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Discussion Starter #1
Just curious. For those that have taken thier SVT to the track (I guess those who have pushed it on the street, too), what is the behavior as it approaches the limit?
I know it varies based on tires and suspension (I have all-weather performance Falkens, but a full Eibach susp kit). Having pushed a little on some back roads and realizing the limit is *way* beyond what is smart to approach on the street, I wondered what the typical SVT will do at 10/10ths.
Does it push into understeer, a neutral drift, or what? Does it have any quirks at the limit?

Thanks!
Can't wait for the first AutoX!
 

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The Librarian
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You are right about one thing;
It's going to be a lot different depending on tires/suspension/driver input/surface adhesion/etc etc,
but let me try.

For the most part (from my experience AutoCrossing)...not pushing it to the limits on the street:
1) It tends towards understeer, unless you swap in a huge rear sway bar (keeping the stock front).
2) Oversteer can be induced by left foot braking in turns if needed.
3) Tires will make the biggest difference by far in improving the "road holding" manners.
^^^See, Falken Azenis RT-615, Kumho MX, Hankook R-S2
4) This car rewards a "smooth" driver, much more than a wild and crazy man.
IOW, "light" applications of steering/braking/throttle inputs at the limits are very controllable.
"Heavy" inputs are not greatly rewarded:
Right click/save target as...>>> http://www.supermotors.org/getfile/241393//Off Track.wmv
^^^That was just a bit too much left foot braking coming into the slalom.

BTW,
Nice lookin' cat on the skis! [thumb]
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Cool - thanks WD!

I'm thinking for the first few events don't tweak the car too much and just get used to it.

I've been running the stock 32/29 tire pressures on the street, but gather that I'd want to raise that to around 38 to keep from rolling onto the sidewalls.

I am looking at getting Tom's tune, I'm already in STS because of the suspension, so I bet the improved throttle response would be a big help.
 

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The Librarian
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You'll love the tune on the track.
It helps out exactly where you need it. [thumb]

You'll also love your SVT much more on the track, versus on the street when trying to find it's limits.

Which Eibach suspension do you have?
Pro or Sportline??

I'd aim a little higher with your tire pressures, unless you like the fronts to roll over.
I've run down to 38psi up front with the RT-615, but wouldn't try that on an all-season.
I'd suggest starting at 43-45 Front / 32-34 Rear, and go from there.
You do know how to check for sidewall rollover don't you?

FWIW, on the stock Contisports I was running 48F/33R.
All the above are "cold" pressures, set about 5 minutes before my runs.
(not first thing in the morning "cold", but sitting around for 30 minutes after a run cold)
 

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all grown up
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Nice info WD as usual.

Eventerke, you will find yourself with much more torque when coming out of the corners if you have a tune. It will improve upon every aspect of your cars driveability including the limits.

I have gotten my car to oversteer getting on an onramp at one point simply by downshifting on a slight uphill. The momentum from slowing down slightly due to gravity, and then flooring it in second gear caused my car to oversteer...I corrected and made it around the bend very quickly!! i was shocked.

This car is a beast on the twisties
 

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Resident Curmudgeon
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100% spot on in your information WD.

For track days, I am lucky enough to have access to Hoosier Grand Am Spec slicks. It just so happens that our BMW race car uses the same tire size as the SVT focus! [woot]

So, with a stock suspension and the slicks, I run 34 psi on all 4 corners and adjust based on conditions from there.

The slicks make a HUGE difference even over DOT competition tires. I swear the earth moves when cornering.

One thing that I would add is relative to cornering. I started track events in a rear wheel drive car which immediately translates to later apexes. in the Focus, it really is "point and shoot". Because of the inherent understeer, you will find yourself at the outside of the exit 9 times out fo 10. Wait too long and you are in the weeds. In a stock focus (engine wise) in a lot of situations, I don't need to downshift because I will carry much more exit speed because the RPMS don't come up in the middle of the corner and that makes me smoother.

The beauty of the SVT is that it is much more forgiving than a lot of cars I've driven. That's not to say it won't bite you, but you have a little more notice.

Keep in mind, what we are talking about are baseline principles. Everyone has a different drving style and each car is also different. The best bet is to take an instructor and listen to them. They will look at everything from hand position, seating position, tire set up, brakes, suspension and evaluate those against how you approach the track.

For my students, I take them out on a recon lap and show them the line. Then, we switch places and I make recommendations from there. Typically, people shave anywhere from 20 seconds to over a full minute on their lap times doing this.

