Race Car Tech Discuss anything related to road racing and auto X.

Autocross Schools - worth it?

Old 02-16-05, 03:45 PM
  #1  
Be one with the Rotor
5 Year Member
Thread Starter
 
Paul_in_DC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 13
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Question Autocross Schools - worth it?

For experienced autocrossers... do you think autox schools help when you're starting out? Or is it better just to jump in and see how it goes? Any thoughts on schools you've attended?
Paul_in_DC is offline  
Old 02-16-05, 04:49 PM
  #2  
Senior Member
5 Year Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 321
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I attended what is now the Evolution school when I was just getting into autocross, and I thought it was very worthwhile. You get good info on how to walk the course and mentally prepare for your runs. You also get more seat time in one autocross school than a typical season of autocrossing competitively. As to whether to go with a "commercial" school like Evolution or a more informal situation like the "novice schools" that many autocross organizations put on - well, that depends on the local organization, the talent they draw on, and their organizational skills. Some are at least as good, and a lot cheaper.
macdaddy is offline  
Old 02-16-05, 05:07 PM
  #3  
Lives on the Forum
15 Year Member
 
DamonB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Dallas
Posts: 9,617
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
www.autocross.com/evolution

Best money you will ever spend on any sort of driving instruction. I've taken Phase 1 and Phase 2 and feel they both helped me tremendously. I hope to have the extra money to take Phase 3 and the Dial In this year.

Personally I think it's best to compete in some events before you take any instruction. The reason is that you don't really appreciate how much goes in to being "fast" until you've tried it. If you've tried it some and have your own opinions and experiences to take to school it helps IMO because you have already begun to realize for yourself what you don't know. OTOH you don't want to drive too much before going to school because you'll learn bad habits and then have to unlearn them after being instructed.

Truthfully it doesn't matter but I think you'll get more out of it if you try a few events on your own and then go to school.
DamonB is offline  
Old 02-16-05, 10:01 PM
  #4  
Rotary Poseur
10 Year Member
 
HedgeHog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Richmond, BC, Canada
Posts: 718
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
worth every penny and then some.....u cant buy any part that will improve ur time by the same amount
HedgeHog is offline  
Old 02-18-05, 06:21 PM
  #5  
Full Member
10 Year Member
 
tpdrx7's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 113
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I agree with Damon. A few events and then an Evolution Phase 1.

It'll give you a chance to learn a little about your car and help you understand the basics of what an autocross is before you spend the money on class.

Tomas
tpdrx7 is offline  
Old 02-18-05, 07:16 PM
  #6  
FD = Mr. Toad's Wild Ride
5 Year Member
 
TracyRX7's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 405
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I feel it depends how you learn best. By the point in your life that you're buying/driving autocross you should understand your own learning methods. For some they listen (read a book out loud and record it to play back if you can't buy on audio), others can read and comprehend, and finally leader led instruction works best for others.

For me, I read and comprehend things real well. There are quite a few books available on racing theory, car setup theory, and even books that specifically apply to autocross. Not to mention tons and tons of Internet forums, mailing lists, and just generally helpful people.

Regardless of the way you learn you have to know what you're doing right and what you're doing wrong before you can really start to improve. A data acquisition system like the Geez (http://www.extremegeez.com) can provide the information you need to understand your driving beyond what 'feels fast'.

My order of learning autocross:

1. Start with a stock/mostly stock setup car on street tires and drive an event or three. You don't need a super performance car with a perfect setup (this will actually allow you to form a lot of 'bad' habits because the car lets you drive through some mistakes). A good driver can drive with the setup of the car to get the most out of it.
2. While doing this read slowly between events and at each subsequent event pick one thing you've read that you're going to focus on that week (i.e. shuffling rather than crossing your hands over, braking and accelerating smooth to keep balance, reading the track and determing the most important corners, etc). When you first start out you can't learn everything at once unless you want to do it all half -----
3. Ride along with good drivers in cars similar to the one you are driving or find somebody good that you trust and let them take you for a ride in your car. This can be a real eye opener when the car does things you never imagined it could do. (A national champion driver in BSP Corvettes took me in a ride in my FD, 5 seconds faster than I could drive it on a 40-45 second course, he actually drove it on 160 treadlife all weather radials within 1.5 seconds of his BSP Corvette)
4. Get a good data acquisition system that you can understand the data output of. It doesn't matter if it tells you 1,000,000 things if you can't translate the data to what you were doing behind the wheel. Use that data and take good notes after each run to really see if you are doing what you hoped to learn that event better than you did in the previous events. As you build up a history of data you can better determine what you can work on to improve your times the most.

