Novice Autocross Handbook

Adapted from the
SOLO II Novice Handbook

by Kate Hughes, Glen Region, SCCA © May, 1996-1998
Edited for 2007 NCCC/RMR Rules and Expanded by Mike Konshak.

Table of Contents

What is Low-Speed

On Being a Novice
What to Bring to an Event
What Happens at an Autocross

  1. Registration
  2. Tech Inspection
  3. Course Walking
  4. Drivers’ Meeting
  5. Your Runs
  6. Your Work Assignments
  7. Fun Runs
  8. Course Clean-up
  9. The Awards
Tech Inspection

Working Rules and Safety
Car set-up Tips
Course Walking Tips
Driving Tips
Autocross Etiquette
Corvette Competition Classes
NCCC/RMR Championship Points
Recommended Reading
Back To Reality

Autocross School Handbook

A more technical driving course.
Attend every one of these you can

Rocky Mountain Solo Autocross School Introduction

An on-line graphical Instruction Aid by Randy Hickman (SCCA)

What is Low-Speed Autocross?

Low-Speed Autocross (See
) events, also known as Solo 2
, are an all forward motion driving skill contest. Each driver
is individually timed to the thousandth of a second, over a short,
miniature road course clearly defined using traffic cones. Cars compete
one at a time, hence the name “Solo”, in a class with similar
cars. An event can be held on any flat paved surface, usually a parking
lot, or airport apron or runway.


Autocross emphasizes driver skill and vehicle handling rather than
speed. The corners are tight, and there are lots of them, so the driving
is exciting and challenging. Autocross speeds do not exceed those normally
encountered in highway driving. This is the main difference between
Autocross and Time Trials, where much higher speeds are attained and
require a high speed license. High Speed licenses are granted by the
Regional Competition Director after you have participated in at least 10
autocrosses or driving schools (NCCC or SCCA) during the past 24 months.

The skills you learn and practice here; smooth transitions, enhanced
braking, and skid correction, will have an immediate impact on improving
the safety and skill of your street driving. Autocross is an excellent way
to teach car control to young drivers in a safe environment.

Autocross is also a very social sport, filled with some of the
friendliest people you’ll ever meet. The camaraderie of the drivers, both
male and female, young and old, is a special part of autocrossing that is
profoundly satisfying.


Cars are divided into classes based on the Corvette year and model and
customization (as of 2007).

  • Factory Class – No changes or modifications, tires must have
    a minimum tread depth of 2/32″ in all major grooves, a tread wear
    rating of 160, tires and wheels must be stock size.
  • Street Class – modifications allowed to air intake, intake
    manifold and related parts, exhaust, suspension, computer, minor body
    changes, DOT approved race tires, any size tire and wheel combination
    that fit without touching frame or body at anytime.
  • Modified Class – Cars with non-DOT tires (race slicks),
    superchargers, or turbocharged, or if the car is severely modified)
    Modified class is not broke down by years, all modified cars run in
    the same class. Any Corvette that does not have a full interior must
    meet NCCC rulebook safety tech for Group 3 cars.

The complete descriptions of classes and preparation allowances are
spelled out in the NCCC and RMR rule book.

The costs of Autocross competition are reasonable because you can
compete in the Corvette you drive on the street every day. Entry fees vary
by the host club usually $20 to $35 per driver, per event, and two drivers can share
a car. Registration fees may be higher (or lower) depending on your desire
to leave an event with a trophy. You will be assigned a competition number in the
range of 16 to 99. 1 through 15 is reserved for last year’s Men’s and
Lady’s champions.

National Conference of Corvette Clubs (NCCC) sanctioned events are
insured through the NCCC., and are conducted under the watchful eyes of
Regional NCCC Safety Stewards. The rules and guidelines, established by
the NCCC and Regional Clubs, are what makes this one of the safest
motorsports. A day of autocrossing is far safer for both car and driver
than most people’s daily commute to work. You can’t hurt your car if you
follow the rules and Corvettes are famous for forgiving the sins of sloppy
and inexperienced drivers.

