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Old 01-14-2009, 10:50 PM   #1
irish44j
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85 BMW E30 M2 Rallycrossr

Default smallest size for a (safe) autocross course?

Some background on this question:

I'm a long-timer in the Nissan Maxima community and helping out locally (DC area) with the annual national MAXUS meet (which usually has events, drag strip, open-track events, etc).

In the past, some of the MAXUS have had open-track events, but availability and cost in this area (Summit or VIR) are going to make that not possible. The committee is planning to rent out a local drag strip for a day of drag (not final), but alot of the guys coming are more interested in autocross events. This is a high-volume autocross area (WDCR SCCA, AI, CDC, etc) and it would be difficult for non-locals to get into events in the middle of June.

The drag venue has mentioned that 'they could setup an autocross there for us' at the same time as the drag meet, using an auxiliary lot. I don't know details about whether they have done one before, but having been at this venue, they don't have any huge lots to my knowledge. They mentioned that they had an 80' x 400' (or so) lot available probably. Would this be large enough for a slow, technical autocross, assuming it is an open lot with no streetlights/other obstacles?

I don't have much context for size since WDCR SCCA and AI run at large lots like FedEx field (Redskins stadium).

And no jokes about maximas autocrossing or I'll have to find all the results pages where subarus lost to mine
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Last edited by irish44j; 01-16-2009 at 12:01 AM.
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Old 01-14-2009, 11:31 PM   #2
Gonz
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considering the turning circle of your Maxima is probably close to 40 feet (with zero slip angle) the 80 foot width doesn't seem like it's going to leave much room for course design. I'm sure it can be done, but Maximas are big cars and that just seems a bit tight.
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Old 01-14-2009, 11:50 PM   #3
irish44j
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that's more or less what I intimated to the head organizer, but he asked me to look into it. I also am going to go down to MIR, because using Google Earth there appears to be more space in that lot...
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Old 01-15-2009, 08:42 AM   #4
elirentz
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Unless you setup a long slalom that's going to be really tight. Being the type of event it is you would need a good amount of room for error as I'm sure it will attract some novices.
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Old 01-15-2009, 08:55 AM   #5
KC
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Ok, the lot is 80' wide and about the same width as a skinny airport runway and that'll limit you to slaloms and tight offsets, quite possibly only in one direction.

The question is what's on the border of that 80x400 lot? Any solid objects on the border? Fence? Lights? Other? As a general rule of thumb, you want at least 25 feet minimum from any part of the course to any solid object and you want to design the course where that 25 feet is perpendicular to the course and not having cars going directly at it.

On top of that, you should have 75 feet to solid objects if the course design has cars that could go straight at the object.

Read this... it's the 'bible' on course design: Roger 'The Real' Johnson's Course Design Handbook (Right click/save as)

If you think you can digest all that keeping in mind the safety implications of the small lot, go for it.

--kC
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