Autocrossing, or Solo2 as it is named in the SCCA, is a timed event that tests your driving ability in a handling oriented
course. Most regional (local) events are pretty fast if you can reach 60 m.p.h.
Solo2 is a relatively non-abusive competition. Most of the heavy wear and tear will be limited to your tires and
brakes. It will shorten the lives of your wheel bearings but they will still usually last tens of thousands of miles.
I have always driven a bit hard on the streets and my tires and brakes last about as long as they did before I started autocrossing.
The risk of having an accident at an autocross is very low. The courses are laid out with the utmost care and consideration
for you and the other competitor's safety. The course is lined with traffic cones so that there is little to no damage
if you go off course and hit them. I have hit quite a few since I started and never gotten any damage to my vehicle.
When you first start autocrossing, it is a good idea to read some of the materials that are available online to get an
idea of what to bring and what to expect.
Your car should be in good mechanical condition. It doesn't have to look good but it must be in
safe working order. When you register for the event, you will be given instructions to get your vehicle tech'ed.
They will check that your tires have good tread on them (no cords showing), your wheel bearings and other suspension components
are not loose, your battery is positively held in place, the brakes are in proper working order (they hold their level when
depressed) and that the vehicle doesn't have anything loose in it. Floormats that are not secured to the floor by clips
or hooks are considered loose and must be removed!
What can I drive!?
This is often the next question that often comes up. Any car and some trucks are eligible to participate.
The only vehicles that will be turned away are ones that can't pass the safety inspection, present a roll-over hazard or have
less than 4 wheels.
You will be classed first by what your car is and then by what you have done to modify it. This is done so that
a Metro or Escort doesn't compete against a 911 or Viper. The modifications determine if you will be competing in Stock,
Street Touring, Street Prepared, Street Modified, Prepared, or Modified. Stock and any class preceded by Street are
street legal vehicles, the rest are race or non-series produced vehicles.
The biggest and best modifications to do to your car will leave you in Stock category. They are improving your
driving, putting good tires on your car and having a good alignment, in that order.
Vehicles in this category are only allowed to change consumable items from stock with the exception of the exhaust (after
the catalytic converter) and the front swaybar. This means that you can change your brand of brake pads, your shocks
(as long as they don't have more than two external adjustments) your tires and, provided you don't change from the stock dimensions,
The cars in this category must be series produced vehicles, they are sedans (four seaters) with engines of less than
This class allows all Stock category changes and adds a few more. You can now replace your rims with any size as
long as they are not more than 7 inches wide. You can also add a cold air intake, lower the car and add some body components
like a wing.
This category doesn't restrict whether the car is a sedan or sports car and allows all the modifications of the Stock
category. It also allows modifications to:
The entire intake up to but not including the cylinder head.
The entire exhaust system is replaceable up to but not including the cylinder head.
Rims are unlimited, any size and any width.
Coil-overs are allowed in place of struts.
Suspension springs (lowering or just different rates).
Brake rotors are allowed to be cross-drilled and/or slotted.
This category is broken into two sub-categories.
The first is Street Modified and the second is Street Modified2.
They both allow the same modifications but two seaters and cars that are too light to be in Street modified are placed
in Street Modified2.
There are minimum weights that have to be met depending on if your car is front, rear, or all-wheel drive and if it is
naturally aspirated or forced induction/what the displacement of the engine is.
This class allows all the modifications listed in Stock, Street Touring, and Street Prepared as well as a couple from
Prepared and its own special rules.
From the Prepared class, you are allowed to make any brake modifications and use modified control arms.
The extra rules that make this class special is the allowance for aftermarket turbo and super-chargers to be added as
well as modifications to existing forced induction equipment. You are also allowed to perform engine swaps as long as
you use an engine from a manufacturer that produced your car or engine. This way a Honda can use an Acura motor.
Also, you could put a VW 1.8 turbo into a Porsche 914 or a Grand Prix 3.1 turbo into a Fiero.
Prepared and Modified
I will not be covering the rules of the prepared and modified classes as they are past the beginners level and I am sure
you will have a rule book by the time you make it to these classes!