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Old 11-12-2011, 06:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Autocross Noob Questions. Would appreciate some help!

I've been looking into getting into autocross the last couple of years and I've got some questions I was hoping you guys could answer. I've got an 08 fa5 (which is a DD) with the typical bolt on mods. I'll just list off my major questions. I've done my fair share of searching threads here on 8thcivic, but I figured I would just see what the community had to say. So, I apologize if these questions have already been asked. Thanks!

-I've seen that the SCCA offers classes a few times a year around my region (I'm in the southeast), is this worth doing? I'm a good driver in my own opinion, but I have no experience racing as I am not the type to risk my life on the public roads.

-Is the SCCA the way to go in terms of Autocross, or are there better/equal clubs? For the SCCA members, whats the best route to take to get into SCCA racing?

-What mods would all you Autocrossers suggest? I've been looking into going the turbo route, but honestly I have no experience with such things and would probably get myself killed. It seems like the best mods for this type of racing is a little power, but mostly tires/wheels/suspension.

-How expensive is it really? I know there are yearly and entry fees but what are the realistic expenses in all of this? How quickly do you guys blow through tires?

My current mods include:
Skunk2 70mm Exhaust
Skunk2 RH- (also, will this be legal?)
Fujita SRI
Boomba Racing Mounts
Flashpro with E-tune
Falken Azenis Pt-722 (All season)
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Old 11-13-2011, 12:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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seat time is the best thing you could do for auto-x. the more seat time you have, the better you will get.
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Old 11-13-2011, 09:42 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Just finished by rookie autox year, so I don't have the experience of some others on this site, but your questions look like the same ones I had, so I'll tell you what I found out so far:

- Instruction class: probably, but can't say from personal experience yet. I did sign up for an Evolution Driving School class last year that I couldn't attend (lost my registration fee!) An instructor does ride with you at autox events on your first run to help you navigate cones if you are a novice, and if you ask them nicely they will help you out pretty much any other time they can. Its a very good community of people I think.

-SCCA: this had me confused for awhile too. You can run with local autox clubs without joining SCCA - just show up (pre-register if they have that option). If you get hooked (very likely) and have the time, find out how to join your local club so you can start competing on points and get registration fee discounts, but the national SCCA thing is optional.

-Mods: everyone will tell you seat time, with mods a distant second. Unfortunately for me, I've been working on cars for decades and love that part of the sport too, so my list of mods is getting pretty long. It's great to have mods for DD (which is what we do 99% of the time in the car) but can put you in a class of other highly modified cars that will blow your doors in. If you go forced induction (I have a supercharger, which is a scream on the track) you will end up in what is called Street Modified, which is a very tough class with some sick vehicles and drivers. IMO, I don't care since I'm having a fun time and get to drive a well tuned vehicle every day this way. You would probably be more competitive if you stick with your current mods (Street Touring I think is where you would be right now?). Even with no mods at all, our cars do really well (in the right hands). Your mods all look perfectly fine for local event purposes - the inspections are about safety and to kinda check that your car is properly classed. That Skunk2 catback might be a bit loud (but not 76mm loud) - some clubs have dB restrictions. I'm sure it gets much more picky at regional or national competitions, you should be OK.

-Cost: local clubs have different fees for each event, but around here its $30-$35/event for autox. No annual fees or anything else, that's it. If you become a local club member, there is a small fee (another $30 or so? go to enough events and it pays for itself in registration fee discounts). Track days (on road courses, not NASCAR ovals - yawn) are more expensive at around $350 for the day, but those are optional. Tires seem to be everyone's main expense. A lot of the experts run on Hoosier or similar racing compound tires ("R's"), which are not street legal and they swap wheels at the event. I'm not that hardcore (yet) so I run sticky but street legal Dunlop Direzza Star Specs (treadwear 200), 225/45R17 on stock rims. They do really really well for me, and again lots of fun for DD, but I expect to be burning through them in about two seasons (I switch to all-seasons for the winter up here), and they aren't free.

Stop thinking about it and do it!
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Old 11-13-2011, 06:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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race header will put you in DSP since you have no cat
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Old 11-14-2011, 11:39 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the responses guys. Jrickerm, that pretty much answers everything I was curious about. That is a huge help, and I appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions. I'm on all seasons at the moment and I'm probably going to get a new set of wheels and summer tires. I'll also probably run with my silencer on just to avoid any issues. Again, thanks for all the help!
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Old 11-16-2011, 07:38 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Old 12-24-2011, 12:48 AM   #7 (permalink)
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do people on here sell used r compounds?
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Old 12-24-2011, 12:09 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Don't do anything more to the car right now. Don't stress out about what class you are in. You won't be competitive in DSP, you won't be competitive in STX, and it'll cost you too much money to to drop to GS and then you'll be miserable with your daily driver. (However, many people who breathe air might appreciate it if you put the cat back on.)

And leave the all seasons on. They'll be great learning rubber.

BMWCCA and Tire Rack team up offering "Street Survival." They are geared for teens and parents, but they often offer adult versions too. There are plenty of autox noobs going to these, they have a flip chart portion of the school and a seat time portion of the school. They often have wet skidpads, it's a great way to learn the limits, actually, it's even a great way to learn what happens when you EXCEED the limits (they'll force you to spin out at some point) all without burning through tires.

Car clubs (like BMWCCA, but region to region it varies which club focuses on this) often offer autocross schools. Check the clubs in your area.

The big advantages to an autocross school?

The instructor/driver ratio is higher. And take advantage of an instructor *DRIVING* your car. (You can't do that at an event). And take advantage of riding in an instructor's car. (Which you *might* be able to do at an event, but probably not in a Porsche GT3. But at an event, you can and should politely ask for a ride in a Mini Cooper, VW GTI, etc....)

The courses are designed for learning. (You won't be getting lost in a sea of cones, you can concentrate on learning how to drive your car.)

Schools usually offer more seat time, more seat time, more seat time. It'll feel like you have been driving all day. (BTW, check out which clubs offer more seat time. One club here it's not unusual to get 12 or more runs on a mile long course in on a day. Another club 8 on a shorter course. SCCA events? 6 runs. The tradeoff? While you are working the long course, you'll be covering a LOT more ground shagging cones.)

At a school, you are focused on getting better. You shouldn't even be tempted to compare yourself to other drivers.

-mr. bill

Last edited by mrbill; 12-24-2011 at 12:21 PM.
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Old 12-31-2011, 05:29 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I like all the information here! great help... I stumbled upon this too
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