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Hey everyone,

Welcome to the ClubRSX AutoX board!

I thought we'd get started with a FAQ post for people to share resources about Autocross (aka AutoX or Solo2) for the newbies who haven't yet caught the addiction to this awesome sport.

Here are a few links to get started with...

Official Info
SCCA Solo2 homepage
2009 Solo2 Rulebook (PDF—includes car classifications)

Getting Started
About Autocross (San Francisco Region)
Solo2 Novice Handbook
Flash tutorial for first-timers (Rocky Mountain Region)

Other Resources
Car Setup and Troubleshooting Guide (from West Texas Region)
Autocross-related links (autocross.com)
SCCAForums.com
Flash video of a typical autocross course
DIY Magnetic Numbers (for AutoX or track)


Q: How do I find out about local events in my area?
A: It's always best to start with the "FIND A REGION NEAR YOU" link at the top of the SCCA Solo site. There are plenty of regional websites, such as the San Francisco Region SCCA and the Northeast Division SCCA. Other independent sites like autox4u show a number of events in a given region, hosted by various groups.


Q: Are helmets required for SCCA autocross events?
A: Yes, and non-SCCA events (NASA, Porsche/BMW clubs, etc) will most likely require them too. Generally, the three most recent Snell (M) certifications are legal for SCCA Solo2 events. That means, as of 2004, M2000, M1995 and M1990 should be acceptable. The more heavy-duty SA rating is of course also sufficient. ClubRSX members have recommended a number of places to acquire helmets, such as grandmotorsport.com and RaceMart. If you are worried about spending a lot of money on a helmet for an activity you haven't even tried, find out if the club offers loaner helmets during the event. Most do.


Q: Do I need an SCCA membership to participate?
A: It depends on the region. Some regional clubs require SCCA memberships to participate; others simply charge a few dollars more for non-members and/or require a member to sponsor you for the event. Check with your local region and see what is necessary. If you intend to seriously compete and attend some ProSolo or National Tour events, you will want to buy a membership regardless. The membership app is at

http://www.scca.com/_Filelibrary/File/sccamemberapp.pdf

Note that a "First Gear" membership is available to applicants under the age of 21 for a total of $45 (about $40 off). There's no catch -- it's simply an incentive for young people to get involved.

Obviously, if the autocross you are attending is not an SCCA event, an SCCA membership is not required ;)


Q: What about my friends? Can they come watch?
A: Absolutely. Spectators are always welcome, with or without an SCCA membership or even a driver's license. They will probably be required to sign the same insurance waiver that you as the driver must sign during event registration. Give them a helmet and they can even take a ride with you!


Q: What class will my car be in?
A: There are two major areas of classification: the kind of car, and the number/level of modifications to the car. The RSX and RSX Type-S are in G-Stock (GS) as of 2004, and simple bolt-ons, suspension, and ECU put both into Street Touring S (STS). Adding a limited-slip differential or a big brake kit to an RSX puts it in Street Touring Extreme (STX), and more serious mods like forced induction or engine swaps / kits put you in Street Modified (StreetMod/SM). Removal of a catalytic converter puts an RSX in C Street Prepared (CSP). This means that common mods like a DCRH are instant SP mods, even if you haven't done anything else.

For a simple breakdown of cars, classes, and class rules, see the "SCCA 2005 Rulebook" link above. For more specifics, or if you're ready to be competitive and are concerned about being properly classed, get a copy of the current rulebook. It is YOUR responsibility to make sure your car is classed correctly -- if you beat a serious competitor, he has every right to protest the setup of your vehicle (though this rarely happens at the regional level).

Many regional clubs also have novice classes, restricted to people who are new to the sport and perhaps not allowing R-compound tires, so that beginners can compete with each other and not feel immediately intimidated by expert drivers with lots of money.


Q: Well that sucks. I only have a CF hood and I'm in Street Modified?!
A: Such is life, sometimes. SCCA does its best to create balanced classes that cover every situation; sometimes it works out better than others. If you are only in it for fun, don't let it bother you -- just have fun! Remember that for the most part, you race against yourself -- to improve your own skills and times. Don't worry about classing until you get serious about competing. Feel free to take "Fun Runs" or run out of group if it matches your schedule for the day. Most clubs allow this, but you may not receive points for the event -- again, who cares if you're just starting off.

If you have an issue with a specific rule regarding a part or vehicle, it is always recommended you write a letter to SCCA requesting a change to the rules. It may seem like a waste of time, but they actually do listen. Every year new rules are proposed and a great deal of them are struck down because of member feedback around the country. Write your letter!


Q: So what class is the RSX best suited for? What mods should I purchase to be competitive?
A: There is no one straight answer for this. Since the Type-S started off in D-Stock and was then moved down a class to GS in 2004, people think that it may now have an advantage in GS. Beyond Stock, the playing field is wide: go to STS, and you'll be up against 1900-lb Civics. They may not have your horsepower, but they can move around a corner 15mph faster than you can. Then there's Street Modified, which has anything from civics to M3s, most likely with no interior :eek:

It is important to remember that in Autocross, just like in Road Racing, the most important modification is the driver. Improving your driving skill will always improve your times more than a given performance part. Try to modify as little as possible until you learn more about yourself and the car -- you may discover that you don't need to change too much after all, or you may have a much more educated view of what does need to change.

That said, the best place to start is tires and alignment. It's crucial to your car's performance, and it's legal in all classes (though some classes like the Street Touring classes don't allow R-compound tires). Start (literally) from the ground up -- if your contact with the road is bad, the rest won't matter very much. The Setup and Troubleshooting Guide at the top of this thread is a good, general breakdown of car behaviors, what they mean, and how to change them. Just remember that every car is different, and reality is rarely as simple as an HTML chart :jigglemad


Q: Okay, I'm going to my first event! What else do I need?
A: The only thing you absolutely need for sure are a helmet and a driver's license. An SCCA membership may be required per above. Other things, like magnetic numbers and letters, an air compressor, etc. are nice to have but not necessary. You WILL want to increase your tire pressures, but you can always borrow someone else's compressor on site. Be sure to read through the "About Autocross" and "Novice Handbook" links at the top before attending an event -- they'll tell you everything you need to be ready.
 
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