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'96 VR4
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3,290 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've been thinking about it for a few years now, and I'd like to give it a shot. So, how did you guys get started?

Do most autocrossers belong to clubs, or do you just show up? Is there any advantage one way or another?

Class. Man. How does that work for modded cars? I don't care what class I'm in (well, I don't think I do or should I?) but what happens when I show up with my EBC, SAFC, 13T's, lowering springs, Addco swaybars... and stock tires, alas. Aside from I suppose I get my butt handed to me by the other guys who have that plus big buck rubber. That's ok, I'd just like to be able to play with the car. But how do I even figure out where I belong?

Brakes. Do good street pads work for autocross, or do I want pads that I wouldn't normally drive to the the meet with?

Helmet. Well, I barely fit into the Mitsu as is. I am mulling an aftermarket seat to get lower (and that, I guess, may not be allowed either!) but aside from that, are there any helmets that have thinner shells than others? Or is one rated helmet going to be about the same size as any other?

Lots of questions, LOL! After having owned the car for seven years, and having lost track of how much money I've spent on it, I'd like to be able to play with it even in a small way. I'd also like to try some HPDEs, but same questions there only moreso I guess.

Paul T
 

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To get started you need to contact the local SCCA and find out where and when they hold their events. They should have a website with all the necessary information. Then you need to just partcipate in a few events and determine if you like it. And to get started you should just leave your vehicle as it is, don't mess with changing anything or upgrading anything.

The only real piece of equipment you will need is a Snell approved helmet, and it has to be a 2005 or 2010 helmet. If you don't want to drop the coin on a helmet just yet, as a good one will run between $250-$300 for a Snell SA helmet, the local SCCA may have some loaner helments they will let you use free of charge.

And since you are new you should not get discouraged if an old guy in an NA miata lays down much better lap times than you. Just focus on improving your lap times with each run and learn the feel of your car. Above all else an autocross event is about mastering your car and the mastering the course.

After you have participated in a few events and decide you like it, you can then start thinking about what changes you will want to make to the car in order to be competitive.

That's my 2 cents.
 

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General & A/V Moderator
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7,248 Posts
I too look forward to competing this spring/summer.
 

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Super Moderator
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21,162 Posts
I couldn't agree more!

See what events are near you, grab an approved helmet, make sure your battery is tied down, and just show up!

I'm building a website to address this very issue - how to get people to the track! Should be active soon. :D
 

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Colossus
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1,324 Posts
Yea im joining my first autocross league in Gotham city this spring ;)
 

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3S= South Side Stealths
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1,130 Posts
I couldn't agree more!

See what events are near you, grab an approved helmet, make sure your battery is tied down, and just show up!

I'm building a website to address this very issue - how to get people to the track! Should be active soon. :D
Hey Ryan, can you get some of us Chitown guys together to see how we can get into autocross this spring?
 

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Super Moderator
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Hey Ryan, can you get some of us Chitown guys together to see how we can get into autocross this spring?
Well I won't have any cars here and I know that Pete / Dave / Dillons don't autocross. :p Hop on jdmchicago.com ... they always post events there. If you ever want to go to one I'd love to tag along, shoot some pics. We can see if we can get a 3/S crew together.

/hijack! Sorry Paul!
 

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3S= South Side Stealths
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1,130 Posts
Yeah sorry to hijack this thread! I thought Pete was doing it. His car is set up for it an all.
 

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SCCA run around you guys?
 

