I've been reading these forums all morning and I'm a little overwhelmed to be honest, haha. There's probably a better place to be posting this, and someone has probably answered these types of questions already, but my brain is about to explode so I apologize if I'm being repetitive.
I have no experience, and no real automotive knowledge - I get lost in all the techincal jargon I've read - I just want to get involved, so it seems Novice School at Metrolina on Feb 23 is the best place to start. I have a 2002 VW Passat that I've done nothing to but put new wheels/tires on it (from 195,65,15 to 225,45,17). If someone has the time, I'd love to be walked through this process (or directed somewhere to walk through it myself), starting with if my car is even eligible and how to register for this event (if Novice School is the best place for me to start)
Thanks in advance for any and all help, this looks like a ton of fun, sorry for being such a n00b. Dan
Post by dasautochris on Jan 23, 2013 11:06:17 GMT -5
It seems more overwhelming than it is. Last year was my first year and I felt the same way. What I did was go to an event as a spectator first to just check everything out and see how things are done.
Our first event is on Feb 16 @ Zmax and you're more than welcome to just jump right in. That's probably the best way to learn. The novice will help out a lot.
If you plan on making the Novice class your first event, I would suggest coming out to Zmax on the 16th to get a feel for things. Be sure to get there early so you can walk the course.
The first thing you need to do is determine your car's class. How wide are your wheels? Hopefully 7.5" or less. What size motor does your Passat have? If it's a 1.8T, and because of your non-stock wheels and tires, it looks like you'll be in STC class.
It's very easy to register for an event. Once registration is open, a new thread will be posted on this website with a link to the registration website.
You may have already read this thread, but it has a lot of helpful info.
'Preciate the response, thank you. Yes, wheels are 7.5" wide and the motor is a 1.8T...STC it is I guess. I will most definitely take your advice and come out on Feb. 16th to get a feel for the event, then enroll in the novice class. I assume I'll need to register for both? (when registration opens).
Post by dasautochris on Jan 23, 2013 11:49:02 GMT -5
Yep, that puts you in STC. Now you just got to pick a number.
You'll have to register for the novice class but not the event on the 16th. When you come to Zmax on the 16th you'll just have to the waver. Everyone that comes to an ax event, driving or not, has to sign the waver. There will be someone standing at the entrance when you pull in with the form to sign.
If you have any other specific questions don't hesitate to ask. People on here aren't as harsh on new comers as they are on other website, so don't worry if you think the question has already be asked before.
Post by dasautochris on Jan 23, 2013 13:11:47 GMT -5
You can pick any number up to 3 digits. Magnets are nice but you don't need them. Painters tape works fine.
Quote from rule book: "Numbers must be a minimum of 8” high with a 1.25” stroke. Class letters must be a minimum of 4” high with a 0.75” stroke. In all cases, the height of the class letters must be between 25% and 75% of the height of the numbers. Stroke width must be at least 10% of the height (see Appendix F.)"
If you want some nice magnets or vinyl numbers contact Michael Keogh his username is turtle8. Here's a link to his post about the vinyl numbers.
Just scroll through all the event results and click on the link for the "Final" results. Then scroll down to STC to see what numbers where used. Numbers are first come first serve, but it's courteous to not pick a number that a usual autocrosser uses.
I don't know a lot about the novice school. Never been to one. I know that there is first an instruction class, lunch, then driving with instructors.
If you have a dark colored car (i.e. blue, dark grey, black, etc.) get the bright green painters tape NOT the blue painters tape. The idea with numbers and class letters is for them to be readable from a couple hundred feet away with the car going 40-60 mph. Just use some common sense and get the color of tape that will create the greatest contrast against the color of your car. Best option is to print out the numbers one number to a page and then tape the paper to your car. Works well as long as it isn't wet out.
