Well, you decided it is time to “upgrade you car” with a few bits and pieces. While this article is not meant to cover what you can and cannot do to move from Stock to Production to Improved, etc… it will cover some relatively easy and somewhat inexpensive changes you can make to help improve your times.
“Now, to put a water-cooled engine in the rear and to have a radiator in the front, that’s not very intelligent.” – Ferry Porsche (PANO, Oct. ’73).
There I was, out there just enjoying myself during the third Black Group run on Day 2 at Lime Rock, and all of a sudden I am doing a “tank-slapper” on the uphill. Holy cr#%, what the hell is going on. The tires felt a bit greasy at turn one but now all hell was breaking loose. I decided I better head to the pits and see what is going on.
- Well, as you are reading this, it probably is still pretty cold out. No better time than now to begin to think about the coming Autocross (AutoX) season. You need to start getting your car ready for the season so you are ready for our 2012 season. We know that there are a number of you out there that are sitting on the sidelines, thinking about AutoXing, but are a bit apprehensive. Read this primer, come to an event or two, ask for an Instructor and give it a shot – you will have a blast.In the most basic sense, AutoX is a test of driver skill. As you take your runs at each event, your car control skills are evolving and improving. Precision and speed are the fundamental skills being tested and developed. Scoring is based on the time it takes you to drive a defined course. Your individual time is compared to other cars in your same car class and the day’s winners are determined by whoever has the best time in their class. More on classes later, but classes are the way to ensure a level playing field; if you are driving a 944 or a Miata, you would not want your time compared to a GT3, right? Penalties are assessed for knocking over cones or knocking them out of the chalk marked box. AutoX events are held in a nice safe and controlled environment – empty parking lots. Our courses are designed to allow for a competitive event but not too tortuous so as to make it too difficult (especially in the beginning of the season). You drive at varying speeds as you navigate the course and speeds are generally below highway speeds.So, you have decided to join us – now what?
Time to start thinking about the upcoming AutoX season! We will return to the Meadowlands Giants Stadium Lot E, now known as Met Life Stadium, Lot E and will likely have six events along with our famous Car Control Clinic and Autocross School. Here is our tentative schedule thus far:
April 15: Car Control Clinic, Met Life Stadium, Lot E
April 22: AutoX, Met Life Stadium, Lot E
May 13: AutoX or AutoX School , Met Life Stadium, Lot E
June 10: AutoX or AutoX School , Met Life Stadium, Lot E
July 29: AutoX, Met Life Stadium, Lot E
August, September and October: AutoX’s at TBD dates and Locations
Once the Jets and Giants set their schedule (in April), we will be able to set our August – October dates and we are looking to also have our annual event at the Englishtown Road Course.
By the time you read this we will have tallied the 2011 points and awarded the Season Trophies. Here are the results:
As promised, here is the next installment on car setup basics for Autocross. In previous articles we covered some of the fundamentals of tires, tire pressure and alignment. This article will cover sway bars and shocks.
The resistance of a car to leaning, or roll, while cornering is a primary factor in how a car behaves. There are two reasons for this: Roll affects how the tires touch the pavement and relative roll resistance determines how much weight transferred each corner of the car will carry in a corner. It is clear that a car’s body roll influences grip by tilting the tires on the pavement, but tires are also sensitive to how much vertical load is placed on them. More load equates to more grip, but the tire is also less efficient. Increasing the roll resistance of one axle of a car causes more load to be transferred at that axle, making the tires on that axle work less efficiently. It is this principle you work with by stiffening or softening the chassis. Sway bars and shocks are part of a car’s roll resistance. They are commonly adjustable and work in different ways to affect a car’s behavior.
All right, not really but that sounded cool. Actually what happens at our events at the Meadowlands is talked about, debated and argued for several months after each event. We use what we learned to tweak our cars, our attitudes and most of all our reputations albeit strictly in our own minds. Yes, we can tell our friends and loved ones how incredibly fast we are and how knowledgeable we are but sooner or later the results (granted mostly later and sometimes never) get posted. OK boys and girls, this is one of those times when if you read all of our articles on preparation and strategy and got a good nights sleep in advance of the event and put your heart and soul into it, you actually have the right to brag that you are the fastest in your class (not kindergarten) on any given Sunday, especially July 31, 2011. Oh yes, these are actual results from that event. And by the way a special thanks to our X class and Audi Club drivers for bringing it and laying it all out there. Most of all the course setters for us this season were led by Perry Adlebaum of SCCA fame and our own Robert Ida.