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Old 02-03-2009, 08:09 AM   #1
purduephigam
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Default Auto-X - Road Course Paranoia

I suppose this isn't the best timing since I basically just invested $2500 in new suspension plus labor, a fender roll, and topped it off with some 17x9s. But I am beginning to get the jitters about auto-x and course. With auto-x I'm potentially looking at extra fees such as brakes, new clutch, flywheel (might as well). I won't be running every weekend, but still.

With course, assuming I pay my $150 insurance, I'm still running the risk of hitting someone, or getting hit by someone in addition to burning out my clutch, and not to mention stressing out my motor. I probably won't do this any more than three times this summer, but still.....

I guess I really didn't consider the "potential" hidden cost in my purchases, and really no one can really plan for these things unless you're what I consider "a regular." I've never done either of these things, and really just classify myself as an enthusiast. I can't turn this into a track monster just yet as it is my daily driver, and since I'm in dental school, my funds are going outward, rather than coming to me. I have a feeling that I'll be that wall flower at Solo II events while I watch all the others have fun Any thoughts?
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:12 AM   #2
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Just Do It.

Autox is fun, risk is minimal, and if you don't drive all stupid like you're clutch/flywheel will be fine. Brakes are minimal. I've been runnign the same pads for 2yrs now.
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:13 AM   #3
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Get the jelly out your spine!
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:22 AM   #4
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I have autocrossed my daily drivers for years with no major wear on brakes or clutch, just drive smart.
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:23 AM   #5
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Quote:
extra fees such as brakes, new clutch, flywheel (might as well).
For auto-x, brake pads and fluids. That's all you need.

New clutch? No way. Autox course starts should be designed to minimize/eliminate hard-drag launches. A nice quick, but easy start in 1st gear is all you need, a quick shift, mostly a short/early shift at that to 2nd and you LEAVE IT in 2nd gear for the remainder of the course. If you're launching hard and revving high in 1st, or shifting into 1st elsewhere on course.... you're doing it wrong.

Absolutley no reason at all to have and upgraded clutch and flywheel. That's wasted money. (Unless your clutch is absolutely shot already... then you need to shift better because it shouldn't already be gone).

--kC
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:30 AM   #6
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Default Just do it!!

I say do it, whatever it is. I have been autocrossing since 1998. Granted, this was on a CSP then full prepared car. But autocross is not as hard on a car as everyone wants to make it out.
Sure, you are stressing all components harder than street driving. But it is not a stage rally. SCCA safety regs stipulate that a stock class car should be maintained to under 50-60 mph. But even on race rubber, ie DOT legal tires, in autocross, your tires will be your most expensive part. Maybe a set of fresh pads, a more regular change of fluids, etc. But I don't think it is as hard on a car as you think.
Road racing, or HPDE, time trial, whatever, is harder on the car, but in a different way, I believe. Higher speeds, longer full throttle applications. Harder brake wear, tranny, diff temps elevated, etc. Plus, the speed encourages more damage in the event of an off.
Now my standard disclaimer. Everyone should autocross at least five times. When I have kids, they will be in karts, and autocross as soon as legal. It really lets you explore the limits of a car in a safe and controlled environment. Helps in everyday driving with emergency situations, should the need arise.

Cheers,
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:33 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purduephigam View Post
I suppose this isn't the best timing since I basically just invested $2500 in new suspension plus labor, a fender roll, and topped it off with some 17x9s. But I am beginning to get the jitters about auto-x and course. With auto-x I'm potentially looking at extra fees such as brakes, new clutch, flywheel (might as well). I won't be running every weekend, but still.

With course, assuming I pay my $150 insurance, I'm still running the risk of hitting someone, or getting hit by someone in addition to burning out my clutch, and not to mention stressing out my motor. I probably won't do this any more than three times this summer, but still.....

I guess I really didn't consider the "potential" hidden cost in my purchases, and really no one can really plan for these things unless you're what I consider "a regular." I've never done either of these things, and really just classify myself as an enthusiast. I can't turn this into a track monster just yet as it is my daily driver, and since I'm in dental school, my funds are going outward, rather than coming to me. I have a feeling that I'll be that wall flower at Solo II events while I watch all the others have fun Any thoughts?
A cement truck could wreck and bury you in cement while you are driving to dental school. You probably shouldn't drive at all.
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Old 02-03-2009, 09:57 AM   #8
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As others have said, autox is pretty risk free.

