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Discussion Starter #1
Thought some here may enjoy my first Autocross experience.
I have an '02 Ford zx2 (escort 2 door, 2 liter 4 cylinder, FWD, 5 speed) with 9.5 pound 14" wheels (yes, smaller than original 15s) and Bridgestone Potenza 009 all-season street tires. The car has the same Eibach springs & Tokico struts that came on the factory RT model, and a thicker rear anti sway bar from an escort GT. Otherwise it's essentially stock. Here's the write-up I shared with buds & the TeamZX2.com site.

Motorcycle fun- http://www.roadracingworld.com/news/article/?article=28748

Just got back from my 1st autoX. BIG fun! It was apparently a short course... times ran mostly from
34's to 42 seconds. Newcomers- the cars run solo... not side by side.

I did go in a category called STS (street tire stock?), thanks to advice from the other ZX2 who ran.
There were about 60 cars total: incl a corvette, Lotus, Porsche, subarus, Miatas, a cavalier, Neon-
some HIGHLT cutomized for racing...& did they move!

I had put all 4 tires to 35 psi cold & drove to Council Bluffs... 20-some miles... getting there about
9:15 am. The car had a little over 1/2 a tank of gas then & looked no different after 5 runs (about 200
seconds on track). The course was on asphalt parking lot and was wet for the first run; 1/4th dry for the
second, & all dry for runs 3-5.

The guy who told me about the course (a substitute teacher, retired art teacher) was there w/ his Miata.
He showed me how to chalk the outer edge of the treads to see how much each tire was rolling-in on hard
corners. That proved useful, eventually. I emptied all the loose stuff out of the car (required)- spare
tire, floor mats, coins, etc. Tech inspection wasn't much... I was kind of disappointed.

Damp asphalt lot: I must've walked the circuit 6 times trying to get it in my head... but the old noggin was
struggling with mapping a sinuous path marked by cones.

Quick slolom r-l-r then into a 270 left-loop.
Quick zag l-r through a Chicago box (?).
Veer left into a 180 decreasing radius right then
straight 30 yards or so.
100 degree left then zag right into a hard left into
left sweeper,
Ending w/ a sharpish-right, somewhat reverse camber,
that opened into a 40 yard sprint to the timer.

1st run... someone had told me that the whole run should be made in 2nd gear.
The car was moving but didn't have much throttle response... but I was struggling trying to find the
path anyway. Got to the last ten seconds & finally put it into first to finish... wow- MUCH more fun!
I don't think I touched the brakes but once or twice... briefly.
Time was a notch past 43 seconds.

Talked with the other zx2 driver (bolt on engine mods, full poly bushings, ZXTuner adj rear sway bar, perf
tires... he ran 36's) and he said he did the whole thing in 1st gear. Forgot to look at the chalk marks.

2nd run- left it in first the whole run... concentrated on being smooth & keeping momentum.
Track was dry in sections... used the brake a bit more here or there. Tires started screaming on the
dry curves. Time: 41 & a hair.

The other zx2 driver invited me to ride with him... so I did. Holy criminy! He was whipping that sucker
around pretty violently... diving left-right hitting the brake hard then gasing it through & out of the
curves. I was work just to keep my helmeted head near level! His tires never screamed.

Then his friend took me in his Miata... same thing w/ rear-drive alterations. His wide tires never
screamed. Gotta say- the circuit had so many changes in short order all the way around that my rookie head could not analyze where my driving was bad... each run was like a blur afterwards. Guess experienced driver have advantages there.

3rd run- OK... I decided that I had to quit my "street driving" & try pushing the engine & brakes a lot more.
The circuit was dry now. Overcast, upper 60's temp wise. The all season Bridgestone P-009s were yelling
a lot. Got to a time of 39 & small change (I didn't write it down from the printed result).

While watching other cars run... a lot of Mustangs & power cars were slower than my 38: Tight circuit
wasn't their thing. Finally looked at the chalk marks... the fronts were rolling in a bit, backs
weren't. My Miata friend let me use his battery-airpump to get the fronts to 40 psi.

4th run- Got my best run of the day at 38.174 seconds which was right there with several Miatas, WRX's, and a BMW M3... and ahead of most of the Mustangs... they were not in my STS division.

The Miata pal was kinda miffed because my best was ahead of his after 4 runs. : ]
It motivated him though & his final run beat mine by a couple tenths I think.
Still, he said that I wasn't cutting the closest path- I was often out too far from cones.

