Autocross

Welcome to NNJR-PCA’s “Autocross” Pages.  You can learn about Autocross, see our schedule of events, read rules, get instruction, and much more useful information .  Old hand? – find the dates.  New friend? read on and mysteries will become clear.

Alert!  We are racing!  First event July 19th at Pocono.  More information here and on nnjr-pca.motorsportreg.com

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, safe 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.

Welcome Flemington Porsche, our Autocross Sponsor!
Visit Flemington Porsche’s Site

Basics, Schedule & FAQs

Autocross Schedule

If you have any questions or suggestions for the 2020 season, send them my way, at autocross@nnjr-pca.com.

We all welcome our sponsor for the 2020 season, Flemington Porsche. Please go visit them, and say “thanks”.

COVID-19 has everything on temporary hold (no longer!  see below!)

For now, our tracks and venues are closed, and motor racing is specifically prohibited. So we have a double-whammy.  We do not yet know when we can resume events. For now the Car Control Clinic is cancelled and we will make every effort to re-schedule – but we need a date from MetLife stadium.

UPDATE JUNE 12th: GOOD NEWS!

We have just heard from Pocono and plan to hold the July 19th Autocross – and with luck the following two Pocono events.  I will try to get registration open within 1 1/2 weeks on nnjr-pca.motorsportreg.com.  We will implement many measures to limit virus transmission, including:

  • pre-assignment of work assignments if possible
  • no walk-up registration
  • online waiver signing
  • one person per car. Period.  (no instructors, no passengers)
  • distanced paddock and grid
  • Masks required whenever near others

This requires that you pay special attention and help us. Maintain 6 feet of separation – period.  Don’t touch items that others must use.  If you have any indication you may be infected, please stay home. Don’t park on top of others.  Don’t walk up to officials or others in the paddock. Use common sense!

These events will be operated with Riesentoter and Central PA regions.  We very much need volunteers that can help transport, setup, test and run equipment. We also need volunteers that can come early and help guide people and maintain safe distancing.  If you are willing to help, please reach out to me at autocross@nnjr-pca.com.


2020 TENTATIVE Schedule:

all of our events are currently up in the air – with uncertainty over what tracks will be open, whether we will be permitted to run events, and what the rules will be. for example, we may not be able to have tow people in any car.  This obviously poses problems for instruction.  Finally, we need to ensure that we can run these events without our money (that means your money as a club member).

At the moment we believe that when Pocono finally opens we will have to reduce the maximum number of attendees, and cannot have instructors (or anyone else) in a car. We will look into alternate ways to provide instruction.

We are still working to finalize events – contracting for tracks/lots, negotiating with other clubs, etc., but the below gives you an idea of what the status of future events is.

Note that one of our big challenges is a relatively small pool of people who do all the “heavy lifting”.  These volunteers learn the equipment, tend to it off-season, transport equipment and supplies to events, set up, and learn the computer and timing set up.   Interested in volunteering? – reach out to me and I’ll explain what’s involved — and what you get out of it.

  • Sunday May 3rd – Annual Car Control Clinic (fills early)
    – cancelled – we are seeking a new date later in the season
  • AX #1 — Mid April  with SCCA at Metlife – TBC <-- Cancelled

The balance of our season will be conducted at Pocono, on the “East” course, which has proven hugely popular.  The East course is long — between 7/8-1.1/8 miles (depending on configuration), fully FIA curbed, and wonderful.. Pocono East Course WOW!  Autocross on a race-track!  These events will be jointly operated with Riesentoter and Central PA PCA regions.

  • Autocross #2 – Sunday July 19  <-- We hope to open registration on June 23rd
  • Autocross #3 – Sunday August 2 <-- Looking promising
  • Autocross #4 – Sunday Oct 18th

We are also looking into a dedicated car control practice session in a large open lot at Pocono.

All registration and payments is via Motorsportreg.com-here. (Classing info is also linked on Motorsportreg.com.)


Car Control Clinic:

This year’s the Car Control Clinic was schedule for May 3rd.  We are seeking a new date in late July, August or September.  If you signed up, you place is reserved.  If you did not, watch for us to re-schedule if possible.  No cancellations in the last 2 weeks – mating students to instructors and arranging the schedule is tough enough without changes.

