A Guide to Supplies and Accessories for a Successful AutoCross Weekend
One of the great things about having an AutoCross track at nearly every Goodguys event is that you get the opportunity to take a lap or two if you’re so inclined. Of course, your vehicle must pass our tech inspection for all the safety features and checks, but trying out the Goodguys CPP AutoCross Series is part of your show entry!
Understandably, looking out at that maze of cones and watching some of the seasoned pros zip around the course can be intimidating, but once you walk the course and take a slow, smooth lap around, you’ll be off and running! Whether you make just a couple fun run laps or devote the day to improving your skills, it boils down to trying something new and enjoying more time behind the wheel of your classic.
However, be warned as there’s a good chance that after making a few laps, you’ll be hooked on AutoCrossing and looking for your next chance to get on a track. Which is exactly why we put together this guide to help you prepare and pack for a day at the AutoCross. Beyond the performance and handling upgrades you might be dreaming about for your car or truck, there are plenty of supplies and accessories to consider bringing along to have a fun and successful time at the track. From products you’ll need to pass tech and race safe, to pit tools and items that will come in handy for making adjustments to your ride, we’ve lined up a host of handy items you might want to have at your disposal.
Next time you’re at a Goodguys event, go ahead and consider taking a lap or two on the track. We guarantee you’ll have a hoot behind the wheel (even if you crawl around the track) and will likely be planning for performance upgrades for the next show even before you get home.
Light and Low
When you’re planning a day at the track, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll need to jack your car up at some point, so it’s always a good idea to bring a floor jack and of course some sturdy jack stands. However, who wants to lift their shop floor jack into the trunk? JEGS has exactly what you need with their professional low-profile 2-ton aluminum floor jack.
Made of durable, lightweight aluminum, not only does this jack lift an impressive amount of weight but it’s also designed for vehicles with low ride heights. In fact, the jacks have a minimum saddle height of just 3½-inches and can be raised up to 15¾-inches! Paired with rear casters that can rotate 360-degrees and a 50-inch knurled handle, the JEGS professional 2-ton floor jack provides enough versatility to suit most jobs. Plus, if you need to lift something even heavier, they also offer a 3-ton model.
Taylor Cable Products
When it comes to AutoCrossing, weight management across the footprint of your vehicle is extremely important. One easy modification you can do yourself is to simply move your heavy brick of a battery to the trunk or rear of the car.
Taylor Cable Products offers a number of battery relocation kits, including a single trunk mount, dual side-by-side, and dual split battery system. Each kit is supplied with 16 feet of 100-percent copper cable for the positive circuit and a 20-inch ground cable. Both cables are factory crimped with high quality terminals. The steel battery tray is vinyl coated and supplied with a hold -own bar, 3/8-inch J-bolts and wing nuts too allow easy removal of the battery if needed.
Once your brake system is dialed in and stopping effectively, most people don’t give the fluid a second through. For street rods that see a couple thousand miles a year, that may not be an issue for a while, but if high-performance driving is in your wheelhouse, maintaining and choosing the right fluid is imperative.
Baer Brake Systems now offers a specially formulated, high-temperature brake fluid. The fluid has a minimum dry boiling point of 608°F, making it able to withstand any condition from daily driving to the extreme conditions seen in high performance applications. Baer’s DOT4 brake fluid meets or exceeds SAE J1704 and FMVSS 116 specifications for DOT4 brake fluid and mixes safely with all SAE DOT3, 4 and 5.1 brake fluids.
Pump it Up
The air pressure of your tires is one of the easiest yet most important tuning adjustments you can make when you’re on the autocross. Track conditions change, as does the temperature of your tires and therefore the air pressure. To keep your pressures consistent through the day, Summit Racing Equipment offers a handy, lightweight air tank.
This portable air tank is made of aluminum so it’s light weight and won’t rust! The tanks, which are made in the USA, are rated up to 120psi and come with three feet of air hose and an easy-to-read chrome pressure gauge. Summit offers their air tanks in 2.5-, 3-, and 5-gallon capacities.
All American Billet
Catch the Overflow
One important under-the-hood component that is required on any vehicle that takes to the track is a coolant overflow tank. Cooling systems really get tested on the track and it is common for coolant to overflow from the radiator due to excessive pressure and heat. Obviously, there cannot be any fluids leaking out on the track, so an overflow tank must be installed as part of the cooling system.
All American Billet offers a number of great-looking overflow tanks. The machined housings are available in 10-, 12- or 14-inch sizes with a machined finish, polished, black anodized or their trick Silverline finish. Mounting hardware and two brackets are supplied to finish the installation, so you’ll be ready to keep any coolant off the pavement while you make some laps.
Knowing and recording your tire pressure at the track is a vital part of knowing your car’s handling and performance. It’s also important to have a heavy-duty air gauge that provides consistent readings time after time, which is where Longacre’s Digital Gauge shines.
