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WFox's Autocross Journal

WFox93

Passed Driver's Ed
Location
ST.L MO
Lol yeah My outside shoulders, primarily on the fronts, are all but gone. Definitely need to rotate them at this point. The thought has crossed my mind that I'll need a third set of wheels but I don't think I'm that committed. I think the most I'll do with tires anytime soon is wrap my stockers with RE71s or maybe a more affordable sticky tire. I'm considering making it even more affordable by only doing a set of two for the front and just running mismatched wheels and tires the day of.
 

Chad13762

Go Kart Champion
Location
Henderson NV
....I'm considering making it even more affordable by only doing a set of two for the front and just running mismatched wheels and tires the day of.

This isn't a good idea (I actually tried this once back in the '90's after cording 2 of my race tires). The mis-match in grip will make the handling horrid. You might have fun and create an over-steering drift-o-licious FWD car, but your times will not be good. Ever see a video of a FWD "Drifting" with food trays under the back tires? Like that...

Federal RS-RR's are less expensive, and supposedly a good 200-TW tire if you aren't looking for that last 2%. I haven't tried them myself though.

I understand managing multiple sets of rims and tires is a PITA. I have two set of race tires kicking around my garage all the time (they're always in the way.)
 
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WFox93

Passed Driver's Ed
Location
ST.L MO
So I've decided that as much as I love autocrossing, I'm not going to make it a full time thing. I like it as a fun activity to do with my car but I can see it will be a very expensive rabbit hole if I start specing my car just for autocross. I can also see ending up not very happy with my car. So I've decided to build/mod my car to my original plan or just what I want in general. If that puts me in a stupid autocross class than so be it lol.

That being said, I spent my morning before work today installing an Eibach Rear Sway Bar and Moog end links. The car feels much more responsive through corners now. My next mod to the car will be a front mount intercooler from one of our friends down in the south east. That is of course if he's still making them by the time I save up the money for it. Why? Simply because it looks cool and I want to start getting some supporting mods on for my eventual tune.

I also took some time to do some maintenance to the car. Spark plugs and an oil change. Spark plugs were the most beautifully worn plugs I've pulled from an engine and the oil to my surprise didn't reek of gasoline. This is the lowest mileage car I've owned though so that may be why I was expecting worse.
 

WFox93

Passed Driver's Ed
Location
ST.L MO
Well, it took a week but I finally got around to rendering out my videos and putting together another update from this last Sunday's event.

Firstly, lets get a couple things out of the way. Yes, I'm still on all seasons. No, that's probably ot changing anytime soon lol. And yes, I've become a bit of a joke in STH. But, That being said, I out drove everyone in the class aside from some dude in a way-to-modified-for-the-class chevy sonic and I wasn't too far off him.

Anyway, onto what I thought of the course and new sway bar. This was a really fast course compared to what we've been getting and boy was it fun. There's not a chance I'd be able to put in a decent time without my new rear bar. There were a couple corners I felt the car teetering on three wheels. I also made the decision to leave my tires a touch lower than normal. I ran at 37 in the front a 41 in the rear which heated up to 42 and 47 by the end of the third run.

I ran pretty consistent mid 44s to low 45s until my last two runs, I decided to experiment. On Run 5 I decided to run as aggressive as possible and I put up my slowest time. On the last run, I remembered something I've read and heard multiple time regarding motorcycling. In the higher performance classes, the instructor will sometimes take the class around the course and tell students not to use the brakes. I chose to do the same and try to get through the course as quick as possible with no brakes. I think I touched the brakes 2 or 3 times the whole course and it forced me to be more gentle with my turn in and correct mistakes my controlling throttle and steering rather than slamming the brake then matting the throttle.

Anyway, here are some videos to enjoy. I picked the best of three in the morning and the two last runs. all the others looked pretty much like "Run 2"

Run 2
Run 5 (Aggressive)
Run 6 (No Braking)
 
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WFox93

Passed Driver's Ed
Location
ST.L MO
Well,I completely forgot to update this from my last event on the 13th so here goes.

It was pretty cool that day which was interesting to see the impact it had on the car. The car ran smoother but I didn't have the slightest clue what to do about my tires. They built heat slowly and felt better but I didn't like how much sidewall I was using. I ended up just leaving them though and I was able to run pretty consistently all day despite not knowing what my times were due to technical issues.

I felt like I was really able to relax behind the wheel and listen to my car to really find the limits which were surprisingly low. I really struggled to get the front end to stick on the starting straight and the faster corners. I felt like I was doing this dance where the stiff rear lifted the inner rear wheel and moved weight to the outside front but the second that happened, the outside front got overwhelmed and slipped out.

