Ford Focus ST Forum banner

21 - 40 of 43 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
146 Posts
Do you need special insurance to AutoCross?


Update 5/16/2016: The simple answer is regular insurance does not cover racing events of any type. So it would seem that some sort of insurance policy is either needed separately or through the club you are auto-crossing with.

I have seen some clever logic why not worry (And for some folks it may just work):
*It's just a parking lot...
*My agent races with me...
*The event isn't timed, therefore not a race...
*It's low risk, why even worry about it?

But as one guy put, you never know when someone is going to go off course and hit a parked car or bystander. If it's your car or you, are you covered? Best to know before you go to the event, than pretending it could never be you...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
102 Posts
Thanks so much for this post. I went out for my first autocross event yesterday and had a blast. I might've been the slowest driver there, but I learned a lot and improved my time with every lap. The only suggestion I'd add to the OP is to bring cash! I didn't realize they wouldn't take a credit card payment so I had to bum cash from club members. It might sound obvious but I'm one of those people who hates carrying cash anywhere. Also, helmet + glasses = discomfort city, if you have contacts definitely wear them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
926 Posts
Discussion Starter #24
Thanks so much for this post. I went out for my first autocross event yesterday and had a blast. I might've been the slowest driver there, but I learned a lot and improved my time with every lap. The only suggestion I'd add to the OP is to bring cash! I didn't realize they wouldn't take a credit card payment so I had to bum cash from club members. It might sound obvious but I'm one of those people who hates carrying cash anywhere. Also, helmet + glasses = discomfort city, if you have contacts definitely wear them.
In regards to the glasses versus contacts topic, I found that when I wear contacts I run into the problem of either my eyes dry out and I can't see and I spend more time trying to blink to get it to clear, or I have taken something in the eye before. I have a full face helmet so I have to run with the visor down if I do. I tried to wear sunglasses but that goes back to the issue with glasses and the comfort level. I've defaulted back to wearing my glasses at events. Its a six in one, half-dozen in the other situation, so you have to work through finding out what works best for you.

I'll update the original post about the cash issue. That is a pretty valid point.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
194 Posts
I have two dumb questions:
Are there any mods we should do to our cars before our first autocross? Oil catch can maybe?
Also, is every autocross an all day event where each participant is expected to work?

Sorry for the newbie questions, but the only "real" racing I've ever done is drag racing.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
8,078 Posts
I have two dumb questions:
Are there any mods we should do to our cars before our first autocross? Oil catch can maybe?
This greatly depends on what class you are racing in. Classes vary based on what mods you have. Even something as small as changing the offset of your wheels pushes you from some street classes. You should read up on classes and see what is/isn't allowed in certain classes. Technically, the only mod I suggest unless you have a certain goal in mind is tires. If you aren't racing in a particular class that outlaws it, however, suspension/traction mods are another great one. Aside from that tuning or certain engine mods will throw you into some harder classes with much more modified cars. It's a lot of learning, but once you learn it you'll understand.

Also, is every autocross an all day event where each participant is expected to work?

Sorry for the newbie questions, but the only "real" racing I've ever done is drag racing.
Yes, you should definitely work the course if you are racing the course. Some clubs get highly mad if you don't. Just pull your weight and work the course, usually it's a split event with 1 group being morning and another in the afternoon, you spend half the morning working and half the morning racing. Then you either leave, or stay and watch the afternoon guys. Or vice versa. If it's your first time and you're going with someone...if he races in a class that races in the afternoon, have him ride along with you. If he races in the morning and you are in the afternoon, ride along with him. If you are in the afternoon and he is too, ask someone else in the morning that knows what they are doing if you can ride along. The knowledge you gain from riding with someone is incredible and helps a lot. It's pretty overwhelming the first time. All eyes on you and a lot of pressure. I roasted off my tires twice my first 2 runs, then my next 2 runs I did great. I actually enjoyed working the course afterwards. Just talked to the people on my section and ran for cones when they get hit. Just don't be stupid and get run over.

Edit: You'll love it. Drag racing is cool and all, but in our car...it's by far the most fun to AutoX or track. That's where our magnificent car really shines. And it's a blast to do and challenge yourself each and every run to beat the last, or to modify your strategy and take this turn wide vs inside or hug this cone or that cone. It's a big strategy. Also, when they let you walk the course, WALK THE DAMN COURSE. Over, and over, and over again. Try to get it down before you drive on it. Pick things to look out for, then watch other drivers before you for things they struggle with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
179 Posts
@brian60's answers are right on, but I just wanted to chime in:

Are there any mods we should do to our cars before our first autocross?
In my opinion, no - none. Autocross is one of those rare sports where it's less about the car and more about the driver. Find your local club and go to every event they have for a year and keep your car as is. There is nothing you can do to your car that will make you better in a way that you'll be able to take advantage of until you get used to handling your car and reading the course. Plus, after several events, you'll know what you need to change out on your car to get it to respond to your inputs better.

