Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Get Involved - Rallycross

The series continues with an option for those who like to play in the dirt:  Rallycross.

Get Involved is a series of posts detailing a forms of grassroots motorsports on a weekly basis.  I write these posts with one goal:  To get you to bring your car to an entry level motorsport event.  I want you to stop buying parts, stop planning for 'some day,' stop building the perfect car, and register for an event.  It is ridiculously easy to have fun with your car right now, as you're currently driving it.  You don't need a racing license.  You don't need a roll cage, a fire suit, or expensive modifications.  You do need $40, a valid state issued drivers license, and a car in safe driving condition.  It doesn't matter if its a stock Camry, a tuned Civic, or a $75k Corvette, there's a place for you.  There are a number of ways to get started - whether you want to drive on asphalt, dirt, or a race track.

You can see the full list of event types here: Get Involved.  This page will be updated as each installment is posted.

Rallycross is very similar to autocross, basically replace asphalt with dirt, sand, or gravel and you've got it.  You don't need an all wheel drive car or even anything designed with dirt in mind.  You should be prepared to have some mud on your car and if your car is lowered, you may want to check with the organizer to see if that will be an issue for you.  Speeds rarely exceed 60mph and the focus is on the corners.  It may not sound fast, but believe me, your hands will be shaking with adrenalin after your first run.

This is a stock Civic off-roading.  This means you are
officially out of excuses.
A track made out of traffic cones is laid out on a field, desert, or dirt.  Cars take turns traversing the track one at a time and add their time from each run together for an overall time.  Fastest overall time wins.  Drivers are split into classes based on their vehicle and level of modification.  There is no door to door racing and there are no walls or barriers that you could run into.  This is done off-road, so there are usually some bumps and sometimes ruts - absolutely no jumps, though.  This is still a very low risk motorsport, though you should be careful bringing a lowered vehicle, and be be prepared to wash your car afterward.

Usually $30-$50.  It varies by each local SCCA region, and many offer discounts for new folks.  Tire and brake wear are negligible for a single event.
Another stock vehicle.  Are you seeing the pattern?

Level of Competition:
Like autocross, this sport is only as serious as you decide to take it.  Most people show up, put painters tape numbers on their car, have a good time driving their car, and then go home.  Some people bring special tires they only use to compete.  Other people spend thousands of dollars chasing the national championship.  It is totally up to you to decide your level of involvement.

Vehicle & Gear Requirements:
  • Helmet (most events will have loaners available for new people - ask before you show up)
  • Seat belt
  • Car is leak-free (a drip may be OK - we just don't want to create a slick for the person after you)
  • Battery is properly secured - new hardware can usually be found at your local auto parts store
  • Lug nuts are tightened
  • No play in wheel bearing - push/pull on your tire, if it moves, you need to take it to your mechanic
  • Remove all loose items from your trunk and front seating area
  • Bring some sunscreen, comfortable shoes, and plenty of water with you
This Audi was at home on the dirt.
How to get involved:
The SCCA is split into local regions, so this will be a little different for everyone.  The easiest thing is to Google for "rallycross near [local city]" or "SCCA rally [local city]"and see what comes up.  If that fails, search for your region at this site:  SCCA Region Directory and email the regional executive to find out how to get started in rallycross events.  Not every region hosts rallycrosses, so you may have to travel.

What it looks like:

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