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Old 03-06-2006, 09:36 PM   #1
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March 5th Autocross

I posted pictures to the event in the showroom. Here is the link if you'd like to see pictures, but there are approximately 4 MB of pictures to load. Just a warning if you're on dial-up (like me!).

http://www.focusfanatics.com/forum/s...threadid=77230

------------------------

I got to ride with Mike M, Qtrflash on here, for the first heat of the day in his JRSC SVT running in the SM class . That thing has some nice push to it, and his tires gripped better than I thought they would. Mike B, SteelRain, was out there too running on his fresh R-comps and new wheels showing the GS crowd what's up. I ran in STS with my nearly bone-stock car, and here's my story.

I had a lot of trouble this day dealing with understeer issues, the new tires, the freshly sealed asphalt parking lot, and my tire pressures. My slowest time of the day for course was 46.852, and my fastest clean lap was 44.778. All these cones kept getting in my way. The course was a little different than what I have been subjected to by the OK SCCA region. Normally, there are two or more slaloms in a course with a few tight bends and some hairpins. However, this course had one... yes, ONE slalom in it with only four cones - optional sides. The majority of the course consisted of tight S curves with a big sweeper connecting the them. There were two hairpins at the end with a nice little sideways gate before the finish. Overall, it was a fun course (what course isn't), but it really highlighted my understeer (and a lot of people's oversteer), which made it frustrating.

I took fourth in my class, and once I got into the PAX class (Sportsman), I finally put down some better times. I ran roughly two seconds behind the fastest guy in my class with my best time, and about a half a second to a full second ahead of the next guy. If I could've put it together a little sooner, I would've walked away with second place. That's probably where I'll be for most of the season anyway.

The MXs grip pretty well, but I think they're still needing some tread worn down and a little more break-in. Our next event is on a concrete surface (unless we're still at the same site), which will grip much better. The tires will be worn down a little more by then, so I'll reserve my opinion on them for the time being. Good times like always, though. The most surprising part of the event was the amount of spectators that gathered. Either word's getting out or it was just the right day, but I've never seen that many people come to watch our events.


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Old 03-07-2006, 09:02 AM   #2
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I posted a reply over in the showroom, probably shoulda put'em in here...

Awesome pics man, and you're making me just stew in my jealousy. 18 more days till the first Test 'n Tune, 19 days till the first points event. I am seriously considering putting myself into a controlled coma so I don't have to suffer through the wait in the meantime.

I love it when we get spectators. In fact, I am working on the General Manager of a large mall in the area to let them use their huge lot. They are the dying mall in the city, and are always gung-ho for any draw to get people to the mall.

How did you're driving feel to you? Did you fell pretty fast out of the box or still a bit rusty? Anything you see as something to work on for the next event?
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Old 03-07-2006, 09:55 AM   #3
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Yeah, I'd say the driving felt rusty. The surface was a little slicker than expected, and the tires were performing up to what I expected. I was frustrated doing my class runs, but when I finally dropped down to the 44.xxx mark, I was ecstatic. I knew it was in the car and in my driving, but it just took me a while to find that rhythm. However, I know there's at least a second or more out there to gain. I was understeering way too much even on my best run, and some lines I just didn't quite get right.

I need to walk the course more than twice for the next event, and I need to think a little harder about my lines going through the bends and hairpins. I don't feel I had a problem with the slalom (even though there was only one just at the beginning that you just accelerated the whole way through). Since I'll be autocrossing with the Porsche Club here, it'll give me a great chance to get some more practice and to wear down those Kumhos a little more. I'll keep ya' posted.
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Old 03-07-2006, 10:06 AM   #4
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Looks like you had a great time!

Now I'm chomping at the bit here for our first autox event, which is still over a month away! Makes me a sad panda until then.
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Old 03-07-2006, 10:25 AM   #5
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Just keep those eyes up man! 90% of the problems everyone has will go away if they just make sure that they are looking far enough ahead.

Surprising that I hadn't really thought about it, but after that got beat into me at Evo School, I really don't remember ever having any understeer problems at all...

The thing that really got it through to me was talking while I was racing. Now I hardly shut up in the car. Pick out the 6-10 cones on the course that actually matter (all the rest are just there to confuse you) and make sure you are looking at, say #4 before you even get around #3. Understeer really only happens when you realize that you (too) quickly have to change your line/momentum for the next obstacle. You'll naturally set yourself up for the next important cone if you let it define your line/momentum through the current one. And if you already had yourself set up for the cone you are passing, then there's no need to pay it any mind, cuz it's already taken care of.

