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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is what I got in the mail:

Driving Tips by Randy Chase

I have heard and learned many important tips over the years. Sometimes I wonder if you have to be ready for if maybe I heard them before, but I was not ready. What follows are various tips that made a signifigant difference in my driving at the time I
heard it.

1. As soon as you pass the start line, you are only losing time. Minimize how much time you lose. It's not just going faster, it's spending less time on the course.

2. The trick is to drive 10/10ths. A novice will drive 7/10ths and then not realize that they went to 13/10ths. Learn the edge and drive it. That may mean some cones get hit and you spin. It's what teaches you where 10/10ths is.

3. There are fast parts and there are slow parts. Learn the difference.

4. Don't square off the corners and point and shoot drive. A lot of corners are parts of smooth arcs you can make. It's faster to drive a smooth arc than a short straight and two jerky turns.

5. Be aggressive in chicanes. Attack them, stay in front of the turns and as
straight as you can. Getting "behind" in a chicane is a bad thing.

6. Doing this well means being smooth. Being smooth DOES NOT mean you are slow. To drive the car smoothly may require controlled chaos in the car. Fast hand and
foot movements do not mean you are not smooth.

7. Know your line you intend on driving. Understand it. Look for it. If you
drive such that you are forcing yourself off that line, you made a mistake and need to slow down. The line is everything, unless you are wrong about where the line is...then you need
to change your mind.

8. Look ahead to where you want to exit the turn. Adjust your speed into the
corner to make sure your car will be on the right spot when your exit the corner.

9. It's better to corner under acceleration than braking. Brake earlier and then get on the throttle as quick as you can.

10. The earlier throttle points will be faster. Give up the end of the straight to make your corner exit faster. That speed coming out of the corner will carry thru the
whole straight following the corner.

11. Do not try to save runs. If you get screwed up, go off course or mow down
cones. This saves tires.

12. Understeer is often caused by going in to a corner too hot. To reduce understeer, straighten out the steering and/or reduce throttle input.

13. A lift or quick stab at the brakes can cause the front of the car to weight and allow better
turn in.

14. Alignments are important.

15. If you start going slower or are less succesful than you should be, check
the car. Sometimes things change and it's hard to notice.

16. Seat time is important.

17. Autocross deliberately. Try to drive deliberately. Not just reacting...but control the steering
and drive the line. Then do it faster.

18. Don't worry about long lists of tips. Work on one or two things at a
time. Don't try to adjust everything, put in a new swaybar and struts, try out Hoosiers, and
decide to use left foot braking all in one weekend. Make changes one at a time and see how
they feel.

19. There are many ways to setup your car and your driving can accomodate
them. Spend more time on your driving than your car setup. Human nature is that it's
easier to point to your car, or the classing, or maybe someone else is cheating, or they spent more. But the biggest variable in autocrossing is still always the driver.

Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I have to say those tips pretty much cover the important points. I just wanted to add a few of my personal tips from experience with my 95 Talon Turbo AWD and a few driving schools I've attended. I am no pro and still only have a few first place trophies but in the last 15 autocrosses I have yet to place worse than 4th out of 16-20 cars in STS in my Focus and mostly placed second so take my advice for what you think its worth.

Seat time, seat time , seat time

It takes about 8-10 events to really see consistant results and for times to be resonably close to start learning the finer points. Until then big chunks of time will come off by being smooth and trying to figure out what is 10/10ths and how to be on it as much as possible.

Know the course

Walk the course until you can close your eyes and see the whole layout in your minds eye. This takes me about 3-4 walks through now but can take as many as 5-6 for some people. Theres nothing wrong with walking it alot. Look for where you can make a car fit through an area as straight as possible and try to be going fast through that area. Many times the shorter distance is better than carrying alot of speed.

Look ahead

After taking 2 local SCCA autocross schools I went to the McKamey/Evolution school and learned from the pro drivers. The most important thing I REALLY learned was to look ahead and how far. This made the biggest improvement in my autocross times and in improving my track day and street safety,speed and smoothness. I would pay twice the $200 fee they charged just to get this knowledge.

Left foot braking

I am not a regular left foot braker and in my Focus I have always right foot braked and done well. However in turbo cars and cars with AWD or both I believe that left foot braking is the faster way so I will learn and use it and reccomend it. Heres why: Turbo cars need a load on them to maintain boost. by left foot braking the boost doesn't fall off as much and the car comes out of corners faster. Also with AWD we have so much traction that wheelsspin is not a problem in acceloration so getting lots of power to shoot out of corners is where AWD cars have the most advantage and help make up for the extra weight of the AWD system. I had to drive my Talon like I was mad at it to get the best from it. Its shocking how early in a turn I got on the gas fully to get good times but AWD made it like that.
Since I have rambled on too long already and don't want to sound arrogant or a know it all( I don't but wanted to share my knowledge hopefully to help others here )I will stop know and keep updates in this section after a few autocrosses in my WRX.

42 Posts
I'd say the most important thing is seat time... I don't autocross that much anymore, and when I do, it isn't in my normal car (Datsun 510..woot!), so I usually suck... I just try to have fun, and find the course the first run or two... no one likes to hear anyone complain, so if you get frustrated because some old geezer is kicking your butt, just go try to beat your own time... that's what it's all about...

Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Here's a tip specific to turbo AWD's Most of this comes from my limited experiance autox'ing my 95 talon tsi AWD in ESP.


Boost creep is your friend. When I was autox'ing my talon, mild boost creep in low RPM is to your advantage. Boost creep = HP. Just be conservative with this...

Turning into the apex...

I found that after you commit to the apex, and get the suspension loaded up, you can keep the boost spooled up by lightly jabbing the brakes (not quite trail braking, just a quick stab at the brakes) to get the back end to kick out. What happens is that you break traction enough to keep the wheels spinning, and this keeps the boost up too so you get a better launch out of the corner.

In my talon I dropped my times almost a second with this technique.

With the right autoX alignment we should be able to do this with the WRX since it does not have as much understeer as a stock DSM.


Braking before the corner is more important than how fast you take the corner. A turbo caveat to that is you have to manage you boost levels!! You cannot slow down too much (as much as you would in a FWD or RWD) or you will lose your boost, killing your run. That's where you will loose most of your time unless you over cook the corner and understeer your way out of it.

There is a very fine balence on the optimal path through a corner. with the turbo AWD, that path is on a razor egde.

Drive smooth as possible.

"be the cone... you must flex like cone under car"
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