Chris Ross torque (tôrk) n. - an excuse for the lack of momentum
"If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error." John Kenneth Galbraith
05 Saffron Yellow Lotus Elise (SS)
NovaKBS Mark 7 Formula 600 (FM) Powered by 600cc Suzuki GSX-R
Post by dasautochris on Jan 23, 2013 13:55:34 GMT -5
There are always loner helmets available. If you have the money it's easier to just buy your own.
As far as type, here's another rule book quote: "All helmets meeting the latest or two immediately preceding Snell Foundation standards (SA2010, SAH2010, SA2005, SA2000, M2010, M2005, M2000, K2010, K2005, K98), SFI standards 31.1, 41.1, 31.1A, 31.2A, 41.1A, 41.2A or British spec BS6658-85 type A/FR are acceptable."
If you buy one just make sure it meets one of those standards. The most common standards are SA2010, SA2005, SA2000, M2010, M2005, & M2000.
Yep, just went and watched one event, then jumped right in. Only prior experience was illegal racing when I was younger and dumber, and Gran Turismo.
Welcome to the Autocross world. All the prior info you got in this thread about classing, numbers and helmets is great.
My recommendation would be to show up at zMax on the 16th to see what autocross is about. Talk to people, walk the course a little to get a feel of things and jump into people cars as a passenger to see first hand what it takes to get around an autocross course. Most people will gladly take you for a spin in their cars and get your heart rate up a little or if you ride with Travis "Spin Cycle" Ball (last years Novice Champ) your heart rate will elevate much more. I will gladly take you for a ride in The Torque Monster, it will not disappoint.
zMax is our best site and is always a large, fast course that is more difficult to navigate through compared to the Novice Schools site Metrolina. It can be a bit overwhelming to some. But definitely take the Novice School on Feb 23rd and compete in our Novice Class on Feb 24th.
Last Edit: Jan 23, 2013 16:02:00 GMT -5 by yellow CR
Thank you sir, you guys have all been great. Torque Monster rung a bell from when I was looking at the best times last year...WOW, I don't doubt it gets the heart racing. Looking forward to a chance to ride shotgun!
Post by dasautochris on Jan 23, 2013 16:19:24 GMT -5
Don't ride with TBall, he won the Novice class last year just because got lucky a bunch of times and I was running on stock all season tires. Unless like Mike said, you'd like to feel what its like to run off the coarse backwards i.e. "Spin Cycle".
Thoughts on helmet...consider an SA2010, you can get a decent one for about $175 and it will last for at least 10 years if you take care of it. Also, get a cotton balaclava(head sock) to wear under it(just a couple bucks) and it will stay much fresher as well.
I don't know if we still have balaclavas in the Autocross trailer but, you'll want one to wear especially if you use a loaner helmet.
Post by lagunamiata on Jan 23, 2013 16:46:27 GMT -5
I've always said to come out, use a loaner helmet for a few events until you're hooked. Then buy one! Try on open face and closed face, it's a personal choice. I like open face for AX, more air on hot days... I have an open face SNELL M rated one. BUT it limits you to what you can do. I can't use it for time trial or hill climb.
Same for numbers, use tape or paper ones till you're hooked AND know what class you're going to be in.
Most of all, come to an event and have fun! We were all novices at one time.
Welcome Dan! and Thanks to Chris for jumping in to help out with the Q&A here. Great job!
There are alot of people interested in helping newbies get their feet wet in Autocross, and it sounds like you have a soild plan for getting started. Come out and experience an event without the pressure of trying to drive in it also. Then make your first drive during Novice school.
What you will find is that CCR's autocrosses are Social events disguised as Motorsports events. While there is definitely a competition involved, your goal should be to have fun first.
Add my name to your list of people you can stop by and see at zMAX.. Look for the BimmerBum Co. Z3 Coupe. You can ride along on any of my runs as well.
Hey all - At everyone's request, I'm looking into the first event this weekend...just to walk around and see how things work. Not tryna be cheap, just wondering if I still have to pay $55 just to do that.