Storypost | 2008.02.20

Saturday started with Mario Galaxy and In 'n' Out, then we drove down to Qualcomm to scout the autocross scene. Jon and Ty rode with Erik for a couple of laps, J and I did some shooting. Can't wait to get the vr down there. Scroll down for more information on the autocross events.

San Diego SCCA SCNAX autocross Lotus

The lineup featured everything from four-door Toyollas to Lotuses and GT3s.

San Diego SCCA SCNAX autocross 240SX

Ty was still wearing dive weights when he passenged on a couple laps.

'What is it about driving cars that makes you all such assholes?'

Obtaining a proper panned shot was the preoccupation. Thanks to Connie for the 300 mil with IS.

Decapitating a snowman

Next we headed out to Cuyamaca to snap some scenery. I've long since lost any eye for landscapes, but it was a golden opportunity to play with hdr some more.

Snowman snuff

We happened upon a lonely snowman and though harming the creature seemed unconscionable, artistic interest won out in the end. The following images depict graphic violence and should not be seen without appropriate discretion.

San Diego SCCA SCNAX autocross Nissan 240SX

Erik's take

As promised, some more info on the autocross events, courtesy of Erik.

Lap times:
My best time was 63.4, best time with 200+ lb ballast was a 64.

The thing about autox is that the small, tight courses can really bring driver skill to the forefront over vehicle prep. I have beat Evo 8s in the rain and I have been blown away by near-stock civics on dry pavement. The biggest disadvantages I face are, in order of relevance:
  1. Driver Skill
  2. Driver Skill
  3. Tires
  4. Power, suspension, chassis
I had an experienced driver ride along with me for a couple of runs. He mentioned a few good points, mostly that I was planning the lines badly, not looking far enough ahead, drifting too much (although he suspected the equipment had something to do with it, Champiro? Never heard of 'em). On the plus he said my aggression level was good, and then after considering, added maybe too good.

In the hands of a capable driver, the ride makes the difference, but no ride can make up for the lack of skill. I ridden in WRX STi's with full traction control and all wheel drive that couldn't save their drivers from their own poor lines.

The event on Saturday was a practice; meaning that people could run and get times, but that no points or penalties were awarded and standings were not listed or affected. For a first timer, this is the event to attend, as it does not have the intensity of a competition. Better yet, a real noob should take advantage of the novice school offered over the summer. I plan to attend for my second year, as I could use the help.

The practices host a range of participants from first-timers in stock cars plodding around at moderate speed to experienced racers trying to shave a few tenths by playing with setup on their single seat, full-cage race cars. The relaxed atmosphere doesn't intimidate, and everyone is friendly, but the strong drive for improvement is contagious, and even the newest of drivers start looking for ways to drop seconds. Everyone who races also takes a turn working the course, which generally means chasing the cones that stray automobiles tend to scatter over the course of the day. Working a practice is definitely a great way to see the cars up close, and doesn't have the added pressure of tight competition that race days do. Fail to pick up a cone during competition and drivers have to repeat runs and start griping about fairness.

Jon's car is perfect, Ty's Civic would be fine too. Goat Cheese would need to comply with the same, and would probably find it difficult and expensive. There are some fees to pay and registrations to fill out (SCCA and SDR SOLO2), but I can guide anyone interested to the proper websites to take their money. If nothing else, I will try to give people a heads up for the novice school in early May this is by far the best event for the first-timer.

San Diego SCCA SCNAX autocross Nissan 240SX

Erik: Do you mind if I ride along?
Hot S2000 Driver: Ummm
E: I heard you were a good driver to learn from.
H: Ok, I guess you look skinny, it can't hurt my time too much.
E: Yeah, I keep a trim figure for just such an occasion
(HS2000 goes on to break the 60s mark on that run).
H: Wow, thanks, you're good luck!
E: Great run! That was awesome (gets high-five from H).

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