I had been checking the weather all week long. We had rain from Sunday to Wends and finally Thursday it started to clear up. By the end of the day Thursday it was really nice. The weather report showed sun for Friday and PM thunder showers on Saturday. Our last two auto-x were canceled due to rain. So I was very anxious to say the least.
My alarm goes off Saturday at 6am, get up shower then wake my friend Bill up. My engine isn't back yet so I have to ride with him to the auto-x. The weather is great when we get there at 7am, sunny 60degrees and warming up, a great day for auto-x. I'm in charge of tech inspection this morning, so I get to see all the cars that come through, make sure they are safe and see what the competition is. This was our largest event ever! I'm guessing close to 80 cars showed up to race. It doesn't sound like much, but when the average run time is 41seconds (then add in transition time of 10seconds) and everyone gets 6 runs, thats 41 times 6 runs times 80 cars, you can see how this is going to be a long day.
Because we are a new auto-x club its run what you brung anything goes, literally. We actually had a go kart at one event last year! Here are the cars I remeber. Pics to be loaded later as my roommate has the camera.
Atleast 5 evos, 2 being MRs, a couple of F/I s2000s, Pete in his Toyo Proxy R compound s2000, a K20S swap stripped out hatch on 245/35/14 slicks (yes they stuck out from the fender well a good 4"), a Camaro SS on 4 drag radials (yes drag radials at an auto-x, no thats not good, but thats on him), 3 replica Shelby Cobras (1 with a dual quad 427), a couple of WRXs, a fully sponsored 05 Legacy GT, a Subaru RS on Hoosier slicks, black 02 M3 (drool), 2 Miata's, Chrsyler Sebring, 2 STi's, and sorry I forget what else.
I do a couple of ride alongs in the first session. I'm also an instructor so I ride with people that don't know the course or want pointers for that extra 10th. This actually helps me because now I get to see the course from an in car view.
I'm attaching a map of the course. Now it isn't to scale but you can get the basic idea.
When told to start you launch hard and IMMEDIATELY go left to the first gate. Set yourself to let apex to the right. In the car I was in I was grabbign second before the first gate, 1st only does 19mph in the TR6 I was in. Then its back on the gas for a quick .3seconds before tapping the brakes to load the front end for the second gate. The way this gate lines up with the next one makes this a left hand turn. Late apex this left hander also. This is where it gets tricky. From the left hander to the next gate, do not get on the gas fully. Just enough to maintain speedand set up wide to the left. Let off the gas and turn hard right, then start feeding into the gas. The next gate is slightly 'in' from your exit point of this turn so you can't just romp on the gas, you need to keep the front end planted. Once set up for the gate you can mash the gas, 4500rpm is what 2nd would rap to, about 30mph on this 'straight. This is your first double gate, double gate in auto-x means you pass through the cones twice. You know this because there are a set of cones next to each other on your left and right instead of just one cone on your left and right. Once through the gate you get over to left and HARD on the brakes. The next turn(s) were tricky, because you turn HARD right almost full lock to come back and turn left to slip through the next (double)gate. Then its foot to the floor, fly through the next gate staying to the right but pointing to the left. Once through the gate STOMP ON THOSE BRAKES!! This is the hairpin which is a righthander and leads onto the longest straight we had. You late apex the hairpin very late then jump back on the gas flying through the next gate.
Remeber that tricky turn I just mentioned, well now you go back through it the opposite direction. This was the turn, along with the hairpin, where you were able to see the good drivers. The way this works out is you slip through the double gate and turn slightly right, then slap the car back to left to go through the next double gate at an angle, having the car point towards the right. This is what we called the banana. Through this double gate you passed through the the third double gate. The double gate turn was a trailbraking turn because right at the end you had to make a sharp left through a gate then throw it back to the right through another gate which led you to the esses. The esses were decreasing in speed because they led to the stop 'garage.' The first ess cone you kept to your left then right then left then into the stop garage.
