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Old 09-18-2009, 04:36 PM   #1
FocusOnMe
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Hi,
I'm an avid auto-xer. I have an FSP Ford Focus, and therefore can drive FWD very well. At the end of the month our car club is hosting an beginners auto-x school in which i am an instructor. One of my students (and a friend) drives a stock STI ('04 i think) and is a total noob. unfortunatly when it comes to subies, so am I.

Can you very knowledgable people give me the run down on how the car will typically react in different situations (ex. understeer in sharp low speed corners, lift oversteer, etc), and some key points that I can teach her to drive more effectivly and faster (like when to get on the throttle, let the ass end hang out, point where u want to go and floor it, etc).

I am a sponge, fill me with info.

PS heres my car.
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Old 09-18-2009, 04:43 PM   #2
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The '04 has a clutch-type front diff. It'll fight turn-in a bit and then be good to go. You may want to have her set the DCCD to Manual with the wheel towards the rear (opens up the center diff) a bit to remove the ambiguity of the center diff controller's influence in Auto mode. Once she's comfortable with the car's abilities, then would be the time to try Auto or just move the the diff settings around a little (don't run at or near forward.. aka full lock.. it'll just plow and make rude noises).

That said, I've never driven an '04... but if it's anything like the later cars.. get on the throttle prior to the apex in sharp turns (to anticipate boost) and hold on.
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Old 09-18-2009, 04:59 PM   #3
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Coming from a STS Sentra to a STU STI, my advice is the STI acts more like a RWD car than a FWD. So, unlike my sentra, you shouldn't always wait on the car to turn.. you can apply power to HELP the car rotate.

But you need fast hands and fortitude to keep the throttle planted as the boost and diffs fight over your direction. So you may find that's not the best way to start learning.

Just know that apex --> corner exit is your friend in a STI. Do everything you can to get to the power as early as possible. Most times, that means entering the corner slower than you would in your Focus.
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Old 09-18-2009, 05:01 PM   #4
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Yeah, and, additionally, there is ALMOST no situation where more gas doesn't fix your immediate problem.

Understeering? More gas.

Oversteering? MORE GAS NOW!

Neutral? More gas would probably make this go faster.


But, as a n00b, this advice will probably get her in more trouble than it will help... so use this approach sparingly and as they gain confidence.

Last edited by maxQ; 09-18-2009 at 05:10 PM.
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Old 09-18-2009, 05:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxQ View Post

Oversteering? MORE GAS NOW!
can you elaborate why please?. cuz in one sentance you likened the car to a RWD, and the above quoted doesnt jive with that.

i would assume that the centre diff will bias the torque to the front, and it would behave more like FWD pulling it out the skid. is that right?

thanks for all the quick and technical responses. I appreciate it.
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Old 09-18-2009, 05:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FocusOnMe View Post
can you elaborate why please?. cuz in one sentance you likened the car to a RWD, and the above quoted doesnt jive with that.

i would assume that the centre diff will bias the torque to the front, and it would behave more like FWD pulling it out the skid. is that right?

Yeah, MOST like a RWD, not exactly. There are situations where you can input too much gas and around it will go just like a RWD... but there are also a lot of situations where you can plant and steer your way out of an oversteering situation as the center diff locks up and pulls you out. (Only works in AUTO, btw)
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Old 09-18-2009, 06:11 PM   #7
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Sort of along the lines of what MaxQ was saying, every time Ive driven an STI, Ive simply fine tuned the rear rotation with the DCCD.

That said, since you mentioned lift oversteer (or oversteer in general), if the car tails out and she lifts, she may very well find herself pointed the direction she just came.
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Old 09-18-2009, 06:29 PM   #8
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Most people tend to lift when things get spicey, its VERY hard to get over at first.

You can't lift.

You can't just stay on the throttle, power through it.

If you lift its gonna get CRAZY stay clear of phone poles! If you stay steady its gonna be kinda wild.

But if you put the power down its gonna pull you through it like a champ.

