AUTOCROSSING - "The most fun you can have...."



It was said to me (and surely I had already thought it), that autocrossing
is "..the most fun you can have.." - with either of the most obvious closing
comments that you might personally think of.  Over the last few years, I can
surely agree.  And, now that my Carrera has been born-again, I'm looking
forward to another season of the same.

In the short definition, autocrosses are short-track events that challenge
your abilities to control your car through a course of turns and esses.  You
learn car control over speed.  You might do a 360 spin that somehow seems to
occur in very slow motion.  You rarely have an opportunity to collide with
objects.  Tires take more of the toll than any other part of your car.  You
are never wheel-to-wheel.  You grin from ear-to ear.

This is a recruitment article.  For those of you who have not yet taken the
plunge to your first autocross, let me extend the invitation.  Many years
ago, when I thought I was a hotshot driver, I entered my first autocross in
San Diego.  As I watched other drivers who actually seemed to have a lot
more finesse than I, the butterflies in my stomach took their toll on my
personal ego.  Maybe my experience in drag-racing a motorcycle and speeding
my Porsche on the freeways of California weren't quite the skills I needed
here.

Then this big guy, Paul Young, walked over and asked me if I was ready to
go.  I stammered that I "forgot" my helmet and looked for another excuse.
Paul loaned me his helmet without yet knowing my name, was very patient with
me in the car and probably sensed my ego was at stake.  The short version of
the San Diego story is that my first instructor's encouragement was enough
to generate this long-term enthusiasm.  As well, over the years, I have
continued to learn a great deal from drivers like Lars Frohm, Michael
Hammond and Steve Vandecar.  I hope that we can do for other drivers what
they accomplished for me.

This is my first year as the Zone Autocross Chair and I was very flattered
to be recommended and appointed.  I have a very simple set of goals for
myself. The very first goal is to induce and excite more drivers to
participate in these events.  The second goal is to continue to encourage
and support the Zone's high standards on driver education and safety.  There
are other goals of my office, including some standardization across Regions,
but these first two are the most critical to an exciting and viable
autocross season.

This isn't a technical article.  There have been many very well-written
articles within the pages of your local newsletters and other publications
about the development of skills and automotive adjustments you can make to
become a more competitive driver.  Within each of the Region's, there are
several members and officers with great encyclopedic knowledge in this
sport.   Seek them out.  From my personal experiences, I can tell you that
they are always willing to share.

I surely look forward to sharing thoughts, ideas and recommendations from
you all.

By the way, I saw Michael Hammond the other night and he asked me to pass a
message to those of you who are trying out the new series of Kumho autocross
tires.  He says to run 22 to 24 PSI and you'll be amazed at how much better
the car handles.

Michael Dolphin,
Autocross Chairman, Zone 8 - Porsche Club of America