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My Very First Autocross

Discussion in 'Autocross' started by mrsbee, Jul 14, 2012.

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    mrsbee

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    So, monday will be my first trip on the old Autocross Track at the Performance Center here in lovely SC

    I would love to know some suggestions, tips (and no, keep in on the grey doesn't count)
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    steven s

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    Not sure which course they are going to set up.
    Normally we doa follow the leader first. Don't know if that will be the same procedure for Monday. I'm getting there early. :)
    Only advice is to look ahead.

    This is what we've been running.



    Hopefully I will get a bunch of runs in.
    I want to shoot multiple angles like below and combine them into one video.

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    MGarrison

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    Ditto on the look ahead - except, not exactly like your normal street-driving 'look-ahead'. Your typical auto-x course is tight, windy, designed to trip you up, and since you're racing against the clock, is going to be coming at you _really_ quickly as you launch out of the start box. To be able to drive the course and follow it without getting jumbled-up or lost while on-course, you need to be looking further ahead than you may be used to, so that you have time to react and make your driving inputs. Presumably you'll be able to walk the course - walk it as many times as you can, and only follow the course how you'll be driving it. Note the areas that you'll have to swivel your head a lot to be looking ahead, you may find you have to be looking out your side windows, and keep in mind you'll have a helmet on. Pay attention to the turns, whether they tighten up or open up, watch the spacing on slalom cones. Ask who else is experienced and ask for tips. But, eye usage is key - your hands will follow your eyes, we tend to drive where we look; if you're not looking far enough ahead, you won't be able to anticipate. Practice visually noting key places and then looking out ahead to the next key point on the course. Think about what you have to do as you'll be driving through the course, and how quickly you'll have to do it. Don't forget to breathe, ask others about tire pressure recommendations, and... have fun!

    More tips, etc. here: http://www.bmwcca.org/forum/index.php?threads/autocross-help.1745/
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    steven s

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    This course is too long to walk. It's been put together by the Performance Center.
    Basically we drive, get back inline and drive again for a couple hours.

    Normally someone from the PC will lead and we follow listening to his comments over a radio.
    I recorded it just for this purpose but for some reason there is no audio. :(
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    mrsbee

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    Fingers crossed everybody. I've got the camera and co-pilot ready to go. This could be humorous.

    And please, no laughing.
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    wellardmac Ninja World Traveler

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    Video yet? How did it go? Did you stay on course and if so, did you do so without penalties and disqualification? IMWTK! :)
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    mrsbee

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    I'm working on the video right now, really we've got some great footage and I'm going to share with you of course.

    Penalty wise, I did a pretty spectacular job (in my book) and always stopped in the box, something you would think everybody would do but not many succeeded in.

    Now as far as about three innocent cones on one very HOT lap, you'll have to ask them what happened, cause I haven't a clue.
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    mrsbee

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    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    I must say that, looking at the picture in your orrignal post, I would advise you NOT to start out in reverse. . .

    :)
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    steven s

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    Need to work on hand control too. :)
    Next time come out when we run the full course.
    I sat this one out.
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    wellardmac Ninja World Traveler

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    The first AX is always tough.

    Speed is less important than focus on car control. I tend to agree with Steven's comments - control your hands and you'll bring the car under control, then the speed will follow.

    Don't take this the wrong way, but that's a pretty easy AX course, as it's laid out on the track. The worst ones are the seas of cones in a parking lot - no cues from seeing the direction the road is flowing, only a sea of orange cones.
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    steven s

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    The course we normally use is in post 2.
    This was a very low key event set up by the Performance Center.
    They set up 2 small circuits due to the number of people who attended.
    The full course is a blast!
    Nice having this in our backyard. :)

    Maybe not as much fun as a big flat boring surface with a bunch of cones thrown in.
    I'll take the elevation changes and different camber turns any day.
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    wellardmac Ninja World Traveler

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    Hey, I'm not complaining, having driven that course I know it's a fun one, but it's technically a less challenging AX course than a sea of cones on a flat surface.
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    steven s

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    I agree. Your typical autocross with turn in a box, decision slaloms, multiple loops is very challenging.
    Since I get lost easily, those aren't for me.

    Our typical 'autocross' is more of a TT with chicanes thrown in to slow us down.
    But it does present different challenges.

    I would probably like the traditional autocross if I had a navigator/coach on board.
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    MGarrison

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    lol :p
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    MGarrison

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    Whaaaat...? No Helmets!! ;)

    good job, thx for sharing the clip -

    I think a pic or two of your car may have been shared by whomever posts things for the BMWCCA facebook page.
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    steven s

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    It was a PC event, not BMW CCA.
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    mrsbee

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    Me, famous on the Facebook without even knowing, awesome, totally awesome. I was the little blonde girl in my racing shirt and Sedona red 128. I don't use the Facebook, would you be so kind to copy and paste them here for squares like me to see?

    It was a great event, and I would do it everyday if I could! By the end of those two hours I think the yard was quite tired and I was in the mood for a nice tasty adult beverage.

    I kind of wish ivwas feeling more social nd got to meet more of the club members, but I have a lot going on, like flying out of the country in three hours.

    Thus, my hiatus from you begins.
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    CRKrieger

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    So, when you get back to this, my input is:

    Work on smoothing out the turns. You're driving straight to a cone and looking to turn and drive straight to the next cone through those slaloms when you should have worked out a rhythmic flowing curve for them. Until you feel comfortable with that rhythm, you need to slow down. The same goes for all other turns. Figure out what speed you need to be going through them without sliding (tire noise) and plan to be going that speed as you get there. That means, brake earlier and more lightly and turn the car instead of wrestling it into a turn that you're taking too fast. The key to going fast is to first be smooth and keep from upsetting the car with abrupt movements.

    Then, there's hand control. Try to keep your hands on the side of the wheel where they started. Left on the left and right on the right, except for movements up to about 100º (just past the top). Autocrossers shuffle steer. Ask about that and learn it. Veteran autocrossers shuffle steer when there's no real necessity for it (Turn One at Road America, for instance). If it's second nature, there's no 'loss of control' as some purists insist. Planning your hand positions before turns will help you to be smoother.
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    MGarrison

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    mea culpa if this isn't your car, but I think these were the only 1-series pics...

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