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Old 09-11-2008, 01:47 AM   #26
Butt Dyno
Street's closed, pizza boy
 
Member#: 17301
Join Date: Apr 2002
Chapter/Region: MAIC
Default 6-3-2008 con't

More dyno analysis:



Red line: Baseline run in 2006 with no engine management (aka "stock mode" on the Accessport).
Green line: STX ProTune in 2006.
Blue line: Cobb STX off the shelf map in 2008, plus ST*-legal downpipe.

The peak difference isn't big, less than 10 whp. But the area under the curve difference, especially between 3000 and 3500 RPM, is *massive*. I bet that's a 20 ft/lb difference at 3250, and almost 10 whp.

I am seriously considering getting a ProTune again to get that back.
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Old 09-11-2008, 01:47 AM   #27
Butt Dyno
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Member#: 17301
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Default

Unrelated note - by my count, the car has 418 autox runs on it since its purchase, 85K miles total. (not all of them are me.) If the clutch or transmission went tomorrow I would still consider them to have held up really well.
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Old 09-11-2008, 01:49 AM   #28
Butt Dyno
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Default 6-5-2008 Mind/tuskenraider Big Front Bar discussion

A note about the Whiteline 27mm bar:

Do sway bars really do anything? - IWSTI.com: Subaru STI Forums
Quote:
Originally Posted by stretch View Post
To get as much roll resistance with springs as you do with a 27mm front sway bar, you'd need to increase your main spring rate up front by nearly 1370lb/in (for about 1770lb/in total). A more modest 24mm sway adds 860lb/in to your wheel rate, still roughly double what front coilover springs typically do (and four times stock). Either way, sways have a huge effect.
I only bumped the fronts 50 lb/in. Looks like I had 1320 lb/in left

Not quite 1:1, but 3.5mm of swaybar is wayyy cheaper, easier and better for ride quality. I just did not realize how huge that difference was in terms of feel and balance until I tried it.

http://www.clubwrx.net/forums/motors...ml#post2295504
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mind View Post
Really nice thread here, I didn't know it existed until you linked it in the nasioc thread

So overall my setup is about 8x wimpier than yours... but I've been mucking around with what adjustments I have this season and am learning that this chassis is really quite sensitive to changes. I can go from a terminal-understeer setup to a chronic-oversteer setup with very few tweaks.

Anyway, do you guys running the big front bars suffer from inner front wheelspin on exit? Even in my most rear-biased stiff setting, I've never noticed rear wheelspin... but I can break that front inner loose quite easily exiting turns. My thinking was that if I'm going to slip a wheel on exit, I'd prefer it to be the rear since 1) we have a rear LSD and 2) you're transferring weight back there during accel so it would gather grip more quickly than the front which 1) has an open diff and 2) is getting lighter under accel...
http://www.clubwrx.net/forums/2295641-post47.html
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuskenraider View Post
I have a WL 24-6mm set to 26mm in summer and I always get excessive inside wheel spin. Right handers are much worse than left handers so I definately prefer the course to run in a general counter-clockwise direction. This was with a Helix rear sway(21mm) at full stiff, STi takeofs with Espiler GT springs(280f/230 rear.
Me again:
Quote:
Originally Posted by ButtDyno
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mind View Post
Really nice thread here, I didn't know it existed until you linked it in the nasioc thread

So overall my setup is about 8x wimpier than yours... but I've been mucking around with what adjustments I have this season and am learning that this chassis is really quite sensitive to changes. I can go from a terminal-understeer setup to a chronic-oversteer setup with very few tweaks.
I have noticed the same thing. Simply changing the ride height from 13.75/14.25 to 14/13.5 made the car go from awesome to suck

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mind View Post
Anyway, do you guys running the big front bars suffer from inner front wheelspin on exit? Even in my most rear-biased stiff setting, I've never noticed rear wheelspin... but I can break that front inner loose quite easily exiting turns. My thinking was that if I'm going to slip a wheel on exit, I'd prefer it to be the rear since 1) we have a rear LSD and 2) you're transferring weight back there during accel so it would gather grip more quickly than the front which 1) has an open diff and 2) is getting lighter under accel...
Well, with only one event on the latest revision it's hard to say, but it looks like my rear wheelspin problems are gone (maybe it was the change in ride heights that did it, or the stiffer springs are doing a better job preventing roll, so both tires are spending more time on the ground, or some combination of both?)

As for the front I have never had it to where you could peg the gas at exit before the wheels were straight again, and not get a little bit of spin. With all the camber and the lack of the front diff I don't know that it can ever be eliminated.

When it comes down to it - I don't claim to be smart or right or know much about suspensions - I just know what has worked for me. I can hypothesize but I make no claims as to its accuracy
Mind replies:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mind View Post
I hear ya... I've read up a lot on suspension tuning and vehicle dynamics, but Strano's quote nailed it... it takes a lot of trial and error due to the infinite variations between setup and driving style. There has been a lot of great tech info/analysis on various forums, and while I think it's really cool and have a lot of appreciation for it, it gets back to just trying different things to see what gains the best result.

One thing I think I've noticed is that when I crank up the front rebound, the front end grips like crazy on exit and the inner wheel doesn't spin. But it also resulted in stock-susp-RE92-like understeer on sweeper entries.

Last edited by Butt Dyno; 03-19-2009 at 09:46 PM.
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Old 09-11-2008, 01:53 AM   #29
Butt Dyno
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Default 6-20-2008

Event 11: TSCC @ ACU-4, Norfolk

This is an awesome venue for autocross. It's big and concrete and mostly flat, overlooking the ocean, but surrounded by hangars and hovercraft. The course was a fairly quick and fairly long. I finished 1st out of 8 in STX with a 49.9 but couldn't improve on that time even though I got it on my 2nd run.

Just to give you some idea of the site, here's a video from Tom Bleh's DSP car. As he goes out you can see the water in the background and then when he comes back you can see the hangars and hovercraft. Tom Bleh is freaking fast - this run was good enough for #1 PAX and almost FTD.

Tom Bleh DSP BMW 325i at TSCC ACU-4 June 2008

(does he ever brake?)