Most NCCC clubs may run two separate sanctioned autocross events in one
day or weekend, to maximize the experience (and competition points) of
traveling to their region. Additionally, the Autocross may be bundled on a
weekend with other events which include Rallies, Funkhanas, Car shows and

There are many events in the schedule for you and your family to have
fun with your Corvette all over the Rocky Mountain Region. Check out the
latest annual RMR
Events Calendar
. The events you don’t want to miss are the Driver’s
Schools with a follow-on autocross the same day.


On Being a Novice

You’ll remember your first event for a long time. The adrenaline that
makes you shake at the start-line before your first run, and the even
bigger surge of adrenaline you feel when you finish. That excitement is
part of the sport, and it’s why we all do this.

Don’t let being a novice overwhelm you! Every driver, including the
Regional and National Champions, had a first day and a novice season.
Autocrossing is a skill that requires instruction and practice to see
improvements. If it was easy, it wouldn’t be so competitive, or so
fun.  The great thing about this sport, though, is that even when
you’re going “slow”, it’s still fun driving.

The course may seem “busy” at first, because it’s tighter
than what you see on the street, and you’re trying to attack it faster
than you could in traffic. You’ll have fun learning the sport and learning
to keep the car in control as you get faster and better with more

Generally speaking, the veteran drivers like to help the novices. The
magic words “I am a novice” will get you extra instruction from
other competitors, who can critique your run. Depending on club rules,
Novice drivers typically can ride with more experienced drivers to help
learn the course.  Novices are also able to have an
“experienced” autocrosser as a passenger as long as the driver
has already completed his or her first run (its a big advantage to a
competitor to see the course at speed).

With that said, here are some tips to give you the right novice
attitude, so you don’t become discouraged:


  • Your goal is to have fun! That’s why everyone is here.
  • Your goal for the first run is to avoid getting lost on course
    (see course-walking tips)
  • Your goal for the rest of the day is to improve your time on
    each run
  • Your goal for the second event is the same as the first.
  • Your goal for the rest of the season is to beat somebody
    (anybody!) and continue to make each run faster than the last.

At this point, you are learning a lot on each run, and you may be 10
seconds behind the class leader. That’s not unusual! You’re still doing
OK. Your times will only be compared with other novices in your class and
you’ll soon be winning trophies.

Just be careful not to interrupt a driver on a course walk, or while he
or she is concentrating on going over the course in his or her head. (See
the section on Solo Etiquette.)

What to Bring to an Event

This list covers everything from sunscreen to snacks to tires pressure
gauges. You will probably come up with your own list of things you need at
a Solo event, but this will get you started.

You must have:

  • Your car (although you may share a car with someone else)
  • Your entry fee
  • A valid driver’s license
  • NCCC membership card (You’ll automatically get one when you join
    TORCA or another club)
  • A safety helmet (Snell approved less than 10 years old) or someone
    to loan you one.
  • Competition Numbers and Tape to Identify your car


You may want to bring:

  • Extra air in your tires. Stop at a gas station and fill your tires
    to approximately 40psi all around.
  • Suitable shoes for driving. The best are light-soled, with a narrow
    sole which does not stick out past the side of the shoe
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Clothes appropriate for the weather forecast, plus a change for when
    the forecast is wrong.
  • Rain gear / umbrella
  • A hat
  • Folding chair(s)
  • Water bottles or other non alcoholic beverage
  • Cooler for lunch or snacks
  • Windex and paper towels
  • A pad and pencil to write down all the advice you’ll get
  • A good tire pressure gauge
  • A portable air tank or compressor
  • Chalk or white shoe polish to mark the tires

Yes, You can fit this all in the back of a C5. You’ll notice several EZ-Ups
(canopies) in the following pictures. These fold-up and fit in between the
seats, and when shoved to the rear, leaves enough room for shifting. We
place all of our race parapehnalia, frozen water bottles and snacks in a
plastic container (about 10 gallon size). Add the folding chairs, and a
soft suitcase for the two of you for the overnighter and you are good to


What Happens at an Autocross

People begin arriving before registration opens, so they can unpack
their car and get ready for the day before registration begins. Generally,
because the events may not attract more than 30-60 Corvettes, refreshments
will not be provided. We normally scope out where the Starbucks are the
night before and hit them on the way from the motel to where the track
will be setup. It is best to arrive at or before the beginning of
registration so you will have time to register, tech your car, walk the
course, and have ample time to talk to the organizers from the hosting


To register you must have a valid driver’s license and entry fee
(usually $20 to $35). Fill out the information card at the registration
area if you have not pre-registered earlier in the week. The organizers
will help choose the class for your car if you don’t know what it is. You
will also be assigned a car number for the day if you did not Submit
a Competition Number Request
from the Rocky Mountain Regional website. At
registration, you will be asked to sign two waivers. You must do
this to compete, and any guests you bring must sign the waivers also.

