Welcome to SAR Autocross - an opportunity to experience acceleration, braking and cornering limits in a safe and controlled environment.
The Southern Arizona Region of the Porsche Club of America has long recognized the value of driver education events. So much so that we have been incorporating a significant Driver Education (DE) component into virtually every autocross we've held for many, many years. Here's how our ideas developed and how our autocross events are currently being conducted. As you will see, the whole idea is about driving your Porsche in a fun, and safe, learning environment.
First, a reminder about a typical autocross event. Normal autocross events as we knew them in the 70's, 80' and 90's were mostly held in a large parking lot. The courses were temporary and often not announced until you arrived at the event. Fun, but the learning experiences were few and far between. At many events a limited number of runs were done (as few as THREE!), and your fastest time counted, minus penalties for displacing or knocking down the cones, a.k.a. pylons, that marked the course. At other events you were allowed a few preliminary single-lap runs to "practice" negotiating the course and search for the best path and technique.
In the late 90's, we began to conduct autocross events on dedicated race tracks with speeds limited to the level of a conventional autocross. This meant that the course, with cone locations marked with paint, and the ftrack map, stayed the same for multiple events. And the road surface, except for minor or seasonal changes, remained the same. That allowed participants to compare times, not only with other cars and drivers, but also after repeated visits to the same venue. We also sought, and gained, PCA National permission to implement a safe and easy way to allow strictly-controlled passing. We allowed a small number of cars on track, during 20-minute, continuous-lapping practice sessions, and use carefully-controlled passing so that slower cars did not impede faster ones. The use of continuous lapping has dramatically changed the learning experience for all drivers. And, at the same time, we provided experienced drivers who volunteered as instructors. Those early instructors and a few advanced drivers that have been promoted, have now been certified by the PCA National Driver Training Program. By combining race track venues, continuous lapping, and driver education, we have the best of everything. We've taken to calling these fun events "Driver Education-style Autocross" events. Prior to those early events our instructors met to talk about what common goals and help we could provide for the students. We also discussed effective training methods and safety issues as well. We continue these discussions to this date, each time we prepare for each DE-style Autocross event.
Once we discovered the value of continuous lapping events, in 1999, we started with one racetrack, located at Pinal Air Park near Tucson, AZ. In 2007, we found an additional facility, at Central Arizona College, near Casa Grand, AZ. In May of 2009, we added a new Autocross track, the Musselman Honda Circuit. We typically visit the latter tracks two times a year.
Look for event announcements on our home page under the heading "Upcoming Events"
Although the following events are not conducted by our club and are not Driver Education-Style events, we also participate in other clubs' events, such as ones held by the Arizona Border Region of SCCA (Tucson) and Sierra Vista Car Club's autocross at Fort Huachuca, AZ. We have also organized a semi-occasional charity autocross in the form of a Porsche/Corvette Challenge by inviting members of the Tucson Corvette Club to a friendly, old-style autocross event.
Our monthly membership meetings and our occasional breakfast meetings are a very good way to engage in discussions with like-minded members on just about any topic. If you are interested in driving events of any kind, just ask a few of those gathered there. The chances are that someone you meet has participated in one driving event or another in the past, and can answer your questions or at least direct you to someone who can.
Please consider coming to an event to help by working, just to observe or better yet, join in the fun and excitment. Enter an event and see how quickly you can learn how to improve your performance.