Below are listed some of the most frequently asked questions about karting and the UBMRC. If your query is not answered here, then feel free to get in touch with us. Or, if your question is to do with the British Universities Karting Championship, check out our BUKC-specific FAQ, or the BUKC Website.
What kind of events are on offer?
What experience do I need?
How do I join?
How much does it all cost?
How do I sign up for an event?
How do I pay for an event?
Do I need any equipment?
Do I need a driving/racing license for any events?
What do I need to wear/bring to an event?
How much of a commitment is being a part of the UBMRC?
1. What kind of events are on offer?
We do a range of different events in the UBMRC. We take part is the British Universities Karting Championship (more info here and here), which is an outdoor karting championship contested by teams from universities all over the country. As a club we hold intra-club social races; most, but not all of which are at indoor karting tracks in the Birmingham area. Absolutely everyone in the club is welcome to come along and enjoy racing in a friendly atmosphere!
Away from the track, we also run a series of social events. It’s perhaps no surprise that many of us are into watching motorsport, and to that end we often meet up at a local pub to watch a Formula 1 grand prix over a pint (if it’s on at a time when the pubs are open!). We also go out for meals together and often go to sports night – an event for University of Birmingham sports club members held at the Guild of Students. In the past we have also gone to other motorsport events as spectators, such as BTCC races. We’ve got plans for even more great events in the near future, such as running gaming events for those of you who enjoy racing in the virtual world as well as the real one.
Rest assured, the UBMRC is a friendly club, and you’ll soon get to know the faces beneath the helmets!
2. What experience do I need?
In short, absolutely none at all. We welcome all levels of skill, experience and athleticism. Don’t think you’ll be the only one who hasn’t sat in a go-kart before. On the other hand, if you’re an experienced racer, we’re sure you’ll also feel right at home with us.
3. How do I join?
During welcome week at the start of each academic year, we will have a stand at the sports societies fair, which is held at the Munrow Sports Centre on the university’s main Edgbaston campus. Come over and say hello – we’ll be happy to answer any questions that you have before signing up. Alternatively, you can get involved with the club at any time during the year by contacting us through any means.
Joining the club does require you paying a membership fee. This must be done before you can participate in any of our events, but can be done at any point in the year by going to the reception desk in the Munrow Sports centre.
4. How much does it all cost?
There’s no denying that motor racing tends to be a relatively expensive sport, but with the UBMRC it might not be as costly as you think…
Membership of the club costs £22. This covers transport and insurance costs. In order to take part in a racing event of any kind you must have already paid this membership fee unless told otherwise.
As a university motor racing society, we often get discounted prices for our members. Social races at indoor tracks tend to be priced at around £20-£30, which tends to be the cost of a basic arrive-and-drive practice session for the general public. For outdoor social races, the prices tend to be slightly higher, at around the £30-£40 range. All transport costs to and from the venues are covered by the original £22 membership fee.
Social events such as going to the pub to watch a grand prix, are absolutely free to attend! Everyone makes a contribution when we go out for a meal and attending sports night has a small entry fee.
For more information about the cost of taking part in the British Universities Karting Championship, please see this FAQ.
We appreciate that our members are living on a student budget and that money is therefore a major factor in determining which events you can take part in. We endeavour to get the best deals possible for our members and to make motor racing affordable as well as enjoyable. As a member of the club, you are under no obligation to go to an event, so if money is an issue, there is no need to worry.
5. How do I sign up for an event?
Members of the committee will hold sign up sessions where members can come along to register and pay to take part in an upcoming event. These are usually held in either Joes Bar at the Guild of Students or the Raising the Bar café in the Munrow Sports Centre. Details of sign up events will be posted on our Facebook page.
In the event that you are unable to make a sign up session, you can contact us or a specific member of the committee and an alternative arrangement can be made.
6. How do I pay for an event?
You can pay for an event with cash at a sign up session (see question above). If you have any issues relating to paying at a sign up event, you can contact us or a specific member of the committee and an alternative arrangement can be made. This is the only method of payment for an event which we can accept. There are no methods of online payment available.
7. Do I need any equipment?
No. If you have your own equipment, then great, but all of the tracks we visit supply safety helmets, overalls, gloves and seat inserts. The club also has a very limited collection of equipment including gloves and overalls. Having said that, any extra “non-standard” equipment you may want, such as rib protectors, knee protectors, neck supports, helmet balaclavas etc. have to be supplied by you.
If you are looking to buy equipment, then do not hesitate to ask other members about it; a large number of long term members own part, if not all, of the required karting gear to race, so purchasing knowledge is abundant! If you are considering buying a safety helmet, it is worth bearing in mind that a standard full face motorcycle helmet is deemed suitable for all the forms of motorsport we currently take part in, so you needn’t feel you have to splash out on a helmet with full motorsport safety accreditation.
8. Do I need a driving/racing license for any events?
No driving license or provisional driving license is required for any of the motor racing that we do. We also do not currently take part in any form of motorsport which requires you to have taken an Association of Racing Kart Schools (ARKS) test, a British Association of Rally Schools (BARS) test, or to be the holder of any type of MSA racing license.
9. What do I need to wear/bring to an event?
What you wear is largely up to you. Many tracks advise against or do not allow jewellery or hoods which cannot be tucked into your overalls. A sensible pair of shoes is essential – flip-flops aren’t suitable, but at the same time many drivers prefer to have a thin-soled pair of trainers as it gives them a better feel for the pedals. In warm weather, you’re likely to get quite hot and sweaty whilst driving, so wearing your favourite t-shirt is probably not the best idea. If you’re in cold weather, you should wear plenty of layers, as the air rushing past you whilst driving can be very chilling. Because of the exhaust fumes given off by the go-karts, indoor tracks have to be well ventilated and this often means that the temperature outside is matched by the temperature inside, so allow for this when choosing what to wear. Also bear in mind that, if you are taking part in a team endurance race, you are going to be spending time standing in the spectator areas whilst your teammates are out on track, so if it’s cold you might want to bring extra layers.
It is recommended that you bring a drink with you or some money to buy one.
10. How much of a commitment is being a part of the UBMRC?
Whilst we love to see as many members as possible at every social race, they are always optional – if you’re experiencing a heavy workload on your course, then you don’t have to feel under pressure to attend. The same goes for any of our other social events. In the case of the BUKC, if you sign up for an event and then find you can’t make it, you need to let us know as soon as possible, as we’ll need to find a replacement driver in time for the event.