Once you know your class and car number, mark your car using white shoe
polish on the window (it comes off with Windex), tape paper numbers inside
the window, or use magnetic numbers if you have them.

Tech Inspection

Your car must pass tech inspection before you can compete. You may have
to park in a separate area, the ‘pit’, to unload your car prior to
registration before being eligible for tech inspection. Find some shade
for your folding chairs. After you you have registered, put on your
numbers and have moved your car to where the ‘grid’ is, open the hood,
leaving the keys in the ignition and your helmets on the roof/seat/trunk.
Most of the time, the official tech inspector(s) will come to your car and
put a sticker on your windshield once you have passed the safety
inspection. You may be asked about suspect parts that might place you in a
different class than ‘Factory Stock’. Read the tech inspection chapter and
the NCCC/RMR rules beforehand so there are no surprises on race day. The
tech inspector will sign your card if you pass, or recommend changes to
make the car pass, such as additional tie-downs for the battery or removal
of loose items or hub caps if you’ve forgotten.


Course Walking

Click for larger
After tech, you will have time to walk the course.
Before you go, read the chapter on course-walking tips. Course maps
are sometimes available at registration, and the organizers may take
you on a guided walk before or after the drivers’ meeting. Try to
have the course memorized before you go on the guided walk. The more
circuits you make around the course, the less chance you’ll get lost
or confused during your first run.

Maps from Mike Konshak’s 2005 Season – 10.6MB

Drivers’ Meeting

The drivers’ meeting is mandatory for all drivers. The event
chair will hold the meeting approximately one half hour before the first
car starts. Be sure to attend. This is where you will find out information
you’ll need to know about the course conditions, number of runs,
particular safety concerns, how penalties are assessed, and how work
assignments will be handled.

Your Runs

You will have a minimum of three timed runs, weather permitting.
Find out who is running before you and after you, so you know when to line
up. Running in order makes the timing people’s job easier, and keeps the
event running smoothly, but if someone gets in front of you, or you are
running a little behind, don’t worry too much about it. The event chair
will call out which classes are to come to the grid (line of 4-5 cars
waiting to run)

Once you are in grid, you will wait for the cars in front of you to
launch, and you will move up until you are on the start line. A starter
will wave a green flag when it is OK for you to start. The green flag
means go as soon as you are ready, the timer will not start until you pass
through the lights. Don’t take too long if we are running two cars on
course at once, because your start is timed to make sure you do not get
too near the car already on course.


If you do get “lost” on course, take the time to orient
yourself and continue. Don’t head back to the start line, because you may
be pointed toward another car. Just take the time to get back on course,
and continue the run as a practice! If the next driver catches up, they
will be red-flagged and be granted a re-run (which they’ll use to its
fullest potential).

Times are posted after each run. Your fastest run of the day is used to
determine your finishing position.

Read the Driving Tips section for more detail about your runs.

Your Work Assignments

Autocrosses are volunteer events and most of the technical and
organizing functions will be performed by members of the host club. There
are assignments, such as ‘cone chasing’ that can only be performed by the
participants, volunteer early on and readily accept assignments if asked.
It’s best to report for your work assignment as quickly as possible when
it is time for you to work. Otherwise, some people end up working longer
than others, which is no fun. The place to get work assignments will be
announced in the drivers’ meeting.

We try to put a novice with an experienced driver on a station if we
have enough people. For a little bonus instruction, ask your co-worker to
talk about the techniques of the cars on course. Read the chapter on
Working to get more detail on how to call in cones and stay safe while
working the course.



Fun Runs

If time permits, fun runs are held at the completion of the event while
trophies are being readied. This is your opportunity to ride with other
drivers and have them ride with you. You may have to reset your own cones
if you knock them over.

