The family that autocrosses together, rides together


Some people go to the beach on hot Saturdays in July. They pack the family in the minivan, load up on sunscreen and fight for a parking spot at Signing Beach or Horseneck Beach. Some give up and spend the day in Revere standing in line at Kelly's for too much roast beef and an order of fries large enough to add five pounds to people who normally have a tapeworm in their stomachs.

Not me. I prefer to spend my day Autocrossing with the Boston Chapter of the BMW Car Club of America. 

In case you aren't familiar with AutoX, it's a form of racing in which you navigate a devilish course of parking cones as fast as you can. It's your car — and your driving skills — against the clock. Believe me, it's not as easy as you might think.

What I love about it is that it allows you safely test the limits of your skill. All you can hit is a cone. Better still, you don't have to be hard core about it, though many people are. The hard core types range from those with an extra set of racing wheels and tires to people who trailer in non-street-legal AutoX cars.

Me? I just add air to my tires, make sure the lug nuts are tight and drive my daily driver — yeah, that one with the automatic transmission — right onto the course. Nobody cares. This is competitive within classes, but very friendly.

So, I've done this before with an S2000. But this is the first time I've AutoX'ed my E90.

More significantly, it was the first time my 17-year-old daughter had ever been to an AutoX.

And not only was it fun, but it illustrated a point to her that I could have never made as clear in words or other example: people who drive like fools on the street are, in fact, fools.

AutoX is about speed, of course, but it's more about control of speed. My daughter sat in the car during my runs and came away knowing two important things. First, there's never a chance, never ever, to drive like you do in an AutoX on public roads. Second, the skills you learn in AutoX are directly transferable to the street: you lean to quickly yield, avoid or detour around the pre-pubescent Massholes on the roads in their Mustangs and Camaros who obviously have a right foot but nothing connected to it.






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