What is Autocross?

Autocross (AKA autox) is a solo driving skill contest in which each driver is individually timed over a short, miniature road course clearly defined using traffic cones. Cars compete one at a time (solo) against the clock, with elapsed time and appropriate penalties for course deviations being the determining factor for finish time.

An autocross can be held on any relatively flat paved surface, such as a parking lot, airport apron or runway, or even a closed road course. Currently, our autocross events are held in the parking lot of Lincoln Tech in Columbia, Maryland (but may occasionally take place elsewhere).

Unlike NASCAR that runs in dry (and typically warm) weather, autocross is a motorsport activity that can be run rain or shine (or snow on occasion)! In fact, you often can learn more from attending a wet or cold event than you can during a warm dry one as control of your car requires additional precision from the limited grip available. So don’t be discouraged from a little bad weather. In fact you may learn to enjoy it!

CCA Classes or Test & Tunes

Throughout each season the Corvette Club of America hosts one or more autocross schools or test & tune events in conjunction with or separate from regular autocross events. These primer events are perfect for those who are just starting out as well as for those looking to brush up on their skills or do some setup experimentation before running in conventional timed events.

These events will typically consist of a combination of:

  1. classroom time
  2. car prep time learning good prep practices and the technical inspection process used to ensure your car meets safety standards for participation
  3. a guided course walk (multiple walks are recommended to ensure familiarity with the various course elements)
  4. lots of practice time on the autocross course to hone your driving skills
Experienced autocross instructors are available to ride with you and/or coach you from the passenger seat to provide feedback on course negotiation, looking ahead, line, speed, and braking techniques.

The Action

Autocross emphasizes driver skill and vehicle handling (and a little memory) rather than just speed. A typical autocross course is a relatively low speed event made up primarily of corners (lots of them) linked together with an occasional straight or series of slaloms. Speeds vary from course to course due to lot size and configuration. However, while speeds are often not high, due to the many abrupt direction and speed changes, the driving is exciting and challenging as you feel more g-forces than experienced in daily driving!

No special competition licenses are required to compete, and hazards to spectators, participants and property are kept to a minimum as a result of several safety procedures followed throughout the event. Besides having fun, one thing you will soon realize is that the car control skills you learn and practice at an autocross will have an immediate impact on the safety and confidence of your street driving. In this regard, autocross is an excellent way to teach car control skills (e.g., smooth transitions, enhanced braking, skid correction, improved reaction time, situational awareness and confidence among others) and individual car characteristics (and limits) to young drivers in a safe environment.

The Cars

A significant reason for the popularity of autocross is that you don't need to buy a special car. As can be seen, you can participate in autocross with a wide variety of vehicles from mild to wild. In fact, with limited exception (e.g., 4WD pickup trucks) you can typically run your daily driver car! However, various levels of modifications are allowed and encouraged so that you may grow with the sport and your increased driving skills through upgrade in parts or car models.

Another significant reason for the popularity of autocross is the minimal safety and other equipment needed and the reasonable cost for entry. Your functional factory seatbelts are sufficient so the only safety gear needed is a suitable helmet (currently Snell approved SA2010 or M2010 and newer helmets). If you do not own a helmet several club helmets are available for daily rental.

The People

Autocross is also a very social sport, filled with some of the friendliest people you'll ever meet! Most are more than happy to help you out with car setup and driving tips. We also encourage ride alongs, which are a great way to learn driving techniques.

One thing that differs from other sports is that autocrossing is a cooperative sport. That is, competitors when not running are usually asked to serve as workers that help out with functional tasks needed to run the event. This typically includes timing and scoring, coordinating grid, manning the start and stop of the course, and manning various track stations "on course" where various duties are performed, including calling in any course penalties (e.g., off course or knocking down of cones) and "flagging" any immediate safety concerns.

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