Autocross Day Schedule In a Glance:

  • Registration opens 8:00 am
  • Walk The Course (when announced)
  • Novice Walk-Through approx. 9:30 am
  • Driver’s Meeting approx. 9:45 am
  • First Car Off approx. 10:00 am
  • End Of Day Trophies approx. 4:00 pm

What should I bring?

  • An appetite for fun!
  • Proof of pre-registration or the entrance fee in the form of a check or the exact amount in cash
  • Know the class in which you will be competing before registration—see link for class specifications
  • Helmet that meets current specification (see www.smf.org)—loan helmet are available.
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Folding chair
  • Water and lunch
  • Painter’s tape
  • Pen and paper
  • Medication, if required. If you have allergies or a medical condition that requires special care, please wear the appropriate medical alert for that condition.

AUTOCROSS BASICS

What to Expect

Before we dive into the day’s mechanics, here’s a nice video that New England Region (PCA) produced – enjoy!

NER Autocross Video – watch me!

The autocross day starts early. Organizers (volunteers – become one!) will be on site around 6AM to start creating  the course, and testing equipment, but generally participants should arrive about 7:45  (unless you want to help). When you arrive, park by a friend or others with cars similar to yours. Unload your car of everything that is not screwed down, including map pockets, glove compartments and trunk. You do not have to remove your spare tire, though you may. The earlier you arrive the more time you have to put numbers on your car, sign in, get your work assignment, socialized and most importantly – learn the course!!!!


Registration will open up around 8:00. In general we require pre-registration on motorsportreg.com.  Get in line, know your Class /assigned car number ready. In order to provide you more drive time (runs), we sometimes limit our registration.  Prices vary by event and venue, but are typically:

  • PCA Members: $70 (pre-registered) $80 (walk-up, if available)
  • Non-Members: $75 (pre-registered) $85 (walk-up, if available)

Pre-registration is via nnjr-pca.motorsportreg.com.

Note: the last few events have sold out online, so if you do show up, there is no guarantee there will be space for you.

The basic format of autocross is that half the group races while the other half works, and then we switch.

What you need to do before racing begins:

Check in and get your work assignment

When you pre-register, you are not only creating a registration, but selecting the class your car competes in. If you wish to drive, but not compete, you may simplify this by choosing the “FUN” class.  In either case you must know your assigned class and car number.  Our Autocross Classes Worksheet is in the “Forms & Info” tab.

The most important information you will receive when you sign in on site is your flagging (Course Worker) assignment . Flagging is crucial to both operation and safety, and involves reporting cones that have been hit in the vicinity of your station, replacing cones and stopping the action if an unsafe condition presents itself.  Autocross only functions if we all work, making it possible for others to run! There are also specialized work assignments, including early morning set-up tasks.  If you are interested, inquire weeks ahead – these take time to learn (but you will be very valuable and appreciated member of the team).

Put numbers on your car:

Using painters tape, shoe polish or any other means, put LARGE, EASILY READ numbers on both sides of your car. These must match the computer issued numbers from motorsportreg.com.

Go through tech inspection:

In most cases we have a tech line. Go through that line for safety tech once your car is empty, you are signed in, and numbers are on your car.  Bring your helmet – it must be checked as well.  Tech inspector(s) will ensure your car has been properly emptied, tires and suspension appear safe, your helmet meets requirements and there are no obvious fluid leaks. When you have passed tech, there will be an indicator (typically a tape mark on a headlight) that you car has passed tech and the number recorded.

Immediately after registration/check in we will announce that the course is open for walking. You should (it is really essential) walk the course. You cannot walk the course too many times. No matter how well you think you know it, it will look different through the windshield at 45 mph. Walk with other people and discuss the “line”. There will be a special walk-through for novices conducted by an expert, probably around 9:30. Listen for the announcement.  Being able to walk the course several times is the BEST reason to get to the event early.

Finally there will be a driver’s meeting around 9:45. We will discuss safety and the conduct of the program. We will announce whether odd or even numbered cars will be running first. The non-running car drivers will be flagging, if they have a morning assignment. Cars that are running will be asked to bring their cars to the staging area.

Ready? Good luck!

We also recommend that you download and read “Details of a Day” (in downloads)

Autocross Day Schedule In a Glance:

  • Registration opens 8:00 am
  • Walk The Course (when announced)
  • Novice Walk-Through approx. 9:30 am
  • Driver’s Meeting approx. 9:45 am
  • First Car Off approx. 10:00 am
  • End Of Day Trophies approx. 4:00 pm

What should I bring?

