Our recent post asking what possible relevance most automobile racing has to the consumer side of the auto industry has me thinking about a race series idea that’s been percolating in my head for a while. The goal of the concept is to come up with a racing series that will resonate both with consumers (read: auto manufacturers) and racing enthusiasts. So far, I have a pretty good idea of what kind of cars, rules, tracks and schedules would be involved, but as yet I haven’t come up with some kind of catchy acronymic name.
To begin with, it would be based on production cars in North America and the races would be run in all three countries that make up the continent — Canada, Mexico, and the United States. That should get some manufacturers involved, if not fielding works teams, at least in terms of funding, PR, and technical support.
There was some mild consternation among the Best&Brightest when I admitted to left-foot braking the Focus SE in traffic. To a man (or woman), our readers were not pleased at the thought that I might be bumbling along a freeway at ten miles per hour or so, alternately pressing the brake and accelerator with one foot per pedal. One wonders what they might have made of LJK Setright’s famous assertion that he occasionally drove cross-footed, pressing the accelerator with his left foot and the brake with his right, “to ensure that driving is a conscious, not unconscious, activity.”
In any event, I would suggest that there is one scenario where you may left-foot brake, one scenario where you should, and one where you absolutely must not, and I’ve detailed them below.
Are those people wasting their time, or do they provide the necessary base for the racing pyramid? This question was asked by a reader in my recent piece about racing an ARCA Tempo, and I think it’s worth discussing for a moment despite the fact that autocross-related articles have consumed enough electrons on the ‘Net to cause jealousy among the folks who operate the Large Hadron Collider.
I will start off by freely admitting that autocross is an area where I do not particularly excel as a driver. In the right car, on the right track, I’m nearly as fast as anyone in the business and I have the track records and wins to prove it. In my single season of National-level SCCA autocross, however, I finished slightly above midpack in three Tour events and almost exactly midpack in the Solo Nationals PAX Index. My modest gift as a driver is a willingness to accept a little bit of danger, which means I frequently find a little more velocity in high-speed corners around racetracks. In autocross, that’s a useless skill. My weakness as a driver is temper, which makes me a solid passer but absolutely abysmal third-run autocrosser.
Since I’m the closest thing TTAC (or nearly anybody else in the autoblogging world) has to a National-level cone-chaser, however, I’ll talk a bit about what autocross is and what it is not.
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