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Discussion Starter #1
I have been dreaming about getting into motorsports for a while now. I am hoping to use the Elise to get into autocrossing. For those that have experience with autocrossing, is this a good idea? Should I take a class or something beforehand? Or do I just show up at one of the events? I might try it out with my S2000 before I get my Elise. Any thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Looks like I should've done a search first. We both have S2000s and we both want to autocross. I think that I might take the advice from the other thread and autocross with my S2000. The tires are not good anyway and will need to be replaced soon. Mind as well destroy them first :)

Now, does anyone in the DC/VA/MD area autocross?
 

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If you are looking for a place to go that lists the autocrosses check out autocross.com and follow the links to the north east...from there you can get to clubs in your area...

OR

You ca nsurf to AUTOX4U.com and get a list from their as well as a novice hand book to help make sure you bring a few things with you on your first time.

Go out and try it...You will get hooked. Tell them at registration that you are a first timer or a novice and you would like an instructor...Most clubs are eager to help new people. Take your instructior for a ride. Let him take you for a ride....and drive at least once by your self.... ENJOY...

If you are looking for a school specifically for autocrossing check out the Evolution performance driving school....The most cost effective school out there. It costs about 200.00 for the day and your in your own car. You can find the link through autocross.com.

good luck
Pat
 

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If you're in the Norfolk area, try tidewatersportscarclub.com or beachcombercorvetteclub.com

The beachcombers hosted an autocross yesterday. I just had a second surgery on my ankle or I would have been there. (Actually, I had a disagreement about that with my gf. If she would have just driven me there, I'm pretty sure I could have gotten the car moving, and then shifted to second for the rest of the course, despite the left leg being in a plaster splint. I had exciting sports hero images in my head... "tape it up, I've gotta play!" However, I couldn't convince her to drive me there. :D )

The events out here are a lot of fun, and the competition is friendly.

Cade
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well, thanks for the tips ... and the laugh with the "tape it up, I've gotta play!" line. The Norfolk area is a bit too far away for me, but I will check out those websites and look for a good event nearby to bust my autocross hymen.
 

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Getting into Autocrossing

I got into Autocrossing thru autoX4u.com and I got to know Perry, the guy who put up the website. They race at Raceway Park in South Jersey (about 1.5 hrs from my house). I've had him drive my car a few times, what a beautiful smooth driver, he makes the cars dance...

Almost everybody I met was very friendly and helpful. I got tons of driving instruction, mostly for free.

Autocrossing is a great way to learn to drive fast, although you will have tuff time explaining that to people who think driving fast is going > 100 mph in a straight line (boring!!!!).

You can expect (unless you are an unusually natural driver) to get your butt kicked, at least at first, when I first went guys in volvo station wagons were beating me even tho I was driving a Miata which is a really good autocross car (which also means there are a lot of really fast Miata drivers).

It tears your tires up pretty fast tho. Good luck!
 

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The one thing that is keeping me away is looking like a fool. I know that I am going to get my butt kicked the first couple (dozen) times and that is going to hurt. And having a good car like the S2000 is going to make me look even worse. Maybe I should take my Subie wagon through the cones. Then no one would expect anything. Oh well, everyone had to start somewhere.

I technically did autocross once, but it was by mistake. I was driving back to my place in college and I noticed that one of the school parking lots was empty, except for a bunch of cones and the entrances were blocked off, but poorly. I looked around and saw no one, so I snuck through the barriers and ripped through those cones in my 1986 Chrysler Laser Turbo (sans working turbo) a bunch of times and had a blast. When I looked up the nearby hill, I noticed that the school club racers were all looking at me. I put my my tail between my legs and got out of there. Oops. So I guess I am not a newbie.
 

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Don't worry about looking like a fool. At least in my region, nobody is going to laugh at you when you spin or hit cones. In fact, I'd say an equal amount of 'N' (novice) folks spin as do more experienced folks. More cones are hit by 'N' cars, but that's just part of learning. Nobody is going to laugh at you unless you're in a Lamborghini and you come off like you think you're "all that".

The most common way to look like a fool is to get confused and lose track of where you're supposed to be on the course. It can look like a big sea of cones sometimes. At my first (or second?) autocross, the course was laid out in a way that required the driver to do two laps on a small course and then exit with a hard corner. There is a lot to think about, and I spaced out and blew right past the exit like I was going for a 3rd lap. OOPS! Man alive was I embarrassed. But - nobody made me feel stupid. People chuckled a bit, but then came up to me and told me about the time that THEY did something just as bad. They had to flag another driver off the course due to my mistake, and even he understood and smiled about it.

Do the "novice walkthrough", and take an experienced passenger along as frequently as you can. If you don't know you're sucking, you won't be able to improve.

Again, the 'N' on the side of your car pretty much exempts you from ridicule. If you're good enough to remove the 'N', then your friends might laugh at you a little, but at that point, who cares?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the words of encouragement. I think I am going to put a big 'N' on my car right now :) Maybe I will wear a shirt with a big 'N' on it to spare any daily ridicule too. After reading this thread, I am definitely going to autocross in the spring. Thanks to all for the help.

Anybody here in the DC area want to join me?
 