Since I was traveling 3 hrs there (and 4.5 hrs back - 95-N sucks!) I didn't change tires and ran on the RE01R's instead of the Yokos. I ran them at about 39/36 and thought they felt pretty damned good, but I was definitely not pushing as hard as I needed to be. I PAX'd 23rd out of 130something. A 49.0 instead would have bumped me to about 10th.

The short version is that the car does feel damned good again and I am leaving it the heck alone until the DC Region points events are over, or until I am statistically eliminated from winning STX for the season (which could be the next event, sadly).

There are a few things I would like to tinker with:
-Raising the front a little. It's at about 13.6" now - below the standard "14.0" recommendation but the control arms are still not parallel, presumably because of the Ground Control plates. Having spent two years on JIC's I know the "understeer from not enough travel" feel and I don't have that. However, going from 13.8" in the front to 13.6" made the ride quality on the highway noticeably worse - not bad, just worse. I'll probably have to raise the rear a little to keep the balance the same.
-Lubing the front camber plates. I may have to do this before then, but I do get some noises at low speeds.
-Figuring out the unholy clunk from the rear swaybar.
-Maybe a little less rear camber (i.e., closer to 0)

Event 12 (day 0): SCCA ProSolo @ Fedex Field

So for those of you who have never done a ProSolo, it goes something like this:

Friday: New-to-Prosolo program, tech, practice starts (you'll want to do a few of these to get a feel for it), and registration. There's food and some socializing too.
Saturday: 4 runs morning, 4 runs afternoon.
Sunday: 4 runs morning, bonus challenge, ladies challenge, street challenge?, super challenge

Practice starts went okay - first one sucked but the rest of them were good: 1.91 w/ .530, 1.87 w/ .540 and 1.93 w/ .640. 1.87 is the best I've ever gotten, which is nice considering my clutch feels like it could die at any minute Hey, free weight reduction.

The car weighed in at 3001 lbs with 1/8 of a tank and without me, disappointing since I thought I dropped more weight than that from last year. The scales at DC are never on a flat surface though so I'm not sure how seriously to take it.

Tomorrow, coursewalks and competition runs
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Old 09-11-2008, 01:54 AM   #30
Butt Dyno
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Default 7-7-2008: Belated DC ProSolo writeup

Event 12 (day 1): SCCA ProSolo @ Fedex Field

Quote:
Originally Posted by ButtDyno
So for those of you who have never done a ProSolo, it goes something like this:

Friday: New-to-Prosolo program, tech, practice starts (you'll want to do a few of these to get a feel for it), and registration. There's food and some socializing too.
Saturday: 4 runs morning, 4 runs afternoon.
Sunday: 4 runs morning, bonus challenge, ladies challenge, street challenge?, super challenge
OK, the parts I left out. There are two courses - left and right. In each heat (Saturday AM, Saturday PM, Sunday AM) you take two runs on each course. During those heats, you take your runs back to back to back to back - alternating sides. Since you are in a "hot" area you can't use water on your tires. If you're lucky enough to have a co-driver they can bleed air out of the tires as you roll up to the line, but that's about it.

Your best run from each side counts, and your time is the sum of those two runs. So if your best run on the left side on Saturday morning is a 35, and your best run on the right side is on Sunday morning and it's a 37, your total time is 72, no matter how many bad runs you had in between

The courses all start with a fairly long straightaway, so the AWD cars usually fare pretty well.

The forecast was calling for rain on Sunday, and possibly even rain late on Saturday. And you never know what's going to happen, so it behooves you to always have a decent set of runs to fall back on. You don't want to get caught not having a clean run on one of the courses.

STX was a class of 12 so there were 4 trophy spots. After coning away 5th last year in a class of 14 (5th being the last trophy spot) I had some level of confidence that I could trophy this year.


My car all stickered up

Saturday AM

My goal was to start off well and get in some good solid runs so I could spend the rest of the weekend driving "maximum attack" trying to eke out tenths.

For the first heat, the cars are lined up in their numerical order. Josh was #3 and I was #7, so we were at the front of the grid:


Our five minute warning turned into a one minute warning... in less than a minute. Crap! I did my first run on the right with only one glove on, Michael Jackson style, because I didn't have time to put the other one on.

I started on the right and ran a 30.660. This ended up being a reasonably good time for the right course. I then red-lit my next left side run, throwing away a 31.3 (which, taking into account the red light, may not have helped). My next run on the right course was slower (30.8?). With one run remaining on the left and the very-off-chance of rain in the afternoon I ended up with a clean 31.5.

After the first set of runs I was in 3rd, about .9 off of Greg and about three tenths off of JR. This is pretty much where I had hoped to be. Eric S in the black BMW was only a tenth off of me in 4th however, and there were some other very fast drivers that had not had good starts, so I knew that my Sat AM times were definitely going to be threatened.

Saturday PM

This time, since I was in 3rd place, I started out on the left course. This should have helped Since there is no opportunity to cool tires, starting out on the course where my times were weaker should have been a good opportunity for me to get a faster time in. I didn't manage to pick up any time in the PM though. I redlit a 1.780 60-foot time on my first run on the right course, which was cool until Corey Ridgick and Karen Kraus posted that they felt the 60foot times were a little faster than they were in previous events. Ah well. After that redlight I considered driving at 7/10 just to save the tires somewhat. I don't know what I would do if I had thought about it more. It may have been worth it to back off and save for the left course. My 2nd left run was a 31.8 - no help. My final right-side run was no help either.

I was still in 3rd at the end of the day, but now Jason Wong (co-driving Greg's car) was eight thousandths behind me. He threw down a 31.001 on the left course, which ended up being the 2nd-fastest time on the left in STX. Josh was closely behind him. If I remember right, slots 2-10 in STX were separated by less than a second.

I was in a good spot, but again knew that if it wasn't raining on Sunday I would have to find some time on one of the courses

Sunday AM

Once again I started out on the left first. Once again I couldn't improve. There were basically two killer spots on the left course - both were heavy braking zones into "gotta stay tight so you don't plow through the next element" left turns. I was consistently plowing out of the 2nd one, after not slowing the car down enough for it. (I wish I had video but I was having technical difficulties ). My right-side run was no help either. My final left-side run started with a dismal .704 reaction time with a 2.083 60-foot. After launching well for most of the weekend, I was struggling. Again no help on the left - 6 tenths off my best run.