Course Clean-up

Once all the timed runs and fun runs, if any, are complete, everyone
helps clean up the course. This involves bringing in the fire
extinguishers and flags, cones and timing equipment, and storing them in
the club trailer. Scoreboards need to be cleaned off and the pit area
needs to be checked for trash. When everyone helps, this can be completed
in fifteen to twenty minutes.

The Awards

After the event, following course clean-up, everyone meets for the
trophy presentation. The location for the presentation is usually
announced at the drivers’ meeting. The event chair and his/her assistants
will give out results and present trophies (if available or requested).
Accumulation of championship points is the most critically sought amongst
the more serious competitors, rather than trophies.

Tech Inspection Requirements

Safety Helmet: All helmets must meet NCCC rulebook guidelines
(Snell approved no older than 10 years from date of manufacture, if helmet
does not have a date than must be SA2000 or M2000 and newer)

Safety Belts: Seat belts need to be equal to factory belts or
better and in good condition. Race harness belts can be no older then 5
years from date of manufacture.

Solidly Mounted Battery: The battery must be held down properly.
If it can be moved at all, it will not pass. There are some additional
battery requirements which may affect you if you have modified your car.
The Tech Inspector will help you out with them.

Legal Tires: In Factory Stock categories, the tires must have
measurable tread 2/32 inch in all major grooves and a tread wear rating no
lower than 160. Excessive weather checks or visible cord/plies will fail
inspection. Street class may use DOT approved race tires. Tire pressures
should be higher than used for the street, usually 38-40 psi on all tires.

Brakes: The brake pedal must be firm, with no loss of pressure
when held down.

Steering / Suspension: The steering must be tight, with no
excessive play. Wheel bearings cannot have excessive play.

Loose Items in Car: All loose items must be removed from the
passenger compartment and trunk. This may include the floor-mats. You may
remove the spare tire and jack, but you are not required to if they are
properly secured.

Fluid Leaks: Excessive fluid leaks will not pass inspection.

Numbers and Class Markings: The car numbers (+L for Ladies)
should be prominently displayed on both sides of the car in colors that
contrast with the paint, and should be large enough (minimum 6″) to
be seen easily from the timing table. White shoe polish for marking
windows (comes off with Windex ) may be used but its use it discouraged in
favor of stick-on or paper numbers.

Adequate Muffler: Your car must be quieter than 95dbA measured
50 feet from the course at a place where you are under full throttle. Due
to the possibility of losing sites for noise problems, this rule is
strictly enforced. (If your car is quiet enough to avoid attracting Police
attention, it will most likely pass the noise requirement)

Throttle: Accelerator pedal must have a return spring and
operate freely.

You are not required to have your car registered for street use, but
it must pass tech inspection.



Working Rules and Safety


Report to work promptly.

Know your area of responsibility and station location.

Make sure cones are in their proper place when you get to your station,
and check them periodically during your shift.

Pay attention to cars on course for accurate cone counts and your
safety. It is best to watch the back of the car and the cones
themselves to see the wobbling cone which may have left the box.

A penalty is given if :


  • If the cone is knocked over and is out of the box.
  • If the cone is knocked over and is in the box.
  • If the cone remains standing but is out of the box.

A penalty is NOT given if :


  • The cone remains standing is touching the box
  • The cone remains standing and is partially in the box.
  • And of course, if the cone remains standing within the box.


Understand the pylon rules e.g., pointer cones do not count if
hit (see below), and a car is off-course (DNF for Did Not Finish) if they
pass on the wrong side of a cone.


Hold up both arms above your head, crossing your wrists, if a car goes
on the wrong side of a designated cone. This is a DNF. Lower your arms
once you get a wave of acknowledgement from the official.

Hold up a dislodged cone (time penalty) above your so the timing
official can see you. Put it back in place once you get a wave of
acknowledgement from the official.

Another corner worker or official may shout to you about a cone they saw
move in your area. If it is not a penalty, reset the cone and signal by
waving your lowered arms back and forth (safe signal)


Get back to your station as soon as possible, another car will be
coming through in as soon as 30 seconds.

