What a day yesterday was. I went up to my first event in Colorado yesterday, which was the SCCA Rocky Mountain Solo II Winter Event #3
up at Denver Internation Airport. It was a great day for me, EVOtuners.net, and Evos in general, but before I get to that, let me talk about some of the preparation and anticipation for this event.
It all starts with my wife and I moving from right near sea level in the DC area all the way up to 6000' in Colorado Springs. Many, many people have told me how there is a huge power loss due to altitude, and although this makes some sense in general theory, it makes less sense for a turbocharged car. Since I really didn't know, I have just waited to see, because proof will be in the pudding (racing in this case). Until the drag strip opens in a month, I won't know for sure how much power I've lost, but I think it's safe to say I haven't lost 20-25% like many say.
Anyway, we've been in CO for 3 weeks now, but my Evo has been stuck back in DC for most of that time. Time was running short, because I knew I had this race on the 25th, so I not only needed the car itself, but I need to received my race tires, then get them mounted and balanced. Well, luckily, my brand new 245/45R17 Kumho Ecsta V710s
showed up Wednesday afternoon. Then, a few hours later, my Evo showed up on the back of an auto transport. Much rejoicing ensued!
Well, that meant I had only 2 days to make sure the car was in good shape and get the tires ready for Saturday.
So, I called up a local tireshop
that had great recommendations from locals and from the Tire Rack, which is where I got the tires for less than $800 SHIPPED (great for such extreme r-compounds). I called them up, and they were able to schedule me for mounting and balancing, but they were booked on the alignment machine. This was disappointing, because I've never had my car aligned, and after 30+ racing events (drag, auto-x, and road course), I was quite sure that my alignment was off. Surprisingly, though, they said that if I dropped the car off in the morning, they would put me on the alignment rack if anyone cancelled. So, I shop up early Friday morning to drop the car off (3 blocks from work, luckily), and right when I hand over the keys, the owner/manager tells me that they have already had an alignment cancellation, so that meant I would get put on the rack. Woohoo!!! Rock on again!
Well, stupid me, I left my work laptop in the car, so I wasn't able to work. After a 2 hour morning meeting, I went back to the shop to pick it up. When I got there, my tires were already mounted/balanced, and my car was on the rack. In fact, not only was it on the rack, but the tech had just finished getting it to spec. When I looked at the computer, the specs were EXACTLY WHAT I REQUESTED:
- Camber = -2.0/-2.0 front and -0.5/-0.5 rear
- Toe - Zero all around (1 corner was fluctuating between .00 and .01 - close enough for me
Also, this is where my specs were BEFORE the alignment:
- Camber = -1.0/-0.7 front (forgot rear)
- Toe = +.35/-.33 rear
So, my alignment was all off, which explains why I've been pulling to the left. The tech said the toe made the car behave as if the rear tires were turned left all the time. So, now I had a perfectly-aligned Evo with a great auto-x setup plus some awesome tires. I came back in the afternoon with my wife, picked up the car, and loaded the rims/tires. When I saw the bill, I was shocked. For the TOTAL COMBINED price of $125, I got that awesome, custom alignment, they removed my stock wheels/tires, installed my winter rims/tires, removed my Advans from the BBS rims, mounted/balanced the new race tires on the BBS rims, then loaned me some spare lug nuts, since I had forgotten my 2nd set. I couldn't believe how cheap all that was, especially with how much extra they did for me. Back in DC, the mounting/balancing of the tires along would have cost $125, if not more. Btw, this time, I decided to mount the race tires on my 17lb BBS MR rims, since they are so nice for racing. I'm using my 18lb Rota Torques for daily driving with snow tires.
Well, now that I had my car ready and a set of tires ready, it was time to prep for the track. Since this is my first full season of serious racing, I needed to go buy some critical tools to allow me to be successful with this setup, so I went to Home Depot and got these:
- Powerful, cordless 14.4V Ridgid impact gun
with 1/4" inset
- 3 adapters (1/4" to 1/4", 1/4" to 3/8", and 1/4" to 1/2" so that I can fit any socket on the gun)
- A rugged toolbox to put all my tools in when going to the track
- 3,000lb aluminum jack
(Pic shows 4000lb jack - mine is a little smaller)
I loaded all those parts in the car along with the following stuff in preparation for an early Saturday morning departure:
- Race tires (2 in trunk, 2 in back seat)
- Mini-toolbox with all my hand tools
- New, large toolbox with breaker bar, spare Evo parts, gloves, oil, zipties, etc
- Impact gun with attachments and 19mm socket for lug nuts
- Extra lug nuts
- Backpack with extra clothing, camera, number magnets - I should have also packed water and sunscreen, which I will do from now on
- SCCA card, driver's license, cash for food
Once all that was in the car and ready to go, I hit the rack and set the alarm at 5:45 AM.
Read the actual race diary
for race day action!