anyone auto-x?

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Autocross season is under way and I have signed up for my first ever auto-x event for Sunday the 18th.

I have no clue what to expect (I have read newyorker's thread) and I was just wondering if there was anyone familiar w/ the sport who can share their personal experiences (not necessarily advice or tips)

Thanks :D I hope I have fun.

posted by  Bronxie

Are you going with the Porsche? I haven't done any, but I've seen a couple races. Is there like a website or something for the place or is it just a bunch of people getting together?

posted by  chris_knows

posted by  vwhobo

Study the track as much as you can before they turn you loose on it. If they let you walk the course, walk it as many times as you can. When entering a turn, think of not only the next turn but also the turn after that when trying to determine your exit angle/speed. Also, if they require helmets (probably do) just buy your own instead of relying on loaners if you plan on racing ever again. They're not that expensive.

Most importantly, don't get down on yourself too much/have fun!. You WILL do terrible. More experienced racers in stock Neons WILL blow your doors off. In my limited experience, veteran racers are more than happy to show a noob the ropes. Also, at some events there are instructors there that will either show you how to drive your car or sit shotgun while you drive and tell you where your weakpoints are. They were free at the event I went to last year, the only thing is that if they were driving it essentially meant you lost a run. Nonetheless, I wish I had asked for more help.

Good luck, have fun.

posted by  giant016

Follow the links hobo gave. As was mentioned, walk the course as much as possible until you don't need the map to do it. Ask for help but be careful, many experienced autocrossers will be of no help to you at all, as they will know how to make THEIR cars go through the course, but not yours, and their advice can be way off. Serious. No two drivers will drive the same line, and each car takes it's own style of driving to get the most out of it. What works well for my PT would not work for my Fiat, and neither style would work for your car.

Watch others run the course, especially the fast guys, even if their advice might not work for your car, you WILL see where you can go fast and where you can't.

Simply put, learn the course as much as possible, gently feel it out on the first run, go overboard on the second run, and dial it back on the third run. Do NOT be afraid to use the car hard on the second run, because you have to learn where the limits are in order to run at them.

Be calm and be smooth. I know this sounds like a contradiction to the last paragraph, but it's not. Do not force any inputs to the controls. Dance with the car, don't push it around. At first it will be hard, but as you get to know the car and it's limits, you will be able to do it better. the old adage is to go slow to go fast. This means smooth deliberate car inputs made BEFORE you need to. If your arms are flailing, you're out of control and need to slow down.

As a corollary, do not go wider than you need, stay close to the cones. Less turning makes for more straights, and the straights are where you go fast.

After the first run, do not coast. Either be on the throttle or on the brakes except when balancing the car during a sweeper.

Before starting, make sure you and your car are prepared. Remove all removable bits from the car, like spare tire, floormats, loose change, etc. Make sure you have adequate tire pressure (I'd suggest 36/38psi f/r to start for your car. Street tires need more air than race tires). Fill the gas tank. Less slosh is better, and you don't want to run the fuel away from the pickup in mid-corner.

Most of all: Have fun. It's a hobby, not a for-money competition.

I've been doing this for almost 27 years. It's a BLAST.

posted by  ChrisV

Thanks a lot guys.

I really didn't want to make this into a "What do I do?" thread, although I genuinely appreciate the responses and I sure can use all the help I can get :D

So let me ask something more specific: Anyone have any interesting/funny stories from auto-x'ing? Personal anecdotes?

Probably not. Autocross isn't exactly SNL :)

I think I may have someone drive my car just to see how far they take it. Perhaps that will give me an idea of where I aim to be.

posted by  Bronxie

Btw, this is if you are interested.

There's another event the following Sunday as well.

posted by  Bronxie

Not many funny stories, though the day one of the club members brought his Peterbuilt dump truck out and ran it was funny. We also had a "Camaro magnet" apparently installed ion a bush next to the track, as 4 Camaros (and an El Camino), at different days, went int it.

More, what I remember most was the variety of cars that would show up. Our club had 3 F40s in it, and it was wild to see them lined up with $1000 beaters and lesser autocrossers...

