Sometime before your first event, you should read the Autocross Novice Handbook by Kate Hughes. It’s all available online and it has everything you’ll need to know for your first year or two autocrossing. If you have absorbed this book, you’ll start out way ahead of other new autocrossers, and ahead of some old-timers, too.

The day before an event:

Wash the car…a clean race car is a happy race car! (Optional)

Clean out the interior completely. There will not be any loose items “floating” around which could interfere   with driving. (Mandatory) This will be checked at Tech on site.

Remove any hubcaps or wheel trim rings. These could pop off during an autocross.

Check the tightness of the battery on its bracket or mount.

Check the tightness of the lug nuts, and the overall condition of the tires. Dangerously bald or worn tires will   not be overlooked as “slicks”.

Have at least a half-tank of gas available to race with (this excludes travel usage).

Prepare a lunch (food services may not be available). Be sure to pack plenty of fluids like water. Dehydration occurs faster than you think on hot summer days.

Keep enough cash in your wallet for entry fee and other items (i.e., refueling, lunch, etc.).

The day of the event

Before the Drivers Meeting:

  • Arrive as early as possible. Check Event Schedule. This will allow ample time to   get settled, unpack, and “hook-up” with a more experienced autocross driver.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions, we were all “rookies” at one time or another. The more experienced racers will be happy to educate and guide any novice.
  • Sign the release/waiver form. This is required by anybody in the paddock area, even non-competitors.
  • Register yourself and the car; pay entry fee and pick out you car number and class, get a course map.
  • Inflate “street” tires to at least 5-8 psi above what you use on the street. This dramatically stiffens the tire sidewall, a must for crisp, responsive handling. The pressures can be raised or lowered during the event, this is merely a general benchmark for FWD & RWD.
  • Bring your car to required technical inspection. The following will be checked:
    • Seatbelt condition. Not to be torn, excessively worn
    • Tires and lug nuts
    • Nothing loose can be under the hood or in car
    • Throttle return
    • Brake pedal feel
    • Helmet – ODOT and Snell approved (loaners available)
    • Car number and class lettering should be large and legible.
    • Shoe polish is available at the Tech Inspection area.
    • Put the shoe polish on heavy so all can see.

Drivers Meeting:

  • A brief introduction (by Novice Coach for novice drivers).
  • Brief explanation of the safety rules of the event, and the consequences for not following them.
  • A discussion of the general rules of autocrossing, including the guidelines for scoring and penalties.
  • Paddock speeds are limited to 10 mph or less. Strive for less in this case, things get pretty hectic in the paddock.
  • No burnouts to heat tires are allowed in the paddock area.
  • Competitors are to acknowledge any red flags issued to them by a course worker. We understand concentration and adrenaline levels are high, but safety is our number one priority.
  • Should a competitor be issued a red flag for any reason, he/she is to come to a quick, controlled stop and slowly return to the paddock area. This rule also applies to every competitor once he/she completes a lap and crosses the finish line.
  • Work the course when your run group has completed a heat. Working is required by all competitors. As a novice, request working a station with an experienced autocross driver.

Once competition ends:

  • See if the event coordinators need any assistance cleaning up.
  • Head on home…unpack, clean up, relax, and tell everyone about your exciting autocross experience!