Perfect day to chase cones and dodge cars…autocross Sunday

neon yellow green Lotus Exige

Today was a perfect July day for an autocross event.  Some would consider it too warm, and some might call it mild, but 83 degrees Fahrenheit and 51% humidity works for me.
The parking lot that we dodge cones at is on the Erie Community College North Campus, between Main Street and Wherle Drive in Williamsville, NY.  Events are on certain Sundays throughout the Spring, Summer and early Fall months and are under the regulations of the SCCA, also know as the Sports Car Club of America.

mini yellow NASCAR at WNY SCCA autocross racing event summer 2011

WNY SCCA autocross course finish at ECC North Campus, Williamsville, NY

Participation numbers vary, but usually is in the ballpark of 40-50 vehicles and owners.  A typical event will feature the full spectrum of experience levels and automotive pedigree.  Youngsters start out well-below legal driving age in go-karts.  Those who have drivers licenses can be seen driving karts, normal road cars, high performance sports cars and numerous classes of specialized race cars.

white Ford Taurus with racing slick tires at WNY SCCA autocross July 2011 ECC north campus williamsville, ny

It doesn’t matter what you drive.  As long as it has a low center of gravity (no SUV’s) and passes a basic safety inspection, it is likely an eligible partner for you and your racing experience.  This is where I will ask you to withhold judgement on your own vehicle whether it is capable of bringing you a sufficient ‘fun factor.’  Have you ever secretly wanted to drive like a maniac without the fear of hurting someone, yourself or your car?  Allow me to recommend to you that autocross is this place.

The only thing you are likely to hit is an orange traffic cone.

bright blue 1972 Fiat 850 convertible at FLR SCCA autocross. Event at Rochester Institute of Technology, RIT, Rochester, NY

One car navigates the course at a time, no fear of crashing into someone else’s car.  Obstacles like parking-lot light-poles and curbs are purposely avoided when courses are designed.

The primary rule (besides ‘be safe’) is ‘have fun.’  You don’t need special equipment a special car, special tires, and you probably don’t even need your own helmet;  our local organization brings extras to every event.

Beginners are welcomed.  The typical race course will take less than 60 seconds to drive from start to finish.  In that space however will be as many gates, slaloms and turns as you would find on a road racing track… usually many more.

So bring us your Subaru, your old Chevy, your new Triumph (?), your 2-door or your 5-door.  Whatever it is, if it drives and it’s yours, come on down and have some fun with us 😀

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