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If your not sure about trying autocross???

Discussion in 'Autocross' started by Wanderlustbob, May 18, 2009.

    Wanderlustbob guest

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    I am very excited to say I had the chance to participate in my first autocross Sunday May 17, 2009. To put it into one word:

    WOW!

    So after only buying my first BMW at the end of March and watching the event in April I decided to give it a try.

    Now of course considering that a new car is expensive I did worry about the idea of running my new baby in such an event. But hey its only a car, right? Well the ultimate driving machine but still a car.

    I hope all the chapters are as awesome as the Houston Chapter because I have to tell you that everyone was extremely nice and helpful. As a newbie I didnt bring too much with me. Only a headwrap to wear under the loaner helmet.

    But no sooner then I arrived people offered to help me with everything from a tire guage, air pump, painters tape, loaner helmet, a free ride around to see what it was like, an instructor to ride with me on my first several trips always giving good advice and encouragment from so many of the members.

    I was very nervous before my turn to run because I was afraid to have an accident but everyone just reminded me to take my time and learn the course and my car.

    And I learned some very important lessons. My true one and only competition was myself. I did have two DNF (did not finish) runs but everyone was saying it was a tough course. I just went the wrong way around a cone. But on my other three runs I improved my time roughly by 2 seconds each time. I didnt have the worst time of the day and LOTS of people had DNFs. I also learned to try to look ahead and think ahead to the next turn and turn early before you think you need to. And so many other helpful things.

    Anyway so if you are not sure if you should try autocross, take it from a first time BMW owner running in a new vehicle it is tons of fun.

    And of course I can not resist the chance to post one more THANK YOU to everyone who helped me Sunday if not for you all I would never have had this opportunity for fun.

    So thanks Gerald, Amita, Jeff, Thad, Dan, Valerie, Brian, David and forgive me anyone I forgot.
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    CRKrieger

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    Another speed junkie checks in ... :D
    Ummm, no; not exactly. Don't develop that habit. It's called 'early apexing' and there are very few corners where it is appropriate. On the vast majority of turns, it is a bad idea.

    On the other hand, if you're really talking about anticipation, then fine. That you do want to do, but not too much or you'll find yourself inadvertently early apexing.
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    03BeastCharmer

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    He's officially addicted to the crack pipe that is BMW CCA and autox :D

    C.R. - He's not talking about early apex, but the delay between when my brain things, your hands move the wheel, the tires turn, and then the car initiates a turn (in order to hit the apex, instead of being 6 feet off of it).

    Bob glad to had a good time and learned a lot. We're all happy to help out. I was in your shoes a few years ago, looking for painters tape, trying to figure out a course, getting a good baseline air pressure setting. Along the way many people have helped all of us. And don't feel bad, we had a higher than average % of DNF's on that course. It was a more technical course than the course you saw in April.

    Registration is open for the June autox :D
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    mattm

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    Bob,

    You'll soon find out the mantra of the fast people is:

    Walk the course, walk the course, walk the course, walk the course, walk the course. And don't forget to walk the course. :D

    Spend your money on driver schools. There are a couple of good ones out there.
    http://www.evoschool.com/
    http://www.soloprodrivingschool.com/home

    Both of them host a bunch of schools across the country (sorry, I cannot tell where you are from).

    Some folks toss money at tires, suspension, motor bits, etc. with small increments of improvement(s). The schools will give you best bang for the buck, then everything else will fall into place. It *only* took me fourteen years from my first autocross to win my first National Championship with SCCA.
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    az3579

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    Hey Matt,
    Did you attend an FCSCC event on the 10th, in Stratford? I saw an E36 318i, 4-door, strangely enough the same color as the one in your pic. Was that you??
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    mattm

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    The one on the 10th has more rust than the one in the avatar. The avatar pic is from 2007. :D You mean you don't see four door 318i at every autocross you go to? On Kosei wheels? On Hoosiers?
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    az3579

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    Well that was my first autocross, but yes, it was a 4-door 318i on Kosei K1 wheels and Hoosier tires. lol


    I didn't see any rust... but then again, I wasn't looking for rust. I just happened to see the car up on a jack (front left raised) and someone checking something on the front!
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    mattm

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    I was checking previously semi-destructed splash-liner/"air duct" parts that were flopping about. Nothing a tie wrap didn't cure.
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    az3579

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    I'm going to the one on May 30th. Will you be there?
    I get the feeling I will be attending every event from now on. :D
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    mattm

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    az3579

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    Ah, my bad about the date.