Also, is every autocross an all day event where each participant is expected to work?
Some regions are so small that you only split into two groups: morning and afternoon - where the morning drivers are the afternoon workers, and vice versa. There do exist some events where you don't work the event, but those are commercial enterprises, and the cost of admission will reflect it. Local club autocross (SCCA, et al) is usually a private, non-profit, volunteer organization. So yeah, driving without working is very highly frowned upon. Most clubs have a one-strike-and-you're-out policy for just that reason.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
8,078 Posts
@brian60's answers are right on, but I just wanted to chime in:



In my opinion, no - none. Autocross is one of those rare sports where it's less about the car and more about the driver. Find your local club and go to every event they have for a year and keep your car as is. There is nothing you can do to your car that will make you better in a way that you'll be able to take advantage of until you get used to handling your car and reading the course. Plus, after several events, you'll know what you need to change out on your car to get it to respond to your inputs better.



Some regions are so small that you only split into two groups: morning and afternoon - where the morning drivers are the afternoon workers, and vice versa. There do exist some events where you don't work the event, but those are commercial enterprises, and the cost of admission will reflect it. Local club autocross (SCCA, et al) is usually a private, non-profit, volunteer organization. So yeah, driving without working is very highly frowned upon. Most clubs have a one-strike-and-you're-out policy for just that reason.
Definitely agree with his mod opinions. The #1 mod by FAR, like not even negotiable, is seat time/driver mod. If you master your car, stock, you will 100% of the time beat someone who I fully bolted but new to AutoX. You know how much you can let off the gas before lift-off oversteer takes over and you spin out, how fast you can slalom back and forth without losing control, how hard you can brake, when you can brake, when you should accelerate in a turn, etc. So even with a less powerful ST you'll put better times with better control. Pay close attention to each run and this is why it's great to have someone ride along because that person can focus on your errors that you missed because you were focusing on driving. You could have taken this turn closer or clipped that cone sharper, etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
194 Posts
Wow guys, thanks for the thorough replies. I should have been more specific, in that I was asking about mods to protect the car, not necessarily make it faster. Things like an oil catch can or better brakes or brake fluid. But it sounds like I should be good to go on the hardware side, I just have to work on modifying the software (me).

I certainly have no problem with working the event, I am just used to a drag strip where you pay your admission and they do the work.

Thanks again for all the advise.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
179 Posts
Oh, well, as far as prep:
Do your basic maintenance on the car. Oil, tire pressures, spark plugs, check belts, brake pads/shoes, etc. There's also a few things they'll check for at the tech inspection. Inspect your battery tie-downs. Make sure there's no play in your wheel linkage/bearings. Check for intact sway bar linkage. Remove (or stow away in a compartment) all loose items from the cabin. These things can and will become a projectile during your run. Take down anything hanging from the mirror. Remove the driver's side floor mat (in case it gets lodged under the brake or gas pedals).

For weight savings, you're allowed to remove anything that isn't bolted in place: headrests, spare tire and jack, tool kit, trunk trays. It helps to have a not-full tank of gas - roughly 1/2 to 3/8ths of a tank is good. I like taking the caps off the valve stems on my tires ahead of time so I can quickly check pressures between runs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
98 Posts
This is awesome information. I've wanted to get into autocross for years and this year I'm finally going to go for it. This is thread is super helpful.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
194 Posts
Woohoo! Thanks to this thread and others like it, I did my first autocross ever. I was terrible, super slow, but I had a BLAST! I'll do better next time, which will be soon (weather permitting). I made a friend or two, and had some fun, and learned a ton. They had some interesting machinery there for sure. Vipers, Audi R8, '77ish Chevy Nova, little open wheel race cars, etc.
When I pulled in, I saw a Fiesta ST next to a MazdaSpeed3, so I parked next to them. I asked a ton of questions, but everyone was very helpful and understanding. Since I was sucking so badly, one of the members asked if he could ride along with me and give me some pointers, which I gladly accepted. Then, another member asked me what my times were, and had me ride along with him while he demonstrated his technique. I was able to trim my times down a bunch, but still not enough to be really competitive. I'll keep trying.

