How I rediscovered a love of autocross by putting down the camera

By Chris Tropea
Apr 7, 2024 | SCCA, Autocross, VW, Daytona, GTI, Daytona International Speedway, Column, Blog, VW GTI | Posted in Columns | Never miss an article

Photography Credit: David S. Wallens

I spend a lot of time at race tracks, usually on the sidelines shooting video and photos for the magazine, and I’m ashamed to admit I forgot how much fun it is to participate in an event. Up until a few weeks ago, the last time I competed in autocross was about seven years ago when I first bought my Mk6 GTI.

Since then, work, school and life all became excuses not to go back and drive.

During a recent editorial meeting, David, our editor, mentioned that our local SCCA chapter was going to host an autocross at Daytona, our home track. Then it was brought up that we should bring our project Mk7 GTI, and Tom asked if I would like to co-drive. I jumped at the opportunity, and next thing I knew, I was up early on a Saturday morning and headed to the track.

[Come autocross with GRM at Daytona this weekend]

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous, but once I took my first run of the day, I was pumped. I forgot how much fun it was to race and not just be at the track shooting photos, even though I still brought my gear to get footage for an upcoming video. (Subscribe to our YouTube channel to see it when it comes out.)

The best part: I did a lot better than I expected, and by my last run, I had hit my goal time.

Next came my work shift, and I have to say, even though it was hot and at the end of the day, I enjoyed working at a corner station. It was a lot of fun getting to stand close to the action without having to get the perfect photo.

I also liked having time to chat with other car enthusiasts. We got to see other drivers go by faster and faster each run and compare notes on the course. However, the photographer in me was a little disappointed that I didn’t shoot more photos just for fun. That’s just another reason to go back to the track, even if I don’t have a car to compete in.

All this got me thinking, is it time to start shopping for a car of my own to start driving at local events, or could my project Super Beetle fill that void with the right modifications?

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Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
8/23/23 1:58 p.m.

See you again in September, same place!

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/23/23 2:59 p.m.

Yup, I’ll be back. 

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