Originally Posted by KC
For both auto-x and road racing, there are turn-in points, apexes, and track out points.
Auto-x will have about 40 of these within a minute.
Road racing has about 8-12 of these every 2-3 minutes.
Road racing traffic to contend with. The drivers senses are not only working on the line, but also the traffic around him, AND what the car is doing at any given point in time. That's a lot of brain processing for 20-30 min per session. Sometimes, the brain can only process 'so much'.
Auto-x doesn't. Driver only concentrates on the line, and what the car is doing... almost a state of hyperfocus. Since each run is less than 1 minute, the driver's brain doesn't get that overloaded.
Since things happen so fast in auto-x, but one can do 10-15 events year, a good driver becomes much more attuned to the car and what it is doing at any given point and starts to make minor adjustments unconciously. This translates very well to road racing in taking an 'off' line, and dealing with traffic to the point of not having to 'think' about it.
You pretty much nailed it for me. I've only been involved in autoX for a year, so I've done a dozen or so events before I went to the track (Lime Rock) for the first time last weekend. When I got on the track, my brain was completely overloaded. There were corner workers with flags, cars in front of and behind me all going various speeds higher and lower than me on various points on the track, trying to keep the proper line and do this all in the rain was a helluva challenge. The simplest of driving actions that happen subconsciously on a normal day or autoX were eluding me. Several times I completely forgot to shift when I was on the main straight because I was so preoccupied wondering if the car ahead of me was going to give me a point by or if the car behind me was expecting one. I'm use to 2nd gear and go. My instructor said after my next event I'll be ready to move up to HPDE2, but I definitely disagree and wouldn't move up just for the hell of it if I wasn't ready. I felt like a lot of other cars held me up in the turns, but it was a heck of a different world to adapt to. Hopefully I get my act together next time (and that it doesn't rain and the track's not crammed full of cars).