A Guide to Modern Day Alchemy: or How to transform money into noise, tire smoke, and memories (Part I)

Autocrossing in the old WRX

My introduction to the SCCA was an autocross in 2009, I had just graduated from college and with the money from a new job I bought my first fun car, a brand new 2009 Subaru WRX sedan. My friend and former college roommate had done the same, except he went with a Mazda RX-8. We decided we should meetup and do something car related, he was living in Houston and I was living just south of Tulsa, Oklahoma at the time. A mutual friend of ours recommended we try something called autocross, and although neither of us had heard of it before we decided to give it a shot.

The drive from Tulsa to Houston completed my 1000mi break-in period, I made sure to vary the rpms and avoid cruise control just like the manual recommended. We showed up early and went through tech, the safety briefing, and eventually made our way to grid. We were completely unprepared for what lay ahead of us. We thought of ourselves as competent drivers, were comfortable and experienced with our manual sports cars, but we could not understand the immense breadth of the divide between where our skills were and where they could be. We were fortunate enough to get paired up with some experienced locals for a ride-along before it was our turn. I took a ride in an STU prepped Mitsubishi Evo IX and my whole world changed.

My turn to scare a novice

I grew up playing racing video games, I had watched all sorts of motorsports on TV, and I’d even been to a couple of races at Texas Motor Speedway but I was not prepared for the brutality, speed, and intensity of autocross. The experience from the passenger seat was nothing like I had expected, the seemingly mundane pace of the cars from the outside was a complete lie. I’m not sure that I remembered to breathe. The entire ride all I could do was think to myself that my car was supposed to as fast as that Evo and that I had to drive next. When the car stopped and I got out, my knees were shaking. I walked over to my WRX, got in, and headed to the starting line before I caught my breath. I fell in love with autocross that day and I’ve been dodging cones ever since.

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I have been hooked on autocross since that first ride and I am in so deep that I have become an autocrosser. The sport has become part of my identity. Autocross would have been enough for me, but there are more disciplines and opportunities and I wanted to try them all.

My most recent autocross

To be continued….

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