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Frequently asked questions

Please note that whilst we make every effort to make sure that the info below is correct we cannot guarantee it. We're currently updating the info and the revised version will be online soon!

How do I join?

Joining the VWDRC is easy!

Membership to the VWDRC is £10.00 for the year.

This will give you membership to the club for the calendar year. In addition you are granted access to the internet forum; to gain advice and catch up with other racers, two club stickers and discounts with several retailers and finally you will be eligible for the championship sponsors fund.

In order to race you also need to be a member of either the SPRC (Santa Pod Racing Club) or APIRA (Avon Park International Racing Association).

The VWDRC offer a package for racers consisting of membership for the year, including membership of either SPRC or APIRA (whichever you choose) for £30.

SPRC membership runs for 12 months from when you join.

You can download the membership sign-up form to print from here. Print it off and post it to us, and we'll get back to you with your details.

You can now buy your membership to the VWDRC (with or without SPRC/APIRA packages) through the VWDRC Shop.

What do I get?

You get to be part of the biggest one make drag racing club in the world!

All members are given access to our members only forum, where you can ask questions and technical queries and get answers from both other racers and VWDRC committee.

When you're competing at an event you get priority entry to the track the day before the general public, no more queueing to get into Santa Pod!

You get invited to our many social events and gatherings, many great nights out!

As part of your VWDRC membership you also get discounts with some of our sponsors! Yep, that's right, many of our sponsors offer discounts or special offers to VWDRC members, don't forget to ask when you order to get the most from your membership.

Can I choose my own race number?

Yes - Provided the number hasn't already been taken. If you happen to choose a number that is already in use then the membership secretary will let you know.

How do the classes work?

There are two classes in the VWDRC - Sportsman and Pro. Both are open to any vehicle that is either powered by a VAG-group engine or that is built around a VAG car/chassis.

If your car is running quarter-mile times of 12.99 seconds or less then you are placed into the Pro class.

What is bracket racing?

Bracket Racing is a way of handicapping drag racing so that you don't need a super fast pro-race car or a huge wallet to win.

Basically the competitor makes a series of practise passes. He or she then decides the average time it has taken to drive down the 1/4 mile and uses this figure as a 'dial-in' time. This figure can be adjusted within class rules as the meeting progresses. With two competitors ready to do battle these 'dial-in times' are written on the car (usually with shoe whitener on a window).

As the cars come to the famous 'Christmas Tree' (traffic light starting device) the timekeeper enters these times into the computer. A staggered start is thus produced. The slower car leaves first and if both drivers run their perfect 'dial-in time' they will cross the line in a dead heat. But of course this never happens. A driver may react slowly to their green light or may fluff a gear change. They may have even lost engine power. So it is the driver who can most consistently run to their dial-in that wins the day, without running too fast ('breaking out' - going faster than their dial in) or leaving the start line before their green light ('red light', 'cherry' - early bath!).

In short, Bracket Racing is a way of making drag racing "fair" so that it's not just the person with the most money that wins, it's down to driver skill, knowledge of your car and consistency.

What do I need to start racing?

First things first, you do not need an expensive pro-race car!

Your regular street Beetle/Golf/Polo/Scirocco/Bay/Split/T25/any other VW/Audi/Seat/Skoda derived car as long as it is Taxed and MOT'd is almost ready for racing anyway.

You need to make sure your seat is secure and the battery/leads and fuel lines need to checked more thoroughly than the MOT (makes sense anyway).

You need a fire extinguisher for your pits.

You need an appropriate race suit, gloves and a helmet.

The last thing you need is an (RAC)MSA Non-Race National B License.

Most of the rules are based on safety and currently, any car running quicker than 12.99 seconds, or has an open body or cut roof will need an MSA spec cage (cars running 14.99 down to 12.99 and with the engine behind the rear axle will need a roll bar which is similar to a cage).

If you want to know the finer details, all the information you could ever possibly need is available, the easiest way to get it is to take an associate membership and ask all your questions in our very active Members Forum. If you are serious about building a full-on race car, please seek advice from the committee members and racers (who are happy to help) so your car can be built to the correct specification and pass scrutineering.

What Does it Cost to Race?

To get you and your car up to MSA racing spec could cost less than a set of twin carbs!

One important misconception needs laying to rest.

It is NOT expensive to participate

All that's needed is:

  • a car (obviously)
  • a minimum of a two layer Nomex suit (starting at £170 from Advance Autosport)
  • A pair of gloves (£30ish)
  • A BS Type-A/FR helmet (£70ish for open face or full face for £140ish from V2 Sport) although BS Type A are legal for 2009 they will not be for 2010 when they will be replaced with BS Type A/FR as a minimum standard, hence we don't recommend buying a BS Type A helmet at this time. Snell SA-2000/2005 is the other newer helmet standard that is legal at this time.
  • A 4kg fire extinguisher (£20ish)
  • An MSA "Non-Race National B" License (£35)
  • A full membership to the club (get your membership form and Licence Application form from Our Downloads Page)

So for less than the price of a pair of twin carbs you're ready to go! Oh and you'll need about a hundred and thirty quid to enter the race meeting (for which you get 4 tickets - Bug Jam tickets cost £50 each - do the maths!)

