Volkswagen Passat Forum banner

1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,992 Posts
I want to get hooked! Outside of a helmet what kind of stuff do you need to buy for this type of event? Also, do they class you depending on tires or could you have R compounds or other sticky rubber and stay in the same class?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,885 Posts
Blur, a helmet is all you need (oh yeah, and a car too). The rules and practices of every AutoX event vary, but here's a brief, general break-down.

Basically your classing depends on your car and also what kind of event it is. Most of the AutoX's I've been going to are hosted by clubs -- Chicago Audi Club, Chicago VW Club, Porsche, BMW, etc. – and you usually don’t have to be in the club to compete (you just pay an extra $10). Typically the classes are assigned a letter (A, AA, B, C, D, X). If you show up to the BMW club in say an M5, they'll put you in group A. If you bring that same M5 to and Audi event, they'll throw you in group X (usually full of Miatas and Subies at most Euro AutoX's) because their point sheets don't have any values for Bimmers.

When I register for VW/Audi events, they give my 03 Passat an initial point value -- let's call it 15 (I don't remember the exact number). Then I fill out a sheet that has modifications assigned to points:

Chip (NA): 1
Chip (turbo): 3
Exhaust (turbo): 3
Downpipe: 1
Intake: 1
Sway bar: 2 pts each
Springs: 4
Coilovers: 7
FWD: -2
Auto tranny: -2
etc.

My 03 Passat may have started in class C, but with 9 points worth of mods, I get bumped up to group B (where I run against A6 4.2's and stock B5 S4's).

As far as tires are concerned, they (technically) must be DOT approved. That means no slicks. But that doesn't stop people from using them. From personal experience, I've found that most of the AutoX crowd is very laidback and relaxed; except when it comes to safety. Unless it is a very serious competition, most clubs aren't going to disqualify you for using racing tires. Some even pencil a point value for slicks onto the sheets.

Club AutoX is a great way to meet other enthusiasts. Most clubs required anyone who drives to also work at the event when other classes are running. Working usually entails standing at a corner and holding up flags and resetting cones, but 90% of the time is spent watching the event and talking shop with the other drivers. Before I started AutoX'ing, I was intimidated by the whole thing. I thought being a novice would be hard and embarrassing. Not the case at all. Every event I've been to, except Porsche club*, have been really cool.

*At Porsche club I was spectator because they don' let non-members compete. While at the event I overheard a 55 year old man say "That guy hit a cone, what a ***."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,780 Posts
Autocross is fun if you enjoy racing around in a parking lot almost entirely in 1st and 2nd gear (if you're really lucky, on a rare occasion you may get to hit 3rd for a nanosecond). I understand it's accessability is an advantage/attraction (just get some cones and a big parking lot and you're pretty much good to go) but what a waste for the first 3 cars pictured above. Just not my thing I guess.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,992 Posts
thanks for the break down James. I love how FWD is minus 2 :cry: Makes me want to jump ship more. I'll have to look into this and hopefully find some locals.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
409 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I had such a great time. I talked with numerous people and everyone was very enthusiastic. I had people asking me if I was going to race my car....a bone stock 02 1.8T 5spd. Uhhhhh no. My tires belong on a tricycle!!!! Anyway, I do believe that it is one of the best ways to really learn how to drive your car. As for J-RAD....everyone has thier opinion. As for it being a waste for the first three cars......the 911 turbo was WAY too powerful for the short course, the Boxter was being outdone by a Focus and the Lotus was being outdone by STI's and Miata's. So its not a waste for them, they just want to learn thier cars. I had a blast and encourage anyone to go out and at least watch. As soon as I get some decent rubber and some other mods done, I will post pics of my car out there!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,780 Posts
vwturbo76 said:
So its not a waste for them, they just want to learn thier cars.
If you only want to learn about a 1/3 to half your car (the lower half). Otherwise they're much better served with DE's, club racing, etc. But you're absolutely right, to each their own. If that auto-cross does it for you, then that's all that counts.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
409 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Yeah, in this area, all there really is, is drag racing and NASCAR. We don't have any real circuit tracks like I do back home in Ohio. When this is all you have, this is what you go with. Still a great time and a great learning tool.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,885 Posts
J-RAD, though I do not see AutoX as a "waste of time," I do agree with what you are saying. AutoX is on such a micro scale. It doesn't matter what line you take, cause there's only one! AutoX is more about driving than the car itself -- glorified go-karts. OTOH, running on an actual track is about both: the driver and the car.

