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KrisL
02-27-2006, 04:16 PM
I'm the autocross coordinator for the BMWCCA Golden Gate Chapter. Registration has just opened for our first event of the 2006 autocross season.

The only prerequisite is that you are a member of the BMW Car Club of America ($40/yr, www.bmwcca.org).

Autocrossing is a great way to test the limits of your car and your driving skills - safely! The biggest thing you'll hit is a cone, and the only damage to your car will be a little more than usual wear on tires/brakes :) .

If you just want to come out and watch - that's fine too! No reservations, membership, or costs necessary for spectators. If you ask nicely, I'm sure others will even let you passenger in their car for a lap or two (bring a helmet if you have one, otherwise we can loan you one).


All of our events take place at the Marina Airfield. It's a bit of a drive, but it's a great site. You can find directions to it from here:

http://tinyurl.com/nkew7



To register for this event, go here:
http://www.motorsportreg.com/calendar/event.cfm?uidEvent=ABA02082-E3D1-7811-AE6D8193C3968537


If you're unfamiliar with autocrossing, here is a quick introduction of what happens at a typical event (Written by Scott Miller and published in the April 2004 issue of the Golden Gate Chapter newsletter):



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At a recent autocross organizers’ meeting, we found that many newer GGC members have never seen an autocross. So we’ll try to explain autocross in a simple, yet enticing manner.
An autocross is a relatively low-speed automotive competition event where drivers try to be the fastest in their class through a defined course. Cars run one at a time at safe intervals, and a timing system is used to determine each driver’s time on course.

The course is defined by orange cones which gladly risk their lives for the purpose. The layout is the creation of a diabolical autocrosser who tries to make the course easy to follow, yet difficult to drive quickly. Each driver is given a limited number of runs—recent GGC events have generously allowed six runs per driver—during which you try to find the fastest way around the course.

There may be from two to four run groups, so each group of drivers takes a turn at various work assignments while another group drives. Jobs include flagging, timing, scoring, announcing, computer data entry, pre-grid manager, exit timing slips, standings board, and course workers. The course workers watch for downed cones or cars that drive off course. This puts them in the best vantage point for watching the lines taken by other drivers through some of the turns, while at the same time adding to their personal exercise regimen.

The day starts early with the arrival of the GGC’s truck and trailer. We encourage about a dozen participants to arrive early to take part in the festivities. While one group sets up the course, a second group starts tech inspections, and another sets up equipment. When the trailer opens for registration, everyone signs the required insurance waiver form and receives run group and work assignments. Those who did not pre-register through the web site must fully register and pay at this time, it takes a couple more minutes than for those who pre-registered. Also, failure to pre-register means that the provided lunch is not guaranteed.

Tech inspectors check each car to be sure that it is in good condition for the event. Basically, a car will pass if everything is bolted together properly, is not spewing fluids all over the place, the seat belts, shocks, brakes and steering work, the battery is properly secured, and loose items have been removed from the passenger compartment
and trunk. They’ll also check to be sure that your tires are DOT-approved, have visible tread and are not under-inflated.

Once the course is fully set up, it is opened for a walk through. Taking a nice leisurely stroll around the course is a great way to analyze turn-in, apex and track-out points. This is the last time you’ll be on the course with an opportunity to stop and look back in the direction from which you came—well, on purpose anyway. See if you can figure out places to use your car’s characteristics to best advantage. Take note of the positions of the timing lights, so as to avoid hitting them later.

Finally, it is your run group’s turn to drive. Line your car up on pre-grid. The pre-grid manager will tell you when to pull up to the starting line. Then watch the flagger for the green flag and GO! This is when you find out if you remember the course from your walk.

Look well ahead. Don’t worry about the turn you’re in now, look for the next one and figure out the best way to connect the turns. Feel the car as the tires load up and unload. Could you have taken a turn faster? Try it on the next run. Is the car getting squirrelly on you? That’s a spot where you might want to back off a bit next time, or try a different line. Are you ge***65533;ing the most out of your car?

No matter which class your car is in, having the right tire pressures is one key to proper set-up. If you’re on street tires, boost the pressures to at least five PSI over what you normally run on the street. You’ll quickly discover that the factory’s recommendation of higher pressures in the back, lower in front, results in a lot of understeer. This resists rotation during turns, or putting it another way, you tell the car to turn, but the car tries to keep going straight. Try pu***65533;ing more air in the front tires to make the handling more neutral.
Autocross is a competitive event, but even if you’re not a competitive person, you should still give it a try. Besides the six competition classes (for BMWs and Minis with various levels of performance), GGC has the N Class – non-competitive BMWs. There is no pressure in this class, it is just for fun. Compete against yourself! Try to go faster with every run. Improve your car control skills. Pick another driver and have your own private competition against him or her. Try to finish in the top five in your class. Next event, shoot for the top three. Make it whatever you want, be as competitive or uncompetitive
as you choose. Or bring a non-BMW and run in X Class.

The best part of autocrossing with GGC is that you’ll spend the day with like-minded car enthusiasts who are all having as much fun as you are. This is a friendly and helpful bunch, and everyone is happy to share his or her knowledge and experiences with you so that you, too, can become hooked on the sport. So check the calendar and come on out to a GGC autocross!

///M3lissa
02-28-2006, 03:06 PM
I hope some cones are prepared to give it up for me :thumbup:

VTRweasel
02-28-2006, 03:20 PM
wow, that's cool, thanks

VTRweasel
03-06-2006, 01:31 PM
my cousin said I shouldn't bother w/autocross cuz I have an auto :(

KrisL
03-06-2006, 02:27 PM
my cousin said I shouldn't bother w/autocross cuz I have an auto :(


Your cousin doesn't know what he's talking about.

You can ALWAYS learn to drive better.

VTRweasel
03-07-2006, 09:30 AM
Yeah, i know, i plan on doing a track school at t-hill as soon as I can but my bike track days are more important right now.

I'll probably just go to watch this one

thx

dboy11
03-07-2006, 09:38 AM
I might like to come and watch I'm not going to race my 540.....I'm in Sonoma County

KrisL
03-07-2006, 10:15 AM
I might like to come and watch I'm not going to race my 540.....I'm in Sonoma County


Great! It's unfortunate that it's such a long drive for the north bay'ers... but we have yet to find a site that is as inexpensive as Marina with such a great racing surface.

Cliff
03-07-2006, 10:29 AM
Great! It's unfortunate that it's such a long drive for the north bay'ers... but we have yet to find a site that is as inexpensive as Marina with such a great racing surface.

IIRC, Golden Gate Fields has a very good surface. Is it significantly more expensive than Marina?

KrisL
03-07-2006, 12:02 PM
IIRC, Golden Gate Fields has a very good surface. Is it significantly more expensive than Marina?


Compared to Marina, GGF's surface isn't nearly as good. Yes, it is more expensive.

Cliff
03-07-2006, 12:18 PM
Just curious. Marina's a 100 mile one way drive for me and a big reason why I don't participate.

KrisL
03-07-2006, 12:30 PM
Just curious. Marina's a 100 mile one way drive for me and a big reason why I don't participate.


It's a big reason why a lot of people don't participate. It's 70 miles for me.

We're certainly aware of the downsides and are always looking for better solutions :/.

cantona7
03-24-2006, 02:40 PM
It's supposed to rain on Sunday but I'd love to come out and spectatorate. :)

Transferred my membership from Boston to GGCA, but have yet to make it to any events, so I'm looking forward to this one.

KrisL
03-24-2006, 03:47 PM
It's supposed to rain on Sunday but I'd love to come out and spectatorate. :)

Transferred my membership from Boston to GGCA, but have yet to make it to any events, so I'm looking forward to this one.


No it's not:

http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/findweather/getForecast?query=93933&hourly=1&yday=84&weekday=Sunday


Come on over and say Hi! Where in Boston did you live?