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just ran my 2nd autox yesterday. Try these links for more information on car classification:

http://www.odr-scca.org/DIY-classing.htm

SCCA Solo II Car Classifications

I realize its confusing. If your car is relatively "stock" turbo awd (but it apparently isnt), then we should be "B Street Prepared"
yesterday I was thrown into STR class, which put me with modded S2000's, Miatas and rotary Mazda's. I was back of the pack, but also should not have been put there, with what I now understand should have been for 2 seat roadsters. Regardless, I am like you...competing with myself for fun only, and with a very similar car too. Most of the guys out there spend a great deal of time AND money prepping their cars to be competitive. I also found out that participation is way down the last couple years. Probably because of the economy. Go figure.
I spent an hour standing out in the field resetting cones with a guy who was very helpful and really seemed to know his stuff. Out of about 50 cars overall I think he had the 2nd or 3rd best time of the day. This year he moved into a miata, because his subi sti from prior years (turbo awd) was not responsive and competitive enough for him.
Just go and have fun. Participate in helping out on the track, and meet people. You will learn a LOT. That said, I realize some of the better drivers could have taken my car and run it 2 or 3 seconds faster...no problem. I was 8 seconds behind the best of day time, 63 seconds to 55. At least I beat a 2008 Shelby Mustang, and a 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 (barely). It really is mostly all about the driver. Heck, a woman beat me with a subaru wagon by 1 second! A little humbling. At least I think it was a turbo model :)
I'm not sure where my car belongs yet, but I'll figure that out later. For now I just know that after my second outing, running 10 times each time, I NEED TO ROTATE MY TIRES. Fronts are wearing on the outside edge bad.
 

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'96 VR4
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3,290 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Tommy, thx! That is helpful.

Yeah, I have no idea what class I'd wind up in. The car is nowhere near stock and getting further away all the time - not for any rational reason, just because it's my only toy so I play with it. A lot! :)

Actually, my biggest concern is a helmet. I have always sat with my head cocked a little to the right to get into the hole for the sunroof, which is a lot smaller on the elec roof cars. It's not a big thing, but it's there. So, I have zero room as it is. Anybody know of a seat that is a couple of inches lower than stock??

Nice kills on the Mustangs... sorry about the subie wagon! At least you get to run year round, it'll be a while before I have to worry about it up here.

Paul T
 

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Obsessive Carpolsive
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2,090 Posts
Actually, my biggest concern is a helmet. I have always sat with my head cocked a little to the right to get into the hole for the sunroof, which is a lot smaller on the elec roof cars. It's not a big thing, but it's there. So, I have zero room as it is. Anybody know of a seat that is a couple of inches lower than stock??
I went from using a motocross helmet to an HJC Helmet and it made a world of difference. Was on the large side of medium, but went with it and its just a little snug, but doable. Now I can sit straight up with the stock seat.

I'm 6'-6"

Just be aware their are different helmet designs out there. Would be nice to go somewhere and try different ones on while sitting in your car.
 

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Connecticut Autocross & Rally Team

I am sure there is one in your area as well

there is some good info here about classes, what to bring, rules, etc

edit: i have done one of these events for the first time with my stock vr4 (fresh bfg gforce sports) and done reasonably well against in the beginner class against modded wrx's, audi s4, miatas, bmws. placed 3rd behind a wrx sti and bmw m3
results page: http://www.cartct.com/10-10-10.shtml
 

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'96 VR4
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3,290 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I went from using a motocross helmet to an HJC Helmet and it made a world of difference. Was on the large side of medium, but went with it and its just a little snug, but doable. Now I can sit straight up with the stock seat.

I'm 6'-6"

Just be aware their are different helmet designs out there. Would be nice to go somewhere and try different ones on while sitting in your car.
Thanks, that's good advice. I knew I should go try them on, but yeah sitting in the car would be even better.

There is at least a 2in difference I think between the elec and manual sunroofs. Maybe more. Plexi roof panels give you a lot of extra headroom, I think. I can recline the seat, in fact I do, but after a point it's a strange driving position and my arms are straight out to the wheel which is no good too.

Yeah, I know there must be differences in helmets... thanks, I'll try looking for HJC as a starting point.



