6 Reasons the SCCA is Losing Members

sports car club of americaSomething a lot of people in the racing community know about but don't like to talk about is the fact that the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), the largest racing organization in the US, has been steadily losing members for many years now.

I'm not just saying this without any numbers.  In the ‘From the Chair' column in SportsCar, the SCCA's monthly magazine, back in February 2012 this was an issue that was addressed.  “The Sports Car Club of America has seen gradual erosion in both membership and event entries and, unless unchecked, the very core of our club will be endangered.” said Jerry Wannarka Chairman of the SCCA's Board of Directors.  “Our membership is around 42,000 –  a number that reflects a drop of roughly 2,000 members a year for some time now.”  he continued in the column.

Is this surprising?  Not not really and a lot of finger pointing in the racing community has been going on.  I am going to tell you 6 reasons the SCCA has been losing members.

1. Terrible Marketing

This is no surprise and most members of the SCCA are aware of this, but their marketing is terrible.  I know from personal experience since I was a member for 1 year.  I tried to work with my local SCCA group to understand why the marketing efforts were not going well.

It seems the people that manage the SCCA's outreach believe that auto writers and journalists will just magically show-up to their events for press coverage.  The reality is if there isn't a really interesting story or I am not going to be able to drive a car, why the hell would I spend all that time driving there and back?  Keep in mind most events they hold are a fair drive away and are held at Summit Point Raceway in West Virginia, would take me roughly 4-5 hours of driving.  Somehow the people that run the Washington region SCCA didn't get this and don't realize that auto writers either need a really interesting story or need to get something out of going which they wouldn't get otherwise.  (Also they are not very good at returning calls and getting back to you.)

Look my time is valuable and even if I'm interested in racing not every event the SCCA is putting on is interesting.  When I wrote about Freedom Behind the Wheel it wasn't just a story that racing enthusiasts would enjoy but something veterans and their families would like to read too.  You can't always appeal to a wide audience but you always try to with your articles and stories.  

There is a reason companies pay marketers and salesman the most money and not the people that built the product.  They keep the company afloat.

2. Racing is Expensive

This isn't really the SCCA's fault as racing is just expensive.  However, they are not helpful in making so that people new to the club can understand what they need to do to get started with building their own racecars and getting setup.  I guess they assume everyone has the knowledge and resources to do so.

The SCCA from what I can tell has not worked on keeping the costs low for a lot of their races.  It is prohibitively expensive to just show up to a casual race and they don't have any intention of changing this.   Unless you are just independently wealthy or won the lottery I doubt quite see how some people manage to fit in so much time for the SCCA.

The other issue is that in this difficult economy a lot of guys that have sold their racecars or project cars and have completely stopped racing.  Usually I hear the same story.  Car guy used to spend most of his money on his cars, bikes, or other vehicles but now he has 2 kids and maybe another on the way.  He wants to save up money for a down payment on a house and has decided to stop spending time and money racing and on his toys, so he sells his racecar.  (Not easy to find buyers nowadays.)  No racecar or equipment, why would you keep an SCCA membership or other racing organization membership?

3. White People

Everytime I got a SportsCar in the mail my first reaction when opening the pages was, “Oh, racing is for white people.”

Unsure of how they can change this perception with minorities but the SCCA probably should think about it.  The demographics of the US are changing and if they don't' get in front of it the membership base will continue to erode.  Hey, even NASCAR has a diversity program.  Of course I don't think it's going that well as I have zero interest in attending a NASCAR race.

4. Too Many Racing Classes and Categories

I honestly couldn't tell you the difference of the racing classes and categories in the SCCA even though I was a member and I am an auto journalist.  This is probably because the racing categories were named by engineers, who are bad at naming things.

The reasons I mentioned this is it confuses newcomers to the SCCA and makes their lives harder explaining different classes.  All I know is that they have Road Racing, Rally Racing, and some Open Wheel series.  If you want to race a Miata you probably can do that too.

5. Racing Takes a Lot of Time

Me driving all the way to Summit Point just to write about a race, unpaid, is not appealing.  This isn't the only web outlet I contribute too and write for.  Also currently I am working on several other web ventures outside of the automotive space and I need to focus on things that actually pay the bills and make me a living.

