Autocross Columns

Now I See!

Jen L. worked hard at her Vision Skills and it showed, earning her second-second in the big Novice Class (Charles Letouzey photo)

53 drivers went home from the first CVR AutoX of the season with better Vision Skills and big smiles!

While EVERYONE assumes they have excellent “Vision Skills”, self-validated by driving well on the street for years and especially if they have been driving on race tracks for years, hard data shows very few actually do. It is a learned skill. Under pressure to do well, a normal person’s vision drastically narrows and is often focused just 1-2 cars lengths straight ahead. Unlearning this is hard and takes practice. That’s why the April 16th AutoX-U course strategically added three eye-catching florescent  green arrows to help train your vision to look hundreds of feet ahead, across the whole parking lot. Other unique landmarks such as a pair of 3-foot tall cones as a gateway, green cones on the return run, and white finish signs to bring you home, all helped re-train your eyes from “normal” to “skilled”.

Art towel, ribbon, or big smile, everyone went home a better driver with new friends. (Pam Kudra photo)

Humble pie is baked with “admission” as its main ingredient. AutoX events have a way of serving up a feast of this particular pie with Vision Skills being the largest slice. Our AutoX-U Instructors helped both new and veteran drivers swallow this meal, turning admission of normal vision into a priceless learning opportunity and sending each home a better driver. I still consciously practice my vision skills on each street and competitive drive, since I know how fast this skill fades. As proof, all I need is to observe how much smoother and smaller my steering inputs are on the drive home from an AutoX compared to the drive to the event.

Bob R. shows us weight transfer in action around the skid pad. (photo Charles Letouzey)

Threshold Cornering” was the other bespoke driving skill featured at the first AutoX. Several ideal corners were designed into the course to entice use of threshold-braking blending to trail-braking blending to throttle-steering. This was the way to shave those elusive time fragments from the clock. Mastering these skills was all about “flowing brilliance weight transfer” to the front, side, then rear tires and the course gave plenty of space to experiment with achieving this. A 106 foot diameter full-circle skid pad was one of the featured course elements and was complemented by a half-circle 210 foot diameter skid pad in one direction then the other. The last big circle included a curved finish line which made for some dramatic post-finish braking. This experience will be nice to have on your next slippery off-ramp.

Ben Da Rosa (center left) and Beth Monteiro (center right) both showed how amazingly fun 4-door Porsches can be and both beamed with enthusiasm all day long! (Charles Letouzey photo)

Camaraderie and learning are the hallmarks of the CVR AutoX program, where we all help and cheer each other’s accomplishments. The first event exemplified these traits. Cheer after cheer erupted as seven classes were won by less than 0.2 seconds! Many of those wins were determined by the last run, yet each of the second place winners (including yours truly) were openly happy for their class victor’s impressive drive. Of course, this spurs all of us to drive that little bit better next time to earn one of the new first place custom artwork towels for ourselves. Fantastic fun with great friends!

Notable drives and congratulations go to:

Jack Dann showed unusual skill capturing a win in Novice in his first event. (Charles Letouzey photo)
  • Jack Dann, winning Novice class at his first event! Now he progresses to the very competitive S02 class where Dad, Rob, and Raghu will keep him humble while he advances.   
  • Jen Letouzey, turning humble pie into a determined second-place drive in Novice class. That’s her second-second in two events, earning a ribbon and a priceless lesson.
  • Beth Monteiro, fresh from the prior week’s CVR Sampler event, showed that 4-door Porsches can be fun and fast, earning a third place in Novice and setting the bar for enthusiasm in the process!
  •  Ben Da Rosa also set a new benchmark, driving a 4-door with hand controls while smiling ear-to-ear and earning a fourth place in Novice, not to mentin the admiration of many new friends.
  • Charles Letouzey, Mike Appel, Chris Walsh, George Comenale, Marc Casslar, Jay Frankel, Tim Marx, and Jeff Fournier, all get the “dig deep and put together a fast last run” award. Some resulted in class wins while some fell into the previously mentioned “oh-so-close” category. All provided fantastic fun and drama to the day. Jeff showed that “Other” cars can also be surprisingly quick with his 3rd fastest overall time of the day.
  • Ed Bogue, our insightful and talented Chief Instructor, is an amazing friend to all. Watching his near-perfect FTD run motivated us to keep sharpening our AutoX-U driving skills. Wow, what a joy to witness such exemplary driving demonstrations!
Chief Ed setting the example for us all to follow. (Photo Charles Letouzey)

May 28th is your next chance to join the fun and refine two more key driving skills. Sign up now at: . The specialized course will be posted the week before on our CVR web-page ( so you can devote your full attention to the AutoX-U driving lesson that day.  

CVR’s AutoX web-page is full of helpful information to make your day even more fun: 

See you on May 28th for the next AutoX-U and Better Driving…Faster! (Paul Kudra photo)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *