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Old 09-18-2018, 09:41 AM   #15
Drives: 2015 Black rs/ss/1le
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: PA
Posts: 79
Originally Posted by Pete G View Post
I've never done an autocross but my biggest concern is making sense of the course.
Any in car video I have seen makes it seem like an endless sea of random cones.
I have to assume that once you are in it it must somewhat all come together but as mentioned above I see it gets confusing for others.
I did two course walks at two separate events. The first one with a friend explaining the course/cones, etc. I didn't drive but I was a passenger. I asked every question I could think of at that walk. The second one was at my event. There aren't that many variations as to how the cones are positioned (vert or horiz). What's a bit off to me was how the cones are applied wasn’t consistent. Some gates have horiz cones pointing out the entrance. Then there are some gates that don't have horiz cones pointing to the entrance, just two vert cones spread out. This was at both events I attended. I'm not sure the rhyme or reason behind this. But trust me, you’ll be fine regardless.

Anyway for me, I was mixing up the cones/gates adjacent to and surrounding my actual path. What I though was part of the other side of the course was actually part of my current path so I totally bypassed them. To be honest, I paid attention during the course walk but a lot of it flew out of my head as soon as walked off the course. But don't despair, it's not as bad as it seems. Really!

I'll add the following to Norm and the other's valuable information.
1. Relax! You'll be a bit nervous at the start. You're there to have fun and you will. Deep breaths and smile before you launch! If you forget to smile, don't worry, once the Camaro takes off, one will be planted on your face.

2. You don't have to go super fast on your first run. Just go fast enough so you have enough time to pick out the next gate. If I had a do over, I would have slowed down so I would have registered a clean run my first time out. I would even suggest this be your first goal. Just don't go too slow. Your brain needs to adjust to process the speed at which you are travelling and the objects you are trying to pick out, especially if it's a format (cones) you're not used to tracking. I know this for fact because after a motorcycle track day, on my way home in my car, everything seems to be moving in slow motion. The slow motion sensation stops after 20 mins or so as your brain slows down to process it's current environment. So your brain does speed up its processing the faster you go. It will look like a jumbled mess during the first run but as your brain adapts, you'll pick stuff out faster.

3. Pick your nemisis! It doesn't matter what class or car. Just try and beat a time that's a little ahead of your own time. This helped me become shaper towards the end. I fixated less on reading the cones and more on "flowing" through the cones to beat my "nemisis's" time.

4. The only other thing I would have wanted to investigate more is/was traction control. Part of me thinks that I should have started without traction control (they say you are eventually faster without it). However, with traction control, I was able to focus on learning and not have to worry so much about ALSO controlling the horsepower. Eventually to go even faster, I would have to turn it off and then relearn how to drive again. Traction control on/off is like Jekyll and Hyde. So going forward, I'll be deciding to either turn traction control off or just using Comp. mode. Either way, I will need to really learn how to control the throttle. Just something to think about.

5. From my motorcycle track days..."Its not how fast you go, it's how you go fast!"
Be smooth applying the throttle/brake
Anticipate and be in the proper gear
If you watch the faster guys, their cars turn very fluid and they don't roll on/off the throttle and brake abruptly (relatively speaking). You won’t even have to look at the board to find these guys you will spot them easily by their smoothness and the their exhaust tone as they go around the course.

6. I would also suggest getting a pair of tactical shooting gloves (or driving gloves if you can afford it) if you have a slippery surface steering wheel. It may be hot and your hands will be sweaty and maybe slippery. You'll be moving that wheel quite a bit so grip is important. Tactical gloves because it’s more grip than padding and way cheaper than driving gloves. If you shoot, double win for you.

7. I echo taping up your number the day before. Do everything before so all you have to do is unload, register and drive your car to tech.

Have a great time!

Last edited by Level300; 09-18-2018 at 04:42 PM.
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Old Yesterday, 10:35 PM   #16
Pete G
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Drives: 2015 SS 1LE
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Thanks Norm / Thanks Level
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Old Today, 08:50 AM   #17
Pete G
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Drives: 2015 SS 1LE
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So after sleeping on this my take away is this, of course walk the course but no matter how many times you may do so - your brain will not process that at speed while in the car racing so take it easy the first few passes to learn the course but not too slow because of the brain process speed differences from driving too slow and ....... I think you know what I am trying to say, So often in life "slower is really faster"
Second; just go out, have fun, and just expect to get some DNFs at first while learning the course??????
Question - if you go to events at the same location and same organization on different day, is it the same course or do they change it up? ( to kind of level the playing field for regulars and newbies?)
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