|The Top Items To Remember On Event Day
Here are a few basic rules to follow to ensure a smooth flowing event:
1. Please listen to announcements from the trailer regarding worker check-in. You will be asked to check in for your worker assignment with approximately 15-20 cars left from the current heat that is running. We understand that some heats cannot check in immediately for their worker assignment because they are on course, but when you’re finished with your last run please report to the Worker Chief(s) ASAP. If you have time during your heat and happen to be working the next heat, please check in before your last run.
2. Please schedule your lunch run in advance. Do not leave for lunch in the middle of a heat, especially if you’re working or running the next heat. Try to schedule your lunch break in advance and leave for lunch at the BEGINNING of a heat.
3. For all entrants who pre-register, there will be a Check-In/Entry list posted on the side of the timing trailer. Please check off your name first thing in the morning so event staff will know you’re actually at the event. And double-check the entry list to make sure that you are entered properly in the right class with the right number.
4. Before you leave Grid for the start line to make a run, double-check to make sure you have the proper numbers and class letters on your car, especially if you are a 2-driver car (remember to swap out the numbers between each other’s runs).
5. Please do not grid your car and leave the grid area, be aware at all times of where the grid marshal is while he/she is sending cars so you won’t be left behind when it’s your turn to run.
6. Once you’re in Grid, pay attention to the Grid Marshalls. The Grid Marshalls will be wearing orange vests and will direct you to the starting line when it’s your turn to run. Don’t get too caught up socializing in grid. Again, stay with or very near your car. Make note where the Grid Marshall is in the grid progression sequence and when he/she is at least 5 cars away from your car you should get in, buckle up, and get ready to roll. You CAN be skipped if you are not ready to go. Grid Marshalls do not wait for someone to get ready, if you’re not ready to go they may go on to the next car and you could potentially lose a run.
7. If you’re assigned to work a corner, your primary responsibility (unless you’re a corner captain) is to watch for displaced cones or cars not properly following the course. This is to ensure fair times for all competitors, as there are penalties for displacing cones and/or course deviations. In order to do this, you must WATCH THE CONES, NOT THE CARS. A cone can easily be moved out of position while still standing, so it’s important to watch each cone carefully as a car passes and to re-position any cone that’s even slightly out of position.
8. Each corner station has extra cones to replace those that are nabbed by cars that run them over. Always have them handy. If a car gets out of control and takes out an entire wall, run to fix that wall with the extra cones. This is much quicker than running after the flying cones and putting them back in place. Some cones get punted and the next car might need to be red-flagged while a corner worker finishes setting up the downed cones, which can delay the event. This can be avoided by always having extra cones near you. Recognize when to use them!
9. DO NOT RUN OUT IN FRONT OF AN ONCOMING CAR ON COURSE.
10. WHEN RED FLAGGING A CAR, GET CLOSE TO THE SIDE OF THE COURSE AND WAVE THE FLAG VIGOROUSLY BUT, AGAIN … DO NOT STAND IN FRONT OF AN ONCOMING CAR!
11. Be sure the radio stays at the worker station with the red flag. One worker holds BOTH the radio and the red flag at ALL times.
12. Be Aware At All Times. There are a lot of things going on during an event, especially when you’re working course. Please pay special attention to all announcements and squealing tires (you never know if they’re squealing to avoid smacking into you!).
General Event Information
All times are Approximate
PRE-EVENT PREPARATION – Before leaving home
Clean your car out thoroughly and leave any unnecessary items at home, as loose items in the car must be removed before going on course and such items could be exposed to weather and/or damage when left in paddock.
Your car will need to pass a Tech (Safety) inspection before you are allowed to compete. Among other things your battery must be properly secured (not sliding around in its tray), all tires must have a measurable amount of tread (no cord showing) and the car cannot be leaking fluids.
Helmet requirements. This link shows Required Helmet Certification Decals. If you have a helmet bring it to tech inspection, they will inspect it for compliance and apply a sticker for the season if it is approved. For a 2-driver car, both drivers’ helmets are required at tech. If you don’t have a helmet don’t worry, a few loaners are available.
You will be in the sun/rain for the full day, so come prepared for it. Comfortable clothes and shoes are a must (shoes covering the entire foot must be worn during runs, no flip-flops or sandals are allowed).
Food is usually available near the sites we frequent but you will probably want to pack a lunch and plenty of water. Water is especially important in order to mitigate the effects of Texas heat.