  • An appetite for fun!
  • Proof of pre-registration and your assigned car number. We presume you know your name.
  • The class in which you will be competing
  • Helmet that meets current specification (see www.smf.org)—loan helmet are available.
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Folding chair
  • Water and lunch
  • Painter’s tape
  • Pen and paper
  • Medication, if required. If you have allergies or a medical condition that requires special care, please wear the appropriate medical alert for that condition.

Autocross School and Test & Tune

updated for 2020 season

This year our schedule is very uncertain (obviously).  That said we are looking into one (or more) special events that are not competitive autocross (solo) races, but rather car control practice and learning events. Events where we can have skidpads, slaloms and other ways to experience your car at the edge safely.  One unknown is how we can handle instruction given social distancing rules.  We may open a “pre-registration” on motorsportreg.com that allows you to indicate your interest, even before we decide on an event date.  Keep your eyes open here, on nnjr-pca.motorsportreg.com., and in Porscheforus.

Yes, spectators are permitted but they must stay in designated spectator areas to assure their safety.

Yes, pre-registration is available and encouraged through Motorsportreg, up to two days before an event.  Payment is also collected through Motorsportreg.

Yes, Non-Porsches are warmly welcome. There are many non-Porsches at each event. But arrive early, because non-Porsche registration will be cut off when total registration reaches a predetermined number (depending on venue).

Minors, 17 years old, may participate with their parent or guardian in attendance.

Yes, but each must register, pay the entrance, work and have a unique car number.

No. In fact there is real benefit to driving your car jsut as you drive it every day.

No.  As a new racer, if you follow instructions and use good judgement Autocross is very, very safe. In fact much safer than driving on public roads.

We set the course to avoid hard objects.  Cars are spaced by 20 or more seconds and cannot therefore collide.  The course is defined by rubber cones.  You will be under 50 mph (although it may feel like 120).

relax, enjoy.

not if you use good sense and listen to instructors.  For example, i race the same car i drive every day.  I have the same (competition rated Bridgestone RE-71R) tires on it after 4 years of racing and street driving. Compared to track use its very easy on cars.

Yes, i do need to replace my tires come to think of it! They are still safe, but getting noisy and slow through the turns 🙂

Prices vary by event (test ‘n tune, Autocross, school, etc.)

We are listening to you, and working to give you more runs in a day, this means fewer people and marginally higher prices.

PCA Members: $70
Non-Members: $75

There are many novices at every event, usually 30% of the Porsche drivers. Everyone, novices and veterans alike, is there to have fun and help one another. Like tennis and golf, you will get better at Autocrossing the more you do it. Reading about it in PORSCHEFORUS will NOT improve your driving.

There are books on Autocrossing that are worthwhile (a great one is Solo Racing by Henry Watts), but are no substitute for getting started. Read more about our events on this web site, including your proper car class. We have a novice category in each car class. We can’t guarantee that you won’t embarrass yourself, but it won’t be because of your performance in your car!

The best thing to read first are the “AX basics” tab on this site, and the resources under “AX documents”.

For a LOT more info see the section “typical day”.  You don’t need much – just a car ( stock is fine), well checked out (see the tech form), food, water, helmet (loaners are available), and convenience items.  Cars need little preparation for FUN! or stock classes – make sure tires are factory +2lb to start and ask around.

Also read about the basic rules of autocross, and familiarize yourself with work assignments. If you dont know what is expected of you you WILL slow things down, crate timing errors, or even create a safety condition – so please read up!  A worker manual is being written and will be (it may be there when you read this) on this site, under “Autocross/documents”.

Rules, Classes, Documents &  Results

NNJR Autocross Operating Rules

(undergoing edits)


Remember: all Stock and Production cars, and this means 90% of you, must have tires with a wear rating of 140 or greater.


