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Old 04-23-2012, 11:40 AM   #1
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First Autocross experience with PCA

I was fortunate enough to be told by a co-worker of mine about an autocross event happening this past weekend being held by the CT Valley Region chapter of the PCA. It was my first experience with autocross, and I have to say it was an absolute blast, cannot wait for the next one.

I'll have to draw up a rough outline of the course later, but for now I'll just briefly share the experience.

There were (of course) several Porsches from as far back as a 1970 914, to a few 944s anywhere from stock to fairly modified, to a few younger 997s and Caymans that were essentially stock. There were two other Boxsters, an older base 986 like mine and a younger 986, also a base if I remember right. All three of us were new and running as Novices. In the "Other" class there was a mid-90s Civic hatchback, an '84 VW GTI, and a Lotus Exige (all of which ran much faster than me).

Just about everyone there was very helpful and full of advice and encouragement. They're really happy to see people there for their first autocross. It was windy and cold the whole day, but that didn't stop us. Around our lunch break it started to rain steadily, and after lunch the runs continued for a few more hours. In total we all got about 8 or 9 runs in each, and only two drivers spun out at some point on the course, thankfully with no personal, vehicle, or equipment damage. I also managed to run off the course on one of my runs because the rain had washed away the track lines, so I turned in early before one of the gates and blew that run.

My very first run was spent trying to just run a clean lap with one of the instructors sitting shotgun and not get lost, just shy of a minute to run the course without going all out. It's amazing how things change when you aren't walking the course and you're looking at it from behind the wheel. It's like there are cones everywhere flying by faster than you can think.

My times improved throughout the day with a few runs with instructors in between runs by myself. I was able to get two runs in the 48-second range before lunch. After the rain came my confidence in the car and myself was not nearly as high, and I did not manage below 52 seconds, but I still had a lot of fun and got to see just how much I can push the car and still have control...and also how much father I can still push the car and myself than I did at the event.

One thing that I know will be a constant process is getting myself to think about two things at once: what's happening right that moment in front of me and what's coming up that I need to prepare for. One thing I kept hearing from the coaches was "look ahead at the next gate" or "think about the next gate, get set up for it".

I don't have much of anything in the way of pictures, unfortunately. Next month should prove better for that.

The course changes every month, and I already have a few friends that want to come along as my guests for the next one. I can't wait.
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:01 AM   #2
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Autocross is definitely a social sport. Sure you race, can have very intense competition, and learn every event about what you are doing right and wrong in your driving. However its the people that make you come back, 13 years later, I still enjoy it as much as ever thanks to the people. Welcome to the club. Definitely check for SCCA events in your area as well.
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Old 04-30-2012, 12:16 PM   #3
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I will do that. I'm pretty sure the PCA around here is pretty involved in those events, so I'm sure I'll come across some. I can't wait to go to Lime Rock Park and make a few laps there, too! I have to say though, not having experienced that yet, throwing my car around a short track in a parking lot was the most fun I've had with the car since I've owned it.
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