I do have one question though, is there some sort of prize for the winner in each class, maybe at the end of the year or something?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
409 Posts
It depends on the club that you run with. I know that one of the local groups here (Equipe Rapide) has some small cash prizes at each event for certain PAX positions, as well as "trophies" for the top few in each class (their trophies are club shirts). They also have an event at the end of the season where they hand out trophies for the overall season positions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
Woohoo! Thanks to this thread and others like it, I did my first autocross ever. I was terrible, super slow, but I had a BLAST! I'll do better next time, which will be soon (weather permitting). I made a friend or two, and had some fun, and learned a ton. They had some interesting machinery there for sure. Vipers, Audi R8, '77ish Chevy Nova, little open wheel race cars, etc.
When I pulled in, I saw a Fiesta ST next to a MazdaSpeed3, so I parked next to them. I asked a ton of questions, but everyone was very helpful and understanding. Since I was sucking so badly, one of the members asked if he could ride along with me and give me some pointers, which I gladly accepted. Then, another member asked me what my times were, and had me ride along with him while he demonstrated his technique. I was able to trim my times down a bunch, but still not enough to be really competitive. I'll keep trying.

I do have one question though, is there some sort of prize for the winner in each class, maybe at the end of the year or something?
Our region Utah SCCA does trophies at the end of the year. I'm currently in STH class, working down to GS class (swapping slotted rotors for OEM). There are killers in each of those categories so I'm aiming for second in class. I set a main goal of Rookie of the Year. You have to attend a certain number of events and they take your average PAX times. Aim for that!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
156 Posts
Quick question.

What tire pressure should I start at? This is my first event in the ST, it's 100% stock. In my Mustang I used to run 36 front and 32 rear, but these are entirely different cars, so I'm not too sure where to start.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
179 Posts
What tires do you have? The closer they are to "normal" tires, the higher you'll want to pump the pressure. Something like an RE71 or a set of Rivals have much stiffer sidewalls, so with them you can probably start at 36, chalk the tires, and go from there. The stock Eagles, probably go to 40. I go to 40 with my Hankook evo2, a somewhat soft and normal-ish summer tire.

Bring a pump and a gauge.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
8,078 Posts
Quick question.

What tire pressure should I start at? This is my first event in the ST, it's 100% stock. In my Mustang I used to run 36 front and 32 rear, but these are entirely different cars, so I'm not too sure where to start.
I started at I think 36 all corners then ended up lowering my rears (yes...rears...) to like 34 because I wasn't seeing my tire get too close to the sidewall as far as wear marks...once at like 34 my tire was wearing right at the edge of the sidewall and was rolling JUST enough. If you go too low then it'll roll too much and you'll see your sidewall begin to make contact with the pavement which isn't ideal.

There is no "set it and forget it" pressure. Do your first run at like 36/36 and see how your tires look. If you need help ask someone, they'll happily help. I had help my first time. Lower or add as needed and after the first run and definitely the second run you'll be good. Remember after the first run the tires will be hotter...and with each run after that even hotter yet. Which means you sometimes see people leaving out a little bit more each run to keep them at that level since heat causes higher pressure.

I was on F1's btw. My Super Sports are a lot different and have a softer sidewall but higher pressure
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
156 Posts
I started at I think 36 all corners then ended up lowering my rears (yes...rears...) to like 34 because I wasn't seeing my tire get too close to the sidewall as far as wear marks...once at like 34 my tire was wearing right at the edge of the sidewall and was rolling JUST enough. If you go too low then it'll roll too much and you'll see your sidewall begin to make contact with the pavement which isn't idea.

There is no "set it and forget it" pressure. Do your first run at like 36/36 and see how your tires look. If you need help ask someone, they'll happily help. I had help my first time. Lower or add as needed and after the first run and definitely the second run you'll be good. Remember after the first run the tires will be hotter...and with each run after that even hotter yet. Which means you sometimes see people leaving out a little bit more each run to keep them at that level since heat causes higher pressure.

I was on F1's btw. My Super Sports are a lot different and have a softer sidewall but higher pressure
I've got everything I need, and I had gotten pretty good at futching with the pressures until it was just above the sidewall. I just had no clue where to begin. I know some Miata guys run as low as 25 hot, and some Mustang guys at 40 hot, but I found the best results for mine at 36/32 front/rear. It probably varies quite a bit for each tire.
 
21 - 40 of 43 Posts
Top