Be prepared for exposure to sun/rain, wind, heat/cold while on station

Stay alert for unexpected pedestrians and vehicles


Do not use cameras while on station.

Do not sit down and do not wander away from your post.

Do not turn your back on cars on course. Safety First!

Do not red flag a car unless instructed to do so by the radio person or
if it is an emergency. However, if in doubt, err on the side of safety!

Do not litter

Do not pick up hot parts dropped on course because of risk of burns.


Car set-up Tips

Keeping things inexpensive, we’ll only talk about things you can do for
free, or under $50. After a while, you may want to put more go-fast
goodies on your car, but make sure to read the rule book, and stay legal
for your category.

But also keep in mind, at this point you can go faster sooner by
working on the driver instead of the car. See the course-walking and
driving tips!

What you can do Today

Tires: You’ve already read that you should put an extra 10 to 15
psi in your tires. The reason for this is to keep your tires from rolling
under during hard cornering. But how much is too much? Put chalk on the
edges of your tire, in three places around the diameter, and you can see
how far over the tire was going during your runs. Bleed out a little if
the chalk is still showing on the tread, or add a little more if the chalk
has been worn off down the sidewall. The line of worn chalk to remaining
chalk should be right at the corner of the tread and sidewall. Keep notes
on how many psi you ran, and where the chalk line was, for your next

Remember that as you get better and corner harder, you’ll need more air
to compensate, so keep using the chalk at every event.

Driver Restraint: In order to have good control in driving, you,
the driver, have got to stay put. So make sure your seat belt is tight and
firm. Some people like to tug hard (fast) on the shoulder strap to engage
the lock on the reel.

Driver Location: Most experienced drivers will agree that the
best place for your seat – to give you the best control – is seat forward
far enough to have your leg slightly bent when the clutch is all the way
to the floor, and seat-back reclined or upright to a position that allows
you to rest your wrists on the steering wheel when you shoulders are
firmly against the seat.

This position allows you to run the full range of steering inputs and
foot motion without stretching or moving in your seat, and can have a huge
impact on your driving skill.

Course Walking Tips

“You must be able to keep track of the course in your head. If
you can’t, then you can’t drive it to its fullest potential”
Josh Sirota

That quote is worth five seconds to a novice. Knowing how to walk the
course is the most important step in being competitive and staying
“ahead” of the course. Usually, you’ll want to walk the course at
three times.

Step 1) Walk the course. Your first walk will be to get the
general layout, and is often a social walk. Now get away from friends and
walk the course alone, concentrating on memorizing the layout. Think of it
in sections, with key cones marking the turns, such as:

  • start straight
  • slalom (enter on right)
  • decreasing sweeper to the left
  • “little snake” then “big snake”
  • right-hand curve (look for three pointers)
  • “thread the needle section”
  • tight right, then tight left
  • finish

Stop every now and then and run through the course in your head, from
the beginning to where you are. Get down – the course looks different from
a seated position. This will give you a better picture of what the course
will look like at speed.

Pace off the distance between cones in a slalom. Some course designers
vary the distance, and it’s good to know before you arrive whether you
will have to vary your speed in a slalom. Take a note-pad if you like, and
make notes such as pavement changes, camber change, bumps, sand, etc.

Make a mental note to yourself (or write it down) how far ahead you
will be looking. When I walk the course, I say to myself, “OK, when I
am here I will be looking there” (This will help you to
remember to look ahead while you are driving) “Repeat this step
over and over until the picture is perfect.”
Andy Hollis –
Four-time SCCA Pro Solo and Solo II National Champ.

How do you know if the picture is perfect? Sit down by your car and try
to draw the course on a blank piece of paper. Include the key cones you
want to recognize while you drive. If you can’t draw the course, you will
want to walk it again. Once you leave the start line in your car, you
should not be spending any time figuring out where the course is.

Step 2) Plan the course. (Do this while walking the
course again) Now decide exactly how you want to drive the course. Driving
the course perfectly involves two things; coming up with the correct plan,
and executing the plan correctly. If you don’t have a plan, you can’t
possibly know where you didn’t execute it correctly. It’s hard to know if
you did this step correctly, but step 4 is something you can work on.

