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Old 10-01-2012, 06:43 PM   #1
JFIV
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Default To Autocross Or Not To Autocross

I picked up a used 2011 WRX last May. When I purchased the car I had no intention of racing it. Since then I have installed a Stage 1 TP tune for increased performance. I do not enjoy "abusing" my car in any way but do enjoy pushing it on occasion.

This weekend I am planning to travel down to LA and figured I might as well attend Subiefest while I'm down there. I realized that the event has an autocross event. At first I jumped at the idea and was very eager to compete. I figured the event wouldn't be quite as abusive on my car as drag racing or a track day.

On a side note I am a 17 year old college student (18 next week). I mentioned the idea of autocross to my parents, whom I live with and they were both very opposed to the idea of me racing my car in fear that it would break down. My dad used to track his 1984 911 SC so his opposition was slightly surprising.

Can anyone tell me what I'm looking at as potential damages if I were to autocross? I know Subarus are fairly reliable but my car is not a race car by any means.

Thanks in advance for any responses.
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:23 PM   #2
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Tell them it'll give you a chance to test the limits of the car legally, in a safe environment(following an SCCA rule set or similar) and that the only thing that'll take any real abuse is the tires. Most courses are designed around a 45mph avg.(again SCCA rule set) speed that doesn't require a hard launch and you'll shift to second gear and stay there the whole run. The Subaru Challenge at the Lafayette, IN plant is run by the Indianapolis SSCA chapter and so the region down there may have involvement.
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:25 PM   #3
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Ringlands become an issue in stock form as well with a tune, typically requiring a new short block.
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 04trailsti View Post
Ringlands become an issue in stock form as well with a tune, typically requiring a new short block.
Is that still an issue with the '11?
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:03 PM   #5
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Is that still an issue with the '11?
I'm trying to think of which year the WRX(not STi) actually had this problem. I can't think of one example, or anyone yet reporting any kind of problem with an modded '11(which has had the same engine since '09).
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tuskenraider View Post
I'm trying to think of which year the WRX(not STi) actually had this problem. I can't think of one example, or anyone yet reporting any kind of problem with an modded '11(which has had the same engine since '09).
I know of at least one 2009 WRX that spun bearings, but nothing in the 2010+ range, which is why I ask.
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:43 PM   #7
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Its autocross. There shouldn't be any damages unless you purposely go out of your way to try and wreck.
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JFIV View Post
I picked up a used 2011 WRX last May. When I purchased the car I had no intention of racing it. Since then I have installed a Stage 1 TP tune for increased performance. I do not enjoy "abusing" my car in any way but do enjoy pushing it on occasion.

This weekend I am planning to travel down to LA and figured I might as well attend Subiefest while I'm down there. I realized that the event has an autocross event. At first I jumped at the idea and was very eager to compete. I figured the event wouldn't be quite as abusive on my car as drag racing or a track day.

On a side note I am a 17 year old college student (18 next week). I mentioned the idea of autocross to my parents, whom I live with and they were both very opposed to the idea of me racing my car in fear that it would break down. My dad used to track his 1984 911 SC so his opposition was slightly surprising.

Can anyone tell me what I'm looking at as potential damages if I were to autocross? I know Subarus are fairly reliable but my car is not a race car by any means.

Thanks in advance for any responses.
I find it interesting that they don't mind you modifying your car past its factory specs but they do mind you going to an autocross.
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Old 10-01-2012, 09:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tuskenraider
I'm trying to think of which year the WRX(not STi) actually had this problem. I can't think of one example, or anyone yet reporting any kind of problem with an modded '11(which has had the same engine since '09).
Im probably wrong then.
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Old 10-01-2012, 09:59 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by CamaroFS34 View Post
I know of at least one 2009 WRX that spun bearings, but nothing in the 2010+ range, which is why I ask.
Yes, there was a bearing issue on some builds before mid-September 2008, never a ringland issue though.
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Old 10-01-2012, 10:48 PM   #11
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I can understand their perspective.

I've autoxed my car for many years without breaking anything, but I've seen cars damaged at events. My daughter co-drove my car at quite a few events but if she wanted to autox her own car I'd be worried. I can afford to take that 1/1500 chance that something will happen because I can afford to fix or replace the car. She can't, so the risk is much higher for her.

In the unlikely event that your car is damaged, will you be paying to fix it or replace it? If so, it's your decision. If they'll have to pay, it's their decision.
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Old 10-02-2012, 03:15 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by SpicyPeaNut View Post
I find it interesting that they don't mind you modifying your car past its factory specs but they do mind you going to an autocross.
Haha well they don't exactly know I've gone Stage 1. The car is my responsibility and what happens to it is at my expense.