The four entry tickets to events can be distributed to your crew (i.e. helpful friends) to share the cost of the race entry. On top of which you get to be involved with all that as a 'racer' in the pits!

Do I need a Medical Report in my Licence Application?

The minimum licence requirement for the VWDRC is an MSA "Non-Race National B". No medical examination is required for this.

How quick can I go before I need a roll cage?

The 2007 Drag Racing Year Book (White Book) on page 54 states:

GSR 4:11:3 Cars with engine behind rear axle centreline.
Cars running 8.50secs - 12.99secs to have 6 point roll cage per GSR 4:11
All cars with altered roofs such as roof chops, cabriolets and "Webasto type" sunroofs to have 6 point cage per GSR 4.11

All cars running 14.99secs or quicker with GRP or non metallic "flip fronts" to have 6 point roll cage as per GSR 4:11
All cars running 13.00secs to 14.99secs to have roll bar per GSR 4.10
Any car running quicker than 8.49secs must be fitted with a roll cage conforming to the relevant SFI spec.

So in a Beetle (or other rear engined VW) if you either:
a) Run quicker than 12.99secs
b) Have a cabrio, Webasto or altered roof
c) Have a GRP or non-metallic flip front
Then you have to have a 6 point roll cage as per GSR 4:11

If you run quicker than 14.99 but no quicker than 13.00 you must have a roll bar as per 4:10.

What certification does my helmet require?

The 2009 MSA 'Blue Book' section 90 on page 168/169 states:

10.3.1 Standards
Helmets bearing one of the undermentioned 'standards' may be approved by the MSA subject to other criteria being met.

A) International events and all MSA events.

FIA 8868-2004

Snell SA2005

Snell SA2000*

SFI Foundation 31.1A, 31.2A

BS 6658 Type A/FR

* may be withdrawn with effect from 01/01/2010

In addition the following are acceptable for:
B) All MSA events.

BS 6658 - 85 Type A* (Type 'B' is not acceptable)

* withdrawn with effect from 01/01/2010

C) International and MSA national Kart Race events.

Snell K98 and K2005

Snell standards can be verified be either a self adhesive or cloth label. The self adhesive label has a silvered background and the cloth label will approximate to the colour chart on page 94.

MSA approval stickers (£1.30 each) must be affixed to the outside me the helmet, in the approximate location of the driver's right ear. This can only be carried out by selected scrutineers, by the MSA at Motor Sports House, only after the helmet has been checked for conformity with the standard required and is considered to be in a satisfactory condition.

Note: Stickers supplied since 01/01/08 are individually numbered.

MSA approval stickers are printed on foil and once affixed, cannot be reapplied. Helmet standards are regularly update and an element of 'lifing' will always remain.

Helmets approved for use in all disciplines require a blue MSA sticker. Helmets which are accepted for use in kart racing only require a green MSA sticker. These stickers are available from issuing scrutineers.

So, as of the 2009 season any helmet displaying a valid BS Type A, BS Type A/FR or SNELL SA2000/2005 approval sticker is valid, at the discretion of the scrutineer. However these various standards will be periodically revised as required. It is due to this that the SNELL SA2000 standard may be retired as of 01/01/2010 and that the BS Type A standard will be retired from 01/01/2010.

What format do my race numbers need to be in?

The Car and Bike Drag Racing Yearbook(White Book) contains all the regulations for race numbers.

Supplementary Regulation 4.7 states that

Numbers must be displayed in accordance with the specific class format; affixed in such a way to ensure their durability and legibility and be of sufficient contrast to their background. They shall be subject to the approval of Chief Timekeeper.

The specific class format is defined in GSR 7.3 which states

Any car competing at FIA and/or MSA events must display the drivers Competition number. Numbers must be a minimum 152mm (6-inches) high and 38mm (1 1/2 inches) wide. Class designation letters must be a minimum 76mm (3-inches) high and 25,4mm (1 inch) wide. Drivers competition number and class designation must be displayed in a legiable manner in a contrasting color to the vehicles background colour, or light colour on windows, in a prominent position, and must be clearly visible to the Tower personnel. Class and numbers must be in the form of permenant decals or paint. The use of shoe polish in any form is prohibited.

So there you have it, 6-inch tall, light or contrasting numbers in either decal or paint, No Shoe Whitener.

What specification does my suit need to be?

The 2009 MSA 'Blue Book' on page 166 states:

Clean Flame-Resistant overalls, must be worn. Flame resistant overalls may be manufactured from Nomex III, Proban or equivalent materials. Acceptable standards are:

FIA 8856-2000

FIA 1986 Standard*

* Withdrawn with effect from 01/01/2010

This is however superseded by the "White Book" of Drag Racing rules' ET 10.7 which states for ET cars running 10.00 or slower:

All drivers, jackets and pants or suit meeting SFI spec 3.2A/1 or 1986 FIA standard mandatory.

Since it's no longer possible to buy a 1986 FIA specification suit (and 1986 specification suits will not be suitable from 01/01/2010 onwards) we would recommend a suit conforming to the FIA 8856-2000 standard.

Please note that single layer Proban suits are NOT legal for racing.

What type of Fire Extinguisher do I need?

You need a minimum of 4kg Dry Powder or Foam Fire Extinguisher for your pit area.

There is no requirement to fit a Fire Extinguisher to your race car.