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Road Course/Autocross Tech Autocross, Road Race, and Open Track Event discussions. Preparation, technique, tips, and stories from the events. Tell us about your last event.

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Old 08-05-2005, 07:43 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
Registered: Jan 2005
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Preperation for auto-x

Auto-x seems to be gaining popularity here in the evo boards. I know there are a few members on here that do it. There are also members that haven't done it but are curious as to how it works and whats needed, whether its with their car, themselves or money.

I'm starting this thread to let you know what I go through in preparation for an auto-x.
My prepearation usually begins two days before the auto-x. This allows me to go out and get anything the night before that I might need. I know for myself I hate being rushed and thinkign that I might have forgotten something.

When I get home from work on Thursday I already have a list run through my head as to what I need to do. The first thing I do is get my bag packed.
I carry a bag to the auto-x with all my needed supplies. In my bag I include my helmet, latex gloves, driving gloves, pants, long sleeve t-shirt, camera, video camera, sponsorship magnets, video camera bracket, torque wrench, air compressor, tire pressure gauge, shoe polish and tape.
Helmet is for obvious reasons. Make sure you check with who ever you are runnign with to see if they require a SNELL or DOT rating on the helmets the drivers use. If you show up with a helmet that does not meet their requirement, then you can't run.
I like latex gloves incase I have to work on my car, I don't want to get back in my car with greasy hands and have myself sliding all over the steering wheel.
Driving gloves because I don't like driving with sweaty hands and it helps me grip the wheel without holding onto to it as tight.
Pants and long sleeve t-shirt, some organizations require that you were atleast jeans and long sleeves. But obviously you don't want to walk around all day in 90degree heat in long sleeves. So make sure you have those packed well in advance. Again check who you will be running with to see if this is a requirement.
Camera and video camera. Want to show off that long drift you had or how you were in tripod mode through the skid pad, bring the camera. I can't recall the number of times I forgot my camera and wish I had it because of some hot car that showed up. Get these packed early so the kids and wife can't grab them from you for the bridal shower they'll be going to.
If you are sponsored you can't forget their logo.
Torque wrench-to make sure your lugs are tightend down CORRECTLY.
Air compressor-to increase your air pressure if you need to through out the day. Lookign for one isn't that hard as most people are willing to let you use theirs, but sometimes you need it right now.
Tire pressure gauge. Spend the money on a decent gauge, not digital. You definitely want to get your tire pressures set correctly. Tire pressures are the difference between a few tenths of a second which can be the difference of 3rd place and 15th place.
Shoe polish-some organizations will put numbers on your car or letters for classification, its always good to bring your own incase they run out or if you need to make a quick change.
Tape-to tape off your lights
Video camera bracket. Do you know how cool it is to come home that night and watch your runs from 'inside' the car on the tv? If not then you need to pick up one of these. Mine attaches right to the roll cage and is scca legal.
Thats it for the bag.
I'll put my tool kit next to the bag that way I don't forget it. I don't use a big tool kit. Just something that will my necesities incase something were to come loose or off.
Again I like to do this two nights before incase I don't have anything I'm not up all night the night before scrambling to find everything.

