Autocross (also called "Solo", "Auto-x" or "Autoslalom") is a timed competition in which drivers navigate one at a time through a defined course on either a sealed or an unsealed surface. It is a form of motorsports that emphasizes safe competition and active participation. Autocross differs from road racing and oval racing in that generally there is only one car on the track, racing against the clock rather than other cars. As an entry-level motorsport it provides a stepping stone for drivers looking to move into other more competitive and possibly expensive forms of racing (such as rallying, rallycross and circuit racing).
Autocross courses are typically one to two kilometres long and tend to place demands on car handling and driver skill rather than on engine power and outright speed. Courses may be temporary and marked by traffic cones or be permanent tracks with approval by a motorsport body.
Events typically have many classes that allow almost any vehicle, from economy sedans to purpose-built racing cars, to compete. Due to the nature of a typical track, speeds can be slower when compared to other forms of motorsports, usually not exceeding highway speeds, but the activity level (measured in discrete turns per minute) can be higher than even Formula One due to the large number of elements packed into each course.
Australian Autocross is type of motorsport sanctioned by the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport, which defines it as a speed event held on a dirt course less than two kilometres long. Eligible vehicles range from standard road-going cars through purpose-built buggies to full race- and rally-prepared machines. Drivers may begin competing at the age of 14 and must hold a recognised racing licence, which is usually obtainable on the day through the hosting club.
American Autocross is a form of autocross practiced in the United States of America sanctioned by Sports Car Club of America and National Auto Sport Association. Events are typically held on flat paved surfaces such as parking lots or airport tarmacs, and have a new course for each event, generally marked out by traffic cones.
SCCA events around the country are open to novices. Because autocross uses rubber traffic cones to build a course in large parking lots or on inactive airstrips, the hazards and barriers to entry are low and that makes autocross one of the easiest and least expensive ways to compete in a car. While speeds are generally no greater than those encountered in legal highway driving, the combination of concentration and precision maneuvering gives drivers an experience similar to that of a full road course race.
Competitors range from the casual participant who may use the same daily driver that they car-pool with to the hard-core driver who has a special car, special tires and uses lots of vacation days to squeak out every last fraction of a second. In between the extremes there are levels and classes for different degrees of car modification, ladies and even kids.
Many events are open to spectators provided you register at the gate with the local club. Many local car clubs offer Autocross novice driving schools to help drivers feel comfortable before a real event.
European Autocross is significantly different from most other types in that cars race wheel to wheel and is similar to Folkrace.
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