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Chicago area owners: QUIT DRIVING SLOWLY!!

Old 05-25-2017, 03:17 PM
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Chicago area owners: QUIT DRIVING SLOWLY!!

You heard me!
You have a performance car; drive like it!

If you've never done any kind of performance driving before, autocross (aka SCCA "SOLO") is a good, safe place to start. Not only is it a lot of fun but it teaches you skills that are useful in the inevitable "brown pants" situations on the road.


The local clubs that I run with most often are the Tri-State Sports Car Council and the Chicago region of the SCCA. They are a great group of people and it's often joked that an autocross is a social gathering where some racing breaks out.

Here are the basics about how to actually show up and, you know, have fun.
  • You don't have to be a member of most clubs! It's cheaper if you go to enough events but you can just show up and drive.
  • Arrive before 8 AM. The earlier the better because it will give you more time to prep your car and walk the course without feeling rushed. I try to arrive before 7:30.
  • Tech inspection. This is critical. Your tires must be in good condition (no cracks or cord showing), ball joints tight, battery secured and throttle return spring in good shape. Also, you need to remove everything that isn't bolted down from the interior (including floor mats).
  • Cars are split up into heats. While one heat drives, another heat works the course resetting cones and calling in penalties. Then they switch. Events with more than 100-ish participants will usually have you drive two heats, work one heat and rest one heat. Otherwise, it's drive 1 work 1 or drive 2 work 2 with lunch brake in the middle.
  • Working. This is mandatory because autocross is a volunteer operation. If you drive and skip out on working, you're going to get blacklisted.


Event dates:
TSSCC
June 4th - Lake County Fairgrounds, Grayslake, IL
June 18th - Rt. 66 Raceway, Joliet, IL
June 24th - Lake County Fairgrounds, Grayslake, IL
June 25h - Lake County Fairgrounds, Grayslake, IL
August 6th - Miller Park, Milwaukee, WI
October 15th - Rt. 66 Raceway, Joliet, IL

Chicago SCCA
June 11th - Rt. 66 Raceway, Joliet, IL
July 23rd - Rt. 66 Raceway, Joliet, IL
August 13th - Rt. 66 Raceway, Joliet, IL
August 27th - Rt. 66 Raceway, Joliet, IL
September 24th - Rt. 66 Raceway, Joliet, IL
October 28th - Rt. 66 Raceway, Joliet, IL
October 29th - Rt. 66 Raceway, Joliet, IL

There are other groups:
The Windy City Miata Club doesn't require you own a Miata.
Porsche and BMW clubs usually require that you be a member or the "+1" of another member.
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Old 05-25-2017, 03:21 PM
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What's that? You want to go faster?

Well the Chicago region of the SCCA has the answer for you:
PDX: Performance Driving eXperience

I've done a number of these and they are an absolute blast!
Most events happen at Autobahn Country Club in Joliet but they do at least one event per year at Blackhawk Farms Raceway in South Beloit. There is also often an event up north at Road America in partnership with other groups.

A team of volunteers manages the event and recruit instructors to ride along and help you learn (upon request). To improve safety, passing is limited to certain areas of the track and point-bys are required. In the entire history of Chicago SCCA's PDX program there has NEVER been car-car contact.

Procedures are a little different for PDX/trackdays than autocross. You still have to show up, visit the registration table and go through tech inspection. After that, it's time to prepare the car. A drivers meeting will give you the basics on rules and the meanings of the various flags before the instructors take the novices out for sighting laps on the track. You will usually get your track time in 20-minute sessions. You'll get 3 sessions in a typical half-day ("evening") event and double that for a full day.

Schedule:
May 26th, Friday evening - Autobahn North Course
June 9th, Friday evening - Autobahn Full Track
July 8th, Saturday evening - Autobahn North Course
July 17th, Monday full day - Blackhawk Farms
August 13th Sunday (charity event), Autobahn South Course
August 26th/27th "Trackfest" - Autobahn North, Full and south courses
September 8th Friday Evening - Autobahn South Course

Last edited by NotAPreppie; 05-25-2017 at 03:37 PM.
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