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Old 05-09-2010, 07:22 PM   #1
chitownwrx
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Default My WRX got stomped!

Yesterday I did an HPDE at Road America an basically got my a$$ handed to me! It was sponsored by Porsche Club of America, so of course there were mostly faster cars there. Even a GT3 RS and a couple of Audi R8's, all of which were in the intermediate group with me. In the 20 minute lap sessions, I was lapped a few times by these guys, not to mention the 911 turbos and so on. Even the 944's and 914's on R-compounds were wasting me in the cold (30's) and drizzle. My WRX has a few basic mods, but even so, I thought it would keep up a little better. I know it's not a competition, but I usually don't get killed so badly. I need advice: to try to salvage what's left of my ego, should I do a few more things to my WRX (wheels and sticky tires), or just suck it up and get an STi?
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Old 05-09-2010, 07:31 PM   #2
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What's your experience level like?

Perhaps signing up in a novice group and getting some good instruction would go a long way.

To put things in perspective, a well driven, relatively stock 2007 WRX with decent tires and brakes would be lapping very closely with a 944 cup car, or a spec miata on an average sized track. On larger tracks, such as the one you were on, your HP advantage may even show.

(Use this as a yardstick. A TD04 WRX on smallish R's and a relatively stock suspension should net you to spec miata times if you're hustling).

Getting lapped by these level cars means you are leaving something on the table.

Forget your ego, check it at the gates. Go there with only good brakes, get a veteran in the car with you, and when he says "__ is holding you back", and ___ isn't anything to do with your driving, you know you're ready to upgrade!

Last edited by SoapBox; 05-09-2010 at 07:40 PM.
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Old 05-09-2010, 08:05 PM   #3
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In my experience you can learn a lot more by driving a slow car fast than driving a fast car slow.
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Old 05-09-2010, 08:39 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by JDwhiteWRX View Post
In my experience you can learn a lot more by driving a slow car fast than driving a fast car slow.
this.
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Old 05-09-2010, 09:10 PM   #5
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Getting into an STi won't make you any faster. Becoming a better driver will. My cousin is on NT05s in an FD RX7 with a fair amount of suspension work and about 320 hp at the wheels. He laps C6 Z06s, Porsches, M3s all the time. He even lapped a Viper ACR at the last track event he went to. The difference? He's been tracking for 3 years.

Expensive car=/= fast driver.
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Old 05-09-2010, 09:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PitwrkzZ1 View Post
Getting into an STi won't make you any faster. Becoming a better driver will. My cousin is on NT05s in an FD RX7 with a fair amount of suspension work and about 320 hp at the wheels. He laps C6 Z06s, Porsches, M3s all the time. He even lapped a Viper ACR at the last track event he went to. The difference? He's been tracking for 3 years.

Expensive car=/= fast driver.
+eleventy billion
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Old 05-09-2010, 09:30 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by PitwrkzZ1 View Post
Getting into an STi won't make you any faster. Becoming a better driver will. My cousin is on NT05s in an FD RX7 with a fair amount of suspension work and about 320 hp at the wheels. He laps C6 Z06s, Porsches, M3s all the time. He even lapped a Viper ACR at the last track event he went to. The difference? He's been tracking for 3 years.

Expensive car=/= fast driver.
^This. I've been in a spec miata with a pro-am driver with years of experience at a lapping day, and rode along as he caught and passed cars with three times as much power. Driving being equal, the better prepared, more powerful car will be faster. But, no offense, your driving probably isn't equal. Learn to be fast in the car you have before you start to mod it or step up to another vehicle. And you'll know when you're fast. You won't be the guy getting lapped anymore.
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Old 05-09-2010, 09:32 PM   #8
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http://www.speedsecrets.com/PRODUCTS...9/Default.aspx


and have an instructor in the car with you.
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Old 05-09-2010, 09:37 PM   #9
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The solution: Sell your WRX, buy an F500 car.