The plan involves the line you will take through the cones – the
quickest way through. Note, I didn’t say shortest. Think about the
characteristics of your car; does it corner better than it accelerates, or
the other way around? That will tell you whether to slow down so you can
get through the corner in control and get on the throttle as soon as
possible, or try to carry speed through to keep up the revs.

Don’t forget to plan where you will be looking. There is no need to
memorize every cone on the course, only the ones you plan to be
near, the “important” ones. Look from one important cone to the
next in your plan.

Step 3) In Grid. Before you run, while you are in grid, go over
the course again several times in your head, executing the plan you made



Step 4) After the run. Sit in your car and go over your run.
Figure out where you didn’t execute the plan. If the plan was to be near a
particular cone, and you were five feet from it, then you didn’t execute
the plan correctly, and a red light should have gone off in your head.
Maybe you need to adjust the plan because you were going too fast in the
slow parts. Decide at this point whether your next run needs to be a
better execution of the plan, or a modification of the plan.

Basically, don’t use the car as an excuse, you will see a big
difference in your times when you drive a course that never surprised you.

Driving Tips

Seat time, seat time, seat time. That’s the best way to go
faster. They say, “Before you fix the car, fix the
driver”. That’s because there’s so many techniques to improve
your driving, it takes seat time to learn them all, but once you do,
someone without those skills would have to spend a lot of money on
their car to beat you, and probably still couldn’t.Here are a few techniques to get you started. Don’t try to apply
them all in your first run, you’ll be too busy. But read through the
whole list, then work at gaining these skills one at a time.

Launching. You’ve got several feet before you break the
lights so you want to be accelerating as you pass through them.
Avoid wheel spin. It wastes time and the novice staged directly
behind you will be annoyed if you pepper her Corvette with road
debris (She’ll give you more room next time).

Look Ahead. I can’t emphasize this enough. I repeat it out
loud while I am driving. It’s so easy to forget, but makes such a
big impact on my driving. It all relates to hand-eye (and eye-foot)
coordination. Look where you want your hands to drive you,
and look far enough ahead to take advantage of the feedback. If
you’re looking at that outside cone that you’re afraid you’ll hit,
well, you’ll hit it. If you’re looking ten feet in front of the
bumper, the turns will keep surprising you. Imagine looking at your
feet while you are running on foot! You won’t be very coordinated,
and you won’t have a good sense of distance or speed. Same goes for
driving hard corners as you do in autocross. Look ahead. You will be
astounded at your performance the first time you remember to
do this all the way through a course.

Slow Down to Go Fast. A common problem when you’re
starting out is trying to take the tight sections too fast, and not
staying in control. I still remember finishing a run and saying,
“Well, I didn’t go very fast, but it sure was smooth,”
only to find out I’d gone faster by a full second! Just be patient
in the slow spots. They’re slow spots, after all.

Brake hard in corners. Go ahead, squeeze the brakes hard.
There’s no morning coffee on your dashboard, or eggs in the front
seat. Once you decide to slow down for the corner, don’t waste any
time. If you find yourself at a crawl and you’re not at the corner
yet, why, you’ve just found out that you can brake later. Locking up
your tires will not make you stop faster, so squeeze the brakes and
let them do the work, not your tires.

Adhesion. Don’t ask too much of your tires. For any
tire/pavement pair, there’s only a certain amount of traction. We’ll
call that 100% traction. You can use up that traction with your
throttle, your brakes or your steering wheel. So if you’re going
into a corner, using 100% of your traction to make the turn, what
happens when you ask for more traction by applying the brakes?
Either you won’t brake or you won’t turn. Or both. Same goes for
accelerating out of a corner. Ease in the throttle as you ease out
of the turn. So use full throttle and full braking only in a
straight line.
This goes back to slowing down to go faster, and
brings us to…

Smooth Inputs. You may have noticed that I used the
phrases “squeeze the brakes” and “ease in the
throttle”. This is where you have to change your mind-set about
inputs to controlling your car. You need to convince yourself that
you can make your car respond better by squeezing the brakes hard
instead of standing on the brakes, by rolling in the throttle
rapidly instead of stomping on the gas, by turning the wheel quickly
instead of cranking it around. Subtle, but it will show up in how
often your car is in control instead of scrubbing off speed pushing
around a corner. And it will take a lot of practice to become second

Shift near redline. On the street, we don’t usually shift
near redline (high rpms). But in autocross, you want to be making
the most of the power available to you. You’ll learn to hear the
motor as you drive and stay in a low gear longer. Most courses will
be in second gear for stock cars. If you’re shifting to third,
you’re shifting too soon, and giving up power (ask local drivers if
this is true in your region).