As I came in from that run, I heard over the radio that Eric Chiang had pushed himself into 3rd with a 31.239 on the left course. He was now about a tenth in front of me. I only had one run left - my 2nd run on the right course. I got it together with a good start - .597 RT with a 1.825 60-foot - and then found another .136 to put myself back into 3rd. Woohoo! Not as fast as I was hoping for, but it was a clutch run when I needed one at least. It ended up being enough to keep me in 3rd, even after the co-drivers ran. Since Subaru pays contingency for 3rd in class, this meant $50 from Subaru, my first contingency money ever.

When the dust had settled I was in 3rd, .333 off of JR and 1.7 seconds off of Greg (ouch). Of all the 3rd-place cars at the event, I was the second-furthest back from 1st place - only in FSP was the margin bigger. I was happy to be 3rd, but at the same time I didn't feel like I had driven very well. Three weeks prior, I had been .1 off of Josh at a regular Fedex Field event, without the drag start, and here, with a .5 advantage per side, I was only .1 faster overall.

I felt like I was having real problems getting the car to turn, especially out of the heavy braking zones. Even with all the stuff I have done to increase front grip I am still not 100% sure I am happy with the setup. Turn-in is good but the car does seem to push a little still. I'm going to re-assess after the July 13th Fedex event which will be a better picture of how things are (since it's a normal event without the drag start). If I feel that the car is plowing still, I will raise the rear pressures, add some rake or decrease camber in the rear to get the car to turn better (the rear bar is already on full stiff). The front may also be too low.

Wait, stop reflecting. The weekend isn't over yet!

("The text that you have entered is too long. Please shorten it to 10000 characters long." Doh!)
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Old 09-11-2008, 01:54 AM   #31
Butt Dyno
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Default 7-7-2008: DC ProSolo Part II

Bonus Challenge

At a ProSolo there are several Challenge events after the normal class competition is over. In a Challenge round, you are faced against someone who may be in an altogether different class. I'm not sure I'm explaining this right, but here goes: They give you a dial-in time, based on either your fastest time or the fastest time of your class winner. You stage against your opponent. The person whose dial-in time is slower goes first, and the clock starts for both cars. So if my dial-in was a 31.0 and I am running against an SS car whose dial-in was a 29.0, I would get the green light two seconds before they would. You run once per side, and whoever has the fastest time wins. It's complicated and I'm still not sure I understand it. The moral of the story is, it's head to head with some sort of handicapping involved. It works based on seeding, like the NCAA Basketball tournament. 1 vs 32, 2 vs 31, etc etc in a bracket.

If you red-light or DNF, you lose instantly - game over. If you cone, you're in trouble, but not out

The challenge events are as follows:
* Ladies Challenge: Top 8 Ladies class competitors.
* Super Challenge: All the class winners who competed in a class of at least 5 competitors. If that is not 32 people, they add the people who were the closest to 1st in their class. So if you are not within .1 of your class winner you will probably not make it. They bracket the 32 people and go until someone wins.
* Honda Tuner Challenge: This is either the top ST* cars in the Super Challenge, or the top Hondas in the Super Challenge. Can't remember.
* Bonus Challenge: Everyone who doesn't make the Super Challenge has the opportunity to put their name in a hat. Eight names are chosen and those people compete in the Bonus Challenge. It's like the Super Challenge but your dial-in is set off of your time, not your class winner's time.

The last two years at the DC Pro I had volunteered to work the course for the Challenge rounds so I really wanted to try competing in one this time. As luck would have it, my name was chosen!

In the quarterfinals I was paired against Chris Franson, driving Mike Shields' DSP BMW. I started out on the right side. I ran a 30.771 - about two tenths off of my best right course time - with a dismal .840 reaction time, but a 1.797 60 foot. If I had a reaction time in the 5's, it could have been my fastest time on the right. They announced that the BMW was winning after the first set of runs. Crap! We then switched sides - I went to the left course and he ran the right. I ran a 31.321 with a .575 reaction time and a 1.838 60-foot. This was almost a two-tenths improvement on my best left course time! As a bonus, the BMW coned his right-side run so I advanced. (According to my super rough calculations, I would have won anyway, but I'm not positive about that).

In addition to advancing, I had driven pretty well - beating my left course time by almost .2 and (ignoring the RT) beating my right side course time by a little bit, probably less than a tenth. Given a choice, I would much rather have had these be my Sunday AM runs Ah well.

Here's a great series of shots from Team WTF?! of me launching against Chris:






Before the next round, Junior Johnson came up to me to give me some words of encouragement, reminding me to stick with it until the end. (His wife Diane had won the Ladies Challenge despite picking up a cone on her first run.)

In the semifinals, I drew Scott Hoffman in his HS RSX. Scott had won the Super Challenge in 2006 at the DC Pro so I knew it would not be easy. This time I started on the left. I ran a depressing 32.226 - almost a second slower than the left course run I had just run against Chris - with a .758 RT and a 1.894 60-foot, both subpar. They announced that I was down nine-tenths to Scott. So we switched and I ran on the right. I almost made it up, running a 30.946 - they announced that I lost by two tenths. Adding insult to injury, I lost this round at the lights - my right side run was even worse at the tree, with a .805 RT and a 1.918 60-foot. My clutch went out on me shortly after the event, so that's my excuse

Scott went on to win the Bonus Challenge. I was happy to have done as well as I did though, especially the strong runs in the quarters. As a bonus to the Bonus Challenge, Subaru pays contingency for it, too, so I should have another $200 from Subaru in addition to the $50 for finishing 3rd in class.

A big thanks for Evanthe, Josh, Junior, and everyone else who wished me luck - it means a lot

I then went out to my work assignment, shagging cones for the Super Challenge, which was won by Andy Hollis.

Closing

I still may make some minor setup changes. Overall I feel like the car is in good shape and should only need tweaks. As usual I just need to drive better. 3rd place is cool, but 1.7 seconds is a heck of a distance from 1st at a ProSolo. I definitely need to get my video setup fixed soon so that I can get better feedback about where I am making mistakes. In the heat of a Pro it's really difficult to remember every little detail, since you don't have much time between runs to contemplate!

