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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Tracking, Autocrossing, Dragstrip, Driving Techniques > First Autocross Suggestions



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      07-28-2007, 08:24 PM   #1
longodj
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First Autocross Suggestions

Hey Guys,
Next Sunday, I'll be going to my first Genesee Valley BMW CCA Autocross. It'll be the first time I've ever driven an autocross and was wondering if there's anything I should do or get to prepare. I've been practicing general performance techniques like heel-and-toe and double-clutch downshifting on the road, but I'm still generally nervous. I don't have a helmet or anything (do I need one?). Anybody got any tips for a first timer? I'll be driving a stock E90 335xi.

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Dave
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      07-28-2007, 08:33 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by longodj View Post
Hey Guys,
Next Sunday, I'll be going to my first Genesee Valley BMW CCA Autocross. It'll be the first time I've ever driven an autocross and was wondering if there's anything I should do or get to prepare. I've been practicing general performance techniques like heel-and-toe and double-clutch downshifting on the road, but I'm still generally nervous. I don't have a helmet or anything (do I need one?). Anybody got any tips for a first timer? I'll be driving a stock E90 335xi.

Thanks,
Dave
They will probably have loaner helmets for you so no worries on that. Or generally people are nice enough you can borrow someones if not. If you do a couple runs if your using runflats like I did today your rear will start to get squirly quick if you go through chicanes. Watch out for that. Your brakes are good but dont get into them too quickly they stop hard so you will throw your car off balance but you cant really get used to how it reacts until you go through atleast once on their course. Turn you DTC off (hold the button down until you see the little circular symbol come up). If you need use the torque and put some oversteer into it and dont be afraid of the car. Respect it but dont fear it. You'll probably have an instructor with you so listen to him/her. The best thing I can tell you is to start in some low speed turns and get used to coming out of a chicane/u-turn with some power before you go and that will help you. But have fun and enjoy it!

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      07-28-2007, 08:37 PM   #3
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Trae, thanks for the advise! I haven't even driven with DTC off yet on this car so I guess I'll try that this week.
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      07-28-2007, 08:51 PM   #4
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Forget the fancy heel-toe, double clutching business for now. Best you get there early in the morning and walk the course after they set it up. An autocross course of pylons is much more difficult to see than a dedicated road course with a clearly visible track.
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      07-28-2007, 08:51 PM   #5
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Trae, thanks for the advise! I haven't even driven with DTC off yet on this car so I guess I'll try that this week.
Believe me at a low speed autocross you'll really feel the cut with it on you'll bog down alot and np glad to help! Though yes it's good to get used to it a little early since you will be getting into wheel spin and it will be a new experience in the car completely.

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      07-28-2007, 11:58 PM   #6
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Don't count on them having a helmet if your not sure. Better to get one, just go to your local motorcycle shop. You should be able to pick one up for under $100.

Take a run or two at lower speed until your sure you know the course. A lot of first timers try running it too hard and that's a big mistake. Seeing the course takes some getting use to since there are usually 20+ cones within a couple seconds of your current spot on the course.

Expect lots of understeer, my 335i has it and I'm sure your iX will have even more due to the extra weight. You've got plenty of power so to make a better time go slow in and quick out of tighter turns.

Very few courses I've run need much shifting. In my 335 a shift from 1st-2nd in the first few seconds is all I've needed in 3 autox's this year. Got to love the 300ft/lbs of torque.

Last, don't try and save a spin by powering out of it. The only accident I've ever seen was caused by someone staying in the gas too long.

It's a blast, have fun.
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      07-29-2007, 12:20 PM   #7
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take down at least a cone or 2 to break the ice!
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      07-29-2007, 12:27 PM   #8
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Let us know how it goes! I'm just getting started with about 5 autox's under my belt.
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      07-29-2007, 12:28 PM   #9
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for me at first 1/2 the battle was just knowing where to go...
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      07-29-2007, 01:18 PM   #10
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You have nothing to worry about for your first autocross. Clean out loose items, up the tire pressures by 5-10psi, wear sunscreen, and have fun. When you get there, make sure you talk to people. You can learn a lot from just listening to other's experiences/suggestions/ramblings. Believe it or not, you will learn more at an event than from what you read on the internet.

I've never been to an event that doesn't offer loaner helmets. Don't buy a helmet unless you're convinced autox is for you. I didn't buy a helmet until midway through my second season.

The only driving techniques you need to know is how to shift into 2nd gear (keep it there for your whole run), to keep both hands on the wheel, to brake, and to ALWAYS LOOK AHEAD. It takes SEVERAL events to get good, so don't expect to beat many/any cars. "Autocross is 90% driver, 5% car, and 5% crazy mojo," quoting a fellow autoxer. You can easily be shocked at how some POS Civic, 318, etc. can go soooo fast. Walk the course as many times as you can. Take an instructor with you on all of your runs or all but your last run so you can get good input from them. Don't get scared when you hear your tires screaming.

I did a run in a friend's 335i for the first time yesterday, and it doesn't handle as bad as I expected it to. Understeer wasn't unbearable. Everyone complains that it needs a diff, but I guess my only complaint was that it had too much power for the smaller course I ran yesterday.
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      07-29-2007, 01:48 PM   #11
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Hey thanks everyone! I'm not so nervous anymore, quite excited though. Thanks again.
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