Seven Ways Not To Suck At Your First Autocross Event

I did something that I’ve been wanting to do for pretty much my whole life, I raced my car at an autocross event. Like going to the gym on January 1st, going to an autocross event for your first time can be intimidating and scary.  I mean having fun is obviously the best way to be successful at an autocross, but I wanted to give you seven tips for your first autocross event!

Blindly follow these tips for first timer success:

  1. Network: Washington DC’s staffers favorite word is actually helpful at an autocross event.  The network of talent and experience at an autocross event is endless, and the desire to help newcomers is also endless.  So don’t be scared to introduce yourself to someone, because they will probably be your guardian angel through the rest of the day.
  2. Walk the track: I learned that you should walk the track several times from a friend I made earlier that morning.  You typically walk the track once with everyone before you start racing, but if you get there early enough you can walk the course several times, and avoid a costly error of driving off course.
  3. Draw the course: This sounds like a funny idea, but it’s tremendously helpful.  Once you have walked the course several times, get yourself a piece of paper and draw the course.  
  4. Imagine you driving the course: Catch a theme here? Obviously learning the course is the most important thing you can do.  Because once you go off course you get disqualified and lose that run.  Something you don’t want to do.  So once you draw the course try to picture yourself driving the course.  Imagine where you are going to turn, where you are going to brake, throttle, etc.
  5. Ride Along: This changed the game for me.  It was another tip I had learned from networking, and it also helps you meet new people.  Find the fastest person, or the person with the coolest car on the course, and ask to ride along.  Everyone that I asked was more than OK with it, and I ended making some friends.  When you ride along with someone you benefit from learning the course, and making some great friends and getting even better tips on how to drive fast.
  6. Have instructors drive your car: This was something I had no idea that you could do, but I thought it was great.  During the lunch break you can have the top instructors drive your car so you can get an idea of what kind of times you should be achieving.  Sometimes you’ll be better than the instructor, most of the times you will not, and they’ll teach you valuable things about your car that you would have never learned otherwise.
  7. Listen to other cars engines: Other then the obvious reason for enjoying the sound of their engines. If you listen to the cars engine you can hear when the drivers brake in a turn, give throttle, and how much throttle to give out of a turn.  

It’s a lot of information to take in when you attend your first autocross event, but if you follow these seven steps you’ll be a whole lot more successful!


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