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Old 04-05-2013, 01:33 AM   #21
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Thanks for all the responses...kind of what I thought I'd see. Every side

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Originally Posted by Leafy View Post
I like the intensity.

Also, how much time did you spend shooting the **** and hanging out with with random car people...?
Yeah, I can see that there’s an intensity about it that people might find, especially if you had only 3 runs to get a good time. I guess I just didn’t find it as captivating as pulling a lot of consecutive laps on a road course.

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Originally Posted by Gryff View Post
Welcome to why I hardly autox anymore. The only events I run are the test and tunes
One of the guys I met at the event told me about the test and tune locally, but it’s not up on the schedule yet. His description sounded like yours, and said he got in over 20 laps last time. That’s one I’ll hit for sure as it potentially gets me driving a lot more, and can be a way for me to find the limit more safely than on a mountain pass

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Originally Posted by mcfandango View Post
Although if you are in SSM for FI reasons and still on street tires, that is a waste of time.
I guess that’s the main reason why I was put in there. And I really didn’t care where I was as it was just an excuse to try something new. I figured if I got hooked I’d deal with buying wheels/slicks/brakes later, and have a better look at the rules for SSM. But I figure I’ll only do one once in a while so I’m not sweating that stuff for now.

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How'd you do?
Won my class…by default. Nobody else was registered there. Overall, I was 85th out of 115 racers in real time. They (SCCA) also use a handicapping index, and with that I was even worse at 105/115 LOL

Video is the same course but shot from a Radical. His time was 12sec faster than mine haha.


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Originally Posted by GAMO View Post
Autocross is a good entry point into motorsports and it's always good to know who has a local one so you can shake down your car without resorting to breaking the law. I've been autocrossing for a few years, and comparing it to the track isn't exactly fair; however, I do agree that the $ (or hours)/seat time is pretty bad. Autocross will help and hinder you on the track, but the hindrance is easy to "unlearn" and the first-hand knowledge of how to react when the car is unsettled or sliding is worth the price of admission. The track is all about "slow hands", but being able to break out the "fast hands" from autocross when stuff is going awry can save your bacon on the track.

Just to look at it through a different lens: Think of autocross as 25% motorsport, 70% social, and 5% complaining about some arbitrary rule and being a semantic dick about things.
The slow hands/fast hands idea makes sense…kind of what I was hoping the experience would give me. I think the test and tune day will best serve my need for instant gratification. The social aspect was great, didn’t meet anyone who wasn’t friendly or willing to offer advice.
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Old 04-05-2013, 02:10 AM   #22
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Autocross is oddly specific and anybody who says "yeah, I was setting FTD right out of the gate" is full of ****. It takes probably 5 or 6 events for things to click and you start figuring out what you can and cannot get away with.

My first autox, probably the tallest guy at the event squeezed into my NA with a hardtop on and I set a bitchin' time of like 72 seconds.

I hopped in his NC for a run, he spun out and was still 10 seconds faster than me.
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Old 04-05-2013, 02:32 AM   #23
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Well after working/watching the first heat I definitely thought I had it figured out haha. I DNF'd one run and hit a cone on two others, and my best time was on the lap that I decided to slow down. Funny how that old saying actually works out lol.

I figure the TnT will wither kick my desire up a level, or satisfy me for a while, kind of like drag racing where once every year or two is usually enough.
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Old 04-05-2013, 08:10 AM   #24
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Standing around for 7.5 hours is nothing....Twice a year I tow my car to Nebraska...16 hours EACH WAY to stand around for a week
Only 16 for you? 22ish here.. Just to nearly die of heat stroke after run 1. :( Still worth the trip.
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Old 04-05-2013, 10:11 AM   #25
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Standing around for 7.5 hours is nothing....Twice a year I tow my car to Nebraska...16 hours EACH WAY to stand around for a week

If you have to ask these questions...the sport just might not be for you. No harm no foul and to each their own. I personally don't get the folks that just do local events. I run more National level events than I do locals these days. The courses at National Events are just much more challenging, the competition is MUCH stiffer and the people are AMAZINGLY cool.
Only 16 hours? Lucky google maps says its 22 for me. Planning a stop over in ohio.

