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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/24/24 2:46 p.m.
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What’s your local autocross site? A mall parking lot? Kart track? Airport runway?

Among the options here in the northeast part of Florida: The Florida International Rally & Motorsport Park, the facility also known as the FIRM–and also GRM’s official test track.

[The Grassroots Motorsports ultimate guide to track car lap times]

Throw down some cones and, suddenly, the …

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johndej
johndej UltraDork
6/24/24 3:20 p.m.

I've been tempted to but have mostly done just track days. One of the complications early on is that the tracks nearby, despite hosting it as an autocross event, still required roll bars for convertibles. When I was doing more autocross I didn't have one, once I put a roll bar in, if I was driving to the track I'd do a whole day or weekend. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/24/24 3:32 p.m.

Getting insurance for an autox held on a kart track is harder than it used to be - K&K used to allow that, now they specifically disallow it.

But we've effectively been running autocrosses on a kart track for over 20 years here in Grand Junction. No rollbar required. We don't even have to put out cones, the track is tight enough :)

Driven5
Driven5 PowerDork
6/24/24 3:47 p.m.

I've autox'ed on a small oval track and a kart track... The kart track was a lot of fun, especially in a Miata. The oval with close proximity (no runoff) walls, less so.

roninsoldier83
roninsoldier83 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
6/24/24 3:48 p.m.

Our local SCCA chapter here in Colorado has been using the infield of Pikes Peak International Raceway (PPIR) to setup autoX courses for years. A few years back, the folks at PPIR apparently thought it was a good idea and also started hosting their own autoX events there as well (aptly named PPIR Track Attack). I believe some other local organizations/clubs started running down there as well. The Track Attack events are especially sweet- they have staff members on golf carts that drive behind you and shag the cones so the participants don't have to work the course! 

A run from last year in my old DC2 GS-R: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIWuKR37z0A
 

Andy Hollis
Andy Hollis
6/24/24 3:50 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

But we've effectively been running autocrosses on a kart track for over 20 years here in Grand Junction. No rollbar required. We don't even have to put out cones, the track is tight enough :)

Some kart tracks can be perfect venues for autocross.

Here's me doing tire testing for BFGoodrich back in the day at a kart track in upstate NY.

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
6/24/24 3:51 p.m.

The local chapter of the Corvette Club has held an autocross at Waterford Hills on July 4th for as long as I can remember. I ran it a few times in the late 90s. It's pretty fun, they use about 3/4 of the road course, with some cone chicanes to slow you down in strategic spots. It's still a lot faster than a parking lot autocross, though.

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/24/24 3:57 p.m.

I haven't, but the NEPA region uses the Pocono raceway infield once in awhile.  From a recent event:

Pocono Raceway NEPA Event 6/16 65.485 (youtube.com)

turboshadow
turboshadow New Reader
6/24/24 4:23 p.m.

Sugar River Raceway for the Shelby Dodge meet a few years back was a ton of fun.

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
6/24/24 4:27 p.m.
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) said:

The local chapter of the Corvette Club has held an autocross at Waterford Hills on July 4th for as long as I can remember. I ran it a few times in the late 90s. It's pretty fun, they use about 3/4 of the road course, with some cone chicanes to slow you down in strategic spots. It's still a lot faster than a parking lot autocross, though.

There was also a day where MSCC did an event at Flat Rock, IIRC?  Used the infield as well as the circle for the event.  Interesting.  Normal speeds, though.

And I also did an AROC convention where the autocross was at a circle track north of Columbus.  Can't remember the name of the track, though.

Andy Hollis
Andy Hollis
6/24/24 4:29 p.m.
Ian F (Forum Supporter) said:

I haven't, but the NEPA region uses the Pocono raceway infield once in awhile.  From a recent event:
 

Speaking of Pocono, many years ago I attended the CMC National Championship autocross at Pocono held on the track itself.  Saw some very unique elements in that course design.

The Council of Motorsports Clubs was a Tim Suddard brain child offering an alternate sanctioning body to the SCCA at a time when there was way more demand than supply for national level autocrossing.

ClearWaterMS
ClearWaterMS HalfDork
6/24/24 4:57 p.m.

scca chicago runs "track sprint" which doesn't have cones so it's basically 3/4 of a flying lap.  We run it as a season /w multiple events and our first 2 events year to date have been sold out.  People like the event, it's 1/2 day event, you get 6 runs, you do'nt have to work the course and the price is 1/2 way between an autocross and a track day (around $100) and we have prizes/trouphys at the end.  

 

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
6/24/24 5:10 p.m.

My local club does "trackcross" at Oregon Raceway Park, and it is super-fun. Autocross format run on the roadracing course (modified with cones.) Grid is in the hot pits, with the start at the exit of the pits, and the finish before pulling back into the pits, so we miss the longest straight, but otherwise laid out on the track.

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There are cones on some corners to limit cornering speed by narrowing the track, and then slaloms or offset gates on the straightaways to keep the speed down. It originally started as a stepping stone for club members who did autocross and were intimidated by a trackday. Now it is one of the most popular events of the year!

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
6/24/24 5:52 p.m.

Our central Florida SCCA chapter does two event days at the Firm, autocross in the morning, then a track sprint after a break. 

KentF
KentF Reader
6/24/24 7:42 p.m.

Gratten Race Track - Belding Michigan near Grand Rapids. A winding, hilly road track. Beautiful place, great track. SCCA Western Michigan Region and Furrin Group hold autocross events there each fall. It is a blast.