Driving an STi is (for me at least) different then any other AWD experience to date, i've driven Evos and an AWD Audi, and they did not perform the same way.

I've also autocrossed a Nissan Sentra SER Spec-V and had some sideways fun with a 93 240sx.

With that said, I can't really relate the way an STi responds to any other vehicle.
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Old 09-18-2009, 06:47 PM   #9
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Don't worry about specifics of teaching autox in a STi vs. any other car--since she's a n00b she needs to learn the fundamentals first. Car position, line, walking the course, looking ahead, etc.

Do that for her and she'll learn to like the sport. Focus on the car and driving fast and she'll never get into it.

Any stock STi is going to understeer when pushed--it's safe to assume it hasn't had its alignment optimized within stock parameters, and even if it has it's going to understeer.

If handling is awful drop the front psi and/or bump up the rear to achieve some balance.

Leave the DCCD in auto.
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Old 09-18-2009, 06:48 PM   #10
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if you get into an understeer situation, lift off for a just a sec, it will throw the weight forward and the ass end will swing right around, just be ready to get right back on it...its sorta tricky, but can be a useful tool in the driving arsenal.
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Old 09-18-2009, 08:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregr01 View Post
Don't worry about specifics of teaching autox in a STi vs. any other car--since she's a n00b she needs to learn the fundamentals first. Car position, line, walking the course, looking ahead, etc.

Do that for her and she'll learn to like the sport. Focus on the car and driving fast and she'll never get into it.

Any stock STi is going to understeer when pushed--it's safe to assume it hasn't had its alignment optimized within stock parameters, and even if it has it's going to understeer.

If handling is awful drop the front psi and/or bump up the rear to achieve some balance.

Leave the DCCD in auto.
I think i will tell her to leave the DCCD in auto. She wants to learn to auto-x but i think she wasnt to learn car control in general to help out on the street (where the DCCD will be in auto).

I agree that i should focus on the fundamentals, and that is what the driving school is all about, but different cars require different varaitions on techniques and driving lines. I just wanted to make sure that i had the knowledge about the car in case there was any major quirks or if there was any info that i would need that is grossly different from what i know based on the car i drive.
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Old 09-18-2009, 08:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxQ View Post
Yeah, and, additionally, there is ALMOST no situation where more gas doesn't fix your immediate problem.

Understeering? More gas.

Oversteering? MORE GAS NOW!

Neutral? More gas would probably make this go faster.


But, as a n00b, this advice will probably get her in more trouble than it will help... so use this approach sparingly and as they gain confidence.
Quote:
Originally Posted by FocusOnMe View Post
can you elaborate why please?. cuz in one sentance you likened the car to a RWD, and the above quoted doesnt jive with that.

i would assume that the centre diff will bias the torque to the front, and it would behave more like FWD pulling it out the skid. is that right?

thanks for all the quick and technical responses. I appreciate it.
An awd platform in general will have corner entry like a fwd car, i.e. requires good setup and commitment. Mid corner, it depends. Some folks are throttle happy and don't mind spinning the tires and drifting. Some folks lighten the throttle and just keep a snug line. Manipulation is a mix of fwd and rwd. You can both use the front tires to pull in the front end and use the back tires to kick out the rear. At the same time, you can also overcook the front tires and push and the rears will push straight like a rwd. Corner exit is a mix too. You can kick the car out like a rwd, but the front pull will keep it pretty point and shoot.

There isn't an easy way to explain it. Drive a fwd. Drive a rwd. Take both sets of aspects and stick them together. That's what you have. The other difference is what the diffs are doing.

Awd in a basic form is point and shoot. You apply throttle and point the car with the steering wheel (regardless of attack angle). Coming from a fwd platform, it will be easier to step to awd and be aggressive. Coming from a rwd, you have to kick the habit of counter steering so readily.

Think logically, and you'll have a decent idea of what's going on and what will happen with certain inputs. Think fwd + rwd, and think about how you manipulate inputs on both designs. Think about the sum effect and how to manipulate the car.
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Old 09-18-2009, 10:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregr01 View Post
Don't worry about specifics of teaching autox in a STi vs. any other car--since she's a n00b she needs to learn the fundamentals first. Car position, line, walking the course, looking ahead, etc.

