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Old 12-26-2002, 10:00 PM   #1
forced4
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Talking Auto-X firstimer

Hi,

Well the 2003 season will by first autocross experience and I would like some help/suggestions on what to expect and how to get the most out of the experience.

I don't own a helmet yet but I have read there is usually one for loan. I would like to check out the racing scene before starting the bank account drain.

I am going to run my basically stock WRX wagon (only a cat-back) in the DS class. I know the RE92s are crap but I would like to learn how to drive correctly first.

Let the knowledge flow towards me

Thanks,
forced4
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Old 12-26-2002, 10:23 PM   #2
zoomfactor
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Get in touch with your local SCCA or other Auto-X club. It is possible that they may have a meeting or two before the season starts.

Check out this link for starters. Solo II Handbook
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Old 12-26-2002, 11:49 PM   #3
Red-Impreza
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Lightbulb

1. Buy a helmet sock.
2. Don't be discouraged if you're no good at it at first.
3. Don't be cocky if you are good at it right away.
4. Have fun.

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Old 12-26-2002, 11:56 PM   #4
DetroitWRX
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Get your own helmet.
I know it's about $200 that will not make you car faster but loaner helmets on a hot day are not the best smelling things. Visors are also scratched up and hard to see out off and they don't fit right. Get a open face helmet also. I paid $200 for my Simpson open face looks just like Dale Earnhardts old black one. Yes I know I ware the same helmet as a dead guy.

Get good street tires they don't have to be great but something you can drive on every day and race also. What ever your budget will let you you don't have to by Kumhos or Falkins to have fun. I got very frustrated with the Re92s and bought VictoRacers, that money could have gone to better things my first year.
Have fun
Rob
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Old 12-27-2002, 09:49 AM   #5
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Also, there's alot of informtation available in this thread: http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...hreadid=174189

(At the top of the motorsports forum)

--kC
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Old 12-27-2002, 10:06 AM   #6
Nutter
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Lightbulb Alignment

One of the biggest improvements in performance I made to my then stock 2002 WRX was an alignment. Best money ever spent. Stock settings where as follows:

STOCK SETTING
Front Left...................Front Right
Camber +0.5..............Cabmber +0.6
Toe (in) +0.47...........Toe (in) +0.14

Rear Left....................Rear Right
Camber -1.5..............Camber -1.5
Toe (in) +0.01...........Toe (in) +0.01

Then after the alignment:

NEW SETTING
Front Left...................Front Right
Camber -1.3..............Cabmber -1.3
Toe (out) -0.06..........Toe (out) -0.06

Rear Left....................Rear Right
Camber -1.5..............Camber -1.5
Toe (in) +0.07...........Toe (in) +0.07

I looked up differnt peoples setting on the internet and came up with these. They worked great.
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Old 12-27-2002, 11:40 AM   #7
forced4
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Lightbulb Very Helpful

Thanks for the advice and settings...I had already read the SoloII link that zoomfactor supplied, but it is always better to reread!

I think the biggest adjustment will be learning how to drive full on in a limited space. But that is the point right?

How are the slalom areas defined? I.E., how does a driver know which side of the cone to start on?

Oh, what does a 4 wheel alignment run? What tire pressures are you all running? I have read that ~45psi front and 40psi rear seems to work fairly well.

Anything else I need to know,
forced4
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Old 12-27-2002, 11:52 AM   #8
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Slaloms depend....

If the entrance to the slalom has a pointer cone on the 1st cone, then you go to the proper side. This is called a non-optional slalom.

If the slalom doesn't have a pointer cone at the 1st cone, then it depends on which side of the exit you want to be on to carry the best speed. You have to look at the slalom and visualize backwards which side of the slalom you'll enter on.

Last edited by KC; 12-27-2002 at 12:12 PM.
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Old 12-27-2002, 12:19 PM   #9
DetroitWRX
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Walk the course all you can and do the novice walk if they have one. Talk to people during the walk if you have questions, take notes if needed.

After each run think about what you did and how you can be better right after the run when it's fresh don't jump out and say what was my time and then 5 min. latter try to think about it.

If you go to a guy that is a experanced autoXer and ask for his help they will people are more nice than not at events.
Rob
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Old 12-27-2002, 08:51 PM   #10
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My site I put together is helpful for newbies. At least that's what I've been told

http://home.dejazzd.com/mlouie/autocross.html
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Old 12-28-2002, 01:20 AM   #11
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Default Still a newbie

Well I'll add my two cents - I bought my RS last fall and a week later was running my first autocross. The things that I found most helpful were (in absolutely no order):

1. Realize that you will never be the fastest person on the course - you will be competing against yourself and your habits for a long time. "The car understeers and I have to steer the 'wrong' way, hmmm"

2. Get there early and help set up the cones - you can never underestimate the advantage you get for yourself (not compared to others - again you will never be the fastest - for now)

3. The RE92s will be fine - if you are driving at their limit you are probably at yours (I know I will get some disageement on this but save the $ for #4)

4. Find the autocross schools near you and sign up - KC recommended the Evolution ones and that's good enough for me.

5a. Listen, listen, listen - I found it strange at my first events that people were so willing to help. It really felt weird that they cared so much that I had a good time and learned the basics.

