Witney Motor Club
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This article has been compiled to tell you everything you need to know about how to get started in Autocross from licenses to cars and, most importantly, the costs. It has been written by the current competitors for the new competitors.

Join A Local MSA Recognised Club
To find a local club, you can type in your postcode on the MSA website and you will be able to see a list of clubs in your area. Before you join a club, check that they are involved in Autocross as not all clubs are.

There are benefits from joining a club. Most clubs publish a monthly magazine to keep you up to date with events and news, have their own club awards – normally presented at their annual dinner and dance and you build a network of competitors and officials you can call on to help with any motor racing problem you may have!

Obtain A Licence
To compete in the vast majority of motor racing events, you need a competition licence. For Autocross, you need what is known as a Non Race National B licence. You can apply for one of these on the first day of competition by filling in a form! Just make sure you inform the secretary of the meeting before hand to make sure he/she has some forms with him/her at the event!!

Choosing A Racing Car
The biggest and most important piece of equipment you will need is a car! You may be able to hire a car to see if Autocross is for you.

There are several classes in Autocross and are generally determined by what type of car you drive, the only exception being Class F for the 14-16 year old juniors (although restrictions do apply to the type of cars they can compete in). The classes vary depending on what area and what championship you are running in. Check the association websites for the local championships and for the general rules, the MSA Competitor' and Officials' Year Book ( the “Blue Book”).

When initially starting Autocross, the best category to enter is the road going class (Class A in the MSA British Autocross Championship). By using a road going car you can drive to the event, compete, and then drive home again without having to fit a tow bar to your existing road car and buying a trailer. Class A provides an entry level in to Autocross. The cars are closely matched and can be relatively cheap to run over the season. The class is split in two – those under 1600cc and those above 1600cc to ensure fair and close competition. They can have safety modifications such as roll-cages, competition seats and harnesses.

The best type of car to run is something small like a Peugeot 205 or a Vauxhall Nova as they tend to be smaller engined and cheaper to run.

For further details see the specific championship rules and the MSA Competitor' and Officials' Year Book.

Additional Equipment
Other than a car, additional equipment is required. For safety reasons you must have a crash helmet, fireproof overalls and a fire extinguisher, which comply with MSA regulations. You may also wear fire proof gloves and racing boots, although these are advisory, and not mandatory. Several companies provide all these items; ask the drivers and see what they recommend!

Double Driving
The great thing about Autocross is that you don't need to have one car per competitor. Often 2 people compete in the same car, and it has been known for 3 people to drive the same car in the same event (albeit one competitor has to enter a different class)!

If you have a friend or relative who already competes, you may be able to persuade them in to letting you double drive their car. If not, but you know someone else who is interested in competing, why not buy a car together and split the cost? Autocross is a great family event and some of the cars are driven by a combination of husbands/wives/sons/daughters.

Multi-Car Starts
Some people choose to start singularly, particularly if they compete in  a rally car. The sport is relatively low risk as there is or should be nothing to hit. However, if you wish, you may do double car starts. Most people opt for this, although some competitors choose to do 3 and 4 car starts whilst still competing against the clock. Multi-car starts normally depend on the area you compete in and the width and conditions of the track.

Costs
Autocross is a very cheap form of motor sport in comparison to other types. The following is an approximate guide of the costs you will incur:-

  • Club Membership – varies between clubs but approximately £20.00
  • MSA Non Race Nat B License - £37.00
  • Crash Helmet – from £60.00 (approx)
  • Overalls – from £80.00 (approx)
  • Gloves – from £20.00 (approx)
  • Racing boots (advisory) – from £40.00 (approx)
  • Harness (advisory) – from £50.00 (approx)
  • Fire Extinguisher – from £30.00 (approx)
  • Racing car – from £100 upwards!!
  • Any championship's you may wish to enter – British £35.00, others are generally less
  • Entry fees approximately £50-60 per event (some clubs offer a discount if you are a member of that club).
  • Don't forget travel costs to and from the venues!!

Clubcross
You can only use a road car for these type of events. There is no need for a license. There are no events which run at the moment, but if there were people willing to do it, one of the clubs maybe prepared to run one at an Autocross event.

Talk To The “Experts”
Why don't you go to an Autocross event and see what goes on? It is well worth talking to the competitors and officials at any event who will be pleased to advise you on any aspect of the sport. This will give you a better idea of the sport and possibly the car and class you would like to run in.

Useful Websites
Websites you may wish to have a look at:-

Article taken from Autocross News