Saturday, March 26, 2016

Tidewater Sports Car Club Novice School

VW Golf with awesome license plate
The Tidewater Sports Car Club (see link over there on the right of this page) kicked off their 2016 autocross season with a one day Novice School for new drivers on March 26th at Pungo. As the biggest competitive car club in the Tidewater (Virginia Beach and Norfolk and a lot more) area, the TSCC has been around since 1953 and provides not just autocross, but also other driving events throughout the year.
Nissan Skyline GTR!

It was a great day of instruction for about 20 new drivers, as each of them got to work with an experienced club member to learn the basics and some of the finer points of walking and learning the course, and then getting behind wheel and making your car go faster in a safe way. The large number of variables in finding the fastest way around an autocross course (speed, turning, braking, accelerating, setting the car up for the next move, fine tuning car components, etc) leaves a lot of room for improvement for even the best drivers. Even real racers that might do hundreds of laps on the same track usually admit they have never driven a perfect lap.
Start your day with safety- during technical inspection

Drivers went through the normal autocross event schedule of signing in to make sure they were registered and in the system for the electronic timing. After that they had to prep their cars for the simple technical inspection or Tech, just to make sure the car is safe and has four wheels (among other key components!).
Club president Brian Wells in the blue shirt welcomes drivers
After Tech, each driver was matched up with their instructor for the day, and then given time to walk the course to learn not only the right path, but also to start planning on how to drive it the fastest way around. Most of the drivers started very slow on the first run, just to make sure they were following the right path out there in the cone field, and gradually they all gained speed with practice. This is a great way for drivers to get the hang of going fast in autocross, and I'm glad the club was able to offer this experience this year.

Easy to remember where we were, in Pungo, next door to Pungo Pizza!

All the students were divided into two run groups, so they all got to drive one session in the morning and again in the afternoon. When not driving, they each learned how to work on the course to replace any run-over cones too. The TSCC even threw in a free lunch!

Plenty of shiny new loaner helmets if you need one!
If you want to autocross, you can come on out and autocross just about any car and even borrow one of the club helmets if you don't have your own. For more info you can contact any of our favorite clubs in our LINKS section, such as Brian's South Carolina Region, or up here in VA with the Tidewater Sports Car Club or the Old Dominion Region of the SCCA. The SCCA is the national organization that has autocross events all over the USA, and you can find their link right here on the NMS home page too.

Following the Novice School on Saturday we hope to see these drivers come out and compete on Sunday and at our future monthly events too.

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