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My AutoX journey

xXDavidCXx

Autocross Champion
Location
AZ
Car(s)
2017 GTI SE DSG
What really clicked for me was when I saw practically stock GS GTIs bigly beating STH builds. I was like damn I need to spend more time learning the car, instead of making changes every other event and having to relearn the car.
Don’t worry, it gets better.

At the Las Vegas Tour, STH beat GS by 1.5 secs.
 

mrmatto

Autocross Champion
Location
Jacksonville, FL
Car(s)
2024 GTI DSG
I haven't been updating this thread regularly, but I feel compelled to journal yesterday's event. It was a day/night event at the Amelia Island airport (unfortunately our last time being able to run at this site). The format was: 3 runs during the day, break for dinner, then 3 runs at night. Fastest day run + fastest night run = final time. (If it interests you, the course map is attached.)

Day
The day runs were your pretty standard autocross event. I hadn't autocrossed since May, so I was feeling a little rusty on the first couple of runs but remembered how to drive during run 3. I was 5th out of 5 in STH after the day session, but the spread for the group was only 0.7 sec so it was really anyone's event going into night.

Night
Important note: There were no lights on the course. Truly a pitch black course. There were dim glow sticks on the cones but you were basically reliant on your headlights to see anything at all. And because of this, there was 1 car on the course at a time.
  1. First run: It went well heading out and returning, but at the big turnaround in the back I almost went into the grass because my eyes hadn't adjusted yet and so I couldn't see any of the inside cones. So, I pretty much assumed the rest of the night runs were going to be a flop. Ah, but @GTIfan99 to the rescue !! with his in-car video from the day run so I could review that turnaround, and I noticed the big "X" in the runway was my marker and I didn't need the cones. He kept telling me: "Use your memory." Life saver.
  2. Second run: Much better. Nailed the turnaround but left some speed on the course.
  3. Third run: Even better! But a cone wasn't reset from the previous car so I got a re-run, then I nailed it. I actually managed my fastest run of the entire day.... at night! Ended up 2nd in STH for the event. I was so excited when I got back to the paddock that I tripped over my tool bag and stubbed my toe 🤣
What a fun event! Working the course was a blast too. Pitch black, then absolutely BLAZING headlights flying by, then trying to figure out if a cone was hit or tapped. Sometimes you'd hear a cone get hit but would have no idea which one and then multiple people would wander out onto the course with flashlights to find it. There were also a couple funny moments of "Wait, did he just go off course? Which side of the cone did he go?" "I'm not sure! I think he was off. Does anyone know if he went left or right?" Fun times.


Key Takeaways, because I always try to learn something...

Generally speaking, even when I know the course pretty well, I still tend to fall back to the default mode of "see something, then do something." It's reactionary, I know. Even when looking ahead, I'm still using the default processing mode of reacting to what I see. But the night event forced me to go from "see something; do something" to using my memory of the course much more heavily simply because I couldn't always see something. I found myself using a different type of driving. I was counting the elements, putting numbers to them, and creating a whole new notational map in my head. It gave me a little more focus on my driving inputs. And it clicked that I should probably be doing this during the day! It's really easy to fall back to the default "see something; do something" mode of driving when you can see everything.


IMG_9196.JPG
 

Attachments

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GTIfan99

Autocross Champion
Location
FL
Awesome job Matt. The whole class is getting faster. Makes it a lot of fun. Glad the advice and video helped.
 

DerHase

Autocross Champion
Location
Hampton Roads, VA
Car(s)
2019 GTI Rabbit

Looks like time for a FSB over "winter" (quotes because Florida) should be considered.


Sounds like a fun event! There's a local club here doing a night event either this month or next, but it's on an old oval track and they don't exactly have the greatest safety record with regards to course design even in broad daylight. I'd like to try an event at night like that some time.
 

mrmatto

Autocross Champion
Location
Jacksonville, FL
Car(s)
2024 GTI DSG
Looks like time for a FSB over "winter" (quotes because Florida) should be considered.
Yep, seriously considered. Not sure if I want the impact on ride quality over bumps (offset l-r). For now, I like how ridiculously I can pivot this car around a cone if I really push it like you see in that photo. On the other hand, being non-PP with no LSD, I could really stand for less roll in the front to help that grip.
Sounds like a fun event! There's a local club here doing a night event either this month or next, but it's on an old oval track and they don't exactly have the greatest safety record with regards to course design even in broad daylight. I'd like to try an event at night like that some time.
YOLO
 
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mrmatto

Autocross Champion
Location
Jacksonville, FL
Car(s)
2024 GTI DSG
Yeah it happened to me twice and on both sides. Don’t really know why but I got tired of it. Tape crew now.
 

GTIfan99

Autocross Champion
Location
FL
Yeah it happened to me twice and on both sides. Don’t really know why but I got tired of it. Tape crew now.
Wax really well underneath where you're going to put them. Problem solved.

Or get vinyl numbers cut that stick to glass.
 

enobiko

Go Kart Newbie
Location
NE Ohio
Car(s)
2017 SE 6 MT
Wax really well underneath where you're going to put them. Problem solved.

Or get vinyl numbers cut that stick to glass.
Maybe it's just in my region, but they ask you not use numbers on glass, because it's harder for the course workers to read. I can attest to that. But, I can read the tape numbers above just fine, both because they are large, and the contrast against the tint.
 
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