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Old 10-14-2007, 10:57 AM   #11
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One of the best analogies about AX I've ever heard is that it is

"Automotive Golf"

Being consistent is key. And above all...don't drive angry.

Lousy last run? Next one is a new opportunity to excel. Someone mentioned hitting a cone. I understand the point, but at the same time you do need a reference. That may or may not be the solution, but remember, you always save time by hitting the cone you can't avoid at speed vs. slowing down, backing up and going around. The final clock is what matters, not the penalty.

Stick with it and things will come around.
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Old 10-14-2007, 10:07 PM   #12
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My point about hitting the cone in a way is sort of a backwards way of saying what I was trying to... it's difficult to explain but a catchy way to remember the advice. I guess what I was trying to say is, if you are fretting over having a perfect run and devote your racing strictly to not hitting any cones, then you will not be as creative and flexible on your lines as you should be, therefore costing you a lot in experience and quite possibly lap time. Step out of the comfort zone a little and push past the limit to see where the limit actually is.

I can see where you would disagree with this WeeAsp because that's usually a very bad situation in road racing, but for the most part it's a freebie in auto-x and worst thing that will happen is you come out with a little cone smudge as a battle scar.
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Old 11-14-2007, 08:24 PM   #13
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I found it best to take my first couple of runs with my sister on the other end of a cell phone (on speaker, of course). It kept me calm and I would describe the track as I went through it. I learned that by talking to her, I was actually describing what came NEXT which is what you are supposed to be looking at.

Just tuck your cell phone in the visor flap and go. I'd call her when there was one car in front of me in the staging area.

Boy, you guys are making me wish that I hadn't sold my focus and all of my wonderful little parts (that never got installed). - my only interior vid of a race, you could hear my sister on the speaker phone occasionally (the thing bouncing around my clutch was a switch that had been tucked under the hood release cable but don't ask why)
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Old 11-14-2007, 09:45 PM   #14
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Oh that wouldn't work- I mean I just couldn't do that. I don't even KNOW your sister...
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Old 11-14-2007, 10:00 PM   #15
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Heh, I'm reminded a little of my first autocross.

I'll second most of what was already said here -
Walking the course is key. An easy course, I'll walk 3 times, minimum. A tougher course, with weird transitions or overlap points, I'll walk 4 times at least. One real test of this is that, after you've walked the course sufficiently, you SHOULD be able to close your eyes, put your hands at 10-and-2 in the air, and "steer" thru the course. If you can do that by memory, nothing in the course can screw you up too badly. I can't always get it down that well before gametime though.

Working the morning shift, I find, helps a lot. I can see where other people are getting lost, or scrubbing speed, or taking too tight a line, etc. I always volunteer to pick cones too. I'm not neeeeearly good enough a driver yet to ignore the other drivers.

40/45 isnt a bad pressure split. Street tires behave strangely to tire pressures; one car might oversteer uncontrollably with this setup, where another will understeer so bad it won't be able to turn. I find the Focus (the SVT at least) steers best running more air in the fronts. Also, you may eventually notice that the car behaves differently depending on how its driven. If I hamfist the car around the course, with harsh inputs, I tend to understeer badly. My best guess is the Eagle F1s on the car are too squishy to take the forces at the contact patch at too quick a rate, and the squishy sidewall goes all flubby. If I can plan the inputs ahead of time and execute smoother, and tail tends to play more, and the front sticks better.

With street tires, there seems to be a point to which more air will help your grip situation, until the carcass starts to round out too much, and grip drops back off again. But suspension set ups, input rates, camber and toe gain, tire sidewall construction, and the current phase of the moon ALL seem to affect this, so nothing is holy. The best way to be fast is to figure out what the car's doing and drive around that problem, rather than reinvent the wheel trying to change the setup.

Smoothness is key.

Slow is fast.

Check your tire pressures.

Watch out for Minis.

Stay on 16, unless the dealer has a weak showing.
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Old 11-15-2007, 09:54 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Blurvfocus View Post
Oh that wouldn't work- I mean I just couldn't do that. I don't even KNOW your sister...
What, you've never called a complete stranger to talk about a race that you happen to be driving in? She's cute, lives in Chambursburgh PA, and loves racing cars. She races my dad's 93 Vette a couple times every summer at longer AX tracks and she used to race my dirt track car as often as I'd let her. Foul mouth on the girl though - sheesh.

It MIGHT work if you called an interested friend instead of my sister, but I wouldn't make any promises. She had her phone on speaker the first time we talked during a race and there was quite a crowd around her in the grocery store.
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