So I'm lined up to go to the track this summer too. There's the Autobahn motor country club in Joliet,IL, Gingerman Raceway in South Haven, MI (with Chicago Volkswagen Organization), and Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI. I'm signed up for instructional classes. Should be a blast.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,270 Posts
JamesBondage said:
J-RAD, though I do not see AutoX as a "waste of time," I do agree with what you are saying. AutoX is on such a micro scale. It doesn't matter what line you take, cause there's only one! AutoX is more about driving than the car itself -- glorified go-karts. OTOH, running on an actual track is about both: the driver and the car.

So I'm lined up to go to the track this summer too. There's the Autobahn motor country club in Joliet,IL, Gingerman Raceway in South Haven, MI (with Chicago Volkswagen Organization), and Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI. I'm signed up for instructional classes. Should be a blast.
Guys,
Where did you get your helmets? Are there specific requirements or will any old motorcycle helmet do?

Also, how much are those instructional classes in Elkhart?
Thanks! :thumbup:
P.S. From what I understand, tracking your car is a much more expensive affair than AutoX. Cost of tires and brakes adds up, especially if you don't have a specifically designated track car.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,885 Posts
As far as helmets are concerned, there's some standard name I don't recall. They usually say "a ________ or better helmet is required." Sorry I'm blanking right now. I just use my friend's. He's got a bunch.

I'm not sure how much Road America driving school costs, but it's not cheap. Usually events at a track are 150-300 bucks a pop (vs. the 20-40 bucks you typically pay for AutoX). Plus, like you said, tires, brakes, etc. That's why I've signed up for nothing too aggressive. Just some lessons in handling my car better and having a good time.
 

·
My pornstar name came up "Jay the Snork."
Joined
·
5,611 Posts
click on the rules tab for all the info you need
http://www.scca.org/Solo/Solo2.asp?IdS=01A5B2-4FB3880&x=050|030&~=

i am starting this august here in atlanta. as for the helmet, it does have to meet certain guidelines published in the rules, but at local events here,they supposedly carry loaners.

they also have a beginners' instruction days here at the two atlanta venues for $75, including lunch.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
409 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Man I wish there were more actual tracks in this area. I would love to get out there and really stretch her legs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,780 Posts
JamesBondage said:
So I'm lined up to go to the track this summer too. There's the Autobahn motor country club in Joliet,IL, Gingerman Raceway in South Haven, MI (with Chicago Volkswagen Organization), and Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI. I'm signed up for instructional classes. Should be a blast.
You're going to love Road America! It kicks ass. One of the best road courses in the country (and fortunately, it's in our backyard). The carousel is awesome and there are some cool elevation changes. The major downside for novices is that there is not a lot of run-off. Given that, the cement barriers can make you pay hard in a hurry if you're not paying attention.

