Introducing Friends to Autocross

AAS @ Marina 5-2-2015 - Photo: Mark Mervich

AAS @ Marina 5-2-2015 – Photo: Mark Mervich

This past weekend, Dennis and I had the opportunity to introduce a few of our FRS/BRZ friends to autocross. Earlier in the week, Dennis asked me if I would co-drive with one of his friends (blue BRZ below). After the rush and seriousness of the last several events, I wanted to go out and have fun. No car prep. No GoPro recording. No data logging. Just wanted to autocross and enjoy myself.

The BRZ was 100% stock except for the wheels. There were no upgrades, and it was still running the stock “Prius” tires. The tires are great for fuel economy, but that’s really about it. They are terrible auto-x tires.

All and all, my day was super enjoyable. Here are some tips for new people to get into autocross. In no real order. (See after picture.)

AAS @ Marina 5-2-2015 - Photo: Mark Mervich

AAS @ Marina 5-2-2015 – Photo: Mark Mervich

Tips for New Autocrossers

  1. Have Fun – Most people autocross because they enjoy it. If you aren’t enjoying yourself, why do it?
  2. Have Realistic Expectations – Have realistic expectations in regards to the times you put down. It isn’t realistic to expect to be the fastest time of the day your first or second time out. Instead, focus on yourself by improving on each of your runs.
  3. Losing Control – Don’t be afraid to spin out or lose control. Don’t let it discourage you out if you do. You can learn a lot by spinning out. Autocross is a perfect place to try to find the limits of the car. Think of it like this: How do you know what the limit of your car is if you haven’t experienced it? If you have the option, turn traction control completely off. You’ll have the opportunity to learn much more with it disabled. The only time where I would suggest you to turn it on is if you are having such a difficult and frustrating time with the car/course that you are NO LONGER HAVING FUN.
  4. Find a Co-Driver – Co-drivers, regardless of experience, are a great way to get up to speed with autocrossing. Sharing the same car and co-driving will allow you to see what the car can do. You’ll be able to compare your times and lines to your co-driver, as well as have many more opportunities to see the course across the course of the day. Co-driving in autocross is different than other forms of racing. Co-driving is simply sharing a single car. Each driver alternates runs and will gets their own set of runs.
  5. Friends – Go autocrossing with friends. Autocrossing is more fun with good company. If you can’t get any friends to tag along, no worries. Come out anyways and make some new friends.
  6. Ask Questions – Don’t be afraid to ask questions or for clarifications. Or ask for someone to ride along with you. We were all beginners once.
  7. Take Away a Skill – For your first few autocrosses, try to learn and take away one or two skills or ideas each event. It is much more beneficial to leave with a good/solid understanding of one or two ideas versus a poor understanding of many ideas. Like anything else, becoming good, or fast in this case, takes time and experience. Don’t expect to be blistering fast after a few events. It isn’t realistic.

Want to share any other tips? Share it with us by emailing me at darkonion@kimete.com.

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