5b. Grab an instructor and have them ride with you for as many runs as you can. If you are worried about the added weight, don't, they will make up for it.

6. Buy a cheap air pump - you will make quick friends. Grab a pressure gage too.

7. Take the winter to read - someone recommended "Secrets of Solo Racing" by Henry Watts to me. I've read it three times since the first snow fall - boy do I have a lot to learn. There are several other books out there that someone else could recommend but I found "Winning a Race Driver's Handbook" by George Anderson interesting and also ordered the Solo II book out of the I/O Racing catalog - too lazy to find the title.

8. I agree on buying your own helmet - not for the loaner drawbacks, but you really feel some pride when you strap on your own helmet. Besides, worrying about your loaner helmet fitting, sweaty, etc. would be distracting - you'll have enough to worry about - I did.

9. Go to bed early - real early. I laid there for a few hours thinking about my future racing career before I even thought about sleep.

10. Find the place the week before.

11. Bring lunch and a lot of drinks.

12. Walk the course, walk the course, walk the couse. Then at lunch walk it again and eat at the same time. Try to walk it with someone who is willing to help. At my first two events there was always someone who approached me - you are new - you can't hide it - and they'll spot you.

13. Look ahead - look far ahead. Try it during your commute (I take no responsibility for the neighborhood pets you may hit). This will never make me an expert, but I try and look as far ahead as possible into left turns so that your A pillar becomes a PIA and your passengers think you are weird staring at them on right hand turns.

And the last thing - have fun, meet new people, and just look to improve from event to event and you will at least feel like you are on the way.

By the way I can't wait till 2003!

Craig
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Old 12-28-2002, 01:53 AM   #12
Craigs
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Default Books

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Old 12-28-2002, 11:05 AM   #13
Brett555
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Autocross Guide: http://www.soloracer.com/autoxguide.html

Autocross Checklist: http://www.soloracer.com/autoxchecklist.html

As a first timer, your number one goal should be to have fun. Ask a lot of questions, see if you can ride with some of the more experienced drivers, and you'll have a blast.
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Old 12-29-2002, 02:48 AM   #14
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Hello Will! If you are still in Texas(Houston), there are plenty of good guys here to help. I only made 2 events (autox) and one BMW event. I have picked up a good amount of info from the regulars. Many of the WRX guys will be more than helpfull. If you still have my work email, feel free to ask anymore questions.

John
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Old 12-29-2002, 11:02 AM   #15
Warp3
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Default Re: Auto-X firstimer

Quote:
I don't own a helmet yet but I have read there is usually one for loan.
Yes, there is, but I agree with the others who said it's definitely worth buying one. Not only is it more convenient (no grabbing and returning helmets each run) and more comfortable (you get one that actually fits and hasn't had 38,000 other people sweating in it ), but they also aren't that much (SCCA only requires a Snell M rating for autocross and M95 and M2000 helmets aren't much at a local bike shop (make sure you get Snell rated helmets though...DOT doesn't cut it)). Most bike shops have Snell M-rated helmets for under $100.

Quote:
I am going to run my basically stock WRX wagon (only a cat-back) in the DS class. I know the RE92s are crap but I would like to learn how to drive correctly first.
Many regions offer a "street tire" PAXed class as well as a "novice" class (though you obviously have to pick one or the other), so once you leave NDS (Novice DS) you may want to jump to TDS (Tire DS) if you haven't upgraded to R-compounds yet (or made mods and jumped to STX or SM...hehe) Believe me, if your local DS competitors are on R-compounds, you'll know...

Novice and Tire classes are PAXed classes and involve you running against other Novice or Tire classed cars (regardless of which open class they are in) with "weighted" times. The rules vary by region, but the local clubs here (Western NC) generally allow you to autocross for one season in the "Novice" class (though some clubs require immediately leaving Novice when you win the Novice class for an event). The "Tire" class has no such limitations as it's simply based on competitors that are running "Street Tires" in a class that allows "R-compounds" (Stock, Street Prepared, Street Modified) or "Race tires" (Prepared, Modified). (Of course, there is nothing stopping you from simply running open DS if you choose to do so.)

