When the words motor and sports come together, there is this sudden rush of adrenaline that begins surging in the body just like fuel surges inside the engines. Motorsports are usually aggressive in nature and while they require a lot of focus from the driver, the audience on the other hand are viewing the fierce aggression of automobiles as they compete against one another to the finish line. As for Autocross, it is a little more refined with a course which is about a mile long and where emphasis is put on the manner in which the car is being handled and the skills of the driver.
Safety is considered foremost in Autocross and the sport encourages participation of more people. Autocross races are the kind that pack in a lot of activities, which is what adds energy to the races. They are inherently slower than other races, but the amount of buzz they create is because of the elements which are included in these races.
It is difficult to track down a history for Autocross races. They seem to have made their appearance after World War II when the soldiers who returned from the war were trying to look for ways to overcome the dreariness of the war. This made them buy old cars which may have been considered fit for the junkyard and they fixed them up and began racing. They used Autocross events to show off their cars and the ways in which the car can be handled.
The Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) was created in 1944 and it began gaining popularity with local time trials. These races initially had the courses set on public roads but they gradually began taking better form and the races moved to concrete parking lots and abandoned airfields where they could race in a more organized manner. The goal of the sport was the same as it is today which is to race against a competitor in a course to achieve the best possible time.
As Autocross gained fame, the SCCA was able to attract more members and by 1958, the club had around 10,000 members. Today, the SCCA has over 114,000 members and it manages over 300 events every year.
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Autocross is seen as an entry level sport. The requirements are pretty basic for the racers and with safety in mind, some of the equipment that are recommended for an Autocross are:
- A helmet to make sure that you drive safely. While certain events may loan helmets to first timers, it is best to carry one of your own. This ensures that you have a helmet that is comfortable for you and one that fits you well.
- A good pair of shoes is the next things that you would like to focus, something that offers a good pedal feel will help you maneuver the car more easily and stay comfortable throughout the event.
- The car numbers are also an important. Every car that participates in an Autocross event must be marked clearly. There are kits that can help you with class letters and magnetic numbers.
- Harness belts are another equipment which are focused on the safety aspect of the race. While the factory seat belts work perfectly well when you are driving home, the harness belts are created for races. They hold you to the seat in a better way and they help you control the car more effectively.
- A tire gauge is another piece of equipment that can prove very helpful because the right amount of tire pressure can help you get a good grip.
- A racing car seat is also a great way to ensure that you are comfortable while driving the car. Racing car seats are designed to ensure that the driver is seated in the best position to have complete control of the car without being uncomfortable.
- Race wheels, especially if they are strong and lightweight, can make a notable difference in the race.
Cars And Classification
Every sanctioning body has their own set of rules for the car classes. For most of the races, cars are usually lightly modified or not modified at all. Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) classing is followed by most of the clubs in America. The SCCA classes vary from Street classes which are lightly modified to the SCCA D and E classes which can be completely modified.
Autocross events have different prices for entry fees but most of the local events are priced between $25 and $60 for entry. This price differs based on the place where the event is held and the cost of operation of the event. National Autocross events can be priced from $100 to $150 for entry. The cost is lower than many other events because at most of the local events, the participants also help out in organizing the event. This helps them save money and reduce the costs of the event.
You can check the events on the SCCA website which also discusses the tracks and where they are being held. You can register for an event online. Some of the events allow you to be registered at the site of the event. Go through the details carefully and register yourself for the event. Getting help is easy. You can ask the participants for help and they will assist you with registration if you are new. Local events are built on friendly races and you will find most of the racers extremely helpful in most of the events that you attend locally.
Autocross is a race between the drivers and time. Inevitably, the clock ends up winning all the time. It is a sport that promotes camaraderie among the racers who end up gathered together after the event talking about the cone that tipped and the race they almost won. All the fierce competition seen in the race simmers down as racers join in the tales of their wins and losses remembering where they started making memories in one of the most thrilling ways.