Ask MF: Where Can I Find Information on Auto-crossing?

Since myself and a few other MF contributors will be heading over to Ohio to compete in the latest round of the 24 Hours of LeMons, we’re handing over the keys to DB and Todd. We’re also clearing out our mailbox and in the process we’ll be posting a series of new Ask MotoringFile posts. The first comes from Kim:

Hi guys,

I’m brand new to Mini (June ’09) and to autocross. For someone just getting started with learning the car as well as trying out autocross, what sites/information can you recommend?

I subscribed to your podcast just after I got the car, and am really enjoying the information you provide–and the humor 🙂

Thanks in advance 🙂
Kim

There are tons of sites out there and tons of ways to get involved in high performance driving. I for one prefer track events over autocross but the latter is a great way to get introduced to high performance driving. We would recommend taking a look at our MINI Club Mappr to help find our local club. If your local club doesn’t have any events we would then suggest looking at the BMWCCA. The BMWCCA is very welcoming of MINIs and has an enormous national collection of clubs and events for the novice.

You can read (and see) more about a typically BMWCCA track below:

+ Taking it the Track With the BMWCCA / MotoringFile

+ BMWCCA Trackday Video / MotoringFile

  • I found my regional SCCA club to be very helpful. Even the presient had a Mini, an awesome ’66 model. The technical advise, which everyone was willing to offer, was priceless.

  • G.H.Sharp

    Kim,

    IMO, autocross is the best bang for the buck, but try both autocross and a track event and then decide which you like best. Both are fun, both have their pluses and minuses. As Gabe mentioned, BMWCCA is a good source. Your local SCCA region most likely puts on their own autocrosses, and usually more often than BMWCCA if you get hooked on the sport. SCCA also has Divisional and National events throughout the US. Go to scca.com and click on Find a Region, that will give you a local contact. A good site for info on setting up your MINI for autocross is northamericanmotoring.com.

  • cct1

    And NASA is another organization to check out…

    I’d echo what everyone’s said about the BMWCCA–if you’re just starting out, it’s a great place to start.

    Are you interested in autocross or track, since you’re just getting started? I personally can’t stand autocross, too much waiting around, but the MINI is competitive if in the right class, and many people love autocross, so it’s worth looking into. I’ve gotten hooked on the track; if your interested in that, BMWCCA offers great instruction and it’s a perfect place to start–not only learning about how to drive your car, but what you need to make the car track worthy, etc.

    The BMWCCA membership has been declining, and there’s been more of an effort to attract MINI owners. It’s worth checking into–just the monthly magazine alone is worth the 40 dollar membership fee IMHO….

  • beken

    Check with your local BMW club. Also, if you are near a university or college, a lot of universities have car clubs that have links to the various motorsports clubs in your area.

  • Bilbo Baggins

    Whatever area you are in there are probably some other clubs besides the BMW and SCCA. Here in CT there are at least two active clubs; Fairfield County Sports Car Club (FCSCC) and, Connecticut Auto-X and Rally Team (C.A.R.T.) that run multiple events each year. North American Motoring has some great information about both auto-x and HPDE (high performance driver education) here; http://www.northamericanmotoring.com/forums/scca-solo-2-and-prosolo-199/

    Both FCSCC and CART sponsor auto-x events and offer great support for the first timer. As others have said, auto-x is a great way to get into driving sports and it is much less expensive and less dangerous than track events. I mean, really. What’s the worst thing, you hit a soft plastic cone going 25 – 60 mph. At the lower speeds of auto-x you can explore the limits of yourself and your MINI in a safe environment among like minded friends.

    On a track the speeds increase substantially and with that the penalty when things go wrong. With that said, I still find track events highly addictive but considerably more expensive.

    Try auto-x first to learn more about yourself and your MINI, then give the track a try.

    Just my $0.02