Probably the most exciting part of the day were the safety lessons we got. There was a factory five cobra that had a busted door but still insisted on riding with a passenger. That door flew open so many times. Finally the safety marshal forced them to ride solo. The more scary moments was when a Mini came off track and I'm not entirely sure what happened, maybe he panicked and hit the gas instead of the brake but he came flying up the fence line where many of us were standing and we had to run towards the track to get out of the way. This was even more concerning as we had another car on track finishing. Luckily red flags went up immediately and nobody was hurt. We later had a corvette lose control and apparently they have this automated ABS thing called "ice mode" where if the rear tires are spinning and you jam the brakes, it cuts braking power. That one almost took out my buddy. again though, everybody made it out ok. Definitely a lesson in never turning your back on a car and a reminder of just how dangerous any form of motorsport can be.

Anyway, here are a few videos I grabbed.
Run 1
Run 3 (DNF)
Run 4 (Fastest)
 

GTIfan99

Autocross Champion
Location
FL
Watched your fastest run. Front half looks pretty good, back half you got way behind everywhere. You've got to get ahead in transitions and take into account that the suspension has to load and tires deflect some before the car starts to turn.

I'd also play with pressures and or alignment to get a little rotation.
 

WFox93

Passed Driver's Ed
Location
ST.L MO
Thanks for the advice and the note. I felt like things fell apart a the end myself. I was completely lost on tire pressure with the cooler temps that day. Last event is this Sunday. I'll definitely be pumping up the rears. and keeping my head up to plan for the course instead of reacting to it has been number one all year.
 

GTIfan99

Autocross Champion
Location
FL
Between runs, reset your pressures. If it's hot out, check to see how hot tires are getting and spray as necessary.

Zero toe or 1/16in to out in front and reducing rear toe to 1/16th toe in will help you get the car to rotate in a more progressive way than just increasing rear pressures. If you don't have a rear sway bar yet, you could even zero out rear toe. I run with -1.8 camber in the rear and a 26mm rsb, so zero toe in the rear was WAY to much rotation.

Tires and seat time will be your biggest improvements though. If you're staying on AS tires, one of the things that's making you so late is that your understeering into the element. Brake sooner, so you aren't plowing into the turn.
 

Chad13762

Go Kart Champion
Location
Henderson NV
Oooof - reading the safety issues in your writeup. Were these course workers dodging cars, or spectators out along the course? Looking at your videos, it appeared to be a well designed course with ample safety clear zones, and only course workers near the track. I can only imagine how beyond control these cars got.

FWIW - we send every worker out on course with a florescent safety vest. If your club doesn't provide them, I'd suggest you get one for yourself. Every bit helps. You might want to tug on the ear of your safety stewards about it too.
 
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WFox93

Passed Driver's Ed
Location
ST.L MO
Yeah, it was only course workers doing the dodging luckily. Spectators, the few we have, hang out behind concrete dividers and aren't allowed to get any closer than paddock without signing more waivers and paying for an SCCA membership, weekend or otherwise. Floro vests would be an excellent idea and most of us try to where brighter colors regardless. Sadly, I don't think it would have done much good in these scenarios though.
 

WFox93

Passed Driver's Ed
Location
ST.L MO
Between runs, reset your pressures. If it's hot out, check to see how hot tires are getting and spray as necessary.

Zero toe or 1/16in to out in front and reducing rear toe to 1/16th toe in will help you get the car to rotate in a more progressive way than just increasing rear pressures. If you don't have a rear sway bar yet, you could even zero out rear toe. I run with -1.8 camber in the rear and a 26mm rsb, so zero toe in the rear was WAY to much rotation.

Tires and seat time will be your biggest improvements though. If you're staying on AS tires, one of the things that's making you so late is that your understeering into the element. Brake sooner, so you aren't plowing into the turn.

Solid stuff, I've been setting and forgetting my pressures but this weekend I'll be bringing my air tank with me and checking them between runs. I don't think heat will be too much of an issue this weekend since we're looking at a high of 50.

next year the loose plan is to switch to Indy 500s and running/dailying those and doing a second set for winter. I just can't convince myself to do dedicated AutoX and track tires yet. That also plays into not wanting to do a whole lot different than a standard alignment. I do have the eibach 25mm RSB which helped out tremendously.
 

GTIfan99

Autocross Champion
Location
FL
Solid stuff, I've been setting and forgetting my pressures but this weekend I'll be bringing my air tank with me and checking them between runs. I don't think heat will be too much of an issue this weekend since we're looking at a high of 50.

next year the loose plan is to switch to Indy 500s and running/dailying those and doing a second set for winter. I just can't convince myself to do dedicated AutoX and track tires yet. That also plays into not wanting to do a whole lot different than a standard alignment. I do have the eibach 25mm RSB which helped out tremendously.