Congrats to Greg and JR for driving so well, to Eric C and Josh for breaking up the AWD monopoly and really to everyone in STX for making it such a tight class. I know that several of the 2WD folks would kick my ass at a normal event

Next national event is the Finger Lakes ProSolo at the end of July, with three local events between now and then.
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Old 09-11-2008, 01:55 AM   #32
Butt Dyno
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Default 7-7-2008: DC ProSolo Part III

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Sky WRX View Post
nice writeup!

are the lights just like at a drag strip? what's your technique for the launch?

definitely sounds like fun
I've never been to a drag strip, but I think so. Two staging lights and then yellow-yellow-yellow-green with a red light if you leave too early.

As for technique...

For the first few years I owned the car I could just slip the clutch a little at 3500 RPM and the car would just go without bogging. For the last couple years if I do that, the car would bog - the clutch was clearly not where it used to be. So for the ProSolo it's something like this (since it was on a hill)

-Pull up until both staging lights light.
-Back out until 2nd staging light un-lights.
-Pull up until 2nd staging light barely relights.
-Pull handbrake.
-Wait til the "shot clock" is down to about 5 seconds.
-Start revving the engine between 4000 and 4500 RPM
-Wait until horn sounds.
-Wait until 2nd light goes out
-Drop handbrake, peg gas, release clutch pretty fast (almost a clutch drop)
-Continue pegging gas, enjoy sounds of squealing tires

With a properly functioning clutch I'm not sure how I would do it. I was really displaying a total lack of mechanical sympathy all weekend
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Old 09-11-2008, 01:55 AM   #33
Butt Dyno
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Default 7-14-2008: DC ProSolo Aftermath... time for a new clutch

June 28: first time driving the car after the Pro

After the Pro I put the car in the garage since I daily drive the MR2. On Saturday I drove the car to Herndon for work. I got all the way there (~45 minute drive) and then passing a bus in 3rd gear I noticed the clutch was slipping. Not surprising given its rough life. 85K miles and 439 autocross runs since January 2003 (there are a lot of schools in there), including three ProSolos.

July 3: new clutch, new belts

So my next stop was Andrewtech. Luckily the clutch wasn't gone yet so I didn't need to tow it in. They installed another OEM clutch (after the normal questions about why I wasn't installing an aftermarket one) and also re-did all the belts since I was close to 90K anyway and they were showing signs of wear.

It's very strange driving a car with a new clutch after driving a car with an abused one for so long. It was engaging instantly and my left foot's programming struggled at first. I had to break the clutch in before I could autocross it so I daily drove the car for the next week and a half.

Event 13: CDC @ Frederick

I broke out the MR2 for this one. It's a fully ES legal 91 MR2 and when I bought it, it came with a pair of front swaybars, Konis, an alignment with crash bolts and a spare set of wheels with V710's. So when the Subaru is down, or if I just feel like experimenting, it's there.

CDC doesn't run SCCA classing - just penalties for weight, R-compounds and horsepower.
Capital Driving Club
Quote:
Tire Multiplier1
Street Tires = 1.00
R-Compounds = 1.03

Horsepower Multiplier2
Below 150 hp = 1.00
150 hp to 250 hp = 1.01
251 hp to 350 hp = 1.02
Over 350 hp = 1.04

Vehicle Weight Multiplier3
Vehicle weight < 2000 lbs = 1.02
Vehicle weight 2000 to 2500 lbs = 1.01
Vehicle weight 2501 to 3500 lbs = 1.00
Vehicle weight > 3500 lbs = 0.99

1DOT approved street tires will have a treadwear rating of 140 or greater
2As measured at the driven wheels
3Curb weight without driver or passenger(s) onboard
This doesn't work out well for the MR2, which gets a multiplier of 1.03. My WRX (and most cars in STU) get a multiplier of 1.01 for horsepower and that's about it. This despite the fact that ES's PAX is slower. Ah well.

I had a fairly meh day in the car. The steering in the MR2 is electrohydraulic (?) - it depowers itself with speed/throttle/G-load/something so the steering you use to enter the slalom may not make sense at the end of the slalom. It's neat, but wierd. I ran a 43.0 and my codriver (as per tradition) beat me running a 42.3. FTD was a K-20 swap Civic at 38.xx.

Event 14: WDCR/SCCA @ Fedex

For this event we switched from the normal lot (E/F) to the lot on the other side of the stadium (A). I actually like this lot better and have usually done okay there. It's definitely different though, almost like the difference between convex and concave. Looking ahead is more important but also harder as you are often driving at something you can't see over the crest of a hill. The camber differences from spot to spot are also greater than they are at the other lot.

Run 1 I took a passenger and ran a 61.1. The car felt strangely loose but not too bad. My starting tire pressures of 39/36 had shot up to 41/38 during my run so I bled them down to 37/35 before starting my next run. Run 2 was a 60.6. I fixed a lot of things from my first run (mostly just pushing harder) but I didn't feel like I did the first half of the course very well. I wrote down some notes on the course map - take a different line through here, brake deeper here, etc etc. Run 3 was ugly - I pushed too hard too soon and the tires went away about halfway through the run so I was understeering everywhere. I ended up going OC trying a "momentum" line through one of the middle sections. Ah well.

Josh (who outside of the Pro has been beating me all year) had a 58.9 at this point which I knew was going to be really difficult to catch.

My last run started out pretty well. The first half was definitely better than the first half my 2nd run so I was optimistic that I could make up some of the gap. The second half did not go as well though - I got on the gas too early in a couple spots and ended up having to lift to correct it. In my zeal to get across the finish line, I got on the gas too early again and ended up taking out the left side of the finish (plus 4). Doh. The run was faster - 60.0 - would have been good for 2nd place but instead I sat on the 60.6 and ended up in 3rd. Larry Olsen in Craig's Mini had a 60.3 for 2nd place.

