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Old 04-18-2011, 01:50 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by rumatt View Post
The comparison I've made in the past is that it's like baseball. You might play for 3 hours and only get 3 at bats. It's not about playing time. It's about there being a winner, and a loser... and the tension and adrenaline that this creates when you're up at the plate.

Baseball is fun, but not in the same way that soccer is... or cycling... etc.
Eh, I'm with equ - I started to do only test and tune days because I got to do run after run and work on the things that mattered to me; when they stopped doing test and tunes because of poor attendance (which was great for the attendees, but not worth it for the organizers), I stopped going.

Regular autox days had way too many entrants on lots that were way too rough. It got to the point where you could fall asleep waiting your turn. I hated it; getting up at 6 am on a saturday or sunday lost its appeal quickly. I met some nice people and some absolute assholes, but I never really got the auto x culture thing. My first run or two was always my best, then I'd go downhill out of sheer boredom.
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Old 04-18-2011, 01:59 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by equ View Post
Did a half-day, realized why I hadn't gone in six years. I don't even mind cone/flag/radio duty, the whole thing is just not for me. Five hours for five runs, a total of about seven minutes of driving. Yes, I could have gotten another seven minutes for another 2-3 hrs invested, but who cares? 1st & 2nd gear going through a sea of cones...

Perhaps a manufacturer sponsored event I might not pass up, but this sucks. Felt like an awful use of my time, I don't think I'll ever do an auto-x again.
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Old 04-18-2011, 09:19 AM   #13
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The drive time to total time ratio is one thing, but that wasn't even the worst of it for me. The driving itself felt contrived to me. If cones were on both sides of the course, it might have helped. But without that to work with, there's a different skill to be developed to visualize a "course", then a driving line through that course and then finally control the car. Without the first, you don't even get to second and third. You could argue that my split between steps 1-2 are arbitrary, and perhaps it is. Either way, I wasn't particularly motivated by this step.

It didn't help that while I stood for four hours in the cold wind my long dormant lumbar ache kicked in. It didn't help that I didn't have lunch packed (thinking it would end early). It didn't help that I sucked at it, though that's normal for anything that you're new to. A few folks were like, 'Don't leave, runs 6-10 will be much better'. That I actually left early (at half-day) to spend the rest of the afternoon with my girlfriend's family should say something.

There were several (rare) moments of joy in there, reeling back the cayman when it wanted to spin. FWIW, the lot was freshly paved, no gravel, just nice asphalt. The SCCA auto-x I did six years ago in the zhp coupe was in Englishtown, tons of gravel, leaving some sort of my imprint on my tires. I did have more fun back then. Went with a friend (who got leave from wife/baby on account of his birthday). We were both noobs who got competitive with each other and fought it out through the day.
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Old 04-18-2011, 09:34 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by equ View Post
The drive time to total time ratio is one thing, but that wasn't even the worst of it for me. The driving itself felt contrived to me. If cones were on both sides of the course, it might have helped. But without that to work with, there's a different skill to be developed to visualize a "course", then a driving line through that course and then finally control the car. Without the first, you don't even get to second and third. You could argue that my split between steps 1-2 are arbitrary, and perhaps it is. Either way, I wasn't particularly motivated by this step.
It's interesting you say this--one of the things that really bugged me about the "autocross" portion of the Porsche Driving School was that they used about 1 thousand cones to mark the course, every 4 feet or so on each side, all the way around. You'd think this would be easier, but it's actually much harder--the typical autocross course layout with a few dozen "gate" cones turns out to be a lot easier to use for visualization, at least for me. Too many cones increases the signal to noise ratio and makes it harder to concentrate on which cones actually are important.

As for the time/discomfort associated with autocrossing, that I really can't defend. And I'll agree that after trying the track, the actual driving part of autocrossing is not as thrilling for me, though you can do a lot of things with the limit of adhesion on the autocross course that you would never want to do on a track.
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Old 04-18-2011, 09:50 AM   #15
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I assume you meant decreasing the SNR.

For someone who has the auto-x course visualization experience/skill down, more cones may be worse. I've done a few manufacturer events where there were cones on all sides, and I found that to remove the first step, though it does look 'busy' and is certainly not preferable to a simple road or track (which are essentially very similar to each other).

I don't mean to put autocrossing down by calling it contrived. All track driving is to some degree or another, contrived. It's just whether you have fun or not. Kind of bummed that I didn't enjoy it, but at least it was without a doubt. All morning I wished I was on the bike instead, even with the wind.

I like playing on the adhesion limit of a car, primarily in the snow. A late night drive to Lake Placid with a foot on the interstate and no one around is still a fond memory. As I didn't have the auto-x visualization down, I didn't have the time/processing power to really enjoy/play with the car. Most of my thinking was "Shit! Where's that next cone and the one after that?". And just when you're getting warmed up, it's over. Sort of like a lap dance.
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Old 04-18-2011, 09:58 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by equ View Post
...just when you're getting warmed up, it's over.
Visualizing the course is a HUGE part of the sport - not to be taken lightly.

If you think getting 6 or 8 runs is just warming up, try with only 3. Talk about a waste of time.
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Old 04-18-2011, 11:17 AM   #17
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And just when you're getting warmed up, it's over. Sort of like a lap dance.
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Old 04-19-2011, 10:45 AM   #18
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Seriously, you get it or you don't, you enjoy it or you don't.
It's exactly this.

Strangely, it was about 13 years ago I did my last track day, a week after doing my first autocross.
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Old 04-26-2011, 05:15 PM   #19
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I did the autocross thing a number of times as Novice but after about 2 years I stopped. The seat time vs. total time ratio really killed it. Out in this area there would be enough entrants that you only got 3-4 runs. . . . mostly only 3. 4 runs was a rarity. And most of the course was about 55 sec long on average. So, 4-5+ hours for maybe 3 minutes of driving.

It stopped being worth it. The skill building events usually the day before worth more worth it. Higher costs but you got a lot more seat time.
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Old 04-26-2011, 06:44 PM   #20
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I like it. I've been away from it for a few years because of grad school, work, new house, etc, but I'm running all the SCCA, BMW, and a few other events this season.

I did two track weekends and almost balled up my only car (at the time) because my "instructor" was not paying attention, so I haven't been back since...

I'm now actively looking for a $1-2k car to turn into a competitive autocross car or find one pre-built for cheap. After the first event this year, I FINALLY realized how terribly slow and uncompetitive my car is.
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