Track driving on the other hand is not. If you are not prepared to be without your car or potentially total it, do not drive on track.

Tony
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Old 02-03-2009, 10:40 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Turn in Concepts View Post
As others have said, autox is pretty risk free.

Track driving on the other hand is not. If you are not prepared to be without your car or potentially total it, do not drive on track.

Tony
^^^+1
Suabru + HPDE = $$$$ but is totaly worth it.
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Old 02-03-2009, 11:00 AM   #10
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you have painted yourself into a classic corner

you spent your wad on mods, now you can't imagine more spending to get the most out of what you've already spent. Not to mention how many axes you could do in your stock car on a budget of $2500!

take up stage rally, it'll make autox and track days seem like having the car parked in a nice field of flowers

if you can't handle a bit of increased wear n tear from autox, why did you make all those suspension mods to begin with? If you can't handle potentially wadding up the car, fer cripesakes keep off the track.

On the other hand, if you just go out and carefully learn the ropes and run with your brain engaged instead of your gonads, you'll be fine. It's called "good judgement."

Last edited by RB5 Clone; 02-03-2009 at 11:09 AM. Reason: judgement called
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Old 02-03-2009, 12:14 PM   #11
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Hit the local auto-x and you will be fine unless you drive like a complete asshat.
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Old 02-03-2009, 12:21 PM   #12
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Agreed on the track advice.

If you can't afford to walk away from it, you shouldn't be out there.

-Duncan
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Old 02-03-2009, 01:22 PM   #13
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a major point to remember is that a subaru is waaay tougher than you give it credit for. you won't 'stress your engine' as much as you are already stressing your mind!

forget being a wallflower while you 'decide' whether you can handle this or not. just get out there, enter local axes, pay attention to what the others are doing and have some fun. your car is not a fragile egg waiting to self-destruct.

it was built to beat on...beat on it mindfully and it'll be the other guys who have probs.
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Old 02-03-2009, 02:27 PM   #14
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Just want to agree with what everyone else is saying. If you can't afford the wear and tear on your car, you shouldn't be investing in mods. My 2004 WRX was my daily driver up until a year ago. It now has 56,000 miles on it. I have probably done close to 25 regular autox events. Plus I used to work at a race track so I've done atleast 20 test and tunes where I got to make close to 20 passes opposed to the 4-6 you get at a normal autox. So we can estimate 500 competition pace autox passes plus I've done two HPDEs. I have not had anything go wrong with the car. The only parts that have worn out from this abuse were tires but don't get into racing if you don't look as tires as an expendable item.

Point being, as long as you do preventative maintenance and don't roast or dump the clutch at every launch, the car should be rock solid.
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Old 02-03-2009, 05:02 PM   #15
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Here's another idea. If you're that concerned, you could always take instruction. You know, go to a "school" or get a mentor that will take you through the basics and up.

Instead of telling you to do it, or whatever, I will just say this- The rewards of better driving skill goes far beyond the track or the local auto-x. Your street driving will improve, because you better understand the physics and limits of your car and its handling capabilities. This is something we need more of on the street.

P.S. Your car will eventually die. Statistically speaking, in an accident. But some day, your car will be gone. Just keep that in mind.
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Old 02-03-2009, 05:53 PM   #16
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Pretty much everything I have to add has been stated already

- Why are you dropping thousands of dollars on suspension if you don't do motorsports in any fashion? Enjoy your car!

- The wear and risks aren't as great as you think with autocross. An autocross is generally 5 runs of lets say one minute for the sake of argument. We're talking 5 damn minutes of driving in an entire day. You'll see a ton of cars there that just showed up off the street with no mods whatsoever. Of course there's some wear, but you don't need to buy a clutch and flywheel and whatever else you think you need to blow money on. The risks of an accident are slim as well. Walk the course a few times and try to visualize it from start to finish. If you can't, it's time to walk it again.

- As for track dangers, I haven't yet experienced the track, but I'm registered to go to Lime Rock with NASA April 4th. I don't know what group you're considering tracking with, but you're going to be in the novices category with an instructor in the car at all times. You won't be racing in any way shape or form. Passes should only occur on designated straightaways once the car ahead of you has given a point by for the ok. I am wary of the risks, which is why I won't be approaching the limit. And trust me, the instructors don't want you approaching the limit in the first place. I just bought a set of Ohlins and am about to get the install/alignment/corner balance done before I go to Lime Rock. I am also attending the Evo AutoX School (Phase 1 and Phase 2) at Devens this year along with autoXing every other weekend or so. I plan to get the most of out my mods and do a lot of events this year.

