Autocross Tips & Notes from a Novice Perspective
(originally posted on my personal blog)
The following is a series of tips, tricks and observations i’ve noted from my previous autocross events. Note, I am a novice and have TONS of room to grow, i’m basically providing this insight as I progress and hope it helps others. I will continue to provide more as I attend more events. The key piece is to keep an open mind, always be open to learning more and just have fun!
After learning about some events run by the Boston chapter of the BMWCCA I was hooked. I’ve made some great friends and met a lot of very helpful instructors. I’ve even seen a personal improvement (shaved 10 seconds off my last run).
Tips from previous runs
- Constantly keep talking to fellow drivers/visitors
- Don’t be afraid to approach the veterans, many are VERY open to chat
- Talk less and listen more
- Do take an instructor along for most runs, but also run some solo
- While working the course watch the cars lines and actions
- Get as many ride-alongs as possible at each event
- During ride-alongs watch drivers inputs and basic line, but don’t mimic.
- First run of a course should be about exploration, not speed or times
- More speed requires faster inputs and more room for error
- Slaloms require smooth wheel movements, maintain speed
- Most courses don’t require shifting, get into desired gear and use acc/brake only
- Turn off driving aids to learn your car, but be safe.
- Smooth out your inputs as you progress
- Practice the right habits, bad ones are hard to break.
- Bring a GoPro, it makes for some great footage!
Things to bring
- Shoes for driving (Puma makes some great ones)
- Sunglasses & sunscreen
- Helmet, if you have one (some events have loaners)
- Clothes appropriate for the weather and change of clothes
- Raincoat, umbrella or poncho for course work and standing around
- A folding chair (fold up campers chair works best)
- Lots of water in a cooler with ice
- Lunch or cash to buy lunch from the events (varies)
- Cooler for lunch, beverages or snacks
- Notebook and pencil to write down all advice and sketch course for review
- Good tire pressure gauge (can find one on Amazon for short $$)
- Portable air tank or compressor (plug-in or gas powered)
- Chalk or white shoe polish to mark the tires (remove after event to prevent marks)
- Numbers or painters tape for numbers (usually needed to be 8-10 inches high)