Launch at 4000 rpm. Each car varies, but try to start at
higher rpms than you’re used to. Don’t “dump” the clutch,
or you’ll find your wheels spinning. Let it out rapidly and find the
right rpms to maintain traction. Higher horsepower cars (Z06’s and
stick shifts) will want to use lower rpms than less powerful cars or
ones with automatic transmissions.

Squealing Tires. Bottom line… If your tires are YELLING
at you, its because you are adding to much power, braking too hard,
and turning too late trying to make a corner. On TV it makes cars
sound like they are going fast, but in your case, you are going too
slow because you are trying to go too fast, and scrubing off your
momentum. Slow it down, set the turns up earlier, smooth the drive
out of the corners and you’ll decrease your times (plus add a lot
more life to your Goodyear
Eagle F1 Supercar


Don’t worry about the blinkers, wipers or horn. You’re
bound to hit them as you drive. Don’t let it throw you. We’ve all
done it!

More, Later… There are many more techniques for getting
better times, but start with the ones listed above. After you’ve
learned them, you’ll be ready to buy a book on autocrossing (see
Recommended Reading), or attend a driver’s school and learn the
advanced techniques of heel/toe, shuffle steer, late apex, and more.
Now you are ready to read this:

RM Autocross
School Handbook

A more technical driving course. 10.6MB PDF

Photos by
Marc Hamblin, Tumack Photography

Go to as many events as you can. Go to the ones with the toughest
competition – winning something local is fun, but losing to someone fast
will probably teach you more. Attend drivers’ schools in your area, or
travel to another region. On off weekends, you might try an SCCA Solo2
event or show up at a non-Corvette club event. You won’t get their points
but you’ll gain experience and you might surprise your buddies with a
quicker time at the next NCCC/RMR autocross.

Always remember to have fun, even when you are being stomped by some
national hotshoe. You’ll never stop learning – the best drivers will tell
you this still applies after ten or twenty years! Remember, seat-time,
seat-time, seat-time.
Nothing will make you go faster sooner. And
nothing is less expensive in improving your times.

Autocross Etiquette

Autocross is a social sport, and most drivers are happy to give you
advice and critique your runs. Ask someone with a similar car if you may
follow them through a course walk. Maybe they’ll even think aloud for you
(don’t do too much talking yourself, or you will be making them walk
again). Ask if you can ride with them. If you’re not sure when to line up,
go ahead and ask. Ask someone to look at the chalk on your tires to see
whether you need more air. Ask someone to watch your run if they have
time, and tell you what needs changing. They’ll be glad to.

There are a few bad times to ask for advice, though. Here’s a
quick list:

  • When they are walking the course. (They’re trying to memorize it.)
  • When they are staring into space or have their eyes closed, they’re
    probably going over their run or plan.
  • When they are in grid. They are only thinking about the course.

Sometimes events will conspire to keep a good driver from competing. It
may be a broken car, it may be an injury that prevents them from being
able to change tires. This is your chance! Offer that driver a ride
as aco-driver in your car. You’ll get a second opinion on how to run your
car, see how fast it will really go (giving you a target and a lack of an
excuse of why you were slow), and the co-driver will be able to stay in
the points race for his or her class. So what if they use up $20 worth of
tires. Not a bad price for a private instructor all day!

Its OK to borrow someone’s helmet or use their battery powered
compressor your first time out, but don’t abuse your fellow competitors
helpfulness in helping you get started in the sport . Try to get your Snell
M and SA2005 helmet on order
and your own tools as soon as
possible. You’ll then be repaying the favor to the next novice.