Monday morning quarterbacking - if you took the 2nd run and 4th run and combined their best parts, I think a 59.5 is definitely possible but catching Josh would have been a heck of a trick. Josh PAX'd 24th out of 236. I PAX'd 68th on my 60.6. If my 60.0 had been clean it would have moved me to 50th, and a 59.5 would have put me at 34th. I can't feel too bad about it really - I'm not driving as well as I can, but even if I were, Josh has been fast, consistent and mistake free pretty much all year. PAXing in the 20's at a WDCR event isn't easy.

Season standings update

In the WDCR, 1st place is 12 points, 2nd is 9 and 3rd is 7 (it goes down evenly from there).

Since STX was tornado'd away in April, only the best 4 of the 6 remaining events count for points. At this point Josh has three wins and I have two 3rd places (at the other event, I was running in ESP) so even if I somehow won the last three events Josh would need to finish no better than 3rd at all of them in order to win STX. That's pretty unlikely to happen. Josh has been on fire this year.

Suspension tweaks?

One big contrast between last year and this year, setup wise, is that the car really isn't tossable like it was with the tiny rear bar. Since the math doesn't look good for me I am probably going to change the ride heights a little bit (raise the front back to 13.8, raise the rear up to 14.0 and soften the rear swaybar a little) to see if I can get some of last year's mojo going again. The car isn't bad right now but anything I can do that would make it easier to drive fast would be a bonus, especially since we are going to be on the "convex" lot for the rest of the season.

Next event is Sunday the 20th.
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Old 09-11-2008, 01:56 AM   #34
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Default 7-16-2008: Finger Lakes Preview

Finger Lakes Pro update

As posted in the NASIOC Finger Lakes thread...
SCCA.com Forum: ProSolo Single Course Changes
Quote:
After the 2008 Newport event, it was clear to us (me) that the change we made form the 2007 scoring method was not the best choice to appropriately replicate the "feel" of ProSolo in this alternate format. Also, the grid plan was not accomplishing what was desired. Yes, the pace was more hurried than a Tour for instance, but it was frantic and complicated without really once again replicating the feel of a ProSolo. So back to the workbench we went for our next try in NY.

This has resulted in three changes:

1. The previously announced change to scoring the best two runs during class competition, which will minimize the competitor cautiousness of the last method, while keeping the competition interesting through all the Heats.

2. When cars leave their grid spot, they will make all three runs before returning to the grid for Impound or the second driver. Approximately 6 to 10 cars will be in the Stage Lane, so there will be about 3 to 5 minutes between runs. This will simplify grid and the traffic flow, while still allowing time for tire pressure checks and a bit of reflection about the last run and the competition.

3. Grid order will be the same as a traditional ProSolo where in Heats 2 and 3 the fastest drivers will be at the front. This is simply an anti-sandbagging tactic used for years.
Veddy interesting. For those of us on street tires, it's probably going to suck, a lot. At the DC Pro and other dual course Pros, you are running four runs in a row, but, you are generally running a 30 second course, and it's not as complex as a typical Tour course.

At a single course Pro, it is (supposedly) closer to being a complex Tour course and longer than a dual-course Pro course - more like 45 seconds. So while first runs will be okay, 2nd and 3rd might get hairy.

It's also pretty meh that they made this change less than two weeks before the only other single course Pro of the season.

Car tweaks

In addition to raising the ride height a little bit (as discussed in the last post), I had another maintenance issue to take care of. The front camber plates had been making "spring pop" noises for the last couple of months. It mostly manifested itself in low speed, high steering situations (i.e. parking) but I noticed that the car felt a little different on the highway over the last stretch of driving.

As discussed in post 7, the sproing noises can be fixed with grease. I called Ground Control yesterday and they recommended the Redline grease at first (and I think that's what they shipped with - not positive), but after I was briefly put on hold the tech I talked to said that any marine grease should be fine. AFAIK though the GC bearings are not teflon lined. I found an old thread on the BMW forums about it...
GC Users with "Spring Pop" noises, Read this! - Bimmerforums - The Ultimate BMW Forum

Since I was changing ride heights anyway I didn't have to be that careful about restoring the perches to their exact location. Hopefully there is enough grease in there now to shut them up for a while.

Tomorrow, a re-alignment, and then there is an event on Sunday at Fedex.

Car tweaks update

The re-greasing has shut my camber plates up. Excellent. I don't know if it was impacting the handling, but it couldn't have been good as there was very little grease remaining in there.

I raised the car about .2-.25" all around - raising it in the front to get more travel, raising it in the rear to get it to rotate. We'll see what happens.
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Old 09-11-2008, 01:57 AM   #35
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At the Track 8-18-2008: Belated Finger Lakes writeup

Event 15: Finger Lakes ProSolo

Cliff notes: Got 4th/11 in STX, the last trophy spot. I lost to the people who I figured would beat me. Car feels good, not great. Didn't improve after Saturday AM. No bonus challenge this time, boo.

Long notes:

Friday

So... the drive there was 6.5 hrs. The last hour and a half or so sucked, as there was lots of construction on RT 15 once you get up to the top of PA. And then once you get close, you have to fight your way through 25 mph small town Watkins Glen (I didn't realize it was such a big town, I thought it was just a racetrack) and some other stuff. Then you have to fight through some really crappy Country Roads(tm) that have really illegible signs.

At a normal dual course ProSolo you take your best run on the left and add it to your best run on the right. There's no room for two courses here so it was supposed to be a single course Pro where you would take your two best times on the course and add them together, no matter what heat they happened in. Then it turned out that the single course tree was ****ed up so they ended up ignoring reaction times and it was basically just a normal autox event but with a long straightaway at the beginning.

I got there in time for practice starts on Friday. The single course tree was LED's and it was screwing with me. The way the bulbs look is a lot different and it was throwing off my timing. I redlit two of my runs, got a 700 on one and they didn't announce the last one. So I was not optimistic about the tree part. On the flip side I wasn't the only one complaining so I don't think I'm crazy.

Saturday

It turned out that after the first 4 cars went on Saturday morning they gave up on the tree. Reaction times were irrelevant. You pull up to the staging lights, it goes green and after that you can go whenever you want to. With the LED tree sucking, this was fine with me - my car would still have an advantage because of the straightaway and I wouldn't have to worry about launching at exactly the right time.

