Warming Up The Tires

Participating in Autocross with the Porsche Club of America


Photo: Aidan Lee

Cars lined up to drive at the autocross event held by the Porsche Club of America. Porsche Club Autocross events draw a wide range of cars, from a family commuter car, to a vehicle able to set track records across the world.

Just like the many other stereotypical teenagers with sporty cars, I’m always interested in pushing my driving ability. But it’s also important to stay safe, and I found a perfect outlet for that: Autocross.
Autocross is a timed motorsport where participants drive through a defined course, one at a time, at high speeds.
The event I participated in was hosted by the Porsche Club of America. It is a semi-competitive event where the majority of participants are focused on having fun, rather than competition.
Once I arrived, I parked my car along with everyone else, and emptied it of any loose items. A volunteer then came and ‘teched’ my car, confirming it was up to their safety standard. After all this, I had some time to talk to other drivers and do a walk of the course before the safety meeting.

After the meeting, the driving began.

I was placed in the morning group: I drove in the morning and called faults and fixed cones on the course in the afternoon.

I had four runs of the course, so I took it slow for my first run, since I didn’t get a chance to see other drivers go before me. Even with this test run, though, my second try didn’t go smoothly.
I tried to pick up my speed, aiming to cut two seconds off my first time of 61.770 seconds, but this resulted in me losing control and spinning out on the eighth of the 14 turns. Since volunteers waived the red flag to stop the car after me, this resulted as a “did not finish” on my scorecard.
With only two runs left, I had to make up some time on my third go. Knowing I had to be careful on the first section of the course, I wanted to make up some time.
But it wouldn’t be easy; the gates directly after the third turn and the slalom at the end were the only places I saw chances to make up time. So I put more power down as I passed through them, and it worked! I got a third round time of 58.881.
With one run left, I was searching the course for a place to make up time, so I decided to risk it by picking up my pace in the area where I initially spun out. Disaster almost struck twice, as I nearly lost control at the exact same spot, but I was able to correct it and barely made it around the pointer cone.
Sadly, my attempts were fruitless. My risk only gave me a time of 58.649, placing me 68 overall of 76 drivers.
In the end, autocross is something that I recommend to any driver, but I also suggest participating in the driver skills class also offered by the Porsche Club. Autocross, like all other motorsports, is still dangerous, and safety is a priority. Or, if you feel you’re ready, you can go straight to autocross. Just don’t be surprised when an 80-year-old man beats your time by 15 seconds.

Want to see footage from the track? Check out this youtube video of my runs!