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Being a tire warmer is only fun if you beat the owner.
Dont do it too much though or you wont be allowed to be the tire warmer anymore. Rule number 1 of co-drives, Never beat the car owner.
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Old 04-05-2013, 02:30 PM   #26
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I AutoX'ed for a year and a half before taking my car on-track (waiting to get the roll bar in). Mostly with the S-2000 and BMW clubs (8-10 runs per event). I'm glad I did. It is a different skill set than track driving, but many things carry over. It really all comes down to the 4 little tire patches that are on the ground and what you can do with the car. Some of the things I learned:
1. How to prepare my car for an event.
2. How to prepare my mind for a run.
3. What the line is.
4. How to threshold brake.
5. What to do when the car gets out of shape. (Much less danger in AutoX)
6. How to turn the car with trail braking
7. When to go slow to go fast

The things I've had to unlearn:
1. Shuffle steering
2. Always going 10/10ths - low risk at AutoX, high risk on track

I'll continue to AutoX on weekends when there is no track event to keep my limited skills. I have found that track driving makes my AutoX technique smoother.
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Old 04-05-2013, 03:16 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by EricJ View Post
I AutoX'ed for a year and a half before taking my car on-track (waiting to get the roll bar in). Mostly with the S-2000 and BMW clubs (8-10 runs per event). I'm glad I did. It is a different skill set than track driving, but many things carry over. It really all comes down to the 4 little tire patches that are on the ground and what you can do with the car. Some of the things I learned:
1. How to prepare my car for an event.
2. How to prepare my mind for a run.
3. What the line is.
4. How to threshold brake.
5. What to do when the car gets out of shape. (Much less danger in AutoX)
6. How to turn the car with trail braking
7. When to go slow to go fast

The things I've had to unlearn:
1. Shuffle steering
2. Always going 10/10ths - low risk at AutoX, high risk on track

I'll continue to AutoX on weekends when there is no track event to keep my limited skills. I have found that track driving makes my AutoX technique smoother.
Other things to Unlearn:
3. Turn in early
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Old 04-05-2013, 06:45 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by EricJ View Post
6. How to turn the car with trail braking
This is something I have a general idea about, but no practical experience. Mostly, because I don't want to learn at high speeds and/or on public roads. This is something I hope to begin to get a handle on at the test and tune.
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Old 04-05-2013, 06:48 PM   #29
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Go drive a front heavy, FWD car: you'll learn about trail braking.

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Other things to Unlearn:
3. Turn in early
This is probably the worst thing about transitioning from autox to track, but if you have a good instructor, they'll set you straight.
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Old 04-05-2013, 10:46 PM   #30
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This is why I NEVER recommend anything other than CLUB autocross events. SCCA SUCKS horribly for people trying to socialize and enjoy themselves. It's slow, boring, and most of the people out there have a stick in their ***. They don't want to help, they don't want to chit-chat and share advice, they don't want you near them. It's competitive, and even the horribly shitty drivers with non-competitive cars think they're god's gift to asphalt. Had I not driven club autocrosses for three years before trying SCCA, I would have never enjoyed motorsports.

On the other hand, an average autocross at our club is 12+ runs on any given day. The day is split into three different run groups: one runs, one works, one rests. Typically two-three cars on the course at a time, depending on the speed of the course. Absolutely everyone is willing to help you, drive with you, let you drive their car, smile and congratulate you if you beat their car by .001 seconds. If you aren't competitive in your class, you pick a driver that is close to you and start a competition with them. It's serious fun and camaraderie.

Based on your first impression, run like hell from the SCCA bullshit and find a club to autocross with.
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Old 04-05-2013, 10:55 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Enginerd View Post
This is why I NEVER recommend anything other than CLUB autocross events. SCCA SUCKS horribly for people trying to socialize and enjoy themselves. It's slow, boring, and most of the people out there have a stick in their ***. They don't want to help, they don't want to chit-chat and share advice, they don't want you near them. It's competitive, and even the horribly shitty drivers with non-competitive cars think they're god's gift to asphalt. Had I not driven club autocrosses for three years before trying SCCA, I would have never enjoyed motorsports.

On the other hand, an average autocross at our club is 12+ runs on any given day. The day is split into three different run groups: one runs, one works, one rests. Typically two-three cars on the course at a time, depending on the speed of the course. Absolutely everyone is willing to help you, drive with you, let you drive their car, smile and congratulate you if you beat their car by .001 seconds. If you aren't competitive in your class, you pick a driver that is close to you and start a competition with them. It's serious fun and camaraderie.