Try to help out. There is more work to be done than the mandatory
course-work. This is an all-volunteer organization, so help is always
appreciated. Luckily, this also puts you in a position to talk to other
drivers, because the veterans are helping out, too. If you share the work,
they’ll have more time to talk to you. Likewise, showing up early will
help out the registration and tech crew, and give you more time to walk
the course. Read the next section on how to help, if you’re looking for
ideas to lend a hand.

Everyone stays to help clean up the course and pit areas. Keeping the
sites is important to everyone, so leave your pit area cleaner than you
found it.

The trophy presentation is a continuation of the event, and people talk
about the course or their cars or runs. It’s nice to have everyone show
up, to cheer the winners, even if you didn’t get a trophy yourself.

Corvette Competition Classes

As a member, you will receive the official NCCC Rule Book. It will tell
you about legal modifications, rules on re-runs, and many other topics.
You may look through the region’s copy to see what’s there.


FACTORY (F) CLASS – (pure stock no changes)

  • CLASSIC – 53 TO 62 (all run in one class)
  • CLASS A – 63 TO 82 (all run in one class)
  • CLASS E – 84 TO 91 (except ZR1)
  • CLASS G – 92 TO 96 and all years of ZR1’s
  • CLASS H – 97 TO 04 (except Z06)
  • CLASS J – 01 TO 04 Z06’s
  • CLASS K – 05 and Newer (except Z06)
  • CLASS M – 06 and Newer Z06’s

STREET (S) CLASS – (limited changes allowed)

  • CLASSIC – 53 TO 62 (all run in one class)
  • CLASS A – 63 TO 82 (all run in one class)
  • CLASS E – 84 TO 91 (except ZR1)
  • CLASS G – 92 TO 96 and all years of ZR1’s
  • CLASS H – 97 TO 04 (except Z06)
  • CLASS J – 01 TO 04 Z06’s
  • CLASS K – 05 and Newer (except Z06)
  • CLASS M – 06 and Newer Z06’s

MODIFIED (M) CLASS – 53 TO 07 (all years run in same class)

NOVICE (N) CLASS – 53 TO 07 (all years run in same class)



NCCC/RMR Championship Points

The NCCC/RMR Championship Series is the system for year-end awards and
trophies. Unlike SCCA Solo2 competition, where the champion of each class
is the driver with the highest number of points at the end of the season
for that class, NCCC/RMR works on a total cumulative points system which
includes points from autocrosses, rallies, funkhanas, car shows, fun runs,
drag races, etc. This allows NCCC members to get points if they are not
particularly interested in autocross.

Calculations for points and eligibility criteria are outlined in the
current year’s NCCC supplemental regulations. Usually, the points are
awarded based on how you finish, or place, in your class, then added to
the overall standings for Men or Women.  You must be a member of the
NCCC and be driving a Corvette to compete for Championship points. Support
your local NCCC club and go to as many events as possible.

  • Autocross Points: 1st = 9 points, 2nd = 7 pts, 3rd = 6 pts, 4th =
    5pts, etc.
  • Fastest Time of the Day (FTD) = 10 points
  • Travel Points (over XXX miles traveled to an event) = Additional 2-4
  • Worker Points (those not competing) = 2 points
  • Event Chair/Co-Chair (not competing) = 9 points
  • Hosting Club (Sanctioned event) = 100 points

The top 15 men and top 15 ladies in cumulative championship points from
sanctioned events will be recognized at the end of the season. The
Championship trophies are awarded at the annual banquet held by the
region, and all members are invited (encouraged!) to attend, whether
receiving a trophy or not.

If the locals are too slow, here’s where to go to compete at the national

Recommended Reading

Secrets of Solo Racing by Henry A. Watts

How to Make Your Car Handle by Fred Puhn

Back to Reality

You’ve had a blast driving in the Autocross. The adrenaline was high,
you’re ready for another event. You can’t wait to start improving your
skills. Before you leave, lower your tire pressures to recommended levels
for street driving. Stop by a local gas station to top off your tank. You
might find other competitors that you can caravan with and have dinner on
the way home. Bench racing is typically the theme at the table. Don’t
forget to check when and where the next Autocross will be held!

Driving in Autocross is a real thrill. But don’t forget when you leave
the course, that you’re in traffic again. Take your new car control skills
with you for emergencies, and obey all road laws. Save your spirited
driving for Autocross, where it’s legal!