Highly suggested items include
* Lunch (of your choice)
A DAY WITH THE SCCA
It’s strongly suggested to arrive at the site between 7:00 and 7:30 the morning of an event in order to get situated in paddock (where you park your car when not running), get checked in, and get your car through Tech Inspection . The course is normally ready to walk between 8:00 and 9:00.
If you’re new to SCCA Solo (autocross), Texas Region staff members are always available to help with any questions you may have and they will be wearing orange shirts so they’re easy to spot.
Find the Registration table near the timing trailer. If this is your first time at an autocross let the staff know and they will help you through the waivers and answer questions you may have. Remember to wear and display the wrist band they provide, preferably on your left wrist so it’s readily visible to the starter during your runs. If you need to make any class or number changes this is the time to do it. Don’t just change your number or class without telling the registration people as that can hold up the event and potentially prevent recording your times correctly.
IN THE PADDOCK
Paddock spaces are first-come/first-served but please be respectful of your fellow competitors and don’t occupy more space than necessary. Once in your paddock space you need to prepare your car for inspection. Unsecured floor mats, wheel covers and all loose items must be removed. Be prepared to store your items from wind and rain. Remember that you normally run tire pressures higher than you do on the street. If you see someone else at the event with the same type of car ask them what pressures they run, most people will be happy to tell you so introduce yourself to your neighbors and ask them any questions you have. People really do help each other at autocrosses.
After you have checked in at registration locate the Tech Inspection area. This is normally a number of cars in line and it is fairly apparent as to where this is located, but if not ask around the paddock and someone should be able to point it out. Put your car in line and wait for the Tech Inspector to check your car (and helmet if you have one). Remember to have your car number and class letters on both sides of the car (but not on windows) before you go to tech. The car number and class should be visible from a good distance and be of contrasting color. If you don’t have numbers/letters, tech staff will make tape-on paper panels for you – unless it’s raining, in which case you’ll have to use tape to apply your own letters and numbers.
For the first timer an autocross course can appear to be a “sea of cones” so be sure to walk the course multiple times before the event begins. As you walk, mentally put yourself in your car and visualize what it would look like from behind the wheel. Watch others and ask them lots of questions, most folks will be happy to help. Keep in mind you don’t have to know where every cone is, just a few of the key important cones. These are the ones in the center of a corner or the entrance and exit of a corner. Remember the number of paces between cones in a slalom, as this will help you judge how fast your car will go through a slalom. For example, a 19 pace (from cone to cone) slalom is tight and hard to drive for large cars while something that is 24 paces or more is quicker and easier. Generally a tighter line is the fastest way around a corner.
NOVICE WALK THROUGH
For the first timer, this is A MUST. Listen for the announcement for the Novice Walk Through, which normally occurs around 8:30. Gather at the start line when they announce it. The walk through is led by experienced autocrossers and is sometimes broken down into two groups. Listen carefully to what these folks have to say. Number one suggestion for the Novice walk through; try and walk near the front. This makes it easier to hear and see what they are talking about.
The mandatory Driver’s Meeting is scheduled for 9:00, and attendance at this meeting is required in order to drive in the event! Event staff will make specific information event announcements such as where Grid is located, all safety announcements, identify key personnel, and any changes to the planned event operations.
The event is broken into heats, usually three to four depending on the number of entrants for the day. Autocross is a run/work event and all entrants are required to work one heat, the exception being if working Registration, Tech, or course design or setup. An example of a run/work designation would be your class is assigned to Run 2nd/Work 4th. This means you will drive in the second heat and work during the fourth heat. The run/work format rotates each event. Example: if your drive in the 4th heat at the first event your next event it might be the 1st heat.
THE MOST IMPORTANT “TIP” TO REMEMBER
An autocross, by its nature, is a social event which has the primary goal of enabling like-minded car enthusiasts to have fun with their cars. Event organizers will do their best to enable that but it’s up to each entrant to take advantage of the opportunity. If you’re new to the sport, try not to focus on your times versus experienced competitors. For example, it’s very common for an experienced driver in a Miata to outrun an inexperienced driver in a Corvette. Focus instead on making new friends, enjoying the experience, and constant improvement i.e. focus on your own driving and try to improve your lap times with each run. If you end the day with a faster time than you started, and had fun along the way, then you’ve accomplished a personal goal that will hopefully bring you back to the next event. And eventually, with that approach and enough seat time and experience, you’ll be right there competing for top time of day.