From "The SOLO Novice Handbook by Kate Hughes"
"Solo is a precision sport, much like, say, archery, riflery or golf. You must be precise and consistent, all the while driving so fast you can barely concentrate" -- Mark Sirota
Solo events (also known as autocrosses) are an all forward motion driving skill contest. Each driver is individually timed to the thousandth of a second, over a short, miniature road course clearly defined using traffic cones. Cars compete one at a time, hence the name "Solo", in a class with similar cars. An event can be held on any flat paved surface, usually a parking lot, or airport apron or runway.
Solo emphasizes driver skill and vehicle handling rather than just speed. The corners are tight, and there are lots of them, so the driving is exciting and challenging. Solo speeds do not exceed those normally encountered in highway driving. (This is the main difference between Solo and Solo I; where much higher speeds are attained)
The skills you learn and practice here; smooth transitions, enhanced braking, and skid correction, will have an immediate impact on improving the safety and skill of your street driving. Solo is an excellent way to teach car control to young drivers in a safe environment.
Solo is also a very social sport, filled with some of the friendliest people you'll ever meet. The camaraderie of the drivers is a special part of autocrossing that is profoundly satisfying.
Cars are divided into categories and classes. Classes separate cars by performance, so that VW Rabbits compete against Honda Civics, and Porsche 911s compete against Nissan 300ZX Turbos. Categories separate cars according to their level of preparation. Unmodified cars compete in classes in the Stock category. Cars with modifications to the suspension, intake or exhaust system, or different wheels and tires compete in Street Prepared. Cars with engine modifications and race cars compete in the Prepared category. Cars with different engines, and open-wheel cars compete in classes in the Modified category. The complete descriptions of classes and preparation allowances are spelled out in the Solo rule book.
The costs of Solo competition are reasonable because you can compete in anything from a real race car to the car you drive on the street every day. Entry fees are usually $15 to $20 per driver [Note this was written almost20 years ago!], and two drivers can share a car.
Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) sanctioned events are insured through the SCCA, and are conducted under the watchful eyes of SCCA Safety Stewards. The rules and guidelines established by the SCCA and enforced by the Safety Stewards are what makes this one of the safest motorsports. A day of autocrossing is far safer for both car and driver than most people's daily commute to work.
Approximately 1100 SCCA sanctioned Solo events, totaling more than 10,000 competitors, are held each year throughout the country. More people compete in Solo competition than any other motorsport save drag racing.
With so many SCCA regions, rules and programs may differ somewhat between the regions. For instance, some regions have an extra class for their national-caliber drivers, some regions drive in morning and afternoon heats. A quick look at a region's supplemental regulations will outline local customs. In this handbook I will indicate with RLS (Read Local Supplementals) those topics which are covered in your local "supps".