    As for the SCCA event; you have to be a member to attend, right? I want to try some longer courses, because 10 minutes total driving time in the day just doesn't cut it...
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    mattm

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    SCCA offers a "Weekend membership" which I believe can be applied to a yearly membership.

    Total seat time is relative. The event at Devens the course for me was 74.8 seconds. We had five runs. That gave me six and a quarter minutes of seat time. They were trying for six but there were several points were delays ate into the time there. FCSCC had six runs and my best was a 43.6 giving me a total of four and a half minutes of seat time.

    As an FYI for stock cars at Devens a Porsche 993 had a 69.8. Fastest for the course was a 62.2. (results here: http://www.ner.org/solo/event/20090517_points-event-2-solo-airways )
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    az3579

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    Drat. So there aren't any AutoX courses that are well over 90 secs. a run?
    That's a real bummer.

    Still going on the 31st though.
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    mattm

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    The Miata club (Renegade?) runs really long runs. Endlessly long. Debilitating long. Tediously long. Boringly long. You watch some of the in car videos from their events and you get lost/fall asleep.

    Be carefull what you wish for. :D
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    Brian A

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    While the $/minute value at autocross is quite a bit lower than at a HPDE day, it still allows for the same amount of speculative planning, scheming and deluded thinking about performing well. It also affords ample content for post-game show analysis, color commentary and gloating/alibis. It's a nice day's outing. Good friends. Nice comfortable asphalt to sit on while dining on a squashed deli sandwich. All in all a good day away from the rest of the world.

    FWIW, one of GGC's top drivers AXes in a 1988 325e. Man, he is fast.
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    az3579

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    Which is why I will continue to keep going to all the events I can afford/have time to attend. :)

    But he's got a whole 6-7 theoretical horsepower on me! :rolleyes:
    There was this '88 325i at this last event and he was really tearing it up. I asked him what times he was running and he said "I wasn't doing so good today; 56 seconds was my best..."
    In the meantime, I'm standing there jawdropped because my best was 61 or so. But, his car was really prepared, and this is only my 2nd time out, so I can only hope to be that good for a while.



    Still quite a lot of fun to be had though.
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    conechaser

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    I had to chime in on this thread.

    Yes, SCCA now does require membership just like BMWCCA does at a DE. You can purchase a temp. membership for $15. Keep your copy of it and you can use it toward the annual membership (I think you can use up to two of them, but I think you have 30 or 60 days to do it in?)

    If you are running someplace where your AutoX events are almost always over a minute consider yourself lucky. Most AutoX events around the country are usually in the 40-60 second range.

    It's not about cumulitive driving time at an AutoX, it's about competition and having fun. Yes, you have fun at at BMWCCA DE, but there is no competition aspect during your sessions. I drive much harder at an AutoX than I do at a DE as I'm trying to get the last tenth of a second out of the course that I can. If I tried to drive that way at a DE for 20 minutes, I wouldn't have any brakes or tires left. If I want to compete at/on a track then I go back to Time Trials or Club Racing.
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    CRKrieger

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    This is the way you get sucked into racing without realizing it. SCCA membership is fairly expensive (and, IIRC, not uniform from region to region, since the regions set their own dues), so you look for ways to maximize the value. One is using your membership as a scam to get into all your local road races free. SCCA staffs most racing events at most road racing courses around the country. In many places, you can earn your entire membership fee by working race days in Club Racing. Using Road America as an example, as an SCCA scrutineer (tech inspector), I worked everything except bike races and Indycars. These two sanctioning bodies brought their own tech workers (although we did work support races for the Indycar weekends, so we were there anyway). SCCA corner workers work even more events, as do most other specialties. You choose the one that suits you best. Then, after 19 years of getting crapped on in various subtle ways and seeing all the political BS, on the verge of getting a 20-year membership pin, you quit ...
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    mattm

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    New England Region dues are $25 on top of the National dues. As an example, the Chattanooga Region charges only $5 for regional dues. :D

    I'm coming around on 23 years with SCCA and 25 years autocross.
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    CRKrieger

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    Obviously, you haven't spent the decade getting crapped on in Club Racing that I have. Great friends, but a lot of the time, it was just like bonding with fellow P.O.W.s. :(

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