Do that for her and she'll learn to like the sport. Focus on the car and driving fast and she'll never get into it.

Leave the DCCD in auto.
+10000

gregr01 is absolutely correct. Teaching Trailing Throttle Oversteer and other methods of rotating the car are a waste of time for a newbie. Stick to the basics instead of overloading her and potentially losing a new devotee.
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Old 09-19-2009, 02:00 PM   #14
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Leaving it in auto will leave it up to the computer of the car. And you will not get consistancy from the front/rear bias. The car will act different every run. You should just leave it in a single mode you like and base your driving off those car behaviors.
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Old 09-19-2009, 05:39 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregr01 View Post
Don't worry about specifics of teaching autox in a STi vs. any other car--since she's a n00b she needs to learn the fundamentals first. Car position, line, walking the course, looking ahead, etc.

Do that for her and she'll learn to like the sport. Focus on the car and driving fast and she'll never get into it.

Any stock STi is going to understeer when pushed--it's safe to assume it hasn't had its alignment optimized within stock parameters, and even if it has it's going to understeer.

If handling is awful drop the front psi and/or bump up the rear to achieve some balance.

Leave the DCCD in auto.
this

Intro to autox driving should teach fundamentals. Don't worry about specifics of car setup. Leave the DCCD in auto - set it and forget it, otherwise the car's behavior will vary too much to learn from it. Focus on:

seat position
hand position
looking ahead
proper line
aggressiveness on throttle, steering and brake
reaction to oversteer/understeer
don't make it too complicated.

Don't overwhelm the student with info. "Trailing throttle oversteer" e.g. will confuse 9/10 of novice students. When you are done with a run, recap the run with the student focusing on positives and negatives. Give a max of 3 points of info per run. Take notes on paper and give them the paper when you are done. Use visuals. Use analogies (i.e. like driving in snow, like leaning on a chair). Different drivers respond to different analogies - some can understand the concept of a traction circle, some people don't. Make students have fun and don't make them uncomfortable.
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Old 09-20-2009, 10:09 PM   #16
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^^^^ Yes, yes, yes. Simple and basic is the way to go. Autox is overwhelming and intimidating to a newbie. Your job is to change that.

All this STi specific stuff is either for you to show off when you do instructor runs, which is bad teaching, or to overwhelm her with stuff she can't use, which is also bad teaching.
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Old 09-21-2009, 11:48 AM   #17
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Slow in, fast out - simple recipe for STI driving.
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Old 09-21-2009, 11:58 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 04trailsti View Post
Leaving it in auto will leave it up to the computer of the car. And you will not get consistancy from the front/rear bias. The car will act different every run. You should just leave it in a single mode you like and base your driving off those car behaviors.
I'm glad I'm not alone in thinking this way. It's hard to learn car control when the car has a black box.
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Old 09-23-2009, 04:30 PM   #19
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Any news on that? How was it??
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Old 09-23-2009, 04:48 PM   #20
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Understeer is the problem i have. But if you get the back end out and give it some gas the back sorta slides a little and it turns pretty good
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Old 09-24-2009, 04:43 PM   #21
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Any news on that? How was it??
not happened yet,
it is this saturday
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Old 09-24-2009, 09:23 PM   #22
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any advice on where to locate a local track? IN..
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Old 09-24-2009, 09:41 PM   #23
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not happened yet,
it is this saturday
Nice. Keep us posted. And donīt forget to tell what you think bout the STI
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Old 09-26-2009, 03:38 PM   #24
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If you are that worried about yourself not knowing how to handle a stock STI as an instructor at a novice school maybe you should stick your friend with an experienced Subaru driver instead of trying to show off.
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Old 09-26-2009, 03:44 PM   #25
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Nice. Keep us posted. And donīt forget to tell what you think bout the STI
we know whats going to happen with that focus of yours
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