Auto-X for Dummies
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This is a discussion on Auto-X for Dummies within the Motorsports Talk forums, part of the Community - Meet other Enthusiasts category; ...So AutoX season just ended this year and I'm beginning to get interested in organized racing. The next events will ...

  1. #1
    Registered User Pactin's Avatar
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    Auto-X for Dummies

    ...So AutoX season just ended this year and I'm beginning to get interested in organized racing. The next events will be next year in February and I plan to become a member and race. Thing is, outside of hitting redline and the occasional mountain cruise, I've never taken my car to its limits.

    I was hoping experienced members, intermediate and even novice autox'ers could give me some insight on anything I should know; rules, racing etiquette, requirements, techniques,etc. Essentially, I'm just doing this for fun, but I would like to be a bit competitive as well.

    My current mods are:
    -24mm adjustable RSB (middle of 3 settings)
    -Heavy duty rear endlinks
    -Swift sport springs on OEM struts/shocks
    -SRS exhaust
    -Stock wheels/RE92's (I don't plan to change them anytime soon)
    -Custom alignment: 0 toe all around, negligible/spec caster, and -1.5 camber up front.
    -custom mudflap and front lip (perhaps I should remove this?)

    I've been told by an avid autox'er in my region that I would be placed in the Street Prepared class IIRC.

    Any help is appreciated!
    --Justin

    Hawk-Eye Alliance #128

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    Sammich Makin' Pwincess wrxtreme06's Avatar
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    make sure you take EVERYTHING out of your car thats loose. (cd visor things, garage door openers, change, cell phone charges, etc. if they're not in your glove box or in your center console, take em out. i'd also remove your spare tire & anything else in the trunk.

    (when i went to my first auto-x i didnt know any of this.. i only took out my subs & left everything else in my car. i spent 10 minutes taking all my **** out lol)

    other than that, just have fun. my first run, i was SO NERVOUS. but each run after that i got super comeptitive because i wanted to keep beating my time.

    out of 5 runs i ended up shaving 10 seconds off of my time

    ALSO- i dont know about you but whenever i brake (regardless of circumstances) i always put in my clutch. this was a habit that i needed to break when i was auto-xing because it takes up too much time. when youre going around turns and corners and stuff, just brake with your brake pedal.

    if there are slaloms (where you have to weave in and out of cones) the key is to keep your car from making big movements because that slows you down. try to stay as tight as possible and just lightly turn your steering wheel enough for you to avoid the cones.

    hope that helps a little bit. i've only auto-x'd once but these are things that other experienced drivers told me my first time

    desiree
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    Master Baiter EJ257's Avatar
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    My reply from this thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by EJ257
    Have fun!! Don't worry about comparing your times with others in your class. Try to improve your time on each run. If you're constantly improving your lap times, that's all that matters. If you plan on actually competing, then the modification path you choose needs to come with more research than others. It no longer simply is a question of the "worthwhileness" of the modification, but the consequences in terms of classification. I don't run many Auto-X events, so having my car setup for DD duty, instead of for a particular SCCA class is not a big deal to me. I'm not a competitive person by nature. My modifications put me in a class with a lot more powerful vehicles, and I stand little chance.

    Do the course walk with a seasoned AXer. They often will help give you pointers. Walk the course as much as you can. I try to walk the course at least five times. With the adrenaline pumping, it's easy to get a bit confused, especially if you are doing it once in a while as a hobby.

    Have an instructor your first few times going. This is where you will learn the most, and from there, it's just practice putting your knowledge into action.

    Ride along with as many people as you can. See the way they take the course. This can give you a viewpoint of different strategies, some of which may be beneficial for you to use.

    If you have the ability, get your runs taped. This will give you a "3rd person" view of your run, and you can analyze where you could improve from a more objective stance.

    Get involved; work the course setup crew. It sucks you have to get there early, but usually the people who are doing the course layout are the more seasoned participants, and this again gives you a chance to pick the brain of someone with more experience.
    As I said there, I don't participate in all that many events/year, but I do attend to spectate/socialize quite often.
    2005 WRX STi (Mods | Virtual Dyno)

    Resident Tuner @ WTF Tuning, LLC

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    Registered User JoeMomma's Avatar
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    just have fun and get to know your car. you dont want to be doing high speeds if you dont know how your car even reacts at slightly lower speeds.

    if anything id say try to find a big empty desolate(sp?) parking lot and get use to making fairly tough turns at slightly higher speeds to try to get a feel of what your car does/does not like
    bugeye maffia member #304 l http://www.flickr.com/photos/joe_fonseca/

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    Registered User gimli's Avatar
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    One important piece of advice: walk the course several times, and pay attention! Walk it several times! And avoid chit-chatting while walking it. For me, the toughest part about autocrossing was (and still is, sometimes) staying on-course. You may be lucky and have a simple, straight-forward course, but often you could have a complex one with cones all jumbled together where you can get lost in the heat of things.

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    Registered User Pactin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrxtreme06 View Post
    make sure you take EVERYTHING out of your car thats loose. (cd visor things, garage door openers, change, cell phone charges, etc. if they're not in your glove box or in your center console, take em out. i'd also remove your spare tire & anything else in the trunk.