Based on your first impression, run like hell from the SCCA bullshit and find a club to autocross with.
There is SO much ignorant generalization and just flat out WRONG information with this post that I don't even know where to start.
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Old 04-05-2013, 10:57 PM   #32
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And I don't know who told you that you shouldn't outrun the car owner. I have one of the fastest SSM cars in the country...and if you want to drive it YOU BETTER be faster than me. I have ZERO interest in letting someone drive my car that I can't learn something from.
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Old 04-05-2013, 11:37 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by TNTUBA View Post
I personally don't get the folks that just do local events. I run more National level events than I do locals these days. The courses at National Events are just much more challenging, the competition is MUCH stiffer and the people are AMAZINGLY cool.
I'll try not to get us too off topic. From your post and mine, we clearly have different levels of interest in autocross. You don't get the local folk, just like I don't get the sanctioned event folk.

Based on your post above, that's the exact attitude that keeps me away from SCCA.

I said, "They don't want to help, they don't want to chit-chat and share advice, they don't want you near them."

You said, "I have one of the fastest SSM cars in the country...and if you want to drive it YOU BETTER be faster than me. I have ZERO interest in letting someone drive my car that I can't learn something from."

You support my thesis. That's the exact attitude I see at SCCA events.

Last edited by Enginerd; 04-06-2013 at 12:01 AM.
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Old 04-06-2013, 02:03 AM   #34
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A relevant comparison for autocross is downhill skiing, or snowboarding, on a busy day. You spend a lot of time in line or on the lift chatting with your friends, and only a small percentage of the total time are you ripping it up. The relative success or failure of the day for you (as an enjoyable experience) has more to do with the company you keep than actual event.

I have yet to try a local SCCA event. I am enjoying the local PCA autocrosses, which are very friendly and usually do 8 runs, which allows me to learn more each time.
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Old 04-06-2013, 08:58 AM   #35
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I'll try not to get us too off topic. From your post and mine, we clearly have different levels of interest in autocross. You don't get the local folk, just like I don't get the sanctioned event folk.

Based on your post above, that's the exact attitude that keeps me away from SCCA.

I said, "They don't want to help, they don't want to chit-chat and share advice, they don't want you near them."

You said, "I have one of the fastest SSM cars in the country...and if you want to drive it YOU BETTER be faster than me. I have ZERO interest in letting someone drive my car that I can't learn something from."

You support my thesis. That's the exact attitude I see at SCCA events.
1) You missed the part of the post where I said the people are AMAZINGLY COOL. - I have made some of my best friends in the world through Auto-X. There are a group of people that I have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in common with other than our interest in Auto-X yet we all would gladly do anything to help each other out.

2) You attitude about people not being willing to help you out is JUST PLAIN WRONG. Here are just a few small examples of that.
2a.) At the Solo National Championships this year Andy McKee's car broke on day two. He had the lead in XP but it was a VERY small lead. He needed to find a car to drive for his last two runs. Carter Thompson, who also has a FD-RX7 and who had just won the National CHampionship in SSM, pulled his car off the trailer and tossed the keys to Andy.
2b.) Carter Thompson's car was the only car faster than my car on raw time at Nationals last year. So after Nationals Carter agrees to Co Drive my car at the St. Louis Road Tour. He made a few runs in my car and gave me some VERY valuable feedback on the car which has made it faster and easier to drive.
2c.) At the Dixie tour just a few weeks ago my car suffered a broken Oil line on a run and I was frantically trying to fix it in grid. Jason Collett without being asked ran close to a half mile to my truck and back to get some tools and jack stands. Matt Glagloia(sp?) one of the other competitors in SSM offered his car to my co driver so my co driver could make his last run.

ANYONE who would think that SCCA Auto-Xers are not willing to help is either such a huge douche that nobody would want to help them, or they just simply haven't asked.

And my attitude about my car is very simple. I have a ton of money and a ton of time in my car. I'm not interested in letting just anyone drive it. At the National Level the all in cost to operate my car on course is close to $60 PER RUN. Last year alone there were a total of 9 people that drove my car at different events. I spent A LOT of money letting them do so. Someone make the comment that the first rule of being a tire warmer is that you NEVER beat the car owner. And my point is that is the wrong attitude for a car owner to have. If you are so petty that you can't let someone who is faster than you drive your car....then you are never going to get faster, and your car is going to get stuck in a rut.

