Now that you've immersed yourself into the world of racing – starting with drag racing, you'll probably feel more comfortable in other forms of automotive competitions such as hotlapping and auto crossing. Hotlapping versus auto crossing – what's the difference? Well, hotlapping involves driving on an open track, roughly 1.5-2.5 miles in length, whereas auto crossing is driving on a road course spanning less than one mile set up in a parking lot that is made up of those malicious rubber cones. This as a result, makes car configuration different for both types of courses, since auto crossing has much tighter turns than that of the larger tracks of actual road courses.
Overall, many of the rules and etiquettes of hotlapping parallel auto crossing, so I will be brief on the introduction of auto crossing since I will be mentioning tips which are applicable for both. Though some people feel confident enough to jump into a real roadcourse without any prior experience, most of us would rather slowly build confidence by gaining experience through auto crossing. This is so that we generally know what to expect of our vehicles at an actual racetrack. So, for those of you who are ready for hotlapping, you can jump right to the racetrack. For the rest of us who aren't, let me give you a brief run through of what auto crossing is like.
Auto cross, also known as Solo 2 events can be found on various enthusiasts' websites and message boards. Most members are people that are very friendly and supportive to beginners who wish to get involved. I have found that www.Solo2.com also provides a plethora of useful information. Depending on the sanctioning body, most Solo 2 events have timelines which can be downloaded from their respective websites. Most events usually begin their registration at 7:30 a.m. Remember to arrive early or at the latest, on time! Arriving early will assure you a spot in the day's event and it will give you time to tech your car before long lines start to form later on. Also, arriving early will give you time to walk the track, a definite advantage over driving through the course blindly, which will cause you to waste one of only three guaranteed runs of the day. Sometimes, track officials will do a group walk-through of the course. This is extremely helpful, as the instructor will probably introduce to you the basic line of the course. Walking the course is only feasible at auto cross events, since the course is so short.
With auto crossing and road racing, punctuality cannot be stressed enough. Following schedules is a must, because tardiness is a key reason as to why events get held up and thrown off schedule. Be for warned, most events will start without you – leaving you behind.