No Corners, No Straights

Autocross courses have no corners or straights. At least not an SCCA National-type course. An autocross course is fundamentally different from all the various race tracks around the world. What is such an autocross course like then, the type you will have to master to reach the highest levels of the sport? A good autocross course is a ribbon path of varying width and varying radii, where width and radii alternate, blend and morph in rapid succession.

When you walk the course be aware of how the “track” width changes, in concert, or not, with the radii change. See that morphing ribbon out there among those orange cones! Then, plan the fastest path through it. Sometimes you have a choice of line, where the track is wide, and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes a wide-open track indicates or allows a “straight”, if you choose to make it so, and sometimes that’s the course designer playing with your rigid mind. Sometimes a cone is not only the limit of the course but is a distraction trying to suck you in, to make you think, “Hey, that’s the edge of the ‘track’ so I’d better be close to it. Use up all the track, they say.” Well, yes, the course extends to that cone, but the proper path may not lie anywhere near it.

Thinking in terms of corners and straights within a path of essentially constant width will hold you back. Stop doing it. I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but Autocross is much more complicated than that.

2 thoughts on “No Corners, No Straights

  1. Pingback: The Really Weird Thing About Modern American Autocross – Part 1 | Saving Time – An Autocrosser's Blog

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