Because it doesn’t matter how great a car you have, how sticky your tires are, or how good a driver you were last week – you have to deliver the goods every event. I don’t know if that makes sense, but for me it’s all about the personal challenge.
I’m still trying to get that OMG run at least once per event where you know you didn’t leave any time on course when the run is done. I don’t mind being beaten by a better car, and when I’m beaten by a better driver it’s a challenge to find out what can be done better.
I spend way too much $, in a small region where six cars in a class is a rare event – so for me it is all about the personal challenge. But I love it 🙂
its either me or that~@#$#%%!@$~$@%#$^#!#%$~$~$ cone
I’ve often pondered this on the long drives home from an event. For me it has nothing to due with the adrenaline rush – I’ve been doing this far too long to get a rush from driving fast. Don’t get me wrong, I love driving fast, and I firmly believe that autocrossing probably saved my life by allowing me a safe venue to drive fast so I wouldn’t do it on the street. To me, it’s not about driving fast. I’ve done that for years – I even got paid full time to be a test driver for two years, and I still raced on weekends. What keeps me going is the fact that it is an individual competition. We go to a race to see who can go faster on that day under those conditions. It has a clear goal and crystal clear results, and most importantly, it has completion at the end of each day. Little else in life offers the type of completion that a competition does. At work, projects linger on forever, priorities change constantly, etc. At home, things constantly evolve. Win or lose an autocross, at the end of the day, you got a result.
The other thing that drives me is that I love working on cars. I take a lot of pride in knowing that I have built virtually every part on my car, and have managed to build a competitive car for a fraction of what others have spent on similar examples. Working on the car has no completion, but it is required to improve the net results, so I don’t mind doing it.
Why autocross instead of other motorsports? I see no appeal in running non-competitive track days – I used to get paid to do that type of thing. Road racing seems too much like fighting rush hour traffic to me. Drag racing doesn’t involve cornering. Rally is very appealing to me, but the cost and my general sense of self preservation along with my bad back make that highly unlikely. Autocross is a very extreme form of motorsport. I can’t think of any other type of racing where you must be as precise as in an autocross. It is also a wonderful community. You meet a lot of interesting people at autocrosses. It’s truly unfortunate that nobody has made an effort to capture it and make a TV show from it.
Why? Because I haven’t won a national championship yet. I think I’ll be here awhile.
I like sports cars. I get to see, hear and watch more at an autocross more regularly than any other event.
I like driving fast around corners but don’t want to do it at higher speeds where I would need to outfit my car with a roll cage.
I like learning and there is a lot for me to learn.
Camaraderie. Where else would I find so many people that will put up with my sh*t and claim to like me?
I like to test my car skills against others.
It’s far cheaper and safer than road racing.
It offers more competition than HPDEs.
It takes more skill than drag racing (driving skill not wrenching skill – I am a poor mechanic but a fair driver).
I like the “in the zone” feeling I occasionally get when I am at the top of my game.
I live my life an autocross run at a time. Nothing else matters: not the mortgage, not the store, not my team and all their BS. For those 60 seconds or less, I’m free…
Because otherwise spending all this time on autox forums would be kinda creepy.
Most normal people are much smarter than I.
But being around autocrossers makes me feel special.
Kinda like Einstein.
When I started it was for the rush, the adrenaline high I got when the run was over. Now it’s a little different, I actually have two reasons. The first is that it is almost like meditation for me. For that 30-45-60 seconds I’m on course everything else is just gone, I’m completely in the moment. It doesn’t matter if I had a bad week at work, the yard isn’t mowed, or I’m not feeling well. For the time I’m on course there is nothing else.
Second is that feeling when you get it right. Not pretty good, not just fast enough to win, but absolutely right. Sadly I don’t have many runs like that, but I still remember them all. It’s an awesome feeling.
I need a reason?
The reasons I do it have changed through the years. At first it was because it was the most legal fun I could have with my car. Then it was because I wanted to be competitive with the local guys in my class. Then I wanted to be competitive nationally, see how I stack up against the guys who have their name numerous times in the back of the book. Then it changed to wanting to beat those guys and getting my name in the back of he book. While I never did get my name in the back of the book the reason I do this has changed again. Now I do this because Lehman won’t let me stay home! No matter how many excuses I give him he finds a way to rationalize it so that my dumb ass goes out there again! I still don’t know how he got me to drive to California with him!?!?!?!
But seriously, I do this to compete. I wish I did it for the reason why i started which was just for fun, but fun doesn’t have much to do with it right now. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have fun but the reason i will have done eight national events this year is not because i wanted to have fun or because I love racecars or the camaraderie. It’s because I want to win. It might sound shallow but it’s honest.
But next year may be the year I go back to having fun. Just buy some wheels and tires for my DD and only do local events. That will be just for fun. Unless the job situation keeps getting worse then my DD might be a metro bus. Can’t be much fun autoxing a metro bus, can it?
The only place where I can drive at 10/10ths safely. I have yet to find a racetrack with such margin of safety driving at 10/10ths.
I live in Wichita, KS. There’s nothing else to do!
– Dave G.
Reason #1…The Wife won’t let me road race! Reason #2…I got to build my own race car! (with a bunch of help from my friends!) <There’s precious few motorsport activities that you can do this and have any fun> Reason #3…I have a REALLY short attention span, 60 second runs work out perfectly. Reason #4…I still haven’t trophied at Nationals Reason #4…After three BlenderBlasters at Nationals, you really don’t care how you ran that day, everything is right with the world. Reason #5…My golf game is strictly mediocre. Reason #6…I quit autocrossing 15 years ago for wife/house/kids and came back to it 5 years ago because the people that do this for a hobby are diverse, interesting and a lot of fun to be around. Reason #7…Weeding the garden and painting the fence just don’t get my blood flowing quite the same as stealing a run in a SS Corvette! Reason #8…My 12 year old son can come out and race with his usually crabby old man in his Jr. kart.
I’ll think of some more later, I’m sure…
I got to think of a bunch of these thrashing in ’07 to finish the DP Miata in time for Nationals…2 am in the garage can bring some amazing clarity of thought!
All of the above apply. Plus…
I like loud fast cars.
I like driving loud fast cars.
I have a limited budget and autocross fits the bill.
It is a totally different challenge each time out.
The people are great!
When you mess up in golf you have to walk around in the woods looking for a stupid ball, when you mess up in Autocross you get to do a tire burning spin and smash some pylons….somehow it makes it all better to crush something after screwing up.
Dreaming up excuses at the end of the day seems perfectly acceptable.
Thanks SO much to all you forum contributors! You’ve got your act Racing Ready together.