Autocross FAQ

Autocross is by definition a non-speed automotive competition event. The terms autocross, slalom, and gymkhana are often used to describe the same activity. In autocross competition, one car at a time negotiates a serpentine course. Finishing position is based upon elapsed time to complete the course, with the lowest score winning. Vehicle agility and handling are emphasized rather than brute power or top speed. The top speed encountered is normally less than legal highway speeds.

  1. Do I need to be a member?
  2. Do I need a helmet?
  3. How old do I need to be?
  4. Are passengers allowed?
  5. What class am I in?
  6. Do I need numbers?
  7. What is the Tech Inspection?
  8. What is the course like?
  9. How many laps?
  10. Do I have to work or help?
  11. Is it safe?
  12. What if it rains?
  13. Do I need seat belts?
  14. What else do I need?
  15. How much does it cost?

Do I need to be a member of the Texas Region SCCA?  

The SCCA does require membership in order to participate in Texas Region events. but for non-members a limited weekend-membership program is provided at a slightly higher cost, which can then be applied to a regular membership.

Do I need a Helmet?

Yes, you need a helmet. The club does have a few loaner helmets that are available. Look inside the helmet for a sticker. It will have a Snell Sticker with a year date or certification. Use the link/chart above to see if your helmet is current.

How old do I need to be to compete?

Texas Region SCCA allows any licensed drivers with a valid drivers license and have reached 18 years of age.

Minors must have a SCCA parental waver form signed by both parents or guardians. This form must be printed in color.

Are Passengers allowed?

A passenger is allowed in regional events provided they: aren’t competing in the event (exception – Novice entrants); are no younger than 12 years old; are in a vehicle which has passed tech inspection; are wearing a properly fitted seat belt and an approved and properly fitted helmet; and have signed all required participant waivers. Non-novice entrants who wish to ride can do so after they’ve completed their competition runs. Non-novices riding before completion of competition runs could be protested by their fellow competitors. No passengers are allowed during competition runs in Divisional, National Tour, or National Solo events.

So what is a class? How do I know what class I’m in?

To keep competition fair, each car is classed according to its performance abilities. Competition classes are split into four general groups which allow increasing amounts of modifications. The four groups are Street, Street Prepared, Prepared, and Modified. Each of these groups are further subdivided into classes based upon theoretical and/or actual performance. Special additional classes exist for inexperienced novices, vintage cars, and custom street cars.

In the Street classification, which typically contains over half of the competing vehicles, very few modifications are allowed. Street Prepared vehicles are street legal cars with extensive bolt-on performance modifications. Prepared classes contain production cars which have been extensively modified and are used only for racing. The Modified classes contain purpose- built race cars, usually single seat specials.

There are separate classes for men and woman plus a novice class for the inexperienced competitors. Women can compete in the men’s class if they want to.

Unstable vehicles with high center of gravity and a narrow track, including SUV’s, minivans, and 4WD pickups, are excluded from competition. Examples. Suzuki Samurai, Jeep CJ series, and GEO Tracker.

Anyone on staff can help determine what class you belong in.

Do I have to put numbers on my car?

All vehicles must display numbers and class letters on both sides of the car. Numbers should be a minimum of 8 inches high with a 1 1/4 inch stroke. Class letters must be a minimum of 4 inches high with a 3/4 inch stroke. The numbers and letters must be in contrasting colors to the car. We do not recommend using duct tape. Blue painters tape is a better choice for temporary numbers. Magnetic letters and numbers work well on most cars. A sign company can make you some magnetic numbers that will last a long time and will look good.

A vehicle technical inspection?

Prior to being allowed on course, your car must pass a technical inspection. Tech Inspection is there to make sure your car meets basic safety qualifications. Tech will check for things like a secured battery, loose wheel bearings, proper class numbers/letters, loose wheels, positive response on your accelerator and good pressure in your brake system, among other things. In addition, one of the requirements to run is that your vehicle is emptied of all loose objects, from floor mats to loose change, and tech makes sure you’ve done that. Please see the rules for a complete list of Tech’s inspection. Tech exists to help keep our operation safe.

What is a course like?

The course or track is usually set up in a large parking lot using rubber traffic cones. Any reasonably large paved surface can be used as long as it is comparatively free of curbs, light poles, and landscaping.

How Many Laps Do I get?

Each competitor is allowed the same number of opportunities, called runs, on the course. Only the best run (the lowest elapsed time scored to the nearest one-thousandth of a second) out of all of an entrant’s runs will be used to determine finishing position. The elapsed time will be adjusted for hitting a course pylon. The penalty is two seconds for each cone knocked down. Texas Region normally have between 3 to 5 runs.

Do I have to work/help?

Yes! It is an important part of autocrossing. All drivers are required to work sometime during the event while others compete. Working could include one of the following picking up downed cones, posting results, directing cars to the start line, timing and scoring duties, registration, or course setup or pickup.

If you have a physical limitation there are tasked that you can do that will help run the event. Talk to the Worker Chief and they will accommodate your needs.

For detailed worker guides click here: Worker Guides

Is it safe?

You have to remember that even though you are driving at relatively low speeds (typical max speed is 60mph), you are still driving your car at its limits. It is possible for accidents to happen. We do set up the course with safety in mind, and work around obstacles that may be a problem. It is important to READ and sign the insurance waver as it could provide you coverage if an accident was to happen.

What if it rains?

An autocross is run in both the dry and in the rain, which often presents new challenges to drivers. Come to the event ready for weather changes.

What about seat belts?

Properly mounted working seat belts are required.

What else do I need?

We also recommend you bring basic supplies with you, things like water, sunscreen, rain gear, and basic tools. We run rain or shine.

How much does it cost?

Check the registration page for current pricing. Walk-up registration (when permitted) incurs an extra $5 fee.