FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WILL AN AUTOCROSS EVENT HURT MY BMW OR ME?
This is a safe, fun, and very popular sport. The course is laid out in a large parking lot far from solid objects. Speeds are low enough (2nd or 3rd gear) that if you start to lose control or spin out, you can just hit your brakes and safely come to a stop, forwards or backwards. You may mow down some cones, but they're rubber and marks usually come off with a bit of wax. Cars are spaced far apart, so you don't need to worry about two of them coming together. And we have safety workers in strategic positions watching all cars; they will signal if two cars are too close. You will generate more tire and brake pad wear than in a trip to the grocery store, but it's not any harder on the mechanical components of your BMW than enthusiastic driving on the street.
DO I NEED A RACING CAR OR SPECIAL MODIFICATIONS TO PARTICIPATE?
No! Nearly all drivers use the car they drive every day, and that's the point. We want to help you experience the full range of capability of your car in a safe environment, far from traffic, guard rails, or police officers. Whether you have a modified M5 or a beater 320i or a brand new 335i (over break-in miles), you will have a great time. You may see some experienced drivers changing to special tires for the day, but virtually any bone-stock BMW has enough performance designed in to challenge drivers of any skill level. Your car will need to pass a technical inspection.
I'VE NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE - WILL EVERYBODY LAUGH AT ME?
We were all first-timers once. We really appreciate our first-timers and have a special novice orientation and novice class for you. For your first two events, if you earn the top time within the novice group, you'll actually go home with your first trophy! Every participant, no matter how experienced, gets a personal instructor at each event. The course layout is different every time, so the instructor will actually drive your car (at a moderate pace) the first lap to show each driver the course and set an example for smoothness and shift points. Then you take the wheel with the instructor by your side giving tips that will help you during the autocross event and in your daily driving. Nothing makes us more proud than to hear from a member who avoided a road accident due to skills learned at an autocross.
WHO CAN PARTICIPATE?
Any BMW CCA member from any chapter with a drivers license can run their car. Drivers between 16 and 18 years of age must bring a legal guardian in the monring to sign the Minor Release Waiver. Passengers may ride with instructors (we encourage it) and must be 16 years of age or older. Passengers may not ride with participants. Spectators are welcome, and it is lots of fun to watch, but this is not a good venue for unsupervised children or pets.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT IN A DAY AT AN AUTOCROSS?
First, plan on a whole day of fun. For the schedule and event-day info, check out Event Day Info. At a normal autocross, we have two sessions of practice laps (to learn the course) followed by timed laps that begin by early afternoon (optional - some drivers choose to end their day here). All drivers will also have scheduled work sessions to watch over the course while others run. We are an all-volunteer organization and need everyone to do their part. Drivers with the quickest times in their class win a trophy. At the end of the day, after everyone helps pick up the cones, we hand out trophies and usually finish between 4 and 5pm. The $65 entry fee includes breakfast items, lunch, and beverages throughout the day for each participant. Spectators can buy a lunch for $8 after paid participants have been fed.
WHAT SHOULD I BRING?
Bring your car with a full tank of gas and good tire tread, your BMW CCA membership card, your driver’s license, sunscreen, a hat and a Snell 2010 or newer helmet. If you don't have a helmet, you can rent one for $10. Consider bringing a folding chair so you can relax during your rest session.
HOW ARE CARS CLASSIFIED?
We class cars with a simple system of model, year and modifications. Please see our classification system for details.
HOW DO I SIGN UP FOR MY FIRST AUTOCROSS?
Autocrosses are so popular that we limit entries to the first 80 drivers during Standard Time and 100 during Daylight Saving Time. To give everyone an equal chance at an entry slot, registration is offered online beginning the Monday after the previous Autocross and ending 4 days before the event. First, you need to become a member of BMW CCA at www.bmwcca.org if you haven't joined already. Members can set up an account with your entry information and register during the time frame above at sdbmwcca.motorsportreg.com. Just follow the instructions.
HOW DO I FIND OUT ABOUT THE NEXT EVENT
All the autocross dates are published in Fahren Affairs and on the website. If you want more immediate notification, you can send an email to Jim Patterson, firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be added to his autocross mailing list.
Come have some fun with us and your BMW!
Kim Schwarz, Autocross Director