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First Autocross (long) (archive)

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Posted by Karl Seeger on September 28, 1998 at 09:47:30:

Well I decided to try a real autocross for the first time this Sunday. I signed us as "novice" and got my work assignment and went for a course walk.

First tip, all of the drivers (good and bad) don't like the course. They ALL agree it is way too tight and complicated for an "end of season" event. I should have listened...

I drew last session so off I go to work a section of the course, section 4. All go'es well there and I learn about missing gates and hitting cones. The guy I'm with tells me if it looks like I'm going to miss a gate (10 seconds) "hit a cone, it's only 2 seconds and you get credit for the gate...". This I listen to.

Finally I get on course for the first of my four runs. I'm going to go slow for a "recon" lap. Get a "feel" for the course. Three hours have passed since the course walk. I'm on the course and put the car in second for it's trip, through the first sweeper, the road racing vision kicks in and I start looking way down the course getting ready for my next turn and...who the H#!! put all of these CONES out here! I am TOTALY LOST! My goal of turning a high 70 turns into a desperate attempt to just FIND the course again. After missing 50 gates I get back on course.

I come into the grid again and get presented with a map and a lession on navigation. I only missed 6 gates. I think the officals lost count and were being nice.

Second run. Look one to two gates ahead. Missed one gate and hit one cone. Better but not good. Others are having problems as well but they are at least 10 seconds faster. New goal, make ONE clean run.

Third run. Clean. I didn't use the brakes through the whole course. I know I am slow but I did finish without hitting anything or missing a gate.

Last run. Advice from one of the drivers, "Drive an autocross like you just STOLE the car...". I'm sprinting from one gate to the next. None of this "long vision" stuff. Just get from one gate to the next. In section 4 (where I was stationed) I was a little inside on a gate an am now heading straight at a cone in an "easy" gate. I remember the words "hit a cone, don't miss the gate..." but muscle the car and pass through the gate sideways, clean (boy am I glad Z3's are so short). I finish ths course clean with my best time (I cut 8 seconds off of my last run) and finish with an 84 second run, will out of the hunt.

This is not road racing. It is very accurate driving.
I think I'll just have to come back again next year and try this again.

A very humble,

-Karl


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