While not a requirement, autocrossing can help a driver tackle a road course for the first time. Just ask Tamra Hunt.
Tamra Hunt has been competing in autocross for five years, making four visits to Solo Nationals, where she has accumulated two championships and two second-place finishes.
At each autocross event, track time is minimal compared to other racing verticals such as road racing. Most autocross runs last round 60 seconds. But according to Hunt, “Those 60 seconds are some of the most exhilarating moments of my life. Pure, raw driving with no fear of crashing. I get to push the car to its absolute limits… and it’s addicting.
“However, when I tell people I race cars, their first question is usually. ‘Oh sweet; have you been to Lime Rock?’ (She lives in Connecticut, where Lime Rock Park racetrack resides.) Then I go into this awkward explanation of ‘No, I actually race in parking lots or abandoned airports on a course made of cones, and I’m racing against the clock, not wheel-to-wheel on a race track.’ In fact, I’ve never even been on a racetrack!”
But Hunt decided to change that earlier this month, signing up for her first High Performance Driver’s Education (HPDE) day at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in a very low modified 2005 Mazda RX-8 Shinka.