Is it worth it to live out the fantasy of being a fast/skilled driver regardless of the cost?
Most people take something that they are willing to sacrifice when they go racing. With autocross in the street classes, the risks are extremely low. However, when that sacrifice comes, it is no less painful. This is true whether it is my GTI’s water pump (I can afford to fix it, but it was no less painful when I was told the cost before I realized that I should be able to get it replaced under warranty) or my friend’s street modified car with low miles that made windows in the engine on Sunday (he can’t really afford an engine replacement, fingers crossed that the manufacturer will allow it as a warranty claim, even though that may be a long shot).
Even having a dedicated autocross car gets expensive. To say nothing of a dedicated track car.
That is largely the monetary cost. There is also the opportunity cost of doing this rather than other things in life. Can I live with being a mediocre competitor because I don’t care to invest the time in maintaining and improving my skills, or should I stop completely?
Right now I plan to go to a couple of races next year. I plan to keep my rear sway bar on, even though it is so stiff that I DNF’d a run yesterday trying to bring the rear end out of a slide and missing a slalom cone, and I’m not sure if I should go any lower on the rear tire pressure. I think I’ll keep my autocross alignment, too, and maybe look for some used RE-71Rs to replace my almost dead set. But I hate being sloppy on course and only practice time (that I’m not willing to spend) will fix that.
All of that said, I managed to get second yesterday (because half of the field were on OEM tires) and should have second for the season (because few people came to enough events to really compete on points collection) in my class. It’s nice to be able to say that, but it doesn’t accurately reflect the number of people who really are better drivers than I am.
I should add that I did have fun on both days, which was the goal. The competitive feels were sneaking in, though.