As for how the car behaves at the absolute limit? Been there and beyond. what I have experienced is that disaster is preceeded by LOTS of understeer, any correction results in over correction and the car swaps ends on a dime. The video WD posted shows this well. More often than not, its over before it starts. Recognizing the hazard (i.e slow down, brake sooner, or turn in at a different place) makes all the difference in the world.

The bottom line is that if you keep the car happy and not upset the chassis too much, it will perform at the limit all day long. The key is to be consistent.
 

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Focused Focus
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I forgot, where in NC are you located eventerke? If youre close enough, id let you take mine around the cloverleaf right below the dealership if you want to see how different it "can" be. Pm me.........
 

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Gan-San!
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You'll love the tune on the track.
It helps out exactly where you need it. [thumb]

You'll also love your SVT much more on the track, versus on the street when trying to find it's limits.

Which Eibach suspension do you have?
Pro or Sportline??

I'd aim a little higher with your tire pressures, unless you like the fronts to roll over.
I've run down to 38psi up front with the RT-615, but wouldn't try that on an all-season.
I'd suggest starting at 43-45 Front / 32-34 Rear, and go from there.
You do know how to check for sidewall rollover don't you?

FWIW, on the stock Contisports I was running 48F/33R.
All the above are "cold" pressures, set about 5 minutes before my runs.
(not first thing in the morning "cold", but sitting around for 30 minutes after a run cold)
Those seem high to me. But WTF do I know? LOL! I've been running 32F/28R... No wonder I feel a bit of fold on those dang Fuzion ZRi's!!!
 

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Resident Curmudgeon
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As a general rule for both autocross and track events on street tires +10 psi over factory recommendation.

Adjust by listening to the tires. They will talk to you and tell you that you either need more air or you are over driving the car. Over drive the car on a track and tire pressure no longer becomes an issue as the tow truck pulls you out of the barrier...[rant]
 

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Registered
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Discussion Starter #11
You'll love the tune on the track.
It helps out exactly where you need it. [thumb]

You'll also love your SVT much more on the track, versus on the street when trying to find it's limits.

Which Eibach suspension do you have?
Pro or Sportline??

I'd aim a little higher with your tire pressures, unless you like the fronts to roll over.
I've run down to 38psi up front with the RT-615, but wouldn't try that on an all-season.
I'd suggest starting at 43-45 Front / 32-34 Rear, and go from there.
You do know how to check for sidewall rollover don't you?

FWIW, on the stock Contisports I was running 48F/33R.
All the above are "cold" pressures, set about 5 minutes before my runs.
(not first thing in the morning "cold", but sitting around for 30 minutes after a run cold)
I'm embarrased to say I'm not sure on the susp - It had the susp when my brother bought it - I think the original owner had mixed the stiffer (pro?) springs with the sportline swaybars and bushings, and the car was way too low and stiff (my brother had to replace a header, cat, etc when he hit a cobblestone once). He switched to the softer, taller Eibach springs and it handles much better.

I'm guessing you put chalk or something on the sidewalls and see if gets rubbed off? Will this be on the test [hihi] ?
 

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Resident Curmudgeon
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You can use chalk, but over time, you'll be able to look at the wear pattern on the outer shoulder of the tire and it will be readily apparent.

Pressure is also a good indicator. More than likely, even after a hot run you will have to lower the pressure by as much as 3-4 psi to get the same handling that you experienced when you first set up the car.

Sometimes, I like to leave the pressures elevated to see if it helps. Not always, but sometimes it works.
 

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The Librarian
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13,116 Posts
I'm guessing you put chalk or something on the sidewalls and see if gets rubbed off?
To get a good feel for pressures when I was starting out in the new car, I was using white shoe polish.
Note the 4 white marks on each tire.
If there's too much pressure, none would wear off, and not all the available contact patch of the tire would be used.
Too little pressure, and those white marks would disappear,
along with some rather ugly looking scuff marks showing up on the shoulders and sidewalls.

This is an embarrasing older pic. [eek] Just 3 months after getting the car back in 2004.
Hmmm, where's my beard?! I forgot I used to shave it off every summer. [paranoid]
Anyway, here's your shoe polish marks. [;)]

^^^The above is from this thread:
http://www.focusfanatics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=40681
Lots more good "newbie" AutoCross discussion.
Happy reading.
 

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Focused Focus
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Quite picking on Doug, lol! I have the same hair style that was popular in the 70's, lol.
 

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Focused Focus
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And Chris, you have seen me, lol. You know im telling the truth, lol.....
 

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Focused Focus
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^^LOL^^ your such a great guy Chris, lol
 
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