This gauge features a 2-inch face with a large digital readout to show 0–100psi. A 14-inch high-flex hose makes it easy to connect to the valve stem and a rubber bumper surround adds shock resistance and durability. The gauge is accurate to within .2 psi, can be switched to metric values, and is supplied with both a ball chuck and angle chuck to serve your application.
Pack a Pump
Whether you’re on a road trip or spending a day dodging cones, having access to an air compressor is a huge benefit and chances are that you’re not going to find one when you need it. It’s best just to be prepared with VIAIR’s handy 87P portable tire inflator. This compact inflator is compatible with all 12-volt vehicles, making on-the-go tire adjustments fast and easy.
This powerful inflator is capable of inflating up to 31-inch diameter tires to 60psi. Simply attach the heavy-duty clamps to your vehicle’s battery, connect the screw-on tire chuck to the tire valve stem and fire up the VIAIR. Tire pressure can be monitored using the handy built-in gauge, plus there’s even a built-in LED work light.
As you get more into making your vintage car really handle, there will be a lot of time spent on the geometry of the entire front end. But there’s no need to hand off your car to an alignment shop (chances are they won’t know how to set up your classic for performance anyway) when you can do it yourself with the help of Specialty Products Company and their FasTrax Adjustable Camber/Caster Gauge.
The FasTrax is a great tool for weekend racers as it allows you to easily set the alignment and height for performance on the track, then to be able to reset it for street use. The system, along with an optional toe adapter kit, is portable so you can fine-tune camber and caster settings at the track. The gauges are designed to easily work on most muscle cars and hot rods.
Red Line Oil
Cool Like Fonzie
Even the best cooling systems can be put to the test on the track and after a few laps on the AutoCross course, you might find your engine running a bit warmer than when you’re on the open road and cruising. One step you can take to help out the cooling side of things is with Red Line Oil’s new SuperCool.
SuperCool, is designed to lower coolant temperatures by as much as 20°F while simultaneously protecting against harmful rust and corrosion. Red Line offers a prediluted 50/50 version called SuperCool Performance along with a SuperCool Concentrate for those who prefer to create their own water-to-coolant ratio. Both products are formulated for use in modern and classic cooling systems.
A battery disconnect isn’t mandatory for street cars that tackle our AutoCross tracks, but as you get more serious in your on-track endeavors, having one will come in handy (plus can work as a theft deterrent). A battery disconnect switch gives you an easy way to kill the battery power to the entire vehicle and Flaming River offers a number of different switches, such as their FR1048.
This lightweight switch tips the scales at only 19.2-ounces and supplies a continuous service of 500 amps with a 2,500-amp surge current for up to 5 seconds. It is based on a high-impact molded body to accept extreme vibrations, an IP65-rated water-resistant housing, and features silver plated studs and contacts for corrosion resistance. The switch operates with an easy-to-grip T-handle and is accepted for use by most racing sanctioning bodies.
If you plan to spend a day making laps at an AutoCross, at some point you’re going to need to look at something under your car. This, of course, means you’re going to need a set of jack stands to safely be able to inspect or work under your car. Speedway Motors offers a set of heavy-duty aluminum jacks that are easy to pack and carry to the track.
These fixed-height aluminum stands are made of 3/16-inch material and feature a big 15.5×10-inch footprint yet weigh less than 7-pounds each! The large plate provides solid stability and won’t sink into dirt or soft surfaces, making them perfect for all kinds of pit conditions. A convenient 12-inch fixed height works great for most applications and the stands are rated for up to 3000-pound capacity.
If you’ve never run your car on an AutoCross track, you probably take your power steering fluid for granted. The demands placed on the power steering system during a lap or two around the track will quickly show its limitations. However, by using a high-quality power steering fluid, such as the fluid from Lucas Oil, you’ll be in much better shape for a day at the track.
The Lucas power steering fluid has been put to the test in just about every form of racing, from off-road race trucks to road courses and more. Its unique formula increases lubricity to reduce wear along with supplemental oxidation and foam inhibitors to extend the fluid life and is capable of handling higher temperatures.
Wilwood Engineering Inc.
Brake pads are brake pads, right? For your daily driver, maybe. But for your part-time AutoCrosser there is more to the equation, as the materials and compounds used in performance brake pads vary depending on the application. The good news is that Wilwood Engineering has you covered with pads for just about every application.
Operating temperature range and friction value are the primary considerations when it comes to selecting pads. Wilwood offers everything from composite metallic race-only pads to low-dust, longer-wear pads. Their Polymatrix and BP Smart Pads are available for stock calipers as well their own setups and are ideal for AutoCross weekends and spirited driving, while their Promatrix pads provide more significant performance over typical stock pad materials, giving you added braking performance compared to OE brake pads.
