Autocross FAQ's

AutoX Event FAQs

  1. What's an Autocross?
  2. Will AutoX affect my car?
  3. Can more than one person drive a car?
  4. Can I bring a friend who wants to drive their own car?
  5. Do I have to be a member and/or have a Miata to participate in a WCMC AutoX?
  6. What does it cost?
  7. How should I prepare?
  8. What is the day's schedule?
  9. How many drivers will be at your event?
  10. How many events do I have to run to have a full season of AutoX points?
  11. I have my own helmet, can I use it?
  12. What number can I use?
  13. Can I bring my family? Can I come just to watch?
  14. Andy's top ten autox driving tips.
  15. How do I get to Tire Rack?
  16. How do I get to Lake County Fairgrounds?
  17. How do I get to Boomers Stadium?
  18. How do I get to Rockford Speedway?
  19. Lost and Found
  20. IMPORTANT NOTICE - 75 DRIVER EVENT CAP, PLEASE READ AND UNDERSTAND

1. What's an Autocross?
Autocross, also known as Solo, is held on a closed course with one car at a time driving against the clock. Solo I's are high-speed contests, run on race courses like Blackhawk Farms and Gingerman. Solo II's are far more popular, because all kinds of street cars can enter. Solo II autocross usually involves a large parking lot and rubber cones, and cars rarely leave second gear. Competitors make several runs, with the best run being counted.While Solo II autocross is called a "speed event", it's really about handling, not high speed. Some WCMC members are competitive about their autocross times, but most people enter just for the chance to master their car's handling. Driving close to the limit on a closed course prepares you for evasive maneuvers in traffic.Each year, the Windy City Miata Club hopes to run 10 Solo II events. These will all be competitive events, with the best time in each car class receiving a trophy. Each event also awards points for the annual championship. Newcomers are paired with experienced drivers, and safety is stressed at all times.

2. Will AutoX affect my car?
No. The Miata is built for this kind of driving. You may wear your tires a bit more than usual, though.

3. Can more than one person drive a car?
Only one at a time! But yes, each person can enter and get a complete set of runs. Be sure to tell the registration worker that you are co-driving a car. Drivers who share one car will not be allowed to run in the same run group. They will be required to run in separate run groups to eliminate the delay of switching drivers on the grid. If two drivers drive the same car they will be required to pay two entry fees. One driver can not drive in the morning and second driver drive in the afternoon for a single entry fee.

4. Can I bring a friend who wants to drive their own car?
YES. Please read our revised guest policy in the Autocross Rules section.

5. Do I have to be a member and/or have a Miata to participate in a WCMC AutoX?
NO. Please read our revised guest policy in the Autocross Rules section.

6. What does it cost?
See our Autocross Rules section for entry fees. The entry fee covers rental of the site, insurance, supplies, and awards.

7. How should I prepare?
Dress for the weather; you'll be outside all day. Remove nonessential items from your car (including the trunk) before you leave. Bring a bag or tarp to store your personal items. Inflate your tires normally for the drive to the event, than raise them to the sidewall maximum at a gas station near the site. Bring a tire gauge. You'll need a DOT-approved helmet. The club has a few loaners if you can't bring one with you. Please read the Self Tech section in the Autocross Rules section for more info. Don't forget food and beverages...and SUNBLOCK!!!

8. What is the day's schedule?
Events at Tire Rack are run on Central time Time.

8:00 to 8:30 am
(9:00 to 9:30 am Indiana Time)

Arrive at the event. Arriving later will cause you to rush when you register and prepare your car, and may not allow enough time to walk the track.

8:00 - 9:00 am
(9:00 - 10:00 am Indiana Time)

Open Registration for the event.

Please help the coordinators streamline the registration process by pre-registering. Pre-registering means you can use the pre-registration line and spend less time in line, the coordinators will spend less time helping you register, and the quicker the registration process is completed the sooner the mandatory driver's meeting can be conducted. This also helps us meet the target "first car on track" time.

9:00 am
(10:00 am Indiana Time)
All Pre-Registered drivers who have not yet signed in and signed the waiver will have their Pre-Registration released. Names will be called from the wait-list in the order they were added, and if you are not at the Registration Tent when your name is called with money in hand, your name will be skipped and the next person on the list will be called. If you were skipped but arrive before the event is full or registration is closed you will be added to the event at that time. If you arrive after the event is full you will not be added to the event.
9:15 (10:15 am Indiana Time) All registration ends.

9:30 am
(10:30 am Indiana Time)

Safety Meeting starts. For Insurance reasons, PEOPLE WHO MISS THE SAFETY MEETING WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO RUN.

10:00 am - 5:00 pm
(11:00 am - 6:00 pm Indiana Time)

First car on track at 10:00 am (11:00 am Indiana Time). You will be assigned to one of three run groups, and your schedule will rotate between driving, working the course, and resting.

