This summer (2017) Jaryd and Ben took their driving skills to the track, as they competed in their first season of competitive Auto-X (aka autocross) hosted at PPIR. This series is designed of all levels of vehicle and driver. There is no wheel to wheel action, it’s just you versus the clock, competing against other drivers in your competitive class. Typically, speeds are kept low (you’ll never need 4th gear) as the event focuses on car control. We recently asked Ben and Jaryd to share some of what they learned from their season. Jaryd gave us some notes, perhaps Ben did not because he’s jealous that Jaryd took home first place in his division.
From the Driver’s Seat: Jaryd Thompson
Track Prepped Mk5 GTI
“I think this PPIR Time Attack series is a great event for both beginner drivers with no experience, to veteran autocrossers. Everyone there has the same mind-set; we’re all looking to get more seat time and get a good understanding of how our cars behave when pushed safely to the limits. Each event has a different course layout that is usually a combination of actual PPIR infield road course, the PPIR oval, and cone based gates and slaloms. With the runs being purely time based, you can solely compete against and better yourself with no need to worry about other drivers. But, being a points series competition, you get to see how you stand against other drivers in your group, or all the drivers in total.
The guys who run the event – Jared and Bob – have a long race pedigree, and are easily approachable to answer any questions or give helpful advice. There are even instructors who will ride along with you and provide useful feedback as you are on the course. This is extremely beneficial because you can’t always have an instant replay of your run. Feedback about the line you take, the breaking point you use, or the acceleration zone leaving a turn can make a huge difference on your next run.
The thing I love the most is that there are all sorts of cars and all types of drivers competing. New to driving 16yr old’s with early 2000 gen Honda Civics, to world famous rally drivers that fly out to CO once a year to compete in the PPIR Hill Climb show up to these Time Attack events.
Every event I compete in, I always find myself learning something new about my vehicle and myself. If I don’t have a proper lunch and stay hydrated throughout the day, it’s very noticeable in the afternoon runs and my body aches and I can tell that my car control is getting sloppy. Most people say that FWD cars are no good at these types of events. I am proud to be able to bring my GTI out and prove to everyone that a well set up car, even with FWD, can hang with the most track ready Corvettes and Porsches”.