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post #2 of (permalink) Old 11-15-2007, 05:48 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 2,102
Autocross 101

Driving Tips:
1. Show up early and walk the course. Look for lines, plan your route ahead of time.
2. Take the novice course walk, even if you have already gone to a couple events before. They always give great advice, and it allows you to get a walk in with someone else’s opinion.
3. Do not speed, rev engine, or do burnouts in areas with people around. No one likes show offs, and you could hurt someone. Drive up slowly to the line, idle your way up to the start box, and go.
4. Don’t be afraid to spin your tires a bit when you take off, it helps warm them up a bit. Here we have a 4’ space to get going before our time starts.
5. On your first couple runs, do not try to drive too fast. Instead, put your focus on learning your car and the course. Don’t be afraid to really use your brakes. Don’t be afraid to hit a pylon, especially early in the day. They don’t mark your car up, usually just bounce off.
6. There should never be any coasting. It is either on the gas or on the brakes.
7. If you don’t have an lsd, I mean if you are driving any powerful car, even with an lsd, learn to feather the gas. Spinning tires hurts your time. Learn to ease into it, for us non-LSD drivers, wait until you are almost perfectly straight before opening her right up.
8. Remember, sliding tires means no traction, means losing time. Do not attempt to drift. You make think its cool and fun, but is in fact much slower than taking the corner on the brink of your tires’ traction.
9. Ask to go for a ride in an experienced person’s car, do not pay attention to anything except how they drive, do not even look out the windows. Watch their hands, their feet, and their eyes.
10. Ask an experienced driver to come for a ride with you, if they are a nice person, they will give you pointers and help you improve your driving skills.
11. IF you happen to loose control (which is bound to happen when pushing a car, I mean tires to their limits) find an open patch of asphalt and keep your eyes fixed on that spot. It is some old psychological thing that the car will go where your eyes tell it to go. In other words, do not look at the curb or light standard or whatever sort of hazard may there be.
12. Try to always look ahead. As you are going through one gate, your eyes should be fixed on the next gate, as you plan your way through it. Try not to look at things close to your car, chances are if you are going to hit it, you already have.
13. Never forget your marshalling duty. Our club records it all, and if you skip your duty, your fastest time of the day is removed from your times. It is also just a good gesture, helps keep things going.
14. When out on course for marshalling duty, pay close attention to the cars going by. If you are new, it is a given that these guys are more experienced than you are. You will be able to see their lines, and watch their maneuvers. Pay even greater attention to cars that resemble your car, in our case SRT-4’s, Cobalts, Integras, Civics, any small FWD car for that matter. Pay attention to where they are good, and where they mess up. Try to learn from that. (Thank you Nukem for this one)
15. Focus on your driving, not what is going on around you inside the car. I guarantee it, you will hit the signal lights, or turn the wipers on. Just let them go, and turn them off when you are done. These are distractions and are not worth fixing until it is over.
16. When marshalling, there are usually two people at each stations. It is ok to chat when no cars are near, but as a car approaches, it is of upmost importance. It could loose control and possible injure you. In most cases though the worst that happens is a cone is hit, or a gate is missed. Eitherway, you need to be alert and watching so you can flag or radio the penalty into the timing tent.
17. If you baby your car on the street and like to keep the rpm’s low, you are going to have to make a habit of not shifting on straights. For our lovely cars, with a huge second gear, you can leave it there the whole time. Our series has a design standard that speeds shall not exceed 110km/h (62-63mph). IRL, with 7000 rpm redline will go to 107km/h. I have yet to ever feel the need to shift. The highest rpm’s I have ever gotten to was 6300 on a long straight. You may sometimes feel the need to drop it into first. Please do not do this, first gear is WAY to tall for this, and you may risk frying your syncros or damaging other drive-train parts.
18. Remember in driver’s education they told you “two hands on the wheel, 10-2”? Well this advice is very important in autocross. Your hands/arms move way to fast to be using 1 arm. No matter how cool it feels to have that left hand on the top of the steering wheel, and the right hand gripping that shifter, it IS going to cost you in autocross. You all know what I mean..haha.
19. My favourite quote “Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast”. Try to remember that.
20. If there is a competitive driving school offered by the club, take it. I haven’t taken it, and I wish I had of. 2008’s classes are already booked solid here.
21. The dreaded slalom. Pick your speed upon entry, and hold that speed. Do not use your brakes, but rather use your accelerator to decrease/increase speed. You do not want to be hard on the gas/hard on the brakes in slalom. Anywhere else, you do.

I think this would be an appropriate Sticky Thread. If you notice any spelling/grammar mistakes, please pm me and I will fix them. If you have anything to add, or feel should be changed, post it up or pm me and I can edit/change my post.

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Last edited by Periodic; 11-15-2007 at 05:53 PM.
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