What's this all about?
Autocross is a safe, challenging form of competitive motorsport. We set up agility courses in large parking lots at several locations in Northwest Montana. Cars are timed as they navigate the course, and the cars with the lowest times win. A two-second penalty is incurred when a driver hits a cone, so car control is very important. The speeds are relatively low (usually no faster than 45 mph) but the excitement and fun is extremely high.
Who are you?
We are Region 38 of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA). We serve SCCA members and participants in the Missoula area. Our club leaders and contact information are listed on our Contacts page.
Can I do this?
Absolutely! As long as your car is safe to compete, we'd love to have you join us. You don't have to be a member, although SCCA members get a price break on the entry fees. New participants also get a price break for their first two events.
You don't need racing slicks, a racing suit, or a pit crew. All you need are common sense items:
- a safe car - everything in good working order
- good brakes and tires with plenty of tread
- working seat belts for the driver and passenger
- A helmet that meets Snell 2010 standards. We have loaner helmets if you don't have one.
- closed-toe shoes
I drive a ________________. How can I possibly be competitive against a Corvette (or Mustang or Porsche, etc.)?
Two answers: First, cars are separated into different classes depending on their size and weight, horsepower, etc. You'll be competing against other cars in your class that are similar in capability to yours. Secondly, autocross is all about car control and handling, not high horsepower. Often the quickest cars are the Miatas and Mini Coopers.
What does it cost?
Novices pay only $20 for their first two events. After your first two events, the cost depends on the event. Normally, non-members pay $40 per day, while SCCA members pay $25 per day. The Helena events cost an extra $10 per day because of the cost of the venue. If you find this is something you really enjoy, you should seriously consider joining the SCCA. SCCA membership costs $80 per year. MORE INFORMATION
Ok, I'm in. How do I participate in the next event?
First, check our event schedule to learn where the next event is. We generally have about a dozen events a year, spread from late April to early October.
When planning your drive to the event, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to arrive by 8AM, because as a new participant you car will need to be inspected for safety. Bring comfortable closed-toe shoes - athletic shoes are fine, sandals are not. Also bring your driver's license, suncreen, sunglasses, a hat, and perhaps even an umbrella because when you're not driving, you'll be out on the course helping out. It can get hot out there. Bring water to drink.
When you arrive, find the registration table so you can sign in and pay the fee for the day ($20 for your first two events). Let them know you are new so they can get the tech inspector over to your car. They will also help identify what class your car belongs in. You'll need to put your car number and class on the sides of your car. Some guys have magnetic numbers, but if you're new just use some painter's tape or window chalk that won't hurt your paint. We should have some at the registration table.
We usually break up all the drivers into two run groups. While the drivers in the first run group are taking their turns driving the course, the drivers in the second run group will be out working the course, resetting any cones that are hit, calling in missed gates, etc. After all the drivers in the first run group are done, we switch -- the drivers in the first run group go work the course while the drivers in the second run group take turns driving the course. We usually take a short 30-45 minute break for lunch, then do it all over again in the afternoon.
Depending on how many drivers there are, you'll usually get three runs in the morning and three runs in the afternoon. You'll want to have an experienced driver ride with you on your first run or two so they can give you some pointers. Remember, it's not about smokey burnouts and drifting, it's about being as smooth and precise as possible while going as fast as you can.
Yes, your friend/spouse/etc can ride with you if they are at least 12 years old and sign a waiver. In fact, everybody who attends an event, both drivers and spectators, must sign in at the registration table and wear an event wristband.