There is no avoiding them. If you go racing, then a trailer and tow vehicle are coming to the party with you. Once there, they must provide shade and shelter while serving as the headquarters for everything off-track: set up and maintenance, problem solving, strategizing, bench racing, hospitality, etc. Here are some considerations for sizing and selecting a trailer and tow vehicle.
Less is more. The big rigs pulled by pro teams are seriously cool. However, at most club circuits they are awkward to spot at best and nearly impossible to back into place once the paddock begins to fill up. Big price tags (initial investment and fuel costs) come with that size and weight. I made a conscious decision to race out of the smallest enclosed trailer possible. My narrow track Lola T-540 fills the floor of a 12-1/2 foot x 6 foot single axle trailer (see image below). There are racks above the car for totes, noses, tires, etc. Fuel jugs, tool boxes, and shelter poles have homes on the trailer floor around the car. I have made such a small trailer work for many years and it is delightfully easy to tow even with an SUV. But it is at its weight limit. For most Formula Ford racers, a 16 x 7 enclosed double axle trailer would seem to be the best compromise.
Portable workshop. After selecting your trailer, the next step is to set it up as a portable workshop. At a minimum, that means fast access to its contents. If something is needed at the race track, it is generally needed in a hurry. If not constrained by space and weight, a small workbench with a vise is a great thing to have at the race track. And a workbench needs a light…
RV vs SUV vs pickup. I successfully towed with an SUV for many, many years until I recently found a 25 foot RV that is a perfect match for my minimalist trailer. I like the RV because it is great for hospitality and there is no shuttling back and forth to a hotel. The larger the trailer and the heavier the race car, the more likely a longer, more powerful pickup or RV will be required.
Shade and shelter. These are must haves at the race track. If your trailer and tow vehicle are not equipped with awnings, standalone shelters work just fine.
There is no one correct answer for the trailer and tow vehicle question but getting it right will make a huge difference in the effort required to travel to the track and the experience once there.
This is the fifth in a series of blogs on how to get started in racing. If you missed the first four, here are the links: How to Get Started in Racing, Tools and Equipment, Spare Parts, and Shop Space.
Update December 2021
After 22 years of faithful service, my minimalist race trailer is retiring. I have ordered a new 16×7 aluminum V-nose cargo trailer from R&R Trailers in Three Rivers, Michigan. It will have room for more stuff including a small workbench and a vise…and a 48-inch LED light over the workbench! Click HERE for a blog post on setting up a new race trailer.