I was in run group 4b. The car I'm driving is a well prepared Trimph TR6 with no interior, a roll bar, racing seats and 5 point harness and it rides on Kumho R compounds and Evotuners.net magnet stickers on the doors. There is NO body roll in this car, a Ferrari Enzo has more body roll than this car.
We get three morning runs and 3 afternoon runs. When I'm set to go out, Bill rides passenger with me to learn what I do and apply it to himself. Needless to say I think I made him worse because I didn't know this car or anything about it.
I'm flagged to go and launch out of the start gate, spinning the rear tires, grab 2nd and tap the brakes and turn right. I set myself up for the left hander, turn in and WHAT!!! there's no steering!!! Turn more, turn, turn turn. 4oyr old technology stinks!!! The steering wheel and brakes were no where what I'm used to. The steering felt vage at first along with the brakes until you pressed or turned slightly more or harder. I'm all over the place in my first run. I whacked myself in the head a couple of times trying to wrestle with this car and hold onto the wheel and turn this beast. Ed Chan the owner of the car and Joe Seward both drove this car early in the day to 39.5 and 39.4 second passes respectively. My first pass is a 42.x I'm way off the pace.
I go back out for my 2nd pass with Bill and again I'm hitting myself with flying hands, I'm way off line for the hairpin, the car is pushing on me on the exits of the turns, !!!!
I finish my run and talk with Joe. He tells me how the brakes are very trust worthy, just press on them. Well duh!! Thats what I'm doing obviously cause I haven't crashed. He tells me to press harder.
I line up for my third run. I dropped 1sec on my 2nd pass, but I'm hoping to get a low 40 on this lap after talking to Joe. I launch great hit the right hander and left hander great. On the exit of the right hander to the short straight, she's pushing so much I have to let off to make the next gate and get back on it. I then over shoot my breakign zone but somehow recover for the tricky right back to left hand gate. I fly down to the hairpin and NAIL IT!! I'm flying down the straight now after nailing my hairpin exit. Now its back to the tricky turn to head into the banana. I get the tricky but get understeer at the end of the banana for the tight left hander, too much braking??? I then hit the esses good and make my stop at the stop garage, 40.13. Not bad, I'm happy but STILL not happy with my feedback from the car. My confidence level is no where near where I want it to be. Its so bad, I'm asking other guys indirectly if I can use one of their cars for the afternoon session.
I do some more instructing of drivers, quick eat lunch then go back to doing my job as an organizer. Remember that weather, well the skies are darkening, the wind is blowing, this is not looking good. Fortunately for us the storm blew over. We got a few sprinkles but that was it. The good think though is it cooled it down from a noontime high of 85 to about 73degrees.
My run group is finally called up for our afternoon session. I strap myself in and just hope I can get a feel for this car. Ed and Joe didn't improve much if at all. My whole plan this time is to go easy with the car and feel it out and be smooth with everything, brakign, throttle, steering inputs, everything. I hit the 2nd left hander perfect and carry lots of speed on to the short straight then lace the brakes, WOWOWOWOW this thing can stop! I've slowed up too much. I make my tricky turn and then put my foot through the floor to have another date with the hairpin, I set up way wide and dive in after brakign real late. BAM!! I'm back on the gas heading back to the tricky turns and banana. I hit those good but see I can go faster. I then set myself up perfect for the esses and fly into the stop garage. 39.27. What!!!?
For some reason everything just fell into place, the car felt comfortable, I was in charge, the car was doing what I wanted when I wanted and how I wanted.
I line up for my 2nd afternoon session. I have permission from Ed and Joe to light the tires up off the start which I graciously do.
This being my 5th run is where it had all better come together. I'm hitting my marks now. I turn the wheel and the car turns, this thing is stopping and accelerating on command. I hit the tricky turn perfect both ways, nail the banana and hit the esses hard! Time, 38.87. Come again!?!?! And I still have another run left. Sweet!!
