NCC Community FAQ

Here you can find answers to questions about how the board works. Use the links or search box below to find your way around.

Are convertibles permitted?

Absolutely! This is one of the few motorsport environments where convertible owners can safely push their cars to the limit.

Can I / my passenger run a video camera?

This practice is strictly prohibited, as the video camera can fly out of the holder's hands becoming a projectile. Please use a mounting solution that will not allow the camera to become a projectile.

Can I ride with someone?

Due to our insurance and national regulation, we are not permitted to allow ride-alongs. The only people who are allowed to ride-along are the instructors.

Can I run my Chevy Tahoe / Honda Odyssey / Porsche Cayenne? It's really sporty.

SUV-type vehicles and trucks are not permitted for safety reasons. Remember the Suzuki Samurai?

Can someone ride with me?

Due to our insurance and national regulation, we are not permitted to allow ride-alongs. The only people who are allowed to ride-along are the instructors.

Do I have to wear a helmet?

If you are in a car running on the autocross course, you must wear a helmet. Snell M or SA helmets are required - years 2005, or 2010. Typically motorcycle helmets only carry a DOT rating which is NOT okay for autocross. The National Capital Chapter has some loaner helmets available, but their quantity is limited.

Do I keep the same number all season?

The number does not remain the same but rather is assigned per event.

If you have a specific number you wish to use for an event, just put your number request (two digits only) in the comments box during registration and we'll try our best to make that assignment. Once the numbers are assigned, the first number (e.g. the "1" of "143") only denotes that you are in the first session, it doesn't need to be put on the cars for our events.

Has there ever been an accident?

Our events are extremely safe, however incidents can occur in any type of motorsports. It is extremely rare, and the courses are specifically designed to minimize this risk. If driven safely and properly, there is no reason to contact anything other than the occasional cone.

How do I qualify for a year end award?

Each year, during the annual meeting, awards are presented for top autocross performances. To qualify for a year end award, the driver must attend no less than 75% the scheduled points events, running in the same class for each event. (This means for a eight event season, a driver must attend six events to qualify.) If a driver chooses to compete in all scheduled points events, he will have the opportunity to drop his single, lowest event score. Ten points are awarded for a first place finish, nine points for a second place finish, eight points for a third place finish, etc. This system is specifically designed to award individuals who frequently participate rather than solely focus upon performance. Trophies will be awarded to the top third of qualifying drivers in each classes not to exceed three trophies per class.

How many runs will I get?

This is a function of run times and turnout. Typically everyone will get no less than four runs. Excess time due to operating efficently is typically rewarded with extra "fun runs".

I have a wedding to attend in the afternoon. How long will this take?

Each event runs on a unique schedule. Please contact a member of the autocross committee with your concern. We try our hardest to accommodate all requests and crazy schedules.

I have an automatic transmission. Will autocross still be fun?

Autocrossing a vehicle with an automatic transmission is FUN! For newcomers, it's likely that autocrossing with an automatic will be easier allowing the driver to focus on driving rather than shifting. Come to an event and give it a try!

I hear the announcer saying 'Plus One'. What is this?

When an autocrosser hits a cone, a two second penalty is added to their time. A 'plus x' is simply a cone penalty or penalties.

I just signed up, but I've never done this before. What should I expect?

Upon arrival, please go to the registration area, pay, sign the waiver sheet, and get a wristband and your car number (which you may have from online registration). Ask where tech inspection is being performed. Run your car through the tech inspection area and receive a sticker acknowledging that your car has been inspected. Before your heat begins, look at the course map and try to see how people are running the course. Novices are encouraged to arrive early enough to ride along with an experienced autocrosser in the previous heat. Before your heat starts, make sure you take time to do a course walkthrough. Try to walk the course with someone experienced; they can give you tips and information about how to handle the various challenges. The drivers meeting will start a few minutes before the heat starts. General safety, hazard information, and an overview of how to conduct yourself will be covered. You'll learn whether you are in the first or second run group at the driver's meeting. If you are in the first, you drive first, then work second. The second run group will do the opposite. Various work assignment are given at the start of the heat. Some example include:
  • Staging and releasing drivers on the starting line.
  • Working the course informing the timing tent when a car hits cones or noting unsafe conditions that may not be otherwise visable.
  • Assisting the timing coordinator with the timing system and / or administrative work.
  • Helping with tech inspection.
We know that it can sometimes be overwhelming for a novice. Generally speaking, if you have questions, ask someone with magnetic numbers on their car. Most likely, they are serious enough enough to answer any questions that you might have or guide you to someone with the answers.

I'm new to Autocross. What class am I in?

Classing information can be found by clicking here. Vehicle classing can be a bit complicated, and we understand if you have questions. Please contact a member of the autocross committee with questions. Be prepared to inform us of any vehicle modifications.

What if it's raining?

In the event of precipitation, you get the added bonus of learning to drive your car well under more challenging circumstances. As long as the timing gear works and the cones don't float away (and they have), the event will continue.

What is tech inspection?

All cars undergo a technical inspection prior to participating in an autocross event. The inspectors are looking at the following:
  • Ensure no loose articles are in the interior space or trunk.
  • Making sure that nothing can be lodged under the pedals (no driver's side floor mat please).
  • Underhood inspection to verify no gross fluid leakage and no loose parts.
  • Check wheels to ensure they are firmly affixed to the car.
  • Verify there are no serious suspension issues that could affect participant safety.
You will then receive a sticker to let the starter know you have been through tech. Without it, you can't drive on the course.

When do I get to see my times?

Times are flashed after each run on the timing display. If you didn't get a chance to see the time, listen for the announcer as we try to announce all times after the completion of the run. Official results are usually posted within the week after the event on the National Capital Chapter website.

When does registration open?

Regular event registration typically opens four weeks before the event.

Why do some people do runs before an autocross event starts?

The course designers need to do a few runs before any autocross event starts. First and foremost this is done to ensure the safety of the drivers, the course workers, and the cars. Secondly, we need to ensure that the course is long enough to make for an enjoyable run and short enough to allow everyone to run about 4 times per event. Many course changes are made during the set-up and the pre-runs taken may not actually be the same course design as the final run. We realize that this may seem to give an unfair advantage to those who are managing the event, but we strongly feel that your safety and the safety of everyone else attending takes precedent.

Will hitting a cone damage my car?

Hitting cones will generally do little more than leave a black mark on the paint that can be removed with common detailing supplies. The cones that we use are flexible allowing them to crush and go under the car when hit.

However, they have taken out a fog light or scuffed the paint from time-to-time. Two recommended solutions: Use painters tape to protect vulnerable areas (front spoiler, area behind wheel wells) and / or buy a black car. No, you really don't need to buy a black car!

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