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More Letters on Autocross

Dear Editor,

First, I applaud your concern for protecting and preserving your community.

However, you are way off base on this issue. [City of Alameda Now in Auto Racing Business]

Equating autocrossing to street racing is not only completely ignorant of the sport it is irresponsible journalism and calls into question your integrity as a journalist.

You should have at the very least contacted someone at the Porsche Club of America to ascertain exactly what autocrossing is. Instead you choose to demagogue the sport you have no understanding of rather than trying to understand how it keeps off the street and endangering innocent bystanders.

Secondly, some facts:

Autocross is a form of motorsports that emphasizes safe, low-cost competition and active participation. An autocross is a timed competition where drivers navigate one at a time through a temporary course marked by traffic cones, rather than racing on a track with multiple other cars, as in road racing or oval racing. Autocross tends to place more emphasis on car handling and driver skill than on sheer horsepower, and events typically have many classes which allow almost any vehicle, from economy sedans to purpose-built vehicles, to compete. Speeds are slower in absolute terms 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. Autocross courses are typically 40 to 70 seconds in length. In addition to being a national-level motorsport in its own right, autocrossing is a good way to learn skills that can help on the street, as drivers learn vehicle control and situational awareness.

Courses are set up to try and manage absolute speeds to those commonly seen on the street or highway most of the drivers might encounter, typically not to exceed 70 mph in a straight line.

This sport has been around since the 1950s when soldiers and airmen who been stationed abroad brought their cars home with them and wanted an avenue to enjoy them while still being safe, legal, and inexpensive.

I would urge you to go to an event and see it for yourself before passing such an ignorant and uninformed judgment.

I think you will find most autocrossers to be among the friendliest and most outgoing people you will have a chance to meet. It is as much a social event as it is a competition.


– Brian Cembor

[Editor Note: We think that event organizers do the sport a dis-service by advertising their events as a form of “racing” and “competition” in order to drum up participants and spectators if those are not accurate terms.]

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