A recent article brought to light a truth that all autocrossers experience but often forget: Your very first autocross can be crazy stressful. But while trying something new will always bring a certain level of anxiety (and in motorsports, that can be half the fun) there are several readily accessible tips to calm the nerves.
Writing for MotorBiscuit, author Joe Santos tells tale of his first autocross. Driving a Honda S2000, he tells of his time in the paddock chatting to newly made friends while awaiting his first runs. “I wondered if they could tell that I was nervous,” he wrote, adding, “Most likely.”
But, as he explained, “no one seemed to point it out and instead gave me pointers. One person said, ‘Just find your way through the track and don’t hit any cones,’ while another advised me to ‘keep it smooth and consistent.’”
Santos experienced what many of us have been through, and his article is very much worth a read – as well as forwarding to any friends who might be too nervous to attend their first autocross. And now that he’s got that one event under his belt, we’ve got videos for him (and you, and your friend) to watch so future events aren’t stressful at all – all of which are hosted by multi-time SCCA National Champion Bob Tunnell.
The Art of the Course Walk
In this first video, produced as part of the SCCA Shop Manual Presented by Hoosier Racing Tire series, Tunnell walks you through the ins and outs of the autocross course, how to set yourself up for success, and how to “feel” the car on the course walk. From the starting line to the flying finish, this video is a must-watch for those of all experience levels.
Pressure and Tires
The wrong level of stress is bad, as is the incorrect amount of tire pressure. In this video, Tunnell explains why the correct tire pressure is key to autocross success, and how to achieve it. The problem is, all cars are different and driving styles vary, so there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. But using simple terms, Tunnell offers invaluable pointers in this video that will set you – and your car – in the right direction.
Raising the Bar
OK, swaybars shouldn’t be “raised,” but they should be dialed in, and that’s exactly the topic Tunnell tackles in this video. Should all swaybars be set to full stiff? Full soft? Somewhere in the middle? Like with tire pressure, the answer varies, but with Tunnell’s help you’ll be able to figure out the best direction and head to the next autocross with confidence in your ability to discover the correct setup.
Photo by Adam Brooks