Shane -- http://www.warpthree.com
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Old 01-02-2003, 11:25 PM   #16
forced4
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Talking Thanks

Well I am really getting a lot of help here for starters! All of the advice seems to be right on the money...now I just have to finish one run

Tex-WReX : I will be attending the first run at Greyhound Park on saturday...I plan on being there around 7 or a little earlier.

Thanks everyone! I will report back on how I finished

forced4
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Old 01-05-2003, 04:35 PM   #17
forced4
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Thumbs up results

Well I finished my first Auto-X...I attended a practice session on Saturday and then the first 2003 race was sunday.

In my DS class I finished 4 out of 6. Not too shabby but room for improvement. My times went from 73.022 -> 70.888 -> 68.967 so I was learning..the first run is basically to learn the course (for me at least).

Best in class was a 62 I think. But it was lots of fun and I plan on doing some more racing next month.

Everyone was very helpful and seeing all the different cars is a treat by itself.

Now on to the helmet purchase....I also picked up a nail in a tire ....it is on the edge of the tread...can that pe plugged?

forced4
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Old 01-05-2003, 06:03 PM   #18
Davenow
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.

Default BUY A HELMET!

Dont use the $200 cost as an excuse!
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...tem=1876055204
Snell2000 certified and 89 bucks.
I paid 75 shipped for a snell2000 certified Bieffe full face.
The next thing you should look into is a 4 point racing harness.
I paid 149 for a Schroth Rallye 4 and it bolts right ot factory seat belt mounts.
You would be shocked at how much better your control is when in a real harness, compared to a seatbelt.
Other things you can get to make your autocross days MUCH more enjoyable?
Lawn chair
Wide brimmed hat/sunglasses
Portable air tank(29 bucks) or 12v pump
Small cooler
Tarp to lay out all your belongings that you will want to take out of the car(spare,jack,cd's etc)
Im sure there are more but thats off the top of my head
Welcome to the most addictive sport I have found
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Old 01-05-2003, 07:19 PM   #19
TheWRX
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Thumbs up

Congratulations, looks like you did well! At least I got spanked worse at my first event last spring. It just takes practice, practice, practice... You'll be improving quickly at the beginning, a little less dramatically later. It took me about half a season to pick up my first trophy. While the first time was fun, I actually started enjoying it even more once I became a little more competitive.

About the helmet, I bought a relatively inexpensive ($70) HJC open face helmet, it's the 4th from the top on this page. The way I look at it, the chances of crashing in an auto-x are smaller than on the street, and the likelihood of a crash where a helmet would help is almost zero. So I didn't see a need to spend a lot on a helmet. That's very different if you use the helmet for activities where you have a good chance of falling on your head (like riding motorbikes), then only the best should be good enough.
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Old 01-10-2003, 05:50 PM   #20
forced4
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Question Class & car numbers

Hey all,

How do I get assigned a permanent car number? Where is a good place to buy the stick on magnetic numbers and class letters?

Thanks,
Will
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Old 01-10-2003, 06:19 PM   #21
TheWRX
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Default Re: Class & car numbers

Quote:
Originally posted by forced4
How do I get assigned a permanent car number?
Depends on your region. Here in StL we don't have permanent numbers. Most people use the same everytime, but if somebody else registered first, and selected the number that I normally use, I'd have to take a different number. Of course I would go and kick his a**!

For larger (divisional, national) events it seems to work the same. First come, first serve.

If you're cheap, or feel creative, you can buy magnetic material (for example from a sign store), and make your own. Otherwise there are lots of places to buy them from. I recommend Solo Performance, but I know the guys, so I'm biased. If you make/buy the numbers as separate digits, you can easily make a different number if somebody "stole" yours.

#42 STX <--- that's my number, and if you take it from me, you know what happens...
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Old 01-11-2003, 12:41 PM   #22
D_REX
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Default Re: Class & car numbers

Quote:
Originally posted by forced4
Hey all,

How do I get assigned a permanent car number? Where is a good place to buy the stick on magnetic numbers and class letters?

Thanks,
Will
You need to email David Yeung. He assigns permanent numbers in the Houston region. Send him your calss and your top three choices for numbers, he will reply with your assigned number.

I'm glad you had a good time out there Sat. and Sun. I wish I had gotten a little more practice in on Sat, but oh well. The course on Sun. was the same course we ran last Jan. and is a pretty difficult course, judging by your times you did really well for your first time out.

Greg Lilly (AKA Underground Graphics) is the BEST source in Houston for your magnetics. We are having a mini meet tonight, sorta hosted by Greg, check the Texas board or PM me if your interested.

later,
dustin
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Old 01-11-2003, 01:09 PM   #23
forced4
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Post thanks

Thanks Dustin...email has been sent and I will get ahold of Greg soon.

I really did enjoy my first auto-x...I thought my times were decent for a noob and I only expect to get better. Tires will help out a lot.

Will
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