Indy 500's will be fine. I would reconsider alignment though, it makes a huge difference, as much as the rsb and if you stick to what i listed, it isn't going to eat tires on the street.
 

aroundomaha

Passed Driver's Ed
Location
Nebraska
Thanks for sharing your story and videos, as I started a similar journey though it is a stock GTI-S in G Street. My goal is primarily fun though being competitive locally is always on the table. I did a lot of the first and not as much of the second in three events (on crappy RE97AS all seasons).

You are already competitive in-class, so congrats on that!
 

WFox93

Passed Driver's Ed
Location
ST.L MO
Last event of the season is over with and not too much drama this time lol.

I took home the W for the day secured my first place trophy for the season. Not that any of the other drivers qualified but hey, we'll just leave that part out lol. Even if they did I think I'd at least be in top three anyway.

This day was pretty interesting though we got started and it was mid 30s and after lunch we were floating close to 60. I must of let out close to 10 PSI from each of my tires between ambient temp and runs heating them up. Oh and somehow my air filter fell off luckily not as serious as my buddy frying his O2 sensor in his mustang.

This season was super fun though. It has definitely left me wanting to go again. Next year I'll probably be in a prepped class due to my tune and clutch but I'm sure it'll still be fun.

I seriously can't even count the number of people I've met and every single one of them friendly and willing to help in any way they can. Actually more in that mustang. My buddy's car died after the first run after we found out. One of my other friends immediately started chatting with the timing folks and a few other officials and they all agreed to let him switch to co-driving my friends Miata. The consensus was, "slap a '1' in front of your number and we'll figure out from there."

I want to reiterate again to any new guys or folks even considering giving this a try DO IT. The only extra abuse my car took was tires, and I'm sure those would have survived a bit more had I had a better sense of self preservation lol. If you need help ask someone, locally here we have folks with giant question marks on their shirts to ask but everybody is open for questions.

Just this Sunday I finally got a chance to talk with the 3rd fastest indexed driver in our club (also in a '17 GTI Sport) and got to ride with him then he rode with me and I got some free pointers from someone who places well in national events as well. He actually just reiterated what GTIfan said up above about being late on everything.

I'm afraid my camera mount broke so I don't have any footage this time round but it was seriously fun.

I want to thank you vets for the advice and thank the new guys for following along. To any other new guys, again, do this at least once. I may keep this thread going next year and maybe keep up with my mods on here too. Not sure yet.
 

GTIfan99

Autocross Champion
Location
FL
Last event of the season is over with and not too much drama this time lol.

I took home the W for the day secured my first place trophy for the season. Not that any of the other drivers qualified but hey, we'll just leave that part out lol. Even if they did I think I'd at least be in top three anyway.

This day was pretty interesting though we got started and it was mid 30s and after lunch we were floating close to 60. I must of let out close to 10 PSI from each of my tires between ambient temp and runs heating them up. Oh and somehow my air filter fell off luckily not as serious as my buddy frying his O2 sensor in his mustang.

This season was super fun though. It has definitely left me wanting to go again. Next year I'll probably be in a prepped class due to my tune and clutch but I'm sure it'll still be fun.

I seriously can't even count the number of people I've met and every single one of them friendly and willing to help in any way they can. Actually more in that mustang. My buddy's car died after the first run after we found out. One of my other friends immediately started chatting with the timing folks and a few other officials and they all agreed to let him switch to co-driving my friends Miata. The consensus was, "slap a '1' in front of your number and we'll figure out from there."

I want to reiterate again to any new guys or folks even considering giving this a try DO IT. The only extra abuse my car took was tires, and I'm sure those would have survived a bit more had I had a better sense of self preservation lol. If you need help ask someone, locally here we have folks with giant question marks on their shirts to ask but everybody is open for questions.

Just this Sunday I finally got a chance to talk with the 3rd fastest indexed driver in our club (also in a '17 GTI Sport) and got to ride with him then he rode with me and I got some free pointers from someone who places well in national events as well. He actually just reiterated what GTIfan said up above about being late on everything.

I'm afraid my camera mount broke so I don't have any footage this time round but it was seriously fun.

I want to thank you vets for the advice and thank the new guys for following along. To any other new guys, again, do this at least once. I may keep this thread going next year and maybe keep up with my mods on here too. Not sure yet.

Most clubs have a tire index class for cars that run 200tw or higher on cars that are classed in classes that allow R comps. They score by pax with special multiplier for 200tw tires. It's usually one of our biggest classes. So if you go SM, but don't want to buy Hoosiers, you can run Tire class with an SM mulitiplier.
 
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