There are some things that will appear in this blog on a rather regular interval that may require some explanation. This FAQ attempts to explain some of these terms and items covered in my blog.
Autocross From Wikipedia: “a form of motorsports that emphasizes safe, low-cost competition and active participation. An autocross is a timed competition where drivers navigate one at a time through a temporary course maked by traffic cones, rather than on a track with multiple other cars, as in road racing or oval racing. Autocross tends to place more emphasis on car handling and driver skill than on sheer horsepower, and events typically have many classes which allow almost any vehicle, from economy sedans to purpose-built vehicles, to compete. Speeds are slower in absolute terms when compared to other forms of motorsports, usually not exceeding highway speeds, but the activity level (measured in discrete turns per minute) can be higher than even Formula 1 due to the large number of elements packed into each course. Autocross courses are typically 40 to 70 seconds in length.”
CLASS In an autocross event, cars are divided into classes in order to keep cars of similar performace together. There are five “basic” classes, each having a series of “sub” classes associated with them. The five basic classes are Stock, Street Touring, Street Prepared, Prepared, and Modified. Stock classed cars have the most restrictions placed on them, where Modified have virtually none. With the exception of Street Touring, the basic classes are divided into “sub” classes ranging from A through H, with A being the fastest and H being the slowest. My WRX, for example, falls into D Stock. There is also a Super Stock, which is just above A Stock. Cars compete against each other within their own class to keep things on a more or less even playing field.
CMP Carolina Motorsports Park. A permanent road course between Camden and Kershaw, SC.
DNF Did Not Finish. This is called in by course workers when a driver short-cuts the course, is on the wrong side of a pointer, or otherwise doesn’t complete the course in the way it was intended. No time is recorded for a run that is called in as DNF.
DNS Did Not Start. This is typically only seen on result sheets. It generally indicates a driver that registered for an event online, but did not actually show up to the event. Since they never crossed the start line, they are given DNS.
FTD Fastest Time of Day. This award is given to the driver with the fastest RAW time of the day, regardless of class. Given the competitive nature of autocross, it is a great honor to receive this, and takes a lot of seat time and talent to get here.
FTP Fastest Time PAX. This award is given to the driver with the fastest PAX time of the day, regardless of class. Given the competitive nature of autocross, it is a great honor to receive this, and takes a lot of seat time and talent to get here.
HPDE High Performance Driving Experience. This is a training class designed to get a driver ready for wheel to wheel competition. There are generally four levels of HPDE that you must pass before you can compete on course with other drivers. At the first level, you must have an instructor with you at all times. As you progress, you are allowed to drive on your own and make passes at various points on track. At lower levels, passes are only allowed on straights when the driver in front waves you by, but later you can pass anywhere. All HPDE’s are done on full road courses.
PAX PAX is effectively a handicapping system. Based on research done on a national level, each class is assigned a PAX modifier ranging from 0 to 1. Each driver’s time is then multiplied by the modifier to get their adjusted time. The faster classes (such as the Modified classes) get a less favorable PAX modifier, while classes such as Stock get a more favorable modifier. The idea here is that the car is effectively taken out of the equation and it should be all about the driver.
R Comps This is a term that refers to competition tires. These tires typically have a treadwear rating of 60 or lower. The “tread pattern” on these tires typically consists of two to three parallel grooves running the circumference of the tire. They are sometimes referred to as “cheater slicks.” Running a tire like this in the rain can be disasterous, given that the tire has no way to force water to the outisde. This means the chance of hydroplaning is greatly increased.
RA See Road Atlanta.
RAW RAW times are exactly what they sound like – the time as seen on timing and scoring when the driver crosses the finish line. No modifiers are used, it’s just whatever time a driver ran. These times tend to favor the faster classes such as Modified.
Road Atlanta Road Atlanta. World-class road course outside of Atlanta, GA.
Roebling Roebling Road Raceway. A permanent road course in Savannah, GA.
RRR See Roebling.
Street Tires Street tires are meant to be tires that one could drive to work or run errands on. In reality, any qualifications used are easily bypassed by tire manufacturers, and they end up being slightly less sticky versions of competition tires with an actual tread pattern. They tend to fare much better on wet courses than competition tires because of the tread patterns. Currently, the SCCA has defined a street tire as being any tire with a treadwear rating of 140 or higher.
Street Touring Street Touring is a grouping of classes based on popular cars with commonly seen modifications running on “street tires”. (I’ll explain street tires in a different entry) Street Touring is broken up by engine displacement and whether or not the car uses a turbo- or supercharger. In order from bottom to top, the classes are Street Touring, Street Touring S, Street Touring Xtreme, and Street Touring Ultimate. Street Touring S is the exception here, being limited to 2-seaters instead of engine discplacement.
TT Time Trial. A form of racing where drivers compete for the fastest lap time instead of being first to the finish line. Sometimes considered the next step after HPDE before going to wheel-to-wheel racing.
VIR Virginia International Raceway. A permanent road course just outside Danville, VA.
This FAQ is a work in progress. If you see something in a post that you think needs to be added to this FAQ, send me an email and I’ll get this updated.