Depending on your budget somewhere after the start of 2 or after 4 even get some DOT R tires on a second set of rims. Also consider having somebody that knows a lot about setting up a car properly tune your alignment/suspension.

At the point you've gone through and done all you can do to improve then I feel you'll get the most out of the driving schools. Depending on your region you may be able to get some 'free' driving school from some of the experienced folks that may also have some experience instructing. Many of those folks will also be the people there that are on the regional SCCA board and if you take the time to show them you're serious (show up early, do what you can to help setup, stay late, help tear down, etc) they'll be more than happy to help you in return.
TracyRX7 is offline  
Old 02-21-05, 10:26 AM
  #7  
Be one with the Rotor
5 Year Member
Thread Starter
 
Paul_in_DC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 13
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Terrific info all! I'm curious to hear more about the Geez sensor/software... do you use this? From the sound of it on the page you referenced, it sounds like a terrific analysis tool to use after a couple events. And yes, I plan to stay strictly stock in the first year and see how it goes.
Paul_in_DC is offline  
Old 02-21-05, 10:42 AM
  #8  
Lives on the Forum
15 Year Member
 
DamonB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Dallas
Posts: 9,617
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Paul_in_DC
Terrific info all! I'm curious to hear more about the Geez sensor/software... do you use this? From the sound of it on the page you referenced, it sounds like a terrific analysis tool to use after a couple events. And yes, I plan to stay strictly stock in the first year and see how it goes.
I use it but honestly it will be useless to you until you have a thorough understanding of what you and the car are truly doing. All you'll do with data logging is confuse yourself until you have some real experience.

A novice has no need for a data logger until he is consistent and capable of understanding how changes in his driving effect the chassis and the times IMO.

DamonB's Geez! plots from 2004
DamonB is offline  
Old 02-21-05, 11:41 AM
  #9  
Senior Member
iTrader: (2)
 
Jims5543's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Jensen Beach, Fl
Posts: 345
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Evolution is the best money you can spend to become more competative on an Autocross course.

I did a season of Autocrossing and was consistantly 0.3-0.5 seconds behind the #1 competitor in ASP in a Covette.

That winter (Florida) I did the Phase 1 and Phase 2 Evolution schools.

The next season I was clobbering this same corvette by 1-2 seconds. The owner of the Vette came up to me and aksed me what changed on my car. I answered "the driver" I explained I spent the winter at Evolution Schools. He has now taken the same courses and we are neck and neck again.

I believe in the Evolution schools so much I have sponsored 3 custom Phase 1 schools to get more RX-7 and MINI owners into the sport.

I just had a Rotary only driving school last weekend (NoPistons Winter Retreat) and we had 12 cars in the school then 25 cars in an open Autocross format with instructors available if you wanted them.

I cannot say enough good things about the Evolution organization. The owners and their teachers are all National Champs and their positive attittude is great.


One word of advice if you decide to go. Leave you're ego at home. You're not going to the school to show them how awesome of a driver you are you're going to learn to drive better. Keep an open mind be open to suggestions. They did some crazy things to me while I was there. Like drive the Phase 1 course and not be allowed to use my brakes or have Marc Dana slap my hand every time I set it upon my shift **** instead of on the wheel. You have to go with the attitude that you want to learn. If you're going to show off then don't bother.
Jims5543 is offline  
Old 02-21-05, 11:49 AM
  #10  
Lives on the Forum
15 Year Member
 
DamonB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Dallas
Posts: 9,617
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Jims5543
or have Marc Dana slap my hand every time I set it upon my shift **** instead of on the wheel.
Nothing like postivie reinforcement. *SLAP* "Don't do that!"
DamonB is offline  
Old 02-21-05, 12:32 PM
  #11  
Rotorhead
 
Evil Aviator's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
Posts: 9,136
Likes: 0
Received 21 Likes on 16 Posts
Originally Posted by DamonB
Truthfully it doesn't matter but I think you'll get more out of it if you try a few events on your own and then go to school.
Nothing like your first autocross makes you realize just how bad you really are, lol.
Evil Aviator is offline  
Old 02-21-05, 01:08 PM
  #12  
development
10 Year Member
 
dubulup's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Lafayette, LA
Posts: 5,714
Likes: 0
Received 2 Likes on 2 Posts
^so true, LOL!!!
dubulup is offline  
Old 02-21-05, 01:30 PM
  #13  
OEM Parts Hoarder
iTrader: (11)
 
JerryLH3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 2,393
Likes: 0
Received 9 Likes on 8 Posts
I have attended one of the "custom" Evolution schools Jim has put together. We got a good deal, but I fully believe it would be worth the full price. Like the others mentioned, do a couple of events first, and then do a school.

