Autocross 2015 – Welcome! . . . a LOT is new . . .

Autocross is, hands-down, the cheapest, safest, least time-consuming way for you to learn basic performance driving, push your car, and push your skills.  It’s fun, informal and the crowd is welcoming.  And if you have family members or friends, who are – horrors – Porsche-less, bring them in (more or less) whatever they have – its all good.  Need a helmet? We have loaners.  Need coaching? We have instructors.  Have a need for speed? We have the cure.  Come on out and join us.  If you have questions – reach out to any of the team.

If you would like to be on an autocross email list to receive reminders, event information, cancellations (snow in August?), and maybe even a short poll or three on what you really want, please send your email address to

Here’s looking forward to a great year, and let’s take it easy on those poor cones.

Now, I said something about “a lot is new . . .”

For 2015 and forward, the Autocross team has been debating how to make the program better meet the needs of NNJR’s members.  What we have all been hearing is the following:

1. “I want more driving time”
2. “I want to learn how to drive my car – in a safe environment”
3. “We should have more Car Control Clinics” (same as above, really), and
4. “I am willing to pay more to get it”

This is a conundrum; let me explain.  First, the Car Control Clinic is a great event, no doubt about it; if it were free and easy to put on I’d have one every month.  But here’s the catch – its a HUGE event to put on, requiring about 40 volunteer instructors who take off a day, mostly don’t drive, buy their own lunch, etc.  We also need to East Rutherford Fire Department to come out and wet down the track – all day long.  This is over and above the army of volunteers who show up as early as 5:30 or 6:00 (same for Autocross) to set the course, registration, etc.  It simply is not practical – it is a labor of love for all those individuals. (Hint:  join us and help give back).

The second issue is that the amount of drive time ( the number of runs) in Autocross is simple math.  If we have 6 driving hours in a day, that’s 360 minutes. If each run takes 1 1/2 minutes, and we have 2 cars on course at the same time ( neither easy!) that means there are ((360 x 2) / 1.5 minutes) runs per day, or 480 runs total.  If we have 100 people this means 4.8 runs per person. If we have 50 people, it means 9.6 runs per person. This is feasible, at roughly double the price per entrant (which many indicate is fair since many of us have high pressure jobs  and family lives and want to make the most of our precious free time)

The third issue is that we need to staff the event. We need to set it up, set up timing, run timing, pick up cones, call in infractions, and oh yes, we all wanted more instruction, so we need a bigger percentage of instructors.  The event simply can’t run with fewer than roughly 50 people, and each of those people must arrive early, stay ate and pull their weight.  Looking back, when I began autocrossing I didn’t realize ANY of this. Drew, now our Grand Pooh-bah, was a saint.

What we are proposing for this year is to experiment with the formula a bit. Here’s what we plan to do:

1. Limit registration to a middle number, maybe 70.
2. Raise the price modestly, maybe to $70
3. Explicitly grow our instructor ranks
4. Consequently provide more runs, and more learning
5. Organize informal socials after each Autocross
(do you live near the meadowlands and want to volunteer your patio? – call me or Sharon!)