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Old 05-03-2009, 10:57 PM   #1
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Default I think that I'm going to quit auto-x

Too much time spent for too little driving. I've been meaning to try some track days. I didn't do the event this weekend as the Pro Solo National Tour was in Lincoln this weekend and couldn't see spending $120 on twelve 35-second runs but I did go out to watch for a couple of hours today.

It was cool with the dragr race start and the christmast tree, plus the mirrored course, but two full days for six minutes of driving?

So I came home and told my wife that I think I'm going to stop doing it and do track days instead. She didn't know what track days were so I described the sessions, how much time you get, no real schedule, come and go as you want, no course working. After I explained it she said, "sounds like a no-brainer." Looks like I have got it made without having to sell it or rationalize it. It's not the money (she didn't even ask about the cost) but the time. I can't expect to be gone a couple weekends for auto x and then a track day so I will drop the former for the latter.

I'm stoked, though.
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Old 05-03-2009, 11:17 PM   #2
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i've always wanted to get into auto-x but just can't bring myself to enjoy the time vs driving ratio. i always feel like i wasted a day and got a sunburn and didn't get to drive.

track days are definitely more fun in my experience. You get a lot of time in the car and you only need to focus on your driving. plus you can still get ride-alongs in other people's sessions. and those are invaluable. nothing like a ride in [email protected]'s seven to make you think your car is fat and slow and get a first hand look at what the tire looks like as kisses the rumble strips.

we used to go up the night before (3 hr drive) and stay at a super 8 and be fresh in the morning.

to answer the other thread's price question, they are all over the place. depends on the track. I've seen them for under 100 for a day and some for closer to 400 for a day.
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Old 05-03-2009, 11:32 PM   #3
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Cheapest I've had is $90 for a day, four 30 minute sessions. Usually I pay around $160-$180, although $200 days are becoming more and more common. Luckily I'm close enough to PIR to not have to stay at a hotel the night before, but I'm pushing my luck driving my car to each event, I already had to leave it there when the diff blew last time.

Whats with the "no schedule" comment? I guess I usually do HPDE days, where you have four groups, running four 25-30 minute sessions, and you're on a pretty strict schedule. If a car blows up spewing oil everywhere at the end of the 2nd group's session, and it takes a half hour to clean it up, group 3 looses a session, and beats up the dude from group 2. I suppose everyone's track is different though.

I've never understood Auto-X'ing though. I know those cars can be wicked fast in the small corners, but like y8s said, the time vs. driving ratio is just way out of wack. Cooling becomes a much bigger problem when you're racing for 30 minutes though. Keep an eye on your coolant gauge, and don't be ashamed to take a lap or two easy to cool off the engine, it does wonders. Also if you can't seem to stay cool, blast your heater if it's not 100 degrees outside, that helps the engine keep cool too.
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Old 05-03-2009, 11:36 PM   #4
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yeah all the ones I go to are session based. you get 3-4 sessions depending on the oil spill guy and other factors.

oh and dont discount the increased cost of brake parts and tires. the dedicated set of trackslut DOT slicks goes a long way to saving your street tires. and improving your lap times.
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Old 05-03-2009, 11:42 PM   #5
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Whats with the "no schedule" comment? I guess I usually do HPDE days, where you have four groups, running four 25-30 minute sessions, and you're on a pretty strict schedule. If a car blows up spewing oil everywhere at the end of the 2nd group's session, and it takes a half hour to clean it up, group 3 looses a session, and beats up the dude from group 2. I suppose everyone's track is different though.
I should explain. When I say no schedule, it is because there are usually only 20-30 or so cars, two run groups, 20 minutes per session so even on the 1pm to 7 pm half day there are 18 sessions, you get 9, so it isn't a big deal to miss a session. There is just going to be another in 40 minutes. An all day track day here gets you fifteen 20 minute sessions. No biggie to skip a session or two - it's still plenty of drive time.
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Old 05-03-2009, 11:47 PM   #6
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oh and dont discount the increased cost of brake parts and tires. the dedicated set of trackslut DOT slicks goes a long way to saving your street tires. and improving your lap times.

