Being Speedy at Speedsportz
By Katie Otten Samuels
The Lone Star Region hosted its third 2018 Championship Autocross Event on June 10, and it’s first event at Speedsportz Racing Park.
A New Venue
To cool things up, Autocross course designer, Jim Hedderick, chose to keep the course clear of all cones. Drivers had to navigate by threading their cars through the tight turns of a pro go-karting track. LSR’s restricted participation for this event to experienced autocrossers to allow the autocross committee to evaluate the potential of this challenging venue. A highlight of this venue is the shaded viewing area. It was a popular spot for drivers to hang out while waiting for their heat.
This event started out like a typical autocross, bright and early, with the facility opening up at 7:30 am. The newly paved paddock area provided ample space for drivers to clean out their cars set up shade canopies to keep cars cool. After going through registration, the course was open to exploring. This was my first time driving at this venue and I took extra time to familiarize myself with the track.
During registration, Jim cautioned drivers there would be no cones out on the course. This mistakenly led me to believe this would be the easiest autocross course imaginable. While this course might be wide by go-kart standards, that first lap felt like I’d revisited a pair of jeans I wore in high school, tight and unyielding. My imagination met reality. A go-kart is ever so much smaller than a Porsche.
After getting some last-minute details from Jim at the drivers meeting, the Porsche began to queue up in the grid to start driving. Everyone agreed that six runs each would provide satisfactory seat time and end the event before the heat became intolerable. By 2 pm it was a wrap.
Even though participation at this event was restricted to experienced drivers, autocross committee members were happy to give ride alongs, for a small fee, to interested novice drivers as a way to promote the autocross sport. If you’ve never participated or if you want to learn some new driving strategies, take a test run at the next autocross. Just contact Jim Heddrick and set up a ride along. The best way to begin autocrossing or to advance your skill level is to get a front row, toe-curling seat, right next to an experienced driver.
The Food/Music/Life food truck, back by popular demand, provided the best meal I have ever had at an autocross event. Casey is a classically trained chef who creates chic street food for Houston, the Clutch City. The lunch menu included brisket nachos, pulled pork over polenta with goat cheese, a wagyu beef burger and a ginger mint watermelon fresca. The best thing about this food truck is all of his food is locally sourced from the Houston area.
The event had a total 54 drivers who came out to disregard the warm weather. While a Lone Star Region sponsored Porsche event, the X class is open to additional car manufacturers to participate. Several BMWs and Mazdas came out and participated in the X class.
If you want more information about how your car’s class will be determined, and want to join the autocrossing fun, check out the LSRPCA Autocross pages.