It's der einzige weg
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Old 05-09-2010, 11:54 PM   #10
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An HPDE is not a competition.
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Old 05-10-2010, 12:34 AM   #11
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Sounds like you need to upgrade the nut behind the wheel.
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Old 05-10-2010, 02:33 AM   #12
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Well you must have been out with the Milwaukee region Porsche club. No problem. First people PASSED YOU but they didn't lap you. Not in a half hour session. You only get about 6-7 laps. Even if they are 20 seconds a lap faster, then they need 8 laps to lap you. You just need an instructor to help you learn to drive fast. You are already paying attention to what kinds of cars are faster than you and you want to improve. That's what we call a good attitude. I'll help you as I instruct for the Chicago and Milwaukee Porsche Clubs. Call or email me and go with the Porsche club again to their next event. It is not a crime to be slower than a GT3 RS.
we will get a point by from some Turbos.
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Old 05-10-2010, 06:37 AM   #13
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Thanks for the feedback! The Porsche club members were great. I wish I'd had an instructor. Road America was a little intimidating, esp with the high speeds and wet/ cold conditions. It was my first time on it, and I was taking it easy to learn my way around. I actually talked to a couple of the race coordinators about changing to the novice group, but wasn't able to find the guy I needed to talk to. I've got several more events planned this year, and my goal is to learn to be a smoother, better driver. Maybe I'll end up in Spec Miata at some point, who knows?
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Old 05-10-2010, 08:49 AM   #14
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wow, you really missed the boat about what an HPDE is for. Its to LEARN to go fast! Going fast id not a byproduct of driving a fast car, its about the driver. Doing more HPDE's will teach you a lot about driving, and about your car. So after one HPDE you are ready to sell your car? really? thats BS, just take it back out to another event, get a good instructor and beat the snot out of it! You'll learn a lot no matter what you are driving.

I've been doing this for a while, and I still learn something new every time i go out.
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Old 05-10-2010, 09:24 AM   #15
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Yes, buying an STi is not a guarantee you won't be lapped by Miatas. I've been passed/lapped by Miatas in my STi at track days. (The guys from Flyin' Miata aren't exactly "Spec-Miata"...) Everyone else is right about the driver skill/experience = everything concept.

The key thing about HPDE schools/Track Days/etc it that you're not out there to race. You may be sharing the track with others, but the only person you're competing with is you. You're there to get seat time, become more familiar with your car, and learn how to drive better. If you can't catch someone you think is much slower than you, watch how they drive, its 90+% because they're a more experienced driver.

Lastly, if you do want to improve your car, make it safer/better able to handle track time, and make it faster at the same time? Brakes and tires. Those are the two most important things when it comes to safety on the track, and the two most important when it comes to going fast too.
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Old 05-10-2010, 09:48 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chitownwrx View Post
Thanks for the feedback! The Porsche club members were great. I wish I'd had an instructor. Road America was a little intimidating, esp with the high speeds and wet/ cold conditions. It was my first time on it, and I was taking it easy to learn my way around. I actually talked to a couple of the race coordinators about changing to the novice group, but wasn't able to find the guy I needed to talk to. I've got several more events planned this year, and my goal is to learn to be a smoother, better driver. Maybe I'll end up in Spec Miata at some point, who knows?
Looks like your heading in the right direction.

Just remember a few things.

When starting out on this adventure, get help! Use all the intructors avialable to you and get plently of different viewpoints at every track. Usually there are different tid bits uniqe to each track ,but more importantly focus on your driving techniqe. Slow in, fast out!

Becuase our cars don't have limited slip in the front the slow in fast out rule is extremely important! You're not goign to be able to carry speed through the corners and get on the gas early like those Porsches (you'll end up pushing off the corner exit if you try). Be patient on the gas and conentrate on your corner exit with a nice smooth corner entry (don;t try to late-brake as you will gain MUCH MUCH more time on the exit than on the entry).

Have fun, get as much advice as you can, check your ego at the door at HPDEs and use that rediculous amout of seat time to your advantage!
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Old 05-10-2010, 09:54 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chitownwrx View Post
Thanks for the feedback! The Porsche club members were great. I wish I'd had an instructor. Road America was a little intimidating, esp with the high speeds and wet/ cold conditions. It was my first time on it, and I was taking it easy to learn my way around. I actually talked to a couple of the race coordinators about changing to the novice group, but wasn't able to find the guy I needed to talk to. I've got several more events planned this year, and my goal is to learn to be a smoother, better driver. Maybe I'll end up in Spec Miata at some point, who knows?
I find this alarming, how did you get into the Intermediate group with no track experience? How on earth did you get set loose on track with no instructor? At a minimum you'd need a log book and signoff with most clubs for this to happen, and then you'd really be in the Advanced group.

PCA and BMCCA around here would never ever let that happen and rightly so. You paid good money, you should have a good instructor in the car 100% of the time with headsets for conversation.

