Guide to getting an MSA race licence ARDS
You’ve been watching Formula 1 or the BTCC and fancy yourself as a racing driver, or you’ve grown up around modified cars, done a few track days and want to take the next step.
Before you can compete in a race, the first thing you need to acquire is a race licence. This is supplied by the MSA. To get this, the simplest method is to buy the starter pack from the MSA website. This will supply you with a licence application form (that includes the cost of your first licence), a CD version of the MSA yearbook (the rules and regulations), an instructional DVD and also a guide to the steps you need to take.
These can be purchased from the following link.
The form requires a picture, just like a passport or DVLA driving licence, but there are two main sections you cannot fill in yourself. The test, and the medical, these can be done in either order, but both must be completed before you return the form.
The application form has a section that must be filled in by your GP (if you are under 18, things are a little different). This is basically a driver medical, to make sure you are fit to drive. We have known for these to be completed by medical specialists, rather than your GP, such as www.driversmedicals.com.
The test you must take is known as ARDS test. The Association of Racing Drivers Schools have people around the county who can give you the test. The test is taken at a circuit, with many different options available. one of the major choices is with MSV, who own several circuits around the UK, and offer ARDS tests and/or instruction if required on most of their trackday events. Their trackday website can be found in the link below, and if you find a suitable date, you can check to see if ARDS test are available.
When taking your ARDS test, most people take their own vehicle, although you can usually hire one if you don’t have one. The vehicle does not need to be a race prepped vehicle, it doesn’t need to be fast, but it does have to have a manual gearbox. This means you can do it with your standard road car if its a manual. The test includes both a written and practical examination. The practical part is not to see how quickly you drive, this is NOT something you need to prove to the instructor/tester, he/she will have likely been much faster, with much better drivers, in much faster vehicles. Chances are he/she will have raced in some of the higher end UK championships. He/She will sit alongside you for several laps to check you are in total control of the vehicle, aware of your surroundings (including other vehicles) and have the competence to drive safely on the track. The written test is to check your knowledge of the rules (and a little about the car and car control). The flags and other safety rules are very important, so make sure you revise these before the test.
Now you’ve sent your form off and received your licence, its time to join your desired championship. Its likely you decided which before you even applied for your licence starter pack, so we’ll assume you’ve already got a suitably eligible vehicle by this point. You’ll likely have to pay a membership to the club running the championship, or a championship registration fee, or possibly even both. Once your all registered, it’s time to ‘sign on’ and pay your entry fee for the first event.