I dont' launch as hard on my final run but I nail everything up the hair pin, which I overshoot. I brake pedal is way over to the left on the car. I didn't get my leg far enough over so I had to adjust which made me come in slightly to hot. I didn't get my speed out of there that I needed but I hit the tricky turn and banana perfect and fast. I made NO steerign adjustments coming into the esses. I flicked through those and stopped. 38.92. slightly slower because I overcooked the hairpin. More experience and I think I could have dropped to low 38s for the day.
How I placed overall I'm not sure, results haven't been posted yet.
The weather stayed nice and I went home in one piece.
May29th I was supposed to race in IDRC at MIR but my engine isn't back yet. I expect that to be done in the next two weeks. Then its assembly time!
I got into the modding scene in 1997 when I paid off my '90 Talon TSi AWD, and was trying to decide whether to sell it in order to buy a new '97 TSi or not. When I found out about staged upgrades, I began the quest. I quickly got into drag racing and ran a 12.9x on my first ever 1/4 with that pesky little DSM. I even started up a local car club on base down at Camp LeJeune and had a great time, but my real goal was not to keep drag racing, but to progress through the levels of racing until I got into all-out rallying. Well, I considered the next step to be Auto-X, but my DSMs never had any suspension mods or handling ability with over 100k miles and worn stock suspension. I sort of put the racing goal in the back of my head until I finally decided to get an Evo after finding out about the 2005 MR. I sat on the waiting list for 6 months, then snagged it the day after it came off the truck. Even then, though, at such a price and as my daily driver, I was hesitant to do any racing. After 6 months of babying and doing no mods, I finally got started. I took 2 trips to the drag strip to see what I could do in stock/near-stock form and was quite pleased. Then, I met this guy ldstang50 and found out about an upcoming, local auto-x. I was a bit scared, because I though you had to have some sort of training or racing knowledge to even compete, or at least to do well. I had on experience whatsoever, but I signed up anyway. This is where the real fun began...
Woke up at 7am, saw the weather was nice, and then started the 30min drive to the auto-x. Stopped at the nearby gas station, raised my tire pressure to 38 all around, got some coffee, and showed up right on time at 8am. I was impressed by the large number of cars already there at 8am, but little did I know this wasn't even HALF of what WOULD show up. By the time we started, there were far more cars than I ever expected. When the cones were laid out, I went and took my first ever walk-through to get an idea of the layout. 20 mins later, they had a driver's meeting, then took us through an official walk-through. I did this one with ldstang50 so that he could give me tips on what to do at each gate. It was tough to remember/understand, since I had no idea what my car would feel like in these situations, nor how to properly brake/throttle/shift.
Well, the time came to start, but I was only in heat 4 (of 4 total), so I decided to work one of the cone stations to get a better understanding of the track as well as an idea of how experienced drivers navigated the course. Strangely enough, I ended up manning a station alongside the eventual FTD driver (Civic hatch w/K20 engine and 4 slicks). I saw many mistakes and several excellent maneuvers from which I was able to formulate a plan in my head. I also learned a lot from the FTD guy who commented on why certain people were losing speed when it wasn't necessarily obvious to the untrained eye.
