As requested before.. Autocrossing tips from yours truly!

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by twin_turborx7, Mar 10, 2002.

  1. twin_turborx7

    twin_turborx7 Sponsor:

    Sep 15, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Atlanta, GA. USA
    Someone sent me a PM asking for autocrossing tips/ideas to become better. I had some of this info saved and I have added some of my own based on experience etc.

    I have heard and learned many important tips over the years. Sometimes I wonder if you have to be ready for if maybe I heard them before, but I was not ready. What follows are various tips that made a signifigant difference in my driving at the time I heard it.

    1. As soon as you pass the start line, you are only losing time.
    Minimize how much time you lose. It's not just going faster, it's
    spending less time on the course.

    2. The trick is to drive 10/10ths. A novice will drive 7/10ths and then not realize that they went to 13/10ths. Learn the edge and drive it. That may mean some cones get hit and you spin. It's what teaches you where 10/10ths is.

    3. There are fast parts and there are slow parts. Learn the difference.

    4. Don't square off the corners and point and shoot drive. A lot of
    corners are parts of smooth arcs you can make. It's faster to drive a smooth arc than a short straight and two jerky turns.

    5. Be aggressive in chicanes. Attack them, stay in front of the turns and as straight as you can. Getting "behind" in a chicane is a bad thing.

    6. Doing this well means being smooth. Being smooth DOES NOT mean you are slow. To drive the car smoothly may require controlled chaos in the car. Fast hand and foot movements do not mean you are not smooth.

    7. Know your line you intend on driving. Understand it. Look for it. If you drive such that you are forcing yourself off that line, you made a mistake and need to slow down. The line is everything, unless you are wrong about where the line is...then you need to change your mind.

    8. Look ahead to where you want to exit the turn. Adjust your speed into the corner to make sure your car will be on the right spot when your exit the corner.

    9. It's better to corner under acceleration than braking. Brake earlier and then get on the throttle as quick as you can. Brake in a straight line whenever possible and technically unless you have the car in trouble :)

    10. The earlier throttle points will be faster. Give up the end of the
    straight to make your corner exit faster. That speed coming out of the corner will carry thru the whole straight following the corner.

    11. Do not try to save runs. If you get screwed up, go off course or mow down cones. This saves tires.

    12. Understeer is often caused by going in to a corner too hot. To
    reduce understeer, straighten out the steering and/or reduce throttle input.

    13. A lift or quick stab at the brakes can cause the front of the car to weight and allow better turn in.

    14. Alignments are important.

    15. If you start going slower or are less succesful than you should be, check the car. Sometimes things change and it's hard to notice.

    16. Seat time is important.

    17. Autocross deliberately. Try to drive deliberately. Not just
    reacting...but control the steering and drive the line. Then do it

    18. Don't worry about long lists of tips. Work on one or two things at a time. Don't try to adjust everything, put in a new swaybar and struts, try out Kumho's/Hoosiers etc. and decide to use left foot braking all in one weekend. Make changes one at a time and see how they feel.

    19. There are many ways to setup your car and your driving can
    accomodate them. Spend more time on your driving than your car setup. Human nature is that it's easier to point to your car, or the classing, or maybe someone else is cheating, or they spent more. But the biggest variable in autocrossing is still always the driver.

    20. WALK THE COURSE!!! If your region or event allows walking of the course, DO IT! While you are walking, try to get with a more experienced autocrosser and just listen to him/her. I say listen because if you tell them you want to walk with them for tips etc. they will tell you everything you would otherwise be wondering about. Also ask questions, tell the person you are walking with what kind of car/tires you will be on etc. Don't be suprised if the person you are walking with says this is a 3rd gear turn without a doubt, and then he/she turns to you and says "2nd in your car". This will save you the hassle and confirm what you may have already thought. While walking the course decide whether turns are "fast in/slow out" or "slow in/fast out". Handling these turns in the proper way is what seperates trophy positions from the "packers"

    21. LEARN! how to left foot brake in your car. Autocrossing is all about time, and if you have to lift your foot off the gas just to tap the brake with the same foot, you could have saved some time if you used that "dead' foot that is lying on the floorboard. Hundreds/thousandths of seconds can/will make a difference!

    22. Ask lots and lots of questions. Most autocrossers are more than willing to help. This is especially true if you are in a stock car and are asking someone that drives the same car in SM/STS/ or street prepared. They will help all they can since you are not in danger of beating them. However you will still be amazed how even a guy in your class in the same car will tell you what tire pressures he is running etc. Autocrossing is as much about competition and ensuring you come back again for a "2/5/10 car class" as anything and autocrossers know this. They will help!

    23. If you are beginning to autocross regionally, do at least 1 divisional and if a national is anywhere near you do one of those too. A national is quite the different monster, however if you are a beginner you can set good goals, see great cars, awesome drivers and learn a ton!

    24. Only run as much gas as you need for the event. Gas weighs about 8 pounds a gallon. I used to run 2 gallons for a 3 run event, or just as much as I thought I needed. Less gas=less weight!!!! Also if you can help it, spray every bit of windshield wiper fluid out of your car before you wash it to take it to the autocross. Again WEIGHT! You would be suprised some cars can nearly hold 2 gallons, or 16 pounds of washer fluid. And if you have just visited the neighborhood jiffy lube, chances are your tank is full :)
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2002
  2. Section8

    Section8 .

    May 29, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Golden, CO
    CTRL+A, CTRL+C, CTRL +V : saved :big grin:

    Now all I need is an FD...

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