How to Prepare for Your First National Autocross Event

Are you ready to see how you and your car stack up against some of the best drivers in your region? Mazda racer Deana Kelley provides a quick start guide to get ready for your first big event.

First, review the schedule on the SCCA website and pick your event. The SCCA has three different types of events to choose from: Championship Tour, Match Tour, and ProSolo.

  • The Championship Tour consists of three runs on the course Saturday followed by three runs Sunday on a different course.
  • The Match Tour has three runs in the morning of Day one and then three more runs after lunch. Day two consists of three runs in the morning, which then sets the brackets for an elimination-style match in the afternoon.
  • ProSolos are comprised of two mirrored autocross courses that start from a drag racing style tree. There are four runs on each course on day one and two more runs on each course for day two. The fastest single run on each side is added together to determine the total time, and ranking for a final elimination challenge.

Once you have decided on an event, check the registration page for when registration opens for the event. Some events sell out VERY quickly, so set an alarm! Seriously.

While you’re still at the event page, check out the test and tune schedule. You’ll want to get some seat time on the venue surface.

Now that you’re registered, it’s time to prepare your car. The size of this task will vary depending on your particular car; however, there are things that need to happen no matter what hardware you’re bringing to the event.

You’ll need to order Mazda’s decals (which are needed to earn contingency awards) to place on your car prior to the event. The rest of the event and contingency decals will be located at the event tech area.

Check all of the fluid levels; ensure brake fluid is fresh; change the oil if it hasn’t been recently.

Check bolts on the suspension and hubs for play.

If you trailer your car, check your trailer and tow vehicle.

Friday before the event will be the test and tune (or practice starts if it’s a ProSolo), technical inspection, registration check-in, and course walks.

  • The test and tune course may require its own tech inspection and you will be able to purchase practice run tickets from an event worker on site.
  • Technical inspection will ensure your car is in safe and working order, your helmet is Snell 2010 or newer, and that you have the correct event and contingency stickers.
  • You will need to have your number and class magnets/decals on your car for tech, as this is part of the inspection.
  • Don’t forget to stop by the timing trailer and complete your registration check-in; bring your SCCA card with you. There you will confirm your car, class, and tire choice. The nice folks at the timing trailer will also give you your worker assignment and a barcode sticker for your helmet. Both tech and registration check-in are open between 3 pm and 7 pm on Friday.
  • The course will be open for walking in the afternoon. Take a couple walks and enjoy your evening; it’s race day tomorrow!