View Full Version : my first auto cross

10-17-2006, 12:39 PM
I will be attending my first auto cross this coming saturday...and im a lil bit scared. I have been on the road course numerous times...but i have never driven in an auto corss. What should i expect...any pointers??

10-17-2006, 05:20 PM
Don't hit the cones. :drive1:

10-17-2006, 05:20 PM
You will have a blast!

10-17-2006, 08:21 PM
dont hit the cones......i actually kinda want to hit a few....

David Pozzi
10-17-2006, 08:41 PM
Just take it easy. Usually I over compensate and drive too hard at autocrosses. On a track you have time to work up to speed but an autocross is over in one lap, so I usually hit it too hard and pick up a cone.
Ideally you want your last run to be your quickest, get faster with each run. If you start out too agressive, you won't have a clear picture of where you need to improve after the first run.

10-17-2006, 08:56 PM
A good goal for the very first run is not getting lost. Drive at like 70% or so, then pick up the pace from there. Walk the course and envision driving it, pick your lines and such, make mental notes of tricky sections or where the cones are particularly confusing. I make it a point to walk by myself if possible (ie, not in a group of people) and physically walk on the line I want to drive, not just down the middle. Walk it as many times as you can!

If it's run like the ones I have been to, you'll have to work the course for a heat. If that's the case, try to work it before you drive it, and then you can also see other cars run it before you're out there. If you don't have to work the course, see if you can volunteer to do so, I found it very helpful my first time out.

And, of course, prepare yourself to have a blast! :drive1:

10-18-2006, 02:00 AM
Walk the course 1st. And remember you can never make up time. If you make a mistake or hit a cone, just try to complete the run as cleanly as possible. Trying to make up time only leads to more mistakes. Eventually you'll get that one perfect run and life will be good.:drive:

10-18-2006, 02:19 AM
Go slow to go fast,grasshopper. Smoke not thine tires.

10-18-2006, 06:08 AM
thanks guys.

do the basic princaples hold true for the auto cross as the road course. Apex...earlly apex..late apex...is all that stil the same? I have attended some SCCa driving schools...but im thinking driving through cones on a fairrly tight track will change the technique a bit. Driving my car on the road course is cake...nice open track...you can see the turns...cake. Thiese cones might mess me up.

10-18-2006, 07:55 AM
You'll get used to the "sea of cones" its not that hard after you've been through the course once.

Driving-wise a lot of the same theories as roadracing can apply to Auto-X. In roadracing one tends to give up distance in a corner to get more speed; in Auto-X you want to minimize distance a bit more. But carrying speed is still very important.
The best advice I can give is:

Fill your tires to 5psi above their max rating as a baseline.
Take everything out of the car that can move. The instant G forces in Auto-X tend to be much higher than roadracing
Be careful with your corner entry speed. Auto-X courses are often setup to be difficult to navigate where as roadrace courses generally have a pretty obvious line. Slow-in, Fast Out
Learn to left foot brake
I know 1st gear is fun, but run in 2nd you will have much better control of the car

David Pozzi
10-18-2006, 03:12 PM
A long wheelbase car will tend to understeer on a tight autocross, the front wheels are turned sharper than on any road course and that puts extra load on them. Keep the front tire pressures up around 42-44 psi front, if you have a course without very tight turns you might be able to drop them a little, like 38 psi. The rears can be 5 psi lower.

Here's a how to autocross article I contributed to a fiew years ago:

10-18-2006, 08:02 PM
thanks for the info...i read it and i got a lot of good pointers from it.

im getting nervous....but once im out there i will be fine.

fast Ed
10-19-2006, 10:02 AM
Look up !! Vision is the most important thing.

I always found auto-X tougher than going on the track. As mentioned, your car will likely want to understeer, so play with the tire pressures to help reduce that.

Enjoy ...

Ed N.

10-20-2006, 09:10 AM
what do i have to wear? Is a full suit required??

10-20-2006, 01:24 PM
Might vary from place to place, but my local club only requires a shirt of some sorts, shorts/pants and non-sandal footwear. I have a feeling many places might require full length pants. Might be best off contacting the local club and see what they require and make sure they have loaner helmets if you don't have your own SA-rated helmet (M-rated motorcycle helmets don't pass tech here).