Yesterday we drove in the first autocross event of the season, so ya-hoooo! This event was a non-points event, meaning it doesn't count for the season long South Carolina Region standings. With that in mind, it was a great day to get back in the swing of things behind the wheel, maybe try some different approaches on the course, and not worry about any competition. We had really great weather, which ranged from chilly and needing a sweatshirt at registration time (8am-ish), t-shirt warm before lunch, and believe it or not back to the extra layer when it got a bit chilly and cloudy running til around 5pm.
Brian and I were both in the first of three driving groups, so while we lost the opportunity to watch other drivers and steal all their secrets or at least see how others drove the course first, we got right into driving! It was a fun and small course, with basically most of the course done twice, which included a big long sweeping turn with lots of room to get on the gas before braking hard and trying to carry speed thru a corner. This one spot is probably where I could have done way better, and later in the day once I watched a lot of other drivers nail it a bit differently than me, I was slapping my head and thinking I'd really missed a chance to gain more time there. But learning by doing, observing others, and getting better for the next go round are what it's all about.
Thanks to the electronic timing and quick posting of results from our region, let's take a look at how we did, and once again thank the South Carolina Region of the Sports Car Club of America for putting on a well organized safe event.
Big picture wise, there were 84 drivers that recorded times, and each driver got six runs around the course, so that was very nice to get in that much practice. Some events we've seen as little as 3 or 4 runs, so 6 was great. Without looking at classes of cars (horsepower and other factors), Brian out-drove me and placed 23rd out of the 84 drivers, while I was in 36th. That put both of us in the top half, so depending on your outlook, that's either not winning, or, not bad for being second year drivers.
Once we factor in the adjusted time, the "PAX" time that helps those of us in stock classes, we did even better. With the PAX times, Brian was overall 10th out of 84, and that is just outstanding! My time was 19th, so I'm happy about that, although Brian is still faster than me somehow no matter how you add it up!
Now let's get down to what class we are both in, which in our region this year includes all flavors of Street. Going from fastest cars to slowest, the Street PAX class that we will be competing in includes 7 classes from A Street (AS) thru H Street (HS), with Brian in E Street (ES) and me in G Street (GS). In other words, my GS car is rated slower than Brian's ES car, so he should beat my regular or raw time, but once we multiply by the appropriate PAX index number, then we are competing on equal footing, so...
...out of 28 Street drivers, Brian finished with the 2nd best time, and I was 5th. In the top six places our competitors included two of the new Ford Focus STs and two other Miatas. Rounding out the other 22 cars in Street were a couple of Camaros, two Scion tc, a Nissan 350Z, a Toyota MR2, a few Subaru FRS, a Dodge Challenger, a Mazda RX-7, an older VW Scirocco, a BMW Z4, two Ford Mustangs, a Mitsubishi Mirage, a Honda S2000, and an Oldsmobile 88. Quite a range of cars, and again, with the PAX system we can compare our times.
Those are the highlights, and more than anything we had fun. Probably the most common car model at autocross events is the Miata, but as you can see from the small list above, just about any kind of car can enter, and we encourage anyone interested to check it out and join the rest of the car folks.
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