ClearWaterMS
ClearWaterMS HalfDork
6/24/24 8:05 p.m.
KentF said:

Gratten Race Track - Belding Michigan near Grand Rapids. A winding, hilly road track. Beautiful place, great track. SCCA Western Michigan Region and Furrin Group hold autocross events there each fall. It is a blast.

that track owes me a lower airdam, two days there and I can't wait to go back :)

kevlarcorolla
kevlarcorolla Dork
6/25/24 8:28 a.m.

Yep,used to organise and run a series held on an old kart track.

 Made a decent little test track too :)

 

https://youtu.be/X4eQ_5MQZXs?si=hBWxVNHF51q7cfNx

camopaint0707
camopaint0707 HalfDork
6/25/24 1:49 p.m.

Pocono does it multiple times a year.  They were doing autox during the time trials.  On Sunday I went from my TT session directly to autox to do some runs.  

Warlock
Warlock New Reader
6/25/24 1:53 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

Getting insurance for an autox held on a kart track is harder than it used to be - K&K used to allow that, now they specifically disallow it.

Maybe...their website disallows insurance for "go-kart concessions tracks" under non-competitive facilities.  I (not a lawyer) read that as they won't insure your putt-putt karts at Keith & Janel's Rev 'Em Go-Carts and Mini-Golf (and wouldn't insure an event running cars on that track, either), but an autocross on a competition kart track should pass muster.  The local SCCA region here runs events on the kart track in the Daytona infield the same way you mention -- just a few cones to keep people from cutting the apexes too close and making divots in the grass.

Jesse Ransom
Jesse Ransom GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/25/24 1:55 p.m.

In reply to ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) :

I haven't made one of those yet, but I'm looking forward to it. IIRC they often have a track day adjacent, though ORP seems in the sticks enough that multi-day was easier with a motorcycle in a van since it gave me a place to sleep the MG just doesn't have...

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/25/24 2:38 p.m.

We used to autocross on a kart track, Cherry Valley Motorsports Park in Lafayette, NY, which was super rough and sketchy (seriously, it hadn't been fully paved since it was built in the '60s). Fun, but very rough surface and absolutely no runoff room. We had some pretty gnarly incidents there. Then new owners bought it, repaved it, and the kart racers wouldn't let us autocross on it anymore.

Then, right near Cherry Valley Motorsports Park, a guy built a private race track and country club. Our SCCA region bought a membership and ran two or three events there. We'd use the front straight as paddock and grid and slowed down some of the faster parts of the track with slaloms and Chicago boxes, etc. Then the track owner said we were "devaluing the property by giving people the impression they could get on the track for less than $100" and basically ejected us. Also very fun, and the surface was terrific since it was a new construction, but it was still pretty sketchy because it had some wacky design elements. Come up over a crest into a blind 180, with a man-made pond in the runoff area. I continued running their track days until they basically ejected me because I wasn't a member. The unofficial story I heard was they didn't like the blue collar mechanic in his home-built Miata running down lawyers and heart doctors in their Porsche GT3RSAlphaOmegaTurboGigaSuperEdition.

Also did an autocross on the Pocono Raceway with NEPA SCCA. It was, uhhh, really fast. Faster than I felt comfortable going in the car I had to drive home at the end of the weekend.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/25/24 2:51 p.m.

I've done many, probably most of my autocrosses were on tracks. I've done a few on a very rough British Rallycross-style track, that was...interesting. Nearly crashed into a concrete barrier there that was next to a puddle of particularly slick mud/dirt. A friend of mine later slipped up on that same dirt and crunched his car on that same barrier in the British-style rallycross.

racerfink
racerfink UberDork
6/25/24 3:45 p.m.

In 1984 or so, my dad and I went to a HUGE National Council of Corvette Clubs event at Texas World Speedway.  They had a Solo 2 course on the tri-oval, and a Solo 1 using the 'Back 40', turns 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9.  They had a huge party in the infield on Saturday night, using the stage that Willie Nelson used for his July 4th picnic concerts.  They held a raffle, and one of the prizes was to drive a brand new Vette on the Solo 2 course on Sunday.  I rode with my dad on the one run, and the 12 degrees of banking on the tri-oval made it a bit challenging.

Later on, I got to ride in a really nicely prepared '82 Vette on the Solo 1 course after the competition runs were done and they started doing fun runs.

One of the biggest things I remember from that event...  There was a "professional" pin striper there.  He had a contract with Miller brewing company and some other big company, to pin stripe their race cars, and even their unlimited hydroplane boat.

Some big wig with the Houston Corvette club paid him to pin stripe one of THE three Corvette Indy 500 pace cars that Chevrolet had graciously brought to the event.  When the Chevy rep showed up that morning from his hotel to see the final foot or so of striping being applied, I though he was gonna have a stroke.

theruleslawyer
theruleslawyer Reader
6/25/24 4:11 p.m.

I've done it once or twice on a full size track. Mixed feelings about it. On one hand not having to do cone duty is nice. Having competition with a lower bar is nice. OTOH you have cars on cold tires ripping around in an environment where the majority of drivers aren't familiar and the cars are tech'd to a different standard. It seems like it would be a recipe for a higher incident count. I guess if you throw out some cone chicanes to keep speeds down it helps, but then someone needs to mind those cones. The go kart tracks seem ideal for this sort of event. Probably very similar to normal autocross speeds.

bludroptop
bludroptop UltraDork
6/25/24 4:47 p.m.

I've autocrossed on a road course... it always seems like a runway course on LSD.  (also very hard to support with efficient courseworking)

 

I've autocrossed at the local circle track and the transition from banking to infield and back sucks.  And there are walls to hit.

 

Both venues challenge the assumption that ANY site is better than NO site.

 

 

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