I was just talking to one of the locals today that does a lot of them. He said that he can get me however many 430 slicks that I need for $40-80 each. The $80 ones are almost full tread and the $40 ones are good for a full trackday for him. He said I may get 2 days due to my lighter weight. So, even if it's one full day for $160, that isn't bad.
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Old 05-03-2009, 11:56 PM   #7
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Local Cincy SCCA often only allows for 4 runs and the courses are all less than 60 seconds in an average car. Depends on how many people show up and how long it takes to get a solid course layed out. They just upped the price to, I think it's $40 now, and yeah, you have to work the heat you're not driving in. They also enforce a "no sitting rule" while being a corner worker. So not only do you bake to death in the heat of an open asphalt lot, but you can't even get off your feet.

There aren't many options for track days within reasonable distance... but Bluegrass Motorsports park is just opening and I'm thinking about making the switch to full track days myself.

Even if you compare the costs equally, track days still come out way cheaper.

Estimate 6 minutes drive time for $40 at local SCCA (then working for roughly 2-3 hours) vs. 90-120 minutes drive time for ~$200 then beer.
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Old 05-04-2009, 12:16 AM   #8
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I stopped autocrossing with the Houston Region SCCA earlier this year due to there complete incompetence and an unwilling nature of the Region to implement changes to help eliminate the never ending cycle of timing delays and issues that they were having.

Doesn't help either when you have personality conflicts with the morons working grid while you are running, talk about unprofessional dumbasses (and the sad thing is, they have been doing these races much longer then I have).

I had withdraws the first month I missed a race, now I really couldn't give less of a **** about ever doing it again.
What is really funny about it, is that I really can't for the life of me see how I justified PAYING SOMEONE to give me the "privilege" of working my *** off then getting about 4 minutes of seat time in exchange... What the hell was I smoking?

The current plan is to hit a few track events later this year.
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Old 05-04-2009, 12:26 AM   #9
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I've been thinking about quitting myself here in the last year, mostly because I don't have the time for it mostly anymore. All you guys just sold me on it.

Once a month Heartland Park has been doing "Road Warriors" where its 4 20 minute sessions with 2 different groups on the course, just a mini-HPDE type setup. They started that in 2005 and the cost was something like $45, but last I heard it was closer to 80$ and might even be less time. Still no idea if they're even doing it again this year. Keep my fingers crossed, I Guess..

Pisses me off though, they wouldn't let us run my friends SPEC car.. Its a "Street Event' and they don't allow 'race cars.' Morons.
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Old 05-04-2009, 12:29 AM   #10
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I stopped autox for the same reason, too much $ and too little seat time plus all the standing around for most of the day. I guess I'm lucky the local track has $80 trackdays and $50 time attack track days. If there are no open wheel cars then its full open track from 9 to 5. You learn to be a better driver at speed and actually get to shift too. I had to upgrade my car to handle the 20+ minute sessions with better cooling and better brakes.
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Old 05-04-2009, 12:54 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stein View Post
I should explain. When I say no schedule, it is because there are usually only 20-30 or so cars, two run groups, 20 minutes per session so even on the 1pm to 7 pm half day there are 18 sessions, you get 9, so it isn't a big deal to miss a session. There is just going to be another in 40 minutes. An all day track day here gets you fifteen 20 minute sessions. No biggie to skip a session or two - it's still plenty of drive time.

Holy cow that's a lot of track time, why haven't you quit auto crossing yet? I thought my 4x25 minutes for $165 was a good deal, that's an amazing deal! What's the track?
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Old 05-04-2009, 01:06 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curly View Post
Holy cow that's a lot of track time, why haven't you quit auto crossing yet? I thought my 4x25 minutes for $165 was a good deal, that's an amazing deal!
Yeah I think I'm done.

Quote:
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What's the track?
Here's the track:

Mid America Motorplex. Main Section.