If you get the chance, you should check out BIR as well ( http://www.brainerdracewayandresort.com/ ). It's a bit of a drive for you (about 2 hours N. of Minneapolis...but if you can make RA, you can make BIR) but it's a good track to learn on. Lots of run-off around almost the entire track - just in case you should go agricultural. It's also a fairly long (3.1 miles) and fast track (billed as the fastest track in N.A.) - from their site:
"The road course is 3.1 miles long, has ten turns, and is quite wide around its entire length -- the main straight is 60 feet wide. There is essentially no elevation change. Brainerd is a very high-speed course; Vehicles will reach speeds near 160 MPH and take the slowest corners around 80 MPH. There are wide runoff areas at most of the corners."
It's said that you can hold it flat out through turn 1 but as Superbike racer Miguel DuHamel once said the reason he couldn’t hold it flat out was because “My skirt flies up over my helmet so I can’t see,”. So, depending on your ride, at the very least, you can hit turn 1 almost wide open. :D The downside is the track surface (they run NHRA on the front straight so it can be slick - not cool, it's flat, and the entire track, while not awful could use some resurfacing) and overall maintenance of the facility.

As for the helmet question, we currently require Snell 95 or newer. As for other requirements, here are my club's rules to give you an idea:
http://www.nordstern.org/Forms/Nord_Stern_Reg_Rules05.pdf

In a nutshell, when it comes to the car, you basically need to pass tech inspection, have your helmet, an accessible mounted fire extinguisher, and a muffler (although upgrading brake fluid would be highly recommended as well if it's not required).

If you want a taste, a non-PCA member can do a DE event ~$245, members can do them for ~$150. Of course, there are other clubs around too. In my area, in addition to the Porsche club, the BMW club puts on excellent track events. I'm sure there are others as well. Regardless, trust me when I say attending a track day with a group that knows what's going on is a must. If safety isn't pounded into your head, you may be with the wrong group.

Here is the next club race and DE up at BIR: http://www.nordstern.org/ClubRace/loonacy/index.html
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
409 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Artb5.5 said:
are those slaloms the practice sessions.....or the competition? :( I'm a motorsport newb.
Here is where it gets good. You don't get to "practice". You are allowed to walk the course and thats it. You do however get quite alot of runs. My buddy got 10 runs Sunday so you could call the first couple of runs practice I guess. Then they take your best time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,741 Posts
Whoa, OT J-RAD...(like I should talk). :p Auto-x is to DE as figuring skating is to speed skating. Good autocrossers might turn fast laps, as figure skaters might be good speed skaters, but yeah, they're different. I'd bet you Michael Schumacher couldn't beat Mark Daddio in autocross (10 time national champion or something ridiculous), and vice versa. You can debate all day long that DEs are more "economical", and you get more seat time, etc...but you're not racing. You're just lapping, and then coming home and bench racing, saying you beat so and so in a Ferrari (who was, in fact, a 75 year old grandfather who didn't want to wreck his $200k Ferrari while you were riding him up the ass deep into braking zones). So race at low speeds, or bench race at higher speeds? Truth be told, they both cost a LOT of money. So pick your poison. I picked both. :banghead:

Or you could get a club racing license...and drop about $1k/weekend. :whistle:

Snell Memorial Foundation rated M95 or higher for most clubs/SCCA subdivisions. You can get cheapo motorcycle helmets for $80 or so that'll last you 10 years according to the rules, but then again, its not going to be comfortable. I spent $250 on a Bell M2 (heavy, but wide eyeport, which is good for glasses/sunglasses).

And pic whoring.

Passat doin' the pissin' dog


My co-drive @ SCCA Nationals this year, if I make it down (w/ obscenely wide tires 275/40/17's & 315/35/17's Hoosier A3S04s & A3S03s respectively)



My ride was on 235/40/17 Kumho Ecsta V700s all around...uh, action pics are MIA...but I have some on track photos. Click, cuz its in 2 megapixel resolution.

http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/brjones/Nelson Ledges 11.5.04/NL11.jpg

Oh wait, I found one.

http://www.wizco.net/WPMC/events/2004/100304nhscc/nhscc100304-004.jpg

:p

One more...my buddy's European Elise imported by that gray market NHTSA/DOT kit car rule (100% bone stock, w/ Rover K series)
http://www.wizco.net/WPMC/events/2004/092604nhscc/nhscc092604-027.jpg
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top