Finally, those other cars should mean nothing to you, expect to be aware of where they are so you can point them by. Getting caught up in that is a fast way to overdoing it an stuffing your car. Can you afford to write this car off or pay for damages without insurance?
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Old 05-10-2010, 09:59 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowphun View Post
I find this alarming, how did you get into the Intermediate group with no track experience? How on earth did you get set loose on track with no instructor? At a minimum you'd need a log book and signoff with most clubs for this to happen, and then you'd really be in the Advanced group.

PCA and BMCCA around here would never ever let that happen and rightly so. You paid good money, you should have a good instructor in the car 100% of the time with headsets for conversation.

Finally, those other cars should mean nothing to you, expect to be aware of where they are so you can point them by. Getting caught up in that is a fast way to overdoing it an stuffing your car. Can you afford to write this car off or pay for damages without insurance?
He didn't say it wa his first track day, just that it was his first time on that track.
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Old 05-10-2010, 10:08 AM   #19
chitownwrx
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I did 6 HPDEs and one autox last season (with instructors), so I'm very new but not that new. Actually just ordered the book that was suggested above. The slow in, feather the throttle, and apply more as you exit is how I've been told to do it, and that's what I try to do. I try to hit apexes late for the most part, but it's harder that it sounds! Thanks again, guys
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Old 05-10-2010, 11:23 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by REX8 View Post
He didn't say it wa his first track day, just that it was his first time on that track.
Sorry, misread that. Regardless, no way anyone should be sent out by themselves at a HPDE event unless they are in the advanced group (or an instructor). Especially if they've never seen the track, that's just odd.
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Old 05-10-2010, 11:29 AM   #21
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I thought so, too. Esp at that track, in those conditions! But apparently they didn't set me up with anyone at the am meeting, and I wandered all over the paddock to no avail trying to find someone they recommended. BTW all very good advice, I hope to do a bunch of these events and autox and improve my skills. And it is certainly good to be humbled once in a while I suppose.
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Old 05-10-2010, 11:52 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by chitownwrx View Post
And it is certainly good to be humbled once in a while I suppose.

I just don't want you to end up being "that guy" out there who won't pint you by at a lapping day because of his ego.

I am not saying you are that guy, just reiterrating the annoyance "that guy" can produce!

Remember its a lapping day, remember to focus on yourself and not the guy in front of you, check your mirrors, and have a good time!
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Old 05-10-2010, 11:54 AM   #23
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a fairly stock WRX is very scary to drive.. has too much body roll, no LSDs and very sloppy streering input. He "could" be faster with an STi, knowing the STi will provide more confidence to the driver..Not only power but simply a better overall feeling. He could reach the full potential of an STi quicker than he could on the WRX..Not everybody has the same learning curve but I'd seen this happen..

I would throw some sticky tires/good coilovers/swaybars on that WRX and get some instruction to start with..also, have the instructor drive your car and look at the difference. That would be a good starting point.
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Old 05-10-2010, 12:11 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Snowphun View Post
Sorry, misread that. Regardless, no way anyone should be sent out by themselves at a HPDE event unless they are in the advanced group (or an instructor). Especially if they've never seen the track, that's just odd.
?

Most groups have an intermediate, solo group. A white group at a PCA event, or a NASA 3, for example.

While I think it is a good idea for a solo guy to get an instructor in the car for a new track, it certainly isn't odd, or frowned upon for a competent solo driver to head out alone on a new track and follow a more experience driver.

I have no idea about the level of the OP (guessing not quite intermediate), so I can't comment specifically.
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Old 05-10-2010, 12:27 PM   #25
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a fairly stock WRX is very scary to drive.. has too much body roll, no LSDs and very sloppy streering input. He "could" be faster with an STi, knowing the STi will provide more confidence to the driver..Not only power but simply a better overall feeling. He could reach the full potential of an STi quicker than he could on the WRX..Not everybody has the same learning curve but I'd seen this happen..

I would throw some sticky tires/good coilovers/swaybars on that WRX and get some instruction to start with..also, have the instructor drive your car and look at the difference. That would be a good starting point.
Not sure I'd agree with the last part, especially the coilovers/swaybars. It's probably better to learn the car's limits with a more compliant suspension that gives a lot more warning that you're over-doing it, and also gives you more time to catch it. When you stiffen the suspension up too much, and run super sticky tires, a novice tends to not realize when they're on the edge of traction, and it's much easier to go into a snap spin than a nice slow drift that's easier to correct. And while a snap-spin at an auto-x can be embarrassing, it's usually not all that hard on sheet metal and drivers. On a track, it can be very serious.
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