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The Autocross Spirit and Working

Don’t forget that this is a club!

 As you attend autocross events, remember that you are part of a club.  The club is organized around the enjoyment of the Porsche automobile and has as missions…

  • Learning how to be a better driver:  both faster and safer
  • Learning how your Porsche works
  • Enjoying the company of like-minded people who will become friends

Remember that the people who are making each event possible are unpaid volunteers.  Probably you do not yet understand how much work they have invested in making this all possible.   Here are a few suggestions to make everyone’s participation in Autocross events go better…

  • Everyone was a novice at some point, don’t be self-conscious
  • Introduce yourself to people you don’t know
  • Keep a smile on your face as much as you can
  • Be where you are supposed to be on time
  • Follow club and event rules
  • Ask questions and learn as much as you can
  • In situations where there is a safety issue, do what you are told quickly
  • Volunteer to help at events, particularly at the end of the day
  • Volunteer to help with the club
  • Be respectful of the local community – you are a representative of our club
  • And always remember:  driving at speed represents risk and we emphasize safety at all times

 
Working at Autocrosses

Remembering that this is a club event run by volunteers, every participant at an autocross event will have a worker assignment.   As a novice you are most likely to be assigned to a flag station.   However, there are many other jobs and you need to be acquainted with them.  Note also that you may see people who appear to not have a job – but they will have had an assignment that required a concentrated amount of work at the beginning of the day.

Early jobs…

Gate

Registration

Course design and set-up

At the tent…

Staging

Starter

Control

Timing

Posting

Announcer

Management…

Worker Captain

Autocross Chair

Day long…

Gate

Flag Station

And everyone picks up/cleans up at the end of the day

  

Flag Station Worker

 

Most novices work assignment will be at a flag station.  This doesn’t mean the job is easy or unimportant:  it is the foundation of a safe and efficient autocross day.  The job involves…

 

  • Maintaining a safe racing environment
  • Reporting penalty cones and off-courses
  • Keeping the course intact (replacing cones)

Here are some rules and considerations…

  • When it is your turn to work, go immediately to your assignment.
  • If you drive to your assignment, make sure your car is well off-line.
  • There will typically be 2-4 workers assigned to each station.  Spread out so that you can get to cones quickly.  Make sure you are standing in a safe position (consider the direction a spinning car will take!).
  • When you arrive at your station familiarize yourself with the course.  Know where the cones go and make sure they are all chalked.  If there are old chalk boxes near a cone, “X” them out so you won’t be confused.
  • Make sure there is a radio and a red flag at each station when you arrive.  The person holding the red flag should have it wrapped up and pointing down but always at the ready.
  • When the course is hot you must not be sitting.  No cameras or cellphones.
  • Make sure the person with the radio understands how it works and pays attention.  Call in cones and off-courses as follows:  “Control, this is Station 2.  One cone (or two cones or off-course) on car #77.”  Control will repeat this back to you – if you do not hear this confirmation, ask:  “Control, did you get that cone from Station 2?”
  • Make sure you understand the rules about cones and off-courses.  Remember that this is a competition and you are the critical link in the scoring system.
  • While you should always be aware of the location of cars, look at the cones, not the cars, as you are spotting.  You may not see a cone hit on the side opposite you.  Watch the rear of the car as it goes by.
  • Re-set downed cones as quickly as possible – you may need to run.  Remember that cars are arriving every 20 seconds (or faster).  If you are not absolutely sure you can re-set a cone safely, wait and let the car pass.
  • If a cone is moved but not out of the box you still need to reset it to the middle of the box.
  • If the course is not intact when a driver gets to your station, she is eligible for a rerun but does not automatically get one.  In order to get the rerun the driver must slow to a near-stop and point to the course problem.  Acknowledge that you have seen this and wave the driver on, fix the problem, and then report the re-run (including car number) to Control.
  • Workers without a radio should use hand signals to communicate to the radio-worker.  An arm over your head (holding a cone if possible) indicates a cone, arms crossed over head indicates off-course.  A “safe sign” should be made if you reset a cone but it is not a penalty.  An arm circling over your head means a re-run.
  • When a safety issue arises, vigorously wave the red flag over your head but do not attempt to move into the path of the oncoming car.  You will typically need to wave the flag when there is a spun or disabled car on the course and it will not be safely underway when the following car arrives.  Wave the drivers on as soon as it is safe so that there is minimum disruption.  Don’t forget to call in the rerun.
  • At the end of your worker shift, wait until the course is no longer “hot” then quickly come in and prepare for your runs.