On a typical Carolina July morning, the temperature was already 93° with a heat index of 103°. These conditions, however, did not stop the 60 or so drivers and additional 30 volunteers and spectators from participating in Autocross.
Managed by the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), this nationwide organization consists of like-minded persons who are passionate about amateur racing. From small races to huge annual events, SCCA provides a fun way for individuals and Service Members to blow off stress and burn up the pavement.
The Single Marine Program coordinates Autocross events on station with the SCCA and provides a handful of staff and volunteers to assist with the races. Anyone with access to the station can participate as either a driver or volunteer or just come to watch as drivers push their cars through a quick and challenging course. Speeding around the runway and maneuvering through tight turns, weaving around cones and charging towards the finish, it’s an exhilarating rush that requires quick reflexes, steady hands and mindful concentration.
Drivers compete against each other for time in their corresponding classifications. There are different levels and categories to match your car type and experience level. Novice drivers can attend a novice school that is held the day before the race. Many drivers have cars specifically for racing while others race in the same car they drive to work in. Drivers and passengers must wear helmets and each car must have visible identification and classification numbers. Pros and long-term participants have invested in magnetic numbers to attach to their doors while many novice drivers use good ol’ blue tape on their windows. The spirit of competition is balanced with camaraderie as participants help each other by sharing tools, cooling off tires and offering tips and advice.
Enthusiasts travel year-round to participate in multiple Autocross events across the nation but the casual driver can stay close to home and still enjoy several races each year. The sport is open to all individuals, 18 years and older, who are licensed to drive. Some races even have a junior division with a special go-kart classification.