Morning runs went pretty well. JR had a combined 104.9, Eric (New England guy in a Civic) had a 105.5 or so and I had a 106.1. (remember, add the two best times - I had a 53.0 and a 53.1.) Cy Lee was having serious brake problems (even drove into the grass on his first run). Despite that he was right behind me with higher 106.1. This is because Cy is fast.

Afternoon sucked. I didn't improve at all. My first run felt fantastic but it was slower, 53.3. I overdrove my 2nd run and coasted for the second half to save the tires. You only get about 3 minutes between runs, and you can't use water because you're in a staging lane. So if your run is toast, overdriving just to see what will happen is a bad idea. My last run was sloppy, 53.8.

Cy took the afternoon off to fix his car - replacing the brake booster and the master cylinder.

I was bummed but had a good idea of the spots on course I needed to fix. Just needed to do it.

Sunday

Cy found out that his brake problem was in the rear drum so he borrowed JR's car. Bad news for me as he only needed a 53.2 or so to take 3rd.

I needed to break into the 52's to help myself. My first run felt pretty good, a couple of iffy spots... 53.3. My second run I overcooked one of the fast parts and crushed a wall, went off course. (I also broke my Andrewtech front license plate frame). My last run also felt pretty good but some minor mistakes at the end and it turned out as a 53.4. Bummer.

Cy came up for the two-driver drivers and, no surprise, found the time he needed. The co-driver of the #2 Civic almost put me out of the trophies but he coned... after the finish. Whew. Dodged a bullet there

I entered for the Bonus challenge but my name was not drawn.

Fortunately there were 11 cars in STX even though there were only 8 originally - that meant 4 trophies instead of 3. So I barely got the 4th one.

Closing

I need to do one or more of the following
-Stop messing with the car (HA!)
-Do another school
-Get a data acquisition system - the Philly guys have done some really cool analysis with theirs
-Get a co-driver who can push me to improve

A lot of it is going to be getting used to the car so I have confidence chucking it, which I don't really have right now. I am probably going to soften the rear bar so that I can "rally" the car more without getting too loose.

Overall though it was a fun weekend despite the iffy finish.
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Old 09-11-2008, 01:58 AM   #36
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Default 9-8-2008: August update

I really need to stay on top of this thing!

I was on vacation from 8-2 to 8-9 so I did miss a couple small events but nothing at Fedex fortunately.

Event 16: WDCR/SCCA @ Fedex, August 17

After Finger Lakes I wanted to get the car a little tighter so that I could toss the car a little more without spinning. I only wanted to tweak one thing - softening the rear bar to the "22" setting. Sadly, I was too lazy to get to it before the event.

I also picked up a co-driver, Josh, since he had sold his Sentra. He needed a car, and I needed to co-drive with someone that would push me.

The event didn't go so great. This was the first event at Fedex with the new suspension tweaks (higher ride height) and with the stiff rear bar, the car was pretty loose. Josh felt it more than me, because I was used to the car. He was pushing it harder than I was, and getting oversteer when getting on the gas and turning after braking zones. Fedex definitely exacerbates any looseness in a car since the lot is rarely flat - you are generally in some sort of on or off camber position pretty much everywhere.

As a bonus, the announcer was new, so he was announcing times (sometimes) and not announcing position in class. So Josh and I didn't really know what was happening since we had no idea if our runs were clean or dirty.

Josh had a 61.5 (+3) and a 61.2 (+1) before getting two clean 61.7's. Sadly Larry Olsen in Craig Garfield's Mini had a slightly faster 61.7 and took the win.

I had a 61.8 which I thought was clean, but it wasn't That ended up being my fastest time - with the cone. Bummer. I had an eight-tenths lead in raw time over the #3 car but did not end up finishing with a clean run.

The raw time wasn't bad though, closer than I usually am to Ian Baker (STS2) and Mike Neary (STU) - two benchmarks of mine as they are both very nationally competitive and running in ST*.

So, mental note, soften the damned swaybar!

Event 17: Autocrossers Inc at Fedex: August 24

The night before, I finally softened the swaybar.

This event wasn't full, so I ran STX in the morning and non-comp in the afternoon. I had a co-driver in both heats. In the AM it was Jeff C from Philly, who used to drive an STX WRX (trophied at the Divisionals in 2005, at the DC Pro in 2006) and then drove an ES MR2 (trophied at the DC Pro in 2007, then sold the car to me ) and briefly co-drove an AS '08 STi before the car owner sold it for an SS Z06. In the PM it was Travis (ProDarwin) who has a GD 2.5RS and had an STS Saturn.

Both co-drivers beat me. Doh!

In the morning, because of some registration confusion, I took the first two runs consecutively. After that Jeff and I alternated. I couldn't get a decent run to save my life and ended up with a 55.3, good for 4th place. Jeff had a 53.1 on his second run which would have won the class by half a second, but coned it. His best time was a 53.9.

Jeff didn't even get to walk the course! Pretty impressive. I guess driving an STX WRX is like riding a (porky, turbocharged) bike. For comparison, Cy Lee's best time was a 52.8. This was a pretty good indication that my car was set up pretty well. With a little more experience and a coursewalk I think Jeff could definitely have caught Cy. (I'm not there yet, but learning)

In the afternoon I ran non-comp. With the hecticness of the morning gone, I could just focus on driving. I started with a 54.8 and then ran a 54.2 (spinning through the finish wall), a 54.3 (mostly okay) and a 54.2 (same). Travis got a 54.1. Riding along with him it was clear to me where our differences were. I was driving fast in the slow stuff, and he was driving slow in the fast stuff (pretty normal for someone getting used to a car with 2x the horsepower than what they're used to). With Travis and Iman (bdi)'s help I improved a lot on the trouble spots. I still couldn't put together a run without at least one noticeable overcooking, though, which is why my times kept coming in about the same.

