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Old 01-29-2006, 11:20 AM   #1
SteelRain
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2 Shift or not 2 Shift

During my autocross runs last year I did runs where I stayed in 2nd gear and runs where I shifted back and fourth between 1st and 2nd and I found that staying in 2nd overall performed the best for me. While watching Carrera26's video from his Evo 1 school, I noticed the instructor said something about staying in 2nd also.
What is your prefered method?


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Old 01-29-2006, 11:22 AM   #2
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It would have to depend on the turn, if you doing a hairpin that slows you way down you will gain a little by bringing it back up to the power band. IMO
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Old 01-29-2006, 12:07 PM   #3
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thats the reason you want a wide tractable powerband
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Old 01-29-2006, 02:41 PM   #4
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I found that the more I autoX, the more I end up leaving it in 2nd....depending of course on how much speed I can hold through the turn. A tight Chicago Box ro something like that, I may drop to first to yank up out of it, but for the most part I think staying in 2nd is the way to go. Afterall, how much time do you end up staying in 1st vs. the time you wasted shifting to and from?
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Old 01-29-2006, 08:38 PM   #5
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i leave it in 2nd at my auto-x location there isn't anything where i would have to really slow down a lot for and for the most part i stay above 3k rpms in 2nd the whole time. At the last event of the season they did a double lap (of an already huge lot) and i was redlining 2nd and had to shift to 3 halfway down the straight.
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Old 01-29-2006, 08:46 PM   #6
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I only came close to redline in 2nd on one event, the slalom was set up so I could go thru full throttle but the end came before I hit the limiter. I have been practicing left foot braking and think that will be the way to go, 2nd gear and left brake. They don't put many straights in here.
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Old 01-29-2006, 09:18 PM   #7
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The fastest I've ever been on a course was around 50-55mph because they had a semi-long straight with a corner that I didn't have to lift on into the longest straight of the course.

When Jason and I were running the last event for OKC, we were debating as to stay in first for the beginning part of the course or go into second. Since he had his runs earlier in the day before I did, I got to watch him go through the course and hear the shifting. Needless to say, he was on average I believe half a second faster when he stayed in second.

At the last autocross I went to, you needed to go into first gear since the track was as follows:

There was a downhill slalom into a 180º hairpin (at the bottom of the paper) that brought you back uphill through the aforementioned slalom. Averaging only 10mph or so around the hairpin cone and then going uphill, it would be detrimental to your time not to go into first. You could see this most obviously with the automatic cars since they didn't want to go into first gear, and you would see people putting up the hill in second.

From what I've read, seen, and experienced, most of the time going down into first will cost you more time than it will save you. If you think about how long you're at wide-open throttle versus the time you could be spending braking, turning, and accelerating in second, you've gained the time you've lost in the slightly slower acceleration. I've had this debate in an ST vs. SVT thread about whether it would be faster to downshift into first or to stay in second gear when traveling around 30mph. Why would it be any different from an autocross than on the road?

I need to start left-foot braking.
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Old 01-29-2006, 09:29 PM   #8
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I'm a 2nd gear person too. Plus, I gots plenty of torque where 1st gear isn't needed.
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Old 01-30-2006, 12:15 PM   #9
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I actually leave it in 1st most of the time, but I think that we usually have tighter and more technical courses than some of you folks.

The point the instructor was making in my video is pointing out how much time is lost to wheelspin. It's not like I wasn't being careful with the pedal either. It really did make it apparent how much I was losing even with moderate wheelspin...

I did eventually end up going faster in 1st gear, but I learned to be very careful, and it took driving around in 2nd gear most of the day to learn how to use and maintain momentum enough to stay quick while being VERY easy on the gas pedal. You learn a whole lot more about maintaining momentum when it's a lot harder to create it!

I would leave it in 2nd on the vast majority of courses, as it takes about .5 second to shift (time not spent accelerating), and most likely you will be shifting back just a few seconds later. Not to mention that it is unsettling to the car while cornering and opens up opportunity for rushed shifts that leave you sitting in neutral and screwing the whole run. I think you should only shift when it's a situation like Ilcowil's course, where you are coming fast into an extremely tight corner.
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Old 01-30-2006, 09:43 PM   #10
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ilcowil did they provide that map for you? I have been hand drawing a map during my course walks in OKC but they were NEVER as detailed as that!
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