- Jaguar F-type. Photo by Tom LeClair - Images by TLP www.tleclair.com

AutoX gets a facelift, it's the first in years.

There is never any shortage of things for car minded people to do in SoCal and the second weekend in June this year was no different. Just to name a few there was the Targa California, the many 70th year of Porsche parties, cars and coffee, go carts, racing and the list goes on.

Within that never ending list of things for car cultured people of SoCal to indulge in there is one thing that puts a new spin on an old thing and this makes it quick and easy to get some joy behind the wheel of your favorite sports car in a controlled environment.

Corvette. Photo by Tom LeClair - Images by TLP www.tleclair.com

Who here has done an auto cross? Personally I have done a few and was the 1990 Madison Autocross Series champion. I picked up a few more trophyies over the years as I moved around yet tried to stay active in AutoX. I stopped doing AutoX when other areas of my life became more demanding and available time became less and less. For people new to it or not aware of the AutoX a few of the nice things about going to an AutoX when compared to going to the track is that you might not have to travel too far, the entry fees are small and running costs are low. Other benefits compared to doing something irrational like driving dangerously on the street are that you can drive as fast as you can, in the course limits, with virtually no risk. That is to say no people or animals will be wondering out into your path and there are no blind hills or corners, it's a safe environment. You’re not going to be fracturing any traffic laws so no risk to your insurance premiums or driving privileges either. These are great events for getting some seat time and a pile of grins.

911 GT3. Photo by Tom LeClair - Images by TLP www.tleclair.com

Lap times are often under a minute and if a big crowd turns out for an AutoX you might expect to drive a lap wait in line for up to 20-30 minutes, then do a lap and repeat. After three or four laps you need to let all the other competitors run before your class goes again and this will repeat generally as long as it takes for everyone to get 3 or 4 sessions. For the investment some equipment and a Saturday you get about an about a dozen laps at a typical AutoX. In contrast to this scenario there is now a noncompetitive AutoX style event that allows one to invest as little as 1.5 hours and has entry fee less than $100 for a similar seat time. The host provides helmets too so anybody can come and have a go in their car with no additional investment.

Recently I discovered Pure Track, a local performance driving company, run under a guy by the name of Sean Suastegui. Sean is the President and founder of Pure Track local performance driving company. He took the AutoX theme and put a new spin on it, in contrast to a traditional AutoX when you sign up this noncompetitive driving event you'll know exactly how many laps you will get and what time of day you will do them. If you cut it to a minimum you can be in and out in about an hour and half. That’s it you’re done and can go enjoy the rest of your day. Or enjoy the beach in the morning then come and drive. No matter how you slice it your laps will all happen in about an hour and you decide when you want to come out and drive.

There are other contrasting features of this new way to run an AutoX style event too. In a traditional AutoX you may find yourself working the course and for many this a fun experience to get close to the cars while they're making their laps. Pure Track has a staff that will do the course working so you won’t have to, but you're welcome to spectate and bring friends and family to spectate as much as you want. Like a traditional AutoX Pure Track has timing and scoring equipment so it is a legitimate way to practice, try things and see how you improve over your laps. It is not a competition however does has everything you need to make it in to one with your friends who are also participating.

Something unique about of this event was the variety of cars that came out old and new. Now I am a Porsche guy and as a man who has held title of engineer, crew chief and car builder I can also appreciate other makes of cars too and this event brought them. F-type coupe here, MB W126 AMG there, how about an AMG GT R, all the Scubies and Chevy SSs as well as a hand full of 911 GT3s and others Porsches too. The list of cars was fantastic and this is something you don’t always get at an autocross because often they are hosted by a brand specific club but this event brought out a little of everything including a very cool “T” rat rod.

Ford T Pick up - "Lunchmoney". Photo by Tom LeClair - Images by TLP www.tleclair.com

One thing we all try and avoid during an AutoX is hitting cones because not only because each cone you hit will add two seconds to your lap time but also they leave scuff marks on the car. At these noncompetitive performance driving events they use heavy rubber curbing that visually looks like what you might see at the track and short cones that go under the car instead of marring the body and paint. Also at these events a professional photographer is there to provide very nice images of you in your car on course at speed. This unique package is offered currently at a low cost of $99.

When I learned about Pure Track a few weeks ago Sean and I talked about the images he wanted for clients and after seeing some of my action photography work done at motorsports events we talked some more. It all worked out and at the most recent Pure Track event yours truly was the official photographer at the driving event. It was a hoot to provide the inclusive participant event pictures and seeing all the cars. The event was held at Anaheim Stadium and was close to home for many interested enthusiasts. It sure looked like everyone had a great time and there were high fives and smiling faces all around.

Mercedes Benz W126 AMG. Photo by Tom LeClair - Images by TLP www.tleclair.com

All the best images are available to the participants inclusive to the entry fee. To take it up a level when someone wants an image that is larger, has a different crop ratio or is one you can hang on your wall contact me and I will customize an edit to enhance the image for you and provide large prints on Aluminum or other media for your home, office, garage or favorite man cave making it easier to enjoy and share your pride and joy as well as the driving experience memories with no branding or watermarks.

Mercedes Benz W126 AMG. Photo by Tom LeClair - Images by TLP www.tleclair.com

One of the great thing about Aluminum prints is they stand up to UV very well and can be cleaned with window cleaner and a towel. They are durable and do not have to be kept under glass and look great with no frame. The have a simple mount on the back so just pick a spot and hang it up. Easy. If they get dirt dusty or wet so what, wipe it off – these are not like paper prints, compared to paper they close to indestructible and they look amazing!

Jaguar F-type: Photo by Tom LeClair, Images by TLP www.tlelcair.com

NSX: Photo by Tom LeClair - Images by TLP www.tleclair.com

For more information on prints or bespoke photo shoots contact me at www.tleclair.com , just look for the "contact" button at the top of the page. For more information on Pure Track check out www.puretrack.net

Thank you for letting me know your reading my stuff and like the content with your follows likes and comments. It’s so good to know when others appreciate your work, your feedback is invaluable. Have a great weekend and let me know what you’re up to? – have camera will travel

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