by Grady Carter, Redwood Region Autocross Director,
Photos by Barbara McCrory
Ah, the rains have finally arrived. This is great
as we need the water and autocross season traditionally starts as
the rains subside, so we need a "rainy" season. Okay, I'm kinda'
With a little over a month to the first
autocross, it's time to start preparing for another season of 45
second runs of fun. The Boxster has been rather neglected this
winter. It was driven to the Holiday Party and to the new house. Now
to treat it right: a new batch of lubricant with filter along with
safety checks, see below. Don't want to start this season like the
last when I went to leave in the morning and had a flat tire. Just
writing about it is starting to get me "psyched".
But why? What is it about autocross anyway?
You get to experience the capabilities that Porsche designed
into its cars and to greatly improve your defensive driving
skills through learning those capabilities and improving yours.
What does that mean exactly. Stopping quickly in a straight
line? Maybe. But what if you have to maneuver as well as come
to a stop. Can you brake hard and have a lot of steering input
at the same time? Not very well. The front tires will only do
so much. That is where autocross comes in. Learn how quickly
your car stops, how it reacts under full steering input and how
to balance the two to get the car to do what you want.
Applied to your daily driving, it can also help you
recognize when you are in a position that you do not
have enough space to stop and/or maneuver if something
unexpected happens. You will also improve your
memorization and concentration skills as well as your
reaction time. On top of all that, it's a whole lotta'
If you haven't yet given autocross a try, come on out and
give it a shot with the help of one of our excellent
instructors. At a minimum you will be a better and safer
driver, or you may end up like me. I went for a "ride-along"
seven years ago, went right out and bought my Boxster and
have been autocrossing ever since. Oh ya, the smile is yours
Below is a rundown of what to do to prepare and what to expect when
Don't worry, but make sure your car
is technically sound:
Good throttle return spring
Good brake pads; a firm brake pedal and proper brake fluid
Tires in good condition with the proper pressures
Wheels in good condition; wheels nuts/bolts torqued
No excessive play in the wheel bearings
Battery tie-down firm
Spare tire tie-down firm, or you can remove the spare tire
at the site
Seat belts in good condition
Snell approved helmet, SA2005 or M2005 or newer; loaner
helmets are available
No loose items in the car
You can register on MotorsportReg.com, the preferred method,
or on site the morning of the event; you can pay either at the event
or through MotorsportReg. BUT before you pay, if you are a new
member of the Redwood Region, your first autocross is free. If this
is the case, please let me know.
Try to arrive between 8 and 8:30 to give yourself time to get
your car ready and to get the car tech'd (all the above items are
checked). Once tech'd, go to registration to check-in, pay if
you didn't pay through MotorsportsReg, get a work assignment and get
a number assigned to your car. Most people use painter's tape
to put the numbers on (contrasting color please). Grab a
course map and sign up for an instructor at the registration desk.
Look up Bob Schoenherr or me and we will pair you with someone to
walk the course.
Please come prepared for the weather. If sunny: sunscreen, sun
hat, etc. and hydrate early and often. Water is supplied. We do
run in the damp/light rain as well so the drier you stay, the
more you will enjoy.
You can leave at the lunch break for some fast food or
better yet is to bring a lunch and have more time to meet people
and talk autocross and such.
Don't hesitate to ask questions. This sounds like a lot but if
the car is good-to-go that's most of the work.
Hope to see you there,
Grady Carter, Ax Director