After a few hours of waiting for the first 3 heats, I was convinced that I needed ldstang50 to ride with me, since it was my first try ever, and most of the other newbies had gone off course at least once or made really bad mistakes while trying to go fast on the first try. I just planned on taking it easy so that I could learn the course and get some pointers while an experienced driver assisted me. Well, it came time to line up and when I did, ldstang50 had to suddenly run out onto the course to work a cone station. Uh oh, now what do I do? I have been told I need to have someone ride with me on my first try, but I don't know anyone else except FTD guy. I look for him, but he's nowhere to be found and it's almost my turn. Eek. Oh well, I feel confident after 3 hours of watching that I will not go off course, so here we go. I line up and immediately realize that the launch I had intended to do (oyes AWD owns) was not going to be so easy, since the first gate was about 45-degrees to the left and not far away. How the hell do I launch straight ahead with a gate 45-degrees to my left??? Hmm, they won't let me line up at an angle either...damn. Ok, I launch anyway, and HOLY SHIZA, the gate is there immediately...crap, bank hard right...oh crap, still in first gear, hard bank left...wtf, I haven't even hit the gas again, but here's an even HARDER right hand turn...ok, I come around without sliding, but before I straighten out, I absolutely HAMMER it in first. Oops, 4-wheel spin even on those sticky Advans...and I spin all the way through the next gate and hit the rev limiter, but I can't shift to 2nd, because loookie here, I'm already at the double-coned right-hander. Holy crap, wtf is this...it's over 90degrees, so I have to come full lock back to the right, straighten out, but then bank hard back to the left to hit the next gate...still in 1st and hammer it again...crap, 4-wheel spin, since I nailed it too early...1st gear 1st gear still 1st gear spinning but moving forward fast...oops hit rev limiter, but am too close AGAIN to the next gate to hit 2nd, so I bank right then brake hard for the hairpin. I guess I hit it right, but wtf do I know...by now I'm not thinking, I'm just driving like a maniac. I come around the hairpin, and before I straighten out, I again think I can hammer it, but instead of sticking and shooting forward, all 4 light up again (notice a trend?). I spin all the way through the next gate, but for the 3rd time I'm unable to hit 2nd ,since I'm too close to the hard-left double cone. Well, I saw guys do this banana thing, so I try it...hey, it worked...wow, I'm perfectly in line to hit 3 straight gates without turning or braking...oh crap, because of this, I have too much speed for the last hard left, so I understeer and skid a little. I hit the next gate slow while banking back to the right. Time for the esses...these are fun, and I blip 1st through each S, then nail the brakes in the stop zone. Well, I hit no cones, my heart is racing, and my tires aren't as sticky as I thought, haha.
Helmet is on, so I don't hear the time, but I knew that the FTD guy ran a 41.0 on his first try before eventually hitting a 38.x. Of the 1st heat, the best time was in the 41s, so I know where I want to be. I drive back to go for run #2 and several Evo guys come up to me with big smiles. "Hey man, nice driving, you got a 39.8!! Holy cow, all I did was spin my tires like crazy and drive like a crazy man. I didn't actually have a clue, despite the good run, so on my next 2, I was still spinning like crazy en route to a 40.x and then a 39.0, but both were wasted by cone hits.
So, after another 3 hour wait in the afternoon, I got my chance, but this time I had a better feel for it, especially after watching how others were adapting. It seemed that I need to be in much more control instead of spinning wildly all the time, so I tried it. Run #4 got me a 39.1 plus one cone (2s), but I now felt like I had it down pat, so when I did run #5, BHAM, 38.5. Dropped a half second off my best time and with NO cone hits...almost flawless. Oh wait...what's this? I did the whole run with my A/C turned on from the cooldown between runs. Damn, ok, maybe I can drive just as well but with a little more power on tap? Ok, so I do run 6 and it feels awesome. I hit no cones and improved on some of my turns...but oh crap, they tell me the timer messed up, so I got no time, bah. Oh well, I got another free run, but I chose not do it, since I was already extremely happy, and I didn't feel like beating on the car again.
All in all, an incredible experience, so now I'm hooked!
Its a quick made up map, but atleast you can get the idea. The top right of the map is the tricky turn, the bottom right is the hairpin. After the hairpin you head back up to the tricky turn which leads you into the banana
oh i have vids if someone can teach me how to load them on a computer and host them
You should be able to transfer the video to a computer via USB or whatever cable the camera came with. If there isn't a cable that came with the camera for this purpose, then you might have to Google it to find out how. On mine, I just hook the camera straight up to the computer's USB port and transfer over.
After that, you can use we-todd-did-racing.com to host up to 9mb of video.
thanks guys, i'll try and do that tonight.
Clayton, I have the results, they aren't posted yet. We were 2 of only 7 people to run faster than 39seconds. You finished 5th on the day, I grabbed 7th.
I'm sitting 18th in pts. Had I not missed the 2nd event I'd be sitting about 3rd based on the average number of pts I'm getting per event. Oh well. That just means I have to make more auto-x's.
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