Hello and welcome to the Sports Car Club of America – San Francisco Region’s Autocross page! We’re thrilled to have you here, and we’re sure you’re eager to know what autocross is all about. Whether you’ve just heard about autocross or are taking the first step towards attending an event, this page is designed to give you a jumpstart
What is Autocross?
Autocross is a timed motorsport that emphasizes safe, low-cost competition and individual performance rather than the car’s capabilities. Participants navigate a course set up using traffic cones on a large parking lot or unused airstrip. Each driver tries to clock the quickest time without knocking over cones or going off course. It’s the perfect place to learn car control, hone your driving skills, and simply have fun behind the wheel!
What Level of Prep Do I Need?
If it’s your first time, don’t stress about car modifications. At the event you’ll see everything from stock Civics and Corollas, to purpose built race cars. As long as your car is in good working order and meets the basic safety guidelines, your car is good to autocross as is!
Pre-registration is handled via MotorSportReg. Typically events open for pre-reg 2 weeks prior to the event date, and remain open until the Tuesday before the event (though always check the MSR sign up window so you don’t miss out!).
On site registration is also available at an increased cost the day of the event. Save yourself some cash and pre-reg!
What Class Is My Car
This can get tricky as the rule book is HUGE! It does have a section in back though that can tell you directly where you car falls. The key is picking the right class based on mods. Here’s the general idea:
- Street Classes: Can do catback, shock replacement if shock is same dimensions as OEM (can’t do springs!), drop-in air intake filter, OEM wheel size but with +/- 7 mm OEM offset, can replace one sway bar, and tires must be at least 200 treadwear.
- Street Touring Classes: Intake, full exhaust, coil overs, wheels and tires must meet requirements of sections 14.3 and 14.4 of the full rule book, sway bars, limited slip differential if not AWD, and ECU management allowed (No boost modifications allowed).
- Street Prepared: Everything in ST allowed and more! Wheel/tire size are no longer restricted, diffs are not restricted for AWD, tires only have to be DOT R (like Hoosier A7), and ECU restriction lifted.
- Street Modified: Everything in SP but now with aero allowance, some weight reduction mods, forced induction modification, engine mods, and engine swaps(if same manufacturer).
- Everything Else: Crazy purpose-built shenanigans.
Below is a quick reference for which mods are allowed in each class, along with the page number in the 2023 Solo Rules helping you further understand what is and isn’t allowed.
You can also check out this assistant, if you want a guided walk through of what mods you can and can’t run in each class.
What to Bring
- Helmet (there are limited loaners available)
- A SNELL helmet certified within the last 10 years. A full list of supported safety classifications can be found here.
- Car Numbers (or painters tape in a contrasting color to your car)
- Water, Snacks, Lunch (Closest food is a 10 min drive).
- Hat, sunscreen, and comfortable clothing: Wear layers, as weather can change throughout the day. Crows Landing ranges from the 40’s in the winter mornings, to 100+ in the summer afternoons.
This is a pretty bare bones list of the minimum you need for a day of autocross. For a more extensive list check out the general information and see what things you’ll frequently see.
Arriving On Site
Check here for how to get to each site. You’ll want to get there nice and early to give yourself time to walk the course ahead of time. Plan to arrive prior to 8am to give yourself ample time to prep your car, and get a couple of course walks in.
*Note to First Timers* Once you arrive on site make sure to check in at the timing trailer. Registration should be able to point you in the correct direction of our novice instructors, and get you setup for the day.
Typical Daily Schedule
8:00 – 8:15 AM: Same day registration/check-in, and course opens for walking. *Note* For non-novice drivers who pre-regged online you do NOT need to check in, you have already been checked in, and your work assignment has already been assigned.
~8:20 AM: Novice course walk begins at the starting line.
8:40 AM: Course closes for walking.
8:50 AM: Drivers meeting at the trailer.
9:00 AM: First car out. We usually have 3-4 run groups, and each participant gets 5 runs in their designated group.
After Competitive Runs (Roughly 1 to 3 PM): There will be a 30-minute fun run session, where you can get an additional 5-8 runs. It’s a great time to practice or just enjoy the track a bit more!
How Do Run Groups Work?
Once the event sign up has closed, run groups will be assigned and posted here. You’ll see two different groups, a run group (RG), and a work group (WG).
During your assigned Run Group, you’ll drive your car up to the grid, and park in any spot (if you have a co-driver go to the 2 driver section). Once parked you’ll want to double check your car is ready to go (all loose items removed, and your numbers are properly displayed). Tech is done in grid, so if you don’t have a tech sticker yet, you’ll get one there. From there just wait for the chief of grid to give you the go ahead, and they will direct you to the line when it’s your turn to run.
During your assigned work group, you’ll check in at the trailer, and be assigned a station to go work. Here you’ll grab cones, and radio in penalties for other cars running in their run group.
Everyone at the event is expected to check in for their work assignment. Failure to do so will mean you may be uninvited from future SFR events.
If you’re new or just looking to improve, we have experienced instructors ready to help. They can offer guidance, ride along for feedback, or even show you the ropes on a demo run. Be sure to ask at registration or the morning meeting if you’re interested.
Before your first event you’ll also want to take a look at our General Event Information page to help familiarize yourself with the basic event flow, and some additional information.
Q: How many runs do I get?
A: In the morning you’ll get 5 competitive runs, and then an additional 5-8 runs in the afternoon during optional fun runs. While all your runs for the day will be timed, only your runs in the morning will count for points in the seasonal championship. Afternoon fun runs are just to practice and hone your skills. Since we are entirely a volunteer based org, we do ask you help stack and pack a few cones if you opt in for fun runs.
Q: Can any car participate in Autocross?
A: While most cars can, some high center-of-gravity vehicles may not be allowed due to safety reasons. A full list approved cars can be found in the official SCCA Solo Rules.
Q: Is it safe?
A: Yes! Safety is our top priority. Speeds are generally low, and there’s nothing to hit but soft traffic cones.
Q: Do I need to be an SCCA member to participate?
A: Yes. While an SCCA membership is required to participate, Weekend SCCA memberships are available for $15 (Covers both Saturday and Sunday). A weekend membership also comes with a $15 code off an annual membership if you later decide you can’t get enough autocross in your life.
Q: Can I bring my friends or family?
A: Absolutely! They can watch, and those over 18 can even ride along as a passenger during your runs! (they will need a helmet). Everyone on site will need to sign a waiver through Speed Waiver or at the gate, and minors will need an additional waiver. More info on spectators can be found here.
Q: How do I know what class my car is in?
A: We have a classification guide to help you figure it out. If you’re still unsure, ask a seasoned participant or an event official.