To be fair, I'm not sure I would want to be a local at lincoln. From what I hear the surface just gobbles up tires. Though it would give you a distinct car setup advantage compared to someone who only runs there for nats and spring nats.
My time break down for sunday
2 hours driving to and from event
6 minutes of racing (we only got 5 runs (because 160 drivers) but I got to do an instructor drive in a "D stock" wrx)
2 hours of un-packing and packing the truck (equipment chief)
10 hours of shooting the **** about random crap and or talking about car setup with my friends that I hadn't really seen for like 3 months and getting wind burn
2 hours eating dinner and drinking beer with all my friends
Auto-X really does depend on the group of people you fall into. Some local groups are very standoffish to new people. I've seen officers of the club run off new and old members alike. I spent nearly 5 years in various positions in the local club running things only to realize in the end, its really about who you spend your time with that makes or breaks it. I've met some of the nicest people in auto-x and some of the worst at the same time. Its almost like its a reflection of the real world.
As for the seat time. I'll be the first to admit the cubic dollar to seat time ratio does tend to be on the sucky side of things. I think some people choose it because the entry cost is low and to be competitive at a National level is cheaper than what it would cost to do so it road racing.
We've got ASR (arroyo seco raceway), it's about 2.5 hours south of me. Not bad. The surfaces on it suck(for a track), but trackdays up there are CHEAP ($40-70) so it'll be my go-to when the car is ready for some real flogging.
Not sure about that on the surface with that 40-70 dollar track day top above. Of course with track days you have to budget for entire car replacement costs.
Track days may be cheap, but if you want to compete (as in, go to an event that has official timing and scoring and a declared winner) on a big track you're talking time trials or road racing, and that gets a lot more expensive fast.
Autocross also typically represents a less significant overall time investment, because it's usually closer than a big track, and thus also usually avoids the need for overnight stays at hotels.
I used to do a dozen track days a year and maybe one autocross, but that changed after my kids were born and I didn't want to spend that much time away from home. Now I do one track day and a lot more autocrossing.
After love love loving track days, even having them comp'd for instructing, I found them too costly, even on RA1's that would last me more than a season. After factoring in travel, wear & tear, hotel, even with free track time I was in it for well over $500 per day.
I too hated the three runs only events, but after doing a couple Lotus Club events (12-13 runs) I was hooked. I completely understand AutoX isn't for everyone, but it is a path you can compete in, without breaking the bank. I'm often done in a half day, even after travel time, and THAT's why I love having so many local events available. I also love it having been a snow ski racer, the cross over is amazingly similar in terms of pre-race routine, rewarding a quick study, ...and waiting around (unfortunately).
Just like ski racing made me a MUCH better skiier, AutoXing will make you a much better driver. Don't listen to the crap about needing to unlearn for road racing. About the only thing in AutoX you need not apply to RR, is the "connect the dot" lines taken by a lot of AWD or high HP beasts that don't turn very well. Miata lines in AutoX are very much like RR, it's all about carrying speed. AutoX teaches you to look ahead, and like RR, rewards smoothness, concentration & technique.
I always recommend to my friend with fast cars, or friends who want to try an HPDE, to AutoX a few times first, to learn in an environment where you'll likely not need to buy a new car if you make a mistake.
My wife loves AutoX, and I plan to have my boys out there too, as soon as they're licensed. I often see whole families participating, with the kids competing in Karts, and the parents co-driving, now THAT's pretty cool!
Last edited by Ski_Lover; 04-16-2013 at 12:45 PM.