How hard will autocrossing be on my car?

You wanted To Know What We All Think.

I have raced rail dune-buggies against a clock on a closed dirt circuit. It was great fun. It wasn’t my daily driver and I trailered it.

You say, " A second car is expensive in terms of initial cost and insurance. Not sure if it would be worth it in terms of saving this car, which, remember, is already close to six years old. "

I say that if you are ready to replace this car with a new one at any time then go for racing it and hurrying its demise.

If you’re not able or willing to replace it at any time then you probably can’t afford this hobby. I think that if you can’t easily afford a second vehicle and insurance then you probably can’t afford this hobby.

Also, if " . . . expensive suspension parts" are worrysome, then forget about it.



“A 7 year old child who talks a lot would tell you to stop if he rode with you at an event. Since you may not even be allowed to have the 7 year old in the car for safety reasons, that should tell you something. Any driving that would injure a child will also injure the car. How much? It could be expensive plus towing.”

Great, I’ll live my life constantly asking myself “What would a 7-year old say in this situation?” Tell us again how the child would be injured, please. It was apparently left out of your post.

Unless you plan to rebuild your car after every race, I wouldn’t do it with a street car.Forget the Lotus. Their ball joints are as sturdy as a pencil eraser, and about the same size.I’m sure all the other racers assured you that they will have a spectacular view of your car rolling over in their rear view mirrors!

Do we know how mild it is…“Autocross courses are typically 40 to 70 seconds in length. IAutocross events are usually held in large paved areas like parking lots or airfields.”

It’s not as hard on a car as driving through the pothole filled streets of a city…what’s the deal ? If a particular car can’t hold up to this mild maneuvering with some added maintenance, don’t buy it !

Here’s a video I found from an SCCA chapter in Lousiana. Like I said, the goal is to drive your car at its limits. Fun? Absolutely! Hard on your car’s tires, brakes, and tranny? You be the judge:

Many police cruisers are driven harder than that every day. The pavement is smooth, the cones are plastic and occupants are smiling. I see nothing the average car could not do occasionally; with added tire, brake, and clutch maintenance, yes. An auto isn’t breathing hard compared to towing,or a car full of people in stop and go traffic. Curbs, potholes and broken pavement dust,dirt mud and salt filled slush aren’t even part of the scene. The suspension on smooth surfaces is well under its limitations. It’s a dog and pony show comparably. I have more respect for the pounding my Subaru took over 10 years of rough dirt roads at speeds as great as they were traveling. I’m not convinced !
It doesn’t even come close to what I’ve seem disrepectful teen drivers do to their parents cars. And, many of them last to well into the next month !

“Rebuild your car after every race”?

Would you care to rephrase that, because it sounds like nonsense? You can’t drive a car on a closed course at speeds not exceeding 50 miles an hour without "rebuild"ing it after each outing? Yep, sounds like nonsense.

Many Don’t !

Discussion brings back memories of SCCA-sponsored gymkhanas and crosses in August GA c.1968. I remember a Shelby spinning out, and a wonderful Porsche Speedster 90 driven by a friend (now long gone). There were beaters, streeters and cheaters. Beer to follow (after we had driven home, of course. Go for it!

The Elise is designed for racing. It’s well proven on closed circuit courses not only in Europe but throughout the U.S. That’s the environment in which it “shines”.

It’s definitely not for a cross country drive (the suspension is like that of a go kart and the seat has all the padding of a potholder), but for autocross racing it’d be a blast.

The Mazda 6 has a horrific turning radius. Why would you autocross a car that can barely make it into a parking spot at the mall? Get a car that was made for this kind of activity, like an early model Miata. Parts are cheaper through Mazda Motorsports in any case.

Hi all,

Thanks for the comments.

Curious to know if any of you have worked on somebody’s autocross car, and, if so, what issues it had, if any.

I could probably replace this car now if I had to. Ideally, I’d like it to last a couple more years. I probably won’t keep it much longer than that in any event.

Right now, my intention is to go to an event May 8-9 and watch Saturday, probably drive Sunday if Saturday looks good.

Another car would be nice, but remember, right now I’m not sure I want to take up the sport or how seriously I want to take it. And the last time I checked, it did not list a single used stick shift Mazda Miata within 75 miles of my zip code.

And yes, the Mazda6 is a pain in the rear in the parking lot, but it has decent grip at speed.

My personal rule of thumb is not to mess up the vehicle that I drive to work on Monday. If you can’t get to work because of the “fun” you’ve had on the weekends, you’ve got a serious problem. Good luck.

I hate to say so, but this is not the prime forum to ask about autocrossing. All the conjecture and decades-old anecdotes do nothing to illuminate your query. It sounds like to me that you’ve already gotten off to a good start by actually interacting with the folks who engage in the hobby/sport, as opposed to listening to overly sensitive wannabes who never actually spun around a pivot cone in a cloud of tire smoke.
Yes, I have engaged in just this activity, and II caan assure you that you will become more atuned to your car than you knew you could be. You will experience more tire wear, etc., but instead of being obliviouos to the condition of your car, you will be very aware of what maintainence needs to be done. More importantly, you will learn the handling characteristics of your car at the outere limits, which makes you better prepared in an emergency situation.
I say go for it!

“as opposed to listening to overly sensitive wannabes who never actually spun around a pivot cone in a cloud of tire smoke”

Thank you for confirming the opinions of the majority of posters, while insulting them at the same time…good job!

Never thought I’d say it, but attat boy texas.

Don’t do it- a car will last a lot longer if treated with respect,can you really afford to do this?-Kevin

I think some of these people don’t know what autocross is.

Ok … All this talk about beating up your car, “having to trailer it” and such is utter nonsense. I’ve autocrossed my Miata for many years and not once trailered it to events. Visit for more information.

Also, to get a more realistic perspective from active racers and a huge racing community visit and feel free to ask. There is a wealth of knowledge and comraderie in the solo community. We would love to answer your questions. Most people visit a few practices and take ride alongs to get a feel for the format of the sport. There are also seasoned drivers who would be glad to go with you in your car to learn the ropes/get you driving on the right foot.

I’m surprised people are so negative about racing. Autocross is the safest form of motorsport you can compete in and doesn’t require a huge budget. P.s. Unless your shifting is exceptionally poor you will not burn through clutches! I’ve had the original clutch in my miata with street/competition/canyon miles and at 179k I’m only now replacing it (because i’ll be in there doing other maintenence at that…clutch is still AOK). You shift once and it’s very rare you leave 2nd gear.

It would behoove everyone to visit an event. Might change your perspective on it. :slight_smile:

By the way, Mazda runs a competition parts program for people who race their cars in any sanctioned motorsport which includes autocross. So long as you compete at least twice per year you are allowed significant discounts (usually around 40% off) OEM parts for the mazda you race. Mazda is one of the few car companies with an active and well supported racing community.

I can’t wait to get my fianc? racing the Mazda 6 we just got. It’s gonna be a blast!

Visit for more information.

Take that negative nancys.