Fast Fridays FTW

Mid America Motorplex. Main Section.
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Old 05-04-2009, 11:50 AM   #13
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Glad i'm just getting started and still enjoying myself in autox. Its fun coming home with trophies every time. I just cant afford full on manly track days now that i'm an unemployed student. Perhaps i'll be able to make one next year but I still have to take an advanced driving course before they'll let me on pacific raceways.

The local autox is alright I suppose. Paying 40 bucks to work all day and get 6, 1:20 sessions sucks pretty bad, you guys are right. But like I said i'm still new to competitive driving so i'm still having a geart time.
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Old 05-04-2009, 12:07 PM   #14
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I started doing HPDE's and track days a few years ago and I don't miss auto-x one bit. HPDE's are such a better bang for your buck seat time wise.

I've been to MAM a few times and will be back this summer with the Mustang Club of Central Iowa. Their track weekend is a great deal, like $280ish for two days, and on Sunday you basically get unlimited track time. Usually Sunday after the morning session they just drop a green flag because most people are packing up, so you can run for as long as you want. It's July 18-19. I know it's a mustang club but they're a good group of people and it's fun to whoop up on the pony cars. There's a pretty varied group of cars that come, not just all mustangs. More info = http://www.mustangclubofcentraliowa....flyer_2009.pdf

Anyways, MAM is a pretty fun course despite the zero elevation change. It's definitely a good track to learn on.

Go for it, auto-x blows in comparison.
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Old 05-04-2009, 12:32 PM   #15
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same here. Went to my first autox on saturday and was there from 7 am till 5 pm and only got to go drive five times and each was only a minute long. And i got really really bad sun burn. I am really considering doing track days.
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Old 05-04-2009, 01:07 PM   #16
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I bought the Miata with the intent of running mostly HPDEs because they're just way more fun than cones in a parking lot. More seat time per dollar.

However, some autox events will give you better value than others. A couple weekends ago I ran both the morning and afternoon sessions with a local club and got 20 runs for $56. With the average run around 45 seconds, that's 15 minutes of seat time which is a shitload for an autox. Plus it was good to dust the cobwebs off my car handling skills after being mostly dormant since November. I can't really do more than about 3 or 4 HPDE weekends in a year so an occasional autox in the mix keeps me from getting too bored.
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Old 05-04-2009, 01:15 PM   #17
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if you get on a real track you'll make more testosterone and be more fertile.
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Old 05-04-2009, 02:23 PM   #18
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IDK, 40 bones for 4 plus minutes of seat time(if you are lucky enough to have 10 runs, not likely), coupled with being there all day, helping, and cleanup just doesn't sound like a good deal or fun to me.
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Old 05-04-2009, 03:05 PM   #19
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I did a mix last year and had fun. Talladega Grand Prix, Roebling Road and Atlanta Motor Speedway are within 1.5 hrs of me. I've already hit up TGP and Road A multiple times...trying to get to Roebling though. TGP days range from $140-190 for a week day and a little over $200 for a weekend event... but it all depends on who is organizing the event and how many cars they want to try to show up. Road Atlanta has a lot of activity, but those events are usually $300+..... but you get a 2-day weekend event out of it (Chin, Porsche club, NASA). The SCCA PDX is $100 for two 30-minute sessions. Unfortunatly, the ******* at the BMWCCA won't allow 'verts on the track for any of their events...asshats.

o far this year i've run all the auto-x events because it'll be my first year ever trying all the events. I did like 4 last year just to see if I would even be competitive in SSM (was SM2). Well, with 4 events under the belt this year, i'm first overall in points for SSM . I probably won't do any Nats though... not as long as the Streilnick's are out there...they royally **** up the PAX for SSM when they show up. I know there isn't much seat time with auto-x, but it's against a clock and in a class....and I like a challenge, esp. when me and the guy in the Vette with 315's all the way around who has been doing this for 20 yrs are battleing for class with .2 second being swapped back and forth for first place....at every event.
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Old 05-04-2009, 03:56 PM   #20
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That is the one plus I've seen of Autocross over trackdays. It's much easier to get into "professional" racing. No need for a cage or a lot of the other safety items you'd need to do a similar timed event on a full road course. Once you start doing those, the dollar/seat time ratio drops to autocross levels.
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