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FAQ: Road Race, Autocross, Track Days

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  • FAQ: Road Race, Autocross, Track Days

    Ok, I have been getting quite a few PM's about getting into autocross, track days, road racing, etc. So I decided to come up with a little guide to help some of you all out

    First up, check out the people who run these events:
    --------------------------------------------------- (Affordable track days and great guy to boot) (Affordable track days put on by enthusiasts) (Sports Car Club of America. Autocross, rally, club racing, pro racing, and more) (Autocross, road racing, rally, and more) Southeastern people: (Track days) (Time attack events) (Track days) (BMW club racing, track days they allow non BMW)


    Autocross is a good way to get into motorsport CHEAP. You get around four runs usually, depending on club, location, etc. You usually have to work aka pickup cones after or before your runs, the group will work all that out for you.

    There are many classes, there is a class for any car. The SCCA Solo 2 rulebook is available for free here: They call it Solo 2 so if you hear someone say they run Solo 2 they mean they autocross, autox, etc.

    Road Racing

    Road racing is a lot more complicated then autocross. Both the SCCA and NASA offer great classes to start road racing. To get a GENERAL idea of what your car would need:

    -Full roll cage, following rule book specifications, meaning you can't just build whatever and more then likely a Cusco cage won't work.
    -Fire extinguisher, also depending on class, some need a fire system, others just have to have an approved extinguisher.
    -Window net.
    -Kill switch wired per rulebook.
    -Some classes require a fuel cell.
    -Racing seat, non FIA seats need seat back braces.
    -5 point minimum harness, must be approved depending on rulebook.
    ...and lots more.

    Lets not forget the driver, you will need:

    -Approved helmet, no motorcycle helmets.
    -Racing suit, type depends on class and rulebook.
    -Gloved, shoes, some require fire resistant underwear.

    There are TONS of classes in road racing, different regions may have different classes especially in SCCA.

    If you build a crazy HP 240SX with a SR you are going to be in a class where you will be raped by crazy HP tubed frame GT cars. You will also need a crazy cage, and much extra saftey equipment.

    DO NOT, REPEAT DO NOT BUILD A CAR WITHOUT READING THE RULEBOOK. If you just want to have fun and not win, you can, but it will cost more the higher the class, even if you plan on losing.

    I will update info on classes, different types, and some time trials later

    There are a couple different ways to get a SCCA racing license:

    A. Attend a certified racing school, such as Skip Barber, and attend the 3 day program. That will qualify you.

    B. Attend the SCCA drivers school, really the double school in Feb. usually at Roebling Road, get it that way.

    You have to do a certain amount of races each season to hold your license. To get a national license you have to do more events.

    To get a NASA license you can use an existing SCCA license, or work your way up with their HPDE program and attend their school.

    Track Days

    Track days offer a GREAT way for people to get on road courses, at speed, without all the gear needed for road racing. Main reason is the amount of wrecks is much lower, car to car contact is about unheard of, and you are not going balls out trying to outbrake people or dive in on turns.

    NASA offers "HPDE" aka High Performance Driving Event. They have different levels for skill levels, highest being instructors and such. You can work your way up through the classes at each event and depending on how well you do. (I believe we have some NASA people on here who can tell more) Track time is pretty good for HPDE and is usually Sat and Sun.

    SCCA offers a PDX program. These are at club race weekends (at least Atlanta region) during Sundays quiet time at Road Atlanta. Other tracks will have it differently, and there are some PDX WEEKENDS.

    PDX has three groups. A,B,and C. C being the fastest and instructors. PDX can be done for nothing if you are a corner worker that weekend or work some other form during the weekend for SCCA. However, PDX at least in the Atlanta Region is only two twenty minute sessions. BUT don't get upset, fourty minutes is PLENTY of time to cook brakes, wear you out, and really get exhausted. Just like HPDE you work your way up the class ladder.

    Chin Motorsports follows more of a European die hard track day way. You will see some really fast cars, fast cars, etc. There is of course a beginner group and you work your way up. You may even see formula cars, older race cars, new race cars testing, sports racers, etc.

    BMWCCA is a great form of track driving as well. Of course they have groups. You DO NOT have to own a BMW, no convertables allowed, even with a hardtop, even with a cage, just simply NO. Lots of track time, over a two day period.



    PDX: SCCA Track day, usually on a race weekend, at Road Atlanta it's usually 2 20 minutes sessions, perfect for beginners and experts, no race license needed. Need a helmet, roll bar for convertibles, SCCA membership, and a sound car. They usually follow strict sound rules it's ran at quiet time.

    HPDE: What NASA calls their track days. More seat time, more classes, a little more hardcore then PDX. Same rules apply. Minus the sound rule. These are usually two day events.
    Last edited by simontibbett; 01-07-2009, 03:28 PM.

  • #2
    :hi5: nice one


    • #3
      You man there is no organizations that do car vs. car touge and canyon runs?? dammit.. i gues i've done all that work to my car for nothing :(

      /typical CR member complaint



      • #4
        Unless something has changed the BMWCCA doesn't allow any convertibles to participate in their track days, even if you have a fully prepped Spec Miata or ITA/ITS car. The Atlanta chapter of the PCA holds three or four track weekends per year at Road Atlanta. Porsche Club members are given preference but they will allow non club members and non Porsche owners to attend. Typically there are four sessions per day at PCA events while NASA only has three sessions per day.



        • #5
          Yeah I noted that about convertables with BMW. Thanks I forgot about PCA, which are also great events.


          • #6
            Doesn't the Corvette club do days that allow convertibles? And I think there are some good opportunities to get around RA when they have the Year One event.

            And don't forget about Talledega Grand Prix... they hold TONS of events there for all levels of driver skill and car types.


            • #7
              Originally posted by simontibbett View Post
              Yeah I noted that about convertables with BMW. Thanks I forgot about PCA, which are also great events.
              It really too bad they don't allow convertibles. I did an event with them a few years ago and it was really well run with a lot of track time. I'm anxious to try a Chin event but it isn't going to happen anytime soon. They're a little pricey but from what I hear you get more track time than you can handle.


              • #8
                I have run with Chin. They do allow a lot more track time. If you do the math most track days other than TGPR cost you about $100 per hour. I have done events with PCA, BMWCCA, Chin, Seattime, and a few others that I can't recall. The cost per hour is pretty much the same.

                For those that have never driven on a race track before I would strongly encourage you to start with PCA or BMWCCA if possible. The free instruction you will get is invaluable and you will learn the basics in a controlled safe setting. IMHO the only other way to get better instruction would be to go to a Skip Barber school or equivalent.
                2020 Jet Black Mica GT RF


                • #9
                  True, I really here Chin being die hard stuff. Which is awesome to me personally lol.

                  BMWCCA really is GREAT, I work all their events, and I always am VERY impressed with how smooth it runs, the amount of track time, and the people who run it. It's always cars out back to back to back, real smooth.

                  Yeah Little Tally is a great track as well, a lot cheaper then the big tracks and not as many places to destroy your car lol. Don't just stick to Road Atl or tracks around here, I plan on running Sebring next year, VIR, some others.


                  • #10
                    for people in the Middle GA area, there haven't been any events for a while but they kicked it back up end of november beginning of december, but here's the site.
                    Xida 700/400 | RB 1.125 FSB | Bride | 15x9 S1 | Rival S 1.5 | ITG Intake | 9 STR | IG @atlnb :sam: