How to set up an autocross event – Scott Huntington

Autocross events are the perfect way to bring your local car community together, but they don’t always take place in areas that are convenient for you. The solution to this is obvious — host your own local autocross event! If you’re not sure where to start, here are some tips to help you get started.

Find Your Location

You can set up an autocross event anywhere that there is sufficient flat pavement that’s not already populated by other cars. Parking lots, empty tracks and even undeveloped but paved lots are all be good options.

You will likely need to check in with whoever owns the property and may be required to sign a contract removing all liability from the property owner. This is pretty standard — no one wants to be responsible if someone gets hurt on their property while you’re autocrossing.

If you’re using a parking lot or something, be prepared to restore it to its former glory when the event ends. This will include clean up — don’t leave any trash behind. It might also include painting or repainting any damaged parking lot lines. Leave it like you found it and chances are, you’ll be invited back.

Set Up Your Course

Once you’ve got your spot, it’s time to set up your course. You can do this in a number of ways. Permanent autocross courses will have pylons and painted lanes and timing lights.  If you’re using a temporary location, this might not be possible. If you get permission to paint lanes, you’ll need to paint over them when the event is over.

You can also use cones, or temporary pylons to mark out your course.  These may get knocked over, but chances are you can just pick them back up and put them right back to work.

Plan Your Day

Once you’ve found your location, it’s time to plan your day.  How many races are you planning? How many drivers are you expecting?

Most autocross events start early. Figure that you’ll run your first race around 9 or 9:30 am, with time beforehand for registration and paperwork — we’ll talk more about that chore later.

You’re going to be outdoors all day. Depending on your location, it’s probably going to be warm.  Make sure you stock up on water to keep you hydrated. Consider commissioning a couple of food trucks to keep everyone fed during the event.

Next, plan your races. Depending on the number of drivers, you will probably need a few events in the morning and a few more in the afternoon. How many will depend on the kind of turnout that you’re expecting.

Don’t Forget Paperwork

No one likes paperwork but it’s essential for an event like this.  Each driver will need to sign a waiver.  The exact text of the waiver might vary from state to state but in essence the waiver will state that the driver is responsible for his or her own property and absolves the event owner and the property owner of any liability in the event of an accident or injury.

If you’re still not sure where to start, consider finding an autocross club in your local area and checking out one of their events.  Even if you don’t join their autocross club, it will give you a great foundation to build upon for starting your own events.