Think to yourself the next time you are out on track, and see if you catch yourself looking at a section until you are already in it. You'll be shocked, and it's pretty hard to change. If you are looking at the cone you are passing next, then you're way behind. Take somebody with you on track. Tell them, "MAKE me talk about where I am looking. Yell at me if I shut up." Very effective.

This was, honestly, the entire second day of Evo. Visualization and looking ahead. You can also practice this while walking the course, and then do it again in your head 3-4 times before your run, making looking ahead the most important factor.
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Old 03-07-2006, 10:41 AM   #6
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I have that advice in the back of my mind, but I just don't know if I'm doing it. I do look ahead sometimes, but I don't think I'm looking ahead the majority of the time. Reflecting on it, I can see times where I wasn't looking ahead and having issues with improper lines and turn in points. I'll see if I can force it in my mind to concentrate on that next time, but I definitely see the potential still after Sunday.
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Old 03-07-2006, 10:47 AM   #7
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Here's a video of one of the drivers on course.

http://www.thedigitalmethod.com/auto-x_030506.wmv

I was trying to get my girlfriend's digital camera with video put on my car, but I just couldn't find a place to mount it securely and safely (this is why you don't do stuff the night before!).

The big sweeper after the left, right (becomes the big sweeper) is where I had the most issues. I think a little less throttle would've gotten me through there faster.
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Old 03-07-2006, 11:01 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by ilcowil
I have that advice in the back of my mind, but I just don't know if I'm doing it. I do look ahead sometimes, but I don't think I'm looking ahead the majority of the time. Reflecting on it, I can see times where I wasn't looking ahead and having issues with improper lines and turn in points. I'll see if I can force it in my mind to concentrate on that next time, but I definitely see the potential still after Sunday.

Yeah, they kept telling us that the whole day on Phase I, but it wasn't till halfway through Phase II, when they were in the car with me making me talk it through that it actually clicked. After that, though, it's one of those revelation moments where you go, "Oh, I get it now!" and it then gets a whole lot more natural. Seriously, bring someone along next time to help out. You might even want to devote a whole event to it. Forget about going fast (seriously), and just concentrate on looking ahead and making perfect lines. The best thing is, you'll probably end up faster anyway.

When I did really get it, and this is going to sound all weird, but the course honestly just disappeared. All I saw was the proper line, and my body just naturally did what it should to run that line. I don't mean to go all New Age on you, but it must be like what reaching a Zen state is like. I stopped thinking, worrying, stressing, and all of a sudden the whole course just laid itself out in front of me with no effort at all. I'd be hard pressed to remember when I have been so relaxed in real life, much less while racing! It was the easiest, and most fun time I ever had on track, and quite likely the fastest.

Man, it sounds weird and hard to explain, but there it is.
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Old 03-07-2006, 11:06 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by ilcowil
The big sweeper after the left, right (becomes the big sweeper) is where I had the most issues. I think a little less throttle would've gotten me through there faster.
This is where Left Foot Braking really shines. In big sweepers, just 2-3% braking with constant throttle will allow you to control your line incredibly well, while being a lot less unsettling the on/off throttle, and let you stay in your powerband. It will also allow you to set up rotation a lot easier, especially in a situation like the tighter turn at the end of the sweeper.

Just to quote a National Champ on the subject, "Start practicing now so that in 3-4 years you're really good and natural with it."
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Old 03-07-2006, 03:35 PM   #10
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I am extreemly pleased with my new Kumho Victoracers!!! They stuck like glue, never lost traction. I took it easy my first run because the first run group was having major traction issues with new R comps on the freshly sealed asphalt. I pulled a 48.395 and felt really comfortable that the pavement had warmed up enough to push it. I ended up with a 45.182 in GS with 2nd place at 47.xxx. I had my rear shocks at 5 (of 8) and was getting too much tail rotation so I dropped back to 4 and finnished the day with a 44.243. I never could get the right line on the final horseshoe and could have dropped another sec if I got that one right. I didn't feel rusty at all and was really comfortable, maybe too comfortable. I probibly could have pushed harder but I need these tires to last 13+ events this year. 2 years would be great but thats pushing it I think. I tried to remember what Carrera26 had said about turning, but once on the course I was on autopilot. All in all it was a great day. I am very happy with my setup and the way it looks visually.

Alex really impressed me out there. He was only 1/2 sec behind me on his MX's!! Mike's JRSC SVT is very sweet. I would LOVE to supercharge my car but I am going to play in stock.

Next up is Evo school where I hope I can get out of the autopilot routine.
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