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Hey everyone! So I'm new to the AutoX scene, I've never actually been to one but my friends have done it and I've heard so much about how well ST's can do, I picked up an interest into trying it out. I could use any kind of advice, tips, do's and do not's, favorite mods for autocross, etc. I've been taking a peak through the forums, but there are so many posts. What are your experiences with auto crossing the ST? Any troubles? Is there anything I should mod/would be helpful?
 

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I'm not sure what class you'll be in with those mods, but for your first time I wouldn't worry about it as chances are you won't be competitive anyway. You should be totally fine for your first event with a stock car. If you get more seriously into it later you might want to change your brake pads and tires, but leave them for now. You may want to research what tire pressure to use. That'll depend on tires and the surface you're running on and maybe the temperature on the day of the event. I would suggest asking more experienced drivers what they are running for pressure. If you can bring a pump or compressor and a good tire gauge that would help. Or borrow them if you don't have your own.

Take lots of water, sunscreen and a hat if it's going to be sunny. Wear shoes that are good for walking as you'll do a lot of that on your course walks. If those shoes aren't good for driving then bring some different shoes for driving. If there's any chance of rain bring waterproofs. Take food with you or check to see if they have food at the event or somewhere nearby for lunch.

You will need to get your car teched in the morning. Check your wheels are on tight, your battery is tightly secured, and there is nothing loose in the car. For your peace of mind also check your oil level. It might be a good idea to remove your drivers floor mat, or you can ask them if that's necessary. You may want to google a more thorough guide to preparing your car.

Get there early to get your car teched and do the other critical thing before racing starts, which is walking the course. I try and walk the course as many times as possible. At first you will just want to figure out which way the course goes, but by your last walk or two you want to try and get an idea of your line and how you'll be driving. Try and walk the line you'll be hoping to drive the car. I highly recommend telling the organizers you're a novice and doing a walk or two with a more experienced driver as they should have a lot of good tips.

For while you're driving, the main advice I'd give is to look ahead. This is crucial. The further ahead you look, the more time you'll have to process what's coming up. If you look at the cone directly in front of you, you will have no time to react to that or position your car. So look ahead further than you think. The next thing I'd say is to be smooth with your inputs. You will have to make quick inputs at time, but they should never be jerky. You want everything to be as smooth as possible, including steering, and throttle and brake inputs. Two more important things... Have an experienced driver ride with you to give you advice. This is very helpful. And also ride with other experienced drivers in their car to see how they drive. Or even better have them drive your car. Another thing to add is on your first couple of runs, just take it really easy and make sure you have the course figured out. So many new drivers (and experienced drivers!) go balls out on their first runs and DNF (did not finish) by going the wrong side of a cone, at the least they hit a bunch of cones. The first goal is just to make it around the course.

There is a lot more to it, but to me these are the basics and should help you have a good day. Don't forget to drink plenty of water and use sunscreen if it's sunny, not doing those two can ruin your day :)

And mostly, have fun!
 

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You need to read everything Sniffpetrol said in addition to the link he posted.
I'm a newbie, having competed in only three autocrosses (one a month in the last three months). It is lots of fun, but I found out just how much room there is for improvement in my driving. I did very poorly my in my first two events, but by seeking advice and listening to the faster racers (AKA everyone else), I am finally showing some improvement. So don't be discouraged if you suck at first. What I have found is that almost everyone at every event loves to help newbies like us out. I mean, I've never met a more friendly bunch of strangers.

Since you seem to be a female, I would suggest emptying out your car at home before you leave for the event, maybe even the day before if you have half as much crap in your car as my wife and my daugher drive around with.


Some things that I wasn't expecting (besides the friendliness):

If you seem to be struggling (like me) they will get one of the experienced racers to ride along with you and give you pointers, and they will have you ride along with them to give you more. People hop in and out of cars the whole time they are in "grid".

They have a HUGE variety of machinery racing on the same course. Yes, there will always be plenty of Miatas and some S2000's, but they have some really cool other stuff, too. From tiny little race cars to old American muscle to plain-jane Saturns and Camrys to Vipers and Porsches and God only knows what will show up.

You learn a lot while working. You will be expected to work at whichever station they need you. I learn quite a bit by working the corners (the people who are out standing on the track in little safe areas that reset the cones and report any issues).

You, yes you, can beat much faster cars like Vipers if you are a better driver. The racers with the high horsepower cars need to work extra hard modulating the throttle to avoid frying the rear tires.

If you want to be successful at Autocross, don't do any mods to the car yet. There are a bazillion classes and pretty much every mod that we love on this forum could very well jump you up into a higher class, which changes your multiplier and I haven't been doing this long enough to understand all of that, but the only mod you will need is the driver mod. You need to learn everything you can and practice as much as you can. Then, tire pressure and seating position should be the first "mods".

If there is time after the event, they sometimes allow "Fun Laps". Fun laps are my favorite! No pressure, just get out there and have fun. Only thing, there are no corner workers during fun laps, so if you hit a cone you have to stop and get out and fix it, so try not to hit any cones during Fun Laps. But if you do, just hop out, put them back, and rock on!


The main thing about autocross is to get out there and DO IT! Oh, and two words: LOOK AHEAD!
 
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