to fund this path :joy:


I got into motorsports through working for a car company. When I saw there were not too many people truly passionate about motorsports in the company, at that time, I asked my boss if I could get involved – marketing side. I ended up running motorsports for our company for 7 years.

Another approach: there are companies that support motorsports events (hospitality, paddock operations, ride and drive events, etc…) many manufacturers hire these third-party agencies to run their track activities. Get a summer internship with one of these companies, they are always looking for good inexpensive labor.

I can’t recall all the names but there are many.

On Linked In here are some things to consider:

Last, my side hustle started when looking through homologation papers I noticed there was a company that was homologating components but I had not heard of them in the US. I sent them an email, meet with them when I was in Italy on other business, and started importing their components a few months later.

The key is always ask the questions…you never know what is going to happen.