In less than a week I’ll be in Clemson, SC, for my first autocross of the 2016 season. My goal for the season is to finish at least 75% of Central Carolinas Region SCCA autocrosses, and to earn at least one podium finish in my class. This, however, is much different than my expectations, which is why I’ve decided to begin my season with back-to-back autocrosses. Rather than jump into my first autocross at the massive zMax Dragway parking lot course, I’ll begin my season in my old stomping grounds, Clemson, because the parking lot is smaller, the drivers are fewer, and hopefully the intensity is a little less. Sure it’s two and a half hours away, but I can see some old friends and finally get to do what I’ve only watched from afar.
What do I expect? I will certainly learn what I need and don’t need to bring with me in order to make it through a day in the parking lot. I believe I will get a glimpse of whether I will truly like bartering for mere minutes behind the wheel with hours of running to right cones. I think I will ultimately gain an appreciation for how much autocross is yet another form of racing compared to road course racing, circle track racing, and endurance racing. That I will have to spend my time honing new skills that can’t come from my past racing experiences and will likely be confronted with lackluster performance for at least the beginning, if not the entirety, of the season. Hopefully, I will drive home from Clemson with nothing but a burn to tweak this and that, practice launches, and prepare for the next race. All in all, I expect to have a good time and learn a lot, and that seems to be the whole point.