How does AutoCross (Auto-X) work?
You may hear about “Autocross” from time to time but have you ever wondered “What is Autocross”? Autocross is a form of Motorsports. What makes autocross unique from other forms of racing is that typically, only one car is allowed on the (open or closed) track at a time. There are not multiple cars racing against each other at the same time – rather one car at a time races attempting to achieve the lowest time through the course. Autocross focuses on handling and driver ability more than physical factors such as engine specifications or sheer speed. This can be attributed to the fact that each Autocross course contains many turns, twists, and other obstacles in a short distance of roughly .5-1.5 miles. Speeds do not get much higher than 70MPH as the courses are usually “disrupted” by the tracks maneuvers. Autocross is considered to be a great building block for beginners to learn the basics of racing at an affordable cost.
Common Requirements and Tips
Typically cars are organized into groups based on the performance of each car to try and maintain a level playing field. It is not uncommon for autocross groups to have a database of over 500 cars with/without specific mods to be classified into groups already to make the ranking and grouping process quicker. Depending on the class you are placed into will depend on the safety requirements/recommendations. Higher classes usually have requirements on seat belts and harnesses while all classes are required to wear a helmet. It is also recommended to clean everything out of your car, remove the spare tire, not arrive to race day with a full tank, and any leak will disqualify your car from racing.
Autocross rules and regulations vary depending on where you are racing. In Australia you are allowed to start racing at the age of 14. In the USA, autocross generally takes place in open paved areas like parking lots and you generally can ride once you receive your learners permit but an adult must ride with you. Only once you receive your drivers license are you able to race alone. Regardless of where you race, it is always recommended to start slow, ask other veteran members for advice if you have any questions, enjoy the learning experience, and work your way to a faster speed slowly!