For the average person to drive 5+ hours to attend a race or take part in one basically means you would need to take a whole or half day off from work.  I personally can't do this most of the time since it's just not feasible.  From what I've read it seems others feel the same way about the SCCA events too.

6. Young People are not interested in Cars

Yes, it's true.  All young people are not interested in cars and are much more interested in the latest and greatest smartphones.  😉

In addition all young people are currently working on creating the next Facebook, Twitter, Vine, Instagram, SnapChat, etc.  At least thinking that by spending too much time on these social networks.

SCCA is Losing Members

I read in another SportCar issue that while the SCCA gains a fair number of new members each year, a majority drop their memberships and do not renew.  In addition they are losing more members than they gain each year equaling a decrease in members.

It's clear they they need to make some changes and to it aggressively within the next 2-3 years.  If they don't the SCCA might cease to exist.


Spring Cleaning: What to do with old Car Magazines?

car magazines

Now that it is April, and hopefully getting warmer where you are, I am sure you have thought about Spring Cleaning.  One issue I have noticed a lot of car guys and gearheads have is the perpetual problem old car and auto magazines lying around and stacking up.  What are you supposed to do with all those old car magazines?

Spring is a time of rejuvenation and reflection and doing a little bit of Spring Cleaning is the perfect time to think about this issue facing many auto enthusiasts out there with stack of car magazines.  The way I see it we have several different options for clearing our your car magainzes;

Keep ALL your Car Magazines

This is obviously what most of would like to do, keep all our precious car magazines!  If you are going to do this you better make effort to buy magazine holders or racks and sort them properly.  Does that really make sense though?  No, not really.  Also you know there will be complaints about keeping all the old car magazines in the house from your significant other.  You probably have to make space for that new couch.

Only keep some of your Car Magazines

This requires you going through all your old car magazines and seeing which articles in certain issues are useful and important and which are not.  This requires a bit of time and effort but all Spring Cleaning does.  Something to think about is that a lot of the articles in printed magazines are available online nowadays.  If you are like me and like having print books and magazines around this makes sense.  zz9I guess I am old school even though I am young.)

Recycle the Magazines

If you don't think you need the magazines anymore, and they are not worth much, probably you should just recycle them.  Please don't throw them in garbage!  When I say Recycle I mean Recycle.  It is better for you and the magazines as they will have second life as shiny new car magazines arriving in your mailbox.


Does your kids school or a community center need materials for craft projects?  This way your old car magazines could be turned into art for more people to enjoy.  There are also options like offering them on Craigslist or Freecycle to someone that does want or need them.  If you live in Maryland or around here you could take them to the BookThing.  I take a lot of my old magazines that are non car related to the Bookthing when I do my spring cleaning.


You could try your entrepreneurial spirit and try to make some bucks off those magazines.  Your annual spring cleaning could you turn you a profit.  Put those magazines on eBay or Craigslist and see who wants them.  FYI – When I have tried this option I usually fail.  Most people who are interested in those old magazines probably have them and are facing the some dilemma as you.  Unless the car magazines you have are old, rare, and in good shape I doubt you will get much for them.


If you can't donate or sell your old car magazines and are planning to recycle them, why not use them in the bathroom first?  Sounds funny, but it makes sense!  You can read issues you didn't have time to read and get use out of them before you do number 3 and recycle the magazines.  Just realize once a magazine is “flagged” that is past the point of no return.

Honestly, I wish I had better answers to this gearhead problem.   For my Spring Cleaning I will going through my old issues of Automobile, MotorTrend, Car & Driver, and SportsCar (SCCA‘s magazine and newsletter)to see what I should do.  I will say that I don't really like MotorTrend's editorial direction and most likely will recycle issues with bad writing.  (Quite a lot of them actually.)  I like Automobile and Car & Driver's articles so I will keep those to study.  It's hard to know without looking at the magazines though.  I might look at them and have to keep them all! 🙂

If you have a better solution, answer, or advice to this issue please leave a comment below and let the community know.