We use the same manual in my chump car racer. But 3rd is usually the gear you find your self in the most once you get going. Obviously 2nd & 4th also but usually 3rd. It takes the most abuse and almost every time I rebuild one of our trans the 3rd gear fork and slider is bent or unusable safely. Also tires wise 180 tread wear rating or better. Front wheel drive cars you gotta keep your foot burried in the gas in turns point the car where you wanna go and have faith you will also need to keep the RPMs high to get the power you really need. If the RPMs are ok low then you tend to push in the corners.
Road course racing is addicting as hell!
We run about 3 degrees camber on the front and about 1-2 in the rear. Believe it or not on a front wheel drive a size wider tire in the rear than the front we have found to help keep the rear pretty sticky. But we also have a stripped interior and the back is pretty light.
The breaks are good and the suspension is kind of loose in stock form and you get some pretty healthy roll. But with some tweeks you can stiffen the car easily.
The ratcheting sound it either the strut screaming for mercy or something loose if you run on a stock strut for very long they have the tendency to stop dampening. They usually give up after about 2-3 hrs of hard racing. The quick alternating of turns and high pressures on a stock strut in the frequency of a road course and the steady abuse is jut too much. Stiff coil overs will help absorb the abuse but the stock shock just get to hot and fade away.
This is what we have found out in our limited 3 years of driving it in chump car series and the 24hrs of lemons.