We do not take a lunch break; you can eat during your rest period.

We usually finish the runs by 5:00 pm (6:00 pm Indiana Time) and then hand out the awards once calculated. There are times when we have unforeseen problems that are out of our control and they cause us to run longer. Sorry, but it happens.

9. How many drivers will be at your event?
We never know, it just depends on who shows up. We have had a 75 driver cap on events since 2007, and have never had to enforce it. After a large event this year, we are going to start to enforce the limit. The reason for the limit is because WCMC strives to provide a maximum number of runs to autocross participants. 75 drivers allows everyone to have several runs to create a fun day for all. Please read the following list to understand how the event cap will work:

  • The first time you may see the cap in action is during pre-registration. Once Pre-registration reaches 75 drivers you will no longer be able to select the event from the pop-up menu to pre-register for it.
  • If the website let you pre-register for the event, you are in.
  • If you could not pre-register, but still want to run you are not totally out of luck. You can arrive at the event and place your name on the Wait-List.
  • At 9:00 am all people who pre-registered and did not show will be removed from the Pre-Registered drivers list.
  • Names will be taken from the Wait-List in the order they were added and placed on the Registered Drivers list.
  • If you are not at the Registration Tent when your name is called with money in hand, your name will be skipped, placed at the end of the Wait-List, and the next person on the Wait-List will be called.
  • If you were skipped but arrive before the event is full or registration is closed you will be added to the event at that time. If you arrive after the event is full you will not be added to the event.
  • After you pay you can and continue walking the course, preparing your car, etc.

10. How many events do I have to run to have a full season of AutoX points?
We count a full season of AutoX by taking your best 8 events you run. So if you run all points events, your 8 best count. If you run 9 events, your best 8 count. If you run 8 events, all 8 count. If you run 6 events your points will not count towards a season trophy.

11. I have my own helmet, can I use it?
If your helmet has a DOT rating you can use it at our events.If you do not have a helmet, we have loaner helmets you can borrow. The helmet may need to be returned after each individual run so another person can use it. It is not your helmet for the day.

12. What number can I use?
When you register, you will be taken to a page that will allow you to search for an available number, verify your class, and to register for events. Once you find a number that is not taken, write it down and use it when you register. If you try to register with someone else's number you will be asked to use a number that has not been taken.You can place your number on your car in a couple different ways. You can purchase or make magnets to place on your car. You can also use masking tape to make numbers on your car. When choosing the color of the numbers, please choose contrasting colors so they are clearly visible. Do not use a dark colored masking tape on a dark colored car. Conversely, do not use regular masking tape on a light colored car.

13. Can I bring my family? Can I come just to watch?
Yes. Everyone must sign a liability waiver. Spectators are not allowed in the grid, but can watch from the designated parking and spectator areas. For minors (under 18) please see the Rules page/Under 18 for more information.

14. Andy's top ten autox driving tips.
Taken from evolution-discussions yahoo group and used with permission from Jean Kinser-Dana (Evolution Performance Driving School owner).