During that day of instruction, my times consistently improved. What really helps is the individual attention and the constant seat time. Getting to run a course pretty much non-stop really helps the reinforcement. It allows for a quick moment of "OK, this is what I did good, this is what I did bad, and this is what I need to do different" and then you're immediately working on those things back on the course.
JerryLH3 is offline  
Old 02-21-05, 02:10 PM
  #14  
Be one with the Rotor
5 Year Member
Thread Starter
 
Paul_in_DC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 13
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by DamonB
I use it but honestly it will be useless to you until you have a thorough understanding of what you and the car are truly doing. All you'll do with data logging is confuse yourself until you have some real experience.

A novice has no need for a data logger until he is consistent and capable of understanding how changes in his driving effect the chassis and the times IMO.

DamonB's Geez! plots from 2004
Understood. I agree it would be a waste until I first get enough experience to have a general clue about what's happening. This'll be one of those "keep link for future reference" kind of things. Thanks for the feedback.
Paul_in_DC is offline  
Old 02-21-05, 02:15 PM
  #15  
Be one with the Rotor
5 Year Member
Thread Starter
 
Paul_in_DC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 13
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Jims5543
...
One word of advice if you decide to go. Leave you're ego at home. You're not going to the school to show them how awesome of a driver you are you're going to learn to drive better. Keep an open mind be open to suggestions. They did some crazy things to me while I was there. Like drive the Phase 1 course and not be allowed to use my brakes or have Marc Dana slap my hand every time I set it upon my shift **** instead of on the wheel. You have to go with the attitude that you want to learn. If you're going to show off then don't bother.
Well, I'm mature enough that I can handle it when I realize I'm not God's Gift To Auto Racing. Yeah, I can imagine that having a "hooray for me" attitude would make it pretty much pointless to attend. Personally, I'll have to steel myself for the possibility that I get a more experienced instructor who's much younger than me. If I can deal with that, then there's hope!
Paul_in_DC is offline  
Old 02-21-05, 02:28 PM
  #16  
What Subscription?
10 Year Member
 
banzaitoyota's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Aiken SC USA
Posts: 5,926
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The Evolution Schools are well worth the $$$$$.













NOW I SUCK LESS!
banzaitoyota is offline  
Old 02-22-05, 08:12 AM
  #17  
Adrenaline
 
RecKleSs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 1,260
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Question

What is the price for http://autocross.com/evolution/ Phase 1, I couldn't find it on their website?
RecKleSs is offline  
Old 02-22-05, 08:28 AM
  #18  
What Subscription?
10 Year Member
 
banzaitoyota's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Aiken SC USA
Posts: 5,926
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Price is dependent on the hosting orginization I believe, JIMS5443 can give you a better answer than I
banzaitoyota is offline  
Old 02-22-05, 08:37 AM
  #19  
Lives on the Forum
15 Year Member
 
DamonB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Dallas
Posts: 9,617
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by RecKleSs
What is the price for http://autocross.com/evolution/ Phase 1, I couldn't find it on their website?
Price may vary by location since instructors have to be driven in/flown in etc.

All the Evolution classes near me in Dallas have been about $200 per class. I don't know if that's true for the entire country but I would expect it to be about that.

We're lucky enough to have a large enough region that Evolution comes to us since we have so many students. People from less populated areas may in fact have to travel to a place where Evolution is holding schools. I know quite a few students who have flown out and rented cars that were then mercilessly pummelled for a day

Go to www.autocross.com/evolution and then click "calendar" on the left column. That shows this year's dates and locations along with contact info where you can get pricing.

Last edited by DamonB; 02-22-05 at 08:44 AM.
DamonB is offline  
Old 02-22-05, 08:50 AM
  #20  
Lives on the Forum
15 Year Member
 
DamonB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Dallas
Posts: 9,617
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We're really lucky here in Dallas that Evolution comes to us every year. Keep in mind that even if you did have to pay travel expenses (even plane tickets!) on top of the price of the school it would still be the best money you ever spent. There is absolutely nothing else you can spend the money on that would make your car faster. Not tires, not turbo kits, not shocks, not anything.

Jean Kinser Dana, the owner of the school, has a saying: "A car is as fast as the driver can make it". That's aboslutely true. Cars are not fast, drivers are fast. Once the driver is fast he'll be fast no matter what he drives.
DamonB is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
WyomingTII
1st Generation Specific (1979-1985)
7
05-31-18 09:00 AM
Devon Murray
Introduce yourself
2
09-25-15 09:41 AM


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Quick Reply: Autocross Schools - worth it?


Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

© 2019 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
 
  • Ask a Question
    Get answers from community experts
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: