I've been into auto-crossing off and on for several years.Â Its a great way to keep up your driving skills and keep you right side up on the street.Â If you have a truck, van (yes I'll admit we have a TFDV)Â or your wife gets bent at the thought of you taking the family car out to the races, you can always get a few of your buddies and rent a car.Â Heck, the Hertz Shelby Mustang was born out of people renting them to take to the track.Â I had a Crown Vic that I took to our local races.Â It was fun and being a whaleÂ in a sea of Miatas and compacts!Â Ask around and find out which events are laid back and not ultra competitive.Â I've found most of the NASA events are low key and most experienced drivers will hop in your car and give you pointers.Â You will quickly realize you aren't the Mario Andretti you thought you were but its a total blast.Anyway, do we have anyone here that races? Â Here are a few resources to get you started.Â You can search for local events in your area:NASASCCAÂ
I've never done any real auto-cross events except for that Mazda Rev It Up event in the past. They gave us some customized Mazda 6's (tires & suspension etc.). I had a friend in high school that was big into and had a WRX that he used. I totally agree that everyone thinks are amazing drivers, and then you put them to the test and they have no idea what they are doing. A clip that I love to hate is where Eddie Griffin wrecks a perfectly good Ferrari Enzo. It's sad. Â You know, I never thought about renting a car just for auto crossing, it's not a bad idea! It's more about handling than pure speed too, as far as I understand. Well, I'm sure eventually you'll want some go fast but I've seen people in slow cars beat out people in fast cars just because of handling. Here's a great article on the Mazda MP3 from Road & Track
With 205/45ZR-17 tires all around, the not-so-boring sedan can zoom through the slalom cones with an average speed of 70.2 mph, which equals that of the Porsche 911 Turbo.
You heard that right, a little 2.0 liter 140 hp Mazda equaling a Porsche 911 Turbo in handling. Say what you will, but I'm impressed, especially for the money.I'd love to hear if more people out there have done auto-crossing too. I should probably start looking around at some events, it sounds like fun!
One of the big pluses of auto-x is usually the most damage you can normallyÂ do is getÂ scuff marks from the cones.Â Most have plenty of room to forgive any bad driving.Â Thats what makes renting a car pretty safe and danger free.Â Â
Â I am no auto-crosser but I have been participating in NASA and BMW Club driving days at a local racetrack for several years.Â I have learned numerous driving tactics on the track that I use on the street daily.Â The one that always has room for improvement is keeping your eyes up, looking ahead and looking where you want the car to go.Â They say the car will go where ever you are looking and that looking through turns (or traffic) will make anyone a much smoother driver.Â I have applied this tactic on the street by looking down the road, watching exit ramps for merging vehicles, looking through cars ahead of me for accidents, brake lights, wild game, etc.Â Â Â Another simple tactic I learned at the track was how to properly set my side view mirrors.Â I was always told to adjust my mirrors out until I see a little bit of the car in the mirror, this is wrong.Â To properly adjust your side views when sitting in your driving position take your head and touch it to the drivers side window and adjust that mirror out until you see the rearÂ quarter panel, then to adjust the passenger side view center your head over the center console and adjust the passenger mirror out until you see the rear quarter panel.Â After you do this it may feel weird if this is not how they were set before so have someone walk down the side of your car and watch them in your side and rear view mirrors.Â This mirror setup will help eliminate blind spots in most vehicles.Â Tactically on the street this allows me to keep an eye on my surroundings while driving, while in a parking lot this also allows meÂ to watch pedestrians and vehiclesÂ that are moving around me.Â Performance driving side I have learned techniques like trail braking, left foot braking, heel-toe down shifting, slip angle, and throttle steering while learning all about vehicle dynamics.Â It may not be J-turns and such but participating in these events have made me a better driver and more aware of my surroundings while in the vehicle.Â I hope I haven't bored anyone and if you have any questions I will try to answer them the best of my knowledge.
Jay, very good points.Â NASA has HPDE events down at Sebring but I never made it down there.Â I might have to rent a car and make the trip one of these days.Â Any track time is good and will help improve your driving skills on the street.
Also not an auto crosser, but have done lots of drifting, open track days, and now some scca (Though I'm not currently driving, acting as crew cheif lol)Auto cross looks super fun though, I know we got a few in the bay area. " Performance driving side I have learned techniques like trail braking, left foot braking, heel-toe down shifting, slip angle, and throttle steering while learning all about vehicle dynamics. "Â "participating in these events have made me a better driver and more aware of my surroundings while in the vehicle."Â Â YES /wp-content/forum-smileys/sf_headbang.gif
No autocrossing but I have a fairly extensive racing resume'. BMW Club racing, 2011 national champion, NASA, and SCCA. I'm also staff for BMW Club Racing Schools program. I do think that HPDE (High Performance Drivers Education) is a critical skillset for us to have. I don't have kids, but if I did they woudl participate in our BMW chapter's Street Survival program that teaches basic car dynamics to young drivers. Driving is the most dangerous thing we do on a daily basis and basic balance and physical dynamics are a must, and they are certainly not taught in "driver's ed".