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Old 09-06-2006, 05:55 PM   #11
Carrera26
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Here's what I make the rookies repeat 10 times when I do the "Novice Walk" with them in the morning.

Look, then Brake, then Turn, then Accelerate. Sounds kinda silly and obvious, huh? But you'd be surprised when you get out there, look up late as you come to a gate, then try to brake and turn in at full speed because only then did you see that you are offline. And then you'll try to gas it to make up time, only to make it worse....

There's not a whole lot that's really Focus-specific. You'll be in either 1st gear or 2nd gear the whole time, and you should only really shift ONCE. (You'll waste more time shifting than you make up by being in a different gear about 99% of the time) Listen to the car, because it communicates well. Don't be afraid of the rev-limiter.
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Old 09-10-2006, 06:10 PM   #12
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^ if you're breaking hard enough and you know you'l come out of the corner at a low speed downshift while you're breaking that way you're in the right gear for exiting. i'm a little shift happy but thats only because i love to down shift before coming out of the corner. I'd say to not upshift unless you hit the rev limiter (this is what i do, because when you're there there's no more acceleration to be had, and you'll either stop accelerating or waste time on the upshift, and the upshift is only worth it if you can't make the car go any faster
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Old 09-10-2006, 07:03 PM   #13
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^^I highly disagree. Not to mention that's just another thing to think about and to more than likely mess up. We have relatively low speed autocrosses here, and running a course switching back between first and second is a waste of time. Like Carrera said, there is rarely a case where you'll ever need to go back to first gear, especially in the shorter geared non-SVT Foci (assuming you're driving a manual).

Assuming you have little competitive driving background, your driving skills are going to be below the car's abilities. There's really nothing the Focus can't do for you at this point that you can fully exploit from the car's capabilities. It's not a jab at you - just every case I have seen when it comes to a new driver, including myself.

Like everyone said, walk the course. It's easy to get confused your first time out with the sea of cones if you're unfamiliar with what they mean. Take it slowly going out there. You're not going to impress anyone or learn anything by trying to find and exceed the limits of your vehicle or your abilities on your first run (or first few runs). Simply try to look ahead, try to be smooth. I can't really add more to what's been said. You're going to have a blast no matter what!
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Old 09-11-2006, 12:12 PM   #14
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well i'm very used to down shifting when aproaching a corner while braking, when i'm trying to pull out of a corner at 15 MPH in 2nd gear i'm lugging like a cadilac diesel, its counter productive for me to not down shift, especially since in most of the auto-x courses they make here (i've been on 3) they make one REALLY tight turn that i'm having to take very slowly before a whole other set of cones, and staying in 2nd gear has lost me time everytime i don't shift. My novice instructor told me not to shift in to the corner and leave it in 2nd, i had so little power i lost 2 seconds from my old time. If the car had more torque or was geared different this would not be an issue, but beond the down shift in the corner i only shift when the car cannot gain any more speed in the current gear
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Old 09-11-2006, 03:57 PM   #15
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^^I do downshift, but only about 1 course or so a year, and I usually end up being faster by just finding more speed through the corner to stay close enough to the powerband. It'd be a very odd course that's fast enough to get into 2nd, so slow through the corner that it requires 1st, and so fast out that staying in 2nd would totally screw you.
If you're approaching the corner in 2nd, you're going fast enough to get any sort of rotation that you could want, which means that you should be able to get through the corner with enough momentum to stay at least pretty close to your power band. Not to mention that even if you do nail the shift, about the fastest you can do it and get back on the power is half a second. 5 tenths is pretty significant in the AutoX world, and just as often as not where I have tried it I end up hurrying it, missing the shift, and screwing the whole run.
With only 4-6 runs for an average race, it's something to try at the end if you simply can't find any way to get through that section fast enough, but on a whole it'll penalise you far more often.
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Old 09-11-2006, 08:34 PM   #16
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like i said, i only down shift when i'm breaking hard and i know i'm gonna come out slowly, if i'm still in the power band i'll keep it in 2nd
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