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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-21-2012, 11:11 PM Thread Starter
Esh
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Default SMF AutoX YEA!

I realize that this might just be an exercise in futility but maybe just by writing it out I'll figure something out.

Background: 2010 I attended my first autocross and got hooked. I was required to run SM because of the turbo I put in but since I was new I was placed in the Novice class. There I got hooked to the sport and also learned that PAX SUX! (beat an CR4 Corvette and a 08 Mustang in raw but they scored better than me because of the class difference). The car was basically stock at that point except for the TRD suspension and progress rear sway bar I put on. About half way through 2010 the US Army decided that they would help fund my autocrossing adventure the only way they know how, sending me to the sandbox for a year. So fast forward this winter I come back and get some tires (Z1 Star Spec), clutch/flywheel and seats.


So the first official autocross of the season was last weekend and while I think I did good in the SMF class I'm not all that pleased with the results. Now I'm sitting here wondering why. The other two cars in SMF were a 94 Acura Intergra and a 04 Mini S. They were not on R-comps but the tires did look wider than stock (or maybe I want to believe that). Beyond that I can only guess at what other mods they have but I have to assume they are pretty much maxed for the class. I also did look up the curb weights of both cars and they are around 400 lbs lighter than the tC. I do remember the Mini S from when I started running in 2010 and he was fast then as well. Both the the Acura and Mini were within .1 of each other. That's where I want to be.

When I looked at the video I shot I noticed a few places that I could improve on but I don't see 2.5 seconds worth of time, at least not in any one run. I'm also starting to notice a clunk noise coming from the left front when I'm in a right hand turn and accelerating hard. I haven't seen any rubbing marks on anything and it's impact type noise anyways so I'm starting to think that I'm finally out driving the TRD suspension. Also with getting the Star Specs I've started messing with tire pressures as that's about the only adjustment I know how to do on the car at this point. I was running 38 front and 42 back and didn't notice any pushing on the sweeper turns if anything I probably could have pushed it more but the clunking noise kept me from doing that.

Now part of me want's to say I'm just out driving my car. That I need to go get some R-comps and a good set or racing coil overs. The adult part of me says that it's not the car that has the problems but the driver. I shouldn't expect to keep up or near people that have several years under their belt. The next race is a month from now at a new track for the club and I think even for the region.

Things to do:
Need to figure out the best place to mount a camera. Over the center makes for a good line shot but sucks for telling how close your getting to the cones. I can't afford three GoPros but there has to be something doable.
Need to get better control of throttle. Spinning tires don't add to acceleration.
Data logging. Torque is an awesome app but I got to explore it more. I know it does data logging and throttle position but what good is that if you don't use it.
Would be nice if I could find a place to practice, stuff like slaloms and switchback turns.
Autocross school? Would be fun and I do have leave to burn this year...

Danville Mar 2012 - YouTube
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-22-2012, 11:09 PM
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The mini is going to beat your tc if driven well, almost regardless of what you do. Short wheelbase/low polar moment of inertia which helps it rotate and a well handling car in general.

Boost does not necesarilly help in autox. On a fwd it many times makes it harder. Since they busted up st and i may not have many people in my class this year, i am thinking o running smf with my st setup. Had I done so last season i would have placed very well as my times were faster than most of the heavily boosted fwds.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-22-2012, 11:12 PM
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And seat time is a huge part of it. It takes a lot of it to really know you and your cars limits and to teach your self the right techniques. The first nut to tighten is always the one behind the wheel!

"I am not flipping you off. I just want to punch you in the face so bad that my fist has a boner"


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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-23-2012, 12:28 PM Thread Starter
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Well then if the Integra was able to match him then I have a shot as well, maybe, someday.

Yea, the nut behind the wheel is probably the part that needs the most work. I came into this season with the expectation that this would be a learning year and hopefully get somewhere close. I think I may have gotten a little excited when I saw I was only 2.5 second behind the leaders for SMF. The last time I ran I was running in SM and between running against WRXs and still being an official novice I was anywhere between 6 to 8 seconds off the lead. I need to get that back in my head. In actuality 2.5 seconds is not that close, not bad, but not close.

The turbo is a funny animal, on one side it has made autocrossing more challenging. On the other side I would have never gotten into autocrossing if it wasn't for the fact that I did put the turbo in. I think though all it's done has made my learning curve a little steeper but not impossible.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-23-2012, 10:55 PM
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Kinda depends on the Integra. Those are very capable autox cars. The ITR is of course the best, but the other trims have a lot going for them. Wishbone front and rear suspension, 2600ish lb curb weight, etc.

But really it is all about making your own best times your target, so you continually improve. It is an addicting sport I am ready for our season to start here for sure.

You should check out the autox thread on here, there are a few of us that post regularly on it during the season.

"I am not flipping you off. I just want to punch you in the face so bad that my fist has a boner"


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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-23-2012, 11:15 PM Thread Starter
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Dangit, stop stealing my hope.

I've seen the Auto-X thread and have followed it from time to time. Probably jump over to it after while.
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