Every summer you will find us driving our cars as fast as we can around orange cones in large parking lots. One at a time we drive around the course trying to set a faster time than our friends. In between runs we socialize, tinker with our cars, try to figure out how to go a tenth of a second faster, and explain why we didn't.
Our events are filled with cars ranging from lowly daily drivers, to vintage roadsters, to hot hatchbacks, to powerful sports cars, to highly-prepped purpose-built race cars. No matter what you drive, you will get an adrenaline hit.
We love to share our sport and do everything we can to welcome new people. Come run with us, you'll have fun and meet some great people!
What is Autocross?
In autocross (often abbreviated as autox), one driver at a time maneuvers their vehicle around a defined course as fast as possible. We use cones to define courses that test a driver's skill and their car's handling. During competition we record the time it takes to get around the course, adding a time penalty for each cone hit.
We emphasize safety at all times. We design courses that limit vehicles to typical highway speeds. Our courses keep cars away from hard objects. In fact, if you spin you usually only damage your pride. The aggressive cornering in autox leads to increased tire wear, but otherwise autocross does little to wear out your car.
Where to Register
Each year MAC hosts numerous autocross events, including Novice Events, Practice Events, and the MOWOG series of competition events. To see our calendar and register for events, visit mnautox.motorsportreg.com.
If you have any questions, post them on our forums. We love to help. Asking what class you should run in serves as a great introduction. You'll get tons of information and (un)solicited advice. And we will have another car and driver to look for and welcome.
How to Prepare Your Vehicle
We tech your car to make sure that it meets some basic safety constraints. Our tech procedures are aimed at ensuring safety. It is still your responsibility ensure that your car is mechanically sound and can withstand the stress of aggressive driving.
Here are the basics for preparing your car. For details of what we will require for your vehicle to pass tech, please see section 4 of the Met Council rules.
- Make sure that your car is in good working order. In particular, make sure that you fix any safety-related problems.
- Make sure that your fluids are filled. Washer fluid doesn't matter; but your oil, brake-fluid, coolant, etc. should be clean and filled properly.
- Make sure your battery is firmly anchored.
- Make sure that your wheels are properly torqued.
- Make sure your tires are inflated. Initially, you probably want to inflate your tires a few PSI higher than you would for street use. For many cars 40-45 PSI is a good starting point.
- Remove all loose items (including floor mats) from your car. Your car should have nothing hanging and nothing that can shift or move under hard cornering.
- Prepare numbers for your car. You can make or purchase reusable magnetic or vinyl numbers for your car. Or, you can use tape to make numbers. In either case, follow the guidelines in section 4.1 of the Met Council rules to make sure your numbers are large and readable. They should be in a color that clearly contrasts with your vehicle and should be on the side of the car, not on a window. When running in the Novice class you do not need to put any class letters on your car.
How to Prepare Yourself
Autocross is physically and mentally demanding. Make sure that you are rested and well fed.
You will be outside all day. Please look at the weather forecast and plan accordingly. We run rain or shine, as long as it is safe to do so. Remember that it is usually much cooler at dawn that at mid-day. We recommend you wear layers so that you can adapt to changing weather and temperature. For safety, we do not allow any umbrellas on course. So, if rain is possible it is a good idea to bring rain gear and a change of shoes. Also, since you will be standing for a large part of the day, we recommend wearing comfortable shoes.
Many autocrossers will put their autocross stuff in a plastic tote. This helps keep stuff together so you don't lose it. It also protects your stuff if it rains.
- Helmet -- If you have a helmet, bring it. We tech helmets along with cars at each event. If you don't have a helmet, you are welcome to use one of our loaner helmets.
- Numbers or Tape -- Make sure that these are large enough and easy to read. Make sure that they are in a color that contrasts with your car. Please put your numbers on the side of your car, not on a window.
- Sun Protection -- Since we are outside all day, we are very prone to sunburn. Bring sunscreen and wear it! Many autocrossers wear wide-brimmed hats to protect their faces and necks. Also, even on warm days, many autocrossers wear pants and long sleeves to protect against sunburn.
- Water and Food -- Bring more water (or Gatorade/Powerade) than you think you'll need. Being outside all day, especially on windy days, will dehydrate you. We may or may not have time in the day to drive to get food, plan accordingly. Driving and working the course takes a lot of energy, so we also encourage you to bring high-energy snacks for a boost when necessary.
There are, of course, many other things you might find useful. And, while it is better to be over-prepared, the rest of these items are optional.
- Tire pressure gauge
- Air compressor/tank
- Jack and Jack Stands
Do NOT Bring Drugs or Alcohol
Our club does not allow ANY drugs or alcohol on site. If you bring drugs or alcohol to an event, you will be asked to leave and may not be allowed to return for future events.
Final Words of Advice
Everyone has their own motivations for autocrossing. Remember why you are doing this and focus on your own goals. Don't let competition take the fun out the experience.
If you want to be competitive, focus on your driving first. The skills you learn as a driver will transfer to every car you drive -- go-fast parts won't. Drivers who learn on under-prepared or under-powered cars are forced to learn good habits. When you make a mistake in a slow car, the impact is dramatic and immediately noticeable since the car isn't hiding it from you.
At the end of the day, we are driving around parking lots at road-legal speeds. You will be spending your time driving fast with a bunch of friends. So, remember to have FUN.