  • Each driver must wear an “M” or “SA” rated helmet carrying a 2010 or later Snell Memorial Foundation approval sticker. For those purchasing a new helmet, a 2010/15 “SA” rated helmet is strongly recommended, but an “M” rated helmet is acceptable. Loaner helmets are available for new drivers.  You MUST purchase a balaclava (disposable liner) to borrow a helmet.
  • 
All NNJR Autocross events are FULLY MUFFLED EVENTS. Any car having a noisy exhaust system will be rejected.
  • Metal-to-metal seat belts, securely anchored are required. 1965-68 “900 Series” cars must modify the outer seat belt anchors so that the belt crosses the pelvic bone and lower abdomen and down toward the anchor point as near to a 45 degree angle as possible.
  • Sneakers, tennis shoes or other rubber-soled shoes are recommended. High-heels, sandals and the like will not be allowed.
  • Roll Bars are recommended for all open cars.
  • Fire Extinguishers are not mandatory but recommended. For those cars equipped with fire extinguishers, the extinguisher must be a minimum of 2.5 pounds, BC or ABC rated and fully charged. It must be fastened to metal using metal brackets and fasteners, within reach of the driver while buckled in the driver’s seat.
  • Tire and wheel combinations must be completely covered by the bodywork and have sufficient clearance to prevent rubbing that could be considered to be dangerous.
  • 
You must retain a Porsche OEM engine block or case (except for X class).
  • All drivers must read, print and sign the tech form (available on the documents page).  All cars must pass an on-site safety inspection. All loose articles must be removed prior to the safety inspection. Having the car inspected is the responsibility of the driver. A car that has not been inspected will not be allowed to compete. Late inspections are at the convenience of the Tech Inspectors.
  • Cars /drivers not following the series rules will be subject to protest. Protests which are upheld may result in disqualification from the event, reclassification or other changes as determined by the event chairperson.
  • A driver may only enter one (1) car in an event.   A maximum of two (2) drivers are allowed per car.  Co-drivers of the same car may be asked to run in opposite heats.
  • In accordance with New Jersey law, absolutely no passengers are allowed at any time, except for pre-approved NNJR instructors.   If an instructor drives your car for a run, the time will not count, and you will receive a re-run.
  • All rules are the same for Novice and Veteran classes, except for tires (see below).
New autocrossers with fewer than three (3) events of experience will have an instructor provided (mandatory) for their first run of the day.  Instruction is available (and encouraged!) for all participants throughout the event.
  • All drivers must have a work assignment at a flagging station or other duty assigned. Any driver who does not show up for their work assignment may not be allowed to drive, or may forfeit championship points, at the discretion of the event chairperson.
  • NO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES OF ANY TYPE MAY BE CONSUMED BY ANY PERSON DURING THE DRIVING EVENT. THE USE OF ANY ILLEGAL OR REFLEX AFFECTING DRUGS IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED.

CAR CLASSIFICATION

General Overview of Class Structure

NNJR Follows the National PCA PCR’s for Medium Size Regions.
 Cars are placed into classes so that cars of approximately the same capabilities compete with each other. In addition, Novices (see below for definition) run in separate classes from veterans. 
Men run in the “Open Class”. Women may elect to run in either the “Ladies Class” or the “Open Class”.

Classes carry a “PAX” which is a form of handicap and allows drivers in two classes to compare runs more fairly – e.g.: faster cars are proportionally adjusted compared to slower cars by a percentage (e.g.: time x 0.95 for a faster car vs time x 0.9 for a slower car).

NNJR has an open policy to encourage participation by our friends, family members and SCCA competitors who do not drive Porsches.  We call this “X” class and is open to any brand car that meets our safety requirements. We even give a trophy for the fastest X class competitor.

Open Classes will compete against other cars in their respective classes.  (i.e. S5 competes against other S5 cars). S Classes, P Classes, Ladies Classes, and Rookie Classes will be “paxed classes” where all of the participants (in this case, all rookies, ladies, or showroom stock cars) run against each other regardless of car classification, with their scores handicapped by their car type.  These handicap factors are called “pax” factors.  The paxes to be used for the season are shown in the rules section. (i.e. S1 competes against S1, etc., with factors applied to the raw times for handicapping)

Stock is designed for cars with no modifications.  The NNJR classification philosophy is for Stock classes to only allow minor changes, of the type commonly made by performance-minded Porsche owners. Improved classes are designed primarily for cars with significantly improved suspensions. The Modified class is for cars with significant changes, such as lightweight bodywork modifications and engine swaps.  Modified cars must maintain the same levels of essential equipment as a “street” car, however including  headlights, taillights, turn signals, a windshield and all glass (Lexan or similar is acceptable as replacement as long as it is clear), body panels (original or replacement)

X Class cars will be classed and paxed according to current SCCA Class and Pax Classifications and posted on the NNJR website. 
No changes may be made to cars in Stock, Improved, or Modified classes, unless authorized below. R Class is limited only to the fact that the car must have a Porsche engine block and chassis.