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Odog said:
The one thing that is keeping me away is looking like a fool.
Don't worry! Yes, unless you're more talented than most of us, you'll get your behind kicked badly the first couple of times. I lost about 10s on top drivers with similar cars in my first auto-x. But if you go with realistic expectations, and your ego doesn't get bruised too easily, that shouldn't be a problem. It's best if you don't put yourself under pressure, just go out, drive, and have fun. The rest will come as you gain experience. This is a difficult sport, and there's only one way to get good at it: practice, practice, practice!

Nobody will make fun of you. Walk up to people, tell them that you're new, and ask for help and advice. They will be more than happy to support you. You will probably find some of friendliest and most helpful people you ever met.

Just a little story for illustration: At one of our local event, one relatively new driver was having problems with the course (and driving an unfamiliar car). A guy runs to his car, and jumps in to help him during his last run. Our newbie probably never even found out that the guy running to help him was 10+ time national champion John Thomas, who happened to be around after teaching in a driving school the previous day.
 

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All of the good autocrossers know how hard the sport is when you are new. Most of us got lost on course before. I stopped once and told a course worker... "help... which way does the course go?" :)

To me, the main point of this sport is making mistakes... and learning from them.

Most regions have some sort of designation for new drivers. Many offer instruction and people that can ride with you. And you will find that in general, autocrossers are very helpful. Even those in your own class that you may end up beating will help you with set up.
 

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I tried autocrossing at a couple LOGs.

I must have a defective gene, for the life of me I could not conceptualize the route to take and invariably went the wrong way every run!
Chris who's not necessarily stupid but perhaps has some unknown brain defect.
 

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zvezdah1 said:
I tried autocrossing at a couple LOGs.

I must have a defective gene, for the life of me I could not conceptualize the route to take and invariably went the wrong way every run!
Chris who's not necessarily stupid but perhaps has some unknown brain defect.
Often going the wrong way is a problem with the course design, not you. Not always. But often.

My "defect" is I can't memorize courses. Just can not. I have to drive them as I see them.
 

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I always use an analogy with my students. If driving is like walking, and driving fast on the street is like running, then racing is like ballet. Being able to do one doesn't translate to another. And _no one_ is good at it without years of practice. (I wish I were good even with my years of practice. :))

I agree with the initial statement above. The people who show up in Miatas are much more likely to stick around than the people who show up in Vipers. It is hard to take the beating when you have a great car. But racer folk are great and almost always encouraging. Everyone out there knows what it is like to be the slow newbie.
 

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I wanted to say this in my previous post, before I got carried away again: Driving the Legacy initially might not be a bad idea. It's going to be more forgiving than the S2000, and you won't have the (perceived) pressure of driving a fast car. And only cool people drive Subarus! :D
 

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Randy (I ask u this cuz u r the godfather)

in a typical autoX day how long do u get to drive, and how much sitting around waiting is there?
 

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ConeFusion said:
I wanted to say this in my previous post, before I got carried away again: Driving the Legacy initially might not be a bad idea. It's going to be more forgiving than the S2000, and you won't have the (perceived) pressure of driving a fast car. And only cool people drive Subarus! :D
I was thinking of mentioning that too. :)

That is one thing... to show up in something fast and exotic will add some presure. Such as-

http://www.riceboypage.com/shame/hall_of_shame_8/hallofshame8.html





That pic shows me in the passenger seat. The guy really was not that bad, nor his times that bad. We have very long (over a mile plus) courses and often see times over 100 seconds for the fast cars.
 

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banTT0r said:
Randy (I ask u this cuz u r the godfather)

in a typical autoX day how long do u get to drive, and how much sitting around waiting is there?
Depends on the region and how they do things.

Often I go to the local autocross about 8:00am. Register, tech inspect the car, look at the course. We have 8 runs groups that are about 30 minutes long. You work one group and run another. So you can run in the 1st group at 9:00am and be heading home by 10:30am. You will wait about 10 minutes between runs normally.

What might seem strange to some people, is that this is the championship event format, and the point is how fast you can be in 3 runs.

We also have practice days and schools. These can often turn into more seat time. I was working with a school a few weeks ago where people had more seat time than they wanted and ended up stopping running. This was over a two day period for a total cost of $60 including food.

The main thing is that autocross is not about a lot of seat time. But the short time you have can be very intense. In a National Tour or Championship format, you get 3 runs each day over two days. In a ProSolo format, you get a minimum of 12 runs and up to 24 runs if you are the winner.
 

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Yes to AutoX in DC area>>>

Odog said:
Looks like I should've done a search first. We both have S2000s and we both want to autocross. I think that I might take the advice from the other thread and autocross with my S2000. The tires are not good anyway and will need to be replaced soon. Mind as well destroy them first :)

Now, does anyone in the DC/VA/MD area autocross?
Highly recommend AutoXing or also know as Solo...in the 15 years I have been AutoXing the only 'damage' to any of my cars was getting a cone wedged inside the fender well (boy did I nail that sucker :rolleyes: )
The Mercedes club (George Washington Section) allows non Mercedes into their AutoX events... can try twice without being member of Mercedes club (per AutoX entrance fee is $12 regardless of being member of club or not)... if you want to continue AutoXing for the season (10 events total) then you have to join the club...yep a Elise in the Mercedes club :D Let me know if you are interested and I can provide you more details.
Michael
 
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