Saturday, January 2, 2016

Put to the test.... Grassroots Autotest for Grassroots motorsports at your doorstep !

 Do check out the full link here for the writeup I did for AutoMoment for my first time experience at Grassroots Autotest 


Norman was invited by Automoment to try out the Grassroots Autotest Round 2 earlier this year and check out what he has to say about this unique motorsports event!

Text by : Norman De Souza (

Post April TimeToAttack earlier this year, work concerns came to the fore and I didn’t have much time to set my car up before taking part in the 25 May Uber Garage Track day where I managed to slice of a second of timing to clock in the 2:38 range. Despite a spin and relatively bald tyres over a massive 41 lap endurance style stint, the lap times kept dropping the longer I pushed the car. I did, however, notice that I seemed to be getting far more oversteer than I was used to. Little did I know this was to be the symptom of a whole lot of trouble…
The whine in the car from the gearbox got louder and louder while an on throttle shudder began to work and I finally decided to drop my car off at LTM Performance for them to look through the issue. The diagnosis was not good…
A cracked and chipped final drive combined with an LSD which wasn’t locking properly meant big time trouble for me. No one I knew had a used OEM LSD and 4.44 final drive to sell so I missed quite a few track days. I did manage to however take part in my very first gymkhana/autocross style competition organized by the good people of Automoment, the now well known Grassroots Autotest. This event would require negotiating tight corners and donuts which was not the sort of event my car would be actually set up for but I decided to give it a shot to enjoy a day of local grassroots motorsport.
This event poster shows the various courses which were used during the event so you can see how tricky such a course might be.
Poster 16 Aug 2015 copy

The skills required in the Autotest would focus more on low speed car control with more focus on how to use the weight transfer of the car to aid turning which is a great skill to learn as it has application on the race track albeit at higher speeds. Being quick with the steering wheel and handbrake would also be vital to keeping speed up and keeping the car pointed the right way. Being a quick learner to the ever changing cone course setup would also be critical as the course was all new to the participants and there was limited time to practice.

The first session consisted of practice sessions during which my friend Dion managed to capture a short video of me trying to manage my way around the cones. As you can probably tell, my driving was very conservative!

To be perfectly honest, low speed car control is not my strong suit and its been a while since I’ve had the time to practice donuts or handbrake turns and the like especially in close quarters to curbs and fences. I still enjoyed the camaraderie among enthusiasts present and got introduced to many new friends. I got to know Chris Chong who I found to be friendly and generous with his knowledge of gymkhana style driving. Check out his awesome skills caught on video here

After practice sessions, we broke out into paired runs and then finally shoot outs between competitors in the same class, mine being Class C which were for the new entrants to this event. Although I didn’t place anywhere near competitive drivers, I really enjoyed the event and wouldn’t rule out tweaking my setup to suit the event conditions. Many of the drivers had specific wheel / tyre setups , alignment settings and even tyre pressures to help them turn better so you can see how seriously they took this event. Here’s to looking forward to my next run at Grassroots Autotest!
For more information on Grassroots Autotest, check out their website ( or follow them on Facebook ( for the latest updates! And check out some of the pictures of the participants who added plenty of colour and excitement with their good looking rides.
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