Mis-classification can be protested. Use or deletion of any equipment not covered in these rules that, in the opinion of the Event Chairperson, results in increased performance will move the car into the next higher class (Improved or Modified).
  PROPER CLASSIFICATION IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE ENTRANT.


Categories

There are four categories of classes – Showroom Stock, Production, Improved and Modified. Categories are related to automobile configuration.

The Showroom Stock (S) Category contains classes of automobiles as normally delivered and specified for use in the United States and Canada. Factory options as normally available for a specific model year are permitted. Certain factory and/or dealer installed equipment/ options will move an automobile out of S and into Production or higher as specified in the Modifications Allowed List table so as to maintain the intent and integrity of the Showroom Stock classes.

The Production (P) Category contains automobiles (as normally delivered to the United States and Canadian public through authorized sales outlets of the manufacturer) plus others with limited performance-affecting changes from stock. The Improved (I) category contains automobiles with more substantial performance-affecting changes from standard (stock) specification, whether changed by the factory, dealer or owner. These modifications have defined limits. These automobiles are classed according to their number of cylinders and actual displacement.

The Modified (M) Category contains automobiles that have performance-affecting modifications outside of the limits of the Improved category and for race automobiles (factory-built or otherwise). These automobiles are classed according to their specified number of cylinders and actual displacement.

Below is a list of resources. If you are new, please read these so that you can find you car’s proper class (or just pick “FUN”); and read about work assignments. One of our biggest problems is new racers who don’t understand what to do when they are working – this causes delays (less driving), can be dangerous, and really annoys your fellow racers.

NNJR Autocross Forms and Documents

(Please also see Autocross Basics.)


Preliminary Documents for Car Control Clinic:


Background Information on Autocross

  • Secrets of Solo Racing: Henry Watts: One of the best books on Auto-crossing (with plenty of info for Track/DE as well!). Note, we have no affiliation with Mr. Watts nor with Amazon; it’s just a great read.

Autocross School Student’s Handout (“classroom” document)

Map of meadowlands parking lots. We typically run in J, L or E:

Map of Meadowlands

September 22 Autocross (NNJR-RTR-SCCA) – Pocono Racetrack

(AXware output for Summary, Raw, Pax and Final results, in HTML)

August 25-26th With Reisentoter – Pocono Racetrack

(note: updated v2 with two errors corrected)

We did it again!  Two fantastic days with good weather, great racing, lots of runs, and terrific camaraderie.  This course is LONG (0.8 miles) and especially today’s version was FAST – a great learning and competing environment.  Thanks to our friends at RTR and SCCA/NNJR without whom this would not have been possible.

Attached are the results:

(AXware output for Summary, Raw, Pax and Final results, in HTML)

September 9th-10th – Pocono Racetrack

Two sunny days on a long, fast, racetrack with some strategic gates was epic.  If you were there, i don’t need to tell you how great the track (and weather, and camaraderie) was. If you were not, you missed a fantastic event.  Speeds up to — and above 90 mph (felt like flying), a mile long course, challenging gates, and superb course layout (thanks to Rick and Nick, plus lots of help.  And continuous racing with almost no glitches, aside form early morning nightmares.  A treat that we must revisit.

Thank you to all the volunteers who worked to prepare, set up, care for equipment, set the course, and slave over hot computers.  We all truly appreciate it.

Since i need to fly off, I’ll be brief and maybe come back with photos and more info. But here are links to the results: (please note that the PAXes are not official — they are merely rough estimates that incrementally scale the Porsche classes.  FUN and O are 1.000 since they have a random mix of cars).

And here are a video or two, plus see pics in the gallery. Anyone who has interesting pics or a video, let me know.

– Grant


April 2nd AX (season opener)

I heard a lot of happy people at the end of the day – pretty solid weather and lots of fun.  I hope you are among the happy participants.

Thank you to all the volunteers who worked to prepare, set up, care for equipment, set the course, and slave over hot computers.  We all truly appreciate it.

IMPORTANT NOTES:  You cannot compare SCCA and PCA paxes.  They are different scales and simply do not compare. I have omitted SCCA classes from the PAX results.  I found a number of errant times between 37 sec and 44 seconds. Despite the “best” being assigned to me, i deleted these timing irregularities. There may still be a few errors – if so let me know.

Here are the links to the results pages (html).

Note that there seem to be some errors in the database that crept in while i was scrubbing data, fixing classes, etc.

– Grant

X