Autocross at the Coliseum

By Rachel Martin

June 24, 2012 Updated Jun 24, 2012 at 6:11 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – Car enthusiasts raced against in the clock on an autocross track set up in the Memorial Coliseum parking lot.

It was a race against the clock Sunday as sports car and motorsport enthusiasts competed for a mug.

“We are all amateurs. We all get paid the same no matter how well we finish. The grand prize is probably a mug,” said Steve Mieritz with a laugh. Mieritz is the Regional Executive for the Fort Wayne Sports Car Club of America (FWSCCA).

FWSCCA and Fort Wayne Acura Subaru held an autocross event Sunday morning in the Memorial Coliseum parking lot. A mini-road course was designed especially for the event. Mieritz says the Coliseum hosts six autocross events on its lot every year and is considered one of the largest tracks in the state.

Mieritz says what’s significant about autocross is that you don’t have to travel very fast to get an “adrenaline rush.” Mieritz took Indiana’s NewsCenter on a ride through the course. The car was only traveling about 60 mph, but the winding course made it feel much faster.

“To keep everything safe we have to keep everything within normal highway speeds. In order to do that we have to have one turn after another,” said Mieritz. “It gives you the feeling of going really fast when you're inside the car. [It] May not look like much from the outside, but inside the car it's, ‘Oh my God!’”

Mieritz says there are over 50 classifications for autocross vehicles. Each vehicle is allowed five or six runs, and the best time qualifies. The fastest time in each class is considered the winner. Mieritz says some people build their own cars specifically for these types of races, but usually people use their own, every-day car.

“You can run any car you have as long as it doesn’t have a high center of gravity, like an SUV. I’ve seen everything from ’66 Cadillacs to little Minis,” he said. “You learn car control here, and it’s a great way to see what your car is able to do and what you’re able to do behind the wheel.”

The Sports Car Club of America is a national organization that hosts amateur motorsport racing events such as autocrosses, rallycrosses, road rallies and club racing. There are 200 regions and over 50,000 members nation-wide. FWSCCA is one of five regions in Indiana. Although there are members, Mieritz says people don’t have to be members to participate in events, as long as they share a love for motorsports.

“The best thing about this is that you get to hang out for a day with a bunch of other car-crazy people. We all get to test the limits of our cars, which is a huge adrenaline rush,” he said.

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