Thanks everyone for all of the responses. Just registered for the event. If anyone else is going to be at Subiefest in LA this weekend I hope to see you there.
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:45 AM   #13
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Dude - it's a WRX, it was built to be driven - not looked at.

My STi has not had a single factory part break on it during the 5+ yrs. I've auto-x'ed it + track days + co-driver. It's literally seen about 100 Auto-X events with a co-driver. Only thing that has gone out is a blown coilover (covered under warranty) Still on the stock clutch as well.

If you maintain it, it won't be a problem.

The only car's I've seen 'break' at an Auto-X were the cars that were NEVER driven hard. Then all of a sudden, taken out of there babied life and actually driven hard - that is when things fail. Cars that are built to be driven hard, need to be driven hard IMO. Otherwise it will break that 1 time you decide to 'abuse' it.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:01 PM   #14
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Being 17, you may have to clear with the event organizers that are running the show if you can actually participate in the autox. Most clubs (SCCA/NASA/BMW/Miata, etc...) insurance waivers require those under 18 to have both parental signatures on a separate "minor waiver". Even though it's only a couple days off, that's not going to matter when it comes down to something/anything happening. It's a hard and fast rule without exception. You're either under 18, or you're 18 and over.

I've emailed them to ask them if that's the case because many times these events are co-run with the local autox group/club and use their insurance/liability policies/rules.

Would hate for you to get down there to be turned away.

--kC

Last edited by KC; 10-02-2012 at 12:11 PM.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:12 PM   #15
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First question, who pays/paid for that car? If it's your parents then you need to work with them to get permission. I'm not saying I always did what my parents said but considering the expense of that car and if they helped pay for it I would respect their wishes.

That said, I do feel autox is a VERY low risk but it still has some risks. For us the WRX broke lots of those little retainers that hold on the fender lining and bumper after hitting a cone as well as causing the washer fluid reservoir to leak. All minor but things that could and did happen. This is nothing in comparison to damage I've seen at a track day of course. I feel the drivetrain is at very low risk and the odds of the expensive things breaking is low, since you probably don't have the income to fix these things it might be a good idea to work on co-driving with someone instead as an option if you can't get permission to do it in your car from your parents.
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Old 10-02-2012, 02:19 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KC View Post
Being 17, you may have to clear with the event organizers that are running the show if you can actually participate in the autox. Most clubs (SCCA/NASA/BMW/Miata, etc...) insurance waivers require those under 18 to have both parental signatures on a separate "minor waiver". Even though it's only a couple days off, that's not going to matter when it comes down to something/anything happening. It's a hard and fast rule without exception. You're either under 18, or you're 18 and over.

I've emailed them to ask them if that's the case because many times these events are co-run with the local autox group/club and use their insurance/liability policies/rules.

Would hate for you to get down there to be turned away.

--kC
Thank you for bringing up this point. I just sent the event coordinators an email in hopes of sorting that out before it becomes a problem.
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Old 10-02-2012, 09:40 PM   #17
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IMO, AutoX puts less abuse on a car and is less dangerous than spirited driving on the streets.
-On the AX course your speeds are limited.
-You have to be 50ft away from any solid object.
- If you take your WRX to a "driver training school" you will notice that they are very similar in abuse as it is mainly tire wear.
-You will be a better driver if you AX on a regular as you will be more comfortable with the car.
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Old 10-02-2012, 09:50 PM   #18
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Bring Ma and Pops along to watch an event, could even have Pops ride in or drive a few runs with you. Once they get a warm and fuzzy they might be more apte to let you fly from the nest on your own. 18+ or a waiver for younger signed by both parents/guardians is an SCCA requirement reguardless if it's affilliated with another local chapter/organization. Wear is minimal on vehicle, as long as you know your personal skill limitations and the capabilities/limits of your vehicle. You may want to bring along a decent wax/compound/detailer to help with rubbing of orange cone streaks from you car. Good luck, hope it works out for you.

