For those who don’t know what autocross is, imagine your favorite twisty road. Now place yourself on that road driving as fast as you dare, experiencing the best of Munich’s incredible engineering. Sounds great, right? Now remove from that mental image the danger of cars traveling the other way, law enforcement getting cranky, and little Johnny running into the road after his lost ball. Also take out the risk of wrapping your spotless machine around the unyielding trunk of an old tree. What’s left is the thrill of the driving without the risk of life, limb or license. THAT is what autocross is all about!
About Our Autocross Events
Our autocrosses are a competitive environment where a cone track is set up in a large parking lot. We generally use Lot 6 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. We put cars into classes based on a formula (considering weight, torque, modifications, and several other factors), and drivers compete against other cars within their class. Though there is an element of risk, hazards to participants and property are not expected to exceed those encountered in normal, legal highway driving. Due to the length of our courses we allow only one to two cars on the course at any one time (opposite sides). Cars race against the clock, not side-by-side.
We do not require previous high performance driver training. First timers and inexperienced autorcrossers will be assigned a driver coach to ensure they get the most out of their autocross experience. Our events are open to licensed drivers age 16 and up. Drivers under the age of 18 will be required to submit a signed and notarized minor waiver to participate.
No special car preparation is needed, in fact, we highly recommend you bring the car you drive on a daily basis. Doing so will give you a greater appreciation for your car’s capabilities and improve your driving skills in the process. All cars are welcome and unlike our driving schools, stock convertibles are accepted – roll cages are not required. If you would like to drive and do not own a car, you may share a car with a friend.
Snell 2005 or 2010 certified helmets (M or SA) are now required for all Autocross events. If your helmet is expired, or you don’t have one, we have a small number of loaners available at no charge. Check the certification sticker inside your helmet liner to make sure it meets this requirement.
Car classes are split into (up to) four run groups depending on registration count. Participants drive one session and work one session and have the other session(s) off. Every participant is given a work assignment which may include: cone workers, trailer workers, start, finish, and grid positions, waiver/gate guard, or driver coach.
Setup for the events start around 6am and registration opens around 7am. Cars go through an on-site tech inspection and around 7:30 am all attendees gather for the driver meeting where we review important safety information and details of how the day will progress. After the driver meeting, everyone has an opportunity to walk the course, and for those interested, they can join the course designer for a personal look at how to drive the course. Drivers assigned to the first run group grid up and around 9:45am we send the first car out on course. Lunch usually arrives around 11:30am.
Generally, drivers will get 7-8 runs per event and all times and cone counts are logged in our computer system. Your first run is a practice run where the time does not count. Successive runs count and your fastest timed run is your fastest run of the day. Downing cones results in the addition of one second to your time for each cone hit – hitting cones is bad for your times! Often we have time available at the end of the day for fun runs where you may drive your own car or swap cars with friends… it’s a good opportunity to beat your buddy’s best time in his car!
Feel like giving it a shot? Come join us!
Here is some in car video with a CCA instructor driving at 5/10th…
Here is a first timer at another Chapter’s event. We generally run at a much larger parking lot which means a longer run-time for your 🙂
There are many great things about the sport. First and foremost autocross is the best way to get your feet wet in racing. The cost is comparatively reasonable. Risk is very low and the learning curve very steep. It has been said that good autocrossers make great track drivers.
The second great aspect of autocross is it focuses on the core techniques required for high performance driving without the distractions of other cars around you and solid things to hit. Our courses are designed to teach different specific driving skills each time. Thanks to the huge amount of available space at Auto Club Speedway, we have flexibility to change our tracks every time. By the end of the season drivers have learned and practiced the most challenging car control tasks and are ready to move on to big tracks! Of course, practice makes perfect so just because you add the big track to your repertoire, you still benefit from attending autocrosses.
A third bonus about autocross is that you can truly run any car that is basically safe. That includes convertibles and some BMW SAV’s or even a non-BMW. You don’t need fancy tires or suspension or roll cages. The risk of damaging your car is comparatively low and as such you can bring your daily driver and find out what it can do in a safe, legal environment.
Did you know that youths starting at age 16 are allowed to drive in our events (so long as there is a signed and properly executed Minor Waiver)? This program gives teens a safe place to vent their youthful enthusiasm. It is also a great way to teach the lessons about what happens when you exceed your own level of talent with minimal risk.
Finally one of the greatest rewards about autocross is the people you will meet. Our chapter chose to approach autocross from a less competitive and more collegiate angle. This is, after all, a Club first and foremost. Yes we have trophies and timed runs. However you will still find that virtually every driver/instructor/key worker is more than happy to help and answer questions. I have met some truly terrific people over the past year!
Below is a video of a CCA instructor giving a lesson in a Members car. We are not sure which Chapter is hosting this event, but we liked the video. He driving at 5/10ths…
Below are our car classifications:
4 CALL 4 cylinder BMW models
6S Stock 6-8-12 cylinder BMWs up to 295 stock hp
6M Modified 6-8-12 cylinder BMWs up to 295 stock hp
TS Stock 6-8-12 cylinder BMWs over 295 hp, M cars before 1994
TM Modified 6-8-12 cylinder BMWs over 295 hp, M cars before 1994
MS Stock M models 1994 – present
MM Modified M models 1994 – present
MC ALL R-class MINI Cooper models
X ALL non-BMW or MINI models
G ALL instructors OR drivers who opt into Gold Class AND drivers running non-DOT tires (i.e. slicks)
Alterations Okay in Stock Classes:
• ANY size wheel and tires. Tires must be DOT tread wear rating of 140 or higher
• ANY shock absorber using stock mounting and ANY suspension bushing material
• ANY air filter or air intake AHEAD OF mass airflow meter
• Software/firmware alterations are permitted on naturally-aspirated engines only
• ANY brake pad material allowed with Stock-size brake components
• Catalyst-back exhaust systems and strut tower braces are permitted
ANY other alterations put you in the Modified Classes, including:
• Tires with DOT treadwear rating under 140
• Non-stock springs, coilover suspensions, anti-roll bars
• Software/firmware alterations to turbocharged/supercharged engines
• Non-stock mass airflow meters, camshafts, downpipes, removed catalytic converter
• Non-stock-size brake rotors or calipers (stock-size replacements OK in Stock)
One of the continuing challenges facing our program is the high cost of facility rentals. With real estate in Southern California being valuable, our autocross events cost more to run than in other States. We are working hard to hold the line on entry fees to keep the events accessible to everybody. To help with that effort, if you know of a location we could use, with an empty lot of at least 750,000 sq ft, please email us. Our committee is always open to investigating new venues and opportunities!
We are an all volunteer, non profit organization. As always we are in need of volunteers to help us organize and run the events. There are many perks to volunteering and anyone interested should contact the Autocross Committee.