In general this was an eye opening event for me.
1) It showed me the car is fast and that it's set up pretty well. Fast enough that Jeff could come in without a coursewalk, never having driven it and be .3 (raw) off of Cy's time.
2) It made me want to delay running AS for at least another year. (I want an S2000, a lot.)
3) I felt like I needed to start thinking a lot less about the standings and more about my runs and how I can improve them. Running non-comp PM was really good for that. (I later read a thread on another forum that was really instructive in that regard. For instance: "Between runs, sit in the car, turn on the music and relax. DO NOT care about what anyone else ran. Run your own runs. ")

One other bonus about this event: there were reps from Yokohama there. They were representing the company in general but also hooked us Yokohama drivers up with some nice schwag (they even had a t-shirt in Medium which is pretty rare for free shirts). They also took tire temps. It looked like the fronts needed a little less camber, and that they also needed maybe a pound more pressure. So at some point I'll probably knock the fronts down to -3.7, and also start running 40 psi in the fronts instead of 39.

Event 18: WDCR/SCCA @ Fedex: August 31

This was the next-to-last points event in the WDCR series. I can't tell for sure, but I think I am one point out of 3rd (thanks to the cone problems at the last event and at the July event).

Josh was co-driving Craig's Mini. The course was pretty fast and not as technical as usual, but very fun.

My first two runs were okay. My 3rd run was starting out really well, and about 3/4 of the way through the course I came into the slalom and noticed that the next to last slalom cone was misplaced in a way that made the slalom easier. Somehow, my brain processed this fairly quickly.

*lift*
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brain
Hey, that cone's out of place.

We could stop and get a re-run.

Do we have to stop?

No, we could keep going. I'm pretty sure it's optional to stop. And this run's going pretty well.

Wait a minute, this misplaced cone makes our run easier. We should keep going.
*gas*

It ended up being a 47.9, good enough to win the class by almost a second. The misplaced cone helped, but I am pretty sure it was a good enough run to win anyway.

Once again, the car felt really good.
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Old 09-11-2008, 01:58 AM   #37
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Default 9-8-2008: September Test n' Tune

Event 19: WDCR/SCCA (test n' tune) @ Fedex: September 7

New this year are big, limited entry test and tunes run by the DC Region. A max of 24 people pay $200 each for an entire day of runs. There are 14 half-hour slots. Each person needs to cover 4 work assignments and they can drive the other 10 slots.

Most people split it with another person, because 40+ runs is a LOT in one day. It's flat out tiring. And if you're on street tires, it's punishing - not to mention that on an 85 degree day you need to be spraying pretty often. I split it with my teammate Slava in his STS2 MR2.

The course is a typical WDCR course, and it's reversed in the afternoon to create the second course .

In the morning I took about twelve runs across two sessions. I had a best of 59.0, and followed it up with a 59.1 with Brian Garfield in the car as an instructor (without spraying the tires). For comparison, Cy had a 57.8 (don't know if that was his best) and I think that Mike Neary was in the 56's. So I was reasonably far back, but Brian gave me some good feedback about some of the mistakes I made. He said that the run was pretty good and that the car felt really good, so that was a bonus.

In the afternoon I ran three heats.
1: 5 runs: 34.5 (timing problem), 60.5, 61.1, 60.3, 60.1
2: dunno, but best of 59.6
3: 60.0, 59.4, 62.8 +several

The 59.4 had me pumped as it felt like a really good run. Again for comparison, Mike Neary had a 58.1. PAX wise, that's probably as close as I have come to his times. Just ignore the part where it took ten runs to get there

I feel like just over the last three weeks I improved a lot, just with a minor setup tweak and a different mentality. Overall very encouraging for next year.

In other news the Neovas now have 101 runs on them. They still feel great. The inside shoulders on the fronts took a beating from the test and tune, though.

[insert pic]

What, no Topeka?

It's a long story. I was planning on going, but after switching jobs (it was either that or offing myself) and then taking a weeklong August vacation (and some other stuff too complex to explain) it just was not in the cards. I wanted to go this year, just to get the experience, and then go in with loftier goals for '09.

So next year, to hopefully balance out not going to Nationals this year, I'm going to try to do two tours and maybe the divisional depending on where it is, plus at least two Pros (DC, Toledo, NY?) and the WDCR series.

What's next?

I still have a handful of events left, but the schedule does slow significantly from here on out. I'm planning on primarily focusing on the mental stuff discussed above - re-running the course in my head and making note of areas to improve.

I finally have a working camcorder and Chasecam setup again so that will help. Data aq is on the list for next year, but probably not this year.

And as a general observation, I really do love my car
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Old 09-11-2008, 02:08 AM   #38
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Now we are up to date.

Another update of the suspension setups I've had over the last little while:

Quick resummarization of suspension setups I've had over the last year. Changes for that iteration highlighted in red.

June 2007 (good):

400#/450#
-3.5/-.8, 0 toe
13.75"/14.25"
27mm/17mm
RE070s, 42/38

July 2007 (plow city)

400#/450#
-3.5/-1.2, 0 toe
14"/13.5"
27mm/17mm
RE070s, 42/38
Corner balanced to "ideal" weights. This caused some static camber gain in the rear since I lowered the car. With the bars I had, the net result was that the car plowed.

August-end 2007 (OK then good, once rear bar was on stiff)

400#/450#
-3.5/-1.2, 0 toe
14"/13.5"
27mm/24mm
RE070s, 42/38
* Added rear bar to fix balance issues. It did this, and the car rotated well and was quite nice in slaloms but exhibited a lot of wheelspin at corner exit.

Start 2008 (bad)

450#/500#
-3.5/-1.5, 0 toe
13.9"/14"
23mm/22mm
RE01Rs, 38/36


April 2008 (still bad)

450#/500#
-4/-1, little toe out in front
13.6"/13.8"

23mm/24mm
RE01Rs, 38/36
* More aggressive alignment/height/bar specs to try to fix balance issues.

June 2008 (much better)
450#/500#
-4/-1, little toe out in front
13.6"/13.8"
27mm/24mm
AD07's, 39/36
* Put the big front swaybar back on.

July 2008 (much better)
450#/500#
-4/-1, little toe out in front
13.8"/14.0"
27mm/24mm
AD07's, 39/36
* Raised the ride height a little to help with balance and get a little better ride quality.

August 2008 (spot on!)
450#/500#
-4/-1, little toe out in front
13.8"/14.0"
27mm/22mm
AD07's, 40/36
* Softened the rear bar to make the car more tossable. Added a pound of air in the front after the nice guys from Yokohama gave me some pyrometer readings.
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Old 09-11-2008, 02:09 AM   #39
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From here on out I'll try to keep it up to date.