In summary: Do some autoXs first. You'll get comfortable with the car at the limit. Then do some schools to get better (AutoX school or HPDE like I'm doing with instructors). I was a total newb last year and now I'm pretty involved in the sport. Have fun!

PS It is not a cheap sport. If you put the money you would spend on the clutch or flywheel towards events and schools, you'll be wayyy faster (and a much better driver).
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Old 02-03-2009, 05:55 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dunk View Post
Agreed on the track advice.

If you can't afford to walk away from it, you shouldn't be out there.

-Duncan
I'll go ahead add as well....

any thing you buy car, parts, tool, etc for the track you better be ready to buy it a 2nd or 3rd time. Your 5,000 dollar unbreakable turbo will fail, the pads that y-guy got 5 track days out of from NAsIoC...you will get 1 day out of them, you brand super sticky tires will b toast after 1 nasa weekend in the summer and it goes on and on
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Old 02-03-2009, 07:00 PM   #18
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they say an image is worth a 1000 words

this was taken when I had 165k on original motor, tranny, and rear diff

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Old 02-03-2009, 08:45 PM   #19
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AutoX is fine. Yes there's some small wear and you'll have to buy a new set of tires every season.

Motorsports is an expensive hobby. AutoX is one of the most inexpensive variations.

As for a trackday or road race... even if it's only practice, and passing is allowed only in specific areas I'd caution against going. Don't go to the track unless you can afford to wad that car up and walk away. If it's your daily you're asking for trouble.
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Old 02-03-2009, 09:01 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by dstan View Post
they say an image is worth a 1000 words

this was taken when I had 165k on original motor, tranny, and rear diff

But you drive slow
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Old 02-03-2009, 09:06 PM   #21
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As many others have said, AX is safe and inexpensive (at least as far as wear and tear goes). Just don't drop the clutch, or do something truly bone headed, and you will do just fine. Tires are really the only thing you really WILL go through. R compound tires are like crack - fun, expensive, totally addicting. You can have tons of fun with street tires like Azenis Direzzas, etc. for a pretty cheap price, and they will last an entire season pretty easily (unless you drive a LOT of events).
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Old 02-03-2009, 09:38 PM   #22
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But you drive slow
ummm yes I do
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Old 02-03-2009, 09:40 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by bcblues View Post
As many others have said, AX is safe and inexpensive (at least as far as wear and tear goes). Just don't drop the clutch, or do something truly bone headed, and you will do just fine. Tires are really the only thing you really WILL go through. R compound tires are like crack - fun, expensive, totally addicting. You can have tons of fun with street tires like Azenis Direzzas, etc. for a pretty cheap price, and they will last an entire season pretty easily (unless you drive a LOT of events).
Bridgestones Re-11 this year and Re-01rs last year and they are not cheap
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Old 02-03-2009, 11:47 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purduephigam View Post
With auto-x I'm potentially looking at extra fees such as brakes, new clutch, flywheel (might as well). I won't be running every weekend, but still.
My clutch lasted 90K miles and almost 500 autox runs, covering over five years of autocross, and I do more events than most folks. It only died because I was slipping the hell out of it launching it at ProSolo events. If you have a WRX 5-speed you do not want to upgrade your clutch as it just means you're more likely to break the transmission.

Just get out there and do some autox events - you'll be hooked soon. And leave your car alone except for maybe a new alignment if you don't have any camber.

john
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:15 AM   #25
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Quote:
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Just get out there and do some autox events - you'll be hooked soon. And leave your car alone except for maybe a new alignment if you don't have any camber.
Right on! I may have gone overboard with expenditures, but like I said, I'm an enthusiast. And I make sure I'm always good with fluids, oil changes, checkups, etc so that I can get the most out of my car. And for the record, it is my daily driver; however, I live in the city and the car remains garaged. I haven't even broken the 28k mark yet and she's an '05.

Other than a control arm/lateral link issue I have (posted in suspension), I definitely wont be spending money on anything other than tires or repairs at this point. I feel like I will soon become addicted to auto-x after I go to a few events! Thanks for all your input.
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