There are other people who are building cars that will eventually be my competitors. I ,and others, have been an open book with tips and advice to these folks trying to help make their cars as fast as possible.

Do you really think those things sound like a group of people who don't want other folks to be around them or their cars?
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Old 04-06-2013, 10:08 AM   #36
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Lots of interesting points of view in here. Some are even actually based off of direct experience. But for the most part, Eric and his views are the reason why solo is succesful at a national level and his views are what get people really modifying their cars and their skills for competitive events. And since the rules and event format are almost universally based around the national autox guidelines, autox revolves around national competition. Notice the word "almost" in my sentences twice.

Local club rules and practices can affect national guidelines especially when popular opinion is a heavy influence in classing and rulemaking. Those who complain about the rules are not actively reaching out to the SCCA BOD or their particular class advisory commitee. The rules are not made by some rich fat guy trying to make the sport more profitable, they are made by competitors. You have a problem, write a letter and dont complain until you do.

There will always be people afraid of finding out how good they are for fear that they arent as good as they thought. This will intimidate most people that dont come back for a second autox. I personally got beat by 20 seconds the first time I drove against a good driver in my class when I started autox in (gasp) the year 2000. He had a well prepared car and drove well. I was at my second event on street tires. Got race tires and took six seconds of that 20. And then just never gave up trying to catch him. And thats how I approach autox, I always try to catch the faster guys.

There will always be people afraid to do national events for x amount of reasons. Hey if you dont want to do it or you simply cant, dont do it. Ive done my share of national events. On my best local event, I didnt learn or compete at anywhere near the level as my worst national event. Right now Im only doing local events as I dont have the budget to travel. Segue, most people who complain about national competition being too expensive and that they cant compete with people who spend that much money on their cars couldnt compete with those guys anyhow even given an unlimited budget.

RRing or autox? Never been on a track unless as a passenger. The most exciting part for me was the braking zones. Ive done a little over 100 autox and was at 100% on every run mostly driving someone elses car. Never broke anything, never needed to change pads, etc. Only expenses were traveling, entry fees, and tires. Yup had to go and **** cones or do some other work assignment which is part of the deal when the organizers are also the competitors. But thats the great part about autox, no gravy train for anyone. The rules apply to everyone so no need to complain. Plus those of you who RR, do you do it competitively or just do track days and show your neighbors the video of you passing the Ferrari who happened to be on his cool down lap? If you do it competitiely, how much time/money do you spend fixing/maintaining the car? I might compare that to ******** cones/standing around for 7.5 hours. And personal opinion but there is another fairly big reason why autox in general is so attractive to Miatas and other convertibles: they dont need roll bars or other safety concerns. Just sayin.
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Old 04-06-2013, 07:07 PM   #37
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This is why I NEVER recommend anything other than CLUB autocross events. SCCA SUCKS horribly for people trying to socialize and enjoy themselves. It's slow, boring, and most of the people out there have a stick in their ***. They don't want to help, they don't want to chit-chat and share advice, they don't want you near them. It's competitive, and even the horribly shitty drivers with non-competitive cars think they're god's gift to asphalt. Had I not driven club autocrosses for three years before trying SCCA, I would have never enjoyed motorsports.

Based on your first impression, run like hell from the SCCA bullshit and find a club to autocross with.
Thankfully, my first experience was nothing like that (aside from the slow, mildly boring bits lol). Everyone I met was super helpful, friendly, gave me noob advice, etc. Running with a club would probably be more fun, though, if there was more time on course than at the SCCA event. I think that's what it boils down to for me...more seat time.
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Old 04-07-2013, 10:37 PM   #38
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Action shots. Many thanks to VariantStudios.com for the photos.





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Ran my first SOLO event last weekend, SSM-wa-3-30-13-1.jpg   Ran my first SOLO event last weekend, SSM-wa-3-30-13-3.jpg   Ran my first SOLO event last weekend, SSM-wa-3-30-13-5.jpg  
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Old 04-08-2013, 12:56 AM   #39
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Jeezuz, I live 15 minutes north of Lincoln, all of our local events this year are on the Nationals course and I STILL won't do it anymore.
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Old 04-08-2013, 09:41 AM   #40
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Jeezuz, I live 15 minutes north of Lincoln, all of our local events this year are on the Nationals course and I STILL won't do it anymore.
Then SOLO is not for you.
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