Harbor Freight Tools
There’s no denying the usefulness of a four-way lug wrench to help loosen and tighten nearly any lug nut, however they’re certainly not the easiest tool to securely store in your car. Harbor Freight Tools offers a tidy solution with their Pittsburgh Stowable Four-Way Wrench.
This handy lug wrench is made from durable carbon steel for strength yet is designed to fold into a compact form for easy storage. The four arms lock securely to give you the torque strength of a full-size wrench and will fit most lug nut sizes including 11/16-inch (17mm), ¾-inch (19mm), 13/16-inch (21mm) and 7/8-inch (22mm). For under $15, it’s a must-have for a day at the AutoCross, or on a road trip.
Unless you are a serious AutoCrosser, we’re willing to bet that you have no idea what kind of condition your brake fluid is in. We learned about Phoenix Systems that offers these very handy brake fluid test strips! Simply by dipping a strip in the master cylinder you will learn about the level of corrosion in the fluid. High levels of corrosion provide a warning that the fluid is not protecting nor up to its original performance standards and should be flushed.
Phoenix also offers dual-ended strips so you can test the brake fluid and the coolant. On the coolant side, you’ll see the pH and glycol measurement reaction which can help alert you to pending issues with excessive corrosion in the system or that the coolant is losing its anti-freezing properties. These test strips will help take the guesswork out of your preventative maintenance responsibilities.
The pressure side of the power steering system can reach pressures up to 1,500psi, making it imperative to have a secure line, fitting, and seal. Billet Specialties can help you take the guesswork out of building power steering hoses with their new lines.
These lines were engineered for their Tru Trac and V-Trac accessory drive systems and are supplied with adapters to cover the most popular GM and Ford series steering boxes or racks. As expected from Billet Specialties, high-quality fittings, adapters and -6 and -10 PTFE power steering hose are provided to ensure reliability and ease of assembly. Two kits are offered; one for systems running a remote reservoir and another for systems running a pump mount reservoir.
Staying hydrated is important at any outdoor event, so you need to be prepared with plenty of ice and water. AO Coolers knows a thing or two about keeping your liquids cool and they offer a number of innovative coolers designed for everything from camping to track days.
Their rigid, soft-sided cooler is available to hold a 24-pack or up to 64-pack sizes of your favorite hydrating drinks and features a heavy-duty molded EVA tub bottom. This is surrounded by 1.5-inches of effective insulation to deliver the cooling benefits of a hard-sided cooler. AO’s hybrid construction creates an effective and durable, yet lightweight cooler that can hold ice for up to 24 hours in 120-degree temps!
Running Goodguys CPP AutoCross events doesn’t require an SFI race glove, but the added grip and comfort that Impact’s new G6 gloves provide are welcome features. The G6 gloves are manufactured from soft-knit fire-retardant aramid fiber and feature 3/4 finger seams for a perfect fit while providing optimal steering wheel feel.
The form-fitting suede inserts offer superior grip while the elastic zig-zag gauntlet closure ensures that the gloves stay comfortably in place no matter how hard your hands are working. The G6 models are SFI 3/3.5 compliant and are available in sizes from small to XXL with a retail price of just $85.
Clean & Protected
A day at the races can take a toll on your hands and fingers, especially when you’re checking and making adjustments to your car. The best way to protect your hands in the pits (and keep them clean) is to take along a set of durable work gloves from Mechanix Wear.
For hot days at the track, Mechanix Wear’s Specialty Vent gloves are ideal thanks to their fully ventilated design. The perforated palm is complemented with a breathable mesh material on the top of the hand to circulate air throughout the entire glove and keep your hands cool and comfortable while you work. Perforated synthetic leather reinforces high-wear areas of the thumb and index finger for added durability when using hand tools. Your hands, and significant other, will thank you for wearing a pair!
Smart & Safe
If you’re thinking that you may try out the AutoCross at one of our events, go ahead and pack a helmet. A brain bucket is required for anyone, passengers included of course. If you need one, Simpson is a great place look, as they have a full range of models available starting with their value-packed Viper series.
The Viper helmet was designed from a clean sheet this year and is even Snell SA2020 certified. The eye port is extra large for exceptional range of vision and has removable cheek pads along with top air and side air pipe options. Available in gloss black, white and matte black in XS to XXL sizes.
Be Alert – Be Armed
Though we hope no one will ever need it, having a fire extinguisher in your pit area or in you your vehicle is a smart choice. The HalGuard line of extinguishers bring aviation technology to the hot rod world. The agent used in their H3R line of extinguishers is a non-conductive, clean compound that rapidly turns into a gas. This attacks fires involving flammable liquids quickly and safely without leaving a damaging residue.
H3R offers handheld extinguishers in 1.4- and 2.5-pound sizes that are perfect for street rods, along with 5-pounders and bigger to have hanging in the garage or pits. Plus they have a number of cool billet mounts to add a touch of style. Remember the old adage; If you have one, you’ll never need it.