The holidays are upon us and that means it is gift giving season. Time to rack our brains for the perfect gift for friends and family.
If your family is anything like mine, the racer in it is already leaving obvious wish-list hints. (The 2018 season may have just ended, but winter prep for 2019 is already in full swing.) Unfortunately, Santa has a hard time fitting a set of four race tires in his sleigh to deliver on Christmas morning; and for most of us, leaving a new vehicle in the driveway with a giant red bow on the hood is not in the budget for this year.
Race tires and new cars aside, there are plenty of options to bring joy and cheer to racers this season. Here are a few gift giving ideas to fulfill those holiday wishes.
Many gift giving guides explain how the long-term value and memories from experiences bring greater joy and more satisfaction than an item that will eventually break or go out of style. Gift your racer with a racing experience. These can include signing them up for a weekend professional driving course, or booking a rental for the NER driver’s school in April.
Experiences can also include spectator events, like attending a pro race or visiting one of the smaller local circle tracks in the area. Take the day and visit a car show together to ooh and ahh over all the latest models and releases.
For those that enjoy gaming, give the gift of one of the latest xBox or Playstation racing games like Forza Motorsports 7 or Gran Turismo. Then challenge them to head-to-head competition in the digital world.
And the best racing experience gift you can give is an SCCA Membership. The gift of access to all the best racing action can be granted through joining or renewing as an SCCA member.
We call them our loved ones, because we love them. Meaning while we support and encourage their passion for motorsports, we want everyone coming off the course safe and sound. The holidays are the perfect opportunity to upgrade or replace worn safety gear.
Smaller items can make perfect stocking stuffers, with items like new gloves, arm restraints, or a fresh balaclava that is no longer drenched in sweat and dirt.
Helmets, driver suits, new shoes, the latest HANS device, or an upgraded racing harness and belt system can be a larger gift option.
Safety equipment is one thing no racer should skimp on, and ’tis better to replace with gear that will better protect, than hope for the best with older items.
Off-Track Street Gear
Racers do not limit their love of performance driving to their time on a racetrack. Their personal vehicles for daily driving typically receive a similar amount of attention and care. Stock their garage with the gear needed for their street vehicles.
This can include a gift basket full of all those items to wash, wax, vacuum, and make their car or truck sparkle. If scrubbing and polishing is not in their bag of tricks, then splurge on a full detail of the vehicle at a professional shop. Either send the racer off with a gift certificate, or sneak the car away one day and bring it back looking like it just rolled off the showroom floor.
Lastly, racers are not known for being light-foots around town. Gifting a new radar detector (where legal), is another protective device that will let your racer know just how much you are looking out for them.
Race Prep – Parts and Tools
Finally, when it comes to gift giving for a racer, there’s never been one that said “no thanks” to a new tool or piece of performance tuning equipment. In years past, a new set of alignment bars or a new front end nose piece have all ended up under our tree on Christmas morning.
The holidays are a good time to take those dollars that would have been spent on other items and invest them in the tools and parts that racers will use all year long. These can be a set of scales or calipers for those minute alignment adjustments. New brake pads, rotors, or the latest suspension pieces to prep for the coming season. Even buy a case of oil and air filters, so new ones are always available and at the ready.
Dashboard computers and radio systems are another perfect gift idea to treat your racer with the gear that will help them find those extra seconds and improve speeds.
Protective weather gear is also a great idea. Canopies to keep away the sun or the rain (as all our Solo drivers experienced this season), comfortable chairs, and coolers for drinks are all items used each and every race weekend.
Just For Fun
While all the above gift ideas are practical and useful, it is the holidays, and sometimes there needs to be a gift that is just for fun. One of my favorites is Man Crates. As it sounds, these gifts are designed just for men – but who says a lady cannot enjoy them as well? From exotic meats to projects, beer and liquor, or hunting and fishing, they offer a variety of unique gifts. Plus, like the name sounds, they come packaged in crates, ammo cans, or as my father received – a box wrapped up with an entire roll of duct tape.
Other small ideas include key chains with their dream car badge, speedometer cuff links, or a business card holder made from welded spare parts.
As all the browsing and shopping hits its peak, consider filling the wish list for the racer in your life with one of these holiday gift ideas. Then be sure and share with the rest of us the reactions as they unwrap!