5th run- Ok, cut it closer to the cones... go! Well, I never hit a cone on any of my runs, no time penalty,
but I wonder how much tighter I could've made it. Wish I would've had a good driver go with me for a run
or two. Ended with a 38.8 or so.

I'm thinking the best part of the day was riding with the other drivers to witness that type of directed
agression. But to get within a couple seconds of the other more-modded, better tired, zx2 was a moral
victory... at least in my little rookie mind.

So... when's the next one!! Letseehere...
Oh boy, the weekend before the last week of school!
: ]

May 27 Autocross
Location: Lincoln, NE
Lincoln Air Park

Member Cost: $20.00 Non-Member Cost: $30.00

Registration: 9:00am - 10:30am
Drivers Meeting: 10:45am
First Car Off: 11:00am
 
R

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mmm, Autocross. I've only ran one course and loved it. My car was also stock, running Potenza's. The little Protege whomped some of the regulars who were out in their Miata's! My buddy also ran that day fort he first time, and managed to tripod his Speed6 in the rain. lol.

Hoping to make it out to another course this summer after doing some more work to my car.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hey, now that you mention it, there was a Protege (5?) in my class that beat my best time by around a second. So it beat some Miata's here too. I was surprised at how smooth but violent autocross is.
 

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Here's Fog Circa 1968 in his all Conquering Undefeated Loutus Elan.

FOG

[attachment deleted by admin]
 

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Discussion Starter #5
FOG said:
Here's Fog Circa 1968 in his all Conquering Undefeated Loutus Elan.

FOG
Hey, that's a happening pic, FOG!
Could it be a few years later than '68? The 240Z came out in '69 (as a '70).

In Sunday's autocross there was a Lotus Elise (?) running too. See site w/ results-
http://www.nrscca.com/results/2007-05-06_Solo.pdf

One of the guys had a lowered Miata with big mods & wide racing tires that he trailered in.
Apparently he's a national champ in his class.
I was parked next to the #30 Porshe on the list. Very nice guy. His car had a great sound!

The next run is at Lincoln Air Park. I suppose that it'll be a longer course w/ more speed for 2nd & maybe 3rd gears.

I need to get some more ride-alongs, & have some good drivers ride w/ me.... cuz' I don't even know where to start for improvement. Guess I'll see what info I can find on-line.

During the tight 270 degree loop I think I must've been entering too fast... the car was pushing (didn't want to make the turn, right?)... w/ or w/o more throttle. I had to fight the urge to pull the emergency brake to swing the back around... like I do cutting FWD cookies on the snow covered parking lots.

I didn't do it. Is that an option? Any suggestions welcome.
 

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Yeah could be, 45 years ago ....brain fuzzy...

Pushing or understeer is built into all street cars,(especially FWD pigs) as it is deemed by big brother to be the saftest. (Remember the Corvair/Ralph Nader?).
There really isn't any way to drive around it , (pigs are going to be pigs) you must alter the car.(maybe drive it in reverse) Try 50 PSI in the front and 15 in the rear.

That's about it till you start to alter the weight bias and the roll rates.

FOG
 

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I started autocrossing my 2000 Nissan Sentra last year, running in STS. Last year I only had a cold air intake and all-season tires but this year I've added front and rear Eibach sway bars and BFGoodrich gforce sports. Its fun and addicting, and the lessons it's taught me about car control, threshold braking, etc are invaluable on the street.

If you feel the front of the car pushing into understeer, resist the urge to keep steering into the corner and instead unwind the wheel a bit. It'll help the tires regain some grip. Increasing the rear tire pressure will help the car turn by causing the car to oversteer (where the rear tires lose grip first), but that usually slows me down more than it helps me since the overall grip is reduced. Also, consider taking a tighter line into corners, then as you get on the gas to exit the corner let the understeer take you to the outside of the corner, which is where you want to be.

Most of this advice will make more sense with seat time. Spend money on driving schools and test & tunes before buying upgrades to your car. My car ran with the same setup for all of last year (8 or so autocross events) and I got much faster just by gaining experience behind the wheel.

Heres a picture of my whip last year.

[attachment deleted by admin]
 

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Discussion Starter #8
FOG... Awesome new autocross category.... in REVERSE.