I've had the opportunity to drive a wide variety of cars on track as both a competitor and as an instructor. Fun thing was to show people what their car was actually capable of after showing them how to go through the course (I'd go over how to go through the course, ride along with them helping them get through the course. Then we'd have a critique session, do it again, then show them how to go fast, then let them try on their own.) Instructing made me a better driver, too, as each car and driver was different, and I had to adjust my teaching style to fit each situation. Fun stuff.

posted by  ChrisV

I got beat by a stock Caravan.

posted by  giant016

Nice stories...and F40s, wow. I wonder if any of those will be in house.

Chris & Giant, what car do you prefer using?

posted by  Bronxie

Miata, 944, 911, RX7 are my favorites for autocross, but I have fun in anything ( I mean, I autocrossed our PT Cruiser and had a blast)

posted by  ChrisV

i suppose ill have to go to one one day to a track near me (where ever thatll be?)
a friend of mine goes to one up country (bedford autodrome) and uses a mini bus alot and ice cream vans and stuff like that

click here (

posted by  True_Brit

I drive my 2000 Camaro SS. I'd PREFER a Lotus though.

Another thing I should mention, if your car has any small mods (intake and such) take them off, or at least do some research to finding out if those mods will throw you into the modified class. Most of those guys have VERY modified cars and you will get buried.

posted by  giant016

They don't take place at tracks. Usually it's a large parking lot, since you need a very wide area that a track can't provide.

My friend is going w/ his '99 Miata and my other friend w/ his BMW 325ci

Anyone who is interested in going and thinks their car won't cut it, don't worry. You are classed according to your car's ability :)

posted by  Bronxie

which Bedford Autodrome can provide as it isnt originally a race track, its a former
RAF/USAF Air Force Base

posted by  True_Brit

That had to be the most fun I've ever had in my car!!!!

I did all right for a first-timer I think.

I'd say the median time was about 39s and the average was about 40s.

I did 41.4 two times in a row to finish the day for my best times.

I had no trouble pushing my car very far, but I want to learn to push it further to squeeze a few more seconds off. It's on those WIDE "S" turns I end up letting off the accelerator and I think if I kept on it some I could save some time.

Fastest time of the day I saw was 34.5 by a heavily modded Evo.

It was a very fast course. Not many turns.

I'm doing this again :D

posted by  Bronxie

sounds good, I wish there was a track somewhere near me. or even an event related to cars more than once a year:doh:

im doing it when im a little older I think

posted by  nighthawk

I bet there are more events than you think.

Where do you live?

posted by  Bronxie

lol, theres a little island to the farthest right in canada that used to be part of europe until about 1955 called Newfoundland, I live in the central part in a town called gander

( just a random fact to make me feel proud, my town's airport was the biggest one on the planet when it was built) :laughing:

anyway, if you ever saw Targa Newfoundland on speed channel, thats right here (hint the once per year thing in my previous post)

there isnt anything like auto-xing here at all though, not even a parking lot rented out for a day, not enough interest from the general people

the only reason targa is just here is because of the landscape, perfect for road rallying

edit- thats a bit of a rant lol, and this is the second thread in like 10 mins related to my location lol

posted by  nighthawk

There's a track in Montreal, on the Parc De Jean Drapeau island. That's only like 500+ miles.

posted by  giant016

id be better off going to an event in st johns (3-4 hours away driving normally)
than travelling to ontario lol

posted by  nighthawk

Feel free to travel to Ontario, but Montreal's in Quebec :laughing:

posted by  chris_knows

I thought there were two, oh well lol

posted by  nighthawk

Yeah, you're right. I just looked it up, but I think it's some small city lol...At least we don't have a city called "Dildo"...Not sure if that's a good thing or bad thing still lol.

posted by  chris_knows

posted by  Bronxie

have you tried hill climb???
theres a friend where i work who has a renault clio, completely gutted out, really light and has a motorsport prepared 3.0 ford V6 (600bhp) under the bonnet, tells me its faster accelerating than a formula 1 car to 60mph! i dont know if he was exaggerating the last part but it is goes like a bat out of hell!!!
(he says its fun in whatever you turn up with!)

posted by  True_Brit

nope, never done hillclimb lol (ive only had my license for like 3 months)

that clio sounds a bit nuts though, and probably exagerated a lot, but I bet its still a really fast little car

posted by  nighthawk

2nd autocross on Sunday. Can't wait :)

posted by  Car hippie

i do alittle on my spare time. never really liked it but its fun sometimes especially on dirt. rally owns

posted by  DARKtEAGLE

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