We love Novices! At some point, every person you see at an event was a Novice. We all know it can be a little intimidating showing up at an event with no experience. So, we’ve created a Novice Program focused on two things: KEEPING YOU SAFE and GETTING YOU FASTER!

Autocross is the safest, most-accessible form of grassroots motorsport. There’s a class for just about every car, stock or modified. When you register as a Novice, that “N” on the side of your car entitles you to a lot of attention and instruction. Our Instructor Pool is made up of experienced drivers who want to help you get faster on course, while making sure you’re staying safe. There is no better way to improve your autocross skills than to get as much instruction as possible. If you’ve had less than 1 year of autocross experience, here’s what you can do to help us help you…

  • REGISTER AS A NOVICE: If we don’t know you’re a novice, it’s harder for us to help you. Having that “N” on your car allows us to give you individualized attention. Wherever possible, we will put you in a “Novice Grid” during your run group. Before your first run, we’ll have you ride along with an experienced driver in their car (only if you register as a “Novice”). Then, we’ll have an instructor ride with you until they feel confident you can attack the course on your own. If at any point you want more instruction, PUT YOUR HAZARD LIGHTS ON. If you don’t register as a novice, it’s harder for us to give you as much attention as you might want.

  • DO THE NOVICE COURSE WALK: Walking the course is the best way to prepare for seeing it at speed. At every event, our Novice Coordinators will take groups of Novices on guided course walks. Guided course walks usually happen just prior to the Drivers Meeting. Arrive at the event early, get your car through tech, check in with registration and START WALKING THE COURSE. It’s a good idea to get a few walks in BEFORE the Novice course walk.

  • ASK QUESTIONS: There’s a lot of information to take in at an event. It can be overwhelming. Remember that every Officer, Staff Member and Experienced Driver will be happy to answer any questions you might have. Introduce yourself, ask questions, tell your instructor your level of experience and what your goals are. Be vocal. Be open to learning. Be honest about your concerns. Everyone at the event wants you to get faster and to come to more events.

  • JUMP IN AN “AUTOCROSS TAXI”: Look for cars with BIG YELLOW “TAXI” MAGNETS on the side. A “taxi” magnet means the driver is happy to have you ride along on their runs. It’s a good idea to ask early in the run group, some drivers don’t want a passenger on their last run.

  • DRIVE WITHIN YOUR LIMITS: We ask that all Novices start out at 7/10ths. Dialing back your aggression on your first run makes it easier for our instructors to assess your skill level and determine what you need to work on to improve. Autocross is not about speeding, drifting, or how good you can drive “on the street”. It’s about car control. You will get much faster by letting us build up your aggression run by run.

  • ATTEND A NOVICE SCHOOL: Each year, we have a Novice School designed specifically for drivers new to Autocross. You get the same great instruction you get at our points events, but you get MANY MORE RUNS. A typical points event gives each driver 4 runs, Novice Schools frequently give each driver over 20 runs!

Novices also have a few special RULES they must follow to keep the events fair and safe:

  • NOVICES CANNOT RIDE WITH OTHER NOVICES: Drivers registered as Novices CANNOT ride with one another during competition runs. If something goes wrong, we want to make sure there is an experienced driver in the passenger seat.

  • YOU CAN BE ASKED TO LEAVE NOVICE CLASS: We are no longer kicking Drivers out of Novice Class after their first win. But, we do want our Novice Championship Class to be fair. So, if a Driver consistently runs base class-competitive times as a Novice, the Novice Coordinators can ask that Driver to leave the Novice Class. This keeps the playing field level, and discourages any “ringers” who might not be true novices.

  • YOU CAN HAVE AN INSTRUCTOR DRIVE YOUR CAR: It can be very helpful to see what your car can do in the hands of an experienced driver. Our Instructors may ask if you’d like them to drive your car. THERE IS NO PRESSURE and IT IS COMPLETELY OPTIONAL. And you don’t have to give up one of your runs; the “Instructor Runs” don’t count against you. Our Instructors are told to drive Novices’ cars at 80%. Keep in mind, IF YOUR CAR SUFFERS A MECHANICAL OR ENGINE FAILURE, OR COSMETIC DAMAGE, IT IS NOT THE INSTRUCTOR’S RESPONSIBILITY TO FIX IT! You should bring a car that’s in good enough shape to handle an autocross event.




A lot happens before you actually start driving your car. It can be overwhelming at first. Give yourself as much time as possible to get settled, get your car through tech, get registered and do your course walks.

The first person you will see will have a WAIVER for you to sign and a WRISTBAND for you to wear on your LEFT WRIST as proof you signed the waiver.

Park in PADDOCK. Get your car ready for TECH right away. Empty the trunk, remove floor mats and anything loose inside the car. If your car has wheel covers or hub caps, remove them, too. Nitrous bottles must be removed from the car.

If tech is “roving”, our Tech Crew will walk around to tech cars parked IN PADDOCK. Leave your car unlocked with the HOOD AND TRUNK OPEN to signal the Tech Crew to come over and tech your car.

Some clubs have a drive-through TECH LINE. Drive to the tech area, pop your hood and trunk so the Tech Crew can inspect your car. When they finish, make sure your hood and trunk are closed and return to paddock.

A sticker will be placed on your windshield if you have passed tech.

