Porsche at Autocross

Porsche at Autocross
Redwood Region 2014 Autocross Series

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' autocross-centric. 

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' FUN.

 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 for free!

Below is a rundown of what to do to prepare and what to expect when you arrive.  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 level
  • Tires in good condition with the proper pressures
  • Wheels in good condition; wheels nuts/bolts torqued correctly
  • 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