    ALSO- i dont know about you but whenever i brake (regardless of circumstances) i always put in my clutch. this was a habit that i needed to break when i was auto-xing because it takes up too much time. when youre going around turns and corners and stuff, just brake with your brake pedal.
    hope that helps a little bit. i've only auto-x'd once but these are things that other experienced drivers told me my first time
    Thanks. That really helps coming from a first timer. I totally forgot about taking out loose items. I've got quite a few things that wouldn't be nice flying around in the car. As for braking, I only clutch in when my revs drop below 1k or when I feel I'm about to stall.

    Quote Originally Posted by EJ257 View Post
    My reply from this thread:



    As I said there, I don't participate in all that many events/year, but I do attend to spectate/socialize quite often.
    Quote Originally Posted by gimli View Post
    One important piece of advice: walk the course several times, and pay attention! Walk it several times! And avoid chit-chatting while walking it. For me, the toughest part about autocrossing was (and still is, sometimes) staying on-course.
    That would be one of my bigger concerns: memorizing the course. I'm sure after walking it a few times I'll get the gist of it, but I know I'll be guessing during hot laps. And EJ257, I do plan on having someone tape me so I can improve in retrospect.

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeMomma View Post
    just have fun and get to know your car. you dont want to be doing high speeds if you dont know how your car even reacts at slightly lower speeds.

    if anything id say try to find a big empty desolate(sp?) parking lot and get use to making fairly tough turns at slightly higher speeds to try to get a feel of what your car does/does not like
    Not too many empty parking lots here in CA that are waiting to be torn up, and if they are they've got a bouncer with red and blue lights. For the most part, I know when the tires lose grip (which isn't very high speed).

    How about techniques/theory? To the autox'ers I've talked to, they said not to try to get back into 1st gear, as that will just waste time. Also, I've gotten a hang of heel-toe downshifting, but is it worthwhile? And, people tell me rotation is good for the understeering Impreza. To put something like 2psi increase in rear tires, and 2psi decrease up front.
    --Justin

    Hawk-Eye Alliance #128

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    Master Baiter EJ257's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pactin
    How about techniques/theory? To the autox'ers I've talked to, they said not to try to get back into 1st gear, as that will just waste time.
    Get the car in 2nd, and leave it there
    2005 WRX STi (Mods | Virtual Dyno)

    Resident Tuner @ WTF Tuning, LLC

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    Registered User Pactin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJ257 View Post
    Get the car in 2nd, and leave it there
    Okay thanks. I guess that means no heel toe as well.
    --Justin

    Hawk-Eye Alliance #128

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    Sammich Makin' Pwincess wrxtreme06's Avatar
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    every track is different but when i did mine, i was in 2nd gear the whole time. like matthew said, leave it there! lol

    desiree
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    abbigale : 06 impreza wrx tr: cobb stage II
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    Master Baiter EJ257's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pactin
    Okay thanks. I guess that means no heel toe as well.
    Quote Originally Posted by wrxtreme06
    every track is different but when i did mine, i was in 2nd gear the whole time. like matthew said, leave it there! lol
    This is the "Auto-X for Dummies" thread - you will have enough other things to focus on that you don't need to worry about shifting. Unless you're bouncing off the rev limiter, follow my previous advice.
    2005 WRX STi (Mods | Virtual Dyno)

    Resident Tuner @ WTF Tuning, LLC

    "Never trust anything that bleeds for a week and lives ..."

    UNYSOC

  12. #11
    Registered User PurpleMongoose's Avatar
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    Solo II Novice Handbook

    And, above all else, have fun with it.
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    Registered User FUJIcar87's Avatar
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    Just out of curiousity- I FINALLY decided that I am going to build my car for Street Prepared.

    How much power could I get out of the car sticking to stock boost and a stock turbo?

    Also, what are some little things that go a long way I can do that are legal with in my class?

    What size of wheels/tires work well for Auto-X?

  14. #13
    Registered User JoeMomma's Avatar
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    yeah second gear youll be in most likely i was on a 1 mile long road course that had a set up for auto-x and i was in second the whole time, so id imagine itd be the same for a smaller course
    bugeye maffia member #304 l http://www.flickr.com/photos/joe_fonseca/

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    Registered User northshore's Avatar
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    What part of CA are you in? I'm in the CSCC socal region. Check out solo2.com if you live around here. We mainly meet in Fontana or El Toro

    SD region is here: San Diego Region -- Solo 2
    These guys meet at Qualcomm but I'm not sure if they worked out details to use this venue for 2010.

    Shoot me a PM or post on this thread if you have questions.

    Edit: Concentrate on driving, learning the course, abilities of you and the car. It's not about how much power you have. I've beaten guys with double the power in my old 98 Honda Accord and my old 92 Civic Si a few years back. Once you master that, then mod the car to make it quicker for your needs or class you decide to be in. To many concentrate on...heck...I just bolted up this and that and turn out to be seconds slower.
    Last edited by northshore; 01-05-2010 at 12:24 PM.

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    Registered User northshore's Avatar
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    EVO School

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