Last edited by TurboTeggyBoy; 10-02-2012 at 09:55 PM.
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Old 10-03-2012, 07:19 AM   #19
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Bring Ma and Pops along to watch an event, could even have Pops ride in or drive a few runs with you. Once they get a warm and fuzzy they might be more apte to let you fly from the nest on your own. 18+ or a waiver for younger signed by both parents/guardians is an SCCA requirement reguardless if it's affilliated with another local chapter/organization. Wear is minimal on vehicle, as long as you know your personal skill limitations and the capabilities/limits of your vehicle. You may want to bring along a decent wax/compound/detailer to help with rubbing of orange cone streaks from you car. Good luck, hope it works out for you.
It's not going to matter after this weekend. He turns 18 the week after the event. Just bad timing.

That said, I remember being 18 and had a place to go to when college was on break, and of an age to "make my own decisions on what to do and what not to do." However, me being 18 meant nothing to my parents! When I was sleeping under their roof, I was expected to follow their rules. They always said, "you can do what you want when you're on your own and no longer sleeping here."

--kC
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Old 10-03-2012, 08:15 AM   #20
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Thank you for bringing up this point. I just sent the event coordinators an email in hopes of sorting that out before it becomes a problem.
Did you or your father send the email? The email I got was from someone referring to the 17 year old participant as his son.

We are currently working with our insurance company and autocross organizer to get the correct info.

What will likely be required a notarized letter stating your legal guardian (insert name, dob, drivers license number, address, relationship to you) gives you (insert name, dob, drivers license number, address, relationship to previous person) permission to participate in the AutoX at Subiefest on October 6, 2012 at Fairplex, Pomona, CA. In a second statement, we'll need the same statement giving permission to use the vehicle. (Include owners info, legal guardian info, and driver info, even if some are repeats)

And lastly, we will need a statement that you, your legal guardian, and the vehicle owner accepts all liability and releases Subiefest, SubieEvents, it's organizers, Fairplex and its officers, and any person or company working in affiliation with Subiefest, SubieEvents, it's organizers, Fairplex and its officers of any and all liability.

The reason it would need to be notarized is due to the fact that we can not witness the signings.

Now, this info is based on my personal experience in the past and is pretty much a standard cover-all, however, it is subject to change pending on what our insurance company and the autocross organizer says. But having the previous letter would not hurt in any case.

Thanks for the heads up kC!

-khanh
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Old 10-03-2012, 08:30 AM   #21
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Subscribed.
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Old 10-03-2012, 03:21 PM   #22
JFIV
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Originally Posted by Subiefest View Post
Did you or your father send the email? The email I got was from someone referring to the 17 year old participant as his son.

We are currently working with our insurance company and autocross organizer to get the correct info.

What will likely be required a notarized letter stating your legal guardian (insert name, dob, drivers license number, address, relationship to you) gives you (insert name, dob, drivers license number, address, relationship to previous person) permission to participate in the AutoX at Subiefest on October 6, 2012 at Fairplex, Pomona, CA. In a second statement, we'll need the same statement giving permission to use the vehicle. (Include owners info, legal guardian info, and driver info, even if some are repeats)

And lastly, we will need a statement that you, your legal guardian, and the vehicle owner accepts all liability and releases Subiefest, SubieEvents, it's organizers, Fairplex and its officers, and any person or company working in affiliation with Subiefest, SubieEvents, it's organizers, Fairplex and its officers of any and all liability.

The reason it would need to be notarized is due to the fact that we can not witness the signings.

Now, this info is based on my personal experience in the past and is pretty much a standard cover-all, however, it is subject to change pending on what our insurance company and the autocross organizer says. But having the previous letter would not hurt in any case.

Thanks for the heads up kC!

-khanh
Khanh thank you for the information, I'll make sure I have all of that ready by Saturday. I was just beginning to get a little worried about no email response.
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Old 10-04-2012, 06:26 AM   #23
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Just don't park near where the finish line is aimed. This can result in totaled cars.

Yes, I was there...
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Old 10-06-2012, 07:08 PM   #24
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I have teenagers. I enjoy autocrossing. I think is is a very safe way for teens to learn how to handle a car in tough situations, which we all end up in at one point in our lives. Understanding how a car reacts in hi demand situations is valuable.

The real issue is just eating tires, it can get spendy for a teenager.

Respect your partents final decision or you could loose the privilege of driving that nice car!

Good Luck
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Old 10-22-2012, 04:51 PM   #25
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The real issue is just eating tires, it can get spendy for a teenager.
I agree with this. You won't go through tires like crazy, BUT you will go through them faster than if you just did street driving. I estimate my Hankook v12s will last 2 years of daily driving from spring until fall (about 8k miles total for 2 years just summer tires), and about 4-5 events a year of 6 runs each.

Essentially that's 30 runs and 8-10k daily driving. For some people, that's not doable
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