Connecticut Autocross & Rally Team

I am sure there is one in your area as well

there is some good info here about classes, what to bring, rules, etc

edit: i have done one of these events for the first time with my stock vr4 (fresh bfg gforce sports) and done reasonably well against in the beginner class against modded wrx's, audi s4, miatas, bmws. placed 3rd behind a wrx sti and bmw m3
results page: Connecticut Autocross & Rally Team

Wow. Quite the web site. I'll have to look at it in more detail tonight. I think there are a couple of clubs around here, of course this time of year not much is going on with them. Did you join this one or just show up to the events?
 

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die die die!!
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5,600 Posts
Well I won't have any cars here and I know that Pete / Dave / Dillons don't autocross. :p Hop on jdmchicago.com ... they always post events there. If you ever want to go to one I'd love to tag along, shoot some pics. We can see if we can get a 3/S crew together.

/hijack! Sorry Paul!
whowaughhh.. i'm want in.

thanks to the op for posting this,

and thanks for all the replies.

i have been thinking about this a lot lately. a few days ago chris posted up a link to a forum: Time Attack Forums

someone there pointed me to: WWSCC Forums • Login after i had asked similar questions

i was also directed here: Home of Northwest Region - SCCA as i'm in washington.

now for a new question for hijack:
other than a battery tie down, and helmet, what other types of things are absolutely necessary to participate in most races? i don't want to get the majority of my ducks lined up and be turned away.

i have attached the nasa rule book, which seems to be 139 pages of "why i can't race!"

_isiah

ediT: i don't know how to attach that..
 

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Super Moderator
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now for a new question for hijack:
other than a battery tie down, and helmet, what other types of things are absolutely necessary to participate in most races? i don't want to get the majority of my ducks lined up and be turned away.
Don't worry about linking to the rule book! But you do need to make sure your helmet is the correct spec per the rule book. Of course you can usually just show up and ask to borrow someone's helmet while they are working and not running.

In all the racing I've done, so long as your wheels are on tight, your battery is secure, you have a correct helmet, and you have an operational seat belt, you should be good to go! From then on, replace what breaks! :p
 

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I've been thinking about it for a few years now, and I'd like to give it a shot. So, how did you guys get started?

Do most autocrossers belong to clubs, or do you just show up? Is there any advantage one way or another?

Class. Man. How does that work for modded cars? I don't care what class I'm in (well, I don't think I do or should I?) but what happens when I show up with my EBC, SAFC, 13T's, lowering springs, Addco swaybars... and stock tires, alas. Aside from I suppose I get my butt handed to me by the other guys who have that plus big buck rubber. That's ok, I'd just like to be able to play with the car. But how do I even figure out where I belong?

Brakes. Do good street pads work for autocross, or do I want pads that I wouldn't normally drive to the the meet with?

Helmet. Well, I barely fit into the Mitsu as is. I am mulling an aftermarket seat to get lower (and that, I guess, may not be allowed either!) but aside from that, are there any helmets that have thinner shells than others? Or is one rated helmet going to be about the same size as any other?

Lots of questions, LOL! After having owned the car for seven years, and having lost track of how much money I've spent on it, I'd like to be able to play with it even in a small way. I'd also like to try some HPDEs, but same questions there only moreso I guess.

Paul T
My first event EVER was over 15 years ago. I went to a local Porsche Club event that let all-comers participate. Except for 275-40X17 CompTA-VRs on stock rims the rest of the '93 VR4 was untouched. Believe it or not I got a lot of attention (probably because I had the balls to even show up. At the end of the day ............... my times were mid-pack among ALL comers. And this was considering: (1) I'm a ham handed driver; (2) there were some race level Porsches there; (3) there were a ton of accomplished drivers there.

They supplied the helmet and did the necessary (very important) safety inspection.

My best times were the early runs. I got too greedy and tried to best those and hit way too many cones ........ spun-out once. Otherwise I MIGHT have been a bit above mid-pack.

Don't worry about mods, classes, technique. Go out and worry about learning your car in that element, how to drive it in a controlled fashion, and for the first few autocrosses don't worry about the competition. For the first few competitions the biggest competitor is YOU.
 
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