The night before. Do NOT go out drinking! It sounds simple but they're are people that do it. Why are you going to be out till 11 o'clock or midnight when you need to be up at 630? Plus why do you want to be hung over an dehydrated you are going to be out in the sun all day.
Eat a good dinner. I prefer chicken alfredo as it gives me my carbohydrates for endurance energy or running around all day the next day. Drink water at dinner too. Get yourself hydrated in advance. Being dehydrated sucks at an car event. It makes you lose focus and can delay your reaction time.
Get your last minute things in your bag. I like to throw in some granola bars and a bottle of water or two. Usually when you show up in the morning the event is completely set up yet. Have granola bar for your morning snack and drink some water to keep you hydrated.
Check your car for your jack and lug wrench.
Remove all loose articles from your car. Most clubs won't allow you to run with floormats. I like to rid my car of everything the night before that way no one can steal my things when they sit in the grass all day.
Make sure your fluid levels are up. Oil, coolant, power steering, brake fluid, and clutch fluid. As a tech inspector, I will NOT allow a car to run if he does not have enough brake fluid.
Get a good nights sleep. This can't be stressed enough. The difference between 8 good hours of sleep and 4hrs of sleep can be huge at the end of day. Less sleep makes you lose your focus easier at the end of day. An auto-x is a long day. The last thing you want is to be tired when you still have your afternoon runs and you still have to work the course.
Before you fall asleep make sure you have your alarm set to give you plenty of time to wake up, shower, eat and plenty of time to get there. The morning of, eat a good breakfast. It will probably be 5-6hrs before you eat an actual meal again, so eat a good full breakfast and drink plenty of juice or water. A lot yourself plenty of time to get there. Who knows, maybe soccer mom rolled over her SUV last night all by herself with no one else on the road. You don't want to be stuck in traffic and show up late. Most clubs will make you forfeit your runs if you show up late, so give yourself plenty of time. There is no penalty for showing up early and it can actually benefit you. You get to have a sneak peak at the organizers set up the course and you can see where you want to be through out the day, and you get the parking spot you want.

I hope this helps some of you. If any of you have anything to add in, feel free too.
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Old 08-05-2005, 09:34 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
Registered: May 2005
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Good advice; thanks for posting this.

Note that you generally shouldn't top up brake fluid (except when changing pads or bleeding the brakes). The reservoir is there because as the brake pads wear down, more fluid is required to fill the pistons. So if your fluid is down, chances are it's because your brake pads are worn--so check them. On the Evo, the stock rear pads will wear much quicker on the inside than the outside--you can be down to backing plate on the inside pads and still have plenty of material on the outside pads--so watch for that.

Agree with you about digital tire gauges. The cheap ones tend to run out of batteries, and setting tire pressures with them is difficult because you have to measure, take the gauge off, let out some air, measure again, etc. I went through 2 of these before I got a $35 Longacre gauge with a bleeder valve which has served me perfectly since.

I don't feel it's necessary to tape off your lights for an autocross. The lights on an Evo are high enough that they won't be taking any "cone damage". In fact I never tape anything off, even at the track--car looks better in photos. A thin little layer of tape isn't going to prevent a rock from cracking the headlights (glass light covers are required to be taped, so that if they get rocked they don't shatter and leave glass all over the track).
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Old 08-05-2005, 10:20 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
Registered: Jan 2005
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Reputation: ldstang50 is a helpful contributing member
The car looks a lot better in pics with out tape. Some clubs will require you too. The evo is usually not one of cars required as we have the plastic outter casings. Still its something I like to have with me in case.
About the brake fluid. If I see some one is really low then thats a problem. As long as they are close to the low lever or above it. I'm not about to get done and check someone's brake pads for tech, thats just common sense as we know. Some clubs actually require you to turn in a mechanics inspection sheet signed off by a mechanic saying your car is in good working order i.e. axles are good, brakes are good etc.

Thank you for your input.
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Old 08-14-2005, 04:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Car: 03 EVO
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Registered: May 2005
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Well, I would have to say that Auto-X is quite addicting to say the least!!! We went a few months ago to an Auto-X at the California Speedway, and had a great time!! We weren't there to compete for points, but none the less still had a great time!! We have never done anything like that before, so we wanted to see how our 03 EVO handled!! Well, we definitely found out we need a diferent suspension by far, and could have used a bigger rear swat bar!! It stilled responded well, but with the aftermarket lowering springs installed by the previous owner, we knew they were just for show!! So, when we get the suspension taken care of, a boost controller and AFC, we should do much better, oh yeah, if we had slicks instead of street tires, that would have helped quite a bit too...duh!! So much for being newbies!!
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