Autocrossing with GGR
Autocrossing with GGR
Autocross is a sport where you try to drive around a course in the shortest possible time. The course is laid out in a big empty parking lot and outlined by pylons. The rules are simple: go as fast as you can but don’t knock down any pylons (one second time penalty per pylon). Every autocross is also a driver education class, as there are qualified instructors available at each one. Check out our calendar of upcoming events.
Who can participate?
Anyone with a Porsche. You do not have to be a member. If you would like to become a member, applications are available at the event, or there is more information here. GGR members can use their other car, with prior arrangements and permission of the event chair. (For PCA members, we allow their minor children with a driver’s license and parent present to particpate. Find out more by clicking here.)
Do I need to attend a school first?
No. This is the ideal event for first-timers. The schools are a good way to improve, or an introduction, but they are not required. You can follow these guidelines, and just show up to your first event.
Where Is It?
We use primarily parking lots and airfields in the greater Bay Area. See the events calendar for locations, and the directions page for descriptions and directions.
What Does It Cost?
$30.00 per driver.
Is there Pre-registration?
No. You just show up and register at the event, however this does not apply to special events, such as the schools. The schools do all require pre-registration, and often fill up within weeks and sometimes days, of the announcement.
What Time Should I Show Up?
Registration is open from 7:30AM-8:30AM. Afternoon registration is 11:30AM-12:00PM.
What Do I Need To Get Ready?
Your Porsche should be in good mechanical condition. No cord showing on tires. Brakes in good condition. No loose wheel bearings. (Grab the top of your wheel and tug in and out. There should be minimal play.) No parts about ready to fall off. Fill with oil and inflate tires according to your owner’s manual. Try to show up with 3/8 tank gas-more is okay, but it’s extra weight.
What Should I Bring?
Wear comfortable clothes and shoes suitable for driving/walking/running. Bring food and drink, many sites do not have amenities nearby. A hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses are advisable as it’s usually pretty sunny and warm toward mid-day. If you have an Auto(SA) or Motorcycle(MX) helmet with a Snell 1995 or later sticker, bring it. If you don’t have a helmet, we have a limited number of loaners. (Need Credit Card or Driver’s License as a deposit)
What Happens When I Get There?
Go to the registration table, and tell them you are new. They will point you to our novice chief. He will connect you with a mentor/instructor who will guide you through registration, car prep, course walk, etc.
Below, is a generalized description of some of the things your mentor will guide you through.
The first thing you do is find the registration table where you pay your money, sign a release, pick up a registration card (with your car number on it) and sign up to work. While you are learning, the position you want to work at is “Course Worker”. Your job is to pick up any cones that get knocked down by cars. It will give you a good opportunity to watch how others are driving the course.
The next thing you do is fill our your registration card and stick it under your windshield wiper. The only tough question will be what class you are in. You can usually pick up a rule book at the registration table that lists the differenct cars and classes, or you can ask for help at the registration table.
Next, you empty out your car, front seat, back seat, floor, trunk-everything that’s not bolted down. Most people take out their jack and spare tire. If you want to look like a pro, find and pull our your wiper fuse, so you don’t turn on your wipers accidentally.
After your car is emptied out you put it on “grid”. Grid is where the cars line up to run. The rows are labeled A, B, C, 2nd Driver. Put your car in the row corresponding to the number on your registration card. You can leave your keys in it along with your helmet. Workers will “tech” your car to make sure it is safe.
Now it’s time to walk the course. Find a group of people who look like they know what they’re doing and walk with them to get familiar with the course. They will be fretting about the proper line to drive. For your first time out, just worry about the basics. Do we go clockwise or counter clockwise? Where do we enter? Where do we exit? Get a mental picture of the course and where the sharp corners and other tricky parts are.
There will be a mandatory Driver’s Meeting. Don’t be late or miss this. By now, you should already have an instructor, but if you don’t, go up to the person with the microphone and tell them your want an instructor.
Will I Hurt My Car?
No, Porsches were engineered to be driven this way. Your car has a racing heritage and if you listen, it is begging you to take it autocrossing. Courses are laid out so they do not come close to light poles and other immovable objects. You will wear out tires and brakes faster, but the wear is not significant from a single autocross.
Is It Dangerous?
About as much as crossing a busy street. When you are working course, the most important thing is your safety. Always keep your eyes on the car on course. Always double check that no cars are coming before you run to pick up that pylon.
How Do I Find Out About Events?
Watch the calendar on this web site, or the “Nugget” Newsletter for upcoming events. Other PCA regions, the SCCA and other car clubs all hold events if you get really hooked on the sport.
How do I Find Out More About Autocrossing?
Try Henry Watt’s book, “Secrets of Solo Racing: Expert Techniques for Autocrossing and Time Trials”. It’s available from Amazon.