If you read this far, congratulations! That's a lot of crap to read
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Old 09-11-2008, 02:35 AM   #40
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Brain hurts - That was a huge hurdle to overcome my add

Great write up as always
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Old 09-22-2008, 02:00 AM   #41
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I'm only like 1/2 way through, but I am glad I randomly found this thread lol. Good luck on your ventures john and see you at the CDC events (if you ever make it out)
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Old 09-22-2008, 09:33 PM   #42
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Nice blog/write up!! I just try to remember all this stuff when it comes to my car!
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Old 09-24-2008, 02:42 PM   #43
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Wow, that's a lot of dedication and great info on a build! Looking back I wish I'd have done something like this in the past. Anything in the future and I'll definitely do it!

p.s. Definitely go to Nationals soon, the experience is awesome. I hope to get back next year too.
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Old 09-24-2008, 03:47 PM   #44
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What the heck are you doing here?
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Old 09-25-2008, 01:55 PM   #45
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Ahh those GroupN rear tophats look quite familiar
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Old 09-25-2008, 04:51 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gr8r rex View Post
Ahh those GroupN rear tophats look quite familiar
There's speed in them thar tophats!
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Old 09-26-2008, 12:22 PM   #47
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Well thats good to know. In the future, I`m gonna need all of the extra help I can get! haha (even if just made up speed)
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Old 10-01-2008, 02:34 PM   #48
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Awesome thread, it gave me great insights into Auto-x to the extend that I want to try it next summer/season. And just as great of an insight into suspension setups/variables.
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Old 10-07-2008, 02:48 AM   #49
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Event 20: CDC @ Bowie, September 27

This was a rain event, so I ran the Bridgestones. I left everything alone other than tire pressures, which I lowered to 33/30. The car felt okay. Being in the rain, throttle steering sorta happens in slow motion so it was good practice. Weather was really spotty though, with no heat really getting any consistency. I had the 4th-fastest CDC index time and the 3rd fastest PAX time.

Event 21: WDCR/SCCA @ Fedex, September 28

This was the last points event of the year for the DC region. I was co-driving with Josh again. The weather was spotty but finally decided to clear up* so we threw the shaved Yokos on instead of the full tread Bridgestones. Because of low turnout, instead of the traditional 6-heat setup, we collapsed down into 4 heats, pushing our start time back.

The course was long. REALLY long. Mike Neary (6th in STU at Nationals) ran an 83.7 as his fast time in the morning. And this isn't some torturously slow course either - it's a really long, pretty fast course. Fedex is a pretty big lot After a couple course walks we were pretty sure that we'd figured out the trouble spots and how to avoid them.

Our heat started, clouds on the horizon. My first run was okay, 89.2 +1. It was slick and I hadn't taken enough tire pressure out. 37/33 was the starting point. I chalked it up to adjusting to a slick surface (it was a little bit wet and definitely cold, plus cold tires) and handed the keys to Josh.

I should preface this by saying that the car had not seen a wet event since April. Yeah, there was a CDC event the day prior, but that was quite a bit slower and on a lot that was almost completely flat. So the wet setup on the Yokohamas had never been tested, and the wet setup with the latest batch of suspension tweaks had never been tested either. Good combination!

Anyway, Josh had... an experience...? in the car. The short version is, I definitely had not set it up very well for the wet/cold. We dropped the pressure more - 33/30 - and softened the rear shocks. This made a huge improvement.

My second run I ran an 87.9, but coned somewhere. Josh ran an 87.1. I was pretty confident that I could run another similar run without the cone. And in the middle of my 3rd run it started raining. It wasn't enough to affect the run, but it did mean that this run would be my last run with a chance of improving. I ended up with an 88.9... plus one. Doh! My 4th run wasn't going well (with the increase in water), but I was flagged down for a re-run halfway through. With the rain continuing, I chose to waive it and pack up. Overall it was a pretty frustrating day. For a Subaru owner, I really hate autoxing in the wet (when it's for points, at least).

BTW, an 85+ second autox course is really physically painful. I could barely lift my arms by the end of the day, and I was one of the lucky ones with power steering

I don't think that running the Bridgestones would have changed a thing. At the point it started raining, there wasn't much standing water (to the point where tread would really have mattered), just enough wet to make things slick.

Event 22: Autocrossers Inc @ Fedex, October 5

Once again, Josh was codriving. Fortunately the weather was perfect - nice temperature and zero rain. This course was normal sized, a pleasant change

STX ran 2nd heat. Vince Bly ran 1st heat in Pro class STX, running a 61.4. Josh ended up with a 59.3 + several and a 59.7 clean. I had a 60.0 +1 and a 61.2 clean. The +1 on my 60.0 was a "barely nudge the cone and watch it sloooowwwly fall over" kind of cone, sooo close.

Because there were open slots, I also ran four non-competition runs in the afternoon. I managed to knock quite a bit off my raw time, but couldn't keep it clean. 60.6, 59.1 +1, 59.1 +1, 58.9 +1. The last time would have PAX'd 10th if a) it had happened during competition and b) if it had been clean. Yeah yeah, shoulda woulda coulda - but it's good to know that me and the car are capable of those sorts of times. I figure I can always figure out how to clean em up later.

I now have two weekends of autox left - 10/25 and 10/26, and 11/15 and 11/16. After that, the suspension comes off the car and it turns into a winter beater

I do feel like I'm finishing pretty well, cones notwithstanding. After not really improving for a while, my iffy finish at Finger Lakes woke me up and I started pushing myself a lot more. Next year should definitely be fun.
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Old 10-17-2008, 05:04 PM   #50
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john my head hurts after reading not even close to half of this information. you changed your suspension specs so many times i dont even know what your running now! lol... and thats nuts, you changed your ride height, sway bar setting, camber every month, but then again your competing.

ps when did you get the m3? im jelous

edit : just read your thread on your new cars. congrats on the m3 and sti. which car do you daily then? and how much for the civic, i need a DD

Last edited by kcook; 10-17-2008 at 05:10 PM.
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