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Old 03-30-2007, 07:19 AM   #1
986 Girl
Registered User
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 172
Intro To Autocross Minutes

I hosted an "Intro to Autocross" dinner last night, where a group of about 15 newcomers and about 10 experienced drivers came together to go over the basics of autocross. My main goal was to give Novices a heads up about events before they show up.

For those that couldn't make it, I posted a rundown of what we talked about. I figured since there had been a few people here that expressed interest, I'd throw it up here as well.

Please remember that a lot of things can differ between regions/events. But this is how the Finger Lakes Region SCCA operates.

Things You Can Do Before An Event
  • PLAN to actually attend the event. Don't decide to wake up and see how you feel that morning or you will never show up. Pre-register for an event if you can, get everything together the night before, and make sure to get enough sleep.
  • Get everything unessecary out of your car the night before so you have less to do the next morning.
  • Make sure your car will pass tech: check to make sure the battery is securely tied down, make sure your tires are in proper condition (not corded), check your brakes/brake fluid, oil level, etc.
  • Ask around for a helmet. You might know someone who has one they will let youborrow.
  • Double check the registration time, location and make sure you have directions. Every region is a little different, and you don't want to get there late.
  • Meet Marnie and I at Dunkin Donuts the morning of the event. If you don't know how to get someplace, chances are either her, I, or both of us are going. We always meet to get coffee first, so feel free to catch up with us. We will post what time we will be there before every event.

Things to Bring
  • SCCA Membership Card (for more information about membership, check out Click on Members, then on Join Now! Finger Lakes Region (FLR) is region #62).
  • Drivers License
  • Entry Money
  • Pen/pencil
  • Blue painters tape or white shoe polish
  • Magnetic numbers (if you have them)
  • Helmet (if you have one)
  • Tire gauge
  • Air compressor
  • Work gloves
  • Suitable driving shoes
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Chapstik
  • Hat/Visor
  • Folding chair
  • Accessories appropriate for the weather (umbrella, canopy tent, etc)
  • WATER!!
  • Lunch and snacks
  • Glass cleaner and paper towels
  • Trash bags

Morning Operations - Parking Lot
  • When you arrive at a location, do not move cones in order to enter the parking area. There will be someplace that is designated for entrance, and it will NOT be blocked off with cones. Those cones are there for a reason.
  • Find a spot that does not appear to be taken (look for items sitting at the front of the space, which could indicate that someone has already taken that spot). This will be your spot for the rest of the day.

Morning Operations - Registration
  • Registration is held at a table near the SCCA van (this is a little different for each region). You will need to bring with you your license, SCCA membership and entry fee. If you have questions, feel free to ask the people working registration!!
  • They will check your license (yes, every time), take your money (blast), and ask for your car number/class. You must also sign the waiver at registration, whether you are participating or just spectating. They will give you a wristband to wear... wear it prominently (ie, don't tuck it away in a pocket).
  • If you are at an FLR event, you will also receive a map of the course and an event sheet.

Car classification

Morning Operations - Pre Tech
  • Return to your car and begin prepping your car: Remove everything loose in the car, floormats, hats, radar detectors, things hanging from the mirror, EVERYTHING (trunks included).
  • Remove hubcaps, if you have them. Take your spare out.
  • Put numbers on your car. If you do not have numbers, get paper ones from tech and use tape to put them onto the side of your car. Alternatively, you can use white shoe polish to write numbers on your windows. Make sure you write them large enough, about 10" tall is good.
  • Add pressure to your tires, about 5lbs over stock. Do not worry about changing tire pressures for the first several events. You will never be able to tell the difference that tire pressure will make until you have a consistant driving style while on course. HOWEVER, you should be checking your tires after a run to make sure that you are not rolling onto your sidewalls. For help checking this, try putting a line of chalk where tread meets sidewall. Based on the scuff marks on that chalk, you should be able to tell how much your tire is rolling over and add enough pressure to prevent it.
  • You can buy portable air compressors for about $20 at Sears. Several of us "regulars" have the same type. If you do not have a compressor, don't be shy about asking to use someone elses.

Morning Operations - Tech
  • Look for an area where there are typically two lanes designated by cones off to one side of the parking area. This is tech. If you can't find it, it might not be open yet. Ask!
  • Pull into one of the lanes, and wait patiently for your turn. Do not leave your car.
  • Once you pull up to the front of the line, turn your car off, pop the hood and the trunk and exit the vehicle.
  • The people at tech will go around and check several things, including how well your tires/wheels are attached to the car, your battery tie down, the strength of your brake pedal, and that everything is out of the vehicle.
  • If you have a new helmet, or this is your first time, take your helmet with you to tech. They will check to make sure it is at LEAST Snell 95 and then will place a sticker on the helmet to indicate that it has passed as well. If you don't have a helmet, loaner helmets are available, and you will pick one up right before you run.
  • If you pass (which you should if you checked all this stuff the night before) they will place a sticker at the top left hand corner of your windshield (every region is a little different).
  • Get back in your car and pull back to your spot.

Morning Operations - Course Walkthrough
  • Take your map and proceed to the indicated start of the course.
  • If you can't figure the course out, ask someone if you can walk with them!
  • Walk it as many times as you can.
  • Just before drivers meeting there will be a Novice Walkthrough. ATTEND! The Novice chief and/or Instructors will lead this, and give you advice as well as answer any questions. This is highly valuable, and even though I'm not a Novice anymore, I will probably still attend.

Morning Operations - Driver's Meeting
  • ust after Novice walkthrough is the Driver's Meeting. It is NOT optional.
  • Here you will recieve a run down of the way the event is going to happen, receive the safety talk, find out a rough estimate of how many runs you are going to get, etc. They will also announce what run group will be up first, and what run group will be working first. Again, this is NOT optional.
Owned: 11 months
Miles: 78,000
Autocrosses: 22
Track Days: 1

Last edited by 986 Girl; 03-30-2007 at 08:21 AM.
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