Looking at an autocross layout map, even walking a course can only somewhat familiarize yourself with a new course. Running the course at speed is a “whole ‘nother kettle of fish”.
Take the case in point of the last SASCA autocross of 10/19/2008. I can relate to this event more any of the previous autocross events that I’ve attended this year. This was where I lost my autocross “virginity” after 15 years.
Below is the original, unmarked course layout map. This is the “before” version.
Below is the revised, course layout map I had marked up/edited. This is the “after” version. Click on the image to see better detail of my drawn line versus the cone locations.
You may beg to differ on my sketching of the layout – that’s fine. I’m new at this. This is what I felt was close to the best line for my front wheel drive car, on that 1st day for me. Competitors of different cars & experience levels would probably define a more educated, different path. Whatever…
Let me illustrate how driving through a specific corner a number of times helps to better find the proper line on corner #2. This happened to be the same corner I had done corner worker duty (details here). While watching many drivers go through that corner, we were better able to see what would be a better line than we thought initially.
Here is an illustration of an initial “bad” racing line (red line w/purple arrow) & an “experienced” racing line green line w/ blue arrow) for corner #2. Doing what “Mr. Green Racer” did, swing wide before that final cone in the left-handed sweeper, set him up better for that right pointing cone that many competitors hit in the first heat, and hardly at all in the second heat.
My point here is that these lines aren’t so easy to see until after driving them a number of times. Thankfully, we had eight runs to try to get it right. I improved only slightly, but the key is, I did improve! More about my full-on experience on another day…
Racing Ready is willing to learn more…