  1. Position first, and then speed. Positioning the car perfectly is more important than trying to attain the highest potential speed. For example, you will drop more time by correctly positioning the car nearer to slalom cones than you will by adding 1 or 2 MPH in speed. Same with sweepers (tight line). Same with 90-degree turns (use the entire track). Also, position is a prerequisite for speed. If you are not in the correct place, you will not be able go faster. Or at least not for very long!
  2. Turn earlier...and less. To go faster, the arc you are running must be bigger. A bigger arc requires less steering. To make a bigger arc that is centered in the same place, the arc must start sooner (turn earlier).
  3. Brake earlier...and less. Waiting until the last possible second approaching a turn and then dropping anchor at precisely the correct place so that the desired entry speed is reached exactly as you come to the turn-in point is quite difficult to execute consistently. Especially when you consider that you get no practice runs on the course, and the surface changes on every run, and you aren't likely to be in exactly the same position with the same approach speed on every run, etc. Better to start braking a little earlier to give some margin of error. And by braking less you can either add or subtract braking effort as you close in on the turn-in point. This will make you consistent and smooth.
  4. Lift early instead of braking later. Continuing with the philosophy of #3, when you need to reduce speed only a moderate amount, try an early lift of the throttle instead of a later push of the brake. This is less upsetting to the car, is easier to do and thus more consistent, and allows for more precise placement entering the maneuver (remember #1 above).
  5. Easier to add speed in a turn than to get rid of it. If you are under the limit, a slight push of the right foot will get you more speed with no additional side effects. On the other hand, if you are too fast and the tires have begun slipping, you can only reduce throttle and wait until the tires turn enough of that excess energy into smoke and heat. Don't use your tires as brakes!
  6. Use your right foot to modulate car position in constant radius turns, not the steering wheel. In a steady state turn, once you have established the correct steering input to maintain that arc, lifting the throttle slightly will let the car tuck in closer to the inside cones.Conversely, slightly increasing the throttle will push the car out a bit farther to avoid inside cones. It is much easier to make small corrections in position with slight variations in the tires' slip angle (that's what you are doing with the throttle) than with the steering wheel.
  7. Unwind the wheel, and then add power. If the car is using all of the tire's traction capacity to corner, there is none left for additional acceleration. At corner exit, as you unwind the wheel, you make some available. If you do not unwind the wheel, the tire will start to slide and the car will push out (see #6 above).
  8. Attack the back. For slaloms (also applicable to most offsets), getting close to the cones is critical for quick times (see #1). To get close, we must move the car less, which means bigger arcs. Bigger arcs come from less steering and require earlier turning (see #2). Now for the fun part...When you go by a slalom cone and start turning the steering wheel back the other way, when does the car start to actually change direction? Answer: When the wheel crosses the center point (Not when you first start turning back!) How long does that take? If you are smooth, it takes .25 - .5 seconds. Now, how long is a typical person's reaction time? Answer: about.5 seconds.Finally, how long does it take to go between slalom cones? Answer: Typically on the order of 1 second. Given all of that, your brain must make the decision to begin turning the steering wheel back the other way just *before* you go by the previous cone!!Since this is a mental issue, a good visualization technique to get used to this is to think about trying to run over the back side of each slalom cone with the inside rear tire of the car. To hit it with the rear tire (and not the front), the car must be arcing well before the cone and the arc must be shallow. Attack the back!
  9. Hands follow the eyes - car follows the hands. 'Nuf said.
  10. Scan ahead, don't stare. Keep the eyes moving. Looking ahead does not mean staring ahead. Your eyes must be constantly moving forward and back, and sometimes left and right. Glance forward, glance back. Your brain can only operate on the information you give it.Bonus Tip: Don't forget the stuff in between the marked maneuvers! Too often we think of a course as series of discrete maneuvers. There is typically more to be gained or lost in the areas that are in between. Pay special attention the places where there are no cones.note: Andy has been autoxing for 25 years and an autox instructor for 16 years of those. He has numerous wins and national championships and currently is campaigning a Miata in SCCA C Street Prepared.

15. How do I get to Tire Rack?
We will run on the test track to the right. Parking will be to the West of the track and on the North side of the building. Click here for Directions. On Saturday we are not allowed to park in the two closest rows next to the building. Sunday we can park in the entire lot.

16. How do I get to Lake County Fairgrounds?
The lot we will run in the large lot. When you arrive, park anywhere along the access road. Click here for Directions.

17. How do I get to the Boomers Stadium Lot?
We will run on the West Lot indicated below. Please park in the lot to the East as indicated below. Click here for Mapquest Directions.

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18. How do I get to Rockford Speedway
The parking is where we expect we will be able to park with out being in grass or gravel. Enter the track on the Southeast corner of the track by turning off of Forest Hills Rd onto Contractors Dr. You will see the enterance from Contractors Drive.

Rockford Speedway

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19. Lost and Found
Occasionally we do have items that we find at our events left behind by participants. If you lost an item, send us an This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or come ask us at the next event, and we may have it waiting for you.

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20. IMPORTANT NOTICE - 75 DRIVER EVENT CAP, PLEASE READ AND UNDERSTAND

Although this information is spread throughout this FAQ page, we have placed it here to help reinforce its importance.

WCMC strives to provide a maximum number of runs to autocross participants and to that end the coordinators are seeking to streamline the registration process as much as possible. The quicker the registration process is completed the sooner the mandatory driver's meeting can be conducted and the more likely the target "first car on track" time of 10:00 am can be achieved (Click here for the full Days Schedule).

Overall participant numbers are also a huge determining factor in the number of runs participants are able to get in a day. Due to the popularity of our events, particularly at more conveniently located and popular venues, the autocross coordinators have determined that limiting the total participants to 75 per event (Click here for more information on how the event cap works) is more important than ever.

Therefore, beginning with the May 22nd 2010 event, those who have preregistered (up to the 75 participant limit) and actually appear and formally register before 9:00 am on site will be assured a spot at the autocross events they preregister for. After 9:00 am the spot reserved for any preregistered participant who has not appeared on time will be released to those who may be waiting to register. Of course, should preregistration not fill up the 75 participant limit, interested participants who register on-site prior to the driver's meeting will be accommodated. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WILL THOSE WHO DO NOT ATTEND THE DRIVER'S MEETING BE ALLOWED TO DRIVE.

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