I'll e-mail the SCCA ASAP! ;)
 

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Sounds good, I'm glad you had a blast! I also autocross (although I'm so busy with my bike I haven't run yet this year!). It's nice you started on a short course so you could see a little better times. The longer higher speed courses you'll see your lower HP slow you down compared to the Miatas. I also run in STS alot with a 4cyl FWD. It is alot of fun and you can learn a ton without major bucks for a street racer. Try to take a novice class if you haven't yet (even if it's next season). You will learn alot about technique that will really help. At my novice class one of the experienced drivers let me ride with him in his AWD 300++ HP Subaru STi. All I could do was hang on for dear life, as I got slapped around like a rag doll, but what a blast! You said it well - violent but smooth. The adrenaline was still pumping 20 min after I got out of the car!

The understeer comes with the territory with FWD like FOG said. Tires can help some and are easy to adjust on site for each course. I would reccommend you save up for a adjustable rear sway bar made for the Zx2. That will do the best job of letting you tune the car beforehand so it will be neutral or even start to oversteer when pushed (if you think your ready for it). Then you can use tire pressure to fine tune for each course.

All this talk has got me thinking maybe I need to get back out there..... :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Last night I joined the SCCA, & Nebraska region affiliate.
Today I got a large envelope in the mail. It was from the sub teacher who told me about local autocrossing. He had printed out a picture of my car & offered a couple of suggestions & told me of the website where pics could be found. If interested:


Also had several member who had videos posted on line of their runs.
This a view from alongside the tight-turned course:
http://s137.photobucket.com/albums/q225/Trevorw1/Cars/?action=view&current=4-26-07.flv
In-car camera... my best time was 3 seconds behind her:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0ZfSXJLxRI
Another in-car view:
http://media.putfile.com/suraj-07-run-4
 

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sojon said:
i believe the camaro in teh back of that picture is a 73ish...
Well It could be a late as 1975 but I can't remember. too long ago.
But as you can see. that Lotus served as the prototype for the Mazda Miata.

FOG
 

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im a mustang guy and had been told previously that the split bumper camaro's were 73's
but after some research it looks like the split bumber was the "rs" designation
 

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FOG said:
But as you can see. that Lotus served as the prototype for the Mazda Miata.
Agreed
 

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BTW STS stands for Street Touring Streetire. Otherwise your modification you did to your suspension would put you in a street prepared class. Not all cars qualify for street touring, for example my MR2 can not go in a street touring class instead gets placed in CSP which is a very very competative class.

As far as advice, lots and lots of seat time. When you get more seat time you will find where you can push your car harder, and where slowing down will actually speed you up. I have not autoX for a few years as the bike has taken priority, financially speaking.

BTW FOG I hope you still have that Elan! Sweet little car there!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Wheatchex1 said:
I also have autocrossed in the past couple of years. I'm running a 75 Chevrolet Cosworth Vega in H-Stock. I am somewhat competitive however the days of the Cosworth Vega are long since gone.

Brian
Wow, no kidding?
I had a '72 Vega GT w/ a header & dyno tune kit until I decided to put a 214 cubic inch aluminum V-8 in it, from an early Olds F-85. Would accelerate w/ a 400 Camaro (automatic) & still got 24 mpg avg. Had a rear roll bar in it... sold it when I became a daddy.
 

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autocross is cool. never done it but would like to. honestly though id like running side by side racing other drivers and not just the track a little better though.

im trying to get into this for next year here in columbus lol





i know a guy who runs a street stock at CMS and he says most of the people who run the compact series have about 1000 dollars in their car. im trying to find a car on the cheap so i can get out there and bump and bang.
 

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ShadesOfGray said:
That looks more like a destruction derby than a race. I read an article in Car and Driver (or maybe it was Road and Track) about a road race for blind people. People who are legally or completely blind get in junker cars, with a 'guide' co-driver who tells them to turn or speed up or slow down, and then the blind people just go all out. I don't think I'd want to participate, but it'd be hella fun to watch.
They developed that Idea and it became NASCAR.

My personal opinion of nascar is it's a huge joke as racing goes. If it wasn't so bad. Everyone of the top 20 or so driver shold be banned for life from racing, for unsportsmanship counduct.. And is only a clic behind the NBA and the NFL as a corupting influence on our youth.

Go ahead Bash your buddy it's ok, Dale, or Cale or whoever does it and he makes millions.

Bahh

FOG
 
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