You can't run if you don't have a tech sticker!

CHECK IN at the TRAILER to register and pay, or to confirm your online registration and payment.

Registering and paying online saves you time!

START WALKING THE COURSE as soon as it is open. Ask to walk with an experienced competitor and pay attention! You should walk the course several times BEFORE joining the Novice course walk.

After the Novice course walk, there is a MANDATORY DRIVERS MEETING. Pay attention to the information given out, especially the RUN GROUPS and WORK GROUPS.

You are REQUIRED TO WORK at an autocross. Failure to work will cost you your fastest run of the day, and you will have to work twice before running at the next event!

Here’s what’s REQUIRED…


Shouldn't be leaking anything or making strange noises.

Brakes, exhaust, and suspension should be in top shape.

Check your battery to make sure it’s not loose.

Tires shouldn’t be showing any cord. Ask an experienced autocross what air pressure to use.

Unsafe cars will fail tech and not be allowed to run, so double-check everything!


1/4 tank will get you through most events with fuel to spare. But, having more gas in your tank will keep your car from stalling as your gas sloshes around in slaloms and sweepers.


For autocross, your helmet must be rated at least:

  • Snell SA 2005. K2005, M2005
  • Snell CMR2007 (children), CMS2007 (children)
  • FIA 8859-2015, 8860-2010, 8860-2004
  • UN ECE regulation 22.05
  • SFI 31.1 2005, 41.1 2005, 24.1 (youth)
  • BSI BS6658-85 Type A/FR, BS6685-85 Type A

Examples of the stickers for each of the certifications.

“LOANER HELMETS” will be available at the event, but you must share (and return it after each run to where you picked it up) and your size may not always be available.


You MUST MARK BOTH SIDES of your car. PAINTER’S TAPE is acceptable, but it MUST CONTRAST WITH YOUR CAR (no blue tape on blue cars, tan tape on white cars, red tape on black cars, etc.)

NUMBERS must be a minimum of 8” high and use a 1.25” wide stroke.

CLASS LETTERS may be 4” high.

Numbers and letters may be of magnetic material, tape, or a large white paper label with thick black marker on it, as long as the above rules apply.



If you plan on autocrossing a lot, you should get 2 sets of class/numbers made from magnetic material.

Put an “N” beside your class to let us know you are a novice. Example: NCS 14


Bring some -- always! You'll need it. Make sure it's water-proof!


Standing up on hot pavement all day is not all that fun.


Bring some -- at least a gallon of water. It's a long day and dehydration is not cool!

We have had people succumb to the heat in the past. We provide some water, but you can never have enough.

If at any point you feel overheated, tell someone immediately!

These items aren’t required, but they are a good idea if you plan on autocrossing often…


With THIN SOLES. Driving shoes, wrestling shoes and indoor soccer shoes are highly recommended. Running shoes will work. Hiking boots, cowboy boots, high heels and flip-flops are a bad idea!


Sweaty hands can ruin a good run. Gloves help. Cheap mechanic’s gloves from any auto parts store will do the trick.


The weather can suddenly turn cool, especially in the early spring or fall. You will be out of your car more than you’ll be in it, so bring something warm.


Large expanses of pavement don’t have much shade. A wide-brim hat keeps the sun off of your head and face. Remember, you'll be working as well as driving. Sunburns are very common at autocross events!


It does occasionally rain, and that rain can be heavy. We run in the rain, as long as there’s no lightning in the area. Umbrellas also help on hot, sunny days.

You CANNOT use an umbrella while working the course, so it’s wise to bring


Any color EXCEPT RED! You don’t want to look like a RED FLAG!


Remember, you have to remove everything from your car that's not attached and put it in a pile in paddock. A good tarp helps keep your floor mats, trunk mat, snacks, clothes, etc. dry all day.


Are good for keeping stuff dry, too.

Most importantly, you need them to take your trash home with you. We need to leave sites cleaner than the way we find them. If we don't keep the site owners happy, we don't have sites; if we don't have sites, we don't have autocrosses!

Be sure to take at least your own trash home with you. If you see somebody leaving trash, remind them about this; if you see trash that's already been orphaned, give it a home! Seriously, this is important and trash clean-up is everybody's responsibility, including yours!


Keep a separate tool bag just for autocrossing. Include the specific wrenches and sockets for your car.

Bring an air compressor (a small 12-volt one that plugs into your car’s power points will do just fine).

A good tire pressure gauge.

Work gloves -- no, these are not the same as your new driving gloves! 

If you'll be changing your tires, bring a hydraulic jack (not a bottle jack!), and a torque wrench with the proper-size socket for your lug nuts, and an extension if needed.

Zip-ties also come in very handy.

This last item is an absolute MUST…


Once again, if we don't have sites, we don't have autocrosses, so BE RESPONSIBLE ! ! 

Speeding, drifting, tire warming, brake checking, drag racing your buddy, doing a Ken Block impersonation, destroying property, or investigating non-event parts of a site are ALL MAJOR NO-NOs!

If you don't bring anything else with you to an event, please bring a sense of responsibility.


And speaking of responsibility, one of your biggest responsibilities is WORKING THE COURSE. There will be tutorials on how to work the course during the Novice course walk and the Drivers Meeting, but we’ve put together a video to help you get familiar with the rules before your first event!

The Art of Working the Course