So what do you think is the biggest difference between those two? Money? A big shiny transporter? Piles of spare parts?

Well, if you said any of them, or maybe all of them you would only be partially correct. Many club or vintage racers are not short of cash. (the author excepted of course) While some pros don’t have anything special in the nature of the last two items.

I submit the real difference is in the testing and setup of the cars. While I dont want to stereotype Club Racers:

Most club racers get a basic setup, either from a friend or just something that seems like it should work. And, because of the limited track time on a club racing weekend they dont change it too much. So the car probably doesnt get a lot better. Yes, you may get some new tires or engine but things pretty much stay the same.

The pro however is always working. They, like the club racer develop a baseline. This is usually in the form of notes from the previous races at that track or basic information from the engineer who designed the car. BUT, each time the car goes onto the track they are trying something new. Perhaps its a different front sway bar, or maybe springs, shock settings etc. Even the mesh of the screen on the grill effects downforce. And all of the results go into building the data base. So the car is constantly evolving and becoming better (hopefully). No wasted time at the track and there is a purpose to every trip onto the track.

That I submit is the difference between the average Club Racer and the Pro.