Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Autocross School ala DCAWD and the SCCA

The DC All-Wheel Drive Car Club organized their third annual autocross class, which was taught by Brian Garfield from the Washington DC Area chapter of SCCA. Normally they teach levels I, II, and III separately, but we were able to combine elements from all three levels into a single day.

Before we got started, all three instructors sat us down and went over safety information and some specifics on autocross racing. The very first think we did was to tech our cars (as they would do at a race) and make there were no loose items in the car, that the driver floor mat was out, that the battery was bolted down tight, and that the tires were firmly attached (no loose lug nuts or wheel bearings).

Once all the cars were tech'ed, the autocross n00bs (including me) were sent to the figure-eight drills while the more experienced autocrossers started on the course. After about an hour we all switched.

For the figure-eight drills, Brian rode along to teach us two very important things: shuffle steering and how to use the accelerator to slow down and turn. With three sets of green cones on one side and another set on the other, the idea was to setup your turn and accelerate into the arc using the pedal alternate between going straight and turning (no brakes allowed).

The course was setup primarily for slalom (beginning and end) with a couple sweepers inside to keep us awake. We were shown a GPS-plotted course map before Greg walked us through and showed us what to look out for. Three people had seat time while three worked the course picking up cones, and then we switched.

During lunch, the instructors reset the course and made it much longer. We split the class in half again (six and six), only this time half would run the course more like a real autocross event while the other six worked the course. Once everyone had a chance to run and work, we did it again.

I'm tired, I'm sunburned, but I had an amazing time. There will definitely be more autocross in my future.

[ed.] Alan was good enough to track all my times in the last course:
First heat:

Second heat:

And compliments of Julian: More Pictures

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