I am often asked by prospective autocrossers what they need to do in order to participate, and am often met with shock when I answer, “…really, nothing.” “But… but… do I need this or that?”
To autocross, you just need a mechanically safe and functioning car. You don’t need any specific equipment or mods. Sure, mods can certainly help your car perform, but you don’t NEED mods to participate. I hope that people take away the concept that you don’t NEED a race car to race. You can race in stock trim and still have a blast.
A stock car isn’t any less fun than a prepared one. It is just a different trim. Like anything else, each trim offers different pros and cons. A stock car is pretty much an arrive and drive experience. The prep is minimal. The cost is a bit lighter. And the competition is a bit less dependent on the car. However, the trade-off is that the car isn’t as specifically prepped for performance. Where as a heavily modified platform may require more initial investment, pre-race calibration, and transportation.
There’s really nothing wrong with either path. It simply gets down to the driver and what he is willing or able to do. I obviously exampled the two ends of the spectrum, and there is middle ground with classes like Street Touring and Street Prepared, but at the end of it all, it just gets down to the individual. How much time, money, and effort is one willing to commit to autocrossing. Just my two cents.
A little off tangent on the original topic; the other thing I wanted to suggest is that people have realistic expectations for their platform. I came across a guy who just detested the FRS/BRZ platform. The car belonged to his wife, but for whatever reason, he just seemed really disappointed to with the car. When asked to elaborate, he stated that his second gen MR2 turbo was better in every way. It handled better. It had more power. And it was more fun to drive. However, it was modified. Upgraded with many tidbits.
I hope people understand that a prepped car is always going to be better performance wise. And that a street car was designed for the street and was designed for the masses and not the speed/car enthusiasts.
Just my honest opinion.