Beginners Guide to Autocross

Autocross events are low to medium speed car control events. Most events are held in large parking lots or airports but some events are held on race tracks and go-kart tracks. Courses are created using traffic cones, and sometimes outlined in chalk to help with visuals. Drivers take to the course one at a time with results determined by comparing each drivers time to complete the course. Penalties are given for significant contact with a cone or if a competitor misses part of the course.

Buccaneer Region of the SCCA
Buccaneer Region of the SCCA
Buccaneer Region of the SCCA

How much does it cost to autocross?

Please check our schedule of events page for fees for our events.

Will Autocrossing damage my car?

Autocrossing can have an effect on how your car wears standard consumable items such as tires and brake pads, however it is extremely unlikely that it will threaten the structural integrity of your car. Tires are the most notable consumable, and many competitors choose to have a separate set of wheels for autocross tires for this reason.

Do I need to be a Sports Club Car of America (SCCA) Member to participate?

Membership is required for all SCCA events. With this membership you gain access to a wide variety of member benefits, including a subscription to Sportscar magazine and discounts with club partners. For those just wanting to test the waters, there are weekend memberships available. Learn more about membership or become a member today!

What if I am under 18? Can I participate?

Yes, you can participate, however, please be advised that you are required to have a legal guardian sign the Minor Waiver Form.

What should I bring to an event?

You need to bring your car in good working mechanical order, a valid driver's license and a helmet (loner helmets are available). You may also want to bring a tire pressure gauge, multiple layers (coat, sweat shirt, sweat pants) gloves, a cooler (water, sports drink, snacks, lunch), comfortable shoes, towels, rain gear, sun block, a hat and anything else that you would want for a day spent outdoors. There are no seats and most events don't have any shade. It is recommended that you bring your own chair and tents.

What do I do when I arrive?

First place you will arrive is at the gate or entrance of the event. Here you will signing a liability waiver. Find a place to park your car. Head over to the registration area to sign in, show your driver’s license, pay for the event if you haven't prepaid, and receive your worker assignment for the day. Next, you should get your car ready and go over to get your car inspected with Tech. There are no practice sessions on autocross. Walk the course as many times as you can to become familiar with the layout.

Who will I be racing against?

You will be driving against people in your class. The classes are separated into groups of comparable cars of similar performance for the fairest competition possible. If you are a novice some regions have a Novice or Rookie class. In this case, you'll be running against people with similar experience as yourself.

What are classes and how do I class my car?

There are several classes depending on your car and it's set up. Please contact our autocross/solo Chairman for assistance or ask in our Coastal Empire Solo Facebook Group or Jacksonville Solo Facebook Group.

Do I need special Tires to participate?

No, You d not need special tires to participate. Although the only tire requirements are safety-focused, some tires will work better than others. There are a variety of good options for autocross tires on the market. For beginning drivers, a quality set of performance road tires are recommended. You may want to opt to have these mounted on a separate set of wheels for autocross use only. This will keep you from wearing out your daily tires autocrossing or your autocross tires commuting to work.

What is Tech?

"Tech," is the short word for technical inspection. This inspection is made by other more experienced autocrossers to check the safety of your car. They check for a working seat belt, good return on throttle, brake pressure, a secure battery, tight lug nuts, play in suspension and bearings, interior free of lose items including floor mats, street tires must have measurable tread left and no cords showing. Any car in reasonable condition should pass a tech inspection no problem!

The basics of the inspection include:

Tires - no cord showing Wheel bearings, shocks, steering, and suspension in good operating condition.

Seat belts in good operating condition.

Brakes - firm pedal with no detectable drop with car not running and proper level of fluid in reservoir.

All loose items removed (radar detectors, floor mats, etc.)

Hubcaps and wheel rings removed. All lugs present and tight.

Throttle return action safe and positive (no sticky throttles)

No excessive fluid leaks.

Battery securely bolted down.

Acceptable numbers and class designation on both sides of car.

What are Run Groups?

All eligible competition classes will be arranged into Sessions. Within each Session, there will be several Heats of competitors, depending on the number of registrations.

What are the cones that are laying down?

The cones that are lying down are directional cones or, "pointers." They act as arrows to tell you which side of the cone to go on. If you happen to go on the wrong side of these pointer cones the penalty applied is considered a "Did Not Finish" (DNF). Some regions will score this as "Off Course" (OC) and no time is recorded.

How are penalties scored?

Each cone position is marked with a chalk outline known as a "box.". If your car causes a cone to fall over or get knocked completely out of its box, it’s a 2-second penalty. If a driver runs over or bumps a cone and it stands back up or doesn't fall over no penalty is applied as long as some part of the cone is still touching the box.

What is PAX (RTP) Indexing? ("Racers Theoretical Performance")

This Index was developed by Rick Ruth and reflects study of results from well over 500 nationwide Solo events including, the Tire Rack® Solo National Championships, National Tour, Alabama Region, Atlanta Region, Chicago Region, California Sports Car Club, Central Florida Region, Equipe Rapide (Florida & Texas), Great Lakes Solo Series, Hawaii Region, Houston Region, Midwest Divisional Series, Milwaukee Region, Minnesota Autosports Club, New England Region, Northwest Region, Northern New Jersey Region, Oregon Region, Philadelphia Region, Rocky Mountain Series, San Francisco Region, San Diego Region, South Jersey Region, St. Louis Region, Tri-State Sports Car Council, Texas Region, Washington DC Region, Wisconsin Autocrossers Inc., and many, many others

Worker Assignment

Everyone works. Take your work assignment seriously. Part of autocrossing is helping with various tasks that keep the event running. Giving your work assignment 100% of your attention will ensure that you